19 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our second River Cruise with Vantage. Once again it was amazing! They do an excellent job with tours. We really had a special Cultural Connection at the home of the Marktheidenfeld famliy. The food was so good, entertainment ... Read More
This was our second River Cruise with Vantage. Once again it was amazing! They do an excellent job with tours. We really had a special Cultural Connection at the home of the Marktheidenfeld famliy. The food was so good, entertainment was a famliy who played Germany music. We were singing, laughing and dancing. Most passengers were in mid to late 60. Fun group. We spent a lot of time up on deck enjoying the view as we made new friends. We met a lady who has sailed around the world 5 times on first class ships. She said this was one of the best ever cruises she has ever done. Food was great. River Cruises are not what I expected. They are very busy and you have to be able to do a lot of walking. We were very suprised and pleased. Last night of the cruise Captain got notice the last lock was broken and may take two days to fix. He turned ship around and docked us at near by city for the night. He kept us up to date of what the problem was and within 2 hours, they had made new arrangments for us. Next morning buses picked us up we were bused to Budapest. We were booked into a luxury hotel and a sit down dinner was booked for us in the Hotel dinning room. It was seamless fix to problem they had no control over. This was our second River Cruise and my sister and brother in law went with us. They LOVED it. We would totally recommend Vantage. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
The flight to Budapest was a pain as we had long layovers in the US and then Germany on our way to Budapest..... once there, we were forced to stay in a hotel as the river locks were damaged and the boat unable to meet us in Budapest.... ... Read More
The flight to Budapest was a pain as we had long layovers in the US and then Germany on our way to Budapest..... once there, we were forced to stay in a hotel as the river locks were damaged and the boat unable to meet us in Budapest.... HOWEVER.... Vantage put us up at the 5 star International on the Danube and accommodations were outstanding as were the local sightseeing trips they provided. We then bussed to Vienna, a longish ride... and the rest of the trip was on the first class River Splendor... an outstanding ship with an outstanding crew who did everything possible to make our trip a genuine success. The staterooms were quite nice and the showers were large enough for real comfort... and I am a big guy! ( 6'2" and 310 Lbs!) The beds were comfortable, the stateroom balcony was a treat, and the ship accommodations just top of the line. The chef was amazing as were the meals presented from the grand breakfast buffet to the great choices offered for lunches and excellent 5 course dinners. The wait staff outstanding as well always friendly and looking for ways to help make the trip a success. My wife required a gluten free diet and the maitre'de came to her at every lunch and dinner to help her elect what she could enjoy and then saw to it that it was prepared and served just right! The side trips were well planned and executed taking the ages and experiences of the gusts into the planning for speed and coverage of every item with good advice for those like me who could not walk long distances..... and with experienced information for each ability group that made the side trips informational and enjoyable. The shipboard experience with demonstrations and lectures was also informative and enjoyable. Loved the top deck cruising sitting in a lounge chair watching the wonderful countryside glide by.... and the friendliness of those that we passed who always waved "hello" to us.... I confess that I would return in a minute to take this trip again! But there is so much more of the world to see..... and we are booked on another Vantage trip to Portugal and Spain departing in about 8 weeks.... the big decision now is... Where next??? likely another Vantage trip! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
This was a very enjoyable trip. I had no complaints with Vantage. Everything was smooth sailing. Flights and tours were perfect. Trip started in Cologne and went thru Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Vienna and Hungary. Dress was casual. ... Read More
This was a very enjoyable trip. I had no complaints with Vantage. Everything was smooth sailing. Flights and tours were perfect. Trip started in Cologne and went thru Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Vienna and Hungary. Dress was casual. Weather in November was cool- mid 30's-40"s, a little rainy, but overall, not too bad. Food on the cruise was excellent. The tour guides were knowledgeable and very helpful. Never seen so many cobblestones in all my life. I am 82 and was capable of keeping up on the tours. 3 levels on river boat, but I was upgraded to top level. Top level was very nice. All modern US accommodations for everything in each room(WiFi etc.) plus computers were available in a business center. Entertainment on cruise was good, but not extravagant. Excellent storage in room and climate control also in room. Also, flat screen t.v. This is a new ship built in 2013.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
We love Vantage World Travel, and wanted to see the tulips in the spring in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it was one of the colder springs, so we didn't see a lot of flowers, but we loved every minute of our trip. The Vantage ... Read More
We love Vantage World Travel, and wanted to see the tulips in the spring in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it was one of the colder springs, so we didn't see a lot of flowers, but we loved every minute of our trip. The Vantage advantage, in addition to new, beautiful ships, is in the crew. The program managers, one for each 40 passengers, gets to know everyone individually. They are in addition to the local guides. Each group, identified by colors - yellow, blue, green etc., travels on excursions together, and the program manager goes along. Vantage offers cultural connections, including lunches or dinners in people's homes. A great way to understand the local scene. They also provide free time - and cash - in selected ports - so that passengers can go to local restaurants to sample the cuisine. Some of our fellow travelers chose to go to McDonald's or Starbucks and pocket the change, but the more enlightened in the group went to local restaurants and sampled the local cuisine. 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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