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Low Water Levels Affecting Danube, Rhine River Cruises

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Well, I guess it is going to be up to us to remind everyone about how poorly Vantage handled this when it comes to selecting a cruise line in the future...

 

Difficult conditions do tend to highlight which lines have the capability and the integrity to handle problems, and which ones do not...

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5 hours ago, planner123456 said:

We're leaving Wednesday on a Viking cruise from Budapest to Passau.  My sister arrived in Budapest this morning and was assured that the river levels are much improved and they aren't expecting any issues.  Also, the weather is warmer than usual which is great news to me who hates the cold.

Please keep us updated on this. I find it hard to believe. Doing the same cruise in Dec.

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Have a Uniworld cruise on the 2nd of November. Amsterdam to Basel. Looking forward to it, though I am a bit wary now after seeing and reading about the water levels.

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45 minutes ago, iwannacruz said:

Please keep us updated on this. I find it hard to believe. Doing the same cruise in Dec.

 

Ships have been sailing from Budapest to Passau (..and beyond) for several days now, not too hard to believe this one will happen.

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24 minutes ago, MitchellD said:

Have a Uniworld cruise on the 2nd of November. Amsterdam to Basel. Looking forward to it, though I am a bit wary now after seeing and reading about the water levels.

Helli MitchellD,

Looking forward to meeting you on the River Queen.  Whatever happens, it will be an adventure!  Safe travels!

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27 minutes ago, millebe said:

Helli MitchellD,

Looking forward to meeting you on the River Queen.  Whatever happens, it will be an adventure!  Safe travels!

 

Looking forward to a good trip regardless.

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just got an email from out TA forwarding APT advice,

that November 10 cruise will go ahead and December cruises are also expected to do the same as per brochure.

we will all watch and wait with interest.

good luck to all cruising.

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9 hours ago, pully8 said:

just got an email from out TA forwarding APT advice,

that November 10 cruise will go ahead and December cruises are also expected to do the same as per brochure.

we will all watch and wait with interest.

good luck to all cruising.

 

I just spoke to APT in the UK and their position is still that Friday 2nd is the decision point for the cruises on 9/10 November so we'll wait and see for a bit longer...

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Yes do let us know how this pans out for you, and good luck.

The email was sent from our TA which she received from APT today.

The email was signed off by someone with a title of Customer Recovery Specialist.

Perhaps there are more than 1 APT cruise departing on the 10th?

 

We noticed on another cruise, not APT, when we had high water issues, it did take time to relay info. we were on board in France and in a different time zone to our TA, communication was difficult. The on board staff were directed by others elsewhere in how  they released updates.    

 

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10 hours ago, pully8 said:

just got an email from out TA forwarding APT advice,

that November 10 cruise will go ahead and December cruises are also expected to do the same as per brochure.

we will all watch and wait with interest.

good luck to all cruising.

 

I just spoke to APT in the UK and their position is still that Friday 2nd is the decision point for the cruises on 9/10 November so we'll wait and see for a bit longer...

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  • So APT will at least be giving their customers a week's notice regarding whether their cruise is departing or not. Certainly better than what we are getting from Vantage, which is nothing! Going to try to contact Vantage today but not holding my breath.

 

Not sure how that huge heart got in their! LOL

Edited by bebtwice

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This AM sent two notes to Vantage - one to the concierge email that I believe Donna used and one to the regular Customer Service contact thru the website. A few hours later I received this message from Vantage Customer Service:

 

 

Thank you for contacting Vantage Deluxe World Travel.

 

At this point nothing has been communicated to Customer Service with regards to any changes to your itinerary. Water levels are being monitored daily and if a decision is made to make any changes there will more than likely be an alert added to your My Portfolio Account as well as an email sent out advising on the change.

 

So basically nothing new, even though as of the AM  the River Voyager is still showing as being in Amsterdam. With the distance between Basel and Amsterdam showing as 740 km, I certainly hope we're not going to be bused to Amsterdam after making an overnight flight from the US!

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43 minutes ago, bebtwice said:

So basically nothing new, even though as of the AM  the River Voyager is still showing as being in Amsterdam. With the distance between Basel and Amsterdam showing as 740 km, I certainly hope we're not going to be bused to Amsterdam after making an overnight flight from the US!

 

Logistically, I don't see how they are going to handle this one in a good way.

 

They don't appear to have another ship they can get to Basel and even if they get you to Amsterdam somehow, they need the ship to end up back in Amsterdam anyway for the next cruise...

 

So that leaves them with cancellation, or some sort of round-trip from Amsterdam, returning to Amsterdam which is hardly going to satisfy anyone.

 

Do keep us all updated on the news though, I', sure we are all hoping it works out for you somehow...

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Hmm... actually, I missed what is probably the most likely solution.

 

Hotel/coach starting in Basel and have the ship meet you as soon as it can along the route, then return to Amsterdam...

 

I guess it is going to wait and aim to meet you half-way so it still has time to get back to Amsterdam 

Edited by Mark_T

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Just received a call from the Vantage Concierge. Plan for this week's Rhine & Moselle cruise is as follows:

 

1) The first 5 nights will be at either the Hyperian or Dorint Hotel in Basel (not sure on spellings). As of now they can't say who will be staying at what hotel but the group will definitely be split  up, in what proportions I don't know.

2) Daily bus trips to the destinations listed in the itinerary. Haven't had time to see how far the distances are as to what kind of time we are talking about for being on the bus each day.

3) Vantage will still be providing meals, including lunch on the arrival day (don't think that was originally included). Won't count on getting access to the room until the afternoon on Friday.

4) Will meet the ship in Mainz and proceed the remaining nights  & itinerary on the ship.

5) No guarantee that things won't change again, meaning more bus trips.

6) If you have the trip insurance, you can cancel and file a claim with Tripmate. You may get a refund (not sure of the $300/person  admin fee will still apply) or a credit for the cost of your cruise to be applied to another future cruise.

7) There will be no "even swaps", meaning if you elect to go on this cruise next year, you will have to pay any difference in the costs. IMO, the least they could let me do is a like for like swap on a 2019 date.

 

No commitment on whether there will be any compensation offered at the end of the trip. Person calling definitely didn't want to say anything, just that Vantage will still be supplying meals, etc. but certainly some of the amenities available on the ship will not be available for at least the first 5 nights. Did express my dissatisfaction that they are just now notifying people about this when the ship has been sitting in Amsterdam for at least 5 days.

 

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1 hour ago, Mark_T said:

Hmm... actually, I missed what is probably the most likely solution.

 

Hotel/coach starting in Basel and have the ship meet you as soon as it can along the route, then return to Amsterdam...

 

I guess it is going to wait and aim to meet you half-way so it still has time to get back to Amsterdam 

Yes neighbor on phone now. Obviously she wasn’t the first called which she was told she was Now my concern am I going to be with my neighbors ????

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We're in a DS (suite) category so probably just depends on who got what list to call  but that they are probably working their way thru the list , possibly by cabin category. Maybe they just were able to reach us quicker, although only on their third attempt did someone actually get on the line. When they contact you, just explain that you are traveling with your neighbors and request that you both be put in the same hotel. Don't see where that should be such a hard request for them to fill. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the hotel option doesn't last more than 5 nights. I'm sure there's already going to be a lot of unhappy people. I wonder how they are going to notify the people who left today  if they made their own arrangements, like ural guy

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31 minutes ago, bebtwice said:

We're in a DS (suite) category so probably just depends on who got what list to call  but that they are probably working their way thru the list , possibly by cabin category. Maybe they just were able to reach us quicker, although only on their third attempt did someone actually get on the line. When they contact you, just explain that you are traveling with your neighbors and request that you both be put in the same hotel. Don't see where that should be such a hard request for them to fill. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the hotel option doesn't last more than 5 nights. I'm sure there's already going to be a lot of unhappy people. I wonder how they are going to notify the people who left today  if they made their own arrangements, like ural guy

Hi-  Thanks for thinking of me!

 

Yes we got the call about 1200, told that we would be in the Dorint for 2 nights, which streched to 5 nights a few hours later.

 

I thought they said we were meeting the boat in Koblenz, not Mainz.  Honestly though, I bet that is still a 'fluid situation', subject to change.  My ears were a bit glazed over by that point.

 

I am amazed they told you that passengers would be responsible for paying the increase in price if they switched to a 2019 cruise.  I think once we are aboard the Voyager, all will be well.  To this point, Vantage has NOT impressed.

 

Also surprised they wouldn't 'jump' hotels at least once, so we could shorten the bus rides to the sites.  Hoping it isn't a 5 hr bus roundtrip to spend 2.5 hours on-site.

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4 minutes ago, ural guy said:

I thought they said we were meeting the boat in Koblenz, not Mainz.  Honestly though, I bet that is still a 'fluid situation', subject to change.  My ears were a bit glazed over by that point.

 

As long as the water stays close to current levels they can get to Mainz from Amsterdam, if it falls too far then it will be Koblenz.

 

Hope all works out well for you despite the hotels and coaches.

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Just now, Mark_T said:

As long as the water stays close to current levels they can get to Mainz from Amsterdam, if it falls too far then it will be Koblenz.

 

Hope all works out well for you despite the hotels and coaches.

Thanks, smiles all around.   Into the breach we  go....

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I agree that at this point the situation is fluid and may change not only before we get there, but once we are on the trip. Of course all we depend on water levels. At least we aren't changing hotels every night as that is a real pain too, although it be be preferred to bus trips, depending on how long the bus segments are.  We were only told we'd be in the Hyberion or Dorint - not the specific hotel.

 

As for being told we'd be responsible for the extra expense if we just re-booked for next year, I think they are just trying to get as few people to cancel and re-book for next year, when the prices are higher. They don't want to have to not only run this trip partially full but also eat the price difference for next year. The more that re-book, the fewer cabins available for new customers next year. Of course the people in CS that are making the calls are just doing what they are told and rally don't have the power to make a call about the re-bookings. The interesting part will be if there will be any travel credits issues after the trip.

 

I expect that Vantage will be receiving their fair share of negative feedback. While they can't control the water levels, they should have been notifying people for this week's cruise last week that there was a potential for adjustment to the itinerary, including the possibility that parts of it would need to be done as a land tour.

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4 minutes ago, bebtwice said:

I expect that Vantage will be receiving their fair share of negative feedback. While they can't control the water levels, they should have been notifying people for this week's cruise last week that there was a potential for adjustment to the itinerary, including the possibility that parts of it would need to be done as a land tour.

 

Very little excuse for Vantage here as with the ship in entirely the wrong place they have known for days now that ‘no change’ was impossible.

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13 minutes ago, bebtwice said:

 

 

As for being told we'd be responsible for the extra expense if we just re-booked for next year, I think they are just trying to get as few people to cancel and re-book for next year, when the prices are higher. They don't want to have to not only run this trip partially full but also eat the price difference for next year. The more that re-book, the fewer cabins available for new customers next year. Of course the people in CS that are making the calls are just doing what they are told and rally don't have the power to make a call about the re-bookings. The interesting part will be if there will be any travel credits issues after the trip.

 

I expect that Vantage will be receiving their fair share of negative feedback. While they can't control the water levels, they should have been notifying people for this week's cruise last week that there was a potential for adjustment to the itinerary, including the possibility that parts of it would need to be done as a land tour.

I agree they want everyone on board THIS cruise.  That's why I'm surprised I received the second call extending it to 5 days in a hotel.

 

I figured they would give us the minimal bad news (2 nights hotel), and save the worse news for until after you are in country.  Much less chance you'll cancel after they have you 4,000 miles from home.

 

Since Vantage doesn't advertise, and relies so heavily on word of mouth, I'm surprised they'd be so short sighted on this.  They will definitely receive negative feedback, and to this point it is deserved.

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ural guy,

 

I must say Vantage has not been good to you in my opinion (and the others for that matter). I certainly would not want to be one of the passengers who did not have a clue what was happening - presuming there are some which I strongly believe. Why was it so difficult to say earlier that the ship would not be in Basel?

 

I hope the hotels will be fine and that the onboard experience will make up for the lack of info before your cruise. For that amount of time lost some financial effort on Vantage's part I would certainly regard to be in order. Will be interested to read about that.

 

But first, everyone enjoy the Rhine area and and a well-deserved holiday.

 

notamermaid

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Notamermaid-  Thanks for the kind wishes, safely in Lucerne, getting ready to explore.

 

Concur regarding Vantage.  Our Budapest-Bucharest cruise went well with them 2 years back.  A lot of that good-will just got cashed in though with latest mis-adventure and lack of honest information.

 

Not sure why they kept on saying the cruise would go on as scheduled.  In 2018, with the internet and all the info on-line, they didn't think we could piece together the real story?  I kinda feel like they think we're ignorant.

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