Embattled Boston-based cruise company Vantage postpones all summer trips

BOSTON — The beleaguered cruise company Vantage Deluxe World Travel quietly told its employees all trips through Aug. 28 are postponed, as complaints against the Boston-based business continue to pile up.

In an internal email, Vantage V.P. of Worldwide Operations & Marketing Deirdre Dirkman told employees the 90-day postponement was because of the company’s “impending transaction.” The email shows Dirkman said Vantage decided to dock two of its vessels—Ocean Explorer and Ocean Odyssey—in France, “until we have a better idea of the timeline for restarting operations.”

The Mass. Attorney General’s Office says it received at least 793 complaints against Vantage Deluxe World Travel since Jan. 1, 2020, including 156 complaints filed in 2023.

Michelle Couch-Friedman, the founder of Consumer Rescue, said she’s been in contact with hundreds of customers who are not getting refunds or finding their trips canceled at the last minute. Couch-Friedman’s organization helps mediate complaints between customers and companies. She has documented the problems with Vantage on her website.

“People are contacting me, they’re desperate,” Couch-Friedman said. “I started receiving phone calls and emails from Vantage employees and many of these employees sound as distraught as the Vantage customers.”

Vantage has not responded to repeated requests for comment. The company, which markets its trips as “deluxe travel,” has offices on Canal St. and has been around since 1983, according to its website. The AG’s Office has been in contact with the company regarding its “recently reported problems” but an AG spokesperson said they could not provide any additional information.

Despite the moratorium on trips through Aug. 28, at least one Vantage customer has received an advertisement for a 2024 Vantage Icelandic cruise. There’s nothing on the company’s website indicating there’s a problem or that trips are postponed.

“The brochures are still coming through and the company is acting like this is business as usual,” Couch-Friedman said.

The AG’s Office said most of the consumer complaints against Vantage come from outside Massachusetts. At least 70 of the complaints are from Bay State residents. An AG spokesperson encourages consumers to file complaints with the Mass. AG’s Office.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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