3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This review covers 7 days on the vantage river splendor from budapest to regensburg on the first part of our danube,main, rhine cruise. We did not complete the scheduled 14 day cruise we joined on june 7 , 2019 due to an accident in the ... Read More
This review covers 7 days on the vantage river splendor from budapest to regensburg on the first part of our danube,main, rhine cruise. We did not complete the scheduled 14 day cruise we joined on june 7 , 2019 due to an accident in the lock at riegensburg germany .we were not informed by vantage about an altered itinerary until 4 days into this cruise although the accident occurred 2 days before we boarded. . THE DANUBE-MAIN -RHINE CRUISE CROSSES THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE AND USE 66 LOCKS TO ADJUST THE RIVER LEVELS FROM BUDAPEST TO COLOGNE .SHIPS CAN NOT GET FROM THE DANUBE TO THE MAIN RIVER WITHOUT THE 60 MILE LONG DANUBE -AIN CANAL FINISHED IN 1992 Flying into budapest , vantage made a poor arrival experience on the included transfers. we sat in the airport for 90 minutes waiting for a last couple 's late rrival. we missed the port oreintation and captain's welcome sitting in the airport.fianlly a van took us to the river splendor with no access as the ship had removed access across another ship . we stood on the dock with the luggage waiting for crew to fix access to the ship up two levels on another ship to the sundeck and across and down to the river splendor. the other ship doid not allow us to cross through their lobby to our ship. Not so nice welcome. We were hustled into dinner unwashed for our first dinner. the staff were rude and rushed us as the "kitchen was closing" to select an entree with no other choices. we had an awful first dinner of dried out chicken and tasteless consomme. that first night was awful and a warning. the wait staff rushed us and showed no courtesy to us as late arrivals due to vantage's choice to have us wait at the airport. we missed having any free time in budapest by arriving at 4;30pm. vantage arranged poor flight choices. our flights were changed less than 48 hours before leaving home from flying directly into budapest to flying through prague and flying with czech airlines. We had a seven hour layover in prague on the day of embarkation. that lost us any chance to tour budapest the first day. then we wasted 90 minutes sitting in the iarport waiting for the vantage transfer to the ship across town. The river spendor ship built in 2013 was clean and well maintained. the ship accomodates 176 passengers in three levels of cabins with suites on the upper deck, roomy 165plus sq ft french balconies on midlevel and cramped port hole fixed window cabins at lower deck where the crew also sleep. the difference between lower deck and mid deck is worth the $300 per passenger difference. our window on mid deck was about 6 feet wide and opened to fresh air. we were above water level and had great views while the d cabins had minimal view and much of the cabin is below water level! Our cabin was well designed with two easy cahirs at the window. Twin beds had adequate light for reading and a flat screen tv. Airconditioning was under our contraol and worked well in sweltering 90 degrees in vienna. the built in desk and counter top along the wall across from the beds worked well as also the storage was quite roomy for ou 2 weeks sotrage for hangins and folded clothes. Bed side cabinets held personal items and electronics. the bathroom ahd ample sapce and a glass enclosed shower well designed br space and storage. The amenities were provence occidental and ample supplies. we had 8 bottles to share for 2 passengers. the only missing amenity was a refrigerator which was only in suites. the space in the cabinet for a refrierator was noticeable. there was an ice bucket we needed to fill our selves at the lobby level on mid deck cabin stewards did only cleaning and bed making . No ice, fruit or flowers by cabin staff. The ship accomodates up to 176 passengers .we had 150 passengers with many solo cabins at each level. Dining had options of the formal dining room with one service for all or a limited menu in the aft deck captain club. tables in the main dining room were for 4- 10 people. Most were for 6 persons suggesting joining other passengers for meals. Unlike ocean cruises this is a limited dining room making sharing a necessary part of travel. Each written menu had annotaitons about allergies of each menu item. this was helpful usually. however as i looked for lactose free items it seemed every item had lactose such as balsamic salad dressing, roast pork and grilled salmon i did not have the usual deserts as all seemed heavy on cream ( cheesecake, ice cream, napolean, tiramasu,) .i had fresh fruit for desert for lunch and dinner. breakfast was a buffet from 7-9am with omelet chef, lots of fresh fruit, smoothies, bacon, sausage, potatoes , muffins, dry cereals, few donuts, bagels, small pastries, smoked salmon with capers, scrambled eggs, a daily special ( e.g. Eggs benedict) and other breakfast items. Our favorite of egg white omelets was easy to gt each morning with a selction of additives. coffee was served at the table as also tea no soda or other items .on sunday champagne and mimosas were set out at the buffet. early risers had a spare continental choice in the lounge. Lunch was a written menu choice of appetizer, soup, salad, entree and desert. Salad was a buffet self serve choice. the tomatoes from eastern europe were luscious and the best part of lunch on the river splendor. Every day had a hamburger/ cheese burger or hot dog with fries option. entrees might be pork loin, salmon trout, monte crisco snadwich. generally snadwiches were poor as the bread did not have meat to cover it. four cheese sandwich had one cheese not covering the thick bread. One couple sought fish and chips at the captain's club aft and got fish with no fries? the menu was posted online and in the lobby in advance each day. rarely was the list encouraging. the best lunch was a bavarian buffet with lots of wurst and a roasted suckling pig. lunch beverages were coffee, tea, iced tea and water. soda was 4.2 euros per glass. Wine and beer were priced by the glass from the bar menu Dinner was a set affair with printed menus at a specific time. usually we had a port talk at 6:40pm and dinner at 7pm. the written menu had one or two appetisers, two soups and 2-3 three entrees and two deserts. if one appetiser listed it was served to everyone unless the diner declined. soups included either a cold soup ( e.g. Starwberry) , a cream root vegetable soup and a consomme. Most soups were not to my taste and i stopped trying. I usually love soup but not on this sailing. too many cream of root vergetable soups, including palsify . entrees ranged across pork, chicken and beef. On the river splendor the fish was rock fish, salmon trout, halibut and perch. no shell fish or shrimp. No scallops. no lamb. everynight the alternative manu on the back of the form menu wer a grden salad with chef's choice of dressing, caesar salad, chicken breats, sirlon steak, and grilled slamon. these alternatives were served with a baked potatoe and stemed vegetables that often were over cooked. the baked pottoes wer smal but yummy with butter. We chose most nights to share one of these alternatives salads and entrees while sampling one of the strange entrees and appetisers. the best entree of the time on the river splendor was the schnitzel which was pork well cooked and seasoned deep fried filet of pork. The veal tenderloin served one night was tasteless and a small portion. at dinner there were choices of paired wines, cold draft beer or unlimited soda. The wines shifted nightly. deserts were attractive with regional specialties, everynight icecream and everynight cheese displays. each night the staff placed alrge selection of cheeses with crackers for guests to choose their favorites in any quantity. i opted for the sliced fresh fruit which was usually slim slices of melon and occasioanl strawberry. On this cruise diet, i lost about 2 pounds over 2 weeks. Entertainment was minimal with a piano player during dinner we could not hear. He played during the cocktail time in the lounge and after dinner in the lounge. of course dinner took about 2 hours . Everyone was tired from jet lag and walking in the ports so few lasted for after dinner piano music or the juke box for dancing one night at 9pm there was a oompah band of five young musicians in lederhosen who got off before leaving the port. Good music. The lectures generally were inserted at quiet times in the journey and were sleep inducing. a charming 91 year musician came to talk of his 38 years playing in the vienna philharmonic/symphony .as a canadian expatriate he expressed joy in the music scene in vienna. we had an excursion in vienna to the kursalon salon for a small orchestra concert of strauss and viennese music with some duo singling and a dancing duo. We had been to the same performance in 2015 on a bus tour. this was less hazzled as vantage reserved only for our group in the hall which would hold over 500 people and we were 150 passengers. Service was surprisingly spotty. we had dining room staff with limited english one vietamese server was rude and abrasive. Damanding an orde r within 60 seconds of being seated. several eastern european servers smiled but did not understand english. most were not trained in service and reached across 1-2 people to serve rather than walk around a table. Reaching across guests was routine. The tables were well spaced and did not require reaching. we waited long for beverages at dinner and often the server forgot and took our order to another table. these servers were not on tips/ commission for alcohol beverages like on ocean ships. they forgot to serve. Our cabin stewards were seen in the halls. they exchanged used towels and straightened beds early each morning ( 7-8:30am) . Little other signs of their prsence could be seen. no ice. Sometimes they removed used glasses and plates. more often they left a glass with some water in it. They returned during dinner to turn down beds, leave a chocolate and leave the next days written program. We were suprised at the service gratuity that was posted as 18 euros per person per day to be shared by the 47 crew, officers and office staff. that would mean $81 usd per day per cruise staff . That seems pretty rich a gratuity for every kitchen staff, dining steward cabin steward, and dishwasher! that's $1134usd per staff for our 14 day cruise. we did not have 4 star service . i asked for a reduction in the gratuity charge and still felt i was paying more than reasonable for the service i received. vantage must not be paying the staff to assume these gratuity rates for the service we got. rudeness! Waits. Minimal service. Buffets for two meals a day. Yet paying $ 81 usd per dining stewrad. The ports for the river splendor were standard for a danube-main-rhine cruise. Budapest, Vienna, Krems/Stein, Passau, and STOP Before we left home, a viking ship rammed the wall of a lock on the danube -main canal and severely damaged the gate on the lock at riegenburg ,germany . After 4 days on this ship we were informed we would need to pack up and leave the river splendor ship in regensburg .our luggage would be delivered to the vantage river voyager in nuremburg to continue our 14 day itinerary. those voyager passengers would transfer to our cabins on the river spendor to continue their itinerary to budapest. we would do a 90 minute bus trip tpo nurembery and not lose our excursion schedule. inconveneince was all we were told was ahead. we were told we were going to the same cabin number on the next ship. not true we changed to the port form the starboard side. some guests got shifted to the lower deck from c cabinswith french balconies , six foot windows to d-cabins with high port hole windows and below water level sleeping. sadly vantage did not put the solo travelers in c cabins to the smaller d cabins but sent couples . solo travelrs paid the 1/2 fare for a double cabin as the couples paid! the second half of this cruise is reviewed under river voyager. Vantage includes most exucrisons as part of the basic fare. that meant city guides in budapest, vienna, and passau our cruise director tried a new strategy in passau of grouping the tour groups by effort. One group was for power walkers( active) , most groups were standard pace and one group was slow pace for those on walkers or mobility limits. The concierge maya assigned us to our color groups eachmorning. that was a great idea unless a local guide got stuck behind the slow group and would not move on! each day we were assigned our guide by color. we used the whisper speaker system for our tours to hear our guide in our ear as we walked in buildings and along the streets. since there were only 150 passengers on this cruise the concierge knew everybody quickly. a stop at "krems" was a new ship stop duirng the wachau valley day. it was not really krems but the smaller older town of stein which was closed when we arrived. Only one of the three churches was open and few shops or anythng in the town of stein. Not a good choice for a stop. At most of our formal ports we had an excursion for 90 minutes to 2 hours and then returned to the ship for lunch. then we had about 2 hours to return to the port city for touring on our own. in passau we were given a tour and then escorted to the cathedral for a 12 noon organ concert on the largest organ in the world ( 7 700 pipes). Some passengers stayed in town afterwards we went back to the ship for lunch and had a leisurely walk back into town in the afternoon to shop, visit other churches and the cathedral empty of the concert crowd. our afternoon walk arounds proved a most enjoyable part of our river cruise in vienna, passau and later on. . by our late arrival we missed the walkaround time in budapest while others visited the cathedral,central market and other sites on the first day. our boat shifted its dock overnight so we never saw the nighttime lights of budapest due to the deadly crash at the margaret bridge of a viking ship corkscrewing a 89 foot tour boat killing 30 passengers and crew. We enjoyed this river cruisae. we were far more active and walking than we had expected. we dressed casually all of the time and chose smart casual for the captain's welcome dinner. no dressy clotes are necessary. Good walking shoes are essential with all the cobblesstones in the walking. A heat wave had come to hungary and we had temperaturs into the 90's. in our 7 days on the river splendor we had no rain. We transferred after regensburg to nuremburg via bus. we closed our accounts with vantage and returned our keys nd boarding passes to the river splendor. we had to start all over on the river voyager boarding it in nuremburg. The front desk staff on the river splendor were very rigid and sent us off eager to leave them. the hospitality was lacking at the front desk . the luggage transfer was quite orderly to send us off to the river voyager. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Wanted to visit Budapest and Vienna on a land tour so with the extra ports, seemed to make sense (we are not interested in organized bus tours, but having the same room every night is appealing). While the tours and tour guides were good, ... Read More
Wanted to visit Budapest and Vienna on a land tour so with the extra ports, seemed to make sense (we are not interested in organized bus tours, but having the same room every night is appealing). While the tours and tour guides were good, the onboard experience was lacking. We are frequent travellers (every two to three months since retiring six years ago) and experienced cruisers (50+,including one Viking river cruise on Elbe). On first trip with a travel provider, I always choose lowest pricing/category to gauge the experience/service offered to these guests. Theory being, if experience at this level is wonderful, higher levels should be WOW! Then we know if we want to travel with them again. Unfortunately, while the crew members were polite, general service and their response to requests was non existent (not really sure if Suite guests got better service/response). 1) Bike requests- we reserved before sailing but no need to reserve, always seemed to have some available. We used them twice. First time in Vienna and had to go through several before we found some that were usable — inflated tires, functioning keys, helmets with proper straps, etc. The second time we requested them and had to wait quite awhile for them to be brought outside and they were quite dirty —we cleaned them. 2) Outside areas— unfortunately, this cruise sails through 66 locks and multiple bridges. Everything on the sundeck has to be put down so no one was allowed up there. That left the front, enclosed sitting area which is small, hot and always full and the very small back area outside the Captain’s Club which was not pleasant due to exhaust. We had the cabin with non opening windows but this ship has no cabins with balconies, only French balconies which are just floor to ceiling windows; I asked people in these rooms and they said the views (and air) were limited. In any case, there was no outside area to relax in. 3) Entertainment onboard- there was no regular entertainment, the evenings we were sailing so there was nothing to do. One reason we thought this river cruise would be fun/interesting was that we would be docked in the evenings and go off the ship (we did this on Viking) but this particular cruise schedule was such that this was Impossible. There was entertainment three times: a dancing couple trying to get a party going (we left after about 20 minutes), a German singing group (great fun and enjoyable) and a solo songstress (good voice but kind of an odd act). The onboard lectures were quite interesting. 4) Dining— this was the most disappointing aspect of this trip. I am not sure why people rate the dining well. While the kitchen did seem to concern itself with presentation (always pleasant looking dishes), - ingredients for the most part were lower quality and sparse (thin, grisly steak, a shrimp appetizer consisted of baby (canned?) shrimp, tiny serving of salmon (maybe two bites?), steamed vegetables consisted of one small broccoli piece, one tiny cauliflower florets and one SLICE of carrot. —all cold, etc. -service was limited and extremely slow (we had to wait 30-40 minutes between courses, one time 45 minutes between soup and main course — only four of us at the table) -nothing was hot, even soup sometimes was only lukewarm, had to send lasagne back to be microwaved(?— quality kitchens do not microwave to heat up, they ensure just in time preparation, even for large groups), butter did not melt on potatoes or veggies and, once, our table companions requested coffee, the server said it was cold and brought it anyway — didn’t even offer to make a new pot. The guest went to the coffee machine in the lounge and brought back two coffees(service??). The buffet food was never hot, not even warm. We rarely ate lunch on the ship because of this, if we did, we made sandwiches and we got into the habit of making just toast for breakfast;however, they did have one person making eggs to order which we did do a couple of times with our toast. — special requests/substitutions weren’t honoured, I.e. I asked to hold potatoes but give me double vegetables (not done), my husband asked for a piece of salmon to be added to his beef plate (not done), I asked that a dish be served without the risotto advertised with it - no substitution, just not give me the risotto (not done) After the first meal, we spoke to the maître d’ and asked each server when we placed our orders to ensure that our food be served hot (we changed tables regularly to see if the new server could respond to our requests —did not happen). We started to eat dinner in the Captain’s Club because the grilled foods were literally hot off the grill but, again, limited servings. Frankly, the best meal we had was off the ship at the German bbq lunch that was included (this was the most fun experience provided by the ship). This trip was very disappointing and with so many options available, I will not travel with them again. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We booked our first European river cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel at the end of January 2017. We selected their June 27 to July 12, 2017, 15-day river cruise entitled “Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals & ... Read More
We booked our first European river cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel at the end of January 2017. We selected their June 27 to July 12, 2017, 15-day river cruise entitled “Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals & Fairytales” that began in Budapest, Hungary and ended in Amsterdam, The Netherland. Here is an overview of our experience(s): • BOOKING: We called and booked through Vantage Customer Service (located in Boston, MA). The booking process went very smooth and we were immediately assigned our cabin on the MS River Splendor (Category B, French Balcony on Forward Middle Deck, 165 sq. ft.). • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Whenever I contacted Vantage over the next couple of months with various questions/concerns, the people I spoke with in Customer Service were always friendly and very helpful (except for one person). Most of the information is on their website and in your MYPORTFOLIO. • AIRLINE FLIGHTS/AIRPORT TRANSFERS: We arranged for our own airline flights to Budapest and from Amsterdam, but did buy the Vantage Airport Transfers ($120.00 r/t per person). • TRAVEL PROTECTION PLAN: We did not buy Vantage’s Travel Protection Plan, but did buy it through another source at a much lower cost. I understand now that effective July 1, 2017, Vantage has a new Travel Protection Plan with lower cost and increased benefits (check their website for more details). • ARRIVAL IN BUDAPEST: Our flight from Amsterdam to Budapest was delayed almost an hour and I sent an email to Maya, our cruise ship concierge, to let her know our flight was delayed and to please relay this information on to the Vantage airport representative. When we arrived in Budapest, the Vantage Rep was waiting for us and got us to the shuttle that took us to the ship. Upon arrival at the cruise ship, Maya meet us and escorted us onboard where the rest of the cruise staff greeted us. Because of the delay, we missed the Welcome and Safety Briefing, but a cruise member immediately got us to our assigned cabin and briefed us. • RIVER CRUISE SHIP: We cruised on the MS River Splendor, which was designed exclusively for the American traveler with a passenger capacity of 176. o SMOKING: There is no-smoking throughout the interior of the ship. A designated smoking area is on the open-air Solaris Deck. o HANDICAP ACCESSIBILITY: The elevator is located in lobby near the concierge desk (accessible to all interior floors). A hydraulic chair lift is located outside on one side of the ship to access the open-air Solaris Deck. We never took the elevator or the chair lift, but saw other passengers utilizing it all the time. o COMPASS ROSE RESTAURANT: This is the main dining room located on the Explorer Deck (forward middle deck) and there is no seating plan, so you can dine with whomever you choose. Most tables are set for six to eight people (round or rectangle tables) with a few tables for four people (Captain’s Table is set up for 10 to 12 people). Each table has white table linens, fine crystal/dinnerware/silverware, and fresh flowers. Climate control is very pleasant if you set near the windows and a little less noisy than in the middle of the room. The restaurant is closed whenever a service is not in progress. o CABARET LOUNGE: The lounge is located on the Navigator Deck (forward upper deck), is opened 24/7, is where the bar is located (open from noon to the last guest retires), where tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are available around the clock, and where all port talks and entertainment happens. Early Risers’ Breakfast is available here from 6:00am-7:00am. It is also where you can relax, read a book from the library, or meet fellow passengers, or play a game of cards. Entertainment onboard features local performers coming aboard in select ports, plus there is a jukebox and a grand piano. o CAPTAIN’S CLUB: The Captain’s Club is located on the Navigator Deck (rear upper deck) and is where you can enjoy healthy spa cuisine and other lighter choices, buffet-style. While seating is open during the day and for lunch, reservations are required for dinnertime. We ate lunch a couple of times, but found it on the warm side and preferred the variety of food in the Compass Rose dining room. We did not eat any dinners here. o SOLARIS DECK: The top observation deck is where you will find the walking/running track, as well as chase lounges and table and chairs. o FRONT DESK/CONCEIRGE: Located on the Explorer Deck (forward middle deck). This desk was usually staffed with at least one person, but most times there were two people. o FITNESS CENTER: The fitness center is located on the Odyssey Deck (middle lower deck). It is outfitted with a treadmill, stationary bike, step machine, and free weights. We did not use it, but did notice many passengers who did. o MASSAGE STUDIO: Available onboard, but we never signed up for any treatment. The massage therapist did perform light stretching exercise several mornings in the Cabaret Lounge (free to passengers).• • DAILY PROGRAMS: Each day there is a port talk about the next day activities and each evening a daily program for the next day is left on your bed during turn-down service. The program provides times for all activities, as well as Concierge Suggestions for the port or onboard activity. • FOOD: There are 41 meals included during the river cruise (14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, and 14 dinners, including Captain's Welcome and Farewell Dinners and one meal ashore). o BREAKFAST: Breakfast had a time range (usually 7:00am to 9:30am). Usually buffet self-service style that included an omelet station, cheeses, fruit, all types of breads/muffins /pastries, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, bacon, sausage, some type of potato, pancakes/waffles/crepes with special sauces, several types of cereal, etc. Early risers’ breakfast is available in the Cabaret Lounge from 6:00am-7:00am. o LUNCH: Lunch normally has a start time (not a time range). It was either menu service (with buffet salad bar) or full buffet self-service. There was always a variety of proteins, vegetables, salad, dessert, and many days included a special station (pasta, thai, salmon wellington, stuffed pork tenderloin, etc.). There were at least 3 favors of ice cream every day. We loved the Salmon Wellington (went back for seconds) and will be trying to make it at home. Note: You can enjoy a Light Lunch Buffet in the Captain’s Club Lounge, but this buffet does not include the same variety you will get in the Compass Rose dining room. o DINNER (includes free wine, beer, and soft drinks): Dinner has a start time and if you are very late, you might not get any food. A normal dinner menu was usually 4 courses (appetizer, soup, entrée choice, and dessert). The Captain’s Welcome & Farewell Dinners were 5 or 6 courses. We give the food at least 4-or 5-stars. Chef Irvan and his staff were experienced and presented delicious and fresh food every day. • PORT EXCURSIONS/LOCAL TOUR GUIDES: o LEAVING AND RETURNING TO SHIP: To leave the ship, you must pick up a card (the size of a business card) from the front desk/reception that has your name and room number on it. Upon returning to the ship, you must hand the card back in. The card is placed back in your room slot so the crew knows you are back onboard. (Note: When leaving and returning from an excursion, you might have to walk through or over another cruise ship that is at the same port. Some cruise ships will not allow passengers from another cruise ship to walk through their lobby, thus making passengers walk up and across their top deck and back down to gain access to their cruise ship.) o YOUR COLOR FOR THE DAY: Passengers are divided into groups of 20 to 40 to accommodate for either the motor coach transport or walking tours and assigned a specific color. Passengers are given a color card before leaving the ship which helps them locate their assigned bus or local tour guide sign. o HEADPHONES AND RECEIVERS: Vantage uses QuietVox audio system for port excursions. The color you are assigned for each day/tour is also used to activate your receiver. o CITY MAPS: There were always maps available at the Concierge Desk for every port we were in. o BUSES: There is no assigned seating on the buses…first come, first serve. Sometimes you are allowed to leave items (i.e., jacket, umbrellas, backpacks) on the bus while you are on an excursion. Buses are locked in this situation. • BIKE RENTAL: We recommend that you do not rent a bicycle ($150.00 per person for the entire cruise). The ship has complimentary bicycles and helmets that you can sign out in port. We found little opportunity to ride the bikes in any ports unless you want to miss a port excursion. • PRE/POST-TRIP EXTENSIONS: We did not opt for any pre- or post-trip extension offered by Vantage. If we do a river cruise again, we will probably arrive a day earlier (to adjust to the time change) and maybe leave a day later. • RIVER LOCKS: During this river cruise, we went through 66 river locks (16 on the Danube, 16 on the Rhine-Main-Danube-Canal, and 34 on the Main-Rhine). Locks are a very interesting part of river cruising. For example, the lock width along the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal is 12 meters, so all ships can have a maximum width of 11.40 meters, which leaves exactly one foot of space to the right and left when a ship enters a lock. Our crew was excellent at entering the locks without bumping the walls. • LAUNDRY SERVICES: Laundry service is available onboard for a service charge. We did not use this service, but talked to several passengers who did. Pieces of clothing had shrunk or were ironed when they requested it not be ironed. The cost (in Euros) for various items: men’s or ladies’ shirt (E3.50), men’s or ladies’ pants/jeans (E6.00), men’s or ladies’ underpants (E2.00), ladies’ bra (E3.00). • GRATUITIES GUIDELINES: o CRUISE DIRECTOR/CONCIERGE/SHIP STAFF/CREW: For non-suite passengers there is a gratuity of 17 Euros per passenger/per day (20 Euros pp/pd for suite guest). This amount is pre-charged to the passenger’s credit card at the beginning of the cruise and can be adjusted at the end of the cruise or modified to cash gratuities. Our gratuity charge for 2 passengers for 15-day cruise was 476.00 Euros. We choose not to adjust at the end of the cruise, but did give several of our favorite servers in the dining room a separate envelope with additional gratuity. o PORTERAGE: Included for ship and hotels. o LOCAL GUIDES/REGIONAL EXPERTS: 2 to 3 Euros per person per day for each. If the guide was good, we gave them between 2 and 4 Euros. o LOCAL DRIVERS: 1 to 2 Euros per person per day. • CRUISE SHIP STAFF & CREW: The passenger-to-crew ratio is 4-to-1. The crew is English-speaking and very friendly. o CAPTAIN: Captain Peter was very nice. We saw him all the time: greeting passengers leaving and returning to the ship, during the Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Reception. He even rode with us to the airport in Amsterdam after the cruise to catch him flight home for holiday. o CRUISE DIRECTOR: Veronika Hoskova was our cruise director and was absolutely fabulous. She was from Prague, Czech Republic and spoke at least 4 languages. I don’t know when she slept, because she literally was everywhere, all the time. She was very knowledgeable about each port and its history. She was truly a delight to be around…always very happy and really to help. o CRUISE CONCIERGE: Maya Pashpurova was our cruise concierge. Maya was good at taking care of any special request the passengers might have and assisting Veronika. o RESTAURANT/LOUNGE STAFF: The staff was wonderful…from Gina the Hotel Manager, Caitlin the Restaurant Manager, to the Chef and his staff, to the wonderful waiters/servers (especially Mihai and Galina). Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We recently sailed the River Splendor on MAJESTIC RIVERS OF EUROPE:CASTLES, CATHEDRALS & FAIRYTALES cruise, a 14-day river cruise mostly following Germany's Romantic Road with castles visible and viewed on land. The ... Read More
We recently sailed the River Splendor on MAJESTIC RIVERS OF EUROPE:CASTLES, CATHEDRALS & FAIRYTALES cruise, a 14-day river cruise mostly following Germany's Romantic Road with castles visible and viewed on land. The ship's cabins are basically the same size on 3 decks with the exception of the suites on the highest deck and the D cabins on the lowest deck which lack a french balcony and have a small window about the size of a small porthole just above the water line. Food service and wait staff were excellent. Our waiter,JARO, serve witha smile and graciusness and wine poured endlessly. Guided tours were interesting. However, the tour to Heidleburg required 2 hours of driving in each direction and viewing not themost interesting castle ruin that had been modified several times over the last centuries. Anoptional tour to Rothenburg was in lieu of spending a morning in Wurzburg; however, we did spend an hour at the end on return to the ship at the fortress in Wurzburg. A planned tour to Koblenz was skipped was eliminated because of a passenger hospital emergency that required deviationfrom routing and a medical evacuation that was handled well; however, we were docked in Koblenz and had sufficient time to walk around the old town which appeared quite charming. We had onboard entertainment in the evenings on 3 occasions; musicians came onboard playing local music, costumed dancers were cheery,and there was a glass blowing exhibiti. We ventured thru 78 locks which required closing down the top deck for 2 days. The CruiseDirector, Bogey,and his assistant Maya, were hands on, intimately involved in the cruise details, and made for an enriched cruise experience. Maya was an assistant on our Douro River cruise. Unfortunately, the cruise was marred by an apparent Vantage policy of overbooking within 90 days of departure or sooner on substanitally reduced deals likethe one we purchased. This was our third Vantage river cruise in 18 months. We were bumped from a June 2016 Douro River cruise and, fortunately, since our air was booked with Vantage,and our flexibility, we were rescheduled to July 2017, provided a substantial discount, and given an upgraded C cabin on thetop deck rather than the middle deck that had been assigned.. Vantage reps advised that Vantage had overbooked 12 cabins. The cruise itself was excellent. We reserved this Majestic Rivers cruise 1 1/2 months prior to departure at a reduced price. Our invoice assigned a cabin and expressly stated "C321 or better", a speciic cabin with a french balcony on the top deck. One week prior to departure, a Vantage rep called my wife who was at a gym and advised that we were being bumped to a D cabin on the lowest deck,, which turned out to be D 213, with the "porthole". My wife was at the gym and could not speak with him so she asked the rep to call me. Aside from the small porthole like window, because they are on the lowest deck and the window can not be opened,dT he D cabins are damp and small items that are washed take much longer to dry out. I was told incorrectly by that the rep explained everything to my wife. In fact, nothing was explained, and I was told that nothing more could be done. I called Vantage and spoke with their Travel Manager of 18 years who rudely stated that overbooking was endemic to the industry, and if I chose to express my concerns publicly,so be it. Our rate was adjusted by $600 for the difference in cost between our assigned C 321 cabin and an unspecific D cabin and discounted by $200 apparently for the incovenience of being overbooked. We emailed President Heny Lewis and received no response to our concerns prior to departure. We emailed the Travel Quality Department and was eventually advised that the Travel Manger with whom I had spoken was working on it and would do his best to restore us to a C cabin with a fernch balcony, as originally invoiced, paid for, and epressly reserved. and assigned. We never heard further from either the Quality Dept or the Travel Manager. Unaswered is the question of how a travel company overbooks a specifically assigned and reserved cabin,i.e. our "C 321 or better" reserved and invoiced cabin and bumps passengers in favor of other passengers--a form of discrimination. When we boarded the ship in Budapest, we asked the cruise director if our C cabin was available and were advised that the ship was fully booked and that we were assigned to D 213. The cruise director was truly concerned abouta problem that was not of his doing. As a result of the cruise director expressing to Vantage our ongoing and unaswered concerns, a few days later we received a bottle of champagne. As it turns out, 3 other D cabins were resided in by 3 other couples who also had been overbooked and bumped. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this particular cruise because the itinerary seemed to cover the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in greater depth than other river cruise lines. This was our 50th cruise with various cruise lines (combination of ocean, river, adventure, ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because the itinerary seemed to cover the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in greater depth than other river cruise lines. This was our 50th cruise with various cruise lines (combination of ocean, river, adventure, etc.), and our third trip with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. Based on our most recent experience, it will also be our last trip with Vantage not just because this cruise was totally ruined for us but also because of the way we have been treated with complete lack of respect and lack of any customer service after our return despite the fact that we are supposedly "valued" Presidents Club members with Vantage. Thus we are writing this review to alert other prospective Vantage clients of their many pitfalls. Our major concern was with the terrible cabin we were ultimately assigned aboard the River Splendor. To start at the beginning of this saga, we originally booked Vantage's "Switzerland and the Heart of the Rhine and Moselle" river cruise on the Navigator sailing October 5, 2015 with cabin 306 assigned along with booking a 3-night pre-extension in Lucerne. Vantage cancelled this sailing and thus we agreed to rebook it for September 7, 2016, on the River Splendor with the same cabin promised and the 3-night pre-extension in Lucerne. Vantage cancelled again and thus we agreed to rebook on the September 17, 2016, sailing with the same cabin promised although the itinerary was now reversed and the 3-night Lucerne extension became post instead of pre. After repeatedly checking our Portfolio, the cabin was always shown as TBD thus we repeatedly called Vantage and were assured by numerous agents that there was no problem as "cabins were not assigned yet", but they now promised us cabin 329 which was still acceptable. However, after time, the Portfolio still showed TBD. After a few more calls, we were now told that being "President's Club" we were obviously being upgraded. In reality, 2 days prior to departure, the Portfolio finally showed a cabin 337 assigned which was not acceptable. Seeing we are not novice cruisers, we did not like the location of this cabin being above the engines and below the Captain's Club. While we were given no choice at this point, we hoped to make the best of the situation until we discovered cabin 337 has an UNBEARABLE STENCH as it is located directly next to and above the ship's sewer vent so that despite the fact that we paid for a so-called French balcony, we could not open it due to the odor that persisted day in and day out and even permeated the room with the door closed! Perhaps it should be reclassified as a STENCH BALCONY. In addition to the constant lies we received from Vantage throughout this booking process and the unacceptable cabin which entirely ruined our cruise experience and destroyed our faith in Vantage, there were major changes to the original itinerary throughout the course of time. Keep in mind, Vantage had our full payment for almost 2 years! Our original paperwork which was never revised shows beginning the cruise in Amsterdam (not being bused to Arnhem) and included an Amsterdam canal boat tour, included a tour of Cologne (where we never even went), included a tour of Luxembourg (which we now paid extra for as an optional tour), and the Lucerne extension somehow became 2 nights instead of 3 and skipped the tour of Bern with the included lunch (enroute from Basel to Lucerne) and skipped the included Farewell dinner. By the way, because the Bern excursion was omitted, we arrived in Lucerne well before noon only to discover we could not check in to the hotel until 3pm so to everyone's dismay wound up sitting in the lobby for hours after the Lucerne walking tour. In view of the various problems and disappointments we experienced in booking this trip, the unbearable stench in our cabin, and the entire stress this situation has caused, we think asking for compensation of no less than half of what we paid for the journey (not including air) is fair which according to their invoice would be a total of $5249. While the hotel manager aboard the River Splendor seemed very conscientious and understanding and genuinely concerned about the matter, he had no authority beyond the ship to rectify the situation and compensate us in any way as his hands are in effect tied by the Boston office. Since returning home on October 4, we have tried to deal with the matter through the director of customer service to no avail as he has failed to come up with any mutually satisfactory compensation, does not return our repeated phone calls, and basically has blown us off. As a last resort, we reached out via email to Vantage’s president, Henry Lewis, who also never had the courtesy to respond to the email in any shape, form, or fashion. A word to the wise to future travelers, there are many other tour operators and cruise lines out there which are more reputable and will cater to your needs! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
Best food ever, fantastic price, professional staff, comfortable room. Smooth embarkation. Would like to spend a day longer at the towns that were so charming and all very different. Our first river cruise and it was fabulous! The ship ... Read More
Best food ever, fantastic price, professional staff, comfortable room. Smooth embarkation. Would like to spend a day longer at the towns that were so charming and all very different. Our first river cruise and it was fabulous! The ship was beautiful, immaculately clean and well maintained. Our room was spacious and very comfortable. Large windows and well equipped spacious bath. Concierges exceptionally helpful, especially for those who had problems. Good balance of tours for the slower passengers and faster walkers. My husband was unhappy because he tried to get directions to the ship when it had moved in the evening and the staff didn't speak English well enough to understand from a cell phone. We were also docked below a huge wall so the boat couldn't be seen from the street level in Koln so his taxi said it wasn't there. So relaxing to rest on your bed and watch the beautiful world go by. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I wanted to see the old cities of Europe and not have to move from hotel to hotel. My friend recommended Vantage and we unknowingly booked the same cruise. It was the most relaxing vacation I've ever taken. I hope to take a Vantage ... Read More
I wanted to see the old cities of Europe and not have to move from hotel to hotel. My friend recommended Vantage and we unknowingly booked the same cruise. It was the most relaxing vacation I've ever taken. I hope to take a Vantage cruise every second year to different destinations but I would even take this cruise again. Water was so calm that we didn't know when we were moving - the most relaxing vacation I've ever taken. I loved that there were only 160 passengers so that it was interesting to meet a varied group of travelers and have meals with very nice people. Met some new friends too. The boat was kept very clean, inside and outside. Service was exceptional and the best food I've eaten in a two week period. Loved that they were so flexible in providing food from the café menu in the restaurant so when the menu got a little too fancy for me I could order a grilled steak or salmon. There was no shortage of excellent and fresh food and a good menu variety. I'm a believer in Vantage. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
the grand euorpean cruise began in Ruse and ended in Cologne. The pre cruise extension was 5 days in Romania and were fantastic. A beautiful, but poor country was very clean and the mountain citiy of Brasov is a city I would return to ... Read More
the grand euorpean cruise began in Ruse and ended in Cologne. The pre cruise extension was 5 days in Romania and were fantastic. A beautiful, but poor country was very clean and the mountain citiy of Brasov is a city I would return to again. Some of the stops had extensive bus rides which now knowing I would avoid in the future. The ship was well run and the crew was exceptional. Evening meals could drag on for two hours but the dinning area at the rear of the ship was an always available buffet. The cabin was well designed and the bed and shower were fine for a guy of 6'6". The big problem I have with Vantage is the post cruise excursion was promoted as three additional nights in Amsterdam. Reading further I noticed it said two nights at the Barbizon Palace. I called Vantage and on the phone that the day they said that when others would be flying back we would in Amsterdam. We ended up with almost a full day and a half in Amsterdam. The new promotion for 2017 now states 2 more nights in Amsterdam and the price is less than the quoted 3 night 2016 extension. I can only say the same as the others who were on this extension that we were misled. Too bad the ship and crew work so hard because their customer service replied to my complaint with the 2 nights is the industry standard bull. They just wanted to get rid of me, not address the fact that there was not three nights in Amsterdam as promoted. If you go with Vantage be certain to question everything they promote and even then as happened to us they lied. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was an outstanding cruise. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Embarkation/disembarkation went very smoothly. The cabin, dining and service were all above expectations. Best of all, the crew was very friendly and ... Read More
This was an outstanding cruise. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Embarkation/disembarkation went very smoothly. The cabin, dining and service were all above expectations. Best of all, the crew was very friendly and helpful. It felt like we were on a private yacht. We traveled with family (6 adults) - they made every effort to keep us all together for our tours, dining, etc. The itinerary was very good and the tours, which are included, were well organized. We saw all the local attractions at each port, plus had free time to roam around the area. The cruise director was a real professional - everything on time, very efficient when any changes had to be made. This was by far the best cruise experience we have ever had - it was our first river cruise, but we've been on at least a dozen ocean cruises. We started planning our next cruise with Vantage as soon a we got home! Vantage is a great company and we definitely will travel with them again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Our first river cruise and it was fabulous! The ship was beautiful, immaculately clean and well maintained. Our room was spacious and very comfortable. Large windows and well equipped spacious bath. The staff outstanding - very ... Read More
Our first river cruise and it was fabulous! The ship was beautiful, immaculately clean and well maintained. Our room was spacious and very comfortable. Large windows and well equipped spacious bath. The staff outstanding - very friendly, helpful and were always on call. The food wonderful. There was a lot of variety at each sitting. The breakfast buffet bar was especially nice as the chef would make omelettes, waffles etc to order. Dinner menus had a lot of variety and the dining room staff very accommodating for special orders, etc. There was some type of entertainment scheduled after dinner about every third day. Tours were included in the price (except for one or two). Very nicely organized with comfortable buses. It was like being on a private yacht - no crowds, no noise, everything first class. We traveled with family members (adults) but we met a lot of people on board during the cruise which made it that much more fun. Can't wait to take another river cruise with Vantage! Highly recommended. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our first river cruise and the entire Vantage team did such a good job, we are deciding our which itinerary will be our next. We normally travel independently, but occasionally choose an organized trip; river cruising was ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and the entire Vantage team did such a good job, we are deciding our which itinerary will be our next. We normally travel independently, but occasionally choose an organized trip; river cruising was uncharted territory for us - so we decided on a Christmas cruise that fit my winter break (yes, I'm a teacher but also retired navy). I chose Vantage after much research on ports, schedules, prices, tours, amenities, ships, reviews...well, you name it, I looked it up. It took me two years to commit and I'm so glad I chose this company and this schedule. We took the pre-trip to Budapest and really enjoyed the location, hotel, transfer service and local shore excursion to the opera house and day in market with included themed lunch. I highly recommend this pre-trip. We had plenty of time to wander the city of Budapest and really see the area. The crew was perfect (all of them) and our hats off to the captain and entire nautical crew for keeping us on (or ahead) of schedule even during the already stressful low water conditions on the Danube. My husband is a working boat captain and was amazed at how competently and flawlessly (and silently) the nautical crew navigated, moored, and worked around passenger events and needs. The hospitality staff and crew cannot be matched. They were on par with the fanciest of 5-star hotels. Our cruise director (Martin Kratkoczky) and our concierge (Renata Lovrovic) were wonderful and made the cruise perfect for everyone. Our cabin was huge (at least for this old navy retiree) and our head and shower were opulent and had enough head and shoulder room for my XXL husband. The dining room service and food was amazing and the dining room staff worked very hard at making meal time memorable and fun. This is when most of us met other passengers and became friends. The dining room and kitchen staff went out of their way to remember our names, what we liked to drink or eat. Our room attendant (Melinda) was extremely diligent in keeping our cabin perfect. I know that there are many more crew that work out-of-sight that I'll never be able to name. Disembarkation was flawless as expected. Our flights were as direct as possible and the flight times Vantage reserved were the best - we flew economy but would recommend upgrading to at least economy plus (my husband is XXL and it's more comfortable in a wider seat when flying 10+ hours). Port excursions - 95%. This is the only area that I am hesitant in giving a perfect rating - not because of anything that Vantage crew or local guides did or didn't do...my complaint is with other passengers who insist on pretending they are fit enough for a full-day or even half-day walking tour. Possibly Vantage can suggest breaking groups into slow/fast or mobile/less-mobile groups or offer an abbreviated or "slower-paced" tour choice or a quicker tour for the few who want more individual time but still want a short guided tour. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Forget about the marketing claims; this river cruise line cannot handle obstacles in an efficient manner. Had a very good pre-cruise to Prague & Bratislava but after getting on board, the Danube River water levels were low causing a ... Read More
Forget about the marketing claims; this river cruise line cannot handle obstacles in an efficient manner. Had a very good pre-cruise to Prague & Bratislava but after getting on board, the Danube River water levels were low causing a barge to run a ground. This event occurred on a Friday and from there things went downhill. For 5-days we were stuck in Passau Germany while the Vantage management decided what to do with us. On day 7 of our 14-day cruise, we were given a choice; fly home with a credit, or "continue with a re-arranged itinerary and stay in a 5 star hotel in Mainz Germany," according to the letter from Vantage management. The "re-arranged itinerary" was via daily bus rides to points of interest. The so called 5 star hotel was The Hilton in Mainz Germany; and unfortunately, Vantage never told us the hotel name until after we signed our intentions. The problem with Vantage is they mislead us as I cannot find a 5 star rating among many travel guidance sites. Our meals were all buffet style with a disappointing assortment. Additionally, the dinner meals on the ship included unlimited wine or beer at dinner, and the Hilton offering included one drink only. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My first impression of the River Splendor was not favorable. Knowing it was one of the newest ships, it certainly did not look like a new ship to me. My fears and disappointment were quickly squelched upon embarking the ship. The ... Read More
My first impression of the River Splendor was not favorable. Knowing it was one of the newest ships, it certainly did not look like a new ship to me. My fears and disappointment were quickly squelched upon embarking the ship. The “splendor” of the ship became quickly evident. Crew members welcomed us aboard with a smile and willingness to answer any questions. Tea sandwiches and drinks were a welcomed treat. As we were one of the first group of travelers to arrive, we took the time to explore and familiarize ourselves with the ship. Embarkation went very smoothly. Overall, the interior of the ship was clean, staircases wide, and cabins adequate in size. The interior of the ship has a contemporary look. Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship at no additional cost. Dining There is only one main dining area, the Compass Rose. Seating is on a “first come” basis. You may choose to sit wherever you like, with the permission of those already there. Several large groups (15 in one) chose to sit together. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style dining. It is possible to get your choice of omelet or fried eggs. Selections included bacon, sausages, potatoes, fresh fruit, yogurts, pastries, breads, a variety of muffins, cold cereal, oatmeal, muesli, and cold cuts. Lunch included a salad bar, pasta (different every day), tea sandwiches, Dinner included an appetizer, soup, choice from two entrees and two desserts. There is also an always available menu which included salmon, chicken or steak. In addition, those watching their weight could select from a separate menu. Red and white wine was available at dinner and was as much as you like. Once dessert was served, you could not have any more wine. Another option was to eat at the Captain’s restaurant located at the back of the ship. Indoor and outdoor seating was available. This is a “serve yourself” set up and a small scale of items were available. There was a salad bar with limited items, limited desserts, and the food was grilled out on the deck. Sausages, chicken, steak, ribs and other traditional grilling foods were available and the selection varied from day to day. Lunch and dinner were served here. We did not like this option because we enjoyed being waited on and the other choices available in the main dining area. Cabins We were in Cabin 303, on the same deck as the dining room. The cabin measure 165 square feet and was adequate for our needs. Suitcases can easily be stored under the bed. The beds can be set up as one queen or two twin configuration. Flat screen TVs are in every cabin. A nice touch was to have a “Welcome” screen with our names when we arrived. Bottled water is provided free of charge. Outlets are European style but there is at least one outlet with a U.S. plug. The closet was divided into two sections and each had wooden hangers. There were enough drawers in the dresser for our 2-week supply of clothing. There were two types of suites on the 4th deck. Some had a larger sitting area while others had a second room. The suites had names of explorers including Columbus, Marco Polo, Stuyvesant, Vespucci, Hudson, Drake, DaGama, etc. The larger suites have mini-bars and in-room refrigerators. The owners suite was quite large (330 square feet) and had a separate desk area, two flat screen TVs, sitting area, and an in-room coffee maker. It also has a Jacuzzi tub and is located on the Navigator deck. The owner’s suite is named Liza Minelli. The bathrooms have separate glass enclosed showers. A plus is the built-in clothesline in the shower stall. The showers were spacious and allowed you to turn around without hitting the walls of the stall. Water pressure could be adjusted to your liking. Toiletries are from L’Occitane. A make-up mirror, hair dryer, and plug for a razor are included. Dress Code The dress code is casual. No shorts or jeans are allowed in the dining room for dinner. The majority of the travelers dressed up a bit more for the Captain’s hello and farewell dinners. Women wore dresses, dressy pant suits and skirts with pretty tops and most men wore a jacket with or without a tie. Fellow Passengers The average age of travelers was in the 60-plus age group. Most were not new to cruising and many were on their second, third or fourth Vantage cruise. This is a testament to the overall great service, itinerary and attention to detail. Open seating and included excursions made it easier to create new friendships. Gratuities The only gratuity automatically charged to your account is the $5.00 per day, per person for the Cruise Director and Concierge. You can choose to lower or increase this amount. You cannot give more to the Cruise Director, unless it is in a separate envelope. Gratuities are pooled for the crew and Vantage recommends giving 9 to 11 dollars per person, per day for them. Also, tips are not automatically added to bar drinks. Public Rooms Entrance to the ship is on the two-deck atrium located on the Explorer deck. There is a front desk that is open 24 hours and is where passengers check in and out of the ship. This is where currency can be exchanged, bills paid, questions answered, and boarding passes picked up as needed. Near the front desk is the hospitality desk where passengers can request assistance from the concierge for bookings for shore excursions and other amenities in port. The Cruise Director is also available to answer questions or assist in any manner. The ice machine is located behind the hospitality desk as is a small ship’s store where you can purchase jewelry, souvenirs, postcards, t-shirts and hats. An elevator is available (located near the hospitality desk) for this who choose to use it when going to the Solaris Deck on the top level. A small library and the Latitude Lounge are also located on the Navigator Deck. Several groups used this area to play cards. The Latitude Lounge is where the cultural connections, port talks and entertainment was held. Our Cruise Director Vicki provided a daily briefing where she shared the itinerary of the following day complete with maps and questions. There is also a full-service bar. Coffee, tea and water is available on a 24-hour basis. Passengers took advantage of the Lounge offered during the day to read a book, use their computers, play cards or simply talk in small groups. Happy hour was offered every evening prior to the port talk and dinner. The Captains Club may be a misnomer since it is available to anyone. It is located at the aft of the ship on the Navigator Deck. The area has indoor seating for lunch and dinner as well as outside seating for those who choose this option. This is the area where food is grilled for those choosing to dine in this area. Although we did not use it because we brought our own electronics, there is a computer room with two PCs, two Macs and a printer. Vantage also makes available iPads for check-out and use on the ship. 
 The Solaris Deck is the top deck and is where you want to be when sailing the beautiful Wachau Valley. The deck has a small walking track (you can also walk around the entire deck), and a chess board. There are covered and uncovered seating available. There is a small fitness room with a treadmill, stationary bicycle and weights. There is no nail or hair salons on board. I believe massage services were offered at additional cost. Activities The River Splendor provides a daily city tour or excursion. People are assigned to specific color groups and board the bus bearing the same color sign. Groups are about 30-35 passengers. Local guides are on each of the buses. The enjoyment level of the tour or excursion is dependent on the local guide. All guides have a good command of the English language and most are very knowledgeable about their local area. For the most part, we had good guides but others came back with stories of things they had seen that was not part of our tour. Personal headsets are provided for use throughout the cruise. These allow you to hear the guide wherever you are in the group. Most of the afternoons afforded us free time to either go back and see some of the sights on the tour or simply to do “your own thing”. In my opinion, the best guides were those who were able to inject some humor in their talks and also share some of their personal stories. A separate group for “slow walkers” who wanted to tour at a slower pace. Vantage offers optional excursions for an additional talk. Some of these were quite pricey. We did not take advantage of any of these. Passengers who took advantage of this option came back with reviews that went from great to a waste of money. We did book a separate excursion with another company and paid one-third the cost of the Vantage excursion. Vantage is noted for its lectures and programs called Cultural Connections. Here we received port talks from the Cruise Director, watched local talent perform, and talks about the lock system. Our Cruise Director Vicki provided a daily briefing where she shared the itinerary of the following day complete with maps and questions. There was a glass blowing and strudel demonstration on board. We learned our ship would go through 66 locks, the tallest being 88 feet. It was amazing to watch the captain maneuver the ship through some locks with only 5 inches of clearance on either side. The crew provided entertainment one evening and there were two evenings of dancing including line dancing, the chicken dance, etc. The dances were hosted by the Cruise Director and Concierge. Unforeseen Problem The Captain spoke to all passengers on how he was asking everyone to disembark and travel by bussed to our next port Passau. The reason being the area the ship had to travel through had low water and many rocks to maneuver around. Twelve passengers chose not to leave the ship. Once in Passau, had our port tour and then had free time to do as we chose. Our Cruise Director was in constant contact with the Captain as to his progress. When we learned the ship would be later than planned and it was pouring down rain, Vantage took all of us to a local hotel and provided free drinks (open bar) and appetizers until our ship docked. Another example of how well Vantage takes care of its passengers. Post-Extension Our post-extension included two days in Bratislava and three days in Prague. The Sheraton hotel in Bratislava was top notch. I was pleasantly surprised to find this hotel to be such a nice one. Vantage Travel booked this for our two day river extension. The hotel was tastefully decorated, the room and bathroom large, and the location great. Our room was on the 2nd floor, the Starwood preferred guest level. The room overlooked the courtyard and we had a view of the Danube River. There were nice fluffy bathrobes to use, slippers, and turn down service at night. From this hotel, most of the sites were within a 10-20 minute walk (we are senior citizens). Breakfast was included with out stay and the choices were great. The hotel is near the Eurovea, an enclosed mall with about 200 shops and restaurants. On the opposite side of Eurovea (you can walk through mall to get there), there was a nice river front area with sidewalk cafes and a grassy area where children were playing. Lots of people out enjoying the late afternoon and evening too. It is quite family friendly. I was totally satisfied with the accommodations Vantage booked for us. In Prague, Vantage booked us into the Hilton Prague Old Town Hotel. The hotel was not as luxurious as the one Vantage booked in Bratislava and seemed to be smaller. Our room overlooked the rooftops of nearby buildings. Our room was on the seventh floor next to the elevator. Breakfast was included and there was a wide selection of items as well as omelets made to order. The hotel was located near the train station and a short distance from the sights which is a positive since our major means of transportation was walking. Final Comments I asked several fellow passengers who had sailed with Vantage prior to the Majestic Rivers cruise and they all agreed Vantage was the best. I then asked the first time river cruisers on Vantage and they said the same. I have to agree. Vantage is the best value for your money and the itinerary was great. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our 2nd 4-week riverboat cruise across Europe on Vantage, 2011 and 2015. The 2015 ship, River Splendor, was very nice, wonderful suite cabins. We had the same Captain Roger on both trips, a wonderful captain. Vantage decreased ... Read More
This was our 2nd 4-week riverboat cruise across Europe on Vantage, 2011 and 2015. The 2015 ship, River Splendor, was very nice, wonderful suite cabins. We had the same Captain Roger on both trips, a wonderful captain. Vantage decreased the number of included tours on the 2015 cruise, but still they were fine. But there were two major disappointments: (1) very poor fish, meat and eggs; and (2) many sick passengers. The cooks and the dining room service staff were excellent. But the food stuffs were terrible. There were few fresh vegetables; and the raw fish and meat were very low quality. Several senior ship officials and many passengers stopped eating the fish and meat. I am 72 years old, and need to workout during long trips. The gym on the River Splendor was small but well equipped with treadmill, bike, elliptic trainer and dumbbells less than 10 lbs each. Unfortunately, sick passengers would come to the gym coughing and sneezing. After 14 days, I got sick, and spent the rest of the cruise in my cabin running a fever. I can't fault Vantage for this situation, which has also occurred on Holland American cruises. But this situation has ended our long cruise vacations. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We sailed on River Splendor at the end of April and into early May. The cruise was Belgium and Netherlands. It was designed to give you a look at the tulips and flowers of Holland. They are beautiful. We had Room 325 in the center of ... Read More
We sailed on River Splendor at the end of April and into early May. The cruise was Belgium and Netherlands. It was designed to give you a look at the tulips and flowers of Holland. They are beautiful. We had Room 325 in the center of the ship. A very nice room. Small but efficient. Nice bathroom with a very good shower. The room had a large window that opened with a beautiful view as we cruised. The ship itself is very nice. On the top deck was a sitting area but it was to chilly to use most days. We did sit up there one day with coffee and played a game from the library. Nice area to just relax. Smoking is restricted to a very small area so for the most part it won't bother non-smokers. The dining area is very nice. It is large and comfortable. Our restaurant manager was named Boyan and he ran a very good restaurant indeed. Super friendly wait staff that does a great job. At breakfast the buffet never runs out. Lunch and dinner were always good. The food is presented nicely and very god quality. Even the cheeseburger was good! The staff of this boat is extremely friendly and helpful beyond belief! Anything you need or any question you have will be answered. Everyone speaks very good English. The selection of shore excursions is wonderful. The guides know their area very well and are more than willing to just chat if time permits. The places you see are well chosen. Our guide at the Rijkmuseum was so animated and so knowledgabble about the art he was a show himself. Art excited him and he showed it. Kukendoff Gardens are crowded but you can do it all. All in all a great cruise! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We got back a few days ago from our Vantage river cruise. It was wonderful! We left from Amsterdam and sailed the waterways to Belgium and back. The River Splendor was a great boat. Very clean and great staff. My only real negative was the ... Read More
We got back a few days ago from our Vantage river cruise. It was wonderful! We left from Amsterdam and sailed the waterways to Belgium and back. The River Splendor was a great boat. Very clean and great staff. My only real negative was the noise in the dining room during dinner. It was like all passengers needed hearing aids and had to raise their voice to talk. It was hard to talk to the person across the table. For some dinners we chose to go to the buffet at the other end of the boat. Only 40 people (usually only 15-20) and same menu as in the dining room. The food at lunch and dinner was excellent. Wine was included at no extra charge.Breakfast was the same every day and was rather boring. Eggs, omelets, cereal, oatmeal, cheeses, juice, pastries, etc. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate was available in the lounge during the day. I had tried to determine before we left if my husband needed to take a sport coat for the captains dinner. He finally took one but next time he won't. Maybe 25-30% of the men wore one, the rest just a nice shirt and khakis or slacks. The rooms were clean and well planned. The shower was large and they provided nice size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. We had a French balcony but next time I might not pay extra for it. We were hardly ever in the room and many times we were tied up right next to another river boat and had to keep curtains The shore excursions were wonderful. It was so well organized. The busses were comfortable and the tour guides very knowledgable. If we were to leave at 9am we left at 9 am. I don't usually like to be herded like sheep from one site to another but it wasn't too bad, mainly because of the guides. Also, wherever we went there were groups from other boats. Unlike Viking Cruises, there was no signage on the dock as to where the boat was docked. We arrived in Amsterdam 5 days before the cruise so had to make our own way to the boat. I called Vantage to find out where the boat was docked and luckily it was behind our hotel (Doubletree) within walking distance. It was behind 2 Viking Boats and not easy to find. This was our first river cruise and will not be our last. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Our cabin was rated as a B2 level and we were quite pleased with our room: plenty of space and a french balcony. Food was probably the best we have had on a cruise ship (although I must admit our former experiences were on ocean cruises, ... Read More
Our cabin was rated as a B2 level and we were quite pleased with our room: plenty of space and a french balcony. Food was probably the best we have had on a cruise ship (although I must admit our former experiences were on ocean cruises, not a river one). Even though the weather was frigid during our trip, both my husband and I were very happy with our experience. Among the highlights of our tour: tons of gorgeous artworks (two museums through the cruise and three on our own) the Keukenhof Gardens, and a full day tour/canal ride in the beautiful city of Bruges. Local guides (with one exception) were excellent and very informative. In addition, we really liked Vantage's liberal allowance of 'time at leisure' as sometimes group tours can get tedious. One free afternoon, the two of us decided to take a train to The Hague to visit the famous Mauritshuis Museum. Our concierge, Renata, was a wonderful help, even purchasing online tickets in advance for the museum. Although both my husband and I are very mobile and into hiking, I heard some of the older passengers complain about the amount of walking necessary. Apparently they had chosen this particular trip for its 'Low Activity Level' assignment in the brochure and experienced quite a bit of difficulty on the shore excursions. We found this cruise to be a very good value, although I must confess our costs included a $1000.00 credit given to everyone who had sweltered aboard Vantage's M/Y Harmony during the previous year's Black Sea cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
We love to travel and have tried everything, independent, escorted, bus, ships (too many people) but nothing beats our last Vantage World small ship vacations. After over 40 years of traveling we took our first river cruise and this is the ... Read More
We love to travel and have tried everything, independent, escorted, bus, ships (too many people) but nothing beats our last Vantage World small ship vacations. After over 40 years of traveling we took our first river cruise and this is the only way we want to travel again. River cruising with Vantage is amazing, I have never been on a vacation that mostly everyone on board had river cruised several times and those like myself who had never river cruised before and fell in love. From the beginning to the end everything was so well planned, cabins, food was outstanding, shore excursions included, service, embarkation, disembarkation everything was great. We are now spoiled, after talking to other passengers and finding out about their bad experiences with other river cruise lines, we will only travel Vantage. We enjoyed the small crowds, you can make your vacation as active as you want, or just relax. Their prices are the best, considering everything that is included, they also offer single cabins. We are looking forward to our next vacation with Vantage. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
We have done 12 cruises; this was our 4th w/Vantage. We had previously taken the Amsterdam to Vienna river cruse so we booked the Black Sea to Budapest. We spent the first night in Bucharest then transferred to the ship, Some where between ... Read More
We have done 12 cruises; this was our 4th w/Vantage. We had previously taken the Amsterdam to Vienna river cruse so we booked the Black Sea to Budapest. We spent the first night in Bucharest then transferred to the ship, Some where between the hotel lobby where we saw our undamaged suitcase and getting to our cabin on the ship, the entire wheel assembly had been broken off and there was a hole in the side of the luggage approx. 5" x 4". I reported it to the Cruise Director who was totally unconcerned asking me if I saw it happen. No, but it was damaged when it was in YOUR control. She said she was going to ask her management and get back to me; never did. The brochure said that we would be offered soda and wine with the evening meal. The first night several in our group ordered soda and were told that it would cost 6.50 euros. We told them what the tour booklet said and they denied it. I went to he tour desk and showed the counciere the booklet and she looked like a "deer in the headlight" saying she'd look into it. Went back the next day and saw that she'd taken the booklet off the counter. Food was OK but awfully small portions and seemingly the same items shuffled with different names. The waiters were rather snippy. They did not want us to choose items; they wanted us to take the set menu. Often I wanted the salad from the Lighter Fare rather than the soup or appetizer from the regular menu. They also almost wanted to remove your plate while you still had the fork up to your mouth. A gratuity of 55 euros for the Cruise Director and the Concierge of 55 euros was automatically added to bill however none was added for the hardworking crew. We asked that the amount be amended to a much smaller amount for them. Management gets paid and does not depend on tips according to one crew member. We found that the excursions from the ship were not as enjoyable because they no longer employed group leaders that stayed with the group for the duration of the trip and those groups were larger - 43 in our color group - too large for the guide to point out things and have everyone see what they were indicating. On one outing, 5 of our members got lost because the leader was so far ahead and although they could hear his voice, they couldn't find us in the "maze" and left the building at the first door that said exit. One of them fell and sprained her ankle which left her unable to enjoy any of the subsequent tours. I am hoping this is was an anomaly and not a sign that Vantage is losing it's reputation of a top of the line trip providers. We will try them again for a future trip. . Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
There were many bright spots in this cruise, but too many visits to too many old buildings, churches, etc. We were a group of seniors, some of whom had no trouble navigating the streets and pathways, but some of the routes were more ... Read More
There were many bright spots in this cruise, but too many visits to too many old buildings, churches, etc. We were a group of seniors, some of whom had no trouble navigating the streets and pathways, but some of the routes were more difficult for some. The rooms on the ship were quite good, but the food was not up to what I have learned to expect on cruise ships. The beverage service was slow and unpredictable. But, we were traveling with some people who did not understand that European cities are not like Houston, Texas, and when offered certain things to eat or drink, one should decline politely, not shout out loudly, "I don't drink beer" while at an abbey famous for its beer, "I don't like wine" when at a famous winery, or when served steak tartar as an appetizer before a departure meal, one should not try to cook the raw meat over a candle. But that was what happened on the last night in Amsterdam, so all I had to do was endure the ride to the airport and the return flight.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
A friend and I took the Gateway to the Black Sea riverboat cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. From the moment we arrived on board we were taken care of. Both of us are Senior Citizens who are widows. . They were outfitted beautifully ... Read More
A friend and I took the Gateway to the Black Sea riverboat cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. From the moment we arrived on board we were taken care of. Both of us are Senior Citizens who are widows. . They were outfitted beautifully and had the amenities of a double cabin while being compact and large enough for one traveler. As always, the food on board were excellent with many choices for every palate and special needs. Touring was handled in an efficient and interesting manner with excellent local guides. Daily meetings before dinner detailed the next day's schedule. Entertainment on board was pleasant and enjoyable with local groups coming aboard often. The piano player who entertained in the Lounge was excellent. I spent a lovely interval before dinner sitting in the Lounge with a glass of wine, listening to the pianist playing lovely tunes, and taking photos of the sunset. The staff was attentive, fun, lively, bright, and saw to our every need. I would heartily recommend Vantage Travel and this particular cruise to everyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Yes we experienced both good and sad ever lasting memories from our September-October 2014 twenty-seven day Black Sea to Bonn trip. The events that developed on this cruise have prompted us to share our exceptional experience with you. ... Read More
Yes we experienced both good and sad ever lasting memories from our September-October 2014 twenty-seven day Black Sea to Bonn trip. The events that developed on this cruise have prompted us to share our exceptional experience with you. The Marriot Hotel in Bucharest was off the chart, one of the best Marriott’s we have stayed at. The day of our 2-3 hour bus ride to meet the boat in Constanta was cold, dismal, and rainy. We barely got through as the rain changed to snow, 4+ inches which cause the authorities to close the highway (snow in Bucharest in September!!!). The storm propelled 20 to 30 foot waves at the harbor throwing rocks the size of watermelons over the seal wall and causing the harbor master not to allow our boat to cross the open bay to get to the river. This forced the staff to scramble to find lodging for 4 bus loads of passengers (approximately 160 people). The next day the staff had to arrange for our busses to find an out of the way, obscure dock, in the dark, heavy rain for us to finally be on board. All this was accomplished by the staff with a seamless, no inconvenience to all of us. As a result of the furious storm, the river was full of debris and many floating large trees and logs. Unknown to the passengers the propeller was damaged due to hitting a large submerged log/tree trunk. The boat had to make an unscheduled trip to a dry dock near Frankfort, again causing the staff to scramble and locate 4 buses to accommodate another change in plans. We received an extra bonus due to the dry docking – an unscheduled trip to Salzburg!! Again, thanks to the superb efforts of crew and staff we never missed a beat of the original schedule and itinerary. So much for the good part of our trip. On Sunday early morning 2:00 AM we received a call from California, my wife’s son advising us to get home ASAP, as her 58 year old daughter, curator of the Abilene, TX zoo had a seizure and was in a coma. At 2:30 AM we woke up the cruise director with the request to get us back to Dallas. By 4:00 AM he had us booked out of Frankfort/London/Dallas. (2 days short of our planned trip) Our boat at this time was en route from Frankfort to Rüdesheim, Germany. They had to stop and berth the boat at 7:00 AM along the river, arrange for a taxi to pick us up at a remote city park for a one hour drive back to the airport to catch a 10:00 AM plane to London. We were back in our house in Plano, TX at 8:00 PM Sunday night!!! What an effort by the staff on that boat – We will never forget what they did on our behalf. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in Amsterdam ... Read More
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in Amsterdam and cruised the Rhine to Budapest. We learned so much about the different countries we visited as Vantage's guides were the best. Ship and its amenities were wonderful. We has a deluxe suite. Of all the things we did and saw the best were the people we met who will remain lifelong friends. As was recommended by another good friend we flew business class. Great Idea, obviously more expensive, but well worth it. Our stay in Amsterdam was 4 nights and what a wonderful city. We had such a great time that we have already booked France and Barcelona for Sept/oct 2015. Also thinking of the one after that. I would leave again tomorrow. I even made a movie of the trip which I will cherish always. I heartily recommend Vantage and any trip you are interested in. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first river cruise but definitely not the last. We were impressed with the helpful , friendly staff. The regional food was outstanding. Having everything included is a great feature. When sailing you always see something - ... Read More
This was our first river cruise but definitely not the last. We were impressed with the helpful , friendly staff. The regional food was outstanding. Having everything included is a great feature. When sailing you always see something - on that trip the scenery is SUPER! My husband has a difficult time getting around, but the staff made sure to steer hime in the right direction to make it is easy as possible for him. The tour guides in the various cities were easy to understand and vary knowledgeable. The ship was very clean. Sailing on rivers is like sitting in you living room - no rough waters!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Following our pre trip to Prague, we joined fellow travelers at the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest since the Splendor could not reach us due to a lock problem. Vantage was able to adjust and provide an outstanding evening and all ... Read More
Following our pre trip to Prague, we joined fellow travelers at the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest since the Splendor could not reach us due to a lock problem. Vantage was able to adjust and provide an outstanding evening and all guests truly enjoyed strolling the banks of the Danube and the excursion in Budapest before a bus trip to Vienna where we boarded the Splendor. Vienna with the Schonbrunn Palace and gardens were magnificent, plus the private concert at the Kursalon was a highlight of the trip. We found every tour guide knowledgeable with exceptional English. Every port experience was different, thus I really could not rate them. Bamberg, Rudesheim, and the winery visit with tasting, lunch and a local band was such fun. After so many immaculate towns and the cruise past the many castle, Cologne was my least favorite, but it may have been that it was our last and I had to get ready to depart one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The Splendor is a beautiful ship with spacious staterooms with French balconies, free Wi-Fi, first class amenities and a lovely upper deck for walking and viewing the exceptional scenery. The staff was exceptional. They took care of our every need always with a smile and humor. The meals were the best we have had on any cruise; both the quality and presentation. It was evident that the chef loved his job and was trained in nutrition. The shipboard experience included demonstrations, lectures, local entertainment. Everything was so enjoyable we hardly had time to sleep. Our cruise director, Veronica, provided a daily briefing where she shared the itinerary of the following day complete with maps and questions. Everything was so organized we could just enjoy. We especially liked having all excursions included so we could see it all. The pace was appropriate for the group of travelers and the guides very knowledgeable. There was security in knowing that Vantage understood all of our needs from bathroom breaks and water to taking us to the front of lines that we had not experienced on other cruise lines. Our transportation included taking us to and from the airport without delays and being there with visible signs to take us promptly to the bus. We loved our second Vantage cruise so much that we signed up for Paris and the Seine before we left the Splendor. We did cruise another line in January and often commented "this is not Vantage". We love the luxury of Vantage cruises and recommend them to everyone Read Less
River Splendor Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.9
Family N/A 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates 5.0 N/A

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