Your Vantage Team
Experts to serve you, ship to shore
During your cruise, you’ll be well taken of. Your Cruise Director will provide briefings about upcoming ports, coordinate social and cultural activities on board ship, and generally make sure that your experience is the best it can be. Your onboard Concierge can provide expert advice and assist with special requests, be it on-shore restaurant reservations to spa appointments to event tickets and more. And to guide your included shore excursions, we’ve selected the best Regional Experts. If your program includes a land stay (or if you have chosen an optional extension), you will also enjoy the services of a City Host at your hotel, who can help you plan your exploration.
Cruise Directors make your trip “smooth sailing”
Your Vantage river cruise will be led by a seasoned Cruise Director whose job is to see to your comfort and satisfaction. Think of him or her as your onboard “host,” the person to turn to with questions about your itinerary, updates on the day’s activities, reservations for optional tours, and so much more.
Meet Erna Hoek
Erna’s love affair with travel began with a six-month backpacking trip in the U.S., which led to a career as a multilingual tour guide and adventures in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. These days she is back home in her native Netherlands, introducing Vantage travelers not only to canals and windmills but to the Dutch view of themselves and the world. “I know both American society as well as European society very well,” Erna says, “I can draw many comparisons between the two. And although our ways of life may seem the same, there are huge and very interesting differences to learn about.”
“Erna was very articulate, knowledgeable and pleasant. She was accessible plus ready to answer all questions, and provided a great cultural experience because she has lived in the U.S. and the Netherlands.”
MEET THE CAPTAINS
Gábor György Czakó (River Splendor)
Having worked on ships since 1986, River Splendor Captain Gabor Gyorgy Czako aims to make his cruises safe, smooth, and comfortable for all his passengers. “We’re at our best when the boat travels so smoothly the travelers can’t tell if we’re sailing or we’re docked,” he says. A native of Hungary, Gabor, a married father of three, received his captain’s license in 1999, and loves viewing the scenic natural beauty of the region all along the river route. When he’s not at the helm of the River Splendor, Gabor relaxes with his family or participates in paragliding, running and skiing activities.
Siegbert Schröder (River Voyager)
The son of a cargo ship captain, River Voyager Captain Siegbert Schroder has spent most of his life around boats. Starting out as a ship’s boy in 1982, he eventually learned how to maneuver and handle vessels on his own, becoming a cargo ship captain himself in 1988. He notes that every day brings new challenges on the water, but considers a voyage successful as long as the passengers are enjoying themselves and the water levels are satisfactory. When he spends some rare time on land, Siegbert enjoys soccer and motorbiking.
Chef Stefan Vasile Florin
If you ask Stefan Vasile Florin to sum up his love of cooking, one theme runs through his every word: passion. Stefan has been cooking with passion since 1999 when he began his culinary training. He brought his skills in traditional and international styles of cooking to a 5-star hotel in Bucharest, where he expanded his knowledge and refined his craft. “My every intention is to cook with passion and make the guest want to come back for more,” he says. “For that, you need a strong team that works together seamlessly and shares the same commitment.” One experience that tapped into that passion occurred in a Bucharest fine dining establishment specializing in Asian cuisine. Diners were able to choose their own fresh fish from an aquarium and watch as he procured the “locally sourced” food and prepared their meal. It provided a lesson in the importance of fresh ingredients that he carries with him as chef on the River Splendor. “I love having the opportunity to turn fresh quality products into creative, innovative and delicious dishes,” he says.
Regional Experts in Each Port
No one knows a destination better than an insider, so in addition to your River Cruise Director, you’ll enjoy the services of experienced Regional Experts in each port during your included tours. Their deep command of regional history will certainly enrich your viewing of important attractions. But our “insiders” go a step beyond, sharing insights on behind-the-scenes aspects of local culture that ordinary tours usually overlook. How do families in this town get by? What is the legend about this cathedral? What do the decorations on a particular house mean? Your Regional Expert is eager to bring it all alive for you. All are fluent English speakers, and you won’t miss a word of their commentary as we provide complimentary audio headsets.