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 European 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.
Meet Erna Hoek
Originally from the Netherlands, Erna originally studied journalism, but began a professional career as a tour guide in the U.S. after backpacking through the country on a six-month journey. Erna believes that the key to her success as a Cruise Director is her firsthand knowledge of both American and European cultures. "I can draw many comparisons between the two," she says. “Although in many ways our lives may seem the same, there are huge and very interesting differences to learn about.” Erna loves to travel and is an avid reader.
MEET THE CAPTAIN
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.