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SM77

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  1. If OP has BC/BS through the FEHB, BCBS health coverage is international. My sister had a stroke cruising off the coast of Australia. Ship docked in Brisbane where she was transported to a hospital - was there over three months, BCBS paid for all hospital & medical bills. Of course, it did not pay for her husband staying in Brisbane with her. Fortunately he knew a family in Brisbane that welcomed him in their home and helped him navigate their hospital system. Otherwise he would have been in a hotel or short term rental. Getting her home was challenging since they didn't have medical evacuation insurance. Using a wheelchair and w/ her husband's assistance, she was able to fly commercially back to Maui after the hospitalization. Needless to say, it was a very challenging experience. My health insurance is w/ BCBS since it is international but I also always buy travel insurance for the medical evacuation portion. Yes, I do want to be reimbursed for canceled trips but my biggest concern is something serious happens and being able to be medically transported from a location that has less than stellar medical facilities. My sister was very fortunate that her stroke occurred off the coast of Australia and was transported to a major medical hospital. And she was only 62 at the time. I view travel insurance as just another cost of a trip.
  2. I had a similar situation for a Viking Ocean cruise for April 2021for Southeast Asia. I wound up canceling in early June(final payment was in Sept 2020) - I decided that it was unlikely conditions would be safe enough to travel so far in April 2021 and I already had one canceled by Viking so I already have 125% FCV to use. In April we had canceled our November 2020 Oceania cruise for Athens. Oceania had refunded the deposit in a reasonable time, the TA's portion took almost 90 days. We are stuck w/ the airfare since I had decided to book w/ United directly. It's a wait and see game if the flights are changed or canceled. We have another cruise scheduled for Sept/Oct 2021 and I hope it goes. Meanwhile we are not booking anything else. There are too many unknowns right now.
  3. Actually Guy is based in Boston, Viking has a call center there but he was working from home - he mentioned that everyone transitioned to working from home starting in March.
  4. We canceled our April 2021 Southeast Asia cruise(final payment Sept 2020) on June 4, Viking posted a refund of $800 on June 9, but it wasn't posted to the credit card until June 16th. We got our FVC vouchers, $100 each on June 22. Very quick since it was a normal cancellation process. For the canceled April cruise back in March, we were part of the first wave and it took a little while to get the FCV vouchers, issued on April 17th for cruises canceled by Viking March 11th. We had canceled a November Athens Oceania cruise on April 16th, again a normal cancellation process & we didn't get our $1500 deposit until early June.
  5. As other folks have mentioned, on our Dec South American cruise, on sea days, the singers/dancers gave free lessons in Torshavn. You didn't have to have a partner and it was lots of fun, a good way to get in a little workout. It was a nice way to get to know the Viking singers/dancers and our instructor was a hoot, gives you a great sense of appreciation for professional dancers!
  6. Usually my TA will conference in the Viking Air person so that I can talk to the Viking Air person directly to get the flights & seating that I want. Also, when I had a problem w/ AA canceling flights back from Bali Indonesia (via email and telling me to contact my TA) - I was able to email my TA & then she emailed me the Viking Air person's email so I could OK whatever alternative arrangements were being made directly(w/ a 15 hour time difference in doing these emails) - You are not suppose to directly interact w/ Viking Air but I usually find that Viking Air will be flexible depending on the situation. Viking Customer Relations - 1-877-523-0579, available 6 AM - 6PM, M - F, Pacific Time, Sat-Sun 7:30 - 4 PM PT the phone & hours is listed under the Tab for 'Updates on Current Sailings' under the tab 'My Trip' I usually only call the reservations number for very general questions. I find it helpful to email: Tellus@Vikingcruises.com for specific questions related to a particular cruise, logistics, etc. I give them my booking number. Sometimes Tellus may not be able to be specific but once we are on the cruise, the concern that I had will be addressed. For example, I asked whether a bus or shuttle from the Sydney White Bay Cruise Terminal be available (since the terminal was not close to the main port area of Sydney) - Tellus said no, but when we did the cruise, Viking made arrangements for a free water taxi to go between the White Bay Cruise Terminal & Circular Quay. I call Customer Relations for specific serious issues (like the voucher being applied to booking and I had not asked it to be applied). Not to make excuses for Viking but this massive pandemic has upended everything. After this recent experience, I have had really great response from Viking (except for yesterday's conversation w/ this supervisor on the reservations line). And if you read many of the postings on Viking Ocean, you will see how Viking has handled a lot of difficult situations that arose for folks cruising during the immediate halting of cruises (read Andy's posting of the World Cruise). We love sailing w/ Viking and have sailed on Crystal & Oceania as well. However for us, Viking goes the extra mile in making sure our travel experience is easy and seamless.
  7. Generally, I have had good to excellent interactions w/ Viking Air Plus, Tellus@Vikingcruises.com, and most definitely from Viking Customer Relations. I usually do not interact w/ staff that answer the 'regular' 800 number since I book through a TA. I think my issue was resolved by Customer Relations quickly since this person had already encountered this issue w/ others and Viking Customer Relations is focused on customer service. Dealing w/ the supervisor from reservations, I felt that she really didn't have the experience or authority to address my concerns and should have just said to contact Viking Customer Relations but what she did instead was discount Customer Relations ability to be handle and resolve the issue (which I thought was odd and unprofessional), insisted that the voucher could not be removed from the booking and insisted that this 'automatic' application of FCVs to existing bookings is 'how it is done and cannot be undone'.
  8. Update - Voucher was removed from the booking by Viking Customer Relations. I spoke to them this morning, it was not a problem to remove the voucher and reissue the Guest Statement. We will get an email reactivating the FCVs to be used on a future booking. The person at Viking Customer Relations said there is no 'automatic' applying of the FCVs to bookings that have not made final payment. Apparently, some spreadsheet was created and all those individuals w/ FCVs had the FCVs applied to current bookings that had not made final payment. He had seen this before by other Viking customers so it was not new to him. He was very reassuring and took care of it. He reissued the Guest Statement w/o the vouchers being applied. Calling the regular Viking reservations line yesterday is a waste. The supervisor that I spoke to said that Customer Relations could not remove the voucher and that I was 'stuck' with the voucher being applied to this Ukraine river cruise booking. So glad that it is resolved. Even if you have a booking that is 15 months out, make sure you check MyVikingJourney to ensure that your booking is correctly done. Kudos to Guy McCarthy of Viking Customer Relations in being responsive and customer focused.
  9. Wow, I just checked a future river cruise that we booked in March 2020 as part of the wave of guaranteed cancellation policy bookings and saw that we had our FVCs applied from the 2020 April cruise that was canceled by Viking. We had received the FVCs in April 2020. When I called Viking, they said that they 'automatically' applied the FCV to any outstanding booking that was not paid in full and that it could not be removed. Our FCV is over 10K pp and this Ukraine river cruise is less than $5300 pp. There is nothing on the voucher saying that it would be automatically applied to an existing booking. In fact we had another booking for Southeast Asia in April 2021 that we were planning to use the vouchers but decided to cancel that cruise instead. Viking said that they had notified our Travel Agency(and not us?) and we didn't get anything from the TA so I will call the TA tomorrow. We want the voucher to be removed since we already have a credit from the TA that will go to Viking to pay for the cruise so our balance to Viking is about $3500 pp. I sent a message to Tellus to see if the voucher can be removed. I will call Customer Relations as well. Just be aware that if you have any existing bookings without final payment, Viking is applying any outstanding FVC automatically. Check MYVikingJourney. I am so disappointed w/ Viking on this. If I had known this, we would have paid the Ukraine trip in full immediately since they wanted payment by June 30, 2020 or requested a refund for the canceled April 2020 cruise instead of taking the 125% FCV with the understanding if we didn't use it, we would get back what we paid Viking initially. We were trying to be good customers and be supportive. This is so unlike Viking. I will update on what happens.
  10. Andy, Thanks for the response. Will be interested if you are able to do the upgrade w/ points through Viking Air. I was thinking of trying to do the upgrade directly w/ United once we have booked the economy seats through Viking Air. We have a 2021 Viking river cruise for the Ukraine and the economy air was really inexpensive so we thought we would try to fly economy. And I thought I would try to upgrade directly w/ United. I really miss that Viking Air upgrade to business service using points. It probably was too time-consuming for their Viking Air department. We did it for three cruises from 2016 - 2018.
  11. Hi Andy, I thought Viking Air was no longer handling business class upgrades using miles? Initially when we started cruising w/ Viking, we were able to upgrade from economy using Viking Air & our United miles(and United fee for upgrading) but they stopped offering that service a couple of years ago. Is it only done if you ask Viking Air now through your TA?
  12. Hi OTJ, If you pay for Viking Air, you should be able to book the seats that you want if they are available as soon as the flights are made final. We have had wonderful experiences working w/ Viking Air in handling our flights. In fact, due to AA issues w/ their 737 MAX planes, AA had canceled our flights back to the US from Bali(didn't offer any assistance in re-booking) and while in Bali(with a time difference of 14 hours) I was able to email Viking Air directly after emailing my TA and arrange for new flights, in fact we got a non-stop from Hong Kong to IAD on Cathy Pacific, a much nicer flight experience. And let me add my two cents about booking everything w/ Viking. It just makes it easier. We canceled an Oceania cruise for November & we are stuck w/ United tickets since I chose to buy the flights from the airline directly since it was cheaper & we were planning to come in earlier & leave later. Not sure if we will get to use those tickets, I'm hoping that the flights may be canceled or changed so I can request a refund from United otherwise a few thousand gone. We just canceled a 2021 April Southeast Asia Viking cruise. Since it is before final payment(which is September), we are only losing $200 but not really since we will get it as a FCV (to be used within two years) - since everything is bundled (business air, extensions, Viking air fee, etc) we didn't lose anything(especially since it was before final payment) - we even lucked out with our travel insurance(purchased separately) - I requested a refund of the TI premiums, received approval, and got the refund check in a week. Sometimes it's worth spending the extra for less anxiety.
  13. Located in the US, our TA always gives us a $$$ rebate hence the actual price is less than the published Oceania price. Part of the cruise costs is paid to the TA(I'm assuming that is their commission), the rest goes to cruise line. It was unusual for this cruise that the TA portion was already paid before final payment to Oceania.
  14. The TA doesn't charge an additional fee; they get a cut of the cost of the cruise. Part of the monies goes to the TA, part goes to the cruise line. Also, what we are charged for the cruise is less than what Oceania would charge...
  15. I had canceled a November 2020 cruise prior to final payment on April 16th and just received the $1500 deposit back from Oceania on the cc as well as the payment made for excursions as a separate credit. Now I'm waiting for the travel agency's portion of monies to be credited back to my cc. Took longer than I wanted but certainly less than 90 days. I'm kind of annoyed at the travel agency since they have already charged for their portion of a new booking but have yet refunded the monies that they have. Lesson learned here, maybe I should not have booked so many cruises so far in advance.
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