Before You Go
From money matters to packing tips, we’ve got all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming Vantage journey. Just click on an item below to read more about it.
Passports & Visas
Planning your trip
Your trip will be here before you know it! Here's some information specific to the destinations you'll be visiting to help you prepare for your journey.
A passport is required for this trip. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the scheduled return date of your vacation. Bring with you a photocopy of the pages of your passport that contain your personal information and extra passport photographs, or take a photo on your phone. These are useful in the event of loss.
Passport and Visa
The following information applies to U.S. citizens only. Those traveling on other than a U.S. passport must contact the embassies or consulates of the countries to be visited for further information and special requirements.
Should the above requirements change, you will be notified in a mailing prior to departure. All visa, entry requirements, and fees are subject to change without advance notification by action of the government and port authorities. Vantage is not responsible for any additional charges resulting from such changes.
Please visit Generations Visa at www.genvisa.com/vantage
for up-to-date requirements and application fees.
NOTE: Non-U.S. citizens or passport holders, it is your responsibility to contact your local embassy or consulate for requirements which will vary from above.
U.S. Customs Information
If you are traveling internationally, it is important to understand U.S. Customs regulations including required documents that are valid at least six months following your departure date, rules for bringing back items, and duty-free exemption. Please click the link below to visit the U.S. Customs website and read their helpful info, "Know Before You Go."
View "Know Before You Go"
(Link opens new browser window.)
This is a U.S. based itinerary operating under the jurisdiction of Jones
Act. The Jones
Act prohibits all ships of Non-U.S. registry from embarking and disembarking guests at two different U.S. ports. This means that guests are not permitted to permanently disembark this journey at a secondary U.S. port of their choice, as this would be a violation of the law. Any guest who insists on disembarking the ship in a port which violates the Jones Act will be responsible for any resulting penalties.
For more information on the Jones act, click here
We know that you’ll want to reward great service, so we’ve included the following guidelines for gratuities:
- Now including gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Porterage: Gratuities are included, except in Customs areas; porterage is included at hotels
- Outside Dining: Varies according to local customs; your Expedition Team will advise
Vantage Cruise Director, Concierge, Ship Staff & Crew:
- A gratuity of $20 per traveler, per day, will be pre-charged to your credit card and can be adjusted at the end of the cruise or modified to cash gratuities
- Shipboard gratuities are shared among the whole crew, including the Cruise Director and Concierge
Trip extension gratuities:
Tips for City Hosts and/or Program Managers on trip extensions: $5-7 per person per day
Please note: It is strongly recommended that you contact your credit card company and/or your bank to advise them that you will be traveling, and credit card charges will be posted from foreign countries. For onboard expenses, you may see charges from Cyprus, where our credit processing company is based.
Ship to Shore: The Vantage Safe Travel Initiative
We’ve planned our journeys around memorable destinations and experiences with your health, safety, and security always in mind. Following guidance from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, local foreign governments, and our partners from around the world, we’re taking it to the next level. We've implemented vital health & safety assurances on all our journeys. Learn more about Vantage's Safe Travel Initiative.
Vantage requires that all guests, associates, and crew be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — including a booster shot — at least 14 days prior to their journey departure date. Travelers will be required to produce their vaccine card displaying their name, dates of doses, and vaccine type to embark. Travelers who cannot product proof of vaccination will have to return home at their own expense.
Specific entry requirements for your chosen destination
To ensure that you have a smooth travel experience, you will need to know the requirements for both your specific airline carrier and the country you’ll arrive in prior to your departure. We’ve listed some considerations below to help you plan.
- COVID-19 Testing Requirements: Upon embarkation of the Ocean Explorer and Ocean Odyssey, all guests will be required to take a complimentary antigen test, provided by Vantage. During the cruise, the ship’s physician will continue to make tests available should you present any symptoms, become a close contact of a positive case, or just request to be tested.
- Upon arrival, travelers will be required to provide their completed wellness declaration form pledging no contact with at-risk persons and no symptoms of illness
- The use of face masks is no longer mandatory for guests while on board the ship. Face masks will continue to be required for all our crew.
- While ashore, you may be required to use a face mask when required by local regulations.
- We encourage our travelers to complete a self-test before flying to the destination and to wear a mask during travel time (on flights and in airports).
- We highly recommend that you contact your air carrier prior to departure to confirm what their requirements are for take-off and landing
Negative COVID-19 tests are no longer required for return travel back into the U.S.
Additional vaccinations are not mandatory at the present time, but we remind you that traveling does require certain precautions. We advise that you check with your personal physician to verify your particular needs. For more information on health related issues while traveling overseas, contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by visiting http://www.cdc.gov/travel or calling toll-free 1-800-232-4636.
Onboard Internet Availability
Internet connectivity may be limited or unavailable depending on ship location, signal availability and volume of onboard usage.
Note: The above times are based on Eastern Standard Time.
||+0 or +1 hour
Use the chart below to get an overview of the average temperatures at your destination.
Average High/Low Temperature (Fahrenheit)
Canada's Currency & Exchange Rate
The unit of currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar divided into 100 cents. Banknote and coin denominations are as follows:
- Banknotes: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
- Coins: $1, $2, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
What to Pack
You may find the packing information below helpful as you begin to prepare for your upcoming journey.
Bring your iPad, Kindles, and/or smart phones. This way you will have access to city guides, post trip survey and trip information while on tour. This will also allow you to take pictures and communicate with friends and family easier.
Most travelers pack much more than they really need. We recommend that you start packing a few days before your trip, so you have time to remember everything that you need — and to decide what is essential and what is not. And don't forget to leave room for souvenirs and gifts you may purchase during your trip.
Besides the basic necessities and the items covered below, you'll want to pack sunglasses, a hat or visor, and sunscreen for daytime use. You might also want to bring a small alarm clock, pocket tissues, travel pack of soap powder, needle, thread, safety pins, and personal face cloth. In many countries, your washcloth is considered to be of intimate usage and is not provided by hotels.
Depending on your destination, you may also want to bring insect repellent (we recommend repellent with a high "deet" content). Binoculars are also handy when traveling to areas where flora and fauna may be observed.
Some tours may also require an overnight bag for optional overnight excursions.
Dress on tour is generally casual and smart casual. Gentlemen may wish to bring a sport jacket. Formal clothing is not necessary, unless you are traveling on an ocean cruise that has formal nights or one of our popular President's trips. Jeans and shorts are not allowed in the dining room at dinner. Your travel wardrobe should be planned according to the climate of the areas you will be visiting and the length of your stay. Average high and low temperatures for the destinations visited listed under "Climate". A HELPFUL HINT — plan to avail yourself of the laundry services available at an additional fee.
Weather is never predictable so be sure to be prepared for just about anything. You'll want to take along a sweater or jacket for cool evenings. It's a good idea to dress in layers, which will allow you to adjust to changes in temperature.
We suggest a practical raincoat or waterproof shell with a hood, and/or a fold-up umbrella. The shell could also be worn with other layers in lower temperatures.
Good Walking Shoes
One of the most important items you'll need for any vacation is, of course, comfortable walking shoes for touring. We suggest you refrain from purchasing new walking shoes just prior to departure — it's best to wear a broken-in pair that you know are comfortable.
Pool and Sauna Apparel
On many programs, accommodations will feature pools. So if you plan to use them, bring along a swimsuit, pool slippers, and a swimming cap.
Cameras and Film
Be sure to test the working order of your camera before you leave home, and to insure your equipment against loss and damage. It is also important to take along an ample supply of film. Film can be expensive and specific kinds of film may not be available in certain areas. Some airport x-ray equipment may harm valuable film. For utmost protection, film should be packed separately in hand luggage. Also, be sure to bring at least one extra battery for your camera. If you are using a digital camera, check on how many images you can take on your memory card at the resolution you are using. You may wish to bring along an extra memory card so you will not run out of memory half way through the trip. Bring along the battery charger, but remember you may need a voltage converter. The alternative is to carry a spare charged battery with you.
Please remember that it is not wise to bring valuables with you when you travel. If you decide to do so, please carry them on your person when flying. Make sure to use hotel safe deposit boxes or safes to ensure the safety of possessions that you may want to have with you.
What to Leave Behind
Do not pack aerosol cans; they tend to leak during air travel. Also avoid packing glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home any credit cards and checkbooks that you don't anticipate using on your trip; valuable jewelry; brand-new shoes (instead pack your most comfortable walking shoes); and, in general, anything that you would hate to lose.
If you wish to take along an electric iron, razor, or hair dryer, be sure they are adaptable to different currents, volts, and cycles. Most appliances will require an adapter plug and/or an electrical converter/transformer which are available for purchase at most department stores or luggage shops. These kits are available for electrical settings in countries outside the United States.
When planning your flights, Vantage considers each airline's reputation for quality, service, and routing options to the destination. Vantage selects flights that both serve our groups' needs and ensure the best balance of quality and cost. Our flight team members will do their utmost to select flights that will get you to your destination as quickly and easily as possible.
First and Business Class Airfare Upgrades
Many of our programs offer first and/or Business Class upgrades, for more information, please visit our FlightChoice page.
Vantage encourages you to check current airport security regulations well in advance of travel, as rules may have changed since your last trip. For the latest information on airline security guidelines and boarding procedures, please visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) web site
While on Tour
While on Tour
The information below applies in general to Vantage expedition cruises and small ship ocean cruises.
Although everything is planned well in advance of your departure, the day-by-day itinerary is subject to change depending on local conditions. If any significant changes occur in advance of your departure, Vantage will notify you by phone or by mail. If changes occur while on your trip, your Vantage Cruise Director or local representative will notify you.
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew.
Prior to arriving at most ports, your Vantage Cruise Director will conduct an informative
briefing concerning the daily schedule, local customs, and the included features
of the program. It is strongly advised that all tour members attend the briefings.
Extending Your Trip
Vantage offers specially arranged pre- and post-extensions on many of our expedition cruises and small ship ocean cruises. See specific expedition cruises and small ship ocean cruises for details.
Additionally, if you would like to do some exploring on your own, either before
or after your cruise, Vantage can help arrange the details. In most cases,
your flights can be adjusted for an earlier arrival date or a later return date.
A non-refundable administrative fee will be assessed, plus any additional
costs that may apply to the air ticket and hotel. Transfers to and from your hotel
are not included when traveling independent of a Vantage group. Please ask a Vantage
Sales Representative for additional details. Note also that some airline contracts
may exclude changes to routing.
NOTE: Should you wish to make any changes to your plans to extend your trip, please
do so no later than 60 days prior to your scheduled date of departure. Change and
cancellation penalties apply to changes made after airline tickets have been issued.
Your Health & Comfort
Vantage wants you to have a safe, healthy, and happy journey. Our expedition cruises and small ship ocean cruises are planned to combine just the right amount of activity and leisure.
For personal medical attention while on your expedition cruise or small ship ocean cruise, your Vantage Cruise Director can refer you to reliable physicians in the cities on your tour.
Please note that Medicare and U.S health insurance are generally not accepted in
foreign destinations. If you have an insurance claim, it should be made upon your
return to the USA and filed through your health insurance provider or through the
Vantage Travel Protection Plan if you have purchased it. Keep relevant receipts
and doctors' reports for processing your claim.
Jet Lag Precautions
When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many
hours of regular sleep. Upon arrival your body must quickly adjust to new sleeping
and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms may include fatigue, irritability,
and vague disorientation. You cannot completely avoid jet lag but you can minimize
it. Here's how:
- Try to sleep on overnight flights
- Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before - and
during - your flight
- Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying
- Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner
Pace of the Journey
Vantage journeys are planned to provide a well-balanced mix of activities and
free time. Certain journeys, however, may prove to be more challenging than
others, particularly for passengers with physical limitations.
Passengers with physical difficulties or concerns about the pace of the travel program
should contact their Vantage Customer Relations Representative for tips on which
travel programs best suit their individual needs and abilities. See also Medical
Your Personal Safety
Please keep in mind that in any tourist destination, you need to be aware of your
surroundings. We recommend that you use a money protector that can be worn around
your neck. Flashy jewelry should be left at home. Never place your camera or purse
down, or hang it on the back of your chair. Although incidents of theft and pickpocketing
while on tour are rare, it is important to be cautious and aware.
Click here to
read important information about travelers with physical, emotional, or mental conditions
that may require professional attention or the use of special equipment. "Medical
Issues" information also appears in the "Tour Participation Agreement - Terms and
Conditions" found on our website and printed on the back of your Vantage
If your Vantage journey includes a stay in a hotel, please note that Vantage
makes every effort to reserve only hotels that offer well-appointed rooms and a
convenient location. We remind you that quality of accommodations may vary from
destination to destination. Vantage strives to provide the best hotels available
that meet our standards of quality.
How We Rate Our Hotels
While some tour companies devise their own ratings systems (based on their particular
standards), Vantage ranks hotels based on the industry-accepted classifications
published by the Hotel & Travel Index
- the travel industry standard.
Deluxe/Moderate Deluxe ***** Outstanding accommodations in every way, offering superior
service, facilities, and location.
Superior First-Class ****+ Above average accommodations, with many special amenities,
including more restaurants, shops, and usually a fitness center.
First-Class/Moderate First-Class **** Comfortable, well-equipped standard rooms
with private bath and attractive public areas and amenities.
Please Note: In some areas where the hotels aren't rated, it's often due to the
fact that the hotel may be too new, too remote, or too small. However, the hotel
where you stay has been inspected and approved by Vantage personnel.
At Vantage, we count individuals from all walks of life and all religious denominations
among our customers. Although we do not offer religious services on our travel programs,
services may be available in the cities and towns you visit while on tour. Your
Vantage Cruise Director can advise you when religious services are available. Please
keep in mind that not all religious denominations have a presence in every travel
destination. We cannot guarantee the availability of religious services.
Shopping for local merchandise is always a part of the travel experience. We are
aware that local guides do recommend shops on their tours. Always keep in mind that
a purchase is between the buyer and the seller. Always keep receipts and credit
card copies. Shipping should always include insurance in the event of breakage.
Some credit cards such as American Express also include insurance protection for
purchases, but it is best to check with your card issuer for any insurance that
may be included when you use your card.
Sightseeing & Cultural Connections
Vantage offers a variety of included sightseeing tours and special cultural events
to enrich your travel experience and bring you "closer to the world." Our tours
are specially designed for Vantage travelers. They let you feel the atmosphere,
gain a cultural understanding, and become a part of the area you are visiting. They
include all transportation and the services of expert local guides.
Vantage makes every effort to provide the right balance of both included activities
and time for exploring on your own. We've found, however, that many of our passengers
prefer an additional guided activity in lieu of free time. For that reason, some
of our expedition cruises and small ship ocean cruises may include a limited number of optional tours and activities,
which you may choose to take at a moderate fee. In no case do we replace an included
sightseeing tour with an optional tour. Optional tours are strictly voluntary, providing
you with the opportunity to visit an attraction that you may not see otherwise.
If you have purchased your flights from Vantage, roundtrip transfers between the airport and your hotel or your cruise ship’s pier are included. Vantage pre-arranges transfers either via a private transportation company and/or hotel airport shuttles.
If you have not purchased your airfare from Vantage, you may still purchase round-trip international airport transfers to and from your base tour ship or hotel for $120 per person.
Otherwise, you will be responsible for arranging your own airport transfers. Bear in mind that hotel check-in times vary and, depending upon your flight arrival, your hotel may not be available for early check-in.
Each Vantage cruise tour is planned with two criteria in mind: It must be an interesting
destination and the tour must offer good quality at an exceptional value.
Although everything is planned well in advance of your departure, our ultimate goal
is to ensure that each departure is enjoyable, interesting, and safe. Therefore,
the day-by-day itinerary provided is subject to change depending upon local conditions.
If any significant changes occur in advance of your departure, Vantage will notify
you by phone or by mail. If changes occur while on tour, your Vantage Cruise Director or local representative will notify you.
Your Vantage Cruise Director
During your expedition cruise or small ship ocean cruise, you'll be accompanied by an experienced, English-speaking
Vantage Cruise Director. You
will also benefit from the insights of Regional Expert guides. Both your Cruise Director and Regional Experts can give you suggestions on the best restaurants,
shops, and local sights; help coordinate optional tours and excursions; and assist
in any manner possible.
Vantage Hospitality Desk
For your convenience, a Vantage Hospitality Desk will be available during scheduled
hours aboard your ship (staffed by an experienced team of local travel
professionals or by your Vantage Cruise Director). The desk hours vary, depending
on your daily scheduling. Tour members will be advised of the desk.
Laundry and pressing services are available onboard for an additional fee.
View list of services and prices here.
What does my Reservation Deposit Guarantee?
Payment of your initial deposit holds your spot on your journey. However, it does not guarantee the price of your trip. Participation in our SmartPaySM Discount Plan
can save you up to 10% on your Vantage trip AND it ensures that the land, cruise, and international airfare portions of your trip will not increase. This includes 100% guaranteed protection against most additional taxes (does not include entry fees or arrival taxes), fuel surcharges, and currency fluctuations, from the moment you pay in full under the terms of Vantage's SmartPaySM
Discount Plan. If you do not participate in our SmartPaySM
Discount Plan, all prices are subject to change.
When is my Final Payment due?
Final payments are due 90-120 days prior to departure, depending upon the program.
Can I extend my final payment due date?
Unfortunately, we are unable to extend any final payment due dates because of our vendor contractual obligations.
What is an E-Check?
E-Check is a commonly used term to refer to an online payment method via electronic check from your bank account.
What are the benefits of paying via E-Check?
Paying by E-Check
is fast, easy and 100% secure — and there is no fee involved. Plus, paying by E-Check with our SmartPay Discount Program, you can realize hundreds of dollars in savings right away. When you compare those savings to the frequent flyer miles you might earn when you pay by credit card, you come out on top for two reasons: first, you enjoy your savings right away, whereas frequent flyer miles need to be accumulated over time before you cash them in; second, frequent flyer miles have restrictions of usage.
How do I make payments via an E-Check?
It's easy to set up E-Checking on My Account. Have your checkbook handy and simply go to the Make a Payment screen and follow the instructions provided. Please note that E-Check payments appear on your invoice immediately but take 2-3 business days for your bank to process.
What is the SmartPay Discount Plan?
The SmartPaySM Discount Plan
allows our travelers to receive a discount by paying for their trip in full before their final payment due date. The further in advance of the final payment date you pay, the greater the discount. Just as important, you’ll guarantee your price against price increases resulting from currency fluctuations, fuel costs, and other unanticipated occurrences.
How can I take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
You can only take advantage of our SmartPaySM
Discount Plan when paying by E-Check. Paying by E-Check
is fast, easy and 100% secure — and there is no fee involved. All you need is your checking account number and bank routing number, both of which are printed on your checks. 50% of your trip’s total cost must be paid by check. Payments made inside of 60 days prior to departure will not qualify.
Can I pay by credit card and still take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
While we do accept credit card payments, you can only take advantage of our SmartPaySM
Discount Plan when paying by E-Check, unless part of your payment is made by credit card and at least 50% of your total payment is paid by E-Check.
How do I redeem my Vantage Credit Voucher?
Vantage credit vouchers should be mailed once you receive your first invoice. Any overpayment that results from the credit voucher will be refunded to you, if applicable.
How do I cancel my trip and how long will it take for me to receive a refund?
If you must cancel your trip, you should contact our Customer Concierge Staff department. Refund requests must be made in writing — indicating the reason for cancellation — and received by the respective final payment due date to avoid additional cancellation charges.
Vantage realizes that most people who cancel their reservations do so out of real necessity. Nevertheless, there is a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 per person for each program you cancel. This low fee covers only our costs of reservation maintenance or cancellation.
Payments made to your credit card will be refunded as a credit to that card. Payments made by check will be refunded by check. Payments paid by electronic check will be refunded electronically. Please allow 35 days for refunds to be manually verified and processed by our accounting department. Please refer to the Tour Participation Agreement for your program's cancellation fee schedule.
Why does it take just one day to charge my credit card at the time of booking but 30 days to refund it in the event of cancellation?
After you book a trip with us, we process charges within 24 hours in order to hold and confirm your reservation quickly for you. Because refunds are processed manually by our accounting department, we require a 30-day processing period to assure utmost accuracy.
I was just reviewing my invoice online and noticed a discrepancy. What should I do?
Please contact us
and we will attempt to resolve the situation as soon as possible. To help expedite matters, you should print out your invoice and have it handy when you contact us.