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11 Vantage Lyon Cruise Reviews

We made a quick decision to book Vantage's Best of Burgundy, Beaujolais, and Provence based on the itinerary, timing, and excellent deal Vantage offered. Because this trip will not be offered by Vantage next season, I've decided ... Read More
We made a quick decision to book Vantage's Best of Burgundy, Beaujolais, and Provence based on the itinerary, timing, and excellent deal Vantage offered. Because this trip will not be offered by Vantage next season, I've decided to focus my review on the ship itself as well as the crew and our overall experience with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. We had limited contact with Vantage after booking because we only had a few weeks before sailing. My one phone call to them to get a few questions answered was handled very well by the representative on the line. Our included air was set up well, with good connection times without any overly long layovers. The River Discovery II is a 4 year old ship that is kept very clean and compares favorably with higher-end (and higher priced) ships of other lines. Staterooms are well conceived, with good showers, ample storage, and a table and chairs set up to enjoy the passing view in our French balcony room. Wifi and a tv with many channels and daily itinerary information added to our enjoyment. The food was excellent. The menu often offered well-executed French specialities such as coq au vin, chateaubriand, and the like. Wine was included at dinner. The lunches also provided menu options as well as a well- stocked buffet. Breakfast was a buffet with an omelet station. The staff was uniformly pleasant, hard-working and efficient. They seemed to enjoy their jobs as well as their interaction with passengers. Both embarkation and debarkation were handled efficiently. We got into our room and had our luggage delivered within minutes. At the end of the cruise, passengers were transferred to the airport at staggered times, based on flight schedules. This resulted in a very easy airport transfer. Based on this experience, we will not hesitate to book another trip with Vantage in the future, and will recommend them to our family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The service was excellent; the staff worked very hard and were extremely friendly. Everytime, we embarked or disembarked or went to eat, half the staff were there to greet us. They always greeted us with a smile. I never saw an unhappy ... Read More
The service was excellent; the staff worked very hard and were extremely friendly. Everytime, we embarked or disembarked or went to eat, half the staff were there to greet us. They always greeted us with a smile. I never saw an unhappy face on the staff. Every time you asked for assistance, you received the assistance. Restaurant staff were upbeat in bringing you food, making recommendations for your meal, and engaging in conversation with you. The cabin was very clean and spacious. I sometimes left valuable items in the cabin by mistake. No one took them. We received a lot of entertainment provided to us by the staff. The boat is very spacious. It has many recreational rooms. Many of the tour guides were very knowledgeable. The trip was relaxing, enlightening and overall a wonderful time. I am glad I went on this trip; I would go on another Vantage trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I've only been on one river cruise in Germany. It was a lovely trip, leisurely sailing past castles, villages and pretty countryside with a guide assigned to a small group of about 25 of us for the entire trip. It made you feel safe ... Read More
I've only been on one river cruise in Germany. It was a lovely trip, leisurely sailing past castles, villages and pretty countryside with a guide assigned to a small group of about 25 of us for the entire trip. It made you feel safe and adventurous at the same time. Vantage did not provide this experience. The rivers were swollen hence the ship moved twice, once about 20 miles downriver and back spending the entire time in the small town of Macon France, a bedroom community of Marseilles. Several passengers called before the trip to make sure we could sail, they were told we could, not true. While Vantage could not predict the weather they were well aware of the river situation before we arrived in Europe. Many of the criticisms I offer do no reflect on the river situation, but the companies response to customer service and making amends for a bad situation. All trips begin with the transportation, which Vantage arranged. When we purchased the trip we were told not to be alarmed about or itinerary or call every time it changed, but instead wait until a closer to the actual cruise. Three weeks before our departure I called about the flights, especially the return flight - Marseilles to Paris - a layover, Paris to Atlanta A FIVE HOUR LAYOVER and then a four hour flight to Phoenix...more than 24 hours. I was told: 1. they had no record of who sold us the trip, 2. I shouldn't have waited so long even though I was told to call nearer the trip date , 3. that no representative would tell us to wait, 4, that a supervisor would call us back 5. that we could change for $300. on each end, etc.,..the bottom line I never heard from customer service again, despite several calls. In fact when I pointed out I was traveling with three 80 year plus individuals I was told "well since they are that old they probably will appreciate the extra time"! The flights themselves were fine except that I requested an aisle seat on the longer flight legs as I am diabetic and claustrophobic. I was given a middle seat on both 8 hour plus flights and a window seat on the 4 hour flights. I called the airline and got an aisle seat on the outbound flight for free. On the way home there were no free aisle seats left so I made a minor upgrade and paid $78.00 to get an aisle seat. Aisle seats would have been available had Vantage travel asked at the time of purchase. After our long flight we arrived in Lyon. We waited in the terminal for over 3 hours for all passengers. We then walked approximately four blocks dragging our luggage to the bus. The good news my two disabled friends were taken by wheelchair to the bus along with our other two traveling companions, the bad news, no one told my companions that I had to wait in the terminal with the others. They were frantic about my whereabouts and were in process of going to the airport police for help, reassuring them would have been one call to the driver, a thing that wasn't done, even after I talked to the welcome people about my concers. . After the long flight and long wait we then got to take a two hour bus ride to the ship in Macon France, a small bedroom community of Lyon. Once on the ship we found the accommodations quite pleasant, larger than my previous experience, comfortable and well kept. We opted for a small window for economy sake. It let in light but no real view, which was just as well as we were port side and spent the entire trip looking at a graffiti strewn wall or the neighboring ship which we had to walk over the top floor to get to port making for many steps up and down for the elderly passengers. When our positions were reversed the other ship had an escort through our lobby. The swollen rivers kept us in Macon for almost the entire trip We got to see France by bus. Needless to say this cut our time at our destinations short, very short in many cases allowing for no free time. Each drive would have it's own local guide and while quite adequate we never got the personal feeling that we were looked after. I personally had to go looking for part of our group when they separated from the tour. The guide never missed them despite the fact we were led to an enclosed room for a wine tasting...we had to pound on the door so the proprietor could come up from the wine cellar twenty minutes into the presentation to let us in ...no one noticed the absence of four people. Except for two occasions we had to be bused back to the ship in time for lunch. Only once was the alternative given to stay in town and catch a second bus to allow for more free time. On the two occasions that we were too far to make it back to the ship we were allowed 20 euros for lunch, which sounds generous but it wasn't. The one lunch was on a Sunday, all but three restaurants were closed so the food was almost impossible to get and still get catch the bus. The second lunch was a 40 minute break a truck stop on the way to Avignon with snack and microwave food and no place to sit. The food ranged from two nice dinners "the Captains celebration" and the Farewell dinner to barely adequate. Two alternative choices were available, but the one time I opted for a baked potato as a side it was spoiled and tasted tained and the hamburger at lunch was unrecognizable as meat. Breakfast was standard buffet fare, unvarying for the entire trip not even dressed up with some local bakery. Lunch was really awful. Soup with lovely clear broth, but hardly anything else. Turkey spinach bean soup is an example, no turkey, four beans and two strips of spinach. Ham and cheese, something no one can ruin, was two large slices of bread, one thin slice of ham and cheese...steak sandwich, less than one thin slice of roast beef with canned onion strings and very few of those. The final day the lunch main course was pork neck bones...need I say more. The crew really worked hard under very trying circumstances. The kept up a game attitude and except for several of the chauvinistic waiter attitudes, were outstanding. The ship had plenty of ice and a water purification system which kept even a water snob happy. There was very little entertainment...once a small local group, once an accordion player, a staff skit, a movie and a talk or two. This would have been fine had you been docked anywhere you could go out for the evening, but this was not to be. Do I think Vantage could have done better, yes. They could have arranged better entertainment since we had no where to go, even games if they had to. They could have allowed lunch in town, even had their chef pack a decent picnic lunch, so we could have had more time at our destinations. They could have offered some financial reimbursements. They could have paid for an "in town" dinner. I'm sure there were many things they could have done to mitigate a bad situation. The highlight of the trip was the Marseille extension. They cut the Avignon trip short to get us as a group in a night early for dinner in Marseille...even that was only pasta, no meat sauce, two bottles of wine for eight people and a small desert. Those of us staying for the extension were moved to our hotel, L'Hotel Dieu, which was excellent... a short walk to old town, our own guide Florence who couldn't have been better, Lovely sight seeing tour, boat ride on our own and a nice hotel provided breakfast. The final leg was every nightmare that we anticipated. Marseille airport parking for buses is over two blocks from the terminal in a gravel lot. There is no assistance with luggage. My three eighty plus people pulled their luggage. My friend with a shoulder injury took one of her suitcases and I, a heart patient, took mine and her carry on. After about a half hour the guide finally noticed we were missing and came back and helped us. The flights themselves, despite my reservations about Delta, were pleasant. We sat in Atlanta and watched 5 flights depart to Phoenix while killing 5 hours waiting for flight. I personally will never travel with Vantage again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were waiting for a good last-minute offer from GCT (the only other river cruise line we'd used) when this Vantage cruise popped up at a price we couldn't refuse. From beginning to end, things went smoothly. Sure, the flights ... Read More
We were waiting for a good last-minute offer from GCT (the only other river cruise line we'd used) when this Vantage cruise popped up at a price we couldn't refuse. From beginning to end, things went smoothly. Sure, the flights from Phoenix are long and arduous, but that's the downside to any European travel, and they were uneventful, as one would want. Check-in was smooth and we were escorted to our room by a cheery and informative crew member. The room was impressive -- large enough, with ample drawer and closet space, a gleaming bathroom with great shower and L'Occitane de Provence products, and hey, is that free bottled water?! Yes, AND a water bottle for each of us to take on tours. We'd have paid a bunch on another line for that. Minibars aren't our thing, so we put those items aside and used the little frig for our personal stash of Diet Coke. The French balcony was perfect -- lots of view through those large windows and a chance to get fresh air while cruising with the door open. Going through locks, you can see there's not an inch to spare, so a balcony with seating would only have cramped the room. We were happy with this arrangement. Card keys worked well. Captain's Club was a short distance away, so we had easy access to ice, coffee, tea, and fresh fruit 24/7. Plus, it's a nice quiet place to hang out and read. A little library at the other end kept us stocked with Sudoku puzzles and reading material. One evening after a long day, we felt more like staying in the cabin, where we could access free movies and there was a decent selection of new and old. Tours were organized by color cards, easy to understand, and great to be with different people each tour. The buses were always quite new and comfortable. Umbrellas were provided to passengers who didn't bring one and at the end of the tour, there was always iced tea and a steamy cloth for freshening up. How thoughtful! Our tour guides, every one, were fantastic -- funny, informative, and fluent in English. Their French accents were so delightful I could have listened all day. Tours went to appropriate historic and cultural spots in each city, always worthwhile. We didn't take any of the optional tours, and still had plenty of sightseeing to occupy us. One afternoon we explored Lyon using the bikes they keep on board. They weren't superb bikes, but usable for what we were doing. Another day we asked about using public transportation and got good information from the concierge. Besides the tours, we were treated to some sessions on board: a great cheese tasting with samples of four local cheeses purchased at the market the day before, talks about the history of Roman occupation of southern France, and a galley tour, always one of my highlights. I must mention that we enjoyed free wifi (not always fast, but available), chocolates on the pillow, the excellent service in both cabin and dining room, vegetarian options at most meals, a young captain Jeremy who must be extremely capable to ease the boat through those tight locks without ever kissing the sides, the casual on/off at each port, NOT having a photographer stalk us to sell inane photos, and NOT having to pay extra for nearly anything. We thought the daily tip fees were a bit high, but we did get excellent service. The ship was immaculate, all the time, though we never saw staff cleaning the public areas -- overnight fairies at work? One last thing -- the average age of the passengers on this cruise was about 65, and that made a huge difference to us. We met more couples who were active, engaged, and conversant in many topics. (The average age on the GCT river cruise was about 80. I hope to be traveling when I'm 90 too, and then might favor GCT.) There was some incentive to finish a customer survey before we disembarked, which we did, but we forgot to mention many of these positive aspects of cruising with Vantage, so I hope they monitor the reviews and take note of the great impression they are making. We'll go again as soon as we can. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Vantage River Discovery II for the Best of Burgundy cruise Mar 24/April 1, 2016. Pre-trip Air: Despite Vantage having our seat preferences on file and that we travel together (we have different last names), our initial booking did not ... Read More
Vantage River Discovery II for the Best of Burgundy cruise Mar 24/April 1, 2016. Pre-trip Air: Despite Vantage having our seat preferences on file and that we travel together (we have different last names), our initial booking did not have our preferred seats and did not have us sitting together. It took a call to flight services at Vantage to get the seating corrected. We were initially routed through Brussels. Because of the airport closure, the day before departure Vantage did re-route us through Frankfurt and did maintain our seating preferences and seating together that time. Arrival at airport: On prior Vantage and other company cruises, we were met at the airport. Our bags were taken to the bus for us by porters. And we were escorted to the bus. Upon arrival in Lyon we picked up our bags and stood around looking for a Vantage person. We were told that a Vantage person would be waiting in the baggage area. A group of us could not find one. We finally decided to leave the baggage area through a no re-entry exit and around a corner found a Vantage person in another hall. We were then led down a long hall to an elevator dragging our bags with us. At the top of the elevator we went down another hall past armed guards and around a corner. Then we were faced with a really long walkway that led to another down elevator. Then we walked yet another hall and exited to an outdoor plaza which we had to cross to get to the bus. We hauled our luggage the entire way. It was a difficult process. This was a big lack of service by Vantage and should be remedied. Ship: Very plain and basic ship with little personality. The ship had a major hot water problem. We were told they did not know why it was happening. . Vantage had to know about that maintenance issue before we boarded. Actually they did. There are reviews on-line that the ship had the hot water problem in March 2015 for 3 days before a plumber was called to work on it. And there is an on-line review for the first cruise of 2016 (the one before ours) that they had hot water problems from boarding for days before the crew sought outside help to repair. Really? The ship was launched in 2012 and has had multiple hot water issues? Why was the ship not overhauled during the off-season. Why did Vantage even load the second cruise of the year (ours) knowing they had a major hot water issue on the prior cruise? The River Discovery II clearly has an issue with its hot water system. We were not told that we would have to leave the ship and go to hotels until Sunday evening March 27, yet one of the Lyon hotels said they knew on Friday the 25th, our first day on-board, that we would be coming to the hotel. It was very hard to believe the “stories” ( some fellow passengers used the word “Lies” ) being told to us daily. My first hot water shower on the ship was on Friday, April 1, the 8th day of the trip. We were told we would have two nights in a hotel in Lyon and two nights in a hotel in Marseille, while they worked on the ship. We had to close out our ship accounts then, and again when we departed on April 4. We had a 4 hour bus ride to Marseille arriving at the hotel at 6pm for a 7pm dinner. When we got our bags we unpacked and dressed for dinner. At dinner we were told the ship had been repaired and we had to have our bags out at 7am the next day. So after dinner we had to go back to the room and pack again. Marseille was sold to us as a major advantage as it was not on our tour. But we lost a day of free time in Lyon and other features of the original trip. The hot water issue involved three more packings and three more un-packings. And it added a bus ride to Lyon, a 4 hour bus ride to Marseille, and a two hour bus ride back to the ship from Marseille. On the way back from Marseille to the ship, two of our bus drivers were stopped and given tickets while we sat in the hot bus for about twenty minutes. When we arrived back at the ship from Marseille, there were three plumber repair trucks parked alongside. Then we learned that not all cabins had hot water yet. At the next port there was another plumber repair truck parked alongside. Captain: This is not an April fool’s joke. On April 1, 2016, the River Discovery II rammed into the concrete side of the Rhone River and scraped along stopping with the bow hung up on shore, then the stern swung around with the current and hung up on some metal shore equipment resulting in the ship stuck bow and stern on the opposite sides of the river, blocking the entire river. It was attributed to the auto pilot which was interfered with by an underwater cable. Really? Nobody even noticed the ship headed towards the shoreline? There were TWO Captains on board! A great number of the passengers saw it happen and all the others felt the impact. This ship makes the same trip every ten days and they did not know that could happen? One crewman was going through the halls agitated and saying “rookie Captain” repeatedly. We were told to remain calm, it was a minor incident. Really? Is it minor to have your ship stuck and blocking the entire river shore to shore? Another ship had to stop dead in the water as it could not pass by us. Neither Captain could stand up and talk in English to the passengers during the tour. Crew: The crew did not seem well trained or managed. The Hotel management of the ship was not good. The Hotel Manager was not very effective in his communications to the passengers and seemed to have difficulty expressing his thoughts, and managing the staff. Food and bar service were inconsistent with slow service. Buffets (particularly scrambled eggs for breakfast), often had empty items with delays refilling them. The standard response when asked was ”it is coming.” There seemed to be no anticipation that offerings were getting low and should be replaced. The food was generally good. There seemed to be a lot of tension among the crew. Various crew members expressed their unhappiness with the ship’s issues and the disembarkation of all passengers. They most likely lost at least thirty percent of their compensation from passengers. A bright spot was the staff assigned to maintain cabins. They did their jobs very well and were always cheerful, despite being recruited to lug passengers bags down the halls when we disembarked and again when we re-boarded. Tour Director and Concierge: both were hard working and tried to make everything go as smoothly as possible in a very difficult situation, with a lot of disgruntled passengers. Tours: Bus transport was generally OK. One bus had little air conditioning and was very hot despite repeated complaints from passengers. Two buses were pulled over by police and ticketed making passengers wait in hot buses for about twenty minutes. One bus had an issue, perhaps not un-kneeling, and scraped the front of the bus on the pavement, delaying our departure from the hotel in Marseille. Our bus could not make a turn in Marseille and they had to pick up and move cars to make the turn. The local guides were for the most part good. The cities and sites visited were fascinating. Hotels: ( Why am I even having to talk about hotels? ) Both hotels in Lyon had problems. People were stuck in elevators at one hotel. The other hotel had very small elevators that would only take about 4 people at a time. The tub/shower in our Sofitel room was extremely slippery and dangerous. Breakfast the first day at the Sofitel was in their regular breakfast room. I think our group size somewhat overwhelmed them. The second day we were in our own room as a group. Breakfast at the Intercontinental was a little chaotic. It was difficult to get items stocked and difficult to get staff to bring coffee, etc. Previous Vantage Cruises: This is my third cruise with Vantage. The second one was on a Hurtigruten ship that Vantage did not operate. It was well run and well maintained. The first one was on the Tulip and Windmill cruise. On that cruise the public bathroom on the ship was locked and unavailable the entire cruise. Almost every passenger became ill during the cruise (including us), some becoming ill on the last day on board. We found out that on the ship’s cruise before ours, the ship’s Captain and most of the crew had been ill. It would seem the ship had not been sufficiently decontaminated before we boarded. Another maintenance issue by Vantage. Two for two on ships they operated. River Cruise? One advantage of a river cruise is the fact that you do not have to pack and unpack multiple times. The hot water issue ruined that concept and added three days off the ship, two hotel check-ins and checkouts, three more suitcase packings/unpackings, three more long bus rides to our trip, an additional disembarkation and having to close out our ship account, and another embarkation and re-establishing our ship account. I can understand having to go to hotels for high or low river water levels on a river cruise. It is unacceptable to have to go to hotels for a known maintenance issue. And this was my first ship wreck. This Vantage trip failed as far as the ship is concerned. Food and bar service were not smoothly executed, and often delayed. The bus transfers were not good. The hotel stays were not good. The packing and unpacking were not good. The daily tours were great. The sites visited were fantastic. The local guides were good. The concierge and the tour director were terrific in managing all the unexpected events and in dealing with a shipload of disgruntled passengers. The cruise as planned is a memorable journey and one to enjoy. The cruise as it happened was not so good. This was not the trip we bought. Surprisingly, Vantage has made no offer of any compensation to passengers because of their lack of maintenance of the River Discovery II and the diminished value of the cruise. Vantage should acknowledge their shortcomings on this cruise and provide some compensation to everyone who was on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this Easter-time Cruise that was marketed as the "Religious Highlights of Burgundy, Beaujolais & Provence". However, the itinerary was changed to the "Best of Burgundy, Beaujolais & Provence with a ... Read More
We chose this Easter-time Cruise that was marketed as the "Religious Highlights of Burgundy, Beaujolais & Provence". However, the itinerary was changed to the "Best of Burgundy, Beaujolais & Provence with a significant change to the shore excursions, without us ever being notified! In addition, the previous Vantage tour we took sent us a detailed brochure several weeks prior to the start date. This did not happen on this cruise. Afterwards we were told that we were expected to go to the website, even though that was not explained prior to the trip. Vantage booked our air, but unfortunately, it resulted it us arriving on-board as the initial briefing was wrapping up and we never obtained then information. This was supposed to be a 10 night cruise aboard ship, with us unpacking and packing one time. It wasn't! Due to sloppy maintenance, we arrived on board without hot water in the cabins! After 3 nights of these unsanitary conditions we were evacuated as a German engineering contractor came on board. We spent 2 nights in a Lyon hotel and 1 night in a Marseille hotel. The hotels were very nice. However, for my sight impaired wife they were tortuous, having to continuously navigate unfamiliar locations as well as pack and unpack 2 additional times. However, the food at both hotels was excellent and much better than we received on board. For 2 days we were docked to a Viking boat and walked through it boarding and disembarking. It was eye-opening to see the difference in professionalism of the crews. Viking always had a ship's officer observing who was coming on board and departing. No such security was evident on the RD II, only an occasional deck hand was evident. Another example of the unprofessional crew occurred on April 1st. That afternoon we departed our port and shortly thereafter ran aground on a sand bar. The Captain's excuse over the PA was Autopilot error! Where was the officer of the deck? We were truly lucky that some of our elderly passengers were not on the stairway or off balance on board when the collision occurred. Perhaps the final insult that day was during the Captain's Reception and Dinner. He didn't have the courage to attend! We did not have any entertainment offered. Upon return home, we completely our cruise survey and repeatedly tried to reach a supervisor in Vantage via letter, phone and email to express our disappointment. We were not successful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We went on the "Best of Burgundy, Beaujolais & Provence" cruise at the end of March. It was my 12th cruise, but first river cruise. Pros: A few. Ship is attractive. Crew very personable and efficient. Itinerary was very ... Read More
We went on the "Best of Burgundy, Beaujolais & Provence" cruise at the end of March. It was my 12th cruise, but first river cruise. Pros: A few. Ship is attractive. Crew very personable and efficient. Itinerary was very appealing, much better than a Viking cruise that covered much of the same territory IMHO. Excellent food and wine, and the omelet lady, Irina, had everyone smiling every morning . . . or at least on those days when we were actually one the ship. Cons: Where do I begin? Oh yes, right at the beginning. When we made our reservations, we were told to sign up for "My Portfolio." Which we tried to do, for 10 consecutive days, receiving an error message each time. Finally, I called Vantage, told the agent of my problem. He promisd to create accounts for us. Three days later, still no account. Called again. Another agent promised to create accounts, and, hooray, he did. But things went downhill after that. My middle name is Cecil, but someone gave it to Air France as Cecile. Air France said they couldn't correct it, Vantage would have to do it. Three calls to Vantage never got it corrected, although I was promised after each call that it had been corrected. Vantage blamed the correction (which was never made) for my inability to check in on line the day before departure. I think the actual reason was that they changed the confirmation number for the first of four flights, leaving the other three flights the same. Next problem. Air France left my luggage in Paris, despite the fact that they have five hours to get it from Alanta flight to the flight to Lyon. Vantage did handle that well, having the clothes I was wearing laundered and ready the next morning. For for a couple of days after that, everything was great, And then, like most (maybe all) of the passengers, we found we had no hot water. After three days, we were told we would have to leave the ship so that problem could be fixed. So we had a three-day bus tour instead of the river cruise we had signed up for. I was more forgiving of that situation than most others seemed to be until I read Cruise Critic reviews revealing that the ship had the same problem not only the week before, but last year, and it apparently wasn't repaired until the situation became critical. I do have to give Vantage some credit for getting us to every stop on our itinerary, and even adding a day in Marseillie, but the meals when we were off the ship weren't remotely as good as those on the ship. And packing an unpacking, and living out of a suitcase for three days wasn't what I planned. Could it get any worse? Well, yes. The captain put the ship on autopilot as we headed for Avignon, and the autopilot did not know that construction was taking place in the river. The ship bounced off some rig (couldn't get a very good view of it), turned had left and slammed into the riverbank. The crew managed to free the ship after about 45 minutes, and thankfully there was no serious damage. My "value for the money" rating takes the problems into account, Had things gone smoothly, I would have given it a 5 instead of a 1. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
In my 40 plus years of travel I'very got to say this trip with Vantage on the Discovery II was the worst. From the start when we arrived at the Lyon and met the Vantage rep. There was no porters. Everyone had to drag there ... Read More
In my 40 plus years of travel I'very got to say this trip with Vantage on the Discovery II was the worst. From the start when we arrived at the Lyon and met the Vantage rep. There was no porters. Everyone had to drag there luggage thought the terminal up 2 elevators and across and elevated walk way to our bus. A 15 minute plus walk, many older people required assistance for some of the younger folks on the tour. We arrived at the boat in Chalon-sur-Saone after a 2 hour bus ride and check in was quick. It was early enough for my wife and I to take a quick walk around town and stop and get some money at an ATM. Before leaving the boat we stop at the tour desk to get any information about the town and what there was to see. Person at the desk did point us to an ATM and gave us a map with a walking tour highlighted on it. After returning back to the boat and our room, we discovered that we had no hot water or heat in the room. Checked with reception desk and they looked surprised to hear we had no hot water or heat in our cabin (214) and they would have some check it. We later heard from many other passengers during dine that they to didn't have any hot water. Next day was the same, no hot water, and a stop at the reception desk the crew continue to be surprised we still was having issues with the hot water. It wasn't until the 2nd evening on the boat that one of the senior staff admit there was a problem with the hot water. The solution was going to require us to leave the boat for 4 days while they made repairs. So what was supposed to be a relaxing cruise along the river turned into a business tour. The first 2 nights we spent in Lyon at a hotel outside the main tourist area which require a shuttle bus ride if you wanted to go into town. The food at hotel was OK, but no choice, only one option was available and no where the quality of on the boat. Food was served in a dark (on windows ) conference room , nothing compared to the views from the boats dining area. So for 4 days and 3 nights we lived off the boat. In this time off the boat we found out that the hot water issue wasn't a new problem and the boat had experienced the same problem the cruise before us and that Vantage had booked the hotel's before we ever got on the boat. Finding this out really upset manyof the pessangers, feeling that the crew has done nothing but lie to us the whole time. So after 4 day off the boat it was announced the the boat was fixed and we would be returning to the boat. But to the surprise of many of us when we return back to the boat and was reassured that things were fixed, hot water was sporadic in most cabins. Work crews continued to work on the issue everyday while we were off the boat touring. Ino the 7 night'so on the boat my wife and I had a total of 3 showers were there was hot water for the total shower. On day 8 as we were cruising down the river the captain ran the boat aground. The boat scraped along the shore for a couple hundred feet before stopping. The boat was completely blocking the the river, bow on one shore and stern on the other, stopping all river traffic for almost an hour before the crew was able to straighten the boat and get it moving again. I was announced that this was a minor incident, but a lot of the crew admitted that this was a first for them. There was many other incidents on this cruise but above are the major ones. Most people on the boat were very disappointed and unhappy with the constant lying from the staff. So after 2 notes to Vantage customer service over 2 weeks ago, absolutely no responses. I am sorry to say this will be my last time traveling with Vantage if this is how they treat there customers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Vantage did excellent on planning each aspect of our trip. Flight arrangements were great, and the Vantage person was there to guide us at France, and take us to our bus..A few people. were complaining of a 15 minute walk to the bus, lack ... Read More
Vantage did excellent on planning each aspect of our trip. Flight arrangements were great, and the Vantage person was there to guide us at France, and take us to our bus..A few people. were complaining of a 15 minute walk to the bus, lack of "porters" to help with luggage. Get real. How much walking did you do on the tour and could handle it. Possibly, you brought too much luggage along! We were upgraded to another room, and while others were upgraded, they still complained. Some people are never happy. Yes, we did have a hot water issue on the boat, and did the rumors ever fly. The management did awesome to accommodate us, as I would never have wanted to be in their shoes. They had to get us off the boat for 3 nights to get it fixed. They offered complimentary tours, normally 78.00 a person, and had us stay in exceptional hotels. The Intercontinental Dier in Marseilles, was so wonderful. Meals were great in the hotels. That hotel was a 5 star and what a treat for us! Mediterranean Sea was awesome, and we wouldn't have seen it, if we hadn't had a hot water issue! I don't know what all the whining and complaining was about on accommodations and meals. Yes, sometimes things happen on a trip, that I'm sure Vantage Travel didn't want to happen, but they handled it extremely well. We totally loved it, and complaining by some people wasn't about to ruin our vacation. Tours were exceptional, as well as tour guides. Definitely would travel Vantage River Discovery II again. I'm writing in, as it seems the only people that comment are the unhappy, complainers, rather than the ones that thoroughly enjoyed the trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first river cruise with Vantage, a smaller operator not in the advertising mainstream like Viking. Perhaps that is how they keep their prices down, and give more value for the money spent. The ship was fairly new (3 yrs) and ... Read More
This was our first river cruise with Vantage, a smaller operator not in the advertising mainstream like Viking. Perhaps that is how they keep their prices down, and give more value for the money spent. The ship was fairly new (3 yrs) and in excellent condition. The lounge and dining rooms are spacious, and the cabins are what we expected small, yet enough room. Dining was good to excellent, with some outstanding menus (Rack of Lamb, Lobster) to chicken and pork on other evenings. The included wines were very good (and I like wine) there is no need to "Buy" a higher end wine that is offered. Dining service at dinner was a bit slow, as a waiter and assistant are assigned 6-7 tables, so you will have to call them over when you need more wine, or try to get something else. We thought we would be treated a little more "special", however as on most cruises we have been on, they are a little overworked. The cruise director (George) and the Concierge (Maya) were outstanding, never ever making you feel that you were imposing on them even were they were obviously very busy. The only disappointment was the evening entertainment, which was only on some evenings and was just not good. The only exception was a group called LeStrada- they were excellent. The itinerary (southern France) was wonderful, we loved the choices. We chose this cruise with Vantage based on three main reasons: Price, Reviews and 10 days instead of 7 on most lines. We are glad we did, as the pace was slower, never rushed, and had more free time at each location. I would not want to do this cruise in 7 days. I would recommend Vantage and use them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
After 11 trips with Vantage (plus some with other lines) , all of which were great, we finally met the worst cruise ever. The elevator was broken and not fixed for the entire trip. Many travelers were using canes and walkers and had great ... Read More
After 11 trips with Vantage (plus some with other lines) , all of which were great, we finally met the worst cruise ever. The elevator was broken and not fixed for the entire trip. Many travelers were using canes and walkers and had great difficulty going up and down the stairs numerous times daily. Others (as the average age was probably 70+ also had problems navigating the boat. In addition, the Bulgarian chef did not know how to cook. Most lunches were the same sandwiches and pasta for the entire trip. Most dinner entrees were inedible. Salt prevailed in all soups and dishes. There was a concierge on board who did absolutely nothing. There used to be 3 or 4 guides on board (one per group) now there was only one person leaving the entire shore excursions to local guides with no Vantage personnel to assist. Now what really was unacceptable was that we were the longest (most travelled with Vantage) persons on board. We never had a response from Vantage management regarding our concerns that we provided on the form at the end of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
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