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  #1  
Old December 11th, 2012, 12:15 AM
id est id est is offline
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Default Viking Air issues

Unfortunately for the first time we could not book our third Viking cruise due to the issues with their Air department. Everything started pretty smooth: we were told the Air out of Pittsburg is available and were ready to pay in full the next day. However later on we were told the Air is not available anymore and not only from Pittsburg but from all other cities due to no flights availability to/from Budapest. It was "Romantic Danube" cruise supposed to start in Budapest. I asked maybe we could fly 1-2 days before or stay longer and do our own transfers or even fly to a different city and catch a bus/train from there to Budapest. Not an option and even if it was Viking requires from us a deviation fee payment of $200, which is rediculous since it is not our idea to deviate: we're willing to fly when needed and just trying to help Viking find any available flight out of MidWest. Long story: I tried to switch to a different cruise ("Danube Waltz") which supposed to end up in Budapest, but unfortunately the same result: no flights available.
Of course I can find an appropriate air by myself. Just wondering why we always have troubles with Viking sales stuff and all the time they try to charge different fees or forget to add discounts. On the other side so far we did 2 cruises with Viking and both were just excellent. The best cruises we ever had.
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  #2  
Old December 11th, 2012, 12:45 AM
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Is this for a last minute cruise....how far out is this that there are no seats available?
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  #3  
Old December 11th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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When did you try to book? The Budapest airport was closed down for several hours Saturday night due to a fire in the control tower. When we left from the Njord, several early flight folks had to be bused to Vienna for flights, which Viking had made arrangements for (if you booked through them). It did not reopen until 7am Sunday, but originally everyone was told that they would not be open until 10am.
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  #4  
Old December 11th, 2012, 10:30 AM
id est id est is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana541 View Post
Is this for a last minute cruise....how far out is this that there are no seats available?
Yes, 3 weeks before the cruise. So I can probably understand there are no seats available. What I do not get is the way they handle this: I was offered to pay in full including air at the time of booking. Luckily our TA told us to wait until they can confirm they have the air available. And here is what would happen if we paid in full: Viking would return the money for the air portion but would not do the same for the whole booking since it is not refundable. So in that case we would need to do our own air arrangements and transfers which I do not really like. We always used their air before and were quite happy with it.
When I call Viking I have a strong feeling I came to buy a car to the dealership. They're just trying to sell a cruise at all costs.
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  #5  
Old December 11th, 2012, 10:33 AM
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You should always price up your own air as a comparison to any cruise line air. May times there can be a big savings. As far as getting to the ship from any airport, there are many people on here that can help with local transportation options or go to trip advisor for info. As far as no seats available, could it be that Viking has already sold their allotment out?
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  #6  
Old December 11th, 2012, 03:20 PM
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Am I understanding that the OP did not check flight availability prior to booking just to have a "double check".... I am certain the Viking would not have kept the OP's money! They post frequently on CC and I would say this sounds like a misunderstanding and the TA not being proactive to make the booking work!
However, I have no doubt that Viking may well not have had any seat inventory remaining..... Sounds like a communication misconnect between Viking, the TA and the OP.
Hope Viking jumps in and let's a seeming loyal Viking cruiser know there was a misunderstanding! JMHO
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  #7  
Old December 11th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon View Post
Unfortunately for the first time we could not book our third Viking cruise due to the issues with their Air department. Everything started pretty smooth: we were told the Air out of Pittsburg is available and were ready to pay in full the next day. However later on we were told the Air is not available anymore and not only from Pittsburg but from all other cities due to no flights availability to/from Budapest. It was "Romantic Danube" cruise supposed to start in Budapest. I asked maybe we could fly 1-2 days before or stay longer and do our own transfers or even fly to a different city and catch a bus/train from there to Budapest. Not an option and even if it was Viking requires from us a deviation fee payment of $200, which is rediculous since it is not our idea to deviate: we're willing to fly when needed and just trying to help Viking find any available flight out of MidWest. Long story: I tried to switch to a different cruise ("Danube Waltz") which supposed to end up in Budapest, but unfortunately the same result: no flights available.
Of course I can find an appropriate air by myself. Just wondering why we always have troubles with Viking sales stuff and all the time they try to charge different fees or forget to add discounts. On the other side so far we did 2 cruises with Viking and both were just excellent. The best cruises we ever had.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon View Post
Yes, 3 weeks before the cruise. So I can probably understand there are no seats available. What I do not get is the way they handle this: I was offered to pay in full including air at the time of booking. Luckily our TA told us to wait until they can confirm they have the air available. And here is what would happen if we paid in full: Viking would return the money for the air portion but would not do the same for the whole booking since it is not refundable. So in that case we would need to do our own air arrangements and transfers which I do not really like. We always used their air before and were quite happy with it.
When I call Viking I have a strong feeling I came to buy a car to the dealership. They're just trying to sell a cruise at all costs.
Dear Aragon,

We are sorry to hear of your frustration and we definitely want to try and help you. We have arranged for an air representative to call you. Please contact us at TellUs@vikingrivercruises.com if you do not hear from them. We hope to welcome you onboard again soon!

Best,
Viking River Cruises
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  #8  
Old December 11th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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I knew Viking would hop on this one....they actually have a "Customer Service" dept that seems to care. This entire situation just seem wrong and someone jist needed to take the initative and fix it.

Thanks Viking, everyday you make me reconsider who I want to cruise with!
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  #9  
Old December 11th, 2012, 10:28 PM
id est id est is offline
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Thanks to Viking. I called them again and the flights were found this time. However due to a different stateroom and city of departure it ended up with $600 extra of what we had before and overnight in London. The flight is around 6 pm so it looks like the last day in Budapest would be spent in the airport. And it is Danube Waltz. Unfortunately no flights are available for Romantic Danube.
Not sure if we are ready for the extra cost and such adventurous cruise ending
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  #10  
Old December 11th, 2012, 11:43 PM
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nana541 nana541 is offline
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Somehow I knew there was a misconnect here!!! While you may not end up wanting the final result it seems that a couple people (TA and orig Viking contact) failed to have a "can do" attitude and figure out what CAN be done and then see if the client can live with the result.

For Viking (you listening?) this might be a learning experience in asking that next question about what "Viking" might be able to do to make the customers needs actually work!

While it may not work out for this cruiser both he TA and the Viking rep failed to look "outside the box" both Viking and the OP lost out!

Ok I'll shut up!!!

Sure hoping you get to enjoy your Viking sailing ...
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Last edited by nana541; December 11th, 2012 at 11:45 PM.
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  #11  
Old December 12th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon View Post
Thanks to Viking. I called them again and the flights were found this time. However due to a different stateroom and city of departure it ended up with $600 extra of what we had before and overnight in London. The flight is around 6 pm so it looks like the last day in Budapest would be spent in the airport. And it is Danube Waltz. Unfortunately no flights are available for Romantic Danube.
Not sure if we are ready for the extra cost and such adventurous cruise ending
Aragon,

Hope the new air arrangements work for you. To bad about the $600 increase. Did you use their Cruise Air option (Viking charges an extra fee for this service)?

I'm surprised that Viking had staterooms available 3 weeks before the cruise date. Did you obtain the room you wanted? Or did you have to settle for second best?

Happy travels,

John
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  #12  
Old December 12th, 2012, 02:33 PM
id est id est is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John99 View Post
Aragon,

Hope the new air arrangements work for you. To bad about the $600 increase. Did you use their Cruise Air option (Viking charges an extra fee for this service)?
I'm surprised that Viking had staterooms available 3 weeks before the cruise date. Did you obtain the room you wanted? Or did you have to settle for second best?
Happy travels,

John
Thanks. I guess we'll try something else for the upcoming Holidays: my DH wasn't really excited about the price increase. And Yes Viking and not only Viking almost always has different staterooms available a month or so before the cruise. By the way on our recent "Passage to Eastern Europe" cruise we had 9 staterooms available. All of them are cancelled cruises. And I am really surprised Viking does not advertise and resells them with a discount like big ocean cruise companies do.
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  #13  
Old December 17th, 2012, 07:58 PM
tiggypooo tiggypooo is offline
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Beware of Viking flights. We've had nothing but trouble with them.
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  #14  
Old December 18th, 2012, 07:37 AM
CaptainG CaptainG is offline
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Default Viking Air

We paid the extra $50pp custom air fee for our upcoming Danube Cruise in April for which we are getting a spectacular $697pp round trip airfare. I called the Viking Air department and worked through the flights with the agent and got exactly what we were hoping for. This was, without a doubt, the best air experience I've had with a cruise line.
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Last edited by CaptainG; December 18th, 2012 at 07:38 AM.
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  #15  
Old December 18th, 2012, 09:38 PM
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Default custom air?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainG View Post
We paid the extra $50pp custom air fee for our upcoming Danube Cruise in April for which we are getting a spectacular $697pp round trip airfare. I called the Viking Air department and worked through the flights with the agent and got exactly what we were hoping for. This was, without a doubt, the best air experience I've had with a cruise line.
I too paid the extra $50 pp to get so called 'custom air' and altho I could see available seats on the direct flights I wanted for the upcoming Danube cruise that we booked 4 mths out, I was told 3 times (I called back 3 times to try different agents) that those seats were 'not in the category that we have access to'.

And so we get a three hop return flight with a 4 hr layover in a town that is a 30 min flight from home....sigh....

so this is the worst air experience I have had with a cruise line...note my signature and you'll know which cruise line I usually travel with and always use their EZAir option which is provided FREE BTW.
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  #16  
Old December 18th, 2012, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remydiva View Post
I too paid the extra $50 pp to get so called 'custom air' and altho I could see available seats on the direct flights I wanted for the upcoming Danube cruise that we booked 4 mths out, I was told 3 times (I called back 3 times to try different agents) that those seats were 'not in the category that we have access to'.

And so we get a three hop return flight with a 4 hr layover in a town that is a 30 min flight from home....sigh....

so this is the worst air experience I have had with a cruise line...note my signature and you'll know which cruise line I usually travel with and always use their EZAir option which is provided FREE BTW.
My question would be .... Is why did you accept the return leg with bad connections ???? And why did you not ask more questions before settlng on this itinerary??? You are an experianced cruiser....
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  #17  
Old December 21st, 2012, 10:57 PM
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Angry Do you want the short or long version?.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nana541 View Post
My question would be .... Is why did you accept the return leg with bad connections ???? And why did you not ask more questions before settlng on this itinerary??? You are an experianced cruiser....
Before I booked the trip, I asked about the air connections. My " very experienced" Viking rep...his words...said he had " never seen more than two flights" from a major city. I checked the major airlines myself prior to calling and saw the flight options and knew what was available and what seats were available. Viking will not book the air until the cabin is booked ( neither will Princess).
I booked the cabin PLUS paid $50pp extra for so called " custom air" ( custom air when booking with RCI for instance means you want to fly thru a different city or stay longer).
With viking you cannot speak with the custom air dept until you fill in the passenger info online.
I did that then phd custom air the next day as by now it is past business hours.
That is when I found out that just because I could see seats available online on the flights I wanted, Custom air wouldnt/ couldn't book them for me as they weren't " in the category we have access to". I said i wanted to cancel my trip then but I was outside the time frame where I could do so without penalty...big penalty.
The first agent suggested I call back in a few days to see if anything " opened up". I phoned back three times over the course of a few days and got an improved flight over but not return. The custom air staff was downright cheeky saying things like " well it IS the holiday season" and " Budapest is always hard to get out of".
I said fair enough but why then did the " very experienced agent" lead me to believe that my $50 custom air would give me peace of mind and choices in what my air flight would be. I feel scammed out of $50 pp at the very least.
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  #18  
Old December 22nd, 2012, 06:57 AM
goose30 goose30 is offline
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The choices that you are afforded with 'custom air" must still fit into their bucket. It is like flying with FF miles not all seats are available to you.
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  #19  
Old December 22nd, 2012, 09:05 AM
MareT MareT is offline
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Like Captain G we too had no problems with Viking's custom air. Custom Air gave us the exact flights we wanted. Our flights and seats with United Airlines were booked and confirmed nine months before our cruise last month. I kept checking on United's website to make sure there were no changes. Once the flights were actually reserved about 45 days before leaving, we were able to upgrade our seats directly with the airline if we chose to. Viking's pricing was also approximatly $325 pp cheaper than if I had booked these flights on my own.
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  #20  
Old December 22nd, 2012, 10:19 AM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MareT View Post
Viking's pricing was also approximatly $325 pp cheaper than if I had booked these flights on my own.
I wonder if the route has anything to do with the cost comparison.

We live about 45 minutes away from Pearson International in Toronto - so have +++ options when flying to Europe. I have only had one instance where a cruise line was able to match the price I found when looking to book direct. Saving $325/pp is amazing. And, well worth the decision to book with them.

Fran
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