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2 hours ago, xmaser said:

Vantage apologists are legion.

 

That's a funny statement....legion?  I looked it up to figure out your context, 'a vast number of people or things'.

 

I know Vantage isn't perfect, and I've had issues with them as well.  I sail with them as I can afford them, and they typically sail longer routes, with more days on the river.

 

But legion?  Somebody earlier was saying they couldn't find much info on them, and threads about them have very few posts.  The post at the top of this page is from August of 2018.

 

So maybe we're a squad size of apologists, platoon at worst,  but certainly not a legion!  That's more Viking territory.  

Edited by ural guy
poor spelling

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" Positive people CHOOSE to look at the good. They only lament in the moment and only if needed for a retribution to happen.  "

 

Precisely! By xmaser's own admission, they have not sailed with Vantage in a long time, but even now they still bring up things that did not meet their satisfaction. Whenever you book any type of group travel (land or cruise), it's unrealistic to expect that everything will be to your liking,  as it is impossible to meet everyone's standards and likes/dislikes. I may be unhappy at the time about something that occurred, but I simply don't go on about it years later!  Life is simply too short to dwell on such things.

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Though we've taken approximately 20 ocean cruises (we live within a half hour of one departure port, one hour of another and 2 of a third), our river cruise with Vantage round trip Paris/Normandy was our only river cruise thus far.  We loved every minute of it!. We did the optional "footsteps of Van Gogh excursion" but every other excursion that was included was enjoyable and informative.  We spent 5 days in Paris pre-cruise so having seen Monet's Water Lily paintings and then the next day be at his home and see the actual pond and its surroundings was, for me, a highoight of the trip. Other lines offer very basic excursions and expect you to purchase their optional excursions.  Our food was very good and service top notch. Rearding drink packages, I do not recall seeing any offered.  Beer and wine flowed freely at dinner, there were a number of cocktail parties where we were served complimentary drinks (and more than one drink per person) and therefore I think I purchased maybe one drink from the bar during the course of the cruise.

Some people like vanilla and some like chocolate. Not every cruise or ship is for everyone and people's experiences vary widely.  Often a lot has to do with the sailing's onboard staff and also the other guests on that sailing cruise.  I only wish I had the time and the money to do more river cruising and I would definitely do Vantage again if I could.

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On 11/13/2019 at 9:45 AM, notamermaid said:

What I do not understand is:  Ms Spencer sailed from Mainz to Regensburg. That does not take her into the Rhine Gorge and hence she could not have shot the photo of the castle as the Rhine Gorge officially ends just before Rüdesheim downstream from Mainz. An excursion or a stock photo? Not sure if this reaches the editor this way, but if it does would she be happy to explain?

 

 

An excursion, I would guess.  On our Mainz-to-Budapest cruise, one of our first tours was a day ship from Rudesheim through the Rhine Gorge.  We shot a lot of castle photos that morning.

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21 minutes ago, DaveinCharlotte said:

 

An excursion, I would guess.  On our Mainz-to-Budapest cruise, one of our first tours was a day ship from Rudesheim through the Rhine Gorge.  We shot a lot of castle photos that morning.

Thanks.

 

A good idea, I would say, to have an excursion. Especially as it is just "down the road" from Mainz.

 

notamermaid

 

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Our recent Vantage cruise was really nice.  EXCEPT for the extreme air conditioning in the interior spaces.  It was so bad that the waiters in the dining room would place the menus on the vents, and the servers in the lounge would put the pillow that were on the couches there over the vents.

 

The weather was extremely hot (but you can't blame that on the cruise line).

 

We had to get up at O-dark thirty to catch our flight back home at the end of the cruise.

 

All that said, it hasn't stopped us from booking with Vantage again.  I like their ships (for the most part) and the schedules on their cruises are full of things to do.

 

 

 

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" We had to get up at O-dark thirty to catch our flight back home at the end of the cruise. "

 

Unfortunately the cruise lines need to have passengers depart by a certain time  and flights that coincide with these departure times and cities don't always line up very well. Some cities also have more limited schedules when it comes to making connections to smaller airports in the US. When we received our flight schedule from Vantage I wasn't pleased, so I did my own research and found that there wasn't really anything much better to either of the two airports we could have flown to. We were one of 6 couples who had to leave our hotel in Lisbon at 4:30 AM due to a 7:15 AM flight and we were the 3rd group to depart that morning! The only ones that had a decent departure time from the hotel were the ones continuing on to the post-cruise excursion in Madeira. Our next trip to the Caribbean has a 5:45 AM departure, so I guess we just have to expect some inconvenient times when flying these days.

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11 minutes ago, bebtwice said:

" We had to get up at O-dark thirty to catch our flight back home at the end of the cruise. "

 

Unfortunately the cruise lines need to have passengers depart by a certain time  and flights that coincide with these departure times and cities don't always line up very well. Some cities also have more limited schedules when it comes to making connections to smaller airports in the US. When we received our flight schedule from Vantage I wasn't pleased, so I did my own research and found that there wasn't really anything much better to either of the two airports we could have flown to. We were one of 6 couples who had to leave our hotel in Lisbon at 4:30 AM due to a 7:15 AM flight and we were the 3rd group to depart that morning! The only ones that had a decent departure time from the hotel were the ones continuing on to the post-cruise excursion in Madeira. Our next trip to the Caribbean has a 5:45 AM departure, so I guess we just have to expect some inconvenient times when flying these days.

The issue was that we had to leave the ship at 3:00 am to stand outside the airport in Basel until terminal operations opened at 5:45.  The local guide Vantage was using to keep us headed in the right direction at the airport said that they've told Vantage for years that there's no need to be standing at the door when the airport opens, but they're not hearing the message.

Edited by Shmoo here

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That's not the way I would want to end any trip, and thankfully I have never had to accept such an early flight.  It would definitely make me think twice about the itinerary if I couldn't figure out another way to get home at a decent hour.

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9 hours ago, Shmoo here said:

The issue was that we had to leave the ship at 3:00 am to stand outside the airport in Basel until terminal operations opened at 5:45.  The local guide Vantage was using to keep us headed in the right direction at the airport said that they've told Vantage for years that there's no need to be standing at the door when the airport opens, but they're not hearing the message.

Don't necessarily assume that the local guide really knows what they were doing. When I finished a cruise from Istanbul to Venice (obviously not a river cruise) the company hired a local guide to get us to the Venice airport. We had been intended to go by boat but there was a regatta going on so they bused us. We got to the airport really early, and tried to convince the the guide that our Air Canada flights were being operated by Lufthansa, and that we needed to check in there. She had the group of us wait while she went to check what we had clearly detailed on our itineraries. We also got there very early for what was essentially a domestic flight to Frankfurt.

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One has to remember that when booking flights through any tour company or cruise line not all flights are available at the discounted rate the company negotiates with the airline(s). Sometimes alternate flights are available but at a higher cost, which not everyone wants to or can afford to pay. Some may involve later departures but more connections and/or longer layovers.  One can also book their own flights but then you are on your own if something occurs that causes you to miss a flight and usually transfers to/from the airport are not included. It  comes down to everyone's preference as to what they find works the best for them and what has the least risk. Not everyone is comfortable getting between the airport and the port on their own in a location they may not be familiar with or speak/read the language.

 

Certainly early morning departures or very late-arriving flights are not unique to Vantage. For our flight to the Caribbean (which we are taking independently) our only options were the 5:45 AM which arrives midday or leave later and arrives after 10 PM. Neither are great options, but with the airlines utilizing hub systems for their flights, those of us utilizing smaller airports don't have much choice.

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When a trip ends in a smaller city (I have had personal experience at Basel, Porto, Marseilles, etc) a return to the US generally requires connecting to a hub in Europe. To have any hope of making that connection means being the earliest flight out of the local airport (meaning 6 to 7 am). Airlines recommend being at the airport 3 hours prior for international flights (and no disclaimer for the airport not yet being open). Add in an hour to get to the airport. You do the math. 

For every person who realizes that it makes no sense to stand outside a yet to open airport, there will be someone yelling that they HAVE to be at the airport 3 hours prior. Travel is not for the weak. 😒

I have had overnights at my European connecting hub, some scheduled (a pleasant evening in Vienna on a return from Odessa [with a mid-day flight] to DC; but lots of complaints from other passengers about the two day return), some unscheduled due to missed connections. What will be, will be.

No matter what is scheduled, somebody is going to complain. 

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10 hours ago, TravelerThom said:

No matter what is scheduled, somebody is going to complain. 

True, that.

 

That said, our little group that was on the early bus (about 13 of us), none of them were in the "I have to be there 3 hours early" group.  

 

Just want to say also, I didn't post about the early flights because I'm unhappy with Vantage.  We've already book another trip (#5)with them.

 

  

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