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Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Old Jun 17th, 2014, 07:35 AM
  #181  
 
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I would imagine that trip insurance was at least offered. But whether it would be valid for not being able to "do" a trip that was taken on would be quite a stretch, I would think.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 08:10 AM
  #182  
 
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I do not know of any trip insurance where one of the causes is a disagreeable tour guide. The OP would have an impossible task proving she was incapacitated after the tour began, especially when she recorded that she went here or there on her own.

And there are three sides to every story, his, hers, and the truth.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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Trip insurance wouldn't do any good if you just decide to go home early for personal reasons (getting tired, having problems with the tour guide, etc.).

I don't have physical issues but I sure couldn't do all that stuff, it sounds extremely stressful and tiring to me. Maybe I have low energy level, I just get tired of all the "work" you have to do with traveling, even if you are enjoying seeing things. I long for a day just to kick back with a beer and watch TV all night, doing nothing.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 08:30 AM
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I agree. My physical limitations are less than the OP's, and I am a decade younger, but I do have an arthritic left knee. We travel slower these days, see less, enjoy more. 2 bus tours with a stretch of couch surfing inbetween is more than I would want to do these days.

I also agree that trip insurance would probably not cover this situation. What GCT is offering, has offered, is unclear.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 08:48 AM
  #185  
 
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But are our individual preferences relevant to the OP? I mean, she's not asking, would you do this, or even would you have done this. I don't mind reading about everyone's experiences, I just think that it's important to judge her posts against her predilections, and not one's own. Her thread is unique in that she is mid-trip, not soliciting advice for a planned trip.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 11:05 AM
  #186  
 
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Yes,the goal right now HAS TO BE to help twoteachers continue her travel experience in the most feasible and enjoyable way possible. Arguing about who did what when or whose responsibility this mess was doesn't benefit her one iota.

I applaud the posters who offered so many pragmatic tips as she moves through this tour.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 12:26 PM
  #187  
 
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Encouraging twoteachers to go home is an equally "pragmatic tip."

I've never taken a tour, but a friend of mine took one to Borneo or Bhutan and ended up going to small claims court because one traveler in the group had so misrepresented her endurance and mobility to the tour company that the "solution" of making the rest of the group "support" the disabled but determined traveler complete the tour effectively destroyed the value of the tour for everyone else who had paid for it.

Most of you are accepting at face value Twoteachers portrait of the tour director -- in fact, some of you are creating a much meaner portrait than even twoteachers has indicated. The tour director is making decisions to keep the tour company legally protected against mishaps. She must tell twoteachers not to take the risks a great many of you are encouraging her to take. Fortunately twoteachers has found Italians and fellow tourists willing to lend her arm when she is near collapse and carry things for her.

None of you will have any legal responsibility if twoteachers becomes more ill than she already has, falls and injures herself or is robbed. Apparently you don't think you will have any moral responsibility either.

Twoteachers is an adult and, as she has proved, no one can stop her from doing the risky things she is doing. By her own admission, she has misrepresented things to the tour company and continues to misrepresent them and ask that other join in maintaining these misrepresentations. While twoteachers is upset about spending more money than she had planned to spend, plainly she has the money to get help and get home. That's all that matters, and I wish her safe journeys.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 01:07 PM
  #188  
 
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It seems to me that posters here should NOT get involved in whatever communication is happening between the OP and Grand Circle. The is simply not within our purview.

And however much we may sympathize with the OP - we are not on the spot and must recognize that we are getting just one side of the picture. I am in no way denigrating or doubting what the OP is saying - but it must be recognized that the TD has a duty to her employer and the safety and enjoyment of ALL the tour participants.

It does seem that the OP can do some of the activities denied by the TD - but perhaps not on the same schedule as the group, nor without the help of other people, and perhaps not in a way that the TD believes is safe. It's wonderful that some people volunteer to help. But IMHO to try to do things that you know are at the edge of your capability and assuming others may help is not responsible for a tour group member - unless it is your partner/friend who has signed on to do the helping.

Agree that the OP should look forward from here. And based on her interests and desire for a slow type of travel I think continuing with another tour will only add to her frustration. I would get the refund for that tour and do a 1 or 2 venue staycation from wherever she will be flying out of - to maximize enjoyment and minimize frustration, disappointment and further loss of time and money.

One must recognize with ANY tour that the group must move at a certain pace (granted often allowing only minimal time at major attractions)or the schedule for everyone will be thrown off. Tours are not for everyone. You could not pay me to go on a tour like this - I would hate it. I want time to spend as I like - so we do independent vacations. The OP probably would have been better off doing the same - organized to her desires, abilities and energy.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 01:11 PM
  #189  
 
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Sandralist and I rarely agree, but in this I think she is both candid and honest. At some point the ramifications of even one person with special needs on a tour can affect everyone, to some degree. We saw this on our recent small group trip in Italy, when a woman arrived with a walker, something she only mentioned to the tour director a week prior to leaving. There were some difficulties.

Going home is a viable option. It is one option. It is not our trip.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 02:59 PM
  #190  
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Darn it, I had another long message erased. I had even copied it, but the internet almost flickers in and out here and all was lost. I never bashed the td. I think she is excellent and would recommend her. I was totally taken off guard in the beginning bec I had been fervently reassured in 3 weeks of phone conversations that there would be solutions, for ex, my hiring a taxi or my sitting out sections of the tour. I blame marketing. I never suspected I would be told not only that I couldn't participate but that I couldn't do things on my own. I don't consider my behavior risky. I was always monitoring my situation and took breaks as I needed them--pretty darn often. I had wanted to go to Oplontis after the museum, I already had the ticket, it was on the way, but I knew it was too much. Today I did nothing except the home hosted lunch and I packed bec I am still hoping I can go to Capri tomorrow.

I do not depend on the kindness of strangers. I did not even ask to sit down on the bus, I would've stood the whole way if I had to, but I am touched when someone else asks for me. I helped some people along the way also. That's what I believe in.

I would personally withdraw myself from an activity if I thought I were compromising its value to others. I know what is fair and I understand about liability. That's why I am relatively accepting of what has happened on this tour, but I do resent that it was misrepresented to me. I do not believe I misrepresented myself. I never would have signed up if I hadn't been so reassured of possible solutions. I talked specifically about my problems, how I had to use Percocet to survive my last trip and I was expecting to again. I was told there would be times of talking without walking when I could use my cane seat and what a good idea that was. There are more examples, but i am sick of typing and need to go to bed....
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 05:11 PM
  #191  
 
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Take a look at Road Scholar for examples of what they SPELL OUT you will need to do for some tours--standing for an hour, walking over etc, etc.
It's fine if TT "told" them. Again, we are finding out more--I need to take Percocet to get through the day. Man, that can mean anything.
She "talked" to "someone" about this. She did not talk to the people delivering the tour on the site.
I think this should be a learning for all of us--and maybe particularly twoteachers.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 05:25 PM
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It's a bit difficult to speak with the people delivering the tour on-site before booking. According to the OP, she has extensive & detailed discussions with the GCT representatives before booking the tours. And made her decision to proceed based on their reassurances, which were given in response to the concerns she raised with them.

That seems reasonable to me.

IMO, the major problems appear to be
the GCT reservations people didn't
1) have sufficient knowledge of the site challenges to judge how the OP's stated limitations would impact on her ability to participate;

2) communicate the OP's limitations to the GCT people conducting the tour, or to the TDs concerned.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 06:18 PM
  #193  
 
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I imagine the TD, having little or no prior knowledge of the OP's limitations, has been presented with a situation which she has had to manage, juggling both duty of care to the OP, other pax & GCT's liability.

Not an enviable position for the TD or OP.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 07:05 PM
  #194  
 
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It's always interesting to watch the dynamics.
The OP asked for opinions.
Folks offered opinions.
The OP is an adult and can process the input and make her own decision(s).
Yet, some posters are absolutely certain that their opinions trumps others and direct others not to counter their opinions.
I don't think I'll ever understand that dynamic - although it's often amusing to see the same folks serve as hall monitors.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 07:10 PM
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The OP stated at the outset, "at this point I don't need a lot of negativity." And she also asked only for "gentle comments". I really don't understand why anyone would insist on posting their opinion if it doesn't conform to her request. May anyone post whatever they wish? Of course. As has been pointed out many times, every story has many facets.

But why post advice the OP didn't ask for and doesn't want? To what end?

I don't see anyone hall monitoring.
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Old Jun 18th, 2014, 12:42 AM
  #196  
 
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First of all, comments being made in this thread are not in reaction to the OP only. One could more sensibly say if you don't understand what is going on in a thread, why post in it?

No one is obliged to conform to an OP's original request to limit their responses to things the OP wants to hear. The majority of people posting in this thread felt obliged to say, sooner or later, that the OP should more seriously consider accepting the tour company's repeated offer for a refund and go home, especially once she began to feel ill.

I haven't seen a single person in this thread do anything other than wish the traveler well in resolving these issues. I think some of the posts egging the traveler on for entertainment purposes are appalling, however. I don't think anything about this thread is amusing, but I will point out the irony that if this thread had been started by 20 year olds who posted an itinerary like twoteachers has described, a very large percentage of the people who are egging on twoteachers to complete this tour would be scolding and slapping at the 20 year olds for even considering something so "crazy" and "exhausting" and "pointless." What is it about young people that so automatically arouses the ire of too many Fodor's posters who are so eager to cheer on elderly people taking on exhausting itineraries as proof of the right way to live? (Never mind, rhetorical question.)

twoteachers,

If the tour was misrepresented to you you are more than entitled to your feelings of resentment in addition to a refund, and you don't need to defend or explain yourself here. Staying well should be your first priority, and I hope you can find some easy solutions to the problems you are encountering.
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Old Jun 18th, 2014, 01:07 AM
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Bokahara2,

You may not have noticed this paragraph in the original post, describing the pre-departure transactions between GCT and twoteachers:

"Six days before I was to leave, GCT offered to refund my $, but I had no heart for canceling at this point. Who would.? I did say if I could keep the second less strenuous tour and the air arrangements, I would make my own arrangements for Italy which didn't seem that far fetched, since GCT allows "break away" travel. I stayed up literally all night trying to figure out alternatives, but they said all or nothing."

It appears to me that at some point whomever twoteachers had been talking to at GCT about her limitations became extremely concerned about what they were hearing. GCT stepped in early to resolve the situation, offering a full refund.

If they are to be faulted about anything prior to departure, it was to allow twoteachers to make an independent choice to join the first tour anyway, even after both parties had essentially come to the same point of view that it would likely be too strenuous for twoteachers. I don't know what company policy is regarding refunds for the kind of package that twoteachers booked. It appears partial refunds are not allowed -- just can't tell -- and underlings might have limited ability to change policy.

Twoteachers original post indicates that in her mind, no one in her position would have accepted the refund and cancelled the trip six days before departure time. But that obscures the fact that GCT had heard enough about her physical limitations that they stopped offering reassurances and instead began offering her refunds. For whatever reasons twoteachers decided to proceed, GCT was within its rights, in my view, to keep making assessments as to her fitness for the tour and to keep offering her refunds within the framework of company policy. She has continued to refuse to accept their assessment or the refund, but you can't blame GCT for limiting its liability under the circumstances.
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Old Jun 18th, 2014, 03:07 AM
  #198  
 
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If one looks at the actual online information about the tour it makes several points very clearly:

*This trip features a fair amount of walking, often uphill, over uneven, unpaved, or cobbled surfaces as you travel in Italy. You should be able to walk two to three miles unassisted over the course of each day.

*For your comfort and safety, we recommend this program only to individuals in good physical condition. If you have difficulty walking or are wheelchair-bound, please consult our Travel Counselors for guidance.

*We reserve the right for our Program Directors to modify participation, or in some circumstances send travelers home if their limitations are impacting the group’s experience

If you look at the itinerary it is apparent that this is a tour with limited down time and rather fast-paced activity. They make it very apparent that the tour is for people who are mobile - without assistance - and in good health. And since they tend to attract an older group they also make it clear that the TD can - if necessary "modify participation" - which is what she is doing. Between the offer of a refund before the trip and the very clear information here it appears that the tour company did their best to make potential issues clear - and was very concerned about the abilities of the OP.

On top of this is the OP's unhappiness with the tour schedule (I presume due to a lack of information on how tours work - and that it does not mesh with her desired travel style.)

What I can;t understand, given this experience, is the seeming intent of the OP to go on another tour. I think she may find that GC may not allow her to do so. And I urge her to think very carefully about her choices going forward. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
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Old Jun 18th, 2014, 03:13 AM
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Sorry if this link has been posted before somewhere in this long thread, but have others read twoteachers' trip report about her trip tp Africa. She provided a link in another thread to the webiste where it originally appeared:

http://everywheremag.com/articles/984
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Old Jun 18th, 2014, 03:24 AM
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Sandralist: You're right - I hadn't seen that paragraph. Thanks
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