Luxurious Vantage Cruise Ship Departs From Gloucester

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Credit: alonso-reyes-unsplash

Vantage cruise ship leaves from Gloucester, reveals a Boston Globe news source.

Vantage Travel, a Boston company

Vantage Travel, a Boston company that has since April 1, sent its ship Ocean Explorer on a cruise to Montreal on schedule and from its usual port of embarkation on Thursday.

The cruise began in Gloucester, as planned. An earlier Globe report said the ship had been expected to embark from Boston. That Globe report was based on the company saying on a temporary website that the Ocean Explorer was set to “embark” from Boston.

Vantage fell victim of a “data systems incident” last month, possibly due to a ransomware attack, prompting it to establish the temporary website.

On Saturday, a little more than a week after the apparent ransomware attack, Vantage restored its website and announced to travelers “our cruises are sailing, and we’re ready to welcome you aboard.”

“Our employees are working around the clock to overcome these challenges to continue serving guests who are en route or preparing for future departures,” according to the statement. “We apologize for the distress this is causing and thank you for your patience as we work with the experts to resolve these matters and bring you the latest information.”

In the statement, Vantage acknowledged that it has recently canceled six trips, but said none was due to the apparent ransomware attack: “No trips have been disrupted or canceled specifically due to this incident.”

Last-minute cancellations of cruises

Until Saturday, Vantage went for days without releasing information or making company officials available for comment.

In informing customers of last-minute cancellations of cruises, Vantage cited a lack of boat “readiness” and, in the case of a scheduled cruise on the Nile in Egypt, security concerns.

The company operates about 20 ships, some of which it leases and some it owns. Most are relatively small, accommodating hundreds or dozens of passengers, not thousands, according to an online profile.

During the pandemic, Vantage came under heavy criticism from travelers for long delays in receiving refunds for canceled trips, according to a 2021 Globe story.

The office of Attorney General Andrea Campbell on Tuesday released updated data on filed complaints against Vantage, saying it has received more than 700 complaints, mostly for refunds after cancellations due to the pandemic.

“To date, the office has secured refunds for more than 80 consumers” for a total of more than $1.2 million, for about $15,000 per complaint, according to the office of the attorney general.

That means there are about 620 pending complaints against Vantage, which could add up to millions of dollars in potential refunds.

Out-of.state consumers

“We encourage Massachusetts residents having trouble seeking refunds from Vantage to file a complaint with our office online,” Campbell’s office said. “Out-of-state consumers are encouraged to file with their state attorney general.”

In late 2021, Vantage launched a new $70 million ship, Ocean Explorer, in Boston Harbor. That prompted the 2021 Globe story about two local couples who said it irritated them that the company made a fancy display of christening the ship with a bottle of champagne.

At the time, the two couples had been fighting for about 18 months for $46,000 owed to them by Vantage for a canceled safari to Africa. After the Globe asked questions, Vantage refunded the couples’ money.

This story has been updated to reflect information supplied by Vantage subsequent to publication saying that the recent cancellation of four of its trips to the Netherlands was due to a lack of the boat’s “readiness.” In addition, it has been updated to say the Ocean Explorer departed from Gloucester as regularly scheduled.

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Source: Boston Globe