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 it 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.
Veronika Hoskova is a native of Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic. She has worked for Vantage for nearly 15 years, and served travelers aboard many of our European river cruise itineraries. “That’s a lot of water under the bridge!” she jokes, but there is one bridge she is particularly fond of: “I am always very much delighted when passengers tell me they loved walking across Charles Bridge in my city, which of course, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world!” Travel with Veronika, and you will have a wealth of knowledge at your disposal about European culture, history, and traditions.
COMPLIMENTARY WORLDWIDE CONCIERGE SERVICE
If you have a special request or personal interest you’d like to pursue during your journey, your Vantage Concierge is here to help. This complimentary service is available to all travelers — no matter what cabin category or flight class you’ve reserved!
Whether you want to plan an anniversary party, secure restaurant reservations, or organize a private experience for your group, our Concierge service can make your travel dreams come true. Concierge service is available before your journey. Simply log in to MyPortfolio, submit a pre-trip request to Concierge@vantagetravel.com, or call 1-888-982-6824 and you'll have your answer from our Concierge within two business days.
During your journey, a Vantage Destination Manager doubles as your onboard Concierge and can assist with any personal requests you may have.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM LOCAL LECTURERS
Meet Krisztina Bánfy
Born and raised in Budapest, Krisztina Bánfy studied both in Hungary and the U.K., earning degrees in teaching, English language, and literature, as well as in hotel and tourism management. Fluent in English, Hungarian, and German, and speaking some Russian, she has spent the past 25 years working in both education and hospitality, including 13 years as an English teacher. Even when she was most busy teaching, she kept traveling as much as possible. Since 2003, she has focused exclusively on her passion for her country as a tour guide. “I'm fond of traveling so I think I’m in a very lucky position because my job is also my hobby,” she says. ”Let’s explore my city together! Not only will you see the beautiful sights, but you’ll have a look at the everyday life of the people living in Budapest.” From Christmas traditions to favorite delicacies, she has plenty to share and says, “I’m quite sure you will like this lively metropolis!”
MEET THE CAPTAIN
Captain Danut Scurtu was born in 1963 in a small village located 120 km north of the Danube River. Growing up, he had a neighbor that served in the Romanian Military Navy and would often see him wearing his uniform, a sight that made quite an impression on young Danut. Coupled with the neighbor’s stories about all the places he’d visited and experiences he’d had throughout his military career, Danut was inspired to pursue a career in the Navy. In 1977, he enrolled at the School of Marine Technology (Liceul Tehnologic de Marină) in Galați, Romania. He graduated in 1982 and has since pursued his dream of being a ship’s captain.
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 Cruise Director, you’ll enjoy the services of experienced regional experts in select ports 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 on this island get by? Why are local fishing boats painted a certain color? What is the most popular local dish? Your regional expert is eager to bring it all alive for you — in fluent English.