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Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Old Jun 11th, 2014, 03:54 PM
  #61  
 
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But I think the tour director seriously needs some help.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 03:57 PM
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I don't know whether the tour director needs help or not because we just have one side of the story here. On every tour there are always people who should not be there. Some problems are just worse than others.

I do hope the OP enjoys the rest of her time in Europe. I am headed for Poland in the morning on the first of 4 home exchanges.

I wish all of you a lovely summer wherever your travels take you and whether you take tours or travel independently.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 04:07 PM
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Thank you again Lauren. The OP asked for advice, you actually talked about your perception of her physical problems, and frankly, talked more about all of YOUR experiences as a tour director and more information about home exchanges than this thread really needed. So let me wish YOU a happy summer of traveling.

This woman is in a lot of emotional pain, we do not need to divert attention to ourselves. What happened, yes, we only hear one side, but most of us are trying to make limoncello out of the sour lemons being lobbed at her right now. Honestly, I do not know what I would do in her situation.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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It looks like you're going to Orvieto tomorrow (Thursday) so try your best to get to the church - it's magnificent. There's a chapel on the right, near the altar, for which you need tickets. If they're not included with your tour you can buy a ticket across from the church at the tourist info. Do visit this chapel.

On Friday, you could go to Pompeii on your own if the TD won't let you go with the group. It's very easy. It looks like your hotel is not far from the train station. Pompeii is only 30 minutes from Sorrento.

You buy a ticket and get on the train. Exit at Pompeii Scavi (make sure you buy the correct ticket to Pompeii Scavi, not the town of Pompeii) and validate your ticket on the platform. The Pompeii station is very close to the site (the tour bus could not get you any closer than the station). Since it's been so hot make sure to carry enough water to get you through your visit. The cafe is to the left as you enter the site but it's a ways down and there is no re-entry into the site so you can't go back to the station to buy drinks/food.

Keep us informed as we're rooting for you!
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 04:24 PM
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It seems they've allowed you to stay so I think I would just try to hang in there since you are on the last part of the tour and do what you can (and what the TD allows).

If you've paid for Herculaneum and she says you can't go, you could do it on your own another day (I see everyone has a free day). I'm not sure you could manage Naples and getting to the museum also in one day though so you might have to set priorities. You might not be able to get to all of them on your own, so pick the ones most important. Most of us have been to these sites and can help you figure transport.

I would keep track of any optional tours you paid extra for and get the names of a few people on the tour (or e-mails) that would be willing to back you up when you get back to the states. Also note any sites that would have fees that you didn't get to enter. Normally, I would suggest filing a complaint with the BBB, but it seems GCT is not a member. You might be able to file a complaint with the state office in charge of consumer protection (in KY, it's the Attorney General, but I have no clue what it is in MA).
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 04:43 PM
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"I would suggest filing a complaint with the BBB, but it seems GCT is not a member."

That's probably because they got into trouble with the BBB in the past.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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Complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau go nowhere. I speak from personal experience. All they can do is "jaw" the member into compliance and, even when a company is a member, it often doesn't work.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 06:55 PM
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May I inject just a bit of humor here? About the advice to make lemonade out of lemons?

On my own recent vacation I saw a great tee shirt:

When Live Gives You Lemons, Throw Them Back and Demand CHOCOLATE!

Gotta love it.

Buona fortuna, twoteachers. You can and will still enjoy bella Italia!
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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Complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau go nowhere. I speak from personal experience. All they can do is "jaw" the member into compliance and, even when a company is a member, it often doesn't work.

And I can speak from personal experience about a time when I got more than I was asking for when I made a complaint to the BBB.

We stayed overnight at a hotel that advertised a free local shuttle service on its website. But when we got to the hotel and asked about it, the desk clerk said they couldn't be bothered with running people all over the place.

So when we got back home after our trip, I noted that the statement was still on the website and filed a complaint with the BBB (noting what the clerk had said to us), asking that they get the hotel (which was a member) to remove that statement, as apparently it was not true.

What actually happened was within a day or two the hotel manager called, offered us a refund (I don't remember now if it was full or partial—might have been a full refund for the night—but it did post to the credit card used for the room), and said the clerk in question had been disciplined.

So there is a case where complaining to the BBB was taken seriously, and it got us more than we expected—which most certainly was not a refund. I honestly just wanted truth in advertising; the rest of the stay at the hotel was fine.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 07:27 PM
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<This woman is in a lot of emotional pain, we do not need to divert attention to ourselves. What happened, yes, we only hear one side, but most of us are trying to make limoncello out of the sour lemons being lobbed at her right now. Honestly, I do not know what I would do in her situation.>

Well said, socaltraveler.

Honestly, I think I might have folded like a cheap tent. twoteachers has shown impressive intestinal fortitude, IMO.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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Two, back home do you have a written record or e-mails where you registered you limitations with the tour company? Did you get the names of the company reps who offered you a refund? Did you log all the inappropriate behavior of the tour director?

Since it is US based company, you might be able to cause problems under Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) which is part of Dept of Justice. Also upon your return, you could contact AARP. I do not know if the tour company is an advertiser or has a commercial relationship with them. A calm and accurate record will be very valuable.

Has the tour director shown any other bad behavior to others on the tour? I understand this little consolation to you now.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 09:36 PM
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Let's work out how you can make the situation work for you if you can't get a full / enough refund now to continue on your own.

Clearly, you are an experienced solo traveller, neither an idiot nor a child. You said you raised your doubts about your fitness several times with GCT. It appears that there has been either a lack of communications between them and this Tour Director, or a general inattention to the information you gave.

I can see the TD's reluctance to either include you with thr group on something she thinks would be beyond your capabilities, or sanction your doing it independently, from GCT's liability insurance perspective.

However: If you contact GCT's head bods, sign a specific liability waiver for a particular excursion (keeping a copy for yourself ); I see no impediment whatsoever to your engaging a personal driver/guide for that destination.

I would expect & if necessary demand a commensurate rebate /refund from GCT for those excursions, which would offset your costs in hiring personal transport & guide.

That way, you continue with the group & eliminate the luggage hassles and so your own thing when you wish/ need to so so.

Hopefully you have kept emails/ copied of letters or notes of telephone conversations wherein you advised GCT of your limitations & concerns before booking / leaving on the trip.

On no account would I back down. It's a rare company director or senior manager who will not see the wisdom in an equitable solution that will preserve/ enhance their firm's reputation. This is doubly so in a market where Internet reviews can make or break a business very quickly.

Group tours are a dime a dozen and whilst GCT may have a good share in a specific market, they are far from the only players. And your limitations are, I imagine, far from the first, last or worst that would be expected in their target market.

Don't lose your cool & don't back down. This is a business transaction & you are not dependent upon their Tour Director's grace & favour.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 09:43 AM
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I have no helpful advice, just checking in to give support to this thread!

And wishingtwoteachers the best solution possible (get the most out of the trip, then duke it out with the tour provider once you get home about the parts of their bargain they did not come thru on).
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 09:53 AM
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I would plan very carefully for Pompeii. It is VERY hot and there is NO shade - so you need to bring your own chilled water and preferably a shady hat or even umbrella.

Also be aware that the footing is VERY uneven. Many of the streets have very large stones in the center but with depressed tracks in them for chariot wheels -. and maneuvering between and around them can be tricky. Also - there are a lot of uneven areas with partial cobblestones.

I highly reco hiring a guide at the gate - or you can lose yourself since there are so many different areas/places to see. We spent almost 5 hours and left without seeing some things we really wanted to - because of the heat - headed back to the pool at the hotel for the afternoon.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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>>>Complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau go nowhere. I speak from personal experience.>>And I can speak from personal experience about a time when I got more than I was asking for when I made a complaint to the BBB.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 01:00 PM
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I just spent an hour on a reply and it seems to be gone--still looking for it.... arrived in Sorrento had the big scary talk with the TD... More when I regain the confounded internet....
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 01:23 PM
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I just spent an hour on a reply and it seems to be gone--still looking for it.... arrived in Sorrento had the big scary talk with the TD... More when I regain the confounded internet....
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 06:10 PM
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SOCALTRAVELER, just wondering - have you ever taken an escorted tour like this one in Europe?
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 09:27 PM
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No, we largely travel independently; we have taken 1 river cruise (which I highly recommend) and two small guided tours, one with 12 people and one with 8. I don't ever see us on this type of escorted tour - too many people, too much structure, too much moving around and too many early mornings for DH.
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Old Jun 13th, 2014, 04:19 AM
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What to do. Another long reply erased. This time I even copied it first, the whole thing was highlighted, but when I hit paste, I only got one word....
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