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Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Anyone ever flunk out of a Grand Circle tour?

Old Jun 16th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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Thin, we just did the walk to Faraglioni Rocks last month. I cannot imagine anyone with mobility issues doing that. We had to stop at the Hotel Villa Brunella for a drink after climbing back up!
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 01:17 PM
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Ooooooh, the Hotel Brunella!

Aren't you posh!

I would be shown the door if I ever showed up on their doorstep.

It would be Taco Bell Capri for me!


Thin, a simple Quaker
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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This was the most fascinating thread I've read in ages.

I think you're doing the best you can with the situation. Me, I'd take such refund as I could get, ON THE SPOT, and relax somewhere in a 'home base' for the next little while.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 01:21 PM
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I thought the bus ride to Anacapri was a hoot - she can do that, take the chairlift in Anacapri where there will be great views. Or she could take the boat ride from the marina that circles the island - really, it should not be a very taxing day. And going on her own, it will probably be cheaper than what those in the tour group are paying.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 01:22 PM
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Thin, we looked pathetic and bedraggled and they graciously showed us to the pool bar. The drinks were not even overpriced.

Judy, a simple old woman
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 01:35 PM
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suec1, exactly. The ferry from Sorrento isn't much and one can see such beautiful views just walking or taking the bus or convertible taxis.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 02:23 PM
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After the bus to Anacapri and the chairlift she could take another bus down to Marina Piccolo for lunch. Also, if you start from the other end the path to view the Faraglioni Rocks is quite flat. You just need to turn back there.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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GO FOR IT, twoteachers.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 02:30 PM
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I think you're doing very well, adapting what you can do where the tour itinerary isn't a match for your abilities.

There will be some additional costs in having someone meet you & help with luggage, but it seems to me to be well worth it if you do decide to go to Venice & elsewhere on your own.

At this point, I don't think I would go home. If GCT will refund the 2nd tour land content, as i see it you would have two reasonably viable options.

1) Leave the tour & do your own thing, using one or two centres as bases. If you can eliminate some of your luggage, send the surplus home.

You may be have to cut down the number of places you visit, but you would have the time to move at your own pace & concentrate on what is important to you.

2. Stay on the tour. If, as a number of people here have indicated, there are fewer arduous locations than this one, you may be able to take more of the excursions. Continue to do what you have been doing - go out with the group and find your own way home independently. Where you can't do the listed excursion, do something else independently - or stay in the hotel & have a leisurely day, wander around the village.

I just feel that you've got your mojo up, have managed your physical & mental resources to make the most of the situation thus far and probably have both the confidence & self knowledge now to be able to continue.

This would take care of your accommodation & transport.

However: I do think you need to have a frank discussion with the GCT management. You have a successful track record of being able to modify the itinerary to suit your needs without inconveniencing the rest of the group or the TD now.

Clearly, the tour was a mismatch for you. Many people who don't have your physical limitations find they don't care for group travel once they've tried it.

However, the fact that you did emphasise your concerns ( hopefully in writing) without any corresponding concern from GCT, puts you in a good bargaining position. This is evidenced by their offer of a refund. Make sure you get that in writing, too.

My feeling is that if you cut & run now, you may not marshall the resources to start all over again once you're home.

I find it's usually easier to keep going, even if I have to slow down, take a day off & change tack, than to start again.

Others, and maybe you, would re-energise at home & start a new trip with renewed vigour.

Good luck with what ever you chose.

Just remember: It's a business transaction. Keep your dealings with GCT businesslike & don't take or make anything personal.

Look at it dispassionately from GCT's point of view & couch your arguements
to make it easy for them to agree with what you want.

If it helps, pretend you are negotiating on behalf of a 3rd person.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 05:08 PM
  #170  
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"I thought the bus ride to Anacapri was a hoot - she can do that, take the chairlift in Anacapri where there will be great views." - perhaps! but as I recall, there was VERY little time to get on / off those chairs. so it might be a bit difficult if mobility is limited. There are some wonderful views from the Villa San Michele, so if twoteachers goes to Anacapri (and I'm glad I did!), she can look at the chair lift to decide whether it seems manageable. Either way, a stroll through that villa is well worth considering IMO!
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 05:42 PM
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I am not going to shovel out "positive re-enforcement" here. Certainly twoteachers has encountered problems and has felt the Grand Circle Travel tour director hasn't come through. And I'm sorry. But I hear alot of complaining and wasting time posting on this forum. Even the spectacular Amalfi drive ruined because camera wasn't working right. And I'm hearing also alot of oh my how sad responses.

Let me say this: we have been on eight Grand Circle trips, including this Tuscany-Sorrento one (web site from adrianne) and the Best of Eastern Europe (from marija). Plus forty one Road Scholar-Elderhostel trips all over. Yes, most all were like Gretchen says physically demanding and I am elderly and I did have pneumonia in Eastern Germany trip two years ago but survived.

But I will affirm Grand Circle is an excellent tour company and good value in our eight ventures. DW and I have no complaints. I only wish one of their reps would see this and offer a discount for our trip in October to Spain & Portugal!

Note these reports: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ral-europe.cfm
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-belgium.cfm
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 06:19 PM
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<< I only wish one of their reps >>

I did speak with a GCT agent and he wasn't interested in the story/problems.
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 06:30 PM
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I am in awe of how well twoteachers is coping. She's not sitting in her hotel room complaining and posting. Instead, she's gone to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples and is setting off for Capri, making all of her own arrangements. Twoteachers has made the best of a very difficult situation. Brava!
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 07:11 PM
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<I only wish one of their reps would see this and offer a discount for our trip in October to Spain & Portugal!>

Seriously?

This is just plain tacky, Ozarksbill. I appreciate that you have had many good experiences with GCT. But to mischaracterize twoteachers' posts as "alot of complaining and wasting time" and the replies, many of which have offered very specific, detailed advice, as "alot of oh my how sad responses", all in the hope of winning some recognition from GCT--a discount!--is in extremely poor taste.

The company satisfies many, but not all. Is that so hard to accept?
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 09:29 PM
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Agree with Marija - admirable job making the best of a tough situation.

I have tweeted, making GCT aware of this thread. Many travelers come to Fodors for travel advice and perhaps GCT will step up and pay attention, as they should. Of course there are two sides to every story. But clearly the OP's challenges could have been handled with more respect. How about a free excursion with a private guide, GCT?
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Old Jun 16th, 2014, 11:26 PM
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<< I have tweeted, making GCT aware of this thread. >>

They were aware a week ago. It's not going to matter.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 05:32 AM
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Not in a public manner.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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Social traveler, for most optional tours there are at most 4 others who do not go out of 41. I think I am the only one who did not go to Capri , 2 others were not interested in Herculaneum etc. BTW, I was also told in the beginning i would not be permitted to go to the museum on my own, too complicated, too tiring, too dangerous, etc. it was very hard for me but doable.... I wore a money belt and felt cautious but safe....
Today I asked the td to see what would still be offered if I canceled the Eastern Europe tour, though she says there is no way I could keep the original air and dates returning July 16, but maybe I could keep my couchsurfing and fly home July 1.... We shall see....She apparently never saw my email asking to leave this tour.
I do understand that it is not fair to compromise the experience of the others , but I don't see how anyone has missed anything, since I have not been able to go on tours with them. I am curious what they all say behind my back. It has been a strained dynamic for me and I feel I have been written off by many, although about a dozen of them have been kind and supportive. Also, I originally was seeking a riverboat cruise for the obvious stated reasons, but the price gap was too wide....
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 06:56 AM
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This is where the "two sides of every story" kicks in. Our goal here IMO is to support the OP, and to give advice for alternate travel plans. We do not know what really happened with GCT, what was said before booking, what the td has actually said to the OP, whether there is anything in writing, etc. To tweet GCT, to e-mail them, is perhaps crossing a line for virtual strangers to the situation.

If you are familiar with other threads from the OP, including her trip report from the journey to Africa, you know that she herself describes her physical issues in different terms in different situations. If the GCT tour information states you need to be able to walk 2-3 miles a day for this tour, and keep up with the others in the group, than I can see where this was really a problem.

Ozarksbill was not out of line, he described his experience with GCT, and that is, again IMHO, just as valid as many other comments here.

I still support the OP, and hope she resolves this in a way that is satisfactory to both parties. But honestly, from her descriptions of how she is currently feeling, the thought of soldiering on with her solo plans (and the trains, the luggage shlepping, the couch surfing, etc., PLUS another GCT tour, sounds beyond exhausting to me. Unfortunately, as others have said, the refund that may or may not be still on the table will not be processed immediately, and there is still the issue of airfare/reschedule home. The OP may not have travel insurance so could be facing a large out of pocket expense. She has said she is on a tight budget. Again, best wishes to you, twoteachers, as you make your travel decisions/plans.
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 07:02 AM
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Twoteachers, I think we were cross posting right now since I did not see your reply before mine. Again, just wishing you the best. It must be very difficult to be alone, and feel like you have no support from a group of fellow travelers. Which is also something to consider about staying for the second tour. If they will refund the cost of the tour, but make you keep the return flight, do consider the suggestions to base yourself in or near the return city,mor maybe two places in the tour time, and take city tours, day trips, on your own. Perhaps you could find an apartment, or an inexpensive B and B. I am not familiar with the second itinerary so I don't know where exactly you are headed.
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