23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this particular cruise because the itinerary seemed to cover the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in greater depth than other river cruise lines. This was our 50th cruise with various cruise lines (combination of ocean, river, adventure, ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because the itinerary seemed to cover the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in greater depth than other river cruise lines. This was our 50th cruise with various cruise lines (combination of ocean, river, adventure, etc.), and our third trip with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. Based on our most recent experience, it will also be our last trip with Vantage not just because this cruise was totally ruined for us but also because of the way we have been treated with complete lack of respect and lack of any customer service after our return despite the fact that we are supposedly "valued" Presidents Club members with Vantage. Thus we are writing this review to alert other prospective Vantage clients of their many pitfalls. Our major concern was with the terrible cabin we were ultimately assigned aboard the River Splendor. To start at the beginning of this saga, we originally booked Vantage's "Switzerland and the Heart of the Rhine and Moselle" river cruise on the Navigator sailing October 5, 2015 with cabin 306 assigned along with booking a 3-night pre-extension in Lucerne. Vantage cancelled this sailing and thus we agreed to rebook it for September 7, 2016, on the River Splendor with the same cabin promised and the 3-night pre-extension in Lucerne. Vantage cancelled again and thus we agreed to rebook on the September 17, 2016, sailing with the same cabin promised although the itinerary was now reversed and the 3-night Lucerne extension became post instead of pre. After repeatedly checking our Portfolio, the cabin was always shown as TBD thus we repeatedly called Vantage and were assured by numerous agents that there was no problem as "cabins were not assigned yet", but they now promised us cabin 329 which was still acceptable. However, after time, the Portfolio still showed TBD. After a few more calls, we were now told that being "President's Club" we were obviously being upgraded. In reality, 2 days prior to departure, the Portfolio finally showed a cabin 337 assigned which was not acceptable. Seeing we are not novice cruisers, we did not like the location of this cabin being above the engines and below the Captain's Club. While we were given no choice at this point, we hoped to make the best of the situation until we discovered cabin 337 has an UNBEARABLE STENCH as it is located directly next to and above the ship's sewer vent so that despite the fact that we paid for a so-called French balcony, we could not open it due to the odor that persisted day in and day out and even permeated the room with the door closed! Perhaps it should be reclassified as a STENCH BALCONY. In addition to the constant lies we received from Vantage throughout this booking process and the unacceptable cabin which entirely ruined our cruise experience and destroyed our faith in Vantage, there were major changes to the original itinerary throughout the course of time. Keep in mind, Vantage had our full payment for almost 2 years! Our original paperwork which was never revised shows beginning the cruise in Amsterdam (not being bused to Arnhem) and included an Amsterdam canal boat tour, included a tour of Cologne (where we never even went), included a tour of Luxembourg (which we now paid extra for as an optional tour), and the Lucerne extension somehow became 2 nights instead of 3 and skipped the tour of Bern with the included lunch (enroute from Basel to Lucerne) and skipped the included Farewell dinner. By the way, because the Bern excursion was omitted, we arrived in Lucerne well before noon only to discover we could not check in to the hotel until 3pm so to everyone's dismay wound up sitting in the lobby for hours after the Lucerne walking tour. In view of the various problems and disappointments we experienced in booking this trip, the unbearable stench in our cabin, and the entire stress this situation has caused, we think asking for compensation of no less than half of what we paid for the journey (not including air) is fair which according to their invoice would be a total of $5249. While the hotel manager aboard the River Splendor seemed very conscientious and understanding and genuinely concerned about the matter, he had no authority beyond the ship to rectify the situation and compensate us in any way as his hands are in effect tied by the Boston office. Since returning home on October 4, we have tried to deal with the matter through the director of customer service to no avail as he has failed to come up with any mutually satisfactory compensation, does not return our repeated phone calls, and basically has blown us off. As a last resort, we reached out via email to Vantage’s president, Henry Lewis, who also never had the courtesy to respond to the email in any shape, form, or fashion. A word to the wise to future travelers, there are many other tour operators and cruise lines out there which are more reputable and will cater to your needs! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
the grand euorpean cruise began in Ruse and ended in Cologne. The pre cruise extension was 5 days in Romania and were fantastic. A beautiful, but poor country was very clean and the mountain citiy of Brasov is a city I would return to ... Read More
the grand euorpean cruise began in Ruse and ended in Cologne. The pre cruise extension was 5 days in Romania and were fantastic. A beautiful, but poor country was very clean and the mountain citiy of Brasov is a city I would return to again. Some of the stops had extensive bus rides which now knowing I would avoid in the future. The ship was well run and the crew was exceptional. Evening meals could drag on for two hours but the dinning area at the rear of the ship was an always available buffet. The cabin was well designed and the bed and shower were fine for a guy of 6'6". The big problem I have with Vantage is the post cruise excursion was promoted as three additional nights in Amsterdam. Reading further I noticed it said two nights at the Barbizon Palace. I called Vantage and on the phone that the day they said that when others would be flying back we would in Amsterdam. We ended up with almost a full day and a half in Amsterdam. The new promotion for 2017 now states 2 more nights in Amsterdam and the price is less than the quoted 3 night 2016 extension. I can only say the same as the others who were on this extension that we were misled. Too bad the ship and crew work so hard because their customer service replied to my complaint with the 2 nights is the industry standard bull. They just wanted to get rid of me, not address the fact that there was not three nights in Amsterdam as promoted. If you go with Vantage be certain to question everything they promote and even then as happened to us they lied. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was an outstanding cruise. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Embarkation/disembarkation went very smoothly. The cabin, dining and service were all above expectations. Best of all, the crew was very friendly and ... Read More
This was an outstanding cruise. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Embarkation/disembarkation went very smoothly. The cabin, dining and service were all above expectations. Best of all, the crew was very friendly and helpful. It felt like we were on a private yacht. We traveled with family (6 adults) - they made every effort to keep us all together for our tours, dining, etc. The itinerary was very good and the tours, which are included, were well organized. We saw all the local attractions at each port, plus had free time to roam around the area. The cruise director was a real professional - everything on time, very efficient when any changes had to be made. This was by far the best cruise experience we have ever had - it was our first river cruise, but we've been on at least a dozen ocean cruises. We started planning our next cruise with Vantage as soon a we got home! Vantage is a great company and we definitely will travel with them again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Our first river cruise and it was fabulous! The ship was beautiful, immaculately clean and well maintained. Our room was spacious and very comfortable. Large windows and well equipped spacious bath. The staff outstanding - very ... Read More
Our first river cruise and it was fabulous! The ship was beautiful, immaculately clean and well maintained. Our room was spacious and very comfortable. Large windows and well equipped spacious bath. The staff outstanding - very friendly, helpful and were always on call. The food wonderful. There was a lot of variety at each sitting. The breakfast buffet bar was especially nice as the chef would make omelettes, waffles etc to order. Dinner menus had a lot of variety and the dining room staff very accommodating for special orders, etc. There was some type of entertainment scheduled after dinner about every third day. Tours were included in the price (except for one or two). Very nicely organized with comfortable buses. It was like being on a private yacht - no crowds, no noise, everything first class. We traveled with family members (adults) but we met a lot of people on board during the cruise which made it that much more fun. Can't wait to take another river cruise with Vantage! Highly recommended. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Forget about the marketing claims; this river cruise line cannot handle obstacles in an efficient manner. Had a very good pre-cruise to Prague & Bratislava but after getting on board, the Danube River water levels were low causing a ... Read More
Forget about the marketing claims; this river cruise line cannot handle obstacles in an efficient manner. Had a very good pre-cruise to Prague & Bratislava but after getting on board, the Danube River water levels were low causing a barge to run a ground. This event occurred on a Friday and from there things went downhill. For 5-days we were stuck in Passau Germany while the Vantage management decided what to do with us. On day 7 of our 14-day cruise, we were given a choice; fly home with a credit, or "continue with a re-arranged itinerary and stay in a 5 star hotel in Mainz Germany," according to the letter from Vantage management. The "re-arranged itinerary" was via daily bus rides to points of interest. The so called 5 star hotel was The Hilton in Mainz Germany; and unfortunately, Vantage never told us the hotel name until after we signed our intentions. The problem with Vantage is they mislead us as I cannot find a 5 star rating among many travel guidance sites. Our meals were all buffet style with a disappointing assortment. Additionally, the dinner meals on the ship included unlimited wine or beer at dinner, and the Hilton offering included one drink only. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We got back a few days ago from our Vantage river cruise. It was wonderful! We left from Amsterdam and sailed the waterways to Belgium and back. The River Splendor was a great boat. Very clean and great staff. My only real negative was the ... Read More
We got back a few days ago from our Vantage river cruise. It was wonderful! We left from Amsterdam and sailed the waterways to Belgium and back. The River Splendor was a great boat. Very clean and great staff. My only real negative was the noise in the dining room during dinner. It was like all passengers needed hearing aids and had to raise their voice to talk. It was hard to talk to the person across the table. For some dinners we chose to go to the buffet at the other end of the boat. Only 40 people (usually only 15-20) and same menu as in the dining room. The food at lunch and dinner was excellent. Wine was included at no extra charge.Breakfast was the same every day and was rather boring. Eggs, omelets, cereal, oatmeal, cheeses, juice, pastries, etc. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate was available in the lounge during the day. I had tried to determine before we left if my husband needed to take a sport coat for the captains dinner. He finally took one but next time he won't. Maybe 25-30% of the men wore one, the rest just a nice shirt and khakis or slacks. The rooms were clean and well planned. The shower was large and they provided nice size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. We had a French balcony but next time I might not pay extra for it. We were hardly ever in the room and many times we were tied up right next to another river boat and had to keep curtains The shore excursions were wonderful. It was so well organized. The busses were comfortable and the tour guides very knowledgable. If we were to leave at 9am we left at 9 am. I don't usually like to be herded like sheep from one site to another but it wasn't too bad, mainly because of the guides. Also, wherever we went there were groups from other boats. Unlike Viking Cruises, there was no signage on the dock as to where the boat was docked. We arrived in Amsterdam 5 days before the cruise so had to make our own way to the boat. I called Vantage to find out where the boat was docked and luckily it was behind our hotel (Doubletree) within walking distance. It was behind 2 Viking Boats and not easy to find. This was our first river cruise and will not be our last. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
We love to travel and have tried everything, independent, escorted, bus, ships (too many people) but nothing beats our last Vantage World small ship vacations. After over 40 years of traveling we took our first river cruise and this is the ... Read More
We love to travel and have tried everything, independent, escorted, bus, ships (too many people) but nothing beats our last Vantage World small ship vacations. After over 40 years of traveling we took our first river cruise and this is the only way we want to travel again. River cruising with Vantage is amazing, I have never been on a vacation that mostly everyone on board had river cruised several times and those like myself who had never river cruised before and fell in love. From the beginning to the end everything was so well planned, cabins, food was outstanding, shore excursions included, service, embarkation, disembarkation everything was great. We are now spoiled, after talking to other passengers and finding out about their bad experiences with other river cruise lines, we will only travel Vantage. We enjoyed the small crowds, you can make your vacation as active as you want, or just relax. Their prices are the best, considering everything that is included, they also offer single cabins. We are looking forward to our next vacation with Vantage. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
We have done 12 cruises; this was our 4th w/Vantage. We had previously taken the Amsterdam to Vienna river cruse so we booked the Black Sea to Budapest. We spent the first night in Bucharest then transferred to the ship, Some where between ... Read More
We have done 12 cruises; this was our 4th w/Vantage. We had previously taken the Amsterdam to Vienna river cruse so we booked the Black Sea to Budapest. We spent the first night in Bucharest then transferred to the ship, Some where between the hotel lobby where we saw our undamaged suitcase and getting to our cabin on the ship, the entire wheel assembly had been broken off and there was a hole in the side of the luggage approx. 5" x 4". I reported it to the Cruise Director who was totally unconcerned asking me if I saw it happen. No, but it was damaged when it was in YOUR control. She said she was going to ask her management and get back to me; never did. The brochure said that we would be offered soda and wine with the evening meal. The first night several in our group ordered soda and were told that it would cost 6.50 euros. We told them what the tour booklet said and they denied it. I went to he tour desk and showed the counciere the booklet and she looked like a "deer in the headlight" saying she'd look into it. Went back the next day and saw that she'd taken the booklet off the counter. Food was OK but awfully small portions and seemingly the same items shuffled with different names. The waiters were rather snippy. They did not want us to choose items; they wanted us to take the set menu. Often I wanted the salad from the Lighter Fare rather than the soup or appetizer from the regular menu. They also almost wanted to remove your plate while you still had the fork up to your mouth. A gratuity of 55 euros for the Cruise Director and the Concierge of 55 euros was automatically added to bill however none was added for the hardworking crew. We asked that the amount be amended to a much smaller amount for them. Management gets paid and does not depend on tips according to one crew member. We found that the excursions from the ship were not as enjoyable because they no longer employed group leaders that stayed with the group for the duration of the trip and those groups were larger - 43 in our color group - too large for the guide to point out things and have everyone see what they were indicating. On one outing, 5 of our members got lost because the leader was so far ahead and although they could hear his voice, they couldn't find us in the "maze" and left the building at the first door that said exit. One of them fell and sprained her ankle which left her unable to enjoy any of the subsequent tours. I am hoping this is was an anomaly and not a sign that Vantage is losing it's reputation of a top of the line trip providers. We will try them again for a future trip. . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Yes we experienced both good and sad ever lasting memories from our September-October 2014 twenty-seven day Black Sea to Bonn trip. The events that developed on this cruise have prompted us to share our exceptional experience with you. ... Read More
Yes we experienced both good and sad ever lasting memories from our September-October 2014 twenty-seven day Black Sea to Bonn trip. The events that developed on this cruise have prompted us to share our exceptional experience with you. The Marriot Hotel in Bucharest was off the chart, one of the best Marriott’s we have stayed at. The day of our 2-3 hour bus ride to meet the boat in Constanta was cold, dismal, and rainy. We barely got through as the rain changed to snow, 4+ inches which cause the authorities to close the highway (snow in Bucharest in September!!!). The storm propelled 20 to 30 foot waves at the harbor throwing rocks the size of watermelons over the seal wall and causing the harbor master not to allow our boat to cross the open bay to get to the river. This forced the staff to scramble to find lodging for 4 bus loads of passengers (approximately 160 people). The next day the staff had to arrange for our busses to find an out of the way, obscure dock, in the dark, heavy rain for us to finally be on board. All this was accomplished by the staff with a seamless, no inconvenience to all of us. As a result of the furious storm, the river was full of debris and many floating large trees and logs. Unknown to the passengers the propeller was damaged due to hitting a large submerged log/tree trunk. The boat had to make an unscheduled trip to a dry dock near Frankfort, again causing the staff to scramble and locate 4 buses to accommodate another change in plans. We received an extra bonus due to the dry docking – an unscheduled trip to Salzburg!! Again, thanks to the superb efforts of crew and staff we never missed a beat of the original schedule and itinerary. So much for the good part of our trip. On Sunday early morning 2:00 AM we received a call from California, my wife’s son advising us to get home ASAP, as her 58 year old daughter, curator of the Abilene, TX zoo had a seizure and was in a coma. At 2:30 AM we woke up the cruise director with the request to get us back to Dallas. By 4:00 AM he had us booked out of Frankfort/London/Dallas. (2 days short of our planned trip) Our boat at this time was en route from Frankfort to Rüdesheim, Germany. They had to stop and berth the boat at 7:00 AM along the river, arrange for a taxi to pick us up at a remote city park for a one hour drive back to the airport to catch a 10:00 AM plane to London. We were back in our house in Plano, TX at 8:00 PM Sunday night!!! What an effort by the staff on that boat – We will never forget what they did on our behalf. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in Amsterdam ... Read More
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in Amsterdam and cruised the Rhine to Budapest. We learned so much about the different countries we visited as Vantage's guides were the best. Ship and its amenities were wonderful. We has a deluxe suite. Of all the things we did and saw the best were the people we met who will remain lifelong friends. As was recommended by another good friend we flew business class. Great Idea, obviously more expensive, but well worth it. Our stay in Amsterdam was 4 nights and what a wonderful city. We had such a great time that we have already booked France and Barcelona for Sept/oct 2015. Also thinking of the one after that. I would leave again tomorrow. I even made a movie of the trip which I will cherish always. I heartily recommend Vantage and any trip you are interested in. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first river cruise but definitely not the last. We were impressed with the helpful , friendly staff. The regional food was outstanding. Having everything included is a great feature. When sailing you always see something - ... Read More
This was our first river cruise but definitely not the last. We were impressed with the helpful , friendly staff. The regional food was outstanding. Having everything included is a great feature. When sailing you always see something - on that trip the scenery is SUPER! My husband has a difficult time getting around, but the staff made sure to steer hime in the right direction to make it is easy as possible for him. The tour guides in the various cities were easy to understand and vary knowledgeable. The ship was very clean. Sailing on rivers is like sitting in you living room - no rough waters!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
The flight to Budapest was a pain as we had long layovers in the US and then Germany on our way to Budapest..... once there, we were forced to stay in a hotel as the river locks were damaged and the boat unable to meet us in Budapest.... ... Read More
The flight to Budapest was a pain as we had long layovers in the US and then Germany on our way to Budapest..... once there, we were forced to stay in a hotel as the river locks were damaged and the boat unable to meet us in Budapest.... HOWEVER.... Vantage put us up at the 5 star International on the Danube and accommodations were outstanding as were the local sightseeing trips they provided. We then bussed to Vienna, a longish ride... and the rest of the trip was on the first class River Splendor... an outstanding ship with an outstanding crew who did everything possible to make our trip a genuine success. The staterooms were quite nice and the showers were large enough for real comfort... and I am a big guy! ( 6'2" and 310 Lbs!) The beds were comfortable, the stateroom balcony was a treat, and the ship accommodations just top of the line. The chef was amazing as were the meals presented from the grand breakfast buffet to the great choices offered for lunches and excellent 5 course dinners. The wait staff outstanding as well always friendly and looking for ways to help make the trip a success. My wife required a gluten free diet and the maitre'de came to her at every lunch and dinner to help her elect what she could enjoy and then saw to it that it was prepared and served just right! The side trips were well planned and executed taking the ages and experiences of the gusts into the planning for speed and coverage of every item with good advice for those like me who could not walk long distances..... and with experienced information for each ability group that made the side trips informational and enjoyable. The shipboard experience with demonstrations and lectures was also informative and enjoyable. Loved the top deck cruising sitting in a lounge chair watching the wonderful countryside glide by.... and the friendliness of those that we passed who always waved "hello" to us.... I confess that I would return in a minute to take this trip again! But there is so much more of the world to see..... and we are booked on another Vantage trip to Portugal and Spain departing in about 8 weeks.... the big decision now is... Where next??? likely another Vantage trip! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
This was a very enjoyable trip. I had no complaints with Vantage. Everything was smooth sailing. Flights and tours were perfect. Trip started in Cologne and went thru Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Vienna and Hungary. Dress was casual. ... Read More
This was a very enjoyable trip. I had no complaints with Vantage. Everything was smooth sailing. Flights and tours were perfect. Trip started in Cologne and went thru Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Vienna and Hungary. Dress was casual. Weather in November was cool- mid 30's-40"s, a little rainy, but overall, not too bad. Food on the cruise was excellent. The tour guides were knowledgeable and very helpful. Never seen so many cobblestones in all my life. I am 82 and was capable of keeping up on the tours. 3 levels on river boat, but I was upgraded to top level. Top level was very nice. All modern US accommodations for everything in each room(WiFi etc.) plus computers were available in a business center. Entertainment on cruise was good, but not extravagant. Excellent storage in room and climate control also in room. Also, flat screen t.v. This is a new ship built in 2013.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
After a disappointing Hotel in Budapest the Cruise was all it was advertised to be. Our Cabin, Staff and River Boat were all very good. We were quite unhappy with the Dinner choices and quality. They seemed to be mediocre selections, small ... Read More
After a disappointing Hotel in Budapest the Cruise was all it was advertised to be. Our Cabin, Staff and River Boat were all very good. We were quite unhappy with the Dinner choices and quality. They seemed to be mediocre selections, small portions and tasteless especially based on the $$ paid for the trip. Since this was our 46th Cruise we feel that we had some basis for this. All of our Ports/Cities visited were well chosen and the Program Directors who accompanied us were terrific. Vantage booked the Flights are they were also good selections as was all our local transportation. Other than the meals we have no complaints about the Cruise itself. However, we should have heeded past Vantage passenger blogs and reviews. If we had we would never had booked this trip. We believe that Vantage pulled a "Bait & Switch' in our Pre-Cruise package. We were supposed to stay at the Elegant "Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal" in Budapest. Two weeks before we received a letter stating this Hotel was unavailable and we were switched to a Hilton business hotel. Corinthia rated #3 and Hilton rated #46. To compensate they gave us an extra dinner. ALL dinners at the Hotel were worse than on the Boat and actually not edible. Vantage Customer Service is nowhere to be found once you pay for your trip and would not budge on the Hotel change. Several of us walked to the Corinthia and found they were NOT overbooked and actually had a Large banner Welcoming "Viking Cruises". Several letters to Vantage have gone unanswered since returning. Beware of Vantage. Read Less
River Splendor Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.9
Family N/A 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates 5.0 N/A

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