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Vantage River Discovery II for the Best of Burgundy cruise Mar 24/April 1, 2016. Pre-trip Air: Despite Vantage having our seat preferences on file and that we travel together (we have different last names), our initial booking did not have our preferred seats and did not have us sitting together. It took a call to flight services at Vantage to get the seating corrected. We were initially routed through Brussels. Because of the airport closure, the day before departure Vantage did re-route us through Frankfurt and did maintain our seating preferences and seating together that time. Arrival at airport: On prior Vantage and other company cruises, we were met at the airport. Our bags were taken to the bus for us by porters. And we were escorted to the bus. Upon arrival in Lyon we picked up our bags and stood around looking for a Vantage person. We were told that a Vantage person would be waiting in the baggage area. A group of us could not find one. We finally decided to leave the baggage area through a no re-entry exit and around a corner found a Vantage person in another hall. We were then led down a long hall to an elevator dragging our bags with us. At the top of the elevator we went down another hall past armed guards and around a corner. Then we were faced with a really long walkway that led to another down elevator. Then we walked yet another hall and exited to an outdoor plaza which we had to cross to get to the bus. We hauled our luggage the entire way. It was a difficult process. This was a big lack of service by Vantage and should be remedied. Ship: Very plain and basic ship with little personality. The ship had a major hot water problem. We were told they did not know why it was happening. . Vantage had to know about that maintenance issue before we boarded. Actually they did. There are reviews on-line that the ship had the hot water problem in March 2015 for 3 days before a plumber was called to work on it. And there is an on-line review for the first cruise of 2016 (the one before ours) that they had hot water problems from boarding for days before the crew sought outside help to repair. Really? The ship was launched in 2012 and has had multiple hot water issues? Why was the ship not overhauled during the off-season. Why did Vantage even load the second cruise of the year (ours) knowing they had a major hot water issue on the prior cruise? The River Discovery II clearly has an issue with its hot water system. We were not told that we would have to leave the ship and go to hotels until Sunday evening March 27, yet one of the Lyon hotels said they knew on Friday the 25th, our first day on-board, that we would be coming to the hotel. It was very hard to believe the “stories” ( some fellow passengers used the word “Lies” ) being told to us daily. My first hot water shower on the ship was on Friday, April 1, the 8th day of the trip. We were told we would have two nights in a hotel in Lyon and two nights in a hotel in Marseille, while they worked on the ship. We had to close out our ship accounts then, and again when we departed on April 4. We had a 4 hour bus ride to Marseille arriving at the hotel at 6pm for a 7pm dinner. When we got our bags we unpacked and dressed for dinner. At dinner we were told the ship had been repaired and we had to have our bags out at 7am the next day. So after dinner we had to go back to the room and pack again. Marseille was sold to us as a major advantage as it was not on our tour. But we lost a day of free time in Lyon and other features of the original trip. The hot water issue involved three more packings and three more un-packings. And it added a bus ride to Lyon, a 4 hour bus ride to Marseille, and a two hour bus ride back to the ship from Marseille. On the way back from Marseille to the ship, two of our bus drivers were stopped and given tickets while we sat in the hot bus for about twenty minutes. When we arrived back at the ship from Marseille, there were three plumber repair trucks parked alongside. Then we learned that not all cabins had hot water yet. At the next port there was another plumber repair truck parked alongside. Captain: This is not an April fool’s joke. On April 1, 2016, the River Discovery II rammed into the concrete side of the Rhone River and scraped along stopping with the bow hung up on shore, then the stern swung around with the current and hung up on some metal shore equipment resulting in the ship stuck bow and stern on the opposite sides of the river, blocking the entire river. It was attributed to the auto pilot which was interfered with by an underwater cable. Really? Nobody even noticed the ship headed towards the shoreline? There were TWO Captains on board! A great number of the passengers saw it happen and all the others felt the impact. This ship makes the same trip every ten days and they did not know that could happen? One crewman was going through the halls agitated and saying “rookie Captain” repeatedly. We were told to remain calm, it was a minor incident. Really? Is it minor to have your ship stuck and blocking the entire river shore to shore? Another ship had to stop dead in the water as it could not pass by us. Neither Captain could stand up and talk in English to the passengers during the tour. Crew: The crew did not seem well trained or managed. The Hotel management of the ship was not good. The Hotel Manager was not very effective in his communications to the passengers and seemed to have difficulty expressing his thoughts, and managing the staff. Food and bar service were inconsistent with slow service. Buffets (particularly scrambled eggs for breakfast), often had empty items with delays refilling them. The standard response when asked was ”it is coming.” There seemed to be no anticipation that offerings were getting low and should be replaced. The food was generally good. There seemed to be a lot of tension among the crew. Various crew members expressed their unhappiness with the ship’s issues and the disembarkation of all passengers. They most likely lost at least thirty percent of their compensation from passengers. A bright spot was the staff assigned to maintain cabins. They did their jobs very well and were always cheerful, despite being recruited to lug passengers bags down the halls when we disembarked and again when we re-boarded. Tour Director and Concierge: both were hard working and tried to make everything go as smoothly as possible in a very difficult situation, with a lot of disgruntled passengers. Tours: Bus transport was generally OK. One bus had little air conditioning and was very hot despite repeated complaints from passengers. Two buses were pulled over by police and ticketed making passengers wait in hot buses for about twenty minutes. One bus had an issue, perhaps not un-kneeling, and scraped the front of the bus on the pavement, delaying our departure from the hotel in Marseille. Our bus could not make a turn in Marseille and they had to pick up and move cars to make the turn. The local guides were for the most part good. The cities and sites visited were fascinating. Hotels: ( Why am I even having to talk about hotels? ) Both hotels in Lyon had problems. People were stuck in elevators at one hotel. The other hotel had very small elevators that would only take about 4 people at a time. The tub/shower in our Sofitel room was extremely slippery and dangerous. Breakfast the first day at the Sofitel was in their regular breakfast room. I think our group size somewhat overwhelmed them. The second day we were in our own room as a group. Breakfast at the Intercontinental was a little chaotic. It was difficult to get items stocked and difficult to get staff to bring coffee, etc. Previous Vantage Cruises: This is my third cruise with Vantage. The second one was on a Hurtigruten ship that Vantage did not operate. It was well run and well maintained. The first one was on the Tulip and Windmill cruise. On that cruise the public bathroom on the ship was locked and unavailable the entire cruise. Almost every passenger became ill during the cruise (including us), some becoming ill on the last day on board. We found out that on the ship’s cruise before ours, the ship’s Captain and most of the crew had been ill. It would seem the ship had not been sufficiently decontaminated before we boarded. Another maintenance issue by Vantage. Two for two on ships they operated. River Cruise? One advantage of a river cruise is the fact that you do not have to pack and unpack multiple times. The hot water issue ruined that concept and added three days off the ship, two hotel check-ins and checkouts, three more suitcase packings/unpackings, three more long bus rides to our trip, an additional disembarkation and having to close out our ship account, and another embarkation and re-establishing our ship account. I can understand having to go to hotels for high or low river water levels on a river cruise. It is unacceptable to have to go to hotels for a known maintenance issue. And this was my first ship wreck. This Vantage trip failed as far as the ship is concerned. Food and bar service were not smoothly executed, and often delayed. The bus transfers were not good. The hotel stays were not good. The packing and unpacking were not good. The daily tours were great. The sites visited were fantastic. The local guides were good. The concierge and the tour director were terrific in managing all the unexpected events and in dealing with a shipload of disgruntled passengers. The cruise as planned is a memorable journey and one to enjoy. The cruise as it happened was not so good. This was not the trip we bought. Surprisingly, Vantage has made no offer of any compensation to passengers because of their lack of maintenance of the River Discovery II and the diminished value of the cruise. Vantage should acknowledge their shortcomings on this cruise and provide some compensation to everyone who was on the cruise.

Not the cruise we bought: no hot water, ship wreck, 3 nights in hotels.

River Discovery II Cruise Review by adaokie

29 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Vantage River Discovery II for the Best of Burgundy cruise Mar 24/April 1, 2016.

Pre-trip Air: Despite Vantage having our seat preferences on file and that we travel together (we have different last names), our initial booking did not have our preferred seats and did not have us sitting together. It took a call to flight services at Vantage to get the seating corrected. We were initially routed through Brussels. Because of the airport closure, the day before departure Vantage did re-route us through Frankfurt and did maintain our seating preferences and seating together that time.

Arrival at airport: On prior Vantage and other company cruises, we were met at the airport. Our bags were taken to the bus for us by porters. And we were escorted to the bus. Upon arrival in Lyon we picked up our bags and stood around looking for a Vantage person. We were told that a Vantage person would be waiting in the baggage area. A group of us could not find one. We finally decided to leave the baggage area through a no re-entry exit and around a corner found a Vantage person in another hall. We were then led down a long hall to an elevator dragging our bags with us. At the top of the elevator we went down another hall past armed guards and around a corner. Then we were faced with a really long walkway that led to another down elevator. Then we walked yet another hall and exited to an outdoor plaza which we had to cross to get to the bus. We hauled our luggage the entire way. It was a difficult process. This was a big lack of service by Vantage and should be remedied.

Ship: Very plain and basic ship with little personality. The ship had a major hot water problem. We were told they did not know why it was happening. . Vantage had to know about that maintenance issue before we boarded. Actually they did. There are reviews on-line that the ship had the hot water problem in March 2015 for 3 days before a plumber was called to work on it. And there is an on-line review for the first cruise of 2016 (the one before ours) that they had hot water problems from boarding for days before the crew sought outside help to repair. Really? The ship was launched in 2012 and has had multiple hot water issues? Why was the ship not overhauled during the off-season. Why did Vantage even load the second cruise of the year (ours) knowing they had a major hot water issue on the prior cruise?

The River Discovery II clearly has an issue with its hot water system. We were not told that we would have to leave the ship and go to hotels until Sunday evening March 27, yet one of the Lyon hotels said they knew on Friday the 25th, our first day on-board, that we would be coming to the hotel. It was very hard to believe the “stories” ( some fellow passengers used the word “Lies” ) being told to us daily. My first hot water shower on the ship was on Friday, April 1, the 8th day of the trip. We were told we would have two nights in a hotel in Lyon and two nights in a hotel in Marseille, while they worked on the ship. We had to close out our ship accounts then, and again when we departed on April 4. We had a 4 hour bus ride to Marseille arriving at the hotel at 6pm for a 7pm dinner. When we got our bags we unpacked and dressed for dinner. At dinner we were told the ship had been repaired and we had to have our bags out at 7am the next day. So after dinner we had to go back to the room and pack again. Marseille was sold to us as a major advantage as it was not on our tour. But we lost a day of free time in Lyon and other features of the original trip. The hot water issue involved three more packings and three more un-packings. And it added a bus ride to Lyon, a 4 hour bus ride to Marseille, and a two hour bus ride back to the ship from Marseille. On the way back from Marseille to the ship, two of our bus drivers were stopped and given tickets while we sat in the hot bus for about twenty minutes. When we arrived back at the ship from Marseille, there were three plumber repair trucks parked alongside. Then we learned that not all cabins had hot water yet. At the next port there was another plumber repair truck parked alongside.

Captain: This is not an April fool’s joke. On April 1, 2016, the River Discovery II rammed into the concrete side of the Rhone River and scraped along stopping with the bow hung up on shore, then the stern swung around with the current and hung up on some metal shore equipment resulting in the ship stuck bow and stern on the opposite sides of the river, blocking the entire river. It was attributed to the auto pilot which was interfered with by an underwater cable. Really? Nobody even noticed the ship headed towards the shoreline? There were TWO Captains on board! A great number of the passengers saw it happen and all the others felt the impact. This ship makes the same trip every ten days and they did not know that could happen? One crewman was going through the halls agitated and saying “rookie Captain” repeatedly. We were told to remain calm, it was a minor incident. Really? Is it minor to have your ship stuck and blocking the entire river shore to shore? Another ship had to stop dead in the water as it could not pass by us. Neither Captain could stand up and talk in English to the passengers during the tour.

Crew: The crew did not seem well trained or managed. The Hotel management of the ship was not good. The Hotel Manager was not very effective in his communications to the passengers and seemed to have difficulty expressing his thoughts, and managing the staff. Food and bar service were inconsistent with slow service. Buffets (particularly scrambled eggs for breakfast), often had empty items with delays refilling them. The standard response when asked was ”it is coming.” There seemed to be no anticipation that offerings were getting low and should be replaced. The food was generally good. There seemed to be a lot of tension among the crew. Various crew members expressed their unhappiness with the ship’s issues and the disembarkation of all passengers. They most likely lost at least thirty percent of their compensation from passengers. A bright spot was the staff assigned to maintain cabins. They did their jobs very well and were always cheerful, despite being recruited to lug passengers bags down the halls when we disembarked and again when we re-boarded.

Tour Director and Concierge: both were hard working and tried to make everything go as smoothly as possible in a very difficult situation, with a lot of disgruntled passengers.

Tours: Bus transport was generally OK. One bus had little air conditioning and was very hot despite repeated complaints from passengers. Two buses were pulled over by police and ticketed making passengers wait in hot buses for about twenty minutes. One bus had an issue, perhaps not un-kneeling, and scraped the front of the bus on the pavement, delaying our departure from the hotel in Marseille. Our bus could not make a turn in Marseille and they had to pick up and move cars to make the turn. The local guides were for the most part good. The cities and sites visited were fascinating.

Hotels: ( Why am I even having to talk about hotels? ) Both hotels in Lyon had problems. People were stuck in elevators at one hotel. The other hotel had very small elevators that would only take about 4 people at a time. The tub/shower in our Sofitel room was extremely slippery and dangerous. Breakfast the first day at the Sofitel was in their regular breakfast room. I think our group size somewhat overwhelmed them. The second day we were in our own room as a group. Breakfast at the Intercontinental was a little chaotic. It was difficult to get items stocked and difficult to get staff to bring coffee, etc.

Previous Vantage Cruises: This is my third cruise with Vantage. The second one was on a Hurtigruten ship that Vantage did not operate. It was well run and well maintained. The first one was on the Tulip and Windmill cruise. On that cruise the public bathroom on the ship was locked and unavailable the entire cruise. Almost every passenger became ill during the cruise (including us), some becoming ill on the last day on board. We found out that on the ship’s cruise before ours, the ship’s Captain and most of the crew had been ill. It would seem the ship had not been sufficiently decontaminated before we boarded. Another maintenance issue by Vantage. Two for two on ships they operated.

River Cruise? One advantage of a river cruise is the fact that you do not have to pack and unpack multiple times. The hot water issue ruined that concept and added three days off the ship, two hotel check-ins and checkouts, three more suitcase packings/unpackings, three more long bus rides to our trip, an additional disembarkation and having to close out our ship account, and another embarkation and re-establishing our ship account. I can understand having to go to hotels for high or low river water levels on a river cruise. It is unacceptable to have to go to hotels for a known maintenance issue. And this was my first ship wreck.

This Vantage trip failed as far as the ship is concerned. Food and bar service were not smoothly executed, and often delayed. The bus transfers were not good. The hotel stays were not good. The packing and unpacking were not good. The daily tours were great. The sites visited were fantastic. The local guides were good. The concierge and the tour director were terrific in managing all the unexpected events and in dealing with a shipload of disgruntled passengers. The cruise as planned is a memorable journey and one to enjoy. The cruise as it happened was not so good. This was not the trip we bought. Surprisingly, Vantage has made no offer of any compensation to passengers because of their lack of maintenance of the River Discovery II and the diminished value of the cruise. Vantage should acknowledge their shortcomings on this cruise and provide some compensation to everyone who was on the cruise.
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