Vantage Deluxe World Travel
OnboardVantage specializes in land tours, river cruises and small-ship sailings, and includes cruises on many of their land tours. The trips, which use a combination of vessels-exclusive-to-Vantage and those that are operated by companies such as Variety Cruises, are geared to mature travelers.
On Vantage's riverboats, the line maintains a 4:1 guest-to-staff ratio. Cruises are relatively all-inclusive, with free shipwide Wi-Fi, sightseeing tours, meals and onboard entertainment included. Meals onboard are one sitting with open seating. All ships have panoramic lounges and sun decks, and are nonsmoking throughout the interior, with a designated smoking area on the open-air Solaris Deck.
By the end of 2013, Vantage will own four riverboats, each with solo accommodations, French balconies in 78 percent of the cabins and a luxurious 250- to 330-square-foot Owner's Suite with a well-stocked minibar and separate bedroom area. Standard and Deluxe cabins are furnished with twin beds that convert to double size (queen for the Owner's Suite). All cabins provide outside views and are equipped with TV, safe and hair dryer. They also come with entertainment-on-demand systems offering movies as well as access to many U.S. television channels such as MSNBC, CNN, Discovery, The Weather Channel and more. The features include real-time GPS tracking of the ship's journey.
Program directors with local expertise accompany each trip. The Cultural Connections programs promises in-depth experiences in each country visited through lectures, special meals, home visits, receptions, performances and participation in local activities. A special feature on excursions is the free use of headphones for each passenger to ensure they can hear the guide clearly.
About Vantage Deluxe World TravelVantage Deluxe World Travel, a family owned business, was founded in 1983 by Henry Lewis. He still oversees the company. Interestingly, Lewis is a brother of Alan Lewis, the creator and head of Grand Circle Travel.
Ultimately, Vantage promises a comfortable, non-rushed pace and a program of "cultural connections" that emphasizes soft enrichment programs. As a result, passengers can take these trips to relax and get away -- and also experience learning-style shore explorations.
Vantage does not use travel agents to book their trips; you can book directly with its customer service team or online. The company boasts a newly expanded focus on customer service, providing weekend hours for reservations, a revamped training program for customer service representatives, and an effort to reduce response time.
Vantage Deluxe World Travel FleetVantage currently sails two custom-designed river ships in addition to seven exclusively chartered vessels built to its specifications with all outside cabins. Two more riverboats will debut in 2013.
The newest members of the Vantage fleet, River Splendor and River Venture, will be launched in 2013. Splendor will be a sister ship of River Discovery II (2012), which carries 176 passengers and 45 crewmembers. Venture will be a sibling to River Navigator (2002) and carry 134 passengers and 36 crew. (River Navigator will get a refurbishment after the 2013 season that will transform some standard cabins into singles and add an owner's suite.) The 360- to 442-foot-long ships offer airy public spaces, a rear-facing Captain's lounge with retractable roof (in all but River Navigator), flat-screen TVs in cabins and free wireless Internet access throughout the ship.
Ships that Vantage charters from other cruise lines for occasional sailings include the 86-passenger Skorpios III in the Chilean fjords, the 63-passenger Tonle Pandaw and the 46-passenger Pandaw II for Southeast Asia cruises, and Variety Cruises' Harmony G for the Mediterranean. Vantage also charters the 120-passenger Douro Spirit for Portugal's Douro River, Vodohod's 156-passenger Tolstoy for Volga River itineraries and the 138-passenger CroisiEurope's Seine Princess for France.
Fellow PassengersVantage is marketed to mature travelers, generally well-traveled passengers ages 50 and up. They encourage single travelers with solo cabins and a new online "travel mates" community. With amenities such as U.S. television channels, a U.S.-style electrical outlet in every cabin and English-speaking guides, Vantage is intentionally designed with the American cruiser in mind.
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