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debbie ann

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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.

 

Welcome Crowsnesters. We are also on the mid-May sailing of the River Venture from Amsterdam. We are Steve and Cheryl from Georgetown, TX and will be arriving in Amsterdam several days early to do some sightseeing. Since Allison is also on the cruise, that makes three of us now on Cruise Critic.

 

Steve

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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.

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

 

Thank you for your great information. It's always so helpful to hear from someone who has gone ahead of you! Wish Vantage would include a more extensive chat/blog section on their website.

 

We are taking the pre-extension into the Amazon jungle and I was was wondering what kind of footwear to take. Was reading that we might go out at night to look for Tarantulas and am thinking maybe not sandals!!

 

You were able to take a full-size suitcase aboard the Galapagos Legend? We are used to traveling with weights under 44lbs so should be okay! Any other suggestions as to things to pack? Any need for any "dressy" clothes or suit coat?

 

thanks again!

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Thank you for your great information. It's always so helpful to hear from someone who has gone ahead of you! Wish Vantage would include a more extensive chat/blog section on their website.

 

We are taking the pre-extension into the Amazon jungle and I was was wondering what kind of footwear to take. Was reading that we might go out at night to look for Tarantulas and am thinking maybe not sandals!!

 

You were able to take a full-size suitcase aboard the Galapagos Legend? We are used to traveling with weights under 44lbs so should be okay! Any other suggestions as to things to pack? Any need for any "dressy" clothes or suit coat?

 

thanks again!

You are very welcome. I know that when we did this trip, I had great difficulty finding out information, especially about the Galapagos Legend portion of the trip. I, too, wish that Vantage had a better review or blog section on their website.

 

My husband and I did not do the Amazon pre-extension, but we spoke to most of the other travelers who did do it. From what we were told by them, I would suggest that you definitely bring a strong insect repellent. One woman had gotten a number of ticks on her legs in the jungle and had to be treated with antibiotics. My thought was that since she wore a lot of capri-type pants on the main trip, that maybe she wore them in the jungle, too??? I would guess that you would want to cover up as best as you can in the jungle. As far as footwear, I think that sneakers are OK...probably not sandals, though. One thing that everyone who had done the extension said was that the food was only so-so. They were afraid that the entire trip was going to be like that, and they were relieved when they found that wasn't the case. The food on the main trip was wonderful!

 

Yes, we were able to bring our full size luggage (about 50 lbs.) and our regular carry-ons on the Aero Gal flight and on the Galapagos Legend. We never needed any kind of dressy clothing. The Galapagos Legend website (I believe it was under Klein Tours) said that men may want to bring a sport jacket, but I never once saw anyone dressed to that extent. Most people were dressed nicely but definitely the look was casual. I brought a pair of Lands End black knit pants (love these pants....no wrinkles and no bagging at the knees!) and paired them with different tops for dinner. The Legend website states that "sandals" are not allowed in the dining room. But the sandals they are referring to are sport sandals, like Tevas. I'm guessing that they don't want the beach sand tracked all over the ship!

 

Somewhere around the middle of the trip, our Program Manager had arranged for a woman to offer laundry services to our group. It was not through the hotel. She met us at the hotel, you placed your dirty clothing in a plastic bag and the cost was by the pound. Very inexpensive! We had something like 3 pairs of jeans, a couple t-shirts, and a couple long sleeve shirts. Had our clothing back that evening. Came to about $5. A real bargain. Speaking of bargains...you will be taken to the Otavalo flea market. Super great bargains there! Lots of hand-crafted items. There was also a place we were taken that was well-known for its leather goods. There was one street lined with leather shops. My husband bought a beautiful suede bomber-type jacket that easily would go for over $300 here. He got it for a little less than $100!

 

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

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You are very welcome. I know that when we did this trip, I had great difficulty finding out information, especially about the Galapagos Legend portion of the trip. I, too, wish that Vantage had a better review or blog section on their website.

 

My husband and I did not do the Amazon pre-extension, but we spoke to most of the other travelers who did do it. From what we were told by them, I would suggest that you definitely bring a strong insect repellent. One woman had gotten a number of ticks on her legs in the jungle and had to be treated with antibiotics. My thought was that since she wore a lot of capri-type pants on the main trip, that maybe she wore them in the jungle, too??? I would guess that you would want to cover up as best as you can in the jungle. As far as footwear, I think that sneakers are OK...probably not sandals, though. One thing that everyone who had done the extension said was that the food was only so-so. They were afraid that the entire trip was going to be like that, and they were relieved when they found that wasn't the case. The food on the main trip was wonderful!

 

Yes, we were able to bring our full size luggage (about 50 lbs.) and our regular carry-ons on the Aero Gal flight and on the Galapagos Legend. We never needed any kind of dressy clothing. The Galapagos Legend website (I believe it was under Klein Tours) said that men may want to bring a sport jacket, but I never once saw anyone dressed to that extent. Most people were dressed nicely but definitely the look was casual. I brought a pair of Lands End black knit pants (love these pants....no wrinkles and no bagging at the knees!) and paired them with different tops for dinner. The Legend website states that "sandals" are not allowed in the dining room. But the sandals they are referring to are sport sandals, like Tevas. I'm guessing that they don't want the beach sand tracked all over the ship!

 

Somewhere around the middle of the trip, our Program Manager had arranged for a woman to offer laundry services to our group. It was not through the hotel. She met us at the hotel, you placed your dirty clothing in a plastic bag and the cost was by the pound. Very inexpensive! We had something like 3 pairs of jeans, a couple t-shirts, and a couple long sleeve shirts. Had our clothing back that evening. Came to about $5. A real bargain. Speaking of bargains...you will be taken to the Otavalo flea market. Super great bargains there! Lots of hand-crafted items. There was also a place we were taken that was well-known for its leather goods. There was one street lined with leather shops. My husband bought a beautiful suede bomber-type jacket that easily would go for over $300 here. He got it for a little less than $100!

 

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

 

You are a wealth of much needed information!! Thank you! Anything at all you can remember to share is sooo helpful!

 

I surely hope the "bugs" aren't bad... never thought of needing an antibiotic. Wonder if I should bring one from home... The amazon extension is my husbands idea! :) But I'm sure it will be interesting! Not worried about the food--am sure we won't starve! But glad to hear it does improve!

 

Thanks for the tips about bargains--always helpful to know where to look! Did you take any Peruvian money with you or exchange when you got there? (we usually go to our local bank and get some)

 

Do you have a website or link to pictures? I'm finally getting excited about the trip... we have several sick family members and just keeping our fingers crossed we can go!

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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!

Hi we are Gail and Marty doing the same cruise July 15 2014 ,We use to live in Plainsboro N.J. and now Jacksonville Fl. our E mail is gmwg@juno.com

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You are a wealth of much needed information!! Thank you! Anything at all you can remember to share is sooo helpful!

 

I surely hope the "bugs" aren't bad... never thought of needing an antibiotic. Wonder if I should bring one from home... The amazon extension is my husbands idea! :) But I'm sure it will be interesting! Not worried about the food--am sure we won't starve! But glad to hear it does improve!

 

Thanks for the tips about bargains--always helpful to know where to look! Did you take any Peruvian money with you or exchange when you got there? (we usually go to our local bank and get some)

 

Do you have a website or link to pictures? I'm finally getting excited about the trip... we have several sick family members and just keeping our fingers crossed we can go!

As far as the food at Ceiba Tops goes, yes, the people we spoke to said that the food was not a major problem. Just complaints about food temperatures and having the same things over and over again. They were there for the jungle experience, not the culinary experience, so a few mediocre meals did not spoil their fun. But speaking of food, in Aguas Calientes there is a nice little restaurant called Indio Feliz. I had read about that restaurant on Trip Advisor before we left and had decided that I wanted to have a meal there. To my surprise, that is where our Vantage Program Manager took us for an included lunch. It's an interesting place, and the food was very good!

 

Re: Antibiotics. My husband and I went to our doctor before our trip, and he gave us Cipro. We didn't need it, but just in case we came down with an intestinal bug, it was nice to have it with us. On that topic, we were the only 2 people who did not have any stomach problems at some point during the trip. I can only attribute that to the fact that we took Bromolain (sp?) with us and religiously took it before meals. I had read about that on Trip Advisor, too.

 

If I recall, we used an airport ATM in Lima. Then we used ATM's when we were on the trip. Since so many meals were included on this trip, we really didn't spend a whole lot of extra money. And the flea market vendors took US dollars!

 

We didn't venture out at night on our own too much. Some of the other people did, but we just didn't feel comfortable doing that. In Cuzco, we had a couple dinners at the hotel. Same in Quito. (Be careful in Quito, especially at night. At our hotel, the Hilton, we rode the elevator with a gentleman who told us that he had just been mugged right in front of the hotel!:eek:) After being out touring with the Vantage group all day, we were only too happy to stay within the confines of our hotels at night.

 

As far as my pictures go, I don't have a website with my pictures. I do have them on my Facebook page, though. Are you on FB?

 

Hope all goes well on your trip and that you do get to go!

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As far as the food at Ceiba Tops goes, yes, the people we spoke to said that the food was not a major problem. Just complaints about food temperatures and having the same things over and over again. They were there for the jungle experience, not the culinary experience, so a few mediocre meals did not spoil their fun. But speaking of food, in Aguas Calientes there is a nice little restaurant called Indio Feliz. I had read about that restaurant on Trip Advisor before we left and had decided that I wanted to have a meal there. To my surprise, that is where our Vantage Program Manager took us for an included lunch. It's an interesting place, and the food was very good!

 

Re: Antibiotics. My husband and I went to our doctor before our trip, and he gave us Cipro. We didn't need it, but just in case we came down with an intestinal bug, it was nice to have it with us. On that topic, we were the only 2 people who did not have any stomach problems at some point during the trip. I can only attribute that to the fact that we took Bromolain (sp?) with us and religiously took it before meals. I had read about that on Trip Advisor, too.

 

If I recall, we used an airport ATM in Lima. Then we used ATM's when we were on the trip. Since so many meals were included on this trip, we really didn't spend a whole lot of extra money. And the flea market vendors took US dollars!

 

We didn't venture out at night on our own too much. Some of the other people did, but we just didn't feel comfortable doing that. In Cuzco, we had a couple dinners at the hotel. Same in Quito. (Be careful in Quito, especially at night. At our hotel, the Hilton, we rode the elevator with a gentleman who told us that he had just been mugged right in front of the hotel!:eek:) After being out touring with the Vantage group all day, we were only too happy to stay within the confines of our hotels at night

 

As far as my pictures go, I don't have a website with my pictures. I do have them on my Facebook page, though. Are you on FB?

 

Hope all goes well on your trip and that you do get to go!

 

I looked up Bromolain but didn't read anything about it helping stomach/intenstine problems. Just that it has anti-inflammatory properties. I got a nasty intestinal bug in China and our Vantage guide gave me some Chinese medicine that cured it immediately. Will surely be packing some Immodium and NOT drinking the water!

 

Was going to ask you about the crime problem! Sounds typical of South America...

 

Here's my email address so we can continue this discussion! pbnj00@gmail.com

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Thought of another question, PCruzer! When you visited the villages did you bring any "gifts"? Sometimes on tours we have brought schools supplies or small items. thanks!

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No, we did not think to bring any gifts. And I didn't see anyone else bring anything either. I'm sure it would be appreciated, though.

 

Outside of the hotel in Cuzco and at many of our tour stops there were always vendors wanting to sell you silver jewelry that their "cousin" made.;) There was one guy in particular who followed our Vantage group around, and we saw him at almost every stop we made in Peru. He went by the name of "Kevin Costner." He was always very polite and did not give you the hard sell. He got to be a fixture on our tour. Every time you got off the bus, there was "Kevin Costner!"

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I which Vantage would open up there chat room on there web site .
I wish they would do that, too. I also wish that they had a review section for each listed trip, much like Grand Circle or OAT has.

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Anyone going on the River Splendor June 3rd Bucharest to Budapest? This is our second Vantage cruise. We enjoyed our last river cruise so much we are trying again. I know this is a new ship and should be wonderful!! I am wondering about the electric outlets ...not sure if I need to bring converter plug for curling iron??? With all the electronic traveling with us these days, would a small power cord be helpful?? Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

Hoping to hear from others traveling with us. :)

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Sorry it took me so long to read your replies. We are Hal and Mary (Harold and Mary Catherine) from Hillsboro Oregon. We are looking forward to meeting you. Just 3 weeks away now!:)

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Only few days later and we are not going on that trip. Vantage called to say that the trip was overbooked and would we rebook the same trip in Oct. and get $2000 or any trip next year and get $3000. Since we were worry about my hip (I am starting the process to get hip replacement in June), We took their offer and have booked the same trip for July 2014.

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Only few days later and we are not going on that trip. Vantage called to say that the trip was overbooked and would we rebook the same trip in Oct. and get $2000 or any trip next year and get $3000. Since we were worry about my hip (I am starting the process to get hip replacement in June), We took their offer and have booked the same trip for July 2014.

 

We did the same thing for May 2014. Allison, keep us informed regarding the trip.

 

Steve

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No TexasSteve? No Crowsnesters. So our "meet and greet" group of six is now down to two?

 

Sorry to see that you have changed your plans. We are not changing. I have too many other arrangements made and too many reservations booked to change.

 

So we will "venture" off on our own and try river cruising on the River Venture. I will post a review on this site as well as the Vantage blog.

 

I am puzzled as to how the cruise was overbooked? Full, or sold-out, I can see. But Overbooked? Do either of you know the details?

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No TexasSteve? No Crowsnesters. So our "meet and greet" group of six is now down to two?

 

Sorry to see that you have changed your plans. We are not changing. I have too many other arrangements made and too many reservations booked to change.

 

So we will "venture" off on our own and try river cruising on the River Venture. I will post a review on this site as well as the Vantage blog.

 

I am puzzled as to how the cruise was overbooked? Full, or sold-out, I can see. But Overbooked? Do either of you know the details?

 

Allison,

 

I do not know how they could be overbooked either since they sell spaces by cabin number, but maybe someone wanted a last minute cruise and was willing to pay for it. Since our Amsterdam room was not pre-paid we had nothing to lose by taking the offer. We are disappointed about missing the cruise in several weeks, but we will read your blog and enjoy ourselves next year with a little more money in our pockets.

 

Steve

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I would love to hear an explanation of "overbooked"... have done several river cruises and never heard of that before. Sounds like you got a good money deal from them though.

 

The Vantage Blog is on the Vantage Travel website. It's mostly written by Program Managers. Would love to see more actual Vantage Travelers post there.

 

We leave this Friday for our land tour of Peru (including Amazon River!) and Ecuador and then 4 day Galapagos Cruise!!

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I would love to hear an explanation of "overbooked"... have done several river cruises and never heard of that before. Sounds like you got a good money deal from them though.

 

The Vantage Blog is on the Vantage Travel website. It's mostly written by Program Managers. Would love to see more actual Vantage Travelers post there.

 

We leave this Friday for our land tour of Peru (including Amazon River!) and Ecuador and then 4 day Galapagos Cruise!!

 

Overbooked, Not in so many words, but.............we were on a GCT cruise and had several people on our trip that were supposed to be on a different trip. They were "asked" if they would switch to a different date (with great discounts) because a "group" of travelers all wanted their original date. Those travelers were flexible enough to switch and got a great discount for doing so.

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The "overbooking" probably is due to group of some sort. We did not get a call with an offer to change our booking. But, I certainly understand taking advantage of the opportunity to delay your trip and be rewarded. Good deal!

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I booked a river cruise in France on ms Discovery for 2013. Did you ever make a Vantage river cruise?

I have done numerous ocean cruises with Holland America, but am having trouble with sea sickness so am going to try the river route.

A neighbor said she she has traveled with Vantage on numerous trips over the years and thinks their guides are great.

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I booked a river cruise in France on ms Discovery for 2013. Did you ever make a Vantage river cruise?

I have done numerous ocean cruises with Holland America, but am having trouble with sea sickness so am going to try the river route.

A neighbor said she she has traveled with Vantage on numerous trips over the years and thinks their guides are great.

Hi

We have been on 3 Vantage river cruises(not France) and enjoyed them all.

Tom:)

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I booked a river cruise in France on ms Discovery for 2013. Did you ever make a Vantage river cruise?

I have done numerous ocean cruises with Holland America, but am having trouble with sea sickness so am going to try the river route.

A neighbor said she she has traveled with Vantage on numerous trips over the years and thinks their guides are great.

 

I get sea sick on EVERY cruise but still someone keep getting on those ships! Have found that Bonine works the best for me. (Even got sick on our recent Galapagos ship)

 

But RIVER CRUISING....NO seasickness!! LOL We've been with Vantage on the Yangzte in China, the Rhine in Germany and from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Great trips all and wonderful tour guides. We'll be on the Discovery in 2014 so be sure to report on your trip!!

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