We've traveled with Vantage a number of times and have especially enjoyed their "deluxe" river cruises. Unfortunately, this trip fell far short of "deluxe," due to a number of factors, one of which was beyond the control of Vantage (i.e. cyclone in Cairns that meant that the Barrier Reef cruise was cancelled as well as the Featherdale Wildlife Tour out of Sydney, since we were holed up in Cairns an extra day and missed the optional tour day in Sydney). We also had other concerns about this trip that we've voiced to Vantage.
The Tour Director was lovely--very friendly and helpful, but we wondered whether she had the autonomy and flexibility to alter the program/schedule in light of changing conditions. Other groups, for example, exited from Cairns BEFORE the cyclone was predicted to hit Cairns, but our Tour Director apparently couldn't get permission to move us out, so we spent two days in the oceanside Hilton doing nothing while waiting for the storm to subside.
That said, you will love the Hermitage Hotel overlooking magnificent Mt. Cook and the Milford Sound Sidney Harbor cruises. The scenery was spectacular, especially in New Zealand. The "Cultural Connections" and home visit and meal were also outstanding. The buffet breakfasts at all the hotels feature selections for all diets, and we so appreciated having laundry facilities in our St. Moritz Hotel suites in Queenstown!
We've had problems with our air reservations and seating on the international flights on the past trips with Vantage, as well as with this one. Be sure to check your seat assignments, and whether you even have any on the US domestic and international flights. We found that there was little attention given to our preferences, and we had to make changes ourselves in spite of the fact that we'd told Vantage of our seating preferences over a year in advance of the trip. Of course, by the time you find out about your seat assignments, there are few unassigned seats left.
This customer had a NEUTRAL experience with this business.
This customer WOULD NOT recommend the business to a friend, family member, neighbor or colleague.
Comment from the Business
We thank you for bringing the concerns of Dr. **** ***** to our attention. As we have already explained to the passenger via letter, the tropical Cyclone Ita was an act of God out of Vantage’s control and we too were disappointed that it adversely affected the itinerary. Our program manager worked together with our regional team to make decisions in order to carry out the majority of the itinerary with as little interruption as possible keeping the safety of our passengers at the forefront. There was indeed a flight arranged to leave Cairns, however, hotel rooms in Sydney could not be confirmed. Eventually, ******, ended up cancelling that flight due to the cyclone anyway.
We are glad to hear that the passenger was pleased with the services of the program manager, ******* *****, the ********* *****, the ******** ***********, and the home hosted meals.
We are further sorry that she was not satisfied with her seats on her flights. While we take seating preferences at the time of booking, the airline and, consequently, Vantage cannot guarantee seats. On ******, we do not have direct access to the inventory as we only get block seats. In this instance, we certainly forward to ****** seating preferences, but as our Tour Participation Agreement states, we cannot guarantee it.
Overall, we are as disappointed as the passenger that this tour was affected by the tropical Cyclone Ita. We hope that the passenger can appreciate our efforts to keep our passengers safe and carry out most of the itinerary with as little interruption as possible.
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