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River Discovery II Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
26 reviews
River Discovery II
See all photos
Editor Rating
Very Good
Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor

Editors' Note: As of 2020, River Discovery II no longer sails for Vantage.


Custom-designed river ship aimed at U.S. travelers


No cabins with full balconies

Bottom Line

High-end product at a value-for-money price


Passengers : 176
Crew : 46
Passenger to Crew : 3.83:1
Launched : 2012
Shore Excursions : 0

Part of the European river fleet owned and operated by Vantage Deluxe Travel, River Discovery II offers passengers a floating vacation on a par with the company's long-established land-based tours.

Launched in 2012, River Discovery II was the first member of Vantage's four self-designated "five-star" vessels. It will be undergoing an upgrade for the 2020 season, and the refit will include the addition of brand new cabins for solo passengers. There will be 14 supplement-free single staterooms -- six with French balconies -- plus eight adjoining cabins for families and groups of friends. In addition to regular cruises, the vessel will be used for new solo-friendly sailings where new initiatives will include "Solo Connections", exclusive onboard events for single travelers, plus a dedicated concierge service on every solo departure.

Carrying 176 passengers in the same-size vessel that accommodate up to 200 on some other lines, River Discovery II is aimed at mature North American travelers with high expectations. These needs are met with a 4-to-1 passenger-to-staff ratio, a choice of four types of cabins -- 78 percent with French balconies and a higher than average number of singles -- and food geared towards the U.S. palate.

Other notable features include leisurely, culture-rich itineraries. On some voyages, River Discovery II takes 10 days to cruise the same stretch of water that other lines cover in eight, providing more time in port and ample opportunity for passengers to explore on their own, in addition to joining the daily program of included excursions.

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Vantage only sells direct, thereby avoiding the use of travel agents, and cites this as one of the reasons it can deliver affordable luxury, which it certainly does.

Don't expect outlandish decor or "in your face features." Instead, River Discovery II quietly and efficiently provides everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing cruise. In short, Vantage has a very clear appreciation of its core market and what cost-conscious passengers want.

Fellow Passengers

Vantage caters to the North American market, and River Discovery II's passengers are mainly Americans with a few Canadians. Most are 55-plus -- the majority seniors -- and well traveled. Many are fiercely loyal to the brand; on our cruise, one passenger was on his 19th Vantage trip. Vantage has also started selling its cruises in the U.K., so expect to see some Brits onboard.

Vantage River Discovery II Dress Code

There is a very casual and relaxed dress code, more so than on ships that cater to Europeans. Comfortable attire, including sneakers or flat shoes for negotiating cobbled or uneven streets on walking tours, is more important than fancy clothes. The only rule for the main dining room in the evening is "no jeans or shorts." Passengers that prefer to wear denim when the sun goes down can opt for casual dining in the Captain's Club.

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Vantage River Discovery II Cruiser Reviews

Excellent experience on the Danube

Biggest surprise on this cruise was the quality of the food. While I usually load up my lunch buffet plate with different options, once I taste I don't finish the dish. But on this cruise, I usually finished my... Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Great First Experience With Vantage

The River Discovery II is a 4 year old ship that is kept very clean and compares favorably with higher-end (and higher priced) ships of other lines.... Read More
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6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

Nice ship, very thin walls, relatively uninteresting Saone river to sail

By comparison the Douro River Vantage cruise we took in August was very scenic - hillside wineries and a few castle ruins.... Read More
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6-10 Cruises

Age 80s

Wine, anyone?

The River Discovery II is a beautiful ship with an excellent crew. As with other river ships, the rooms are a bit small but this had plenty of storage area and a nice bathroom.... Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 80s

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