Vantage please keep the Program Mangers..

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#1
Florida
19,519 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Vantage please keep the Program Mangers. It will not be the same with one Cruise Director for 162 people. It will be like a Ocean Cruise which has no personal attention The Program Mangers make Vantage stand out from the other Company's one Cruise Director will have to much to do and Vantage will loose its special special personal attention it gives to every guest with there Program Mangers. THANKS Gail and Marty 57 Ocean cruises and 1 1/2 River cruises { we are on a 27 day river cruise now }
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We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages 184 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages 24 days
Holland: 27 voyages 605 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages 35 days
Vantage:River 2 voyages 39 days
GRAND TOTAL: 82 Cruises 1057 days

NOT YET SAILED

Rotterdam Voyage Vikings 8/17 - 38 days
Maasdam Boston to San Diego 9/17 18 days
Veendam Atlantic Crossing 10/17 - 49 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/18 - 113 days
Rotterdam crossing. 6/18 - 32 days
Prinsendam 8/18 - 124 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/19 113 days
#2
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Grand Circle uses the same concept as Vantage, except that they call them Program Directors (PDs), Each is responsible for up to about 40 people, who, for all included tours, stick together. For optional tours and activities and aboard ship the groups mix and the PDs share many activities. You build a closer relationship with your PD and the rest of your group. You can go to any of the PDs for assistance, but you have a much closer relationship with yours. The similarity in concept between the two companies is not surprising, as they are owned by brothers, although there is no current relationship between the companies. Having taken 6 river cruises with Grand Circle, we heartily endorse the concept.
#3
Ontario, Canada
2,736 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by beverlyjack
Grand Circle uses the same concept as Vantage, except that they call them Program Directors (PDs), Each is responsible for up to about 40 people, who, for all included tours, stick together. .
So what happens if you end up with a group that has some personality types that rub you the wrong way?

I would hate to be told I have to stay in a specific group for all included tours without knowing who I would be travelling with. I do like the ability to mix up my touring companions at the various stops.

Fran
#5
Florida
19,519 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
The staff have told me ....
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We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages 184 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages 24 days
Holland: 27 voyages 605 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages 35 days
Vantage:River 2 voyages 39 days
GRAND TOTAL: 82 Cruises 1057 days

NOT YET SAILED

Rotterdam Voyage Vikings 8/17 - 38 days
Maasdam Boston to San Diego 9/17 18 days
Veendam Atlantic Crossing 10/17 - 49 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/18 - 113 days
Rotterdam crossing. 6/18 - 32 days
Prinsendam 8/18 - 124 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/19 113 days
#6
Cleveland Hts., OH USA
1,663 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
The best way to let Vantage know, is to make a comment on your comment card, at the end of the voyage. Or maybe write to the "powers that be" directly. We had our first river cruise with Vantage in September, and agree that having our Program Manager was wonderful, and it's hard to see how one person could fill the shoes of three. None of the passengers on our cruise were happy with the elimination of the Program Managers, next year, and our three PMs were really shocked, as they just found out about it on our cruise.
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Pat
#7
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I agree-the local guides cannot give you the individual and continuing service that the PM's can. They are only there for the time of the tour in one city.
I had some personal things I needed taken care of, and my PM was right there. One was taken care of on the ship, the others on land in different cities.
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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
Long Island, New York
4,496 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by franski
So what happens if you end up with a group that has some personality types that rub you the wrong way?

I would hate to be told I have to stay in a specific group for all included tours without knowing who I would be travelling with. I do like the ability to mix up my touring companions at the various stops.

Fran
You wouldn't Fran, they try to accommodate people who want to stay with a particular group or do NOT want to be with a particular group. You would just speak to one of the tm's and it would be handled.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
Transatlantic Barcelona to FLL, HAL, October 2018
#9
Long Island, New York
4,496 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by bobpatj
The best way to let Vantage know, is to make a comment on your comment card, at the end of the voyage. Or maybe write to the "powers that be" directly. We had our first river cruise with Vantage in September, and agree that having our Program Manager was wonderful, and it's hard to see how one person could fill the shoes of three. None of the passengers on our cruise were happy with the elimination of the Program Managers, next year, and our three PMs were really shocked, as they just found out about it on our cruise.
This is terrible news!!!! I think we must start letter writing campaign ASAP. If they get enough feedback from the paying customers, they'll pay attention. One TM for 40 people gives traveler and TM chance to get to know each other and heads off many problems before they become big deals. this is a really BAD idea!!!!!
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
Transatlantic Barcelona to FLL, HAL, October 2018
#10
Suffolk County, Long Island, NY
917 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
Originally posted by Hydrokitty
This is terrible news!!!! I think we must start letter writing campaign ASAP. If they get enough feedback from the paying customers, they'll pay attention. One TM for 40 people gives traveler and TM chance to get to know each other and heads off many problems before they become big deals. this is a really BAD idea!!!!!
I agree!!! The program director really enhances the river cruise. I can't see how one cruise director can give individualized attention to 170 people. Very bad idea!
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#11
Coastal South Carolina
2,602 Posts
Joined May 2006
After hearing about this a couple of months ago, I questioned Vantage on their Facebook page (they are pretty responsive there). The ultimate answers came back that there would be a Cruise Director onboard and a Concierge, and local guides in port. I was told that "the ratio would not change" when I asked about there having been 3 Program Managers in the past. But I suspect Vantage was just trying to mollify me. (Especially when they later told me that "change is good"...)

I agree that having a Program Manager for each color-coded group has offered us superb, personalized service. It's been very helpful when changes have had to be made during the voyage. And I think it was helpful to the Program Managers themselves....to be able to share duties and compare notes.

I'm hoping we'll still have the specific PMs on our next Vantage cruise next month
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CPB in SC



Carnival 35+; RCCL 7; Celebrity 7; Chandris 3; Premier 3; NCL 6; Regal Empress 5; HAL 12;
Princess 2; Crown Cruise Lines 1; European River cruise 8; Regent Rainbow 1;

UPCOMING:
River Splendor 11/20/16 - 15 nt Majestic Rivers of Europe
Adonia 1/8/17 - 7 nts to Cuba

#12
Long Island, New York
4,496 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by cp556
After hearing about this a couple of months ago, I questioned Vantage on their Facebook page (they are pretty responsive there). The ultimate answers came back that there would be a Cruise Director onboard and a Concierge, and local guides in port. I was told that "the ratio would not change" when I asked about there having been 3 Program Managers in the past. But I suspect Vantage was just trying to mollify me. (Especially when they later told me that "change is good"...)

I agree that having a Program Manager for each color-coded group has offered us superb, personalized service. It's been very helpful when changes have had to be made during the voyage. And I think it was helpful to the Program Managers themselves....to be able to share duties and compare notes.

I'm hoping we'll still have the specific PMs on our next Vantage cruise next month
You might be ok since the newest brochure mentions tours starting in 2014. I checked my latest catalog and read the first dozen pages or so, which I usually skip and go right to the trips. I realized that they did mention this "new" service we'll be getting!! On the one hand, I like the idea of a concierge because it means one person devoted to setting up individual programs. I wonder what the odds will be of getting what you want when you have 140 people lined up to talk to concierge though! On the other hand, it seems that instead of 4 people to handle the group there will be one and this spells cost-cutting measure to me! They can spin it anyway they want, but bottom line is: they are watching THEIR bottom line!!!!
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
Transatlantic Barcelona to FLL, HAL, October 2018
#13
Las Vegas, NV
152 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
I suppose Vantage will save some money, but since PM's are independent contractors, with no benefits, I can't imagine they will save that much.
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#14
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
How much they save is not the major issue. It is how much they reduce the service level. Who is going to make up for the occasional poor local guide, and who is going to provide the continuity for a traveler with special needs?
#15
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by Talisker92
I agree-the local guides cannot give you the individual and continuing service that the PM's can. They are only there for the time of the tour in one city.
I had some personal things I needed taken care of, and my PM was right there. One was taken care of on the ship, the others on land in different cities.
To clarify, I needed some medicine, and my PM went with me to pharmacies in 2 cities in Russia to help me get it.
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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.
#16
Coastal South Carolina
2,602 Posts
Joined May 2006
Not to cause strife, but I would posit that Vantage does not monitor CC and this thread.

Readers might want to comment on Vantage's Facebook page, or directly to Vantage, so that they might know how their passengers are reacting to this proposed change.
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CPB in SC



Carnival 35+; RCCL 7; Celebrity 7; Chandris 3; Premier 3; NCL 6; Regal Empress 5; HAL 12;
Princess 2; Crown Cruise Lines 1; European River cruise 8; Regent Rainbow 1;

UPCOMING:
River Splendor 11/20/16 - 15 nt Majestic Rivers of Europe
Adonia 1/8/17 - 7 nts to Cuba

#17
New York
5,114 Posts
Joined Jan 2000
Am I wrong? We've been on several river cruises with several lines and all seemed to operate pretty much the same. I thought the folks who guided and directed each color coded bus group was called something else and the "Program Manager" was kind of over all of them. (S)he did not lead a group and (s)he stayed on the boat while everyone was off with their individual color coded group on day tours. Logistically, it doesn't seem possible for each color coded group to just be off on their own with no leader or guide. Kind of like the program manager being comparable to a cruise director and the specific sub-group guides are their "staff".
#18
Coastal South Carolina
2,602 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by marco
Am I wrong? We've been on several river cruises with several lines and all seemed to operate pretty much the same. I thought the folks who guided and directed each color coded bus group was called something else and the "Program Manager" was kind of over all of them. (S)he did not lead a group and (s)he stayed on the boat while everyone was off with their individual color coded group on day tours. Logistically, it doesn't seem possible for each color coded group to just be off on their own with no leader or guide. Kind of like the program manager being comparable to a cruise director and the specific sub-group guides are their "staff".

Vantage has had one Program Manager for each color-coded group (40ish people). There was a senior PM, but you never really knew who that was....lol...they all worked together. Each of the PMs escorted a particular color-coded group throughout the cruise.

What we seem to be seeing from Vantage is a change to ONE "Cruise Director" onboard and the use of local guides in port. No doubt that the local guides know the territory, but they don't know the guests and their individual needs/requirements.
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CPB in SC



Carnival 35+; RCCL 7; Celebrity 7; Chandris 3; Premier 3; NCL 6; Regal Empress 5; HAL 12;
Princess 2; Crown Cruise Lines 1; European River cruise 8; Regent Rainbow 1;

UPCOMING:
River Splendor 11/20/16 - 15 nt Majestic Rivers of Europe
Adonia 1/8/17 - 7 nts to Cuba

#19
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Grand Circle and Vantage have been different from most other cruise companies until now, with a director allocated to every group of about 40 people, with responsibility for them for the duration of the tour. Grand Circle calls them Program Directors. These are in addition to local guides that are used in each port. Grand Circle continues to use their Program Directors (PDs). We have traveled with Grand Circle 14 time,including 5 river cruises and think that the system works well.
#20
Mackay Australia
786 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
The Tauck system for their maximum 118 passengers is to have 1 Cruise Director and 3 Tour Directors. A TD went on each bus, if used, or spread themselves out in the village you were visiting. There always seemed to be a TD in your line of vision if you needed someone to answer a question. Tauck uses 5 or 6 local guides at every stop making the groups no more than 20. Those 4 were the only Tauck employees on the boat.