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3 Variety Cruises Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise, Vantage Cruise Line's "The Hidden Gems of the British Isles and Ireland" ,because it went to the islands north of Scotland- the Isle of Skye, the Outer Hebrides, and the Orkney Islands- to see sites ... Read More
We choose this cruise, Vantage Cruise Line's "The Hidden Gems of the British Isles and Ireland" ,because it went to the islands north of Scotland- the Isle of Skye, the Outer Hebrides, and the Orkney Islands- to see sites like the prehistoric Callanish Stones and 3,000 year old Skara Brae. We started the cruise in Poole, England, visited Tresco on the Isles of Scilly and two ports in Wales, and then got to Dublin- where the ship stayed for the remainder of the trip. As a matter of fact, it is still there 3 weeks later, detained by the Port Authority for having 'unsafe life boats and a crew untrained in safety proceedures', according to numerous reports available for viewing by googling 'Problems with Variety Voyager Cruise Ship'! After our day in Dublin, this became a bus trip of Ireland. They carted us around in whatever buses they could find on short notice- old ones with broken seats and seatbelts and no legroom at all. After a couple of days we moved to a hotel in Belfast where we continued our bus tour. Any sites we visited left a lot to be desired and we were never given enough time to see an entire exhibit because we had to leave to get to some little town for shopping time! Vantage says they provided us with comparable tours- really? Do you really think a bus trip to Kilkenny is equivalent to seeing Skara Brae or the Callanish stones??? This is not what any of us paid for! Now Vantage travel says that they are not responsible because it was a third party ship! As for the Variety Voyage itself, the ship was not what we expected- absolutely nothing like the pictures in the catalog or on the internet. The food was terrible- always over cooked and over salted. Meals were very plain and choices were minimal- meat or fish, potatoes, and a semi-cooked vegetable. Breakfast was the same everyday. There was always a tray of croissants and pastries baked until they were dark brown, dry, and crunchy. It was the same with all the breads, rolls, and bagels. You would think they would get the hint something wasn't right when nobody ate any of them. The high point of this cruise was probably moving into the hotels- the rooms and food was definitely better! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The ship was exclusively chartered by Vantage World Travel for a cruise around the British Isles. After an overnight in the beautiful Hotel Principal in Edinburgh, we were driven by motorcoach to Inverness, where we embarked on the ... Read More
The ship was exclusively chartered by Vantage World Travel for a cruise around the British Isles. After an overnight in the beautiful Hotel Principal in Edinburgh, we were driven by motorcoach to Inverness, where we embarked on the Voyager. We had a total of 61 passengers, and about 30 crew. This was our tenth trip with Vantage. The ship is well-decorated; we had cabin 330, the largest category except for the owner's suite. There are five decks including the sun deck. There is no lift/elevator, so there are lots of stairs, and they are steep. The dining room was on the same deck with our cabin, and the lounge was one deck below that, so most of our stair-climbing was between those two decks. The next deck down contains a small spa and library and a rear deck from which, in warmer weather ports, one can swim. The wi-fi is available for a charge, and unlike other ships I've been on, it is very slow and is suitable only for email. The food on board is fair-to-good. Dinner rolls were always stale, coffee was always weak, and main courses at dinner were always drowned in sauces. The breakfast and lunch buffets were good, never great. Dinners were not well-thought-out. One night we had lamb shanks, the next night osso bucco (veal shank!) Desserts were only fair. The ship is small, and in rough seas it can really be rough. We had two nights when it was difficult to get into bed because of the ship's movement. Now the good news: The crew was sensational. Most of the executives were Greek, and the servers from Mauritius or Ukraine. The excursions were excellent. And James, our Vantage program manger, was fantastic. He knew every passenger by name, and took care of all of us. We stopped in the Isle of Skye, Orkney. Oban, Belfast, Dublin, two places in Wales, Stonehenge, and finally overnight in London. There was regional entertainment on board, and all of it was worthwhile. Overall a very good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our first time on a ship with only about 70 passengers, but we were still very satisfied with the excellent food, terrific personalized service from the crew and staff, the quality of the ship, the intriguing ports of call, and the ... Read More
Our first time on a ship with only about 70 passengers, but we were still very satisfied with the excellent food, terrific personalized service from the crew and staff, the quality of the ship, the intriguing ports of call, and the well-organized tours. And we even had several nights of local entertainment. I highly recommend this ship and cruise. You will feel more movement on a smaller ship, but we actually like that, reminding us that we were on the ocean. The breakfasts were served buffet-style, with a wide variety of choices. The dinners were waiter-served, with menu choices. Many of the lunches were in the local pubs, with the ship either paying directly for the group or giving you money to make your own pub choice. You will see lots of local color and historical sites in England, Wales, N. Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. All beautiful areas. We also very much enjoyed the Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whiskey distillery tours (and tasting). Vantage Travel did an excellent job of arranging and leading the whole tour experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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