My Vantage Deluxe Travel Amazon River cruise turned into a "total disappointment". I'll never book another vacation with them.
Beware of potential problems booking and paying for a vacation with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. They will cancel your trip that was already paid in full, not notify you in a timely manner, and not reply to your concerns. Vantage cancelled my vacation (that was paid in full) in May 06 and didn't notify me until Sept 06. Over the past year and a half I have sent this letter (below) to them over a dozen times (by USPS, email, and over their website, etc.). They have never responded. They are great at booking a vacation and taking your money; however, I've seen absolutely no customer service from them. They do not "service what they sell".
15 Sep 06
Chief Executive Officer
Vantage Deluxe World Travel
90 Canal Street
Boston, MA 02114-2031
Dear Mr. Lewis,
Ref: Customer ID: XXXXXXX, Invoice # XXXXXXX, Brazil & the Amazon River Cruise, departure date of the trip 11 Mar 07 (actually 8 Mar 07 with pre-trip extension).
We booked the referenced trip on 25 April 2006!!! Yesterday morning (14 Sep 06) we received a call from Cory Cowen (Vantage employee on ext. 7506) indicating that our trip was cancelled since they changed the vacation to a “President’s Small Ship Cruise”, etc. He indicated we could use our money (that we paid for referenced trip) for another trip or get a refund. I asked him what additional compensation I would get due to fact that Vantage cancelled my trip and for my inconvenience, etc. Basically he said that he didn’t have the authority to offer anything. He did say that if I had a specific trip in mind he could ask his supervisor about compensation. He stated that compensation (if any) would not be very much, and definitely not what I would expect (around $300 or more per person), etc. At this late date, most of my March 2007 choices were already “closed out” and I already have other trips booked for most of the other months, etc. However, I did give him a European river cruise to check on. He said he would “run it by her (his supervisor)” and get back to me in a couple hours. Needless to say he never called back.
After some further research I found out that Vantage had actually cancelled my vacation 4 to 5 months ago. I located a couple old catalogs that list the President’s Brazil & the Amazon River Cruise for the date of my trip as being “sold out”. I called Cory back today and after some “useless discussion” I decided on a refund. He did admit that Vantage had cancelled my trip approximately 4 months ago. He thought it appeared to have been done in May, but had no real explanation as to why I wasn’t notified then.
I would like specific answers to the following questions:
1. When the determination was made to change my trip (actual date) to a “President’s Cruise” why wasn’t I called and given the opportunity to book it (and keep my vacation)?
2. Why did it take Vantage 4 to 5 months to notify me that my trip was cancelled? Wasn’t someone responsible for notifying me in a timely manner?
3. Since booking I had called/emailed Vantage several times asking about the status of my air. The last couple times was this month with Lauri and Susan. Susan never got back to me as she promised and Luari never really adequately answered my questions. Basically I got “sluffed off” and was told that “Your flights are being blocked with the airline on a Group Block and once we have the space all finalized it will be put into your record”. I have no idea what “blocked on a group block” means, etc. However, why didn’t they tell me the trip was already cancelled?
4. I’ll be 58 in November and I can remember when a company would actually value their customers, treat them right, be honest with them, and try to “do right by them when a mistake was made”. Does Vantage really not care about customer satisfaction, repeat business, and/or word of mouth recommendations? We’ve been on over 60 cruises and (since retiring 2 ½ years ago) have taken approximately 8 vacations (over 2 weeks each) per year. This would have been my 2nd vantage trip. I’ve been on 3 Grand Circle trips and will probably book more. In talking to other people on the various vacations, the topic of what other vacations do you like and/or have you taken always comes up. I can honestly say that due to the way I have been treated I would never recommend Vantage to anyone.
5. Why does it take up to 4 weeks (per Cory) to get my refund? Why can’t someone expedite the paperwork?
6. I mentioned to Corey that if I wanted to book another Vantage trip at a later date I would lose my “on board booking credit” and “past traveler discount”. I asked if he could extend these discounts. He said that he didn’t have the authority to do so. Can you give me any reason why would I ever want to book another Vantage vacation?
Note: When I was on my original Vantage trip last March 2006 (Norwegian Crown, South American Explorer) a Princess Cruise ship (Star Princess) caught on fire and they had to cancel several cruises. I was booked on that ship for a transatlantic cruise departing 30 April 2006 and my cruise was cancelled. Before I got home from the Vantage trip, they had already credited my charge card with a full refund. In addition, I had a voice mail message from my travel agent notifying me of such. Also, Princess Cruises offered to fully reimburse me for my nonrefundable air and a 25% (of what I paid) credit for a future Princess cruise. Consequently I’m booked on a Dawn Princess cruise this December. I didn’t expect Vantage to offer a 25% credit on another trip; but I did expect something of significance (i.e. a couple/few hundred dollars per person or maybe an additional 5% off) in lieu of the of the “take it or leave it” offer to rebook any other trip (that still happens to be available) at the full “book rate”.
I can understand Vantage making a management decision to change the Brazil & the Amazon River Cruise to a President’s Cruise. However I can’t understand why I wasn’t offered my cabin on that cruise, at least notified of the change in a timely manner (like last April/May) when the trip was actually cancelled, or told that it was cancelled when I called in (several times) to check on my air schedule. It is really disappointing to see such a “we really don’t care about the customer” attitude from Vantage Deluxe World Travel. I actually thought that they were a better company than that. I guess I was wrong.