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debbie ann

vantage river cruises

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We ARE booked on ALL the optionals. Know that Vantage does a great job with their optional choices.

 

Please....go on and on! Would love to hear from you in an email about what you packed (what month did you go?) and how you handled the "toilet" situation (not sure I can handle squatting without toppling over!!)

 

I can tell you some wild stores about squatting in China. I spent a month there and the only place (or one of them) that had normal toilets was Mcdonalds and pizza hut...:D. You don't want to know about the trains.....:eek:

 

L

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Had a super fabulous terrific time and I am seriously in withdrawal. Two weeks ago I was still in Hong Kong, now I'm home and wishing we were still in China.

Amazing trip! Fabulous food! Would go back tomorrow if I could!

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Had a super fabulous terrific time and I am seriously in withdrawal. Two weeks ago I was still in Hong Kong, now I'm home and wishing we were still in China.

Amazing trip! Fabulous food! Would go back tomorrow if I could!

 

I am happy you had a great time. I loved China to. I was there a month on volunteer work. It was a wonderful experience! I would like to go back again.

 

Linda

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Had a super fabulous terrific time and I am seriously in withdrawal. Two weeks ago I was still in Hong Kong, now I'm home and wishing we were still in China.

Amazing trip! Fabulous food! Would go back tomorrow if I could!

 

How was China in October? That is usually a good time for us. This trip looks great. So glad you had a good time.

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How was China in October? That is usually a good time for us. This trip looks great. So glad you had a good time.

 

October was good---It was warmer than we expected in Beijing and slightly cooler than we expected in Shanghai!! All the guides kept saying how "lucky" we were to be there in October! I guess the heat and humidity can really make it hard to be on tour during the summer months and even September. We did hit some rain---the 2nd day in Beijing --which turned out to be a blessing because it cleared the air and we had blue skies at the Great Wall! The week before we were in Beijing and a week later they were recording the worse air quality for that month. The smog was pretty bad all over!

 

We did have another rainy day while on the Yangzte---almost missed the river cruise because of landslides---the people on the cruise before us were 'trapped' for 2 days. Unfortunately it was so smoggy/foggy we were not able to see the Dam project at all. But we really did enjoy the Three Gorges sailing---not clear skies but enjoyable never-the-less.

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October was good---It was warmer than we expected in Beijing and slightly cooler than we expected in Shanghai!! All the guides kept saying how "lucky" we were to be there in October! I guess the heat and humidity can really make it hard to be on tour during the summer months and even September. We did hit some rain---the 2nd day in Beijing --which turned out to be a blessing because it cleared the air and we had blue skies at the Great Wall! The week before we were in Beijing and a week later they were recording the worse air quality for that month. The smog was pretty bad all over!

 

We did have another rainy day while on the Yangzte---almost missed the river cruise because of landslides---the people on the cruise before us were 'trapped' for 2 days. Unfortunately it was so smoggy/foggy we were not able to see the Dam project at all. But we really did enjoy the Three Gorges sailing---not clear skies but enjoyable never-the-less.

 

Thanks for the input. Is there a time of year that has less polluted air? (I could look all this stuff up, but you are such a wealth of info!!:D)

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Thanks for the input. Is there a time of year that has less polluted air? (I could look all this stuff up, but you are such a wealth of info!!:D)

 

Less polluted air?? I doubt it---but you need to look that one up! I think it also depends on WHERE you go. Supposedly the air is cleaner now in the cities than just a few years ago. We saw grey skies and blue skies in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong (have pictures to prove it!) But when we were in Chongquing our guide told us that they really don't use north-south-east-west for directions because they don't see sunrises and sunsets!! Flying into Xi'an I thought we were flying thru clouds for a very long time then noticed the "clouds" extended all the way to the ground!

 

But China is beautiful.....even in the smog/fog!

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Debbie my wife & I have been on three GCT cruises & 3 Vantage & on 10-23-11 we are doing the Eastern Europe cruise from Bucharest to Budapest with 5 days pre cruise to Transavania & 4 day post cruise in Budapest. We have found Vantage to be higher than GCT but they give you more included tours.We have also been on the Mississippi River cruise. We have been on 83 cruises.

 

Note to HSHOWALTER - We did the Eastern Europe trip last September - we also did the pretour to Translyvania...you will love that part. Also before we moved to Florida from Lansdale Pa. Glad to get out of that ice and snow. Willard

p.s. Hope they still offer the Tito train ride in Belgrad...if they do, TAKE IT.

would like to know more about your trip . we are booked for aug 27 2012. otte621@aol.com

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I am looking for some feedback on a river cruise from Budapest to the Black Sea on Vantage. We have been on 6 prior Vantage trips, but never a river cruise. I would continue to travel with Vantage in a heartbeat (we are going to Cuba next month with Vantage), but I have heard mixed reviews of the what one sees on this particular cruise, lots of rather depressing citiies and towns that have not yet been able to escape their Russian influence. Budapest at the beginning and Vienna as a post-cruise extension are very appealing. Candid assesments of what your impressions were will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.:)

Hi

Liz and I took this cruise as our 1st Vantage trip in 04 and enjoyed it very much. Bucharest was a little depressing. The "Peoples Palace" tour is something that I would skip--unless you want to see a monstrosity monument to Ceausescu. Vantage has added stops in Slovakia and Croatia since 04, so I can't comment on those. I spent 2 months in Bulgaria in 93 as a SAM(Sanctions Assistance Monitor) and I enjoyed visiting places where I had previously worked. Veliko Turnovo is the ancient capital of Bulgaria and worth visiting. There was a side trip to Belogradchik--ancient fortress --and has rocks reminiscent of Garden of the Gods in Colorado.

Tom:)

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We have sailed on 2 Vantage river cruises, and have a 3rd to Burgundy booked for next year. The stories and pictures are on our website http://www.stevekathytravels.com

We enjoyed our this cruise immensely. We are booked on a Russian River cruise with Vantage next year.

I have put the story and pictures on our website. One nice thing is that Vantage gives you a 5% credit toward your next trip.

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I have been trying to find pictures of river boats interiors and have not been successful. Any suggestions

 

Check Vantage's web site for ship interiors. They have recently added new ships and updated others so the photos I have are out of date. Their older ships were great and immaculately maintained.

 

If you list a specific ship you may be able to get photos from recent travelers.

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Interested in others who are going then or others who gone on these trips. Optional tours you especially liked or heard good things about. We are doing post trip in Paris after France and pre trip in Brussels before Tulips cruise. Looking for suggestions in France and Brussels.

 

;)

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We enjoyed our this cruise immensely. We are booked on a Russian River cruise with Vantage next year.

I have put the story and pictures on our website. One nice thing is that Vantage gives you a 5% credit toward your next trip.

 

Hi

I have read and enjoyed your travelogues. We took the Vantage Russian river cruise last year. To see my review, go to

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1673620

 

If you want pictures, I can send you a Snapfish link(about 600 pics).

Tom:)

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Hi, We are doing this cruise in June 2013. Any comments on the optionals would be appreciated, as well a what you did during leisure time.

 

Thanks,

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We have booked 2 new cruises with Vantage. Leave in 37 days to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos... then doing a rivercruise thru France in 2014. If anyone has done these tours would love to hear your thoughts!

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We have booked 2 new cruises with Vantage. Leave in 37 days to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos... then doing a rivercruise thru France in 2014. If anyone has done these tours would love to hear your thoughts!
We did the Vantage Machu Picchu/Galapagos trip in January 2012. We loved it! We did our own air to and from Florida since everyone on the tour started in Miami. We flew into Fort Lauderdale a day early and stayed in Hollywood, which we really enjoyed. We got a taxi from there to MIA. We had a very late night flight from MIA to Lima. (We opted not to do the extension to Ceiba Tops in the Amazon.) Then a connecting flight to Cuzco and a 2-hr. bus ride to the Sacred Valley. It was a very long day! Our dinner was pushed back to 8 pm because the group of people on the extension were delayed in arriving to the Sacred Valley. That night I hit the pillow and was out! We had a great program manager, Leylys Gutierrez. He was so very organized and kept our group moving in the right direction. He had an assistant, Ronald and also a trainee, Henry. We felt well taken care of. What impressed us was that at every point on our travel day, there was someone from Vantage to assist us. There was a gentlemen from Vantage who met us at the gate in MIA to make sure that nobody had any problems. He checked us all in from his clipboard list and then, instead of leaving, he settled in with us while we waited to board our flight! This was something like 1:00 am!! Then upon our arrival in Lima, again there was a Vantage rep to assist us in making our connections. Very impressive. When we arrived in Cuzco, there was Ronald waiting for us. Very seamless travel!

 

Upon arrival at Casa Andina Sacred Valley (beautiful location), we were offered the coca tea to help with the altitude. We drank it with no ill effects. In fact, the coca tea was always available in the lobby of every hotel we stayed at. Not sure if it was because we drank the tea, but neither one of us felt any altitude sickness at all.

 

The food on the trip was great. Many of our meals were included, and we felt that they were of high caliber. We were taken to some very interesting places for lunch. And the home hosted lunch was a real highlight.

 

The hotels we stayed at were great. There was only one hotel that was not of the same quality as the rest, and that was the Hatuchay Tower. It was probably the best hotel in all of Aguas Calientes, but it was very basic. Also, some people complained about the Hacienda Pinsaqui, but my husband and I loved it. There is no heat in the rooms, but when you check in, the staff comes around and starts a fire in the stove in your room and heats your bed up with hot water bottles. We found it to be very comfy and quaint. The grounds are beautiful.

 

On the Galapagos portion of the trip, our documents stated that we could not take our large piece of luggage with us and that it would have to be checked in Quito. Well, when we arrived in South America and met our Program Manager, I asked him about it. He told me that we could take whatever luggage we wanted with us as long as the checked piece didn't weigh more than 50 lbs. He also told us that our standard sized carryon piece would be no problem to bring on the plane with us. So all that stressing for nothing about what to bring with us to the Galapagos Islands! The Galapagos Legend was a very comfortable ship. We splurged and booked a balcony cabin. Very well worth it in our opinion. Once onboard, we were broken down into different groups for excursions from the boat. There was always a morning excursion and one in the afternoon, about 4 pm. We got to see so much wildlife! Seals, land & marine iguanas, penguins, tortoises, blue footed boobys, crabs, etc. At night the staff on the Legend would shine spotlights on the water which brought some of the marine life into view. I will never forget when 2 huge manta rays came "flying" through the water by the ship. Absolutely breathtaking! The meals onboard were more than plentiful and very tasty. As I recall, breakfast and lunch were buffets. Dinner was a partial buffet with your entrée being served to you. The Vantage group had 2 tables reserved for them.

 

If you have any specific questions, let me know, and I'll try to answer them.

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We did the Vantage Machu Picchu/Galapagos trip in January 2012. We loved it! We did our own air to and from Florida since everyone on the tour started in Miami. We flew into Fort Lauderdale a day early and stayed in Hollywood, which we really enjoyed. We got a taxi from there to MIA. We had a very late night flight from MIA to Lima. (We opted not to do the extension to Ceiba Tops in the Amazon.) Then a connecting flight to Cuzco and a 2-hr. bus ride to the Sacred Valley. It was a very long day! Our dinner was pushed back to 8 pm because the group of people on the extension were delayed in arriving to the Sacred Valley. That night I hit the pillow and was out! We had a great program manager, Leylys Gutierrez. He was so very organized and kept our group moving in the right direction. He had an assistant, Ronald and also a trainee, Henry. We felt well taken care of. What impressed us was that at every point on our travel day, there was someone from Vantage to assist us. There was a gentlemen from Vantage who met us at the gate in MIA to make sure that nobody had any problems. He checked us all in from his clipboard list and then, instead of leaving, he settled in with us while we waited to board our flight! This was something like 1:00 am!! Then upon our arrival in Lima, again there was a Vantage rep to assist us in making our connections. Very impressive. When we arrived in Cuzco, there was Ronald waiting for us. Very seamless travel!

 

Upon arrival at Casa Andina Sacred Valley (beautiful location), we were offered the coca tea to help with the altitude. We drank it with no ill effects. In fact, the coca tea was always available in the lobby of every hotel we stayed at. Not sure if it was because we drank the tea, but neither one of us felt any altitude sickness at all.

 

The food on the trip was great. Many of our meals were included, and we felt that they were of high caliber. We were taken to some very interesting places for lunch. And the home hosted lunch was a real highlight.

 

The hotels we stayed at were great. There was only one hotel that was not of the same quality as the rest, and that was the Hatuchay Tower. It was probably the best hotel in all of Aguas Calientes, but it was very basic. Also, some people complained about the Hacienda Pinsaqui, but my husband and I loved it. There is no heat in the rooms, but when you check in, the staff comes around and starts a fire in the stove in your room and heats your bed up with hot water bottles. We found it to be very comfy and quaint. The grounds are beautiful.

 

On the Galapagos portion of the trip, our documents stated that we could not take our large piece of luggage with us and that it would have to be checked in Quito. Well, when we arrived in South America and met our Program Manager, I asked him about it. He told me that we could take whatever luggage we wanted with us as long as the checked piece didn't weigh more than 50 lbs. He also told us that our standard sized carryon piece would be no problem to bring on the plane with us. So all that stressing for nothing about what to bring with us to the Galapagos Islands! The Galapagos Legend was a very comfortable ship. We splurged and booked a balcony cabin. Very well worth it in our opinion. Once onboard, we were broken down into different groups for excursions from the boat. There was always a morning excursion and one in the afternoon, about 4 pm. We got to see so much wildlife! Seals, land & marine iguanas, penguins, tortoises, blue footed boobys, crabs, etc. At night the staff on the Legend would shine spotlights on the water which brought some of the marine life into view. I will never forget when 2 huge manta rays came "flying" through the water by the ship. Absolutely breathtaking! The meals onboard were more than plentiful and very tasty. As I recall, breakfast and lunch were buffets. Dinner was a partial buffet with your entrée being served to you. The Vantage group had 2 tables reserved for them.

 

If you have any specific questions, let me know, and I'll try to answer them.

 

Thanks so much for this! We have been looking at this trip - trying to decide what to do next. I may even do solo. Do you think that I would feel out of place on a trip like this? Generally enjoy talking with others, but not sure if this has more family groups. Thanks ahead for your insight.

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Thank you Alison. We are on the May 14 Rhine and Moselle cruise and it is nice to know that the ship is finished, so we won't get a last minute change or cancellation. We are really looking forward to this trip.

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We have booked 2 new cruises with Vantage. Leave in 37 days to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos... then doing a rivercruise thru France in 2014. If anyone has done these tours would love to hear your thoughts!

 

We did the Burgundy cruise with Vantage last year on a smaller ship. I understand they have one of the larger ones now because of the response. We loved the cruise. The story and pictures are on our website.

It was a real adventure for us, as we first spent a week in Switzerland then took trains to get to Monte Carlo to meet up with the cruise.

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Thank you Alison. We are on the May 14 Rhine and Moselle cruise and it is nice to know that the ship is finished, so we won't get a last minute change or cancellation. We are really looking forward to this trip.

 

Crowsnesters - that is the cruise we are going on, too. We are Denny and Alison, retired teachers from near Cleveland, OH. It will be our first riverboat trip. We made our own arrangements, so we will be arriving in Amsterdam the day before. I want to see the Van Gogh museum and travel the canals at night. I keep checking the Vantage Facebook page hoping to see that the River Venture has been christened.

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Thanks so much for this! We have been looking at this trip - trying to decide what to do next. I may even do solo. Do you think that I would feel out of place on a trip like this? Generally enjoy talking with others, but not sure if this has more family groups. Thanks ahead for your insight.
Although on our departure there were no single travelers, I don't think you would feel out of place on your own. The other passengers were very friendly and were mostly in their 60's or early 70's. There was only one family unit on our trip - mother, father, son and grandson (about 10 years old and very well behaved!)

 

I will say that you do need to have full mobility and balance to do this trip. You also need to be in reasonable physical shape. You are dealing with high altitudes in many places. Also, to enjoy Machu Picchu to its fullest, you need to be able to negotiate lots of uneven stone steps and some pretty steep inclines. On the Galapagos portion, you need to be able to transfer from the ship to a zodiac. There were 2 older couples on our trip who had great difficulty doing this, and they ended up missing a lot of great tours from the ship.

 

If you have any specific questions, please ask and I'll try to answer them.

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