Expected single bed in cabin

By William Suter
This item appears on page 27 of the February 2015 issue.

Years ago, I took a really outstanding Vantage Deluxe World Travel cruise from the Black Sea to Amsterdam with my wife, prior to losing her. On the strength of that experience, in late October 2013 I booked a spring 2014 tour and cruise in northern Portugal with Vantage. I booked it, myself, by phone, since Vantage doesn’t accept travel agent bookings.

The basic program was a 6-day bus tour from Lisbon to Oporto (Porto) plus a 7-day cruise on the Douro River aboard the MS Douro Spirit. Excluding international airfare, Shirley, my life partner, and I paid $3,550 each for the tour/cruise plus $1,150 each for a 3-day Barcelona extension. We left Los Angeles on April 26 and arrived home from Portugal on May 12. 

Regarding the “bed situation” in the cabin we were assigned to on the ship, on Aug. 12  I wrote to Vantage Travel, “On my Douro River trip, I found Shirley, my life companion, and myself to be allotted only single beds every night. How in the world could anyone assume a man and a woman traveling together are doing so only for cost savings? Why couldn’t your agent have asked?

“The result was we had a lousy trip, regardless of the efforts of your excellent ground staff. How can I be sure the same mistake won’t be repeated if I decide to book another trip with Vantage? (I’ve waited until now to write because had I written immediately following our return, my letter would have been full of 4-letter words.)”

In essence, Vantage’s reply stated that the person taking the original booking was supposed to ask the customer’s preference on twin or double beds.


South Pasadena, CA

ITN emailed a copy of Mr. Suter’s compaint to Vantage Deluxe World Travel (customercare@vantagetravel.com) and received the following in an email.

My records indicate that back in August we received a letter from Mr. Suter and responded to him, apologizing for the situation.

I can see that there was an error on the sales agent side when the reservation was made. Mr. Suter put in two remarks, one for two beds and another for one bed, so I can see how the ship could have been confused.

However, there are also notes indicating that the two were not married and lived at two different addresses, so I can see why the ship staff would err on the side of caution and make the room up for two separate beds.

The one thing I am puzzled by is that, according to the ship, all the staterooms have hotel-style beds with optional twin-bed configuration. (Note: a pair of “hotel-style” twin beds can be converted to a queen-size bed — Editor). So even if it was configured incorrectly, the ship staff should have been able to correct this issue.

I will reach out to the passenger and again apologize for any issues that were caused. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention.

COREY COWAN, Director of Customer Service, Vantage Deluxe World Travel, 90 Canal St., Boston, MA 02114

Having received Mr. Cowan’s letter, Mr. Suter wrote to ITN, “As to the ‘hotel-style’ beds, I didn’t see any way our two beds could be combined. Admittedly, I didn’t ask. Also, I didn’t ask for a different cabin. I wasn’t personally told the ship was fully booked, but that was my understanding.”