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Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Old Jun 10th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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<but decided at age 68 and aging joints decided I needed help with simplifying logistics>

You would have been better off on your own. Clearly you are travel savvy and know what you want to see & do and what you want out of a trip.

Just figure out how to get out of the tour with the greatest refund possible, and do not ever book with them again

Next time, go alone, go at your own pace, keep it simple. You'd be just fine.
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 03:45 PM
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I am so sorry to hear this. I really don't see how the tour director can prevent you from doing something on your own. What does she have planned for you to do the day you are not allowed to go to Pompeii?
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 03:47 PM
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Sounds very grim,twoteachers.

If you can get GCT to refund you on the spot, I wonder if you couldn't hire a personal driver/guide for some places & economise on your accommodation, to allow you to finish the tour at your own
pace. Not to mention, more congenial atmosphere.

The fact that GCT clearly ignored your several advices & concerns regarding your physical match with the destinations should be a very strong bargaining point.
They can invoke the "terminate your any time without refund " clause, but as they have already offered the refund, it seems as if that's not their intention.
I would take the refund & bail out before they change their minds.

I haven't read either schedule, so don't know whether the next tour may be less taxing / the tour director on that more accommodating of limitations of which they were very well aware.

There is one driver/guide I've seen mentioned here quite often. My friends used one a couple of years ago & were very pleased with the arrangement. I have no idea of costs, but would be very happy to ask my friends.

Good luck - you must be very disappointed and frustrated. Let's see if we can help you "make lemonade out of these lemons".
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 04:06 PM
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<< Let's see if we can help you "make lemonade out of these lemons". >>

Or better yet, limoncello!

I, too, am very sorry you are being treated so poorly.

I don't understand why you can't take the tour bus to whatever site then see it alone at your own pace. She knows what time they are leaving the site... So can certainly tell you what time to be back at the bus.

And there is no way she can prohibit you from doing site seeing on your own,
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 04:42 PM
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I think that if she takes the tour bus they are legally responsible for her since she is participating in an activity that is part of the tour.
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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TWO TEACHERS, are you solo on this tour? And have you taken other tours in Europe. So sorry for your difficulties ...
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 05:26 PM
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Just a few words of encouragement. You are certainly a savvy traveler making your way to various sites on your own and you are being treated shabbily and unfairly. Please stand your ground on being able to go on any trip the tour offers. The T.D. cannot tell you not to participate. Persevere. Our good wishes are with you.
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 05:27 PM
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I am stunned that they can even tell her she can't participate in something she has paid for. Can they do this under ANY circumstance? I've only taken one organized tour and was super lucky that it and all the other participants were amazing. I can't imagine our guide saying one of us couldn't do something that had been part for our arrangement! For sure I would be on the phone to headquarters and wouldn't hang up till I talked to the head guy/gal!
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 05:34 PM
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I am so sorry to hear about this. I can only say to take the refund if they offer it and finish up on your own.
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 06:12 PM
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This does sound like either you were not sufficiently clear with the sales people or they were simply not listening.

Honestly if I had been contacted while still in the US and offered an opportunity for a complete refund with the company saying it would not work - I would have cancelled that trip. And probably made my own arrangements.

The only thing I saw that was even close was a day trip by bus to Bath and Salisbury. When we stopped at the last hotel on the way out of London a very elderly couple came out to join the group. It was apparent from their extremely slow walk out of the hotel that they would have significant problems even getting into the bus, never mind taking the tour. The guide took them aside and explained that the tour would be just too much for them - but apparently they said they just wanted to ride on the bus and see the scenery. And that is what they ended up doing - since it took almost 5 minutes just to get them into the bus. They got out only for the lunch stop.

But it sounds like you are much more mobile than that - although probably slower than the rest of the group. I would suggest that the tour company is afraid of liability if you should be injured - as well as having a real concern for you - and that's why they don't want you going anyplace where the footing is very uneven (walking is not easy in Pompeii).

If you can still get your money back I would do so and make your own arrangements on the fly. I know this will be difficult but I think in the end you will be happier.
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 07:28 PM
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They should be so glad you are not my mother. If anyone ever made my mom feel like that boy would I be screaming. I would even fly there to get you. I'm not joking. If they are saying you must return to the US if you part ways now, did you follow up with someone other than this tour director? I would think it would cost extra money to move your return date up. I've only booked package deals for air and hotel but I always contacted the airline on my own once I had the reservation number. Maybe you can do the same? I don't think GCT could do anything about about your ticket back and if you walked away now, you might loss what you've already prepaid but I would put in a complaint to get the money back. So if they offer a partial refund, take it and finish on your own.
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 08:00 PM
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Oh Twoteachers that is just terrible news! Who on earth could do that to someone- it is ridiculous! I would try for a refund and make your way on your own...I feel terrible for you- I will be on Rome on the 26th and wish I could help you! I would take you around! You will hopefully either be on your way home or on another trip- preferably not GCT! You know, my mother used to tour with that group and she loved them, I don't know what is wrong with them but by the responses you are receiving from us, you should get at least some response from them- make the complaint at least and hang in there!
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 10:43 PM
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thanks again. I am solo on this tour which does make it harder. My husband thinks travel Is like " throwing money down a rat hole," so this trip is a major concession for him and I dread telling him about the issues. It is also just plain embarrassing to be sent home. I am not in shape, but in my defense I have been going to water aerobics 3 times a week for over a year, so I have tried...Hasn't helped much though....
I have never traveled with a tour except for a day trip to Stonehenge where I felt rushed. I like to try to soak in where I am.... My daughter and I traveled to Africa to find her 3 world vision sponsored kids pretty much on our own, landing at the airport at addis and starting f rom scratch after our hotel was canceled (see my trip report) in 1996. 5 years ago I traveled entirely on my own with couch surfing and am doing that for the 10 days between tours....my biggest problem on my own is lugging the luggage, and I packed knowing the tour would handle most of that....
I am sitting here at breakfast just wondering what the td will lay on me today. I am quite fair skinned and turn red very easily and I also "head sweat" just at church, and she uses those to say how over stressed I am and more proof I can't handle it....
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 11:58 PM
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When people cause problems on a tour, they can end up being sent home at their own expense. The fact that you were trying to get in better shape is commendable, but, if you cannot do the itinerary, you become a major drag on the group. Even you admit the water aerobics has not helped much. You need to realize that the tour director has to give everyone equal time. He cannot concentrate on you because you can't do the tour. He cannot push a wheelchair. He cannot constantly ask the group to wait for you because everyone in the group gets angry. Everyone has paid for the tour and everyone deserves consideration.

This problem arose because you did not study the brochure adequately in advance. It is, by the way, a common problem. I have worked as a tour director. It is always unpleasant when someone has to be sent home but you are not the first one--and you won't be the last.

If you have limited mobility, some tour that is cruise based (e.g., a river cruise) might have been more appropriate for you. One river cruises many people with mobility problems never go on any of the excursions because they can't. To my way of thinking that is a waste of money, but some see it as at least seeing something.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 12:04 AM
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I generally deal with student tour companies, but the premise is the same. The US office is filled with salespeople who will happily promise you the world. The European tour directors hear nothing of what has been discussed and promised until the tour is in progress. Some will try to make accomodations, but others become annoyed and difficult. You got caught in the big disconnect--grossly unfair, but true.

You should do whatever makes you happiest and most comfortable at this point. However, I would urge you to get any promise of a refund in writing from a suitable source.

I would also urge you to do future trips on your own or with a friend. You can move at your own pace and enjoy everything on your own terms--and probably less expensively, too.

Meanwhile, good luck to you. I hope everything works out. When you get home, let others know how you were treated via social media.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 12:26 AM
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OMG, I can't believe what you have endured! I don't know anything about tours -- I've never taken one -- but what you have endured sounds unbearable.

First and foremost, please hang in there! I am awed by your fortitude and ingenuity. You are obviously determined to take ownership of this trip, and you have done so admirably and in the face of incredible difficulty. If that fact alone doesn't convince your husband that you are BORN to travel, well let us - your fellow Fodorites -- have at him! I mean seriously, what more proof does he need that travel MATTERS to you!?! As the saying goes, "You go, girl!" and please do so knowing that you have a whole pack of us backing you up.

As I said, I really don't know the ins and outs, but I would encourage you to do whatever you need to do to document your case against these A*Ho**s and then continue to do everything you can to enjoy the things you want to see and do.

You are awesome, twoteachers! I'm behind you all the way!
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 04:24 AM
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I would pay significant money ($20) for a transcript of the conversation between Adrienne and GCT.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 05:37 AM
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What a lousy thing to happen to anyone! I am sorry you are having such a rough time. I hope you are able to enjoy Italy !
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 05:42 AM
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cold - you can have the transcript for free. I kept my temper (unusual for me when dealing with fools) and was very polite. When I saw I was getting no where after repeatedly suggesting this situation needed examination by GCT I thanked the agent for his time and ended the conversation.

I now have a much different opinion of GCT.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 06:30 AM
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I agree to get something in writing. Do NOT take the word of the tour leader.
Some years ago I had an issue on a tour (not GCT) and the tour director told me I would be able to get a refund on something. I contacted the company , they talked to the tour leader and she told them she told me no such thing. So it was my word against hers and they won.
I learned my lesson that time.
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