Sail Date: June 2019
We went from Bucharest to Bonn Germany. Wanted to visit the lower river mainly. We have visited most of the ports from Buda - Pest to Bonn. We arrived in Bucharest on June 24 2019. There was much confusion at the airport about waiting ... Read More
We went from Bucharest to Bonn Germany. Wanted to visit the lower river mainly. We have visited most of the ports from Buda - Pest to Bonn. We arrived in Bucharest on June 24 2019. There was much confusion at the airport about waiting for more connecting flights to arrive, before we were taken to our hotel in Bucharest. This process took over 2 hours with a Vantage rep, who was also confused about how to get our luggage down several flights of steps to a designated area were the bus could park. No assistance or help from anyone. This was very difficult for most of the passengers. No carts or luggage handlers available to assistance after having a 14 hour flight to Romainia. Also one must consider the average of these travelers is 70+ Once at the hotel things improved & were much better organized. Next morning a quick city tour & a bus ride down to Brasov, which was about 2.5 hours. Transylvania is beautiful & we enjoyed our stay in town during our 4 nights. Touring days were long, as we returned to Brasov each evening. The last day we would tour locally & then meet the boat outside of Burcharest to the northwest about 1.5 hour drive to embark on the next 16 days on the river. Arriving at the boat was quick & simple. Cabins were ready & finally we could hang-up all of our clothes & not use the suitcase for the next 15 days... The River Voyager is Vantage's newest boat built in 2016. The cabins are modern & good size with a french balcony. The showers are large & well appointed including a hand held shower head. The theme is jazz throughout the boat. Funny tho... I did not hear any Jazz background music during the entire voyager. We took most of the optional excursions & all the included ones. Most were very good with local guides. Nuremberg was a very poor tour & extremely short on time. This is not the local guides fault, but a decision made by Vantage. ( Change this ) The Medieval City needs much more time to be explored. Food is subjective: Thought most of the dinners were very average lacking quality & taste. Few spices used, most items seemed very bland. Breakfast is a buffet & lunch sometimes. Many choices & happy with these offerings. Wine & beer served at dinner. For my taste the wine were of poor quality & did not represent the countries we were traveling thru. Also felt the pours were small & not too often. Service is slow up in the lounge before dinner. Need more servers & 2 bartenders. No service on the Sun Deck. They need a mini-bar service especially on full cruise days. Laundry service is adequate, but expensive. The cruise director & his assistant were excellent. Crew is friendly & officers & captain engaged with the passengers. The on board entertainment was good with classical music & dancers performing their specialties. Finally... overall cruise was good. Weather cooperated most days. Passengers are well traveled & friendly. Due to some outstanding service by housekeeping, one bartender, the head waiter & assistant, along with the piano player, we tipped extra to these individuals. Our trip from Bonn to Frankfurt for the airport was almost 2 hours on the bus. We boarded at 5 am for 10:15 departure back to the USA. This made for a very long travel day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise to experience the varied ports and wines along the route. We were not disappointed. We saw a lot of different sights and history. We visited the Luxembourg Memorial Cemetery which was truly an moving experience. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience the varied ports and wines along the route. We were not disappointed. We saw a lot of different sights and history. We visited the Luxembourg Memorial Cemetery which was truly an moving experience. The Rhine gorge was spectacular. The Mosel River views were beautiful. the crew was very attentive. The captain was welcoming and personable. We had to make a quick change to avoid the low water condition on the Rhine. That meant that we missed one port. Vantage and the Captain made the necessary adjustments in the itinerary. All of the passengers agreed and that made our cruise a little special. But we were able to see another port more fully. The captain even made a special effort to illuminate the towers of the Bridge at Remagen when we passed them at 11:30pm. That is the kind of attentiveness from the Vantage personnel that makes them a cut above others. I would take this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Little pricey... Ship and crew were very good, clean boat, represented themselves and the company professionally. Room cleaning needs some improvement but room was very adequate and usable. The shore trips were outstanding and had ... Read More
Little pricey... Ship and crew were very good, clean boat, represented themselves and the company professionally. Room cleaning needs some improvement but room was very adequate and usable. The shore trips were outstanding and had excellent guides, don't think they can improve any on this one. Lots of "dock side" time. Think it just is due to Lock reservations. :Lots of side by side docking with other boats/ships.\, bummer for viewing. Main restaurant service is served everybody at one time so u wait for each course. No big deal, just is. Before/arrival day/s (Basil) was a disaster. Wast of money, joke. On the other hand, Bruges, Belgium is a must do. I have never used this cruise company before and probably will not again. I found it hard to communicate with the sales rep's as each time I called I got a different person and each one said they will fix the problem and then referred you to the web site, ya right. The phone "hold" time is incredible, sometimes an hour or more. Number one objective, Get The Money! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this Cruise for the itinerary and the price was attractive. We were actually a bit dubious because we hadn’t heard of Vantage, but we were thoroughly impressed with the vessel, the staff, our accommodations and the quality of ... Read More
We chose this Cruise for the itinerary and the price was attractive. We were actually a bit dubious because we hadn’t heard of Vantage, but we were thoroughly impressed with the vessel, the staff, our accommodations and the quality of the tours. The food was very good, not quite the gourmet offerings of another River Cruise we took, but satisfying, especially for what we paid. Bar drinks were extra, but reasonably priced and our bartender made great drinks and remembered our preferences. Our stateroom was modern, clean, well laid out and comfortable. The social scene shut down at 9:30 or so, but we chalked that up to the long dark nights of winter. The tour guides that were provided for us locally were outstanding in every port of call. Personal audio transmission devices were provided for our use and we were kept up to date with daily itineraries. We would sale with Vantage again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
7 day Danube from Budapest to Regensburg We were met by well-identified Vantage people at the Budapest airport. The transfer to the ship was swift and enjoyable, and included commentary on the sights we were passing. The River Voyager ... Read More
7 day Danube from Budapest to Regensburg We were met by well-identified Vantage people at the Budapest airport. The transfer to the ship was swift and enjoyable, and included commentary on the sights we were passing. The River Voyager is a beautiful ship; we were warmly welcomed aboard and shown to our cabin within minutes. Our luggage was already there. River cruise cabins are, of necessity smaller that those on ocean ships. Our cabin (lowest deck, lowest category) was very well designed and appointed. The bathroom larger and nicer than many ocean versions we’ve seen. Service and food were excellent. Everyone, including the crew and 168 passengers got on famously. Vantage seemed to really want us to appreciate where we were and what we were seeing, so the lectures, tours and guides were outstanding and included. The only charges on our shipboard account after a week were a small bar bill (beer 4.10, wine 5.30) and the daily gratuities. Note that no gratuity was added to bar tabs, the daily rate covered it. Excursions were: Bratislava, short church recital; Vienna, Christmas markets, concert, Lipizzan horses, Liechtenstein City Palace; Linz, full day in Salzburg; Passau, city walking tour (lots of hills!). All of these excursions were included in the cruise fare. We have done quite a few ocean cruises, but this is only our second river cruise and our first experience with Vantage. A thoroughly delightful experience. We will be traveling with Vantage again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Locations included were what we wanted to see. Felt that the price was right. Really wanted a more relaxing trip and this fit the bill. We stayed in a suite and they include free laundry service, limited mini bar, full size bathtub and ... Read More
Locations included were what we wanted to see. Felt that the price was right. Really wanted a more relaxing trip and this fit the bill. We stayed in a suite and they include free laundry service, limited mini bar, full size bathtub and a double sink! What a treat! The staff was wonderful, the food was great!! Not lobster and caviar, but really good food...including wine/beer at dinner. We have also been on a Viking cruise and loved it...I was very scared that this ship wouldn't be as good as the Viking cruise...it sure was! We traveled with another couple and the husband got sick right after we boarded the ship. The staff took very good care of him. I agree that the age of passenger is older than Viking, but that wasn't a problem. Loved that they had a pillow selection! I sleep with a buckwheat pillow and they had one of them available....wow ,didn't expect that! We ended up booking another of cruise less than a month after we returned. Can't wait for the next adventure!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise as we had cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest previously and thought it would nice to go the other direction from Budapest. We signed up for both the pre-cruise to Warsaw and Krakow and the postcruise to Romania ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest previously and thought it would nice to go the other direction from Budapest. We signed up for both the pre-cruise to Warsaw and Krakow and the postcruise to Romania and Transylvania. (Dracula, you know). I had to call their offices twice as they had us leaving on the wrong date, and we would, in the first case, have missed the whole pre-cruise, and in the second case, missed the first day. The lady at their office said they had some kind of automated scheduling program. Guess they need to get that fixed. One couple who was on the pre-cruise ended up flying into Budapest - right day, wrong city. They were rescheduled but had to pay a baggage fee, as it was no longer an international flight, as well as a taxi, as there was no one to meet them in Warsaw. Good luck on getting a refund on that, if I can believe previous traveler's reviews. The pre-cruise involved two whole days of bus travel. One day from Warsaw to Krakow, and one from Krakow to Budapest. The day of travel from Warsaw did allow us to visit Auschwitz. Very heart wrenching - especially the children. The cruise was just a typical river cruise. Nothing terribly exciting. The usual home visit, cathedrals, excessive time allowed for shopping and "hanging out". The food was, however, better than on our previous two river cruises. Even the sirloin steak was tender. Cabins were typical - 165 sq ft. Bed, small table and two chairs, bathroom with shower. Our cabin did have a refrigerator, which was nice, so we could put our pop, etc in it. We had an "A" French Balcony cabin, so that explains the refrigerator. On these cruise ships, I don't know why they don't just put in floor to ceiling windows and forget the balcony. Its worthless, as you can't go out on it, as it's only about 8 inches wide. Post cruise we went to Dracula's Castle. Actually Queen Maria's castle, and built way later than Dracula. Still interesting. But we did get to see where Dracula did live. It's now a restaurant. Also The Parliament Building. Its the largest Government Administrative Building after the Pentagon. 4 million sq ft! I enjoyed that. Also the Romanian food. Definitely related to Greek cuisine. Would say the post-cruise was better than the pre-cruise. Staff was helpful and accommodating. Oh - most of the younger people in Eastern Europe speak English. Its required starting in first grade. So that's nice. I'm afraid many Americans do not speak a second language. Not that it would be Romanian anyway. And yes - the staff pressured everyone to put EXCELLENT on their reviews. They said, if you think it was good, but maybe it was ALMOST EXCELLENT, then mark excellent. Well, I question that. Are we to compare to just river cruises? Or ANY cruise we've been on. Lets face it, a river cruise can't compete with Seabourn. They had a port talk every night. Some lectures, sometimes by the cruise director. Folk dancing, the usual river cruise entertainment. Nothing to write home about. The use of pan pipes was interesting, but of course those originated in Greece, though we think of them relative to the Andes. All in all, as I sometimes say, I'm glad I went, but I won't go back. Note; We got a reduced rate as we went in November, when the weather was already chilly. Make sure you take you scarf and gloves if you go in the late fall. And a warm coat. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Arrival in Basel was a bit convoluted, something that could have been avoided if Vantage had told us in advance to exit our baggage claim into Switzerland. This caused some delay as some travelers were wandering about seeking transport to ... Read More
Arrival in Basel was a bit convoluted, something that could have been avoided if Vantage had told us in advance to exit our baggage claim into Switzerland. This caused some delay as some travelers were wandering about seeking transport to the ship. It was one of the few weak spots in the trip. We were welcomed to the ship with lunch while cabin preparation was being completed. Food service was excellent and provided by an engaging young staff. Meals were varied and attempted to meet local fare. We did not have a meal I did not like and especially came to love the daily soup options. The ship was the nicest of the ships we have been exposed to in seven Vantage cruises. It is fairly new and it showed. Our cabin was larger than previous ships although clothes storage was a bit of a challenge. Our cabin attendant was excellent and friendly. Laundary service was particulary efficient. One small negative was the absence of a piano player onboard. In his place was a jukebox and some local entertainers, nice but more limited. The daily tours were interesting and I learned a great deal, for me an important standard for a cruise. I now wonder how I have missed the excellent German wines for so long. Both the Moselle River and Luxembourg were new to us and we were move at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and loved the Moselle Valley. Our dock spots were often away from our destinations but that s partly due to the size of some places visited. I can’t this of a tour I did not enjoy. This was a vey good trip, Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our ninth Vantage World Travel voyage, and our fourth Vantage European river boat cruise. Our past experiences had been excellent and we expected the same to be true of this one. Sadly, Vantage no longer offers the same quality as ... Read More
This was our ninth Vantage World Travel voyage, and our fourth Vantage European river boat cruise. Our past experiences had been excellent and we expected the same to be true of this one. Sadly, Vantage no longer offers the same quality as in the past. Formerly, there were four program managers to take care of guest needs. That equated to one program manager for every 44 passengers, assuming the ship was full. Now they have only one for all 176 passengers. They also have a concierge, who is really a program manager in training. One day Jessi, our program manager, spent 2-1/2 hours pointing out from the bridge the castles on either side of the Rhine. Then, she scurried down to the lounge to do her port talk. She was fantastic, but, in my opinion, overworked. The food quality also has become inconsistent. There were some memorable dinners - excellent rack of lamb, pork tenderloin Wellington, and beef tenderloin. But while presented beautifully, most meals were not memorable - at least when compared with past cruises. But, on a positive note, there were many choices available. And the soups, every lunch and dinner, were fantastic. They used to have a piano player in the lounge every afternoon and evening; they now have a juke box! Now that I've listed the disappointments, here are the positives: We arrived in Amsterdam at around 7:30 AM and were on the ship by 8:45, having breakfast. Our suite was ready by 10:00. The ship is immaculate. The crew, every one of them, was superb. Friendly, hard-working, and eager to please. Program manager Jessi was especially great. The lounge and dining rooms were large and comfortable. The Cotton Club rear lounge served as an alternative restaurant, and the food there was always good. On board entertainment was good - one night a three-piece German band (as a tuba player, I was disappointed there was no tuba; only a guitar, accordion, and clarinet/sax player. But they were entertaining.) Another night a French singer/accordion duo - they were fun. There was also an on-board wine tasting, German lesson, and an EU lecture. All ok . . . but a past highlight was the crew show; there wasn't any. Port and shore excursions were good, but many of us thought the walking tours were too long. We did appreciate the home-hosted kaffe klatch, and the lunch on our own in one port, where we were given 30 euros per person to spend. Overall, a wonderful trip, but Vantage has lost its adVantage over other river cruisers by cutting costs and services. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We have sailed on over 40 ocean going cruise ships. Typically 3 times a year, and 10-15 days at a time. We prefer Celebrity and approximately half of or total cruises have been with them. We like he Solstice class ships, and generally ... Read More
We have sailed on over 40 ocean going cruise ships. Typically 3 times a year, and 10-15 days at a time. We prefer Celebrity and approximately half of or total cruises have been with them. We like he Solstice class ships, and generally book those if at all possible. That said as a baseline for our sailing experience, we have always wanted to experience a European river cruise but have been put off by the high per day cost, and unknown ports/cities they visit for the most part. An email from TripAdvisor led us to the Vantage River Voyager that is the subject of this review. First impressions are, the ship is clean and well kept. It's fairly new, so that was not a surprise. The greeting staff was pleasant, in general the entire staff were nice. The cabins are slightly smaller than a balcony on Celebrity, but adequate. I need to add that we sailed from Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebrity Silohouette for 14 days to get to Amsterdam for our Vantage cruise. The smaller storage & closets on the Vantage ship were able to accommodate our belongings, but not as easily as bigger ships. We did not expect or have any entertainment except an occasional (2-3 instances) solo performer. Breakfast was probably the best meal of the day, with omlets, & eggs cooked to order. Lunch was a buffet, and a limited menu to choose from. Dinner was pleasant with wine and beer included. The choices were usually appetizer, one soup, 3 entrees, and 2 desserts. Very few of these items were memorable, but I'm a fussy eater and probably spoiled by Celebrity exposure. There are several reasons this review is only 3 stars. To begin, most of the ports visited had little to offer as far as a local attraction, and in about 2/3 of them, if you didn't go on the included tour, the ship was typically docked beyond walking distance to anything else. I suspect the outlying docking accommodations are less expensive for Vantage. Frequently when we were bussed into the town close to our ship, there were vacant docks all over the area that we could have docked at. This was evident time and time again. Another issue was the ships' WiFi service was quite slow, and for at least the last 1/3 of the trip either out of order or barely usable and irregular. I kept asking what was wrong and why didn't we have service, but never got an explanation. Finally, the worst incident occurred a few days before the end of the trip. When we got up one morning, the toilet in our cabin would not flush. It turns out, the whole ships' system was not functioning in any cabin or public restroom. It remained out of order apparently all day. We left for the day on an excursion. Upon our return at dinner time, they had restored service, but I heard the public toilets were filled to the brim by passengers. I pity those who did not leave the ship on the excursion. We enjoyed parts of this trip, and got to see areas we would not have visited otherwise, however, I will not be booking another river cruise any time soon. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We recently did back-to-back cruises with Vantage - Normandy, France and then Belgium to Amsterdam. Before reading on, please know that we had a wonderful time on both cruises. The food was amazing, tours informative, cabins comfortable ... Read More
We recently did back-to-back cruises with Vantage - Normandy, France and then Belgium to Amsterdam. Before reading on, please know that we had a wonderful time on both cruises. The food was amazing, tours informative, cabins comfortable and the crew of both cruises did everything they could to make sure everyone had the best experience possible. HOWEVER, the initial reservation process to book two cabins on each cruise was excruciatingly slow and disorganized and took over 1.5 hours. We made our reservations 5 months in advance. Two and a half months out, Vantage called to say our first cruise had been cancelled because they couldn't fill it. Then, THEY ONLY OFFERED US $250 EACH for the inconvenience of our having to change airline reservations to reverse the order of our cruises. (The air fare rate we got was hundreds of dollars less per person than the rate Vantage would have charged.) The airlines (Icelandair), however, would not simply make a change because we were booking two completely different cities because of the beginning/ending of the cruise locations as well as changing dates; we were asking to be ticketed for an entirely different trip. So, we had to purchase completely new tickets (NOT with Icelandair!) and the $250 from Vantage was NOTHING! We were very dissatisfied with this offer but the "Customer Service Manager" said that was the best they could do and that our other option was to just cancel and they'd refund our cruise money. Wasn't that nice? We ate the losses we couln't really afford and tried to keep a positive attitude. (Discovered that OTHER passengers were refunded $800 for rebooking airfare for a cancelled cruise!!!) Critical information from Customer Service right before the cruises was completely incorrect: Firstly, the port in France to find the cruise (there is more than one Conflans); then the phone number we were supposed to call to find the cruise port in Antwerp. Other guests had the same problem. Inexcusable. If you are able to put experiences with a disorganized home office and, many times rude, unfriendly administrative staff, you'll most likely have a positive and memorable cruise with Vantage. I was prompted to write this review because today I received a catalog and was interested in another cruise with a good rate for this year. I called to get more information and was spoken to so condescendingly that there is absolutely no way we will go on another Vantage trip. I will be happy to pay extra to another company who treats its potential clients with courtesy and respect. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Vantage offered a great Christmas cruise on the Danube at an excellent price. I had never done a river cruise before, but am an experienced ocean cruiser and travel on my own quite a bit as well. I would definitely cruise with Vantage ... Read More
Vantage offered a great Christmas cruise on the Danube at an excellent price. I had never done a river cruise before, but am an experienced ocean cruiser and travel on my own quite a bit as well. I would definitely cruise with Vantage again. My quibbles are all minor. Logistics: We arranged our own flights and Vantage would not transfer us from the airport to the ship, as we arrived a few days before the cruise started. I was told that we could only be transferred if our flight arrived the same day as everyone else’s. Not a big problem, but know that if you arrange your own flights, you will need to call the ship the night before the cruise to find out where it was docked. Our cruise was stated as Munich to Budapest, but it turns out that the ship was to dock in Regensberg, not Munich – it would be helpful if this was clearly stated in the cruise documents. Still not a problem, but when we called to find out where the sip was docked, we were told that due to low water levels, the cruise would leave from Passau instead. I called back later to find out exactly where the ship would be docked and was told that it wasn’t in Passau, it was in Vilshoven. Late that night, I received an email with the gps coordinates of the ship, but no address. Fortunately, google maps works with gps coordinates and there was train service to Vilshoven. It would have been a great service for Vantage to transport people who had made their own arrangements once the location changed. Cabin: We had a lower-level cabin with a window, not the French doors. The windows are narrow and located at the top of the wall (similar to a clerestory window), so don’t think you will be gazing at the scenery through them. The room was adequately sized and it was only difficult to squeeze past one another when the closet door was open – it’s a shame that the hinges don’t allow the doors to open to 180 degrees. We had three burned out lights in our cabin and when the bulbs hadn’t been changed by the second day, I reported it to the front desk staff and they were changed. It was a thoughtful feature to have a light in each closet, but one of them never did work. The cabin was cleaned and serviced efficiently daily; I never saw the crew and we didn’t have a specific cabin steward as you do on an ocean cruise. Good storage in cabin and bathroom. No cotton swabs. The round bathroom mirror was on too short of a stem to look at the back of my head, which was annoying. There were some varied noises coming from the ship while moving (may not be an issue on upper decks), and the bathroom door vibrated in the door frame unless we stuck a washcloth in it. Activities: An odd feature was added to this cruise – bizarrely, a horror movie was created by the new “ship animator” (I think they meant videographer, but he was always referenced as an animator) and teens aboard the ship. They filmed in hall on Christmas Eve afternoon while we were trying to nap. There was much yelling about blood (so restful and Christmassy!) and no notice was given to us. Live local music was provided twice on the ship, and it was excellent. Port tours and activities: Martin and Renata were a very good team and both were pleasant, knowledgeable and professional throughout the cruise. The ports themselves were great, although I wish we had more time in Salzburg (lengthy bus ride). The included walking tours were fine; guides were knowledgeable and the pacing was generally good. Nothing amazing, but solid. The private music performance in Vienna was performed by competent professional musicians, and the lunch in Salzberg was in an amazing venue (although it took far too long). Because we were shuttled to Regensberg, we could not eat aboard the ship and we were each given 20 euros as lunch money. Food: Much of the food was quite good and I appreciated being served normal (not oversized) portions. Breakfast was served buffet-style and was very nearly identical every day. A little variety and a few more choices would have been appreciated. I would have liked a teapot instead of a coffee cup to steep my tea, and wait staff should quit trying to top up tea with water, as it waters down the tea. There was a decent seletion of teas aboard ship, but please offer me the tea box so that I can select my tea or just put it out with the self-serve breakfast things. Lunch in the dining room was okay – mostly the same salad bar/sandwich makings on offer with a rotating pasta dish cooked to order. I ordered a cheeseburger one day and it was truly awful. It was dried out and the edges were so overcooked that I couldn’t bite through it. There were a few missteps with food, and sometimes the portion size was off. One night we were served cream of green bean soup, and another night we were served a frozen ham ice cream-type appetizer that was unnecessarily gigantic (prob 4-6 ounces) and very few guests ate much of it. Wine was always palatable and was not the same every night. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our third trip with Vantage. We chose this itinerary for a few reasons, length of cruise, VALUE, and the opportunity to visit Christmas Markets later in cruise and still be home for the holidays. Oh, and did I mention I love ... Read More
This was our third trip with Vantage. We chose this itinerary for a few reasons, length of cruise, VALUE, and the opportunity to visit Christmas Markets later in cruise and still be home for the holidays. Oh, and did I mention I love locks. Our Trip was Bonn to Budapest. "Affectionately called, Route 66...there are 66 Locks. At the highest point the ship is 1332 feet above sea level, how cool is that??? If you asked us what was the best thing about the cruise - we would be baffled! We've talked about it for a week now and we just loved all of it. This cruise was a perfect balance of ship time/excursion time. Probably had the most shopping time of the 3 we've done. A plus, since hubby forgot to pack a hat, it was cold and windy, and first stop in Cologne was to find him a knit hat. ( The ship sells Vantage branded merchandise too... ) Wish the weather was better, but we were well prepared for Europe in late November. Sailing the Rhine & Main has many low bridges so the top deck was closed the first week of the cruise, but it was chilly, damp and rainy many days anyway - no issues. The Main-Danube Canal is amazing. This trip is ideal for couples and singles. Median age was mid 60's-70. This is a moderately active itinerary! Most days we hit 12-15K steps on our Fitbits! This itinerary they actually had a 'less-active' group for those who couldn't keep up, and some folks were taxed by that as well.... so it's very important when choosing an itinerary that you research it well. There were 150 passengers on the ship, usually broken into 4 groups for excursions. We chose Vantage because we've had two great experiences with them before (Russia & a Culinary Cruise in France) and had the same expectations. We did the complete package, preferring they arrange the flights and transportation, and we chose the insurance. We also booked the Budapest Extension after the cruise. A few days before sailing we had the opportunity to upgrade to a suite for a very reasonable fee. We decided to splurge, the allure of a tub sold me... I love having a tub, and this was a long cruise....I didn't even realize all the other Suite perks. For those concerned with motion sickness - forget about it....calm as can be and most times I had to peek out the window to assure myself we were sailing! Our United/Lufthansa flight from Newark was non-stop to Frankfurt. We were greeted at the airport by a Vantage representative. There were a total of 23 people meeting at 9 am ish. Once together, we took a very long walk in the rain, pulling all our own luggage to the bus. We managed fine, even after a long sleepless night of flying, however it was an issue for some of the older folks in the group. This never happened to us before on Vantage trips....there was always a skycap to take the bags to the bus. Wasn't happy about this, especially since, we circled the airport and stopped to pick up 5 additional group members with bags right by the terminal door. We traveled less than 2 hours to Bonn where we boarded the boat before noon. We were first group there and it was amazing to board the boat and be greeted like family - we were traveling with a hotel manager & concierge we met and sailed with 2 years earlier in France. After meeting the available crew members and captain, we were escorted to the lounge where they had a light lunch buffet available for the early arrivals. This was wonderful and we began to relax. Within a short time they announced the cabins were ready and we were escorted to Suite 411(Dinah Washington Suite) on the Navigator Deck. There are 12 suites on the River Voyager. The suite has adjustable beds, a pillow menu to chose your preference from, a complimentary mini bar (but restocked at a small fee), daily fruit basket, additional large bottle of wine replenished every 5th day, plenty of room - I immediately reorganized the sitting area to have the couch facing the french balcony so we could sit and look at the view when we wanted to. The bathroom was huge for a river cruise ship. Double sinks, plenty of storage, a luxury shower with a rain head and six spa jets, and a deep jetted bathtub with 8 nice powerful jets.....which I enjoyed nightly! All I hoped for was a tub....oh my! The L'Occitane ammenities are always wonderful too! I have long, thick hair and always have issues with hair dryers....not here, the powerful 2100W dryer was awesome! Oh and did I mention....we always had complimentary laundry - which I had no idea of until day 5...I stuck the notecard in the book I borrowed from their great little library! The suite also comes equipped with a nice pod system coffee/tea etc that is replenished twice a day...I wish I had more time in my room! There is an American Outlet, so you can charge all your items without needing adapters....nice. There's even an IPOD clock for your phone. The WIFI was very good considering the itinerary. Only real issues were thru the locks, it did get jammed up when we all returned from our daily excursions and wanted to check in with home/upload pictures, etc. but that's to be expected. You can google River Voyager and the initial reviews all show our cabin! We actually checked out the lower level fitness area of the ship - small, but well equipped! We knew we would be getting plenty of exercise and probably not have time to 'work out'. The Blue Note Lounge is the main gathering place for all ship activities, entertainment, lectures, etc. There's a well stocked library with books/ puzzles, games too. There is also a 24 hour coffee/tea expresso station right next to the bar. Cookies available every day at 3, and there's always a well stocked fruit basket up there too! You will not go hungry on this ship! The River Voyager offers a Buffet Breakfast with omelet station in the Bourbon Street Bistro (Dining Room), a traditional served lunch with a buffet salad bar and pasta station, and a full dining experience at dinner. There is also optional lighter fare at the Cotton Club restaurant aft. We only ate in the dining room. We are traditionalists....are were traveling with our 'Outlaws'....our daughter's in-laws. This is the 3rd river cruise we've done together. We found a table we liked in the dining room and always chose it for lunch & dinner....mornings we sat at larger tables and mingled. Our servers, Nikki & Romulus were awesome! They quickly learned our names & preferences and service was exceptional! The Chef's menus were great, always a choice of meat, seafood or vegetarian/pasta, there are also healthy choice option menus and 'standard fare' ie always available, steaks, chicken, fish or burgers. 99% of the time we ate from the daily Chef's menu, as the selections were wonderful. The Head Chef was a young personable fellow who also did a kitchen tour for those who wanted to see where his team works. He also shared with us that the head office selects the daily menus, he has some leeway, but not much. He doesn't decide what we eat, when. They take advantage of local markets and offerings, and a few times we witnessed the crew unloading trucks of produce and food to being onboard - truly a team effort, everyone involved - and it was very nice knowing our food was so fresh! The soups were outstanding! Ice cream magnificent....and the breads awesome! We had a great selection of wines and beers daily too! Loved it all! The entertainment was very good when we had entertainment, we had a number of quiet nights with only a jukebox in the lounge....we needed a couple more nights of Bavarian entertainment to liven things up....too often everyone just retired early. We also had a very full schedule, so some really needed the time to rest. We are 60 going on 21. Our cabin 'angel' Doni kept our suite sparkling! His service was immpecable....at least twice a day he magically made beds, cleaned and turned down beds, usually when we were eating. The front desk reception was always available, friendly and able to make change, and take care of any issues we may have had. Our concierge, Renata, and Cruise Director, Bogdan, worked very hard to ensure everyone was having an excellent time and always aware of what the next day had to offer thru port talks, shopping recommendations and hand outs. There were always maps available for those who wanted to explore on their own too. And the River Voyager had a nice fleet of bicycles ready for those who wanted to pedal around the towns. Renata and Bodgan also hosted a pub crawl and entertainment night on-board as well. I don't know if they ever find time to sleep - they were always available with a smile! The Hotel manager, Enyo, really runs a great ship - the crew is excellent....they work as a team and everyone does their best to ensure you are having a great time. The Captain, Ziggy, took us safely down the river and very wisely made some adjustments to the daily schedules to ensure we reached all our destinations safely. We were in Regensburg on a Sunday, meaning shops and museums closed, the river was rising rapidly and running fast. The Captain decided we will sail early, lunchtime instead of dinner. So we left early, couldn't do much anyway, and this great decision let us be the ship last to sail for a couple days because of river issues. Other cruise lines had to bus their passengers around to the next couple ports because the boat had to stay safely tied to shore in Regensburg. Great decision by our captain....Safety is the priority. We had many stops along the way....each one offered something special. This is an active adult cruise with moderate amount of walking, a lot of it is on cobblestone streets and there are hills. If you can't walk 1 to 3 miles at a good pace, you probably wouldn't be able to enjoy the excursions. There were a few towns that we hopped on a bus and we're taken to our destinations, but this itinerary had more walking tours, which was fine for us. Some of the highlights for us were Siefried's Musickabinet in Rudesheim, unbelieveable collection! Marktheidenfeld German Village Life tour, we had an awesome visit at the Paper Mill learning how to make paper and that was followed with a great BBQ with entertainment at Johannes Deppisch Winery, what a great guy & outstanding hospitality ; we had a very nice Glassblowing demo on-board, Visiting Nuremberg & the WWII Documentation Center could have been an more than just a one day excursion. Tour of Würzburger Residenz with wine tasting in the Residenz Cellar, delicious and we definitely had to bring some of their special Reisling wine home, the Schönbrunn Palace was beautiful with a great Christmas Market. We had an exclusive concert at the Kursalon in Vienna with champagne! Outstanding lecture on the Rhine/Main/Danube Canal, this guy was wonderful! The National Library in Vienna needed more than just a quick stop, it was beautiful and sooo much to see! The Heidelberg Castle and view of the town were beautiful; Funicular ride...fun! We chose Passau to buy our beautiful Black Forest Cuckoo Clock and a great Beer Stein. The Vienna Christmas markets were great, especially the one by the Townhall. Our last day on board was in Budapest. We had a full day tour while still 'sailing', and then continued our Budapest touring for a few more days. The hotel for our extension was the Intercontinental Budapest right on the Danube overlooking Castle Hill and the Chain Bridge. Our Vantage Cityhost was our Cruise Director and he very kindly continued to share the wonderful sights of Budapest with us and continued to make sure we had a great trip. Unfortunately Lufthansa decided to strike the last few days of our cruise (This isn't Vantage's problem, but they worked hard to take care of their customers) and the Vantage team went above and beyond to ensure all those leaving the cruise Thanksgiving weekend were able to get home safely, if not a bit later than planned. There were a few who couldn't get home and had to join our group in Budapest for an 'unplanned extension'. Vantage really went the extra mile to ensure these folks were well taken care of and able to return home as soon as flights were available. The Christmas Markets in Budapest were great! One of the unfortunate issues with travel today is the airline weight limitations.....there were many beautiful crafts and souveniers I would have liked to bring home, especially from the markets, but we couldn't... Since Hubby bought a hat early in trip, I thought it only fitting that I go home with a hat too - a nice Silver Fox Bubble hat worked just fine for me and I could wear it and not worry about 'added weight'. We brought some Euros with us, and we used the hotel ATM for Forints in Budapest. The Christmas markets took both in Budapest, but more favorable if you used local currency. Compared to Germany & Austria, Budapest prices more favorable - this was the place to shop! One of my goals was to dance on the Danube and we did - our Bluetooth speaker was playing Keith Urban's Blue Aint Your Color.....chilly evening, silly dreams....but we another item to check off the bucket list! We were gone 20 days and not ready to go home. Our airport transportation was right on time, hotel took bags right to the bus, flights home on time, no issues. We think the Vantage rep in Frankfurt airport dropped the ball not getting skycap for the bags and making us walk so far on a rainy morning, but in the scheme of things, it's minor. We are already thinking about our next Vantage trip.... Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Vantage in Europe Having traveled in Europe several times over the years, a few times with a friend, but mostly by myself, I've gotten to know many countries well speaking only two languages, English and German. For the first time, ... Read More
Vantage in Europe Having traveled in Europe several times over the years, a few times with a friend, but mostly by myself, I've gotten to know many countries well speaking only two languages, English and German. For the first time, because of a recent handicap, I decided to try Vantage Travel for a European River Tour down the Rhine, Main and Danube aboard the River Voyager. It turned out to be a bad mistake. I advised them of my situation, being able to only walk at a slow pace, and questioned them deeply about my being able to participate in all the tours. They told me I would be able. They lied! They actually did about several things, just to get me signed up, which I'll get into. It all started with the sales office, which I called a few times over a few days. The same sales woman told me that there are two groups, a fast group and a slow group. It was all a lie, as there is only one group, a fast group for the first week, no slow group. Obviously, I wouldn't learn that until after I was on the trip, which started on the 10th. She also told me the walks would only be about 15 to 30 minutes, but that was for the fast group, not the slow group, and some of them were longer. And no consideration was given to the people who were slow movers. Probably the second or third time I called them, they told me there were only three spaces left, and that I should sign up that day or miss the trip, and I put it off for another day. It turned out she didn't tell the truth about that as well, as there were over 50 (beds?) vacancies aboard when we sailed. They were always putting pressure on you to sign up and would tell you anything you wanted to hear and more, which was not always the truth. She also mislead me about the total price as she always just kept mentioning the $2199.00, never mentioning the supposedly $500 port docking fees I had to pay until after I decided to be a part of the group to their trip. It was just not the truth to put some pressure on me to book with them. There were a few other things she mislead me about as well, regarding the food and wine. Over all, their company is not one to be trusted. I have never been mislead and lied to in the travel industry, which I have been a part of for over thirty years. I find it rather amazing that anyone would be treated this way whether your in good health or handicapped. It wasn't until I complained to them the evening of the 19th that we were then told there would be a slow guide for the tour the next day, finally, and 20 handicapped people showed up for the tour going the next day, over 10% of the passengers. It's to bad that you have to complain to get them to do what they said they were going to do in the first place. It turned out it was the only slow walk group of the whole tour. And on the walk, a woman with a walker realized she wasn't able to keep up even with the slow group and returned to the ship within about 100 yards. Still early on the walk, the very large man, probably 300 to 350 pounds or more also fell on the cobble street and it took four people to get him up. He also returned to the ship. On the very first tour, of Cologne, it was suggested that it might be best if we didn't take the tour as it was a longer walk than normal, and I didn't go because of being on a plane for so long I wasn't sure of my feet or knees, and didn't want to be a possible problem. The trip turned out to be a very poor tour and experience. I'll go back to doing it on my own from now on. I have to assume everything happened the way it did, because that's the way management told them to do it; no slow guide until they complain about it. When I complained to the front desk and then asked about cab fare to get to town, they didn't really know what it would be into town that night, and I asked them to call and get a correct fare which took forever. By then the shops were closed, and they were closed all the next day as it was Sunday. So only the normal or fast people were able to go into town that evening and enjoy the lights of the town and shop. As it turned out, I really couldn't trust the word of the staff tour guides aboard the ship as well. It was really disappointing, and we still had almost a week to go of a two week trip. Even though we were going through some of the best wine country of Germany and Austria, wines from those countries were only occasionally served, but they weren't of decent quality either. Almost all the wines served with dinner were sub standard, no matter where they came from. I would buy a bottle of wine in town for four euro's, and the people I was dinning with loved it every time, and they didn't want to drink the wine served. Can't blame them. Apparently no one ever tells the company about the poor quality wines they are serving, or maybe they are, and nothing is done about it, so now they'll have their first notice on record. By the way, I write about wines from South Africa to Canada and everything in between. Either they are buying wine for three euro's or less or their wine buyer has no taste buds or knowledge of wine, and only thinks in terms of the cost. About one week out and one person was in a hospital for two weeks with a broken hip after a fall on a walking tour, one had a broken ankle or bone and another huge man took a bad fall and was only black and blue on one side of his body a few days later. All from walking on cobble streets. The Vantage tour guides always seemed to stretch the truth or be incorrect as well. We were to do a pub crawl, which meant visiting several bars, but starting with was to be at a brewery which was almost a stone's throw from the ship. At least that's what it said on the side of the building and that's what the guide told us. But it was only a bar, no brewery; the brewery had moved four or five years ago, and our hospitality staff didn't know that? So there would be no beer tasting, only drinking. And there was no pub crawl, we only went to that one place and had to walk back, hence, no crawl, unless maybe you had a few more beers. But there were other things as well. I don't think I'll ever do another river cruise again, for sure not Vantage, and I'll tell you why. The walking tours are generally boring and dull as all you have to do is listen to someone telling you things that you'll never remember because you can't relate it to anything visually. And they throw a lot of unimportant stuff at you just to keep you busy listening. Whatever they tell you, you won't remember the next day. Your always outside of buildings 80 or 90 percent of the time, never inside to see the things that will leave an impression on you. You end up wasting a lot of time, partly because some people are late, some guides just like to talk and don't want to take questions. You always spend a lot of time on the bus. Things are not very efficient in Vantage. I even spoke to one of the VP's that happened to be aboard, Carol, and she told me they are aware of the problem with fast/normal speed groups and the requirement for slow speed groups for handicapped people. But they haven't done anything for years, and they won't. They just want to book you on board and then forget you. If that is their attitude, they shouldn't even book any handicapped people on board. She just ignored the fact that the lady I mentioned which I spoke to lied to me, obviously just to get me booked. She ignored the fact. Her lack of concern just reinforced what I assumed earlier. And most of the people resented the brain washing attempts by the directors, by having the passengers keep telling them everything was EXCELLENT just about every time we had a meal or we returned from a tour or some other experience. They would make us say it was EXCELLENT by shouting back to them every time they questioned us about how good something was. I thought the brain washing was in very poor taste. Even the Russians could have done a better job of that. My cabin was on D deck, or below the water line, and because of that there was a smell in the room, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't nice either. There was also a water or fluid leak from around the toilet or the wall behind it twice, and that may have been part of the problem. I had been in a couple on upper deck rooms and here was no smell like that. I would like to get a refund from Vantage because of the deception used to get me on this trip and other negative things that were experienced on this trip. None of the slow walkers should have been on the trip, and the accident and fall rate indicates that. I never would have signed up for the trip had I been told the truth. Jerry Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Itinerary was for a 13 Day River Cruise that turned into a Bus/River Cruise caused by an engine failure(Mechanical or human error) on the fourth day of the cruise; eliminating 8 days of cruising the Rhine-Danube-Main Canals. cancelled ... Read More
Itinerary was for a 13 Day River Cruise that turned into a Bus/River Cruise caused by an engine failure(Mechanical or human error) on the fourth day of the cruise; eliminating 8 days of cruising the Rhine-Danube-Main Canals. cancelled tours, substitute cities, and 3-8 hour bus rides that elderly passengers could not physically endure; instead of leisurely tours with free time to shop & explore from the ship. We were bused to a hotel where the food and accommodation was not comparable with the ship. Instead of packing & unpacking once, the revised itinerary required three . Vantage, after a month, has not offered a reasonable refund in spite of their failure to provide the itinerary that was paid for by the passengers, instead offered a 4 day cruise to France in November instead of a 13 day cruise to ,Germany,Austria, & Hungary(Our contract failed cruise) in July, not including airfare that was wasted on the Cruise/Bus tour. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Going on a river cruise in Europe was suggested by my cousin. We happened upon a brochure for Vantage in a travel store and began receiving their emails for about a year before making the decision to go. Full itineraries and videos ... Read More
Going on a river cruise in Europe was suggested by my cousin. We happened upon a brochure for Vantage in a travel store and began receiving their emails for about a year before making the decision to go. Full itineraries and videos provided for each cruise definitely influenced our final choice. We did briefly look at several other options, but found Vantage offered more places at a reasonable price. We were able to extend our journey by adding 5 nights which included Bratislava and Prague. This was our first cruise and so we were a little unsure just what to expect. Without any hesitation we can say that we were in no way disappointed and thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful experience. The crew were outstanding and went out of their way to meet our every need on the ship. We were on a first name basis immediately, enjoying many good laughs and thoughtful conversations together. The crew even entertained us one evening with their talents and great sense of humour. The food was simply outstanding with a wide range of dishes offered daily. Some favourite included sea bass, red snapper, pork tenderloin in phyllo and even Baked Alaska complete with sparklers. Excursions each day appealed to a wide variety of interests with local guides providing detailed information. Two of the many, many highlights were the private classical concert in Vienna and the late night cruise in Budapest. We will always cherish the friends we met and the beautiful sites we saw. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had a nice time on this, our first River Cruise. The cabin was excellent. No disappointment whatsoever. Sufficient storage, comfortable bed and incredibly well designed bathroom. We traveled from Bucharest with stops in ... Read More
We had a nice time on this, our first River Cruise. The cabin was excellent. No disappointment whatsoever. Sufficient storage, comfortable bed and incredibly well designed bathroom. We traveled from Bucharest with stops in Bulgaria,Serbia,Croatia and Hungary. Everything was very well organized but there was just too much bus travel for us. We understood why but it was somewhat disconcerting that at every port we were reminded that there were steps, cobblestone walkways and hills to impede our progress and enjoyment of the particular site. The majority of the cruisers appeared to be sufficiently mobile so it become annoying to hear the litany over and over again for the few to which it applied. Food was fine. The main dining room was available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A small buffet area was provided each day for lunch and dinner at the other(aft) end of the ship. The vegetarian meals appeared to be minimal. We liked the fact that there was no reserved seating for dining and that all passengers ate at the same sitting. It gave us the opportunity to meet new people and new crew members. The crew was excellent. They were consistently friendly and attentive. One note (pet peeve). They served cookies each afternoon but they were straight out of the box. C'mon, can't the kitchen staff provide some fresh baked cookies or scones? Another Illogical situation was the fact that the deck chairs could be put all the way back and part way back but could NOT be put upright. If you chose to sit up straight you had to find another type of chair. It was a completely ridiculous design As I mentioned, it was our first River Cruise. All in all the positives clearly outweighed the negatives and we would definitely do it again. Read Less
River Voyager Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.4
Family 2.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 4.1

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