Are you kidding me Viking?!

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#1
Vancouver BC, CANADA
1,240 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
2015/2016 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
2-FOR-1 CRUISES—OFFER EXPIRES OCTOBER 31, 2013

This was the heading of todays email from Viking that included the teaser of "$2000 per couple off airfare!"

I am NOT paying in full for a cruise that is 3 yrs off just to help Tor build another ship,

Just my two cents worth so pardon my venting...
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1961 P&O Orsova -Hawaii- Vancouver, 1962 P&O Orcades -Hawaii-Vancouver
1974 – Island Princess – Coastal, 1996- Regal Princess – Coastal
2001- Viking KD Deutschland- Rhine Cruise, 2002- Ocean Princess – Alaska
2003- Sun Princess – Coastal,
2005- RCI Vision of the Seas- Coastal, 2005- Sapphire Princess – Coastal
2006- Star Princess – Western Caribbean, 2006- Diamond Princess- Coastal
2007– RCI Serenade of the Seas- Alaska,
2008 - Caribbean Princess – Eastern Caribbean, 2008- Golden Princess – Hawaii Roundtrip
2009- Uniworld River Empress –Holland/Belgium
2011- Emerald Princess – TA/Northern Europe, 2011- Island Princess – Alaska
2012- Ruby Princess – Grand Med, 2012- Viking Njord – Danube
2013- Star Princess – Coastal, 2013- Caribbean Princess- New England/Canada
2014- Star Princess- Coastal
2015-Viking Odin 'Rhine Rhapsody'
2016- Private Land Tour Ireland 14 days...no cruise this year!
2017- CANCELLED Majestic Princess 28 days Rome to Singapore
BOOKED INSTEAD Royal Princess 17 days TA FLL to Barcelona
#2
Long Island, New York
4,319 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by remydiva
2015/2016 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
2-FOR-1 CRUISES—OFFER EXPIRES OCTOBER 31, 2013

This was the heading of todays email from Viking that included the teaser of "$2000 per couple off airfare!"

I am NOT paying in full for a cruise that is 3 yrs off just to help Tor build another ship,

Just my two cents worth so pardon my venting...
I don't blame you for venting. First, I would NEVER pay in full for a cruise that was three years off....too many things can happen in that time. Company I use for cruising suggests that I pay in full at booking or soon after IF I want to get their "$1000 savings"j offer. Problem is I get more interest on my money in that time period than $1000 so I don't pay until the last minute....and I still get the "two for one" price, which is really totally subjective. The company sets the brochure price for your trip at say $8000 per person, then cuts it to 50% off special price....voila $8000 per couple, which is what the trip is worth in the first place.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
#3
New York
7,108 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
The FTC started enforcing a rule against department stores that requires them to have sold an item at the so-called "original price" before they can claim reductions. Apparently this doesn't apply to cruise lines (not just Viking). Maybe it works for people booking their first cruise, but once you get on all the mailing lists you realize that the lines that offer 2-for-1 do it ALL the time.
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Email me: HostJazzbeau@CruiseCritic.com

I am not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for Cruise Critic. All opinions are mine alone. Also, I'm only a Host on the various River forums -- everywhere else I'm "just plain Jazz."

Booked:
Italian Lakes Walking Tour 5-2017
Crown Princess Classic Canada & New England 10-2017
Azamara Quest Costa Rica 1-2018
AMA Discover Africa 5-2018
Viking Sun British Isles Explorer 8-2018
Celebrity Equinox Caribbean B2B 1-2019

Completed [click on links for reviews]:
Norwegian Pride of America Hawaii 10-2016
Azamara Quest Norwegian Fjords 8-2016
Celebrity Constellation Greek Isles 5-2016
AmaDagio Provence 9-2015 – three pages (keep clicking on "Older Posts")
Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos 5-2015
Celebrity Eclipse Southern Carib 3-2015
Fresco Tours A Kinder Camino 9-2014
Crystal Serenity Mediterranean 5-2014
Coral Princess Panama Canal 1-2014
AmaCello Rhine 8-2013
Coral Princess Alaska 6-2013
Norwegian Dawn Caribbean 3-2013 / Celebrity Summit Caribbean 1-2012 / Oceania Insignia Mediterranean 5-2011 / Fair Dinkum (Erie Canal bareboat) 7-2003 / Costa Italia Caribbean 5-1974
#5
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by Hydrokitty
Problem is I get more interest on my money in that time period than $1000 so I don't pay until the last minute.....
Wow... I really need to look for a different financial institution.

Although paying that far out isn't my first choice, if I can get the trip I want, for the date(s) I want - at a price that is reasonable - I will book because I know the interest I would make on the price of the cruise is really insignificant.

Even if you have paid in full, Viking still has a cancellation policy. If I have to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, I will get most of my money back (depending on how soon to sailing you cancel...) and always have travel insurance to help out if I need to cancel last minute.

I am looking for Viking to put out all of the their 2015 itineraries - as I want to travel on the Elbe --> and options are limited. So, yes, I will pay in full - and am prepared to do so to get the cruise I want.

Fran
#6
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Fran,
If you want to cruise the Elbe, go with Vantage. They require final payment 3 months prior to sailing.
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#7
984 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Demand for river cruises is so strong that cruise lines (Viking) can ask for full payment far in advance and still get it.

This is how cruise payment used to be handled for some lines twenty years ago. High demand, not enough berths, sellers market, seller controls the terms.

Quite a contrast from ocean cruises where cabins are often available on most itineraries a few weeks before departure.
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#8
Westerville, Ohio
554 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
As with many items, demand drives the price.
Another issue that keeps appearing on CC is ships berthing together in port. With all the new ships being built and lack of new dock space, this will become common practice.
#9
Long Island, New York
4,319 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by Talisker92
Fran,
If you want to cruise the Elbe, go with Vantage. They require final payment 3 months prior to sailing.
I agree....I'm always a little suspicious of paying in full for something such a long time before I actually get it.....Viking is a huge company that keeps expanding it's fleet....with so much competition out there I have to wonder are they using money paid for tomorrow's cruise to pay today's bills? I already booked Vantage China for 2015 and it will be held with my deposit until 3 months before sailing. True trip insurance will cover your cancelled trip, but you will lose your deposit and the cost of the insurance and if the company goes belly-up depending on who you insured with, your trip insurance could be useless.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
#10
Manito, IL
83 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
I agree that Viking's pre-pay policy is a major drawback, and one that I've complained about on this site, as well as to them. Yes, their refund policy and trip insurance covers customers, but getting that is a hassle as well. It would be much simpler and fairer to pay a deposit, and the balance 90 days out as nearly every other company requires. The age group of river cruise customers do not book / cancel on a whim.

However that being said, on the trips we have sailed with them, we have found the trip and service to be outstanding and well worth the cost. Their airfare in particular has been a good deal. I've monitored prices closely using every site I can think of, and never found as low of fares as they given us, and with the connections and times I wanted. The included transfers are an extra bonus as well.

I've also compared Viking prices to Avalon, AMA, Uniworld, and unless I'm pricing the other companies wrong, or they have better rates than posted; Viking has been significantly lower in price, which honestly was why we booked our first trip with them.

I do think that to keep customers in a growing market, if Viking isn't going to change their payment policy, then they need to increase the benefit tiers of their loyalty program.
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Viking Rhine Getaway 2012
Viking Paris/Normandy 2013
Viking Danube Waltz 2013
Viking Jewels of China - 2014
Viking Tulips & Windmills - 2017
#11
Nuremberg
371 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
If you want to cruise the Elbe, go with Vantage. They require final payment 3 months prior to sailing.
Vantage does not cruise the Elbe river. The only companies cruising the Elbe would be Viking and Grand Circle. GCT only allows bookings from the US (btw I think so does Vantage?), so this really narrows it down.
#12
372 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by jacksonnh
As with many items, demand drives the price.
Interesting though demand drives the price for Americans/Aussies only. For Europeans pretty much the same cruise is times cheaper and demand is very low.
http://www.kreuzfahrten.de/Termin/2013-12-20-354563.html?&la=en
Only 449 euro for a 1 week pp.
So I am really expecting the prices go down as soon as more european companies switch no North American market
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AT SEA: 16 cruises
RIVER:
2011 -- Viking Sun 'Rhine Getaway'
2012 -- Viking Primadonna 'Passage to Eastern Europe'
2013 -- Viking Odin 'Tulips & Windmills'
2013 -- Viking Lomonosov 'Footsteps of the Cossacks'
2013 -- Viking Spirit 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy'
2014 -- Viking Schumann 'Elegant Elbe'
2014 -- AMA Waterways 'Melodies of the Danube'
2014 -- Viking Hemming 'Portugal's River of Gold'
2015 -- American Eagle 'Lower Mississippi'
2016 -- Viking Forseti 'Chateaux, Rivers & Wine'
2016 -- Mekong Navigator 'Mekong River Cruise with Saigon & Siem Reap'
------- Next Up -----

------- Email me here: id_est@zoho.com
#13
London, England
231 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
I must agree about demand over this side of the pond. I get an e mail once a month from Croisieurope. Often offering 2 for 1 deals on cruises departing within a month. These are genuine discounts from their advertised and sold prices.
Also I usually book river cruises via a tour operator who requires a £250 deposit and the balance 8-12 weeks before departure.
#14
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by ingo_e
Vantage does not cruise the Elbe river. The only companies cruising the Elbe would be Viking and Grand Circle. GCT only allows bookings from the US (btw I think so does Vantage?), so this really narrows it down.
This does narrow it down.

Although we are not far from the US border, I will not book any trip that only caters to US clientele. I doubt that any customer service issues would be addressed the same as they would be if they had a Canadian office or representative.

In Ontario, we have TICO coverage through our TA. TICO is the Travel Industry Council of Ontario - and it provides coverage for things such as bankruptcy etc. It is not available on GCT or Vantage, and the office our TA works out of will not let their agents book anything TICO will not cover.

If we were stranded outside of Canada due to a company bankruptcy, and we had booked with a TA on a trip with TICO coverage - we would have someone working to help get us home. If we booked on our own, we would be out of luck. As far as travel insurance goes, we purchase an annual policy - with a very large company that is very financially stable - so am not concerned about losing my deposit.

Unless I can find a bank that pays interest similar to what Hydrokitty mentions, I will pay up front to get what I want.

When I pointed out the pay-within-30-days booking policy to a friend, she said she really didn't mind - as she would know that the trip was paid for, and didn't have to worry about things such as job changes, product increases etc. And, her bank pays the same low interest rates mine does, so the loss of interest isn't huge. Just another way to view the same situation.

Fran
#15
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
duplicate post - although I really just tried to edit...

not sure why
#16
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Don't fall for Viking's pricing/payment scams. Grand Circle is and has been Conde Naste Traveler magazine's top rated river cruise line in their readers surveys for several years. It's prices are comparable to Viking's 2 for 1 prices and it offers a 10% discount on full cash or check payments made a year before final payment date, which is 90 days prior to departure. This discount is prorated for payments less than a year in advance. They also offer last minute discounts, which we have seen as much as 50% for unsold cabins, usually 60 days or less prior to departure. We have taken 6 river cruises with them, usually taking advantage of one discount or the other. Some cruises have few last minute cabins available, so the only way to get a discount on the desired departures is through the advance payment option.

Grand Circle does not advertise in Conde Naste Traveler, while Viking and many others do, but they still get their top rating. See http://www.cntraveler.com/readers-ch...t-cruise-lines. It does not market outside the US and does no mass marketing and does not sell through travel agents, only directly to travelers. You also have the option of with or without air. Their web site is www.gct.com. A first time traveler can also get smaller additional discount with a referral from a current customer.
#17
Long Island, New York
4,319 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by ingo_e
Vantage does not cruise the Elbe river. The only companies cruising the Elbe would be Viking and Grand Circle. GCT only allows bookings from the US (btw I think so does Vantage?), so this really narrows it down.
Ingo: Vantage does cruise the Elbe River. It is a new tour for 2014 and begins in Berlin and ends in Prague. The ship is the Frederic Chopin, which is chartered by Vantage for the 7 night cruise on the Elbe. It stops in Magdeburg, Wittenberg, Meissen, Dresden and Melnik, ending in Prague. It's on my list!!
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
#18
New Jersey
996 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Been extremely happy with our Vantage cruises. Looking forward to being on their newer ships next summer. Haven't rivercruised with Grand Circle but have been very pleased with their customer service due to a recent cancelled tour.

And yes, you can get a discount as a new customer with a referral from a Vantage or Grand Circle traveler.
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BLOG... INDIA/NEPAL Jan/Feb 2015 https://patbblogdotcom.wordpress.com/

BLOG...Paris to Normandy/Paris to Provence 2014 http://aroundtheworldwithcliffandpat.wordpress.com/

1996 American Hawaii Cruises "Independence"
1999 Paris/London (land only!)
2000 NCL"Dream" Scandanavian Capitals (Vantage)
2001 HAL"Rotterdam" Mediterranean cruise
2002 Vantage River Cruise-Amsterdam-Passau (ext to Prague, Budapest)
2003 HAL"Ryndam" Alaska (Vantage land tour also)
2004 Vantage--Iceland (land only)
2006 (Feb) Orient Lines South America Antarctica (Vantage) "Marco Polo"
2007 (Oct)GCT--Australia, NewZealand, Fiji (land only)
2008 (Oct)Vantage--Africa (land only)
2009 (Jan)RCCL Eastern Caribbean--'Serenade of the Seas'
2009 (May)Vantage River Cruise-Moscow to St. Petersburg
2011 (Jan)RCCL. Western Caribbean--'Radiance of the Seas'
2011 (July)HAL--Bermuda--'Veendam'
2011 (Oct)China & Yangzte River with Vantage
2012 (no BIG trips.. but did enjoy DisneyWorld with grandkids!!
2013 (May)Amazon/Machu Picchu & Galapagos (Vantage)
2013 (Sept)GCT US National Parks-gov't interrupted
2014 (Jan)HAL 'Statendam' Panama Canal
2014 (July)Treasures of France RiverCruise (Vantage)
2015 (Jan)EXOTIC INDIA & THE SACRED GANGES (Vantage)
2015 (May) US National Parks (Vantage)
2016 (Jan) HAL 'Zuiderdam' Partial Panama Canal
May 2016 HAL' Rotterdam' North Cape (Norway)
Sept 2016 Douro Rivercruise w/Madeira pretrip (Vantage)
#19
Long Island, New York
4,319 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by pbnjrockette
Been extremely happy with our Vantage cruises. Looking forward to being on their newer ships next summer. Haven't rivercruised with Grand Circle but have been very pleased with their customer service due to a recent cancelled tour.

And yes, you can get a discount as a new customer with a referral from a Vantage or Grand Circle traveler.
Us too....we've done 5 cruises with Vantage and have 2 more booked. Never used GCT because we've always had such wonderful trips with Vantage I feel no need to use anyone else.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
#20
Chapel Hill, NC
339 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
If the food is the same quality as on the the river cruises, that would be a reason enough not to go. Food is mediocre at best. Have been on the Elbe river cruise with Viking. The river is shallow, so only small ships are able to sail. The itinerary, however, is a good one.

We went to China and Tibet with Viking and we were upset with their one drink policy, having to drive forever on busses to get to bad restaurants, hotels, etc. Viking promised a 4 star hotel, but it was in the middle of nowhere.

You get what you pay for. Tauck is more expensive, but everything is included. If they take your picture, it is free. All excursions are included.

We will never sail Viking again.

Their brochure for the ocean cruise is very nice