Vantage Deluxe World Travel, a family owned business, was founded in 1983 by Henry Lewis, who still oversees the company.
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Ultimately, Vantage promises a comfortable, non-rushed pace and a program of "cultural connections" that emphasizes soft enrichment programs. As a result, passengers can take these trips to relax and get away -- while also experiencing educational shore explorations. The company also offers small group, expedition-style cruises in a variety of destinations.
Vantage does not use travel agents to book their trips; you can book directly with its customer service team. The company boasts a newly expanded focus on customer service, providing weekend hours for reservations, a revamped training program for customer service representatives, and an effort to reduce response time.
Top Vantage Ships
Vantage specializes in worldwide river cruises, land tours, and small-ship voyages for travelers 50 and over. The company owns and operates its own fleet of European river ships sailing the Seine, Rhone, Saone, Rhine, Main, Danube, and Moselle rivers, and also operates exclusive charters on the Douro. Its small-ship voyages feature chartered vessels (most are exclusive charters) operated by companies such as Pandaw and Variety Cruises. These range from boutique-style luxury yachts to expedition vessels.
Vantage maintains a 4:1 guest-to-staff ratio on its riverboats. Most cruises offer free shipwide Wi-Fi, sightseeing tours, meals, beer and wine with dinner and onboard entertainment included in the price of the cruise. Meals onboard are one sitting with open seating. All ships have panoramic lounges and sun decks, and are nonsmoking throughout the interior, with a designated smoking area at the rear of each vessel on the open-air deck.
Vantage owns four riverboats, each with solo accommodations, French balconies in 78 percent of the cabins and a luxurious 250- to 330-square-foot Owner's Suite with a well-stocked minibar and separate bedroom area. Standard and Deluxe cabins are furnished with twin beds that convert to double size (queen for the Owner's Suite). All cabins provide outside views and are equipped with TV, safe and hair dryer. They also come with entertainment-on-demand systems offering movies as well as access to many U.S. television channels such as MSNBC, CNN, Discovery, The Weather Channel and more. The features include real-time GPS tracking of the ship's journey.
The line's Cultural Connections programs promise in-depth experiences in each country visited through lectures, special meals, home visits, receptions, performances and participation in local activities. Vantage also offers special interest excursions, including wine, history and art. A special feature on excursions is the free use of headphones for each passenger to ensure they can hear the instructions and lectures clearly.
Vantage is marketed to mature travelers, generally well-traveled passengers ages 50 and up. They encourage single travelers with single occupancy cabins and a roommate matching service. With amenities such as U.S. television channels, a U.S.-style electrical outlet in every cabin and English-speaking guides, Vantage is intentionally designed with the American cruiser in mind.
Vantage currently sails a handful of custom-designed river ships in addition to several exclusively chartered vessels built to its specifications, all with outside cabins.
The newest ship, River Voyager, joined the fleet in 2016. The three other river ships include River Splendor, River Venture and River Discovery II. The 360- to 442-foot-long ships offer airy public spaces, a rear-facing Captain's lounge with retractable roof, flat-screen TVs in cabins and free wireless Internet access throughout the ship.
Vantage also charters the 125-passenger Douro Serenity for Portugal's Douro River.
In Asia, Vantage charters the 398-passenger Century Legend, which sails China's Yangtze River, as well as the Tonle Pandaw on the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam, and the Makara Queen on the Irrawaddy River in Burma. A number of the cruises aboard these ships are more adventurous.
Ocean-going ships that Vantage charters from other cruise lines include Variety Cruises’ Harmony V for the Mediterranean, Hurtigruten’s ms Fram and ms Midnatsol for adventure cruises in Antarctica, Victory Cruise Line's Victory I on America’s Great Lakes, the Santa Cruz II for Galapagos cruising, and the riverboat Zafiro for exploring the Peruvian Amazon.
Vantage also exclusively charters the La Perla, a luxury yacht, to sail the Mediterranean. The 130-foot ship sails coastal Adriatic itineraries from Dubrovnik to Venice and has room for 26 passengers.