SunStone Maritime Group, which charters the two ships to Vantage on a long-term basis, confirmed they arrived at Caen this week carrying no passengers. They had been in service just prior to this.
SunStone's Niels-Erik Lund said only that Vantage requested the layup, adding his company had not been informed how long it would last. He deferred further questions to Vantage.
The Boston-based tour operator did not respond to several requests for information.
Delivered in 2021 and 2022
Part of SunStone's China-built Infinity series, Ocean Explorer was delivered in 2021, and sister Ocean Odyssey in 2022. They have been scheduled on far-flung itineraries, from the British Isles to Antarctica, Asia and beyond.
This week, Ocean Explorer's calls to a region whose spokesperson asked not to be named were canceled into early September.
A tour operator said it had put Vantage on a pre-paid basis one-third of the way through the 2022 cruise season and into 2023 and that the company's account is current.
Last week Boston 25 News reported the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office had received at least 783 complaints about Vantage since Jan. 1, 2020, including 147 complaints filed this year.
Michelle Couch-Friedman, founder of Consumer Rescue, has documented issues with Vantage and said she's in contact with hundreds of customers who are not getting refunds or finding their trips canceled at the last minute.
Vantage has been in business since 1983 and advertises a wide range of trips including land adventures and river, ocean and expedition cruises. The company is actively taking reservations.
Reportedly seeking capital
Two sources said Vantage has been looking for investors.
'They've been — like every business in travel — having liquidity issues since the pandemic,' one said. He first learned the company was seeking to raise capital in late 2021.