A couple of things first. Checked Paris for embarkation but it was actually Vernon which is about an hour south of Paris but not on the list. Secondly this trip was supposed to consist of two parts, the cruise itself and the pre cruise excursion I booked to the south of France which comprised 5 of the 12 actual days of travel. Both were purchased thru Vantage and thus are reviewed together.
As to the cruise portion, getting picked up & eventually dropped off at De Gaulle went very smoothly. The cabin itself as noted below was fine but a word to the wise, if you happen to have a problem with stairs as I do you might ask for a cabin on a higher deck as the elevator is small and slow but certainly did work. Not a criticism just, a tip to make things smoother.
The food was fine, this is not an ocean cruise so the amount of the food etc. is not excessive but it was sufficient and tasty.
The ship had a comedy show, a revue, a singer and a crew show and all were done professionally (except the crew show which was done great gusto and was a delight) and were entertaining if not outstanding.
Service in both the food/drink area's as well as the cabins was excellent as were the cruise director Nadia and her assistant Ioana.
The main thrust of the cruise portion of this vacation was Normandie and the visit to Omaha Beach, The American Cemetery and the surrounding area was handled extremely well and respectfully. With the exception of Rouen all the ports were fairly small towns and the touring & sightseeing was handled very well and in fact an art aficionado would have been quite delighted.
As for the pre-tour, the title of this review says it all. Vantage unilaterally cancelled the pre cruise portion purportedly due to an insufficient number of participants. I have never simply had a tour cancelled, for weather, hurricanes and a Tsunami yes, but participation, never! I am a seasoned world traveler and used to travel companies that honor their contracts and before September of 2017 never had a tour cancelled even when there were only 2 people. (Here there were supposedly 3) Making this even worse was the fact that they waited until the end of September to cancel this pre-tour leaving no real time to make other arrangements. Additionally if you look at their one sided contract which is probably not enforceable in NYS as a contract of adhesion the penalties are quite one sided. Had I cancelled the day before Vantage cancelled I would have forfeited as a penalty my entire payment of almost $2,300-. Vantage on the other hand advised they owed nothing and only after I raised the roof did they offer $250, an offer I didn't even bother to reply to.
Finally, as odd as it sounds another cruise company, Royal Caribbean, also cancelled part of a cruise I purchased from them also in September of 2017. However that cruise does not sail until April 6th of 2018 so they gave lots of notice. Their explanation was/is self serving also but at least they bent over backwards to make the loss of 13 days palatable. They of course offered to cover any cost of changing your air arrangements if they were already made, mine were not. They also reduced the price of the other 3 legs of the cruise by 50%. As they cancelled approximately 1/3 of the planned trip this seems fair whereas Vantage Travel cancelled almost 40% of a trip at the very last minute and basically snubbed their nose at the consumer.
Vantage is in the business of doing cruises, in fact if you contact their office in Boston they actually appear operate a number of river cruise lines such as Vantage and Emerald Waterways as well as some ocean cruises under the name of Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours. A word to the wise, while the cruise lived up to expectations you might wish to make any pre or post excursion plans thru a more reliable company that will actually run the excursions once they accept your reservation (and money)
Can't remember my cabin number but it was clean and well cared for and as I travel alone it was certainly of decent size. Only drawback was that it was on the lowest deck so that when docked the view out the porthole was often blocked by the pier itself.