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  #1  
Old August 19th, 2014, 11:51 AM
amd1234 amd1234 is online now
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Default Vantage question

Our friends are leaving next month on a Vantage river cruise and we were having a discussion about Vantage being all inclusive . Is this correct?
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  #2  
Old August 19th, 2014, 12:21 PM
pbnjrockette pbnjrockette is offline
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Originally Posted by amd1234 View Post
Our friends are leaving next month on a Vantage river cruise and we were having a discussion about Vantage being all inclusive . Is this correct?
Wondering what their definition of "all inclusive" is.....???

Transfers from airport are included. Vantage includes many tours that might be considered "optional" on other lines. But I wouldn't call them all inclusive if you are referring to alcohol (wine and beer are served free of charge on SOME river cruises) and tips are optional but can be charged to you onboard account.
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  #3  
Old August 19th, 2014, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pbnjrockette View Post
Wondering what their definition of "all inclusive" is.....???

Transfers from airport are included. Vantage includes many tours that might be considered "optional" on other lines. But I wouldn't call them all inclusive if you are referring to alcohol (wine and beer are served free of charge on SOME river cruises) and tips are optional but can be charged to you onboard account.
A little clarification here:

Transfers are included IF you purchased your air from Vantage. If not, then you can PURCHASE transfers for about $100 per person round-trip or get to the hotel/ship by whatever means you choose. EG: We're a group of 4 going on a trip with Vantage flying to the west coast from NY and FL. We will try to coordinate our arrivals and departures so we can share a limo, which will cost about $100 each way for 4 people. A considerable savings and since we're staying in the US, I feel perfectly comfortable doing that. To Europe, I prefer to have Vantage do my transfers.

Vantage includes at least one tour in each port. I've done 6 so far and MOST of the shore excursions are included, however, there are usually a couple that are extra and they generally include a tour bus, lunch and all admissions. IMHO these optionals are worth every penny and you can book them on the ship.

Wine is included on SOME cruises and not on others, so read the fine print of what's included. It is always included at the welcome and farewell dinner. Bottled water will always be handed out as you leave the ship for your excursion. DH and I drink a lot of water so we each take a bottle every time someone offers it and keep it in our fridge.

Vantage will tell you the suggested amount for tipping on the ship and unless you change it, that is the amount you will be charged. Of course you can either lessen or increase the tip, you just have to tell them and they will make it very clear when the cut off date to do that is. When on shore excursions, tips are NOT included for the local guide and/or bus driver (some of which I don't tip because they don't get off the bus to assist passengers who need it and if they don't unlock the bathroom that's a deal breaker to me!)

Airfare is NOT included unless it specifically says so. Hope that helps.
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Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, 2013
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  #4  
Old August 19th, 2014, 07:01 PM
amd1234 amd1234 is online now
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Thanks so much for the info..
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  #5  
Old August 20th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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@HydroKitty: Vantage will tell you the suggested amount for tipping on the ship and unless you change it, that is the amount you will be charged. Of course you can either lessen or increase the tip, you just have to tell them and they will make it very clear when the cut off date to do that is. When on shore excursions, tips are NOT included for the local guide and/or bus driver (some of which I don't tip because they don't get off the bus to assist passengers who need it and if they don't unlock the bathroom that's a deal breaker to me!)

What is the "suggested" amount for tipping by Vantage?
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Old August 20th, 2014, 08:35 AM
pbnjrockette pbnjrockette is offline
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Originally Posted by Two from Virginia View Post
@HydroKitty: Vantage will tell you the suggested amount for tipping on the ship and unless you change it, that is the amount you will be charged. Of course you can either lessen or increase the tip, you just have to tell them and they will make it very clear when the cut off date to do that is. When on shore excursions, tips are NOT included for the local guide and/or bus driver (some of which I don't tip because they don't get off the bus to assist passengers who need it and if they don't unlock the bathroom that's a deal breaker to me!)

What is the "suggested" amount for tipping by Vantage?
Not sure that it is a set amount I think it depends on the cruise and length of the cruise. It is usually listed in the literature they send you pre-trip.

It was 3-6 euros (pp/per day) for Cruise Director and Concierge on our recent river cruise. However they automatically charged our account 5 euros which you can lessen or increase. (Or decline and give cash in envelopes if you choose). The amount for the SHIP's crew was not automatic and you had to tell them the amount (on our recent cruise it was 9-11euros --pp/per day for crew)

The strange thing was we were charged 50 euros (5 euros pp/per day) for our FIRST 10 day cruise and the 55 euros for the 2nd 10 day cruise. (We adjust according to our personal preference.)
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  #7  
Old August 20th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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Just a quick note on wine. It's my understanding that in 2015 Vantage will begin offering free wine, beer, and soft drinks with dinner on all its cruises. You can check specific cruises on the web site to make sure.

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  #8  
Old August 20th, 2014, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pbnjrockette View Post
Not sure that it is a set amount I think it depends on the cruise and length of the cruise. It is usually listed in the literature they send you pre-trip.

It was 3-6 euros (pp/per day) for Cruise Director and Concierge on our recent river cruise. However they automatically charged our account 5 euros which you can lessen or increase. (Or decline and give cash in envelopes if you choose). The amount for the SHIP's crew was not automatic and you had to tell them the amount (on our recent cruise it was 9-11euros --pp/per day for crew)

The strange thing was we were charged 50 euros (5 euros pp/per day) for our FIRST 10 day cruise and the 55 euros for the 2nd 10 day cruise. (We adjust according to our personal preference.)
That sounds about right although we lowered TM & Concierge tips because concierge did nothing. Unfortunately we discovered too late that they pool and split tips. Ship crew was 10€ per day and unless you changed it that's what they charged....it may vary on different cruises....
I
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Cruises, 2006
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Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, 2010
Alaska, Holland America, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, 2013
Columbia and Snake Rivers, American Cruise, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, 2014

Other:
England
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Elbe: Berlin to Prague

Bucket List:
China and Yangtze River Cruise
Australia and New Zealand
South Africa, Odyssey
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  #9  
Old August 20th, 2014, 09:40 PM
CPT Trips CPT Trips is offline
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Originally Posted by Hydrokitty View Post
That sounds about right although we lowered TM & Concierge tips because concierge did nothing. Unfortunately we discovered too late that they pool and split tips. Ship crew was 10€ per day and unless you changed it that's what they charged....it may vary on different cruises....
I
Can you clarify who pools?
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  #10  
Old August 20th, 2014, 09:58 PM
pbnjrockette pbnjrockette is offline
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Can you clarify who pools?
We were given slightly different information. We were told that we had to give the same amount (between 3-6 euros) to the Cruise Director and Concierge and that VANTAGE decides on what percentage each gets. This sounded a bit odd but we were not able to clarify it further. The CD seems to have way more responsibility than the Concierge. On the first ship we felt both CD and concierge worked well together and did a great job. On the second part of the cruise our CD was not as effective and the concierge almost invisible!

The crew tips are pooled (presumably among the entire crew).
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Last edited by pbnjrockette; August 20th, 2014 at 09:59 PM.
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  #11  
Old August 21st, 2014, 12:17 AM
CPT Trips CPT Trips is offline
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Thanks . . . it isn't what I ever experienced. Well except for the crew pool.
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  #12  
Old August 21st, 2014, 09:51 AM
jc foster jc foster is offline
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We have only sailed once on Uniworld and the cruise director accompanied us on the tours which were led by a guide and I think thats about it. Just what are the duties of a concierge and a cruise director?
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  #13  
Old August 21st, 2014, 01:53 PM
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Can you clarify who pools?

Sure, it was the tour manager and the concierge and I was not pleased because the tm made all the arrangements for the buses and the tours and local guides, while the concierge didn't do anything for DH and me except call a taxi! I would have gladly given the TM the suggested amount, but not the concierge and that's when I found out you put tip for both in one envelope and they pooled. I was mildly annoyed, but had I been told what pbjrockette was told, I would have been furious!!!!
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Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Cruises, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, 2010
Alaska, Holland America, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, 2013
Columbia and Snake Rivers, American Cruise, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, 2014

Other:
England
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Elbe: Berlin to Prague

Bucket List:
China and Yangtze River Cruise
Australia and New Zealand
South Africa, Odyssey

Last edited by Hydrokitty; August 21st, 2014 at 01:54 PM.
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  #14  
Old August 21st, 2014, 02:54 PM
CPT Trips CPT Trips is offline
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Interesting.

I recall reading that Vantage recently changed from having several on-board program directors each of which dealt with a subgroup of the pax and who also did some tours. Do you think this change had anything to do with the pooling?
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  #15  
Old August 21st, 2014, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CPT Trips View Post
Interesting.

I recall reading that Vantage recently changed from having several on-board program directors each of which dealt with a subgroup of the pax and who also did some tours. Do you think this change had anything to do with the pooling?
Most probably because it obvious that the Cruise Director does a LOT more work than the Concierge (at least on the River Venture our Concierge was active and assisted on excursions and helped individuals reservations, obtaining medications from pharmacies, and provided worthwhile information in WRITTEN form for each port. On the Navigator the Concierge sat at his desk and barely knew the answers for questions (relied on Google a lot!!)

The old "Program Managers" used to be assigned to about 40 passengers and there were 3 or 4 per Rivercruise. They traveled on tours with their group and really got to know passengers. Now the Cruise Director is in charge of all 130-170 passengers and the personal attention is way less. They rely on local guides for the tours and while some of the guides were great, others were not . In case of an emergency with one CD among so many, problems went unsolved . Many of us have written this in our trip evaluations that Vantage receives.
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  #16  
Old August 22nd, 2014, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pbnjrockette View Post
Most probably because it obvious that the Cruise Director does a LOT more work than the Concierge (at least on the River Venture our Concierge was active and assisted on excursions and helped individuals reservations, obtaining medications from pharmacies, and provided worthwhile information in WRITTEN form for each port. On the Navigator the Concierge sat at his desk and barely knew the answers for questions (relied on Google a lot!!)

The old "Program Managers" used to be assigned to about 40 passengers and there were 3 or 4 per Rivercruise. They traveled on tours with their group and really got to know passengers. Now the Cruise Director is in charge of all 130-170 passengers and the personal attention is way less. They rely on local guides for the tours and while some of the guides were great, others were not . In case of an emergency with one CD among so many, problems went unsolved . Many of us have written this in our trip evaluations that Vantage receives.
I totally agree and I did write a letter. Our concierge was nice but absolutely useless and did nothing that on past trips the ship's purser did (calling taxis or making dinner reservations). Most people make their own arrangements for special things, like our tour of Parliament in Budapest, all she did for us was call a taxi and for this she gets 50% of my tip! One huge benefit of 4 TM's was that not only did TM and passengers get to know each other, but TM also knew each person's limitations and while on a walking tour with local guide, would walk behind the last person in the group making sure no one got lost. Additionally, when a passenger had a medical emergency, TM went with her to the hospital and stayed with her until she was able to return to ship. Her group was divided up between the other 3 groups and everything was seamless. I sincerely hope they go back to 1 TM for each group of 30-40...it provided a much better experience and if there was a problem you felt much more comfortable taking it to someone you "knew".
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Cruises, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, 2010
Alaska, Holland America, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, 2013
Columbia and Snake Rivers, American Cruise, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, 2014

Other:
England
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Elbe: Berlin to Prague

Bucket List:
China and Yangtze River Cruise
Australia and New Zealand
South Africa, Odyssey
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  #17  
Old August 23rd, 2014, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuelScience View Post
Just a quick note on wine. It's my understanding that in 2015 Vantage will begin offering free wine, beer, and soft drinks with dinner on all its cruises. You can check specific cruises on the web site to make sure.

FuelScience
I think you are right ..
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Princess Emerald 8/15 -14 days
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  #18  
Old August 23rd, 2014, 10:59 AM
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Does anyone know of another line that does the one TM/PD per about 40 people? I only know of Grand Circle.
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Old August 23rd, 2014, 01:40 PM
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Does anyone know of another line that does the one TM/PD per about 40 people? I only know of Grand Circle.
I thought everybody did and Vantage was one of the very few who did not. I'll be interested in responses.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Cruises, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, 2010
Alaska, Holland America, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, 2013
Columbia and Snake Rivers, American Cruise, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, 2014

Other:
England
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Elbe: Berlin to Prague

Bucket List:
China and Yangtze River Cruise
Australia and New Zealand
South Africa, Odyssey
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  #20  
Old August 23rd, 2014, 02:24 PM
bobpatj bobpatj is offline
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In our "Everything You Need to Know" guide, there are tipping guidelines for local guides, 1-2 euro per person per day, drivers 1-2 euro per person per day, Cruise director 4-6 euro per person per day and Ship Staff & Crew, 9-11 euro per person per day, which includes all of the onboard ship staff. That to me means it includes the Concierge.
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