River Navigator Cruise Review by on_the_go_98765
- Sail Date: July 2015
- Destination: Europe River
On the plus side of things, it was all it was billed to be and everything was as promised. Th shore excursions were generally quite good and the tour director did her best ot accommodate everyone's needs and wants. We appreciated that wine and beer were included with dinner (provided you could flag down the over-worked wait staff) and the quality was better than we expected.
We appreciated the transfer to and from services and found the extra help crucial to navigating the Amsterdam airport.
The staff were always courteous and helpful. Rooms, hallways, and public areas, were always tidy.
On the minus side of things, it came as a surprise how much the "recommended" tipping would be at the end of the trip. It added up to a pretty hefty sum. When we cruised on Aegean Odyssey, those costs were all included. Of course, they earned the gratuity but we would have preferred it be included (not tucked on at the end). It was no small amount!
The rooms were small (and we had French balcony room with a small table with 2 chairs, so it was not like one of the smaller rooms down below) and the bathrooms posed a real challenge. Neither of us are large people but the shower stall was the size of a coffin; turn around and you "adjust" the water temperature inadvertently!
Meals ... at first we thought how great it was to get all our meals provided and then boredom set in. It was totally predictable and all we could think about was getting off the boat and doing exploring on our own to find some different food. There is only one dining facility on board and seating is at tables for 4 (limited number), 6 (most are in this range), or larger tables which seem to have someone who rushes in and declares that this table is "theirs!" On our cruise, we had one such lady who organized her own "parties" for the entire tour. Yeah, just like in grade school, right? The "popular" table was by invitation only. Ho hum. So glad I was not invited.
We found that Vantage appeals to an older set of travelers, many with mobility issues, and this did impact our tour arrangements in a negative way. Many things had to be adjusted to fit the needs of everyone.
Fortunately, the weather was very nice most of the time we cruised so we would spend a lot of time outside on the upper deck, admiring the stars and visiting with co-travelers after dinner. Sometimes a dance group would come in and put on a dance show and sometimes the staff did their best to entertain us with shows of their own.
In the final analysis:
Comparing this to the small cruise ship Aegean Odyssey, we hated to see that trip end and, with this trip on Vantage's River Navigator, we were so ready for a land trip in Amsterdam.
This was a trip we wanted to cross off of our "bucket list" and there really are no regrets. We have great memories and appreciated seeing all the things we did see. The River Navigator is not a new ship (it will be retired from Vantage's boats this year) but we never felt it was shabby.
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