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
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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
After a disappointing Hotel in Budapest the Cruise was all it was advertised to be. Our Cabin, Staff and River Boat were all very good. We were quite unhappy with the Dinner choices and quality. They seemed to be mediocre selections, small ... Read More
After a disappointing Hotel in Budapest the Cruise was all it was advertised to be. Our Cabin, Staff and River Boat were all very good. We were quite unhappy with the Dinner choices and quality. They seemed to be mediocre selections, small portions and tasteless especially based on the $$ paid for the trip. Since this was our 46th Cruise we feel that we had some basis for this. All of our Ports/Cities visited were well chosen and the Program Directors who accompanied us were terrific. Vantage booked the Flights are they were also good selections as was all our local transportation. Other than the meals we have no complaints about the Cruise itself. However, we should have heeded past Vantage passenger blogs and reviews. If we had we would never had booked this trip. We believe that Vantage pulled a "Bait & Switch' in our Pre-Cruise package. We were supposed to stay at the Elegant "Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal" in Budapest. Two weeks before we received a letter stating this Hotel was unavailable and we were switched to a Hilton business hotel. Corinthia rated #3 and Hilton rated #46. To compensate they gave us an extra dinner. ALL dinners at the Hotel were worse than on the Boat and actually not edible. Vantage Customer Service is nowhere to be found once you pay for your trip and would not budge on the Hotel change. Several of us walked to the Corinthia and found they were NOT overbooked and actually had a Large banner Welcoming "Viking Cruises". Several letters to Vantage have gone unanswered since returning. Beware of Vantage. 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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