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Review: Great Train Journeys of the World

Specialist Holiday - Rail travel

All that glitter is not gold!

  • By SilverTraveller scribe

    1 review

  • October 2016
  • Your husband, wife or partner
  • Culture / Sightseeing

50 people found this review helpful

I saw the advertisements that are very big, inviting and convincing, premium holidays at premium prices, lots of awards from the media, assurances of “customer service” all to seduce me to part with my hard earned cash, all very re-assuring when choosing a tour operator for our annual holiday.

Reality was somewhat at variance to the impression given in the advertisements for Great Rail Journeys “New England in the Fall” tour, with one disappointment after another on a daily basis, substandard hotels, no air conditioning working, heating unusable heater due to smell, penny pinching excursions, tour manager with little current area knowledge, visits to demonstration of Maple Syrup production consisting of two machines in garages neither working, lowest standard of train accommodation, trips to supermarket to buy cook in room provisions, hardly a premium standard.
Previous tours with reputable names like Riviera, Travelsphere, Kuoni, Orient Express and others were a joy with no problems, so naturally we expected a similar standard.

On returning home I wrote to Great Rail explaining in detail our problems which months later have not been addressed or resolved to my satisfaction having been offered £150 in vouchers for another GRJ holiday (!), then £250 in vouchers and finally £250 cash to shut me up. Three letters to the CEO Mr Liney remained unanswered for weeks and all correspondence was dealt with ignoring all specific issues, apathetically referring me to ABTA with its limitations, a far cry from any vestige of customer service that featured so prominently in the advertisements.

None of my complaints have been challenged by GRJ’s, they accept liability, but refuse to meet my claim for a refund, pointing me to ABTA.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 6 Comment(s)

  • scribe
    about 3 years ago
    They have also Won "Train Operator of the Year" in the Daily Telegraph Awards (they are one of the Daily Telegraphs biggest advertisers), the CEO of GRJ's was the top lad at STA travel, small World!

    I do not doubt that you may well have had a more positive experience than we did, but as I mentioned earlier, we all make mistakes, but this was no mistake, it was a catalogue of issues as a consequence of GRJ's disorganisation, mismanagement and penny pinching.

    Their intransigence, apathy and indifference to customer service once the trip is over is beyond belief, from the top down they are part of the problem. I understand the Advertising Standards Authority have an interest in GRJ regarding the use of the term " all inclusive"!

    All my claims are accurate and truthful

    Thanks for your observations..
  • Riversiderouge
    about 3 years ago
    I'm sorry to hear about this problem holiday. Didn't GRJ win an award in last years STA Awards? My experience with this company was quite the opposite to that described by scribe, although it was around 10 years ago. Has the company changed hands since? It is sad to think that they are being complacent in their responses if these claims are accurate!
  • scribe
    about 3 years ago
    Thank you for taking the time and trouble to comment Ian, holidays are a major investment in the year for most people, it should be a pleasurable, positive experience and seeing the advertisements, with a raft of and the " awards" and Reevoo results ( incidentally GRJ have denied me access to Reevoo to explain my experiences, blowing Reevoo's credibility and GRJ's advertised results sky high ) Great Rail Journeys looked a safe bet.
    Everyone makes mistakes, but this catalogue goes on and on, and instead of doing the honourable deed and putting it right they just keep referring me to ABTA.,
    I am pleased you found my comments useful and your choice of holiday exceeds your expectations.
  • Ian.Waugh
    about 3 years ago
    Thanks for the warning Scribe! We've also been attracted by the ad's for GRJ but, even if we had gone and had a good experience, your findings when challenging your own poor experience shows a complete lack of interest in the 'customer'.
  • scribe
    about 3 years ago
    Normally I accept that that would be the done thing, but, the Tour Manager, a lovely, helpful, charming lady, was struggling through no fault of her own, she had not been to the area for two years and was having difficulty coping with organisational issues, management should have not sent her, she really was trying hard to "cover the cracks".
    It would have been unfair to have put more pressure on her and cause disruption amongst other travellers, I did make it clear that I would be writing on my return, on the review form.
  • ESW
    about 3 years ago
    Did you raise the issues with the tour manager during the trip and if so what did they do about it?