19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We booked our first European river cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel at the end of January 2017. We selected their June 27 to July 12, 2017, 15-day river cruise entitled “Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals & ... Read More
We booked our first European river cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel at the end of January 2017. We selected their June 27 to July 12, 2017, 15-day river cruise entitled “Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals & Fairytales” that began in Budapest, Hungary and ended in Amsterdam, The Netherland. Here is an overview of our experience(s): • BOOKING: We called and booked through Vantage Customer Service (located in Boston, MA). The booking process went very smooth and we were immediately assigned our cabin on the MS River Splendor (Category B, French Balcony on Forward Middle Deck, 165 sq. ft.). • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Whenever I contacted Vantage over the next couple of months with various questions/concerns, the people I spoke with in Customer Service were always friendly and very helpful (except for one person). Most of the information is on their website and in your MYPORTFOLIO. • AIRLINE FLIGHTS/AIRPORT TRANSFERS: We arranged for our own airline flights to Budapest and from Amsterdam, but did buy the Vantage Airport Transfers ($120.00 r/t per person). • TRAVEL PROTECTION PLAN: We did not buy Vantage’s Travel Protection Plan, but did buy it through another source at a much lower cost. I understand now that effective July 1, 2017, Vantage has a new Travel Protection Plan with lower cost and increased benefits (check their website for more details). • ARRIVAL IN BUDAPEST: Our flight from Amsterdam to Budapest was delayed almost an hour and I sent an email to Maya, our cruise ship concierge, to let her know our flight was delayed and to please relay this information on to the Vantage airport representative. When we arrived in Budapest, the Vantage Rep was waiting for us and got us to the shuttle that took us to the ship. Upon arrival at the cruise ship, Maya meet us and escorted us onboard where the rest of the cruise staff greeted us. Because of the delay, we missed the Welcome and Safety Briefing, but a cruise member immediately got us to our assigned cabin and briefed us. • RIVER CRUISE SHIP: We cruised on the MS River Splendor, which was designed exclusively for the American traveler with a passenger capacity of 176. o SMOKING: There is no-smoking throughout the interior of the ship. A designated smoking area is on the open-air Solaris Deck. o HANDICAP ACCESSIBILITY: The elevator is located in lobby near the concierge desk (accessible to all interior floors). A hydraulic chair lift is located outside on one side of the ship to access the open-air Solaris Deck. We never took the elevator or the chair lift, but saw other passengers utilizing it all the time. o COMPASS ROSE RESTAURANT: This is the main dining room located on the Explorer Deck (forward middle deck) and there is no seating plan, so you can dine with whomever you choose. Most tables are set for six to eight people (round or rectangle tables) with a few tables for four people (Captain’s Table is set up for 10 to 12 people). Each table has white table linens, fine crystal/dinnerware/silverware, and fresh flowers. Climate control is very pleasant if you set near the windows and a little less noisy than in the middle of the room. The restaurant is closed whenever a service is not in progress. o CABARET LOUNGE: The lounge is located on the Navigator Deck (forward upper deck), is opened 24/7, is where the bar is located (open from noon to the last guest retires), where tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are available around the clock, and where all port talks and entertainment happens. Early Risers’ Breakfast is available here from 6:00am-7:00am. It is also where you can relax, read a book from the library, or meet fellow passengers, or play a game of cards. Entertainment onboard features local performers coming aboard in select ports, plus there is a jukebox and a grand piano. o CAPTAIN’S CLUB: The Captain’s Club is located on the Navigator Deck (rear upper deck) and is where you can enjoy healthy spa cuisine and other lighter choices, buffet-style. While seating is open during the day and for lunch, reservations are required for dinnertime. We ate lunch a couple of times, but found it on the warm side and preferred the variety of food in the Compass Rose dining room. We did not eat any dinners here. o SOLARIS DECK: The top observation deck is where you will find the walking/running track, as well as chase lounges and table and chairs. o FRONT DESK/CONCEIRGE: Located on the Explorer Deck (forward middle deck). This desk was usually staffed with at least one person, but most times there were two people. o FITNESS CENTER: The fitness center is located on the Odyssey Deck (middle lower deck). It is outfitted with a treadmill, stationary bike, step machine, and free weights. We did not use it, but did notice many passengers who did. o MASSAGE STUDIO: Available onboard, but we never signed up for any treatment. The massage therapist did perform light stretching exercise several mornings in the Cabaret Lounge (free to passengers).• • DAILY PROGRAMS: Each day there is a port talk about the next day activities and each evening a daily program for the next day is left on your bed during turn-down service. The program provides times for all activities, as well as Concierge Suggestions for the port or onboard activity. • FOOD: There are 41 meals included during the river cruise (14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, and 14 dinners, including Captain's Welcome and Farewell Dinners and one meal ashore). o BREAKFAST: Breakfast had a time range (usually 7:00am to 9:30am). Usually buffet self-service style that included an omelet station, cheeses, fruit, all types of breads/muffins /pastries, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, bacon, sausage, some type of potato, pancakes/waffles/crepes with special sauces, several types of cereal, etc. Early risers’ breakfast is available in the Cabaret Lounge from 6:00am-7:00am. o LUNCH: Lunch normally has a start time (not a time range). It was either menu service (with buffet salad bar) or full buffet self-service. There was always a variety of proteins, vegetables, salad, dessert, and many days included a special station (pasta, thai, salmon wellington, stuffed pork tenderloin, etc.). There were at least 3 favors of ice cream every day. We loved the Salmon Wellington (went back for seconds) and will be trying to make it at home. Note: You can enjoy a Light Lunch Buffet in the Captain’s Club Lounge, but this buffet does not include the same variety you will get in the Compass Rose dining room. o DINNER (includes free wine, beer, and soft drinks): Dinner has a start time and if you are very late, you might not get any food. A normal dinner menu was usually 4 courses (appetizer, soup, entrée choice, and dessert). The Captain’s Welcome & Farewell Dinners were 5 or 6 courses. We give the food at least 4-or 5-stars. Chef Irvan and his staff were experienced and presented delicious and fresh food every day. • PORT EXCURSIONS/LOCAL TOUR GUIDES: o LEAVING AND RETURNING TO SHIP: To leave the ship, you must pick up a card (the size of a business card) from the front desk/reception that has your name and room number on it. Upon returning to the ship, you must hand the card back in. The card is placed back in your room slot so the crew knows you are back onboard. (Note: When leaving and returning from an excursion, you might have to walk through or over another cruise ship that is at the same port. Some cruise ships will not allow passengers from another cruise ship to walk through their lobby, thus making passengers walk up and across their top deck and back down to gain access to their cruise ship.) o YOUR COLOR FOR THE DAY: Passengers are divided into groups of 20 to 40 to accommodate for either the motor coach transport or walking tours and assigned a specific color. Passengers are given a color card before leaving the ship which helps them locate their assigned bus or local tour guide sign. o HEADPHONES AND RECEIVERS: Vantage uses QuietVox audio system for port excursions. The color you are assigned for each day/tour is also used to activate your receiver. o CITY MAPS: There were always maps available at the Concierge Desk for every port we were in. o BUSES: There is no assigned seating on the buses…first come, first serve. Sometimes you are allowed to leave items (i.e., jacket, umbrellas, backpacks) on the bus while you are on an excursion. Buses are locked in this situation. • BIKE RENTAL: We recommend that you do not rent a bicycle ($150.00 per person for the entire cruise). The ship has complimentary bicycles and helmets that you can sign out in port. We found little opportunity to ride the bikes in any ports unless you want to miss a port excursion. • PRE/POST-TRIP EXTENSIONS: We did not opt for any pre- or post-trip extension offered by Vantage. If we do a river cruise again, we will probably arrive a day earlier (to adjust to the time change) and maybe leave a day later. • RIVER LOCKS: During this river cruise, we went through 66 river locks (16 on the Danube, 16 on the Rhine-Main-Danube-Canal, and 34 on the Main-Rhine). Locks are a very interesting part of river cruising. For example, the lock width along the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal is 12 meters, so all ships can have a maximum width of 11.40 meters, which leaves exactly one foot of space to the right and left when a ship enters a lock. Our crew was excellent at entering the locks without bumping the walls. • LAUNDRY SERVICES: Laundry service is available onboard for a service charge. We did not use this service, but talked to several passengers who did. Pieces of clothing had shrunk or were ironed when they requested it not be ironed. The cost (in Euros) for various items: men’s or ladies’ shirt (E3.50), men’s or ladies’ pants/jeans (E6.00), men’s or ladies’ underpants (E2.00), ladies’ bra (E3.00). • GRATUITIES GUIDELINES: o CRUISE DIRECTOR/CONCIERGE/SHIP STAFF/CREW: For non-suite passengers there is a gratuity of 17 Euros per passenger/per day (20 Euros pp/pd for suite guest). This amount is pre-charged to the passenger’s credit card at the beginning of the cruise and can be adjusted at the end of the cruise or modified to cash gratuities. Our gratuity charge for 2 passengers for 15-day cruise was 476.00 Euros. We choose not to adjust at the end of the cruise, but did give several of our favorite servers in the dining room a separate envelope with additional gratuity. o PORTERAGE: Included for ship and hotels. o LOCAL GUIDES/REGIONAL EXPERTS: 2 to 3 Euros per person per day for each. If the guide was good, we gave them between 2 and 4 Euros. o LOCAL DRIVERS: 1 to 2 Euros per person per day. • CRUISE SHIP STAFF & CREW: The passenger-to-crew ratio is 4-to-1. The crew is English-speaking and very friendly. o CAPTAIN: Captain Peter was very nice. We saw him all the time: greeting passengers leaving and returning to the ship, during the Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Reception. He even rode with us to the airport in Amsterdam after the cruise to catch him flight home for holiday. o CRUISE DIRECTOR: Veronika Hoskova was our cruise director and was absolutely fabulous. She was from Prague, Czech Republic and spoke at least 4 languages. I don’t know when she slept, because she literally was everywhere, all the time. She was very knowledgeable about each port and its history. She was truly a delight to be around…always very happy and really to help. o CRUISE CONCIERGE: Maya Pashpurova was our cruise concierge. Maya was good at taking care of any special request the passengers might have and assisting Veronika. o RESTAURANT/LOUNGE STAFF: The staff was wonderful…from Gina the Hotel Manager, Caitlin the Restaurant Manager, to the Chef and his staff, to the wonderful waiters/servers (especially Mihai and Galina). Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We recently sailed the River Splendor on MAJESTIC RIVERS OF EUROPE:CASTLES, CATHEDRALS & FAIRYTALES cruise, a 14-day river cruise mostly following Germany's Romantic Road with castles visible and viewed on land. The ... Read More
We recently sailed the River Splendor on MAJESTIC RIVERS OF EUROPE:CASTLES, CATHEDRALS & FAIRYTALES cruise, a 14-day river cruise mostly following Germany's Romantic Road with castles visible and viewed on land. The ship's cabins are basically the same size on 3 decks with the exception of the suites on the highest deck and the D cabins on the lowest deck which lack a french balcony and have a small window about the size of a small porthole just above the water line. Food service and wait staff were excellent. Our waiter,JARO, serve witha smile and graciusness and wine poured endlessly. Guided tours were interesting. However, the tour to Heidleburg required 2 hours of driving in each direction and viewing not themost interesting castle ruin that had been modified several times over the last centuries. Anoptional tour to Rothenburg was in lieu of spending a morning in Wurzburg; however, we did spend an hour at the end on return to the ship at the fortress in Wurzburg. A planned tour to Koblenz was skipped was eliminated because of a passenger hospital emergency that required deviationfrom routing and a medical evacuation that was handled well; however, we were docked in Koblenz and had sufficient time to walk around the old town which appeared quite charming. We had onboard entertainment in the evenings on 3 occasions; musicians came onboard playing local music, costumed dancers were cheery,and there was a glass blowing exhibiti. We ventured thru 78 locks which required closing down the top deck for 2 days. The CruiseDirector, Bogey,and his assistant Maya, were hands on, intimately involved in the cruise details, and made for an enriched cruise experience. Maya was an assistant on our Douro River cruise. Unfortunately, the cruise was marred by an apparent Vantage policy of overbooking within 90 days of departure or sooner on substanitally reduced deals likethe one we purchased. This was our third Vantage river cruise in 18 months. We were bumped from a June 2016 Douro River cruise and, fortunately, since our air was booked with Vantage,and our flexibility, we were rescheduled to July 2017, provided a substantial discount, and given an upgraded C cabin on thetop deck rather than the middle deck that had been assigned.. Vantage reps advised that Vantage had overbooked 12 cabins. The cruise itself was excellent. We reserved this Majestic Rivers cruise 1 1/2 months prior to departure at a reduced price. Our invoice assigned a cabin and expressly stated "C321 or better", a speciic cabin with a french balcony on the top deck. One week prior to departure, a Vantage rep called my wife who was at a gym and advised that we were being bumped to a D cabin on the lowest deck,, which turned out to be D 213, with the "porthole". My wife was at the gym and could not speak with him so she asked the rep to call me. Aside from the small porthole like window, because they are on the lowest deck and the window can not be opened,dT he D cabins are damp and small items that are washed take much longer to dry out. I was told incorrectly by that the rep explained everything to my wife. In fact, nothing was explained, and I was told that nothing more could be done. I called Vantage and spoke with their Travel Manager of 18 years who rudely stated that overbooking was endemic to the industry, and if I chose to express my concerns publicly,so be it. Our rate was adjusted by $600 for the difference in cost between our assigned C 321 cabin and an unspecific D cabin and discounted by $200 apparently for the incovenience of being overbooked. We emailed President Heny Lewis and received no response to our concerns prior to departure. We emailed the Travel Quality Department and was eventually advised that the Travel Manger with whom I had spoken was working on it and would do his best to restore us to a C cabin with a fernch balcony, as originally invoiced, paid for, and epressly reserved. and assigned. We never heard further from either the Quality Dept or the Travel Manager. Unaswered is the question of how a travel company overbooks a specifically assigned and reserved cabin,i.e. our "C 321 or better" reserved and invoiced cabin and bumps passengers in favor of other passengers--a form of discrimination. When we boarded the ship in Budapest, we asked the cruise director if our C cabin was available and were advised that the ship was fully booked and that we were assigned to D 213. The cruise director was truly concerned abouta problem that was not of his doing. As a result of the cruise director expressing to Vantage our ongoing and unaswered concerns, a few days later we received a bottle of champagne. As it turns out, 3 other D cabins were resided in by 3 other couples who also had been overbooked and bumped. Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
Best food ever, fantastic price, professional staff, comfortable room. Smooth embarkation. Would like to spend a day longer at the towns that were so charming and all very different. Our first river cruise and it was fabulous! The ship ... Read More
Best food ever, fantastic price, professional staff, comfortable room. Smooth embarkation. Would like to spend a day longer at the towns that were so charming and all very different. 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. Concierges exceptionally helpful, especially for those who had problems. Good balance of tours for the slower passengers and faster walkers. My husband was unhappy because he tried to get directions to the ship when it had moved in the evening and the staff didn't speak English well enough to understand from a cell phone. We were also docked below a huge wall so the boat couldn't be seen from the street level in Koln so his taxi said it wasn't there. So relaxing to rest on your bed and watch the beautiful world go by. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I wanted to see the old cities of Europe and not have to move from hotel to hotel. My friend recommended Vantage and we unknowingly booked the same cruise. It was the most relaxing vacation I've ever taken. I hope to take a Vantage ... Read More
I wanted to see the old cities of Europe and not have to move from hotel to hotel. My friend recommended Vantage and we unknowingly booked the same cruise. It was the most relaxing vacation I've ever taken. I hope to take a Vantage cruise every second year to different destinations but I would even take this cruise again. Water was so calm that we didn't know when we were moving - the most relaxing vacation I've ever taken. I loved that there were only 160 passengers so that it was interesting to meet a varied group of travelers and have meals with very nice people. Met some new friends too. The boat was kept very clean, inside and outside. Service was exceptional and the best food I've eaten in a two week period. Loved that they were so flexible in providing food from the café menu in the restaurant so when the menu got a little too fancy for me I could order a grilled steak or salmon. There was no shortage of excellent and fresh food and a good menu variety. I'm a believer in Vantage. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our 2nd 4-week riverboat cruise across Europe on Vantage, 2011 and 2015. The 2015 ship, River Splendor, was very nice, wonderful suite cabins. We had the same Captain Roger on both trips, a wonderful captain. Vantage decreased ... Read More
This was our 2nd 4-week riverboat cruise across Europe on Vantage, 2011 and 2015. The 2015 ship, River Splendor, was very nice, wonderful suite cabins. We had the same Captain Roger on both trips, a wonderful captain. Vantage decreased the number of included tours on the 2015 cruise, but still they were fine. But there were two major disappointments: (1) very poor fish, meat and eggs; and (2) many sick passengers. The cooks and the dining room service staff were excellent. But the food stuffs were terrible. There were few fresh vegetables; and the raw fish and meat were very low quality. Several senior ship officials and many passengers stopped eating the fish and meat. I am 72 years old, and need to workout during long trips. The gym on the River Splendor was small but well equipped with treadmill, bike, elliptic trainer and dumbbells less than 10 lbs each. Unfortunately, sick passengers would come to the gym coughing and sneezing. After 14 days, I got sick, and spent the rest of the cruise in my cabin running a fever. I can't fault Vantage for this situation, which has also occurred on Holland American cruises. But this situation has ended our long cruise vacations. 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Our cabin was rated as a B2 level and we were quite pleased with our room: plenty of space and a french balcony. Food was probably the best we have had on a cruise ship (although I must admit our former experiences were on ocean cruises, ... Read More
Our cabin was rated as a B2 level and we were quite pleased with our room: plenty of space and a french balcony. Food was probably the best we have had on a cruise ship (although I must admit our former experiences were on ocean cruises, not a river one). Even though the weather was frigid during our trip, both my husband and I were very happy with our experience. Among the highlights of our tour: tons of gorgeous artworks (two museums through the cruise and three on our own) the Keukenhof Gardens, and a full day tour/canal ride in the beautiful city of Bruges. Local guides (with one exception) were excellent and very informative. In addition, we really liked Vantage's liberal allowance of 'time at leisure' as sometimes group tours can get tedious. One free afternoon, the two of us decided to take a train to The Hague to visit the famous Mauritshuis Museum. Our concierge, Renata, was a wonderful help, even purchasing online tickets in advance for the museum. Although both my husband and I are very mobile and into hiking, I heard some of the older passengers complain about the amount of walking necessary. Apparently they had chosen this particular trip for its 'Low Activity Level' assignment in the brochure and experienced quite a bit of difficulty on the shore excursions. We found this cruise to be a very good value, although I must confess our costs included a $1000.00 credit given to everyone who had sweltered aboard Vantage's M/Y Harmony during the previous year's Black Sea cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
There were many bright spots in this cruise, but too many visits to too many old buildings, churches, etc. We were a group of seniors, some of whom had no trouble navigating the streets and pathways, but some of the routes were more ... Read More
There were many bright spots in this cruise, but too many visits to too many old buildings, churches, etc. We were a group of seniors, some of whom had no trouble navigating the streets and pathways, but some of the routes were more difficult for some. The rooms on the ship were quite good, but the food was not up to what I have learned to expect on cruise ships. The beverage service was slow and unpredictable. But, we were traveling with some people who did not understand that European cities are not like Houston, Texas, and when offered certain things to eat or drink, one should decline politely, not shout out loudly, "I don't drink beer" while at an abbey famous for its beer, "I don't like wine" when at a famous winery, or when served steak tartar as an appetizer before a departure meal, one should not try to cook the raw meat over a candle. But that was what happened on the last night in Amsterdam, so all I had to do was endure the ride to the airport and the return flight.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
A friend and I took the Gateway to the Black Sea riverboat cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. From the moment we arrived on board we were taken care of. Both of us are Senior Citizens who are widows. . They were outfitted beautifully ... Read More
A friend and I took the Gateway to the Black Sea riverboat cruise with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. From the moment we arrived on board we were taken care of. Both of us are Senior Citizens who are widows. . They were outfitted beautifully and had the amenities of a double cabin while being compact and large enough for one traveler. As always, the food on board were excellent with many choices for every palate and special needs. Touring was handled in an efficient and interesting manner with excellent local guides. Daily meetings before dinner detailed the next day's schedule. Entertainment on board was pleasant and enjoyable with local groups coming aboard often. The piano player who entertained in the Lounge was excellent. I spent a lovely interval before dinner sitting in the Lounge with a glass of wine, listening to the pianist playing lovely tunes, and taking photos of the sunset. The staff was attentive, fun, lively, bright, and saw to our every need. I would heartily recommend Vantage Travel and this particular cruise to everyone. 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: 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
We love Vantage World Travel, and wanted to see the tulips in the spring in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it was one of the colder springs, so we didn't see a lot of flowers, but we loved every minute of our trip. The Vantage ... Read More
We love Vantage World Travel, and wanted to see the tulips in the spring in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it was one of the colder springs, so we didn't see a lot of flowers, but we loved every minute of our trip. The Vantage advantage, in addition to new, beautiful ships, is in the crew. The program managers, one for each 40 passengers, gets to know everyone individually. They are in addition to the local guides. Each group, identified by colors - yellow, blue, green etc., travels on excursions together, and the program manager goes along. Vantage offers cultural connections, including lunches or dinners in people's homes. A great way to understand the local scene. They also provide free time - and cash - in selected ports - so that passengers can go to local restaurants to sample the cuisine. Some of our fellow travelers chose to go to McDonald's or Starbucks and pocket the change, but the more enlightened in the group went to local restaurants and sampled the local cuisine. 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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