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californiagirl

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  1. This inconsistency of when full payment is due, as illustrated by the above posts, is exasperating to me. Every other line we have cruised has a printed policy that is adhered to by anyone booking a cruise. No preferential treatment regarding payment is shown depending on who you are or who you know. Of course there are unexpected circumstances that may necessitate setting aside policy. But those should be the rare exception rather than the rule. It appears the “rule” at Viking is that if you are a TA or speak with the right person the policy is changed. Booking a cruise should not be like buying a car where your negotiating skills determine when you pay in full. Fortunately I have many choices for river cruises and can speak with my wallet. As I said earlier this came into play as to the decision whether to request a refund or a FCC. I only hope that Viking has not overextended themselves and already spent the payments on other expenses with the expectation that bookings would continue perpetually. Much like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Rant over. 😊
  2. It seems to me that Viking is inconsistent with their customers. Sharkster, I believe that you were able to delay your full payment, but our experience was entirely different. We were three couples booking at once and they held firm to the payment in full 30 days past initial deposit. I tried doing as you said and they wouldn’t budge. My take away is that it depends who you speak with and which supervisor is working the day you call. I feel no loyalty to them. Hopefully when our lives return to a sense of “normalcy“ there will still be a variety of options to choose from when booking a river cruise.
  3. Our cruise was Sept 4. The woman at Viking DID offer us 125% FCC. I understand what the written policy is stating, however this was the offer to us. I wonder if they are seeing mass cancellations and they are sweetening the deal to maintain bookings. YMMV.
  4. We and two other couples travelling with us cancelled last Friday. Our money was refunded by Tuesday. All except $100 future cruise credit each. I realize that to this point Viking has offered a generous cancellation policy...cancel up to 24 hours prior and receive a 125% FCC. (Per the woman I spoke to when cancelling the cruise.) However we are talking a lot of money and there are so many unknowns right now. If this had been an ocean cruise booked with one of the big lines for less than $5000 we would have probably waited. I’m just not sure what will happen to Viking if this hold on river cruises is prolonged. Being a retired infection control nurse I would be very surprised to see European river cruises happening at all this summer. I’m also still annoyed at Vikings policy that full payment is required so far in advance. For us that was a year prior to sailing. We agreed to it before the world turned upside down. Now we will wait and see. We can always rebook.
  5. I have been following this thread with my jaw on the floor. I feel bad for everyone onboard. Could they not dock at Port Canaveral or any of the other eastern port? What about the port in Houston even? It’s hard to wrap my head around how fast the changes are happening. We returned from Hawaii on March 8. It feels like a very different world in only 10 days.
  6. The name Diamond Princess has had problems from the beginning. https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=652 After the fire in 2002 the then Sapphire Princess became the Diamond as they were being built semi-simultaneously. Essentially they switched the names of the ships. I think the name Diamond Princess should be retired much like a catastrophic hurricane.
  7. We returned last night from two weeks on a land trip to Kauai. It was business as usual in the islands. We were in Hanalei the day the Grand was in port. It was packed with cruisers in Hanalei. We were mostly outside and did not come in close contact with anyone. I see that the first case in Hawaii was confirmed today. We have sailed Princess 12 times and I am profoundly sad for the company as this is our favorite cruise line to travel. I hope Princess survives the coronavirus.
  8. Oh my goodness that picture is hilarious!! We are on vacation on Kauai right now and can relate to that picture. The Grand was in port Wednesday of last week. Hanalei was packed with cruisers.
  9. I have been a longtime member of the cruise critic community and rarely post anymore. However I just watched the entire video from the Infectious Disease doctor who teaches at Kobe University in Japan. (I think that is what he said.) All I can say is WOW, JUST WOW! I am an RN and my last years working I spent in Infection Control. What he had to say about the conditions on the Diamond are shocking and disturbing. The fact that “bureaucrats” (his word) are in charge and not medical professionals trained in infection control explains completely the progression of the virus throughout the ship. I suspect the “quarantine” of Diamond Princess will be studied and analyzed for years to come. Most likely used as THE example of how not to quarantine/control a potentially deadly virus. Some of his points that stood out to me as unbelievable: - no ID trained medical professional in charge of the operation - no red or green zones, meaning no defined clean or contaminated zones - haphazard use of PPE (personal protection equipment) - the doctor (I think he said) who is no longer wearing PPE or even practicing good universal precautions because she thinks she is already exposed to the virus...she could be spreading the virus! - people eating in random areas and some with gloves on! Were the gloves at least clean??? - the hubris of the bureaucrats in charge to kick him off the ship because he was critical of how they are managing the situation I fear the people in Yokohama are now at SIGNIFICANT risk of COVID-19 being disseminated throughout the general population because of the way these Japanese officials have mis-managed the Diamond Princess.
  10. As I have been reading the threads regarding the novel corona virus I am reminded of the H1N1 “swine flu” epidemic in 2009. I can identify with the OP. In May of 2009 we were booked on the Sapphire Princess for a 7 day western Mexico cruise leaving from LA. Up until just a few days prior to the cruise Princess did nothing. Nearly all other cruise lines either cancelled or changed their itineraries, but most importantly they offered their passengers the opportunity to change their booking to a different cruise at no additional cost if they were not comfortable going to Mexico, not Princess. Even other cruise lines under Carnival’s umbrella provided that option, not Princess. Finally a few days before the cruise Princess decided to change the itinerary to a California coastal cruise, BUT NO ONE was given the option to cancel or to switch to a different cruise. The irony was that there were more cases of the H1N1 in LA than in any of the port towns to be visited in Mexico! (Mexico did not close their ports.) Most of the passengers on board were from California and none of us were happy about visiting ports where we lived. Princess finally caved to media pressure and gave each of us 50% of the cruise cost back in credit to be used toward another cruise. To this day we refer to that cruise as the “Princess swine flu cruise”. Even though they were within their contract of passage, Princess handled that situation poorly when nearly every other cruise line gave their customers flexible options. I realize that diseases are out of Princess’ control, however how they manage the situation defines them. Those of us on the cruise felt that Princess held our vacation money captive. We have gone on to sail with Princess again. However before we book we ask ourselves if we would be content not to be allowed to get off the ship in any of the ports on the itinerary. Because of that experience we have taken more land based trips vs cruises if the destination is the priority. To the OP I understand your anxiety. In unusual circumstances like this virus uncertainty can leased to frustration. You want to keep yourself safe and you don’t want to lose your hard earned money. I wish you the best.
  11. Thank you Lavernedrye for your response. We went ahead and booked the tour. Even if it’s small villages and hills I think we will enjoy it. We’ve decided to do three days post-cruise in the Black Forest. We would like to hike and perhaps do a genuine bike ride in the forest. We plan to rent a car in Frieburg so we can go off the beaten path.
  12. I have done a search on this topic with very limited success. Has anyone done this tour? Was it worth the money? How strenuous was the ride with an e-bike? How much of the Black Forest is experienced? I realize Breisach is a fair distance from the Black Forest but that is how Viking lists this tour. It looks like the biking is one way as the participants take a bus back to the ship. Thank you in advance for your help.
  13. Thank you so much TSGarp. On Princess there is a different process for in-transit/returning guests, it seemed logical there would be one on RCi. We are going to go to church in the morning, come back and eat, then go back out to see Barcelona. We are getting very excited! We leave a week from Friday and will spend 5 nights in Rome pre-cruise. We were so fortunate to get Scavi tickets. I’ve just bought the book “The Fisherman’s Tomb” to prepare for that tour.
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