Consumer Reviews and Complaints
However, our stay at 2 locations (6 nights of the 14 nights lodging) was a nightmare!
The infestation of STINK BUGS made our lives intolerable at the Hwange Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe and the Chobe Water Villas in Namibia! It was like living in the worst bug-infested slum housing in the world (even though we were in 5-star hotels)! We had to brush our teeth and do our toiletries in the midst of thousands of bugs! I would kill 20 such bugs in the bathroom and 5 minutes later there were 20 more! You would walk on them, have them jump on the desk-tops, clothing, everything!. We took great effort to keep our canopied bed curtained-in to avoid them, but a few still found their way into joining us on our bed at night!
As for our great meals in the hotel restaurants: the STINK Bugs would be crawling all over our tables and even getting into our food! I had one plop into my glass of coke and not realizing it until I found something solid in my mouth and my did it taste bad! After that I would have to keep my glass of beverages covered until I drank. However, it happened again to me days later at Chobe where I had left the glass uncovered for a brief moment! Echh! This is not what one should expect after paying Vantage a great deal of money for a luxurious vacation!!! These lovely hotels had no right to accept guests under such conditions! If Vantage had informed us that we might have to live 6 nights of our trip like that, we never would have booked the trip!
A few friends and I have traveled on the River Voyager and have loved it. The staff is excellent and very caring. The boat is beautiful. The itineraries are great, and the food is wonderful. I'm sorry some people have had bad experiences, but my friends and I can't say enough good things about Vantage. Our most recent trip was the Rhine and Moselle from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland in May of 2017. The one from 2016 was Castles, Cathedrals, and Fairy Tales from Budapest to Germany. Just the sights you see from the boat are beautiful, but then going out to visit so many different towns is wonderful. We love Vantage and look forward to more exciting cruises with them in the future. The optional tours are worth purchasing too.
The service these people give is barely there. They seem to specialize on Seniors pushing eighty, which makes it far worse in my eyes. They lie, lie, lie, tell you that you have a certain cabin on a ship, when you arrive they don't even know where to put you. If you are stupid enough to take multiple trips with them, then you are "upgraded" which means you get a little better than horrible treatment. Do not bother to try to call them on the phone with a problem because their answer is to curtly tell you to go online under your trip number and tell the computer. Going Vantage is asking for the worst vacation or trip of a lifetime.
Stay away from Vantage Travel. It's their own fault and lack of customer service. Our Cuba cruise cancelled for the second time - just three days before our flight. Not even a phone call, just an email to "call us" - and now we're told our refund may come back in "up to 30 days" at their discretion. There was no Vantage "Deluxe" treatment in this cancellation process, just lies and disappointment.
Yes, it is resolved. Faith of Vantage Travel called and explained the situation.
In June 2016 my friend and I signed up for a Portugal River Cruise for this Sept. 2017. I chose Cabin 113 and it appeared on our "My Portfolio" up until last week when it was changed to Cabin 115. I did not choose that cabin as it is next to the crew quarters and noisy. This is my 20th trip with Vantage and I have always been satisfied. I have spoken to three different representatives and all I get is a runaround as to why it was changed. Now I am waiting 48 hours for Faith, the supervisor, to call. I don't have much hope with Faith as she has been mentioned in other complaints as doing nothing. After 20 trips with Vantage you would think I would get an upgrade but no. However I do want the cabin that I requested. What is happening with Vantage? I don't see a trip #21 in my future.
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In January of 2017 I paid $1300 as a deposit to Vantage for a May 15 trip to Iran. The total cost of the trip was upwards of $7000. In early February a friend who was going to Iran in April with Road Scholar was told by them that their April and May trips had been cancelled due to President Trump's ban on Iran causing Iran to refuse to issue the necessary visas to get into the country. Also, the turnaround time to receive a visa was 90 days according to Road Scholar even in the best of conditions. I started calling Vantage to see what they were doing about my May 15 trip and the other April and May trips they had listed on their website. The information I received from all, was that "we are going" so please pay the remaining $5500 you owe which I did.
As of March 13, I still am not getting any honest answers. Indeed, a young man hung up on me this morning when I called again to find out why the April 3 and April 10 trips were no longer listed on their website. I expect the reason is they were cancelled although there is no notice of that anywhere. When I suggested to him that other travel agencies - and indeed even reputable websites - had confirmed that Iran was not issuing visas or giving the necessary authorization code at least until fall, the answer was - "so what does that have to do with Vantage?" , it has a lot to do with Vantage if Road Scholar and several other reputable travel agencies cannot get visas either. I have traveled with Vantage before but NEVER AGAIN. At least in this case, they have been dishonest, rude, and greedy.
This was to be the trip of a lifetime. My friend and I booked a 5 week cruise through SE Asia (Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) eleven months in advance. We were in constant contact with the cruise line as to cabin choices (we booked a suite but had to change to an A1 cabin so we could have twin beds) and in March received our confirmed cabin assignments on both river boats.
Paid the $18,000 in full in October, 2016; received "final" documentation on December 9th for my December 31 departure. December 14th I receive a call from "Dennis" saying the trip was over booked and we were out as we were the last to reserve (???). He offered us the choice to take the trip in 2018 or any other Vantage tour in 2017 plus $1000 voucher for another trip.
In June, 2016 I called Vantage to inquire if another couple could join us on the trip and was assured there "was plenty of room" for a reservation. If I wanted to go anywhere else, I would. I have been planning this for 11 months, I don't know if I will be able to go in 2018. I have spent a lot of $$ on visas, clothes, transportation to LAX, medical appointments for all the shots and prescriptions recommended for that area of the world.
I have traveled on several other cruise lines in the past and each knew what their cabin itinerary was at any given moment. None of this, "All cruise lines overbook" excuses. When I asked for a full refund, the new Customer Service agent, Scott **, said that they had procedures and protocols in place and it would take 30 days to receive a refund. At 35 days, I called back and found that my refund had been coded as "canceled by customer, no refund". It is now 45 days and I have received my refund... but no consideration for all the other expenses. I would NOT recommend this company for any cruise and if you are booked -- be careful, you can't cancel or change your plans without penalty, they sure can.
My experience: I booked and paid in full (via auto debit from my checking account over the phone- funds received by Vantage in about 2 days) for a Travelzoo special on a Danube cruise for April 2017. I was notified a month later, at the end of October, that my cruise had been cancelled because the ship will be in for repair. I was then told that I had the choice of either taking the same cruise a YEAR later in April 2018 or receive $250 pp toward a different cruise. At first, I thought maybe I could wait a whole 18 months to take my vacation. Later, I realized that waiting for vacation that long is just not acceptable. I decided to see if Vantage could get me on a different cruise for about the same price for the same YEAR as the cancelled cruise. I was assured by the representative that I should be able to find another special that would be comparable in price to my original booking and that I should check on their website.
A few days later my husband called and asked about several other cruises. All were sold out or substantially more expensive than the Travelzoo special even with the $250 pp credit. I then requested a refund. I was first notified about the cruise cancellation at the end of October. It is now approaching the end of November, and I still have not received my refund. According to the Vantage Deluxe World Travel Tour Participation Agreement, "If the tour is canceled by Vantage for any reason, Vantage shall have no liability beyond the PROMPT refund of all tour participants payments received by it." Note the word "prompt". The dictionary definition of the word prompt is "done, performed, delivered, etc., at once or without delay." I have now experienced an almost month long delay to receive a refund. This is not what I call care or meeting one's legal obligations.
I am not a bank, and I do not issue loans. However Vantage Deluxe World Travel seems to think I am. They have now used my money for about 2 months, all interest free. It did not take 30 days for Vantage to receive payment for a cruise that they cannot provide to me. It took them 2 days. I think I am entitled to the same time consideration in getting my money back. My advice to anyone considering a seemingly great deal on a Vantage cruise is to heed the saying, "if something seems to good to be true, it usually is". Know that you may have your money taken from you for 2 months or longer, and that you may or may not get what you thought you paid for using your hard earned money.
We signed up for the "Great Lakes Tour" for June 2017. The tour was supposed to start in Montreal, a place I wanted to explore and was new to me. We get a message to call Dennis at Vantage. "Oh so sorry, we are starting the tour in Toronto instead. TORONTO is not Montreal! Apparently, it is not their fault since they do not own the cruise ship. (I am from Niagara Falls so I have spent a lot of time in Toronto.) No upgrade of cabin--absolutely nothing offered for this change. Isn't this a bait and switch?
Updated on 11/23/2016: My husband called Vantage and explained how we felt cheated and Dennis agreed to comp the pre-trip to Toronto and to upgrade the cabin to a B. Apparently there are others who a very upset about the itinerary changes.
In July of 2016 I booked a trip to India to join a group of friends who had already booked on the same trip earlier. I spent around $14k in this trip including airfare and a travel protection plan. After booking I called to inquire about visa requirements but their customer service rep had no knowledge of visa and referred me to their partner for that matter GenVisa who were not very helpful either in providing information about the requirements, options, etc. They limited their information to what THEY required for the processing of visa which included sending them my passport which they will return with the visa and that I needed to pay their fee for it plus an additional fee for expediting it. Because I did not feel comfortable sending out my passport I searched the internet for other options and found that you can get a e-tourist visa via email and for a very reasonable price - less than half of what GenVisa was charging and so I got it.
My trip included a pre-trip to Nepal but Vantage flew us to Delhi and flew us back to Nepal the following morning and stayed there for 4 days and then flew us back to Delhi. And that is when my nightmare began. Since I had already entered Delhi once, they did not accept my visa again for a re-entry therefore I was held back in Immigration, treated not as a tourist but as a non-grate individual, was not allowed to access my luggage, was asked to make travel arrangements to leave the country and NOBODY FROM VANTAGE offered to help in any way. I remained there in a holding area throughout the night and was released to the gates area the following morning to take the plane back home after just 5 days of a 26 days trip.
To this day, almost a month later, I have not received any call or letter from Vantage acknowledging the situation and/or refund of my money. I have sent multiple communications with no response for which I have started lawsuit process. Vantage, as the Tour Operator should have been responsible for ensuring that travelers have the accurate documentation to travel and that nothing will get in the way for a memorable experience specially with such high priced tours...on the contrary they are totally hands off and are not there for you when something goes wrong. NO CUSTOMER FOCUS. I DO NOT recommend Vantage to anyone. There are way much more better alternatives...that I have used in the past.
More than pleasantly surprised with Vantage. We had been on Viking for 2 wks in May 2016 and I honestly liked Vantage better. One of the biggest differences was Vantage had on board entertainment nightly and if not entertainers, then group games that were fun. The staff was just the friendliest bunch and our tour guide Ava was top notch. It was one of my most relaxing enjoyable trips and it helped that the weather was outstanding. I would highly recommend trying them.
Worst company... booked to leave today lax to china, had a flight delay. Faith **, customer service manager, did nothing to accommodate us. This is my moms 8th trip and the last with this company!! We will not miss our first day of our tour... 12k spent, not worth it.
River cruise Bonn to Budapest. First off I'd like to say that the crew and ship were magnificent. The company is the pits. Two weeks before a trip we paid for over a year ahead, we were informed that our cabin was downgraded due to overbooking. We found that to be not the whole story. They had a group sign up and demanded 10 cabins next to each other. Their gratuity process is a sham. They pre-charge your account 17e per day per person with the promise that all of it is evenly divided with the 47 members of the crew. That means each gets about a $1000 tip for 15 days. Not true. I asked one how much he gets. $500, about the same as his salary. I cannot get an answer to "Where does the rest go to"? I think the rest pays their salaries. It's another way to give the company more money.
The engine failed on the fourth day of the cruise, and the cruise became a series of busing from the docked ship to destinations 3-7 hours per day in an attempt by Vantage to satisfy the scheduled itinerary creating mass confusion on a daily basis. Instead of leisurely daily tours visiting towns for 8 hours, the bus trip left 1-2 hours of touring. Many of the elderly passengers could not make the bus trips. Vantage management during this period was conspicuously silent except for a few insulting memos. Since our return their efforts to compensate have been unacceptable. I would definitely not recommend Vantage. They had no emergency plan to effectively handle situation and to compensate for the disaster. As a result there are 174 furious passengers.
What should happen when things don't go right on a cruise? We recently booked a river cruise with Vantage on their latest and newest vessel. The River Voyager launched on April 26, 2016, its first themed ship highlighting jazz music. Why then would this ship, well past shakedown, fail with the bow thruster going out of service into the 6th of a 15-day cruise on July 13, 2016? Was it human error or some other cause? And how should Vantage have performed in light of this development?
As things stand today no reasonable compensation has been offered. Vantage's immediate reaction was to make a 15-day river cruise into a bus excursion, something too horrendous to even consider and yet they went ahead notwithstanding the complaints and criticism of most passengers. To those who wanted to leave then and there, nothing was offered in the way of a refund, not then, and not now. How safe is this vessel for any future river cruise? Can it happen again? Up to this time passengers have been to stunned to respond; but I feel that will change in the near future as more of the 170 plus on that ill-fated adventure begin to speak out and demand compensation.
There are many precedents as to what others lines have done in similar circumstances, why does Vantage feel this is not appropriate? River cruising should be a very pleasurable means of sightseeing and while weather can cause problems, the failure of a tested ship is not what one anticipates when the Vantage ad reads: The Best Value in Deluxe Travel Guaranteed!
I just got back from a river cruise on the Danube. My experience with Vantage had been a delight: the Cruise Director and the rest of the crew to the ship captain. This trip was a total disaster; the ship engine had to be replaced and Vantage did not inform us until we were on board. I was not given any compensation. The only thing I got was insulting letter stating that continue on buses for the rest of the trip. I was given a choice of accepting $250 and go on the bus or go home without any reimbursement. I would not recommend this company to anyone.
On May 30, 2011 my father paid Vantage Deluxe World Travel $11,446. for a trip to begin August 31, 2011 for my mother and him. On July 21, 2011 he orally canceled this trip and then confirmed the cancellation in writing on July 26, because of a bad turn of health. He had purchased a Travel Protection Plan. He was supposed to contact Trip Mate regarding his cancellation. My father filled out or had his doctor fill out all of the required forms as to why he medically was unable to take the trip. Trip Mate asked for additional information and on August 18, 2011 denied his claim.
Sadly, my father's health had seriously deteriorated. He died August 1, 2013. He left all of his many letters, documentation, post office receipts, etc. in a file for me. He wrote to the Attorney General of Massachusetts and also Mr. Henry Lewis (the CEO of Vantage), all to no avail. Obviously his medical condition was such that he should have been able to use his Travel Protection Plan. My family is still owed $8,368.90, not including interest. This is disgraceful. My recommendation is that you never use or trust Vantage Deluxe World Travel.
We went on the "Best of Burgundy, Beaujolais & Provence" cruise March 14-25, 2016. This was our second cruise with Vantage. It was a decent cruise with one major caveat, we had no hot water (except sporadically like 3:00 AM). We had to settle for sponge baths because was the water wasn't just cold it was ice cold. I complained to the cruise director numerous times and was told they were working on it and it wouldn't be long. Well it went for the entire 11 day cruise and to my understanding several days into the following one.
Upon returning I contacted Vantage and asked for Henry **. His representative said he does not talk to customers. He told her to give them $250 and have them sign a release. There were three couples of us. I told his representative that this was an insult, unreasonable and unacceptable. The cheap cape, Henry ** refused to talk to any of us and said this was their final offer. To make matters worse and show their lack of concern, they offered the exact same cruise in May for $1000 less, also including free airfare.
Several weeks later I got a letter from Vantage apologizing as if they and never been in contact with me. This time they offered give us 50% off a few (very few) select (undesirable) dates but there would be no reduced airfare or past credits allowed, again we had to sign a release. This was absolutely not a good deal, actually costing more than the one we took. I only wrote this review to inform fellow travelers of the people (or person) that is running Vantage Cruise Lines.
As an avid traveler, I have taken at least three tours or cruises with Vantage Deluxe World Travel, without ever canceling a trip including a fourth coming up soon, but I will book no more trips in future because of their stingy cancellation policy. After spending about $35,000 with Vantage trips in the past four/five years, I recently tried to cancel a booking, made only a week earlier, for my daughter on an upcoming trip and requested to have the $500 deposit returned to my CC, only to find out how tight-fisted Vantage is when trying to get a small, simple refund.
I have received several emails from Vantage (none from the same person), explaining how to get a refund or cancel a trip, but after nearly three weeks of trying, not even a promised partial refund was returned to my CC, nor do it appears Vantage gives a hoot if my deposit is ever returned, since the refund request is shuttled around with no one person to follow up and get it done. When booking a trip, it takes any Vantage employee only a nanosecond to charge my CC, but what a hassle trying to get a small down payment returned or partially refunded. Returns don't seem to be high on the priority list. I hope I'm wrong about that. I have not given up on trying to get my hard-earned money returned, but have given up on doing any more business from Vantage.
Returned from Douro Valley trip on 4 May 2016. Due to high water conditions (known to Vantage for their previous two trips but info was not conveyed to any of us travelers until day we were to board ship) we were docked in a remote location and unable to cruise most of Douro River. We never saw Porto and visited only one winery. There was almost no entertainment on boat. Our previous two trips with Vantage were very good and so we recommended this company to our friends. It was an embarrassment for a company to be so uncaring, ill-prepared (remember we were not the first group to experience this) and inept.
I love Vantage. I just got back from the Amazon Machu Picchu trip in Peru and it was awesome. Everything really went well. The one thing that they were working on was that the boat for the Amazon could use some improvement, and they were going to do that, so that made me happy. Our tour guide on that trip was a local, born and raised in Peru, so he was knowledgeable and spoke five languages. He was very intelligent and good. In fact, during the trip, one lady got sick and the tour guide took excellent care of her. He was able to get her home, air flight and everything. For my next trip with Vantage, I'm going to Holland tulips, and I've already booked my next trip with them on April 1st.
I've excellent experiences with Vantage and had only one experience that wasn't. It was very good, but not great. It was a last trip of the season, and we could just tell the guides were anxious to get home. We just went to Vietnam and the tour guide was just outstanding. They were really excellent guides. When we had free time, if there was something we wanted to do and it wasn't on the itinerary or part of the tour but he thought we'd really like, he arranged the transportation and trips for us as groups. For instance, we took a balloon ride that wasn't part of the tour but he really went out of his way to make sure that we had a wonderful experience, that was his goal - that we not miss anything in his country. I've been looking at Vantage's India trip and maybe I'd like to go back to Asia again.
Our first experience with Vantage Deluxe World Travel was when a couple asked us if we would go with them on a Christmas market cruise. And then we went on Normandy cruise last year and we got back before Thanksgiving. It was great. Everything was very good. However, in our last cruise, we didn’t have any entertainment during our first and second night. There was a piano there so we thought there should be a piano guy playing and we could dance. But the entertainment was very good on another night when there was a man talking about Normandy. He was excellent. They also had a movie night with popcorn either before or after we actually landed in Normandy.
When we arrived, we were on the ship only and we were just 20 miles outside Paris when the bombing happened in Paris. We didn’t know if they would have the American Cemetery in Normandy opened because they said there was going to be a 3-day mourning. But on Monday, when we arrived at the American Cemetery, they opened it and it was wonderful. We had a great cruise director and when we were leaving, she brought us directly to the airport rather than into Paris. So it really worked out very well.
Also, the year before, during the Christmas cruise, the Christmas markets were great. I expected to have a colder weather when I bought all my clothing and we didn’t even have it, but that’s okay. The entertainment was good except for one night when they had a girl who was supposed to sing Christmas songs but not one Christmas carol was sung. Everything else was super and we enjoyed it. The food was excellent, too. But we particularly like the last cruise because the wine was free every night.
We used Vantage for the air travel on our Christmas cruise but on the last one, we did the flying on our own and we only paid for the cruise. Overall, it was very good. I would go on another Vantage. We've been on 20 ocean cruises – at least one or two a year. Their Christmas one was the first river cruise I have ever been on and we love them. We'd go again, especially since they have the guides at each city and we didn’t have to pay extra for that. Also, they were very knowledgeable. That is superb.
Our travel experience with Vantage was excellent. They had the best itinerary and we have known other people that have traveled with Vantage that were quite satisfied. Their customer service teams were more than happy to answer any questions or let us know of different options. It was really a fantastic trip - everything was well organized and done first class. Our tour guide was also wonderful and all the locals were good too. We’ll probably use them again in the future.
So far, our experience with Vantage has been good. Their customer service was easy to reach and very responsive. Moreover, the tour directors were good. The only negative comment I have is that these trips are very expensive. But it’s a first-class trip which I appreciate. I’m sure with the fees they charge, they'd pay their people very well. Also, what I did not appreciate was the ongoing suggestion or almost coercion for tips. Part of their brochures indicate that tips are included. But then throughout the tour, there’s this, “Well, we recommend $10 a day tip. We recommend you give this guy $20. We recommend –.” And that somewhat put me off. But overall, it's very good. We will consider using them again on our future trips.
A friend of ours traveled with Vantage, liked their tour and recommended it. Our trip was to South Africa, and the trip itself was excellent. The experiences before it were not so nice. We found it very difficult dealing with Vantage. Two weeks before we left, we were notified all of a sudden by an email that they've cancelled our reservation at our request. We never made such a request. We're appalled. When I tried to straighten it out, they said "Somebody sent you the wrong email." I guess it's the Boston office, but it's not a healthy experience.
Another thing is that Vantage seemed to be very remote. They always want to advertise and push us, but we never felt that they were willing to extend a hand and help in our questions. We weren't very satisfied with that part. We had complexities even in getting our small medical claim from the insurance that they sold us which was very expensive. It was very complicated. They sold us the policy and they seemed to push it as theirs, and all of a sudden they no longer have responsibility. When it came time to make a small claim, which was like $100, all of a sudden they had nothing to do with it. I had to call Travelex and take care of it myself. My wife would be against using Vantage again. I would maybe give them a chance because the tour was so good, but it was organized by a fabulous tour leader who was South African and knew what he was doing very well. I'm not sure if Vantage should take credit so much for the tour itself.
Vantage was fantastic. We had a super-good hostess throughout the trip and the staff and wait staff were great. This happened during the Paris bombings but I felt very safe and we had a wonderful time. I certainly would recommend Vantage.
We’re leaving Thursday and it took Vantage Deluxe three days before we left to give me a cabin assignment. It was four times I’d called and they kept saying it’ll be next week, next week, next week. So here I am, a month later. I finally got it yesterday. It always seems like if they give you your cabin number, it’s the best well-kept secret. This will be our third cruise with them and that’s the only problem I’ve encountered. The tour guides and directors have been excellent. We were with them the day of the Paris bombing, and I cannot say enough for Vantage Cruise at that moment. They were professional and wonderful. It’s very easy to say with any tour operator, “they’re a great tour company,” until something really goes terribly wrong, and that’s when they really shine.
Every trip with Vantage Deluxe World Travel has been interesting and we’ve done about 15 trips with them. The tour directors and the tour guides all worked out very well and we never a problem. We still have three more fully paid trips scheduled. We’re flying from here to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt to Basel, and we’re getting on a boat there then go west and on through Amsterdam. The other one is a trip to Iceland and we do also have one tour of Cuba. Then we also have a train trip to Canada that’s on the books. So clearly we’ve been happy.
We had seen several brochures about Vantage and then got an email from them on a specials for a trip going from Budapest to Amsterdam. We took that one and last year, we also went on the Normandy Cruise with them. I’m an ex-military personnel so the highlight for me was going up to Normandy and visiting the battlefields. I recommend their tour guides and directors. They were excellent and so were their sales and customer service teams. When I’ve called them, they answered all my questions and did everything they possibly could to get the travel arranged the way I’d like them. I'd probably book another trip with them again.
Vantage Deluxe World Travel Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Vantage Deluxe World Travel
- Year Founded:
- 90 Canal Street #100
- Postal Code:
- United States