Vantage Travel poor ratings elsewhere

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#1
California
6 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
All the comments on Vantage Travel river cruises on this site have been very good and encouraging but on Frommer's, BBB, etc. discussion forums I see a lot of negative comments about the poor customer service. We are considering a Holland cruise with them and would like to hear about any customer service contact from you who have enjoyed your Vantage cruises and continue to use them. Among issues mentioned were 2 star instead of 4 or 5 star hotels with only 1 excursion and party to make up for $700-$800 difference in the cost of hotels for the several nights (these were the pre and post cruise extensions), difficulties with their travel insurance and getting documents in a timely manner.
#2
Maryland
591 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by cdhdeh
All the comments on Vantage Travel river cruises on this site have been very good and encouraging but on Frommer's, BBB, etc. discussion forums I see a lot of negative comments about the poor customer service. We are considering a Holland cruise with them and would like to hear about any customer service contact from you who have enjoyed your Vantage cruises and continue to use them. Among issues mentioned were 2 star instead of 4 or 5 star hotels with only 1 excursion and party to make up for $700-$800 difference in the cost of hotels for the several nights (these were the pre and post cruise extensions), difficulties with their travel insurance and getting documents in a timely manner.

We have been on one land tour and two river cruises with Vantage and are booked on out third river cruise with Vantage this month. We have had none of the issues you mentioned. Our hotels have been great. Any complaints I have seen about insurance have been from clients who expected coverage that was not specified in their policy or expected Vantage to pay when the client had not bought insurance. Our documents including for our trip this month were complete and arrived in a timely manner. In 2006 it was difficult to get through on the phone to Vantage but that is no longer a problem. I have had several contacts with Vantage customer service in the past few months and everything was handled in a timely and competent manner.

If you are booking a Vantage itinerary that includes a cruise with Holland America you need to be aware that once on the ship Holland America controls the room assignments, shore excursions, tipping, meals, customer service and entertainment. Vantage does the pre and post trip hotel stays, air, pre and post trip excursions and transfers. Vantage usually has a courtesy desk available at certain hours on the ship and may have a reception for their guests. (On Vantage River cruises Vantage books the entire ship and controls everything.)

You have to look at the Holland America cruise on the HAL site and then look at the package that Vantage is offering for the same cruise and then decide which best fits your needs.

I hope this is helpful.

Gianna
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Vantage River Navigator 2007
Celebrity Galaxy 2008
Vantage River Explorer 2009
Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas 2009
Holland America Eurodam 2010
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas 2010
Celebrity Equinox 2011
Vantage River Odyssey 2011
Celebrity Equinox 2012
Grand Circle Bizet 2012
Celebrity Eclipse 2013
Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas 2013
Celebrity Eclipse 2014
Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas 2014 (2)
Celebrity Equinox 2015
#3
Annapolis, Maryland
140 Posts
Joined May 2004
I looked up Vantage Deluxe World Travel (the company that runs the river cruises) on the BBB website and they have an A+ rating. Here's a link:

http://www.bbb.org/boston/business-r...ston-ma-16576/

There are many travel agencies with similar names that run tours but I don't think these companies are related at all beyond the alphabetic similarities.
#4
Largo, Florida U.S.A.
578 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
We have been on 4 trips with Vantage and have another coming up, leaving Dec. 7th for the Christmas Markets. Have been very satisified with them....nice river boats, very good program managers and excellent food on board. At times there are waiting times trying to reach the company via the telephone but that may be true for other tour companys.

Some other companies might look to be a little cheaper but you have to check out what they offer - They seem to have more optional tours you have to pay for where Vantage seems to offer them as included tours. I am a believer with Vantage. That's my 2 cents. Willard
#5
Maitland, FL
279 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
We took a Vantage river cruise from Budapest to the Black Sea last spring. We were very happy with the hotels in Budapest and Bucharest. Both were 4 to 5 star quality with excellent ratings by Trip Advisor. We can't compare the river cruise except with large ocean cruises but we were impressed with the program director and the food on the ship. I have looked at several of the trips offered by Vantage and they all have 4 to 5 star hotels with the extensions. This can be easily verified by checking the trip you are researching. My only issue with the customer service over the phone could be improved. They are overly aggressive in trying to sell you a cruise versus answering some questions I had.
#6
California
6 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by travelgirl87
I looked up Vantage Deluxe World Travel (the company that runs the river cruises) on the BBB website and they have an A+ rating. Here's a link:

http://www.bbb.org/boston/business-r...ston-ma-16576/

There are many travel agencies with similar names that run tours but I don't think these companies are related at all beyond the alphabetic similarities.
I had read through the complaints listed as resolved and there is a pattern of trips being knowingly overbooked and passengers trips cancelled (among other issues). Eventually the customers had to go to the BBB because Vantage Deluxe World Travel was not responsive or offering an inadequate response. Vantage only after BBB involvement offered a resolution that was acceptable. And that is how you get an A+ rating, it does not mean that valid complaints are not made just that some resolution is eventually reached. I have dealt with a roofing company and BBB and the resolution was "take it or leave it" and they still had a good rating. That is why i read all the BBB info and did not accept the rating blindly.
It is reassuring to know that all of you I've heard from had good experiences.
#7
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have taken a number of Vantage tours and have been totally satisfied with them. We have had some problems that were out of their control;, i.e river levels, flights cancelled,etc. The tour managers were very proactive to make alternate arrangements and help us.
The trip stories of our 2007 Tahiti cruise, 2007 River cruise, and our 2010 River cruise are on our website, along with a story of our South America land trip.
The website is www.stevekathytravels.com
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#8
Maryland
591 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by cdhdeh
I had read through the complaints listed as resolved and there is a pattern of trips being knowingly overbooked and passengers trips cancelled (among other issues). Eventually the customers had to go to the BBB because Vantage Deluxe World Travel was not responsive or offering an inadequate response. Vantage only after BBB involvement offered a resolution that was acceptable. And that is how you get an A+ rating, it does not mean that valid complaints are not made just that some resolution is eventually reached. I have dealt with a roofing company and BBB and the resolution was "take it or leave it" and they still had a good rating. That is why i read all the BBB info and did not accept the rating blindly.
It is reassuring to know that all of you I've heard from had good experiences.
Vantage like other cruise lines and airlines does overbook in anticipation of cancellations. One of our cruises was overbooked and Vantage called and offered us a really good deal on an alternative date. We could not change the date and sailed as scheduled. We didn't hear any more from Vantage and there was no pressure to switch. They also offer low cost upgrades if a category is overbooked. If you are concerned make sure you have a stateroom number assigned when booking. Also directly access the airline website for your Vantage booked air reservation and enter your confirmation code to get a seat assignment well in advance. You do not need to wait for Vantage to assign you a seat. This advice goes for any cruise line or tour.

The Vantage overbooking policy is in the fine print of the Passenger Ticket Contract Item 23 Guest Bookings.
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Vantage River Navigator 2007
Celebrity Galaxy 2008
Vantage River Explorer 2009
Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas 2009
Holland America Eurodam 2010
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas 2010
Celebrity Equinox 2011
Vantage River Odyssey 2011
Celebrity Equinox 2012
Grand Circle Bizet 2012
Celebrity Eclipse 2013
Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas 2013
Celebrity Eclipse 2014
Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas 2014 (2)
Celebrity Equinox 2015
#9
California
6 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by SJGOCH
We have taken a number of Vantage tours and have been totally satisfied with them. We have had some problems that were out of their control;, i.e river levels, flights cancelled,etc. The tour managers were very proactive to make alternate arrangements and help us.
The trip stories of our 2007 Tahiti cruise, 2007 River cruise, and our 2010 River cruise are on our website, along with a story of our South America land trip.
The website is www.stevekathytravels.com
Your website is a joy to see! I was totally enthralled with your wonderful narrations and beautiful photos. I need many more hours to enjoy it.
With your extensive travel experience your evaluation of the tour managers and company carry a lot of weight. Thank you!
#10
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by GiannaD
Vantage like other cruise lines and airlines does overbook in anticipation of cancellations....

The Vantage overbooking policy is in the fine print of the Passenger Ticket Contract Item 23 Guest Bookings.

Sorry - I find this an unacceptable policy. I do not know of any river cruise company that has the same policy - in fine print or otherwise.

This is not an oversubscribed air plane - where you have the chance of getting a flight out the same day, or early the next day. This is the start of an entire vacation - usually something that people have been planning for a number of months.

What if no one volunteers to change their date? How do they decide *who* will be bumped off?? If they do bump someone, will they bump from the oversubscribed category? Or, if someone chooses to go - but it isn't the oversubscribed category, can you be bumped down? Or, bumped up for no charge?

Not a satisfactory business practice, IMHO.
#11
Annapolis, Maryland
140 Posts
Joined May 2004
Franski,

Unfortunately, just about all ships have contracts that permit them to overbook. If you find a company in which this is not part of the passenger contract fineprint, please share that information with the board. Thanks.
#12
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
travelgirl87 -

Just happened to have a Uniworld brochure handy - and read the fine print. Multiple notations re: change of itinerary, plus comments re: loss of luggage, delays, personal injury etc. There is nothing about overbookings.

Might be interesting to find out if there is that fine print with other companies - but it isn't in anything I can find in Uniworld's latest brochure.

Fran
#13
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,018 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by cdhdeh
All the comments on Vantage Travel river cruises on this site have been very good and encouraging but on Frommer's, BBB, etc. discussion forums I see a lot of negative comments about the poor customer service. We are considering a Holland cruise with them and would like to hear about any customer service contact from you who have enjoyed your Vantage cruises and continue to use them. Among issues mentioned were 2 star instead of 4 or 5 star hotels with only 1 excursion and party to make up for $700-$800 difference in the cost of hotels for the several nights (these were the pre and post cruise extensions), difficulties with their travel insurance and getting documents in a timely manner.
We has our first Vantage trip recently to Russia and it was super. They delivered as promised. They give attention to detail.
Many people on our tour had done Vantage before, some several times. All gave glowing reviews of Vantage trips.
I did research on Vantage and did not find substantial negative comments. Only one thing, their trip insurance is high, consider buying it elsewhere.
#14
Long Island, New York
4,331 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by cdhdeh
All the comments on Vantage Travel river cruises on this site have been very good and encouraging but on Frommer's, BBB, etc. discussion forums I see a lot of negative comments about the poor customer service. We are considering a Holland cruise with them and would like to hear about any customer service contact from you who have enjoyed your Vantage cruises and continue to use them. Among issues mentioned were 2 star instead of 4 or 5 star hotels with only 1 excursion and party to make up for $700-$800 difference in the cost of hotels for the several nights (these were the pre and post cruise extensions), difficulties with their travel insurance and getting documents in a timely manner.
I have been on 4 trips with Vantage and have a 5th one booked. The only complaint I have ever had is that they don't answer their e-mail and that seems to have improved. That being said, I do remember one person who contacted me after reading my review on cc and was very angry with Vantage and felt that she was not offered suitable compensation. She told me that she had gone to the BBB and was ignored. You know, sometimes people just can not be satisfied (ask me about my recent trip with HAL!). We've had wonderful experiences on all of our Vantage trips, we've never been disappointed in the hotels they put us in and the tour managers,shore excursions and optional tours have all been as promised. Like previous poster, our Costa Rica trip was over-booked and they called and asked if we would be wiling to upgrade and rebook for the following week. When I told them we were a party of five with 3 in Calif. and 2 in NY, they said don't worry about it, we'll call someone else, and we never heard from them again and sailed as scheduled. I hate over-booking, but I can understand why they do it. When people purchase trip insurance they have the option of "canceling at any time for any reason" and that can leave the ship with empty cabins. Maybe they should tell people the "trip is booked and we'll put you on a waiting list" I think you need to read all the reviews and pay particular attention to what the reviewer is really complaining about and then decide if you're likely to get your monies worth or not. I know, that first trip with a new company is always nerve-racking!