Review of my Vantage River cruise through France

Since Vantage Deluxe World Cruises are not in the database, I have decided to post in the Forum a very short (for me) review of the first of my two Back-to-Back River Cruises through France . This 10-day cruise was the start of a 20-day The Treasures of France: A grand River Journey from Normandy to Provence Cruise. The excellent cruise began in Paris and traveled north up the seine River to Honsfleur (Normandy.) Food onboard was delicious; the presentation was artistic. Breakfast was always a buffet with a few different items each day. Lunch was also a buffet but most days you could also order off the menu. I always ordered the delicious chilled soups and pasta dish when available and also went to the buffet. For dinner there were several choices but if none were to your liking there were entrees always available such as Salmon, Chicken, a vegetarian dish and Steak. Our party of four was completely satisfied with the food offerings. The service was always friendly, professional and efficient. Wine, soda and beer are freely available at dinnertime, also. Passengers sit whoever they want and with whomever they want. Dinner is served at 7 pm. Dress for dinner was casual except for the Captain’s Gala Dinner when most men wore jackets. We all enjoyed a local lunch off the boat during our visit to the Normandy Beaches and American Cemetery.

On such a small ship, we became quite friendly with the entire staff including the senor officers. My husband thought that this was the best thing about the cruise. It certainly added to our enjoyment. Marie did a suburb job as Cruise director; everyone loved her . Service throughout the ship was excellent from the front desk, to the dining room to the lounges and housekeeping. The passengers were all older Americans and we knew everyone by the end of the cruise.

The ship, Vantage Venture was lovely and the public areas were quite attractive and comfortable. Our stateroom 307 had a French Balcony and was well appointed. It contained plenty of storage with two wardrobes, deep drawer and shelf space. Two end tables flanked the comfortable bed covered with two fluffy comforters. In addition, there were two chairs, a desk, small glass table and plenty of lamps with good lighting. There was a safe, an ice bucket and hair dryer in the room. The bathroom containing a fairly large shower had a generous supple of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, shower gels and body lotion. The towels were fluffy and replaced as needed twice daily. The only thing missing was a mini fridge. Our cabin steward was efficient, very accommodating and kept our stateroom spotless. As President Club members having traveled with Vantage on at least three cruises, we received a free bag of laundry which was an excellent perk that we all appreciated and used.

I loved that Vantage uses headsets and receivers on shore excursions both optional and included. We saw beautiful cathedrals, chateaus, museums, castles, monuments, quaint medieval cities, towers, abbeys and bucolic country sides along the winding waterways. All excursions were worthwhile and most were included. For me the highpoint was our two nights stay in Honsfleur. As we sailed under the Normandy bridge we received glasses of Champagne to commemorate the event. The medial city is quaint and we docked right in town. From there, we traveled one day up to Normandy for an unforgettable tour of this historic area. In fact every port of call - Vernon, Chalon Sur Saone, Les Andelys, Caudebec-en-Caux. Bayeux/Caen and Roen were equally enjoyable. Unfortunately we could not dock in Paris due to a lock malfunction but we boarded a coach from Vernon into Paris and didn’t miss any sightseeing in this exciting city.

Although very port intensive, the staff found time for some onboard activities - a Galley Tour, French Apple Tart Demonstration, Impressionism Lecture and World War II/ Normandy Talk. There were several nights of great entertainment including wonderful Can Can Dancers, a Traditional Folkloric Dance Company, local Jazz Ensemble and the talented Italian singer ,Roberto.

I highly recommend this Vantage river cruise. Vantage was the only company that offered this combination of two Back-to-Back river cruises through France for a total of 20 days in France. The cruise exceeded my expectations and I looked forward to the second cruise which I will post later. The only issue that I had was that the guide was late in arriving to meet us in Paris.

Tags: Vantage Deluxe World Cruises Vantage Venture River Cruise through France Paris - Normandy

25 Answers

Thanks for your outstanding review -- it has really piqued my interest in "Riverboating".

i hope that you take that river cruise, BDvRebel. I think that you would enjoy it. Simon is taking one in a couple of weeks on Viking.

It is important to keep this quote in mind!

"Unfortunately we could not dock in Paris due to a lock malfunction but we boarded a coach from Vernon into Paris and didn’t miss any sightseeing in this exciting city."

One main reason we chose this cruise for our sixth Vantage river cruise was to spend two evenings in Paris and have plenty of time to relax in the city, wander around to choose nice restaurants, and cruise past the Eiffel tower at night. We missed all of that, plus an advertised tour of a Van Gogh museum. Very disappointing, so I suggest you call Vantage and make sure it will be berthed in Paris and return to Paris. Driving in from Vernon is 1 1/2 hours each way. And, on that single day we had about 2 hours on our own to enjoy the city. had we been notified we would have requested to travel later in the year assuming the lock would be repaired. Terrible to get there and be badly disappointed. Also, we heard a lot of grumbling from members of the Presidents club who all felt the service was poor. For instance, we were in Vernon for two full days and a stop again on the way back. The tour director did not bother to give us a brief walk around the lovely town. I had to follow a Viking tour person to really find out about the town. They should have at least offered that. And, former Vantage folks were expecting to be handed a bottle of water for our bus tours. Nope, you get two bottle per day and any more gets charged to the room!!! Food was great, but customer service much lower than previous. If you are used to having three cruise guides on board, you will be disappointed. Mixed success with the local guides. Some were barely able to speak English. Others were great. Had the worst meal ever at a lovely village on the Normandy beach tour. Lovely town, should have given each of us a few Euros, but instead took us up some rickety stairs to a bare room with an awful piece of what was supposed to be ham. Awful taste, awful service, and not at all quaint like several of the other cafes on the small harbor seemed to be. So, if you want a nice visit to Paris, either take another line (all other river ships were leaving from adn returning to, Paris) or call Vantage to make sure it will be in Paris. After complaining (which I hardly do) we were offered a $300 per person credit for use on future Vantage cruise. I doubt we will use it. Very disappointed in what used to be a super cruise operator.

Gloria: I'm now looking at a Vantage river cruise thanks to your review and photo's. We have not heard from you in a long time. I hope all is well. All of us from the site miss you and would like to see you post again.

River cruises.. On my bucket list, but not sure if I can convince the BF to get on such a small boat lol... Given its a river and there shouldn't be motion issues, just the claustrophobic for him.

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