BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- 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.
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 Ã¢â¬Årun it by her (his supervisor)Ã¢â¬ 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:
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.
Why does it take up to 4 weeks (per Cory) to get my refund? Why can't someone expedite the paperwork?
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.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- This company follows a certain pattern. Once you have booked your trip, you're on your own. Try to make any changes or ask for even the slightest accommodation, and the response will be "sorry, can't do, that's not our policy". And that is if you are lucky enough to talk to a customer service representative Hold of 45 to 50 minutes are common.
We booked the Moscow-St Petersburg cruise and later added the pre-trip to Kiev. hen we check our Itinerary on-line we were booked Sacramento-Seattle (Alaska Air) - Paris (Air France) - Kiev (Air France) - Moscow (Kiev Air). St Petersburg - Paris - Seattle (Air France) - Sacramento (Alaska Air).When we received our travel documents, our itinerary had been changed for our return. Paris - Salt Lake City - Sacramento (Delta). This new return itinerary from Paris is longer with a 5:40 minute layover in Salt Lake for an 1:38 minute flight.
My wife called Vantage and after a very lengthy period on-hold, the clerk was extremely surly and said that nothing could be done. ;I contacted Air France and was told that the flights were still available with plenty of seating, but any changes would have to be made by Vantage.
I then sent an email to Vantage Customer Service who responded that the flights were no longer available. We are now hoping that the smoky conditions in Moscow will persist or increase so that we can cancel without penalty. We have future trips in the planning but we will never, ever travel with Vantage.