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"Abandoning Ship"

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We left on Aug 2nd. The sites were difficult to check and the Internet was quite slow as everyone was trying to do the same thing. We asked Viking about the ferry and they had no information. We were on our own to do all planning, flights, hotels, everything. We watched flight options disappear before our eyes, so we booked that which got us to our destination so that we could eventually get home

 

Sounds like Viking did not provide any help for those that wanted to proceed on own rather then take their own options. Of course if you take one of their options you fit into their compensation plan. If you take neither you have a better argument for an unique compensation result. I would expect the standard response from Viking to be when people that accepted one of the two options to be that they had accepted one of the options with the stated compensation.

 

Since originally they were talking about the ship leaving on the 4th that is why I checked for the third and fourth when I posted, as well as looked at rail availability to Bergen. Also did a search for hotels in Bergen for the 4th through 8th after people posted that Viking was saying lack of hotel rooms was the reason for making more people fly home. Not saying that all of the hotels were the normal quality that Viking would choose, but just to show that rooms were available for on your own types.

 

 

 

When in Europe I always tend to think in terms of Ferries and Rail first for contingencies, and air last. In the US our normal reaction is to go for air first. That is why I mentioned the ferry/rail possibility.

Edited by RDC1

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Some may wonder why I am writing such a long and detailed story here, I am getting some therapy just writing this and it also makes me realize what many others went through. It was not just me but many other fine people.

 

I left off the last post with us touring Tallinn on our own in very nice weather on the day we were supposed to be at sea Friday July 31st. Today a further decision was made to cancel the port stop of Gdansk and now they are planning to go direct to Copenhagen. I was meeting a friend there so sent him an email telling him I would update what day and time we expect to be there. Situation appears to be worse than expected. The next day Saturday Aug 1st ,everyone received a letter, which described the problem as issues with the port side transformers and that unfortunately, “the repairs and certification….will require more time than initially expected”.The wording of “Certification” jumped off the page at me. Not only would the repair have to be made and inspected but also required some type of certification. This seemed similar to not being able to fly with certain items required by what we aviators call an MEL (Minimum Equipment List). My suspicion was as long as the ship was carrying passengers it had to have two operational propulsion systems. The letter also said we would now sail direct to Bergen with a plan to arrive late evening on Friday August 7th versus scheduled port time arrival of 07:00 AM. Furthermore they asked us to consider two options on how we would like to proceed with our trip.

 

1. Continue and remain on the Star in Tallinn doing additional excursions. “We will keep you informed of our progress so you can reconsider options at any time. In other words hope we get to Bergen.

2. If you prefer to instead cancel the rest of the trip and return home they would be disappointed to see us depart early but would be happy to make those arrangements within the next 24 hours. Now are they putting the decision for cancellation on the customers?

 

Furthermore, the last sentence of the letter read, “At this time we ask that you simply begin contemplating which option you might prefer so that when we have more specific details you will be better prepared to make your final decision.”

 

This last sentence seemed to say we would not be locked into our decision and could change as the situation changed. You will see this was not the case as you read on. We also were told we needed to turn this in as soon as possible. The 8 of us sat down and discussed the letter and we asked the staff if they were reasonably sure we would get to Bergen in time for those in our group, 5 of us, to catch their flight to Iceland for the add on and the other 3 their flight home. No one we asked was willing to assure us of this. After much discussion we all chose option 2. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake as it seemed most who chose this were fast tracked for flights home, although at first only two of our group received notices within 24 hours.

 

The next day Sunday Aug 2nd everyone received a second letter in the morning. This letter informed us that the transformers were the problem and spare parts would not arrive as quickly as they had hoped for, in fact some parts must be “custom made to order”. This also jumped off the page at me. The letter went on to explain they were unable to proceed and an executive management decision was made to cancel the remainder of the cruise. We were then offered two options:

 

1. They would make flight arrangements for our return home from Tallinn in the timeliest manner possible and accommodate you to the best of our abilities considering the limited air capacity from Tallinn. First guest selecting this could depart as early as today, Sunday and some did.

 

2. Should you wish to remain in the Baltic for as long as you had planned, we would be happy to host you aboard Viking Star until Tues Aug 4 then fly you to Bergen, where we would accommodate you for the remainder of your scheduled cruise and show you the best this region of Norway has to offer. At the end of your stay, you would be able to continue your onward journey as scheduled. But note that hotel accommodations are limited.

 

 

The letter went on to say the crew would be available to ensure a solution that best fits personal needs. Also they said each passenger would be contacted by Customer Relations immediately after you return home to being making amends. They also stated they would refund 50% of cruise fare and provide a voucher for the other 50% for a future cruise.

 

We all chose option two, thinking this would salvage part of the trip and we all would keep our original flights. Also those of us who booked the Iceland extension would most likely be selected. We were now feeling in a much better position, and went on one of the seven tours they added. Like I said before, the Cruise Director and the Tour Coordinators were doing a great job and we were very appreciative of their efforts. Later in the afternoon, following the tour, two of our group received a phone call and were delivered an itinerary to go home. The routing was pretty good considering what some others got.. That couple did not have any cruise extension. During the call they asked what the status was for the rest of our group and they said mine and my wife’s flight was being finalized but nothing else had been received on the other 3. Well this deflated our balloon and the roller coaster continues. Later that night after dinner I stopped by our room on the way to the Star Theater for a show and sure enough there was our flight itinerary on the bed. It was then we knew we were not one of the chosen few. I started to go down stairs and ask some questions but decided I would sleep on it and go in the morning. I had a few things running around in my mind, like what priority if any did they put on those with Iceland or Bergen post cruise extensions. What was the criteria they used for who would go and who would fly to Bergen. Did they ever consider lodging other than Bergen such as Trondheim, as those flying to Iceland had a stop there on the way to Iceland. I was starting to feel abused and angry. The other three in our group started preparing to go home as they thought their fate would be the same.

 

At this point we were all feeling pretty dejected and unhappy with the situation. One big issue was out how could they offer everyone, those going home like us and those going to Bergen the same amends for the cancellation when those going home would only see 4 of 11 ports and spend only 6 of 15 days on the trip when others would be taken care of in Bergen with free tours, hotel and food and not have to scramble for flights home. We had paid for custom air and received our flight itinerary in early Feb 2015, so we made arrangements on Delta for coach plus seats from Keflavik to New York to home. We also had standby for 1st Class from New York to home due to Silver Medallion status. Those dollars are gone, but that was not the end of lost dollars. While not applauding Viking Air, I do realize they had one huge mess on their hands. However, I think much of that mess was self inflicted. There were some options they overlooked and believe this was done in order to insure folks were all off the ship by Aug 4th. But here it is August 7th and the poor Star still sits in Tallinn. Also think they were not really listening or willing to take suggestions from us and the “Customer Service Agents” in the Explorer lounge who were supposedly helping customers did not seem enabled to make decisions. They all said that decisions were being made at the corporate level and they were just carrying them out. What an awful way to do things. It is those on the front lines that have the best picture of what is going on. There was only one attempt to talk to customers as a group with similar situations and that was for those going on the next leg to Spain as well as those going even longer. Several people I talked to wished they had done that for those with cruise extensions in Bergen and/or Iceland. Sometimes customers can come up with some pretty ingenious suggestions but this organization seemed very close minded and autocratic. I fully understand why they did not have a mass meeting for all passengers. Something like that could really get out of hand, but smaller specific groups may have done wonders and saved many flight changes. It gets worse as you will see in the next installment, more and more uncaring and frustrating.. Not sure this is good therapy anymore. :confused:

 

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Thank you for sharing your experience. I am one of the unlucky ones who was sent home and now I have to spend my time trolling these posts to find some support for our position that a full refund is due us. We were a group of six couples and two were among the first to be sent to Norway, no post trips were booked for them, we were among the first to be evicted in the middle of the night to go home, two couples remained on the Star for a few days and were then sent to Norway, but are in an airport hotel no where near the actual city of Bergen, and I think the other couple was also sent home, not sure yet. We were supposed to stay together as a group - oh well! I hope that Viking will respond to us soon with a decent offer, I really need to move on from this experience. Thanks again!!

Edited by occruiselady

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Aggiepilot,

 

You are doing a great job. Your details are spot on and I hope Viking knows that thousands are reading your posts and feeling the shock, regret and anger that your group has been through.

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I appreciate the support HMforcruise. I have the final installment just about finished and hope to post it tomorrow. This part was hard to write as I am trying to put a personal human perspective on the situation and hold back the frustration and anger that we humans are afflicted with. Thanks.

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I appreciate your support occruiselady. I hope we all feel good about this in the end. I am trying to put a personal and human perspective on this and sometimes it is hard to do that without getting angry when I look back on how things played out. I am working today on the last part and hope to have it posted tomorrow. I like to bounce these off my brother who is in the travel industry first. Thanks and lets all hang in there together. Believe it or not I want to do that cruise over as that area of the world means a lot to me and I spent many hours flying over it. Thanks

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Dear AggiePilot,

 

We have diligently read each of the installments detailing your experience and truly regret to hear of how this situation has unfolded for you. While you have provided many of the specifics in your post – thank you – we would like the opportunity to discuss your experience further. Please contact us at tellus@vikingcruises.com so that we may put you in touch with a member of our Customer Relations team. We look forward to speaking with you!

 

Warm regards,

Viking Cruises

 

Some may wonder why I am writing such a long and detailed story here, I am getting some therapy just writing this and it also makes me realize what many others went through. It was not just me but many other fine people.

 

I left off the last post with us touring Tallinn on our own in very nice weather on the day we were supposed to be at sea Friday July 31st. Today a further decision was made to cancel the port stop of Gdansk and now they are planning to go direct to Copenhagen. I was meeting a friend there so sent him an email telling him I would update what day and time we expect to be there. Situation appears to be worse than expected. The next day Saturday Aug 1st ,everyone received a letter, which described the problem as issues with the port side transformers and that unfortunately, “the repairs and certification….will require more time than initially expected”.The wording of “Certification” jumped off the page at me. Not only would the repair have to be made and inspected but also required some type of certification. This seemed similar to not being able to fly with certain items required by what we aviators call an MEL (Minimum Equipment List). My suspicion was as long as the ship was carrying passengers it had to have two operational propulsion systems. The letter also said we would now sail direct to Bergen with a plan to arrive late evening on Friday August 7th versus scheduled port time arrival of 07:00 AM. Furthermore they asked us to consider two options on how we would like to proceed with our trip.

 

1. Continue and remain on the Star in Tallinn doing additional excursions. “We will keep you informed of our progress so you can reconsider options at any time. In other words hope we get to Bergen.

2. If you prefer to instead cancel the rest of the trip and return home they would be disappointed to see us depart early but would be happy to make those arrangements within the next 24 hours. Now are they putting the decision for cancellation on the customers?

 

Furthermore, the last sentence of the letter read, “At this time we ask that you simply begin contemplating which option you might prefer so that when we have more specific details you will be better prepared to make your final decision.”

 

This last sentence seemed to say we would not be locked into our decision and could change as the situation changed. You will see this was not the case as you read on. We also were told we needed to turn this in as soon as possible. The 8 of us sat down and discussed the letter and we asked the staff if they were reasonably sure we would get to Bergen in time for those in our group, 5 of us, to catch their flight to Iceland for the add on and the other 3 their flight home. No one we asked was willing to assure us of this. After much discussion we all chose option 2. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake as it seemed most who chose this were fast tracked for flights home, although at first only two of our group received notices within 24 hours.

 

The next day Sunday Aug 2nd everyone received a second letter in the morning. This letter informed us that the transformers were the problem and spare parts would not arrive as quickly as they had hoped for, in fact some parts must be “custom made to order”. This also jumped off the page at me. The letter went on to explain they were unable to proceed and an executive management decision was made to cancel the remainder of the cruise. We were then offered two options:

 

1. They would make flight arrangements for our return home from Tallinn in the timeliest manner possible and accommodate you to the best of our abilities considering the limited air capacity from Tallinn. First guest selecting this could depart as early as today, Sunday and some did.

 

2. Should you wish to remain in the Baltic for as long as you had planned, we would be happy to host you aboard Viking Star until Tues Aug 4 then fly you to Bergen, where we would accommodate you for the remainder of your scheduled cruise and show you the best this region of Norway has to offer. At the end of your stay, you would be able to continue your onward journey as scheduled. But note that hotel accommodations are limited.

 

 

The letter went on to say the crew would be available to ensure a solution that best fits personal needs. Also they said each passenger would be contacted by Customer Relations immediately after you return home to being making amends. They also stated they would refund 50% of cruise fare and provide a voucher for the other 50% for a future cruise.

 

We all chose option two, thinking this would salvage part of the trip and we all would keep our original flights. Also those of us who booked the Iceland extension would most likely be selected. We were now feeling in a much better position, and went on one of the seven tours they added. Like I said before, the Cruise Director and the Tour Coordinators were doing a great job and we were very appreciative of their efforts. Later in the afternoon, following the tour, two of our group received a phone call and were delivered an itinerary to go home. The routing was pretty good considering what some others got.. That couple did not have any cruise extension. During the call they asked what the status was for the rest of our group and they said mine and my wife’s flight was being finalized but nothing else had been received on the other 3. Well this deflated our balloon and the roller coaster continues. Later that night after dinner I stopped by our room on the way to the Star Theater for a show and sure enough there was our flight itinerary on the bed. It was then we knew we were not one of the chosen few. I started to go down stairs and ask some questions but decided I would sleep on it and go in the morning. I had a few things running around in my mind, like what priority if any did they put on those with Iceland or Bergen post cruise extensions. What was the criteria they used for who would go and who would fly to Bergen. Did they ever consider lodging other than Bergen such as Trondheim, as those flying to Iceland had a stop there on the way to Iceland. I was starting to feel abused and angry. The other three in our group started preparing to go home as they thought their fate would be the same.

 

At this point we were all feeling pretty dejected and unhappy with the situation. One big issue was out how could they offer everyone, those going home like us and those going to Bergen the same amends for the cancellation when those going home would only see 4 of 11 ports and spend only 6 of 15 days on the trip when others would be taken care of in Bergen with free tours, hotel and food and not have to scramble for flights home. We had paid for custom air and received our flight itinerary in early Feb 2015, so we made arrangements on Delta for coach plus seats from Keflavik to New York to home. We also had standby for 1st Class from New York to home due to Silver Medallion status. Those dollars are gone, but that was not the end of lost dollars. While not applauding Viking Air, I do realize they had one huge mess on their hands. However, I think much of that mess was self inflicted. There were some options they overlooked and believe this was done in order to insure folks were all off the ship by Aug 4th. But here it is August 7th and the poor Star still sits in Tallinn. Also think they were not really listening or willing to take suggestions from us and the “Customer Service Agents” in the Explorer lounge who were supposedly helping customers did not seem enabled to make decisions. They all said that decisions were being made at the corporate level and they were just carrying them out. What an awful way to do things. It is those on the front lines that have the best picture of what is going on. There was only one attempt to talk to customers as a group with similar situations and that was for those going on the next leg to Spain as well as those going even longer. Several people I talked to wished they had done that for those with cruise extensions in Bergen and/or Iceland. Sometimes customers can come up with some pretty ingenious suggestions but this organization seemed very close minded and autocratic. I fully understand why they did not have a mass meeting for all passengers. Something like that could really get out of hand, but smaller specific groups may have done wonders and saved many flight changes. It gets worse as you will see in the next installment, more and more uncaring and frustrating.. Not sure this is good therapy anymore. :confused:

 

[/url]

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Just wanted to join in and give my 2 cents. Up until Estonia the trip was good. There are some small issues with things on the ship but nothing compairs to how they handled the issues of who goes where. The way that the main office handled the who goes where was Bad, Bad, Bad. They make the people in Washington look like geniouses. I opened my checking account yesterday and found money deposited by Viking. Don't know why and I can not get an answere from them. They also posted adjustments to my CC, no reason. You would think that you would get a call or e-mail letting you know that maney is coming. The amounts do not even make sense. I am not posting any more until I get some answeres. In my opinion anyone who was sent home and did not get to Norway or their extended trip to Iceland should get all their money. back.

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Just wanted to join in and give my 2 cents. Up until Estonia the trip was good. There are some small issues with things on the ship but nothing compairs to how they handled the issues of who goes where. The way that the main office handled the who goes where was Bad, Bad, Bad. They make the people in Washington look like geniouses. I opened my checking account yesterday and found money deposited by Viking. Don't know why and I can not get an answere from them. They also posted adjustments to my CC, no reason. You would think that you would get a call or e-mail letting you know that maney is coming. The amounts do not even make sense. I am not posting any more until I get some answeres. In my opinion anyone who was sent home and did not get to Norway or their extended trip to Iceland should get all their money. back.

Agree, planned to contact Viking today and finish my story but not feeling well today. Head feels like a balloon and hutrs. Think the lack of sleep and stress over this is catching up with me

 

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

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Info Received: 3 min ago (2015-08-08 15:09)

Area: Baltic Sea

Latitude / Longitude: 57.65107° / 19.61898°

Status: Restricted Manoeuvrability

Speed/Course: 10.5kn / 218°

AIS Source: 737 http://www.sjofartsforeningen.se

Itineraries History

Latest Positions

Nearby Vessels

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I have been following this and am very sorry for the trouble all are haveing. I want to thank you all as I was looking at this new line and thought it would be fun to try as the ship looks great. After this I would never go on them.

 

Sent from my SM-T320 using Forums mobile app

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I agree never again will I put that much money on a cruise that far ahead. What was my Husband thinking!! Which sailing are you on? I'm on the Sept. 3rd..it's being followed by the Mars ocean going tug...with restrictions at 10 knots which is very slow. Why is Viking not updating..??

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We are on the August 22nd cruise out of Barcelona and I am following all of this very carefully.

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It looks like the posting has slowed down. I wonder if people are getting their issues fixed? I wish I knew what was being settled.

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Viking Star seems to be accelerating . . . last reported speed was 13.2 knots. That is still well below the 20 knots of which she is capable, but better than the 10.5-ish she had been doing.

The Mars (tug that has been trailing Star) seems to have turned around, although it's destination is still officially Copenhagen.

Edited by theremin

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Viking Star seems to be accelerating . . . last reported speed was 13.2 knots. That is still well below the 20 knots of which she is capable, but better than the 10.5-ish she had been doing.

The Mars (tug that has been trailing Star) seems to have turned around, although it's destination is still officially Copenhagen.

 

 

Great news!

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This morning, the Star is cruising at 16.3 knots and the Copenhagen arrival estimate has been moved up from 0300/10 Aug to 1400/9 Aug . . . she arrives this afternoon.

I have no insight into how the ship is performing, but find the absence of a follower tug and recent cruising speeds to be encouraging.

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I have been following this and am very sorry for the trouble all are haveing. I want to thank you all as I was looking at this new line and thought it would be fun to try as the ship looks great. After this I would never go on them.

 

Sent from my SM-T320 using Forums mobile app

 

I give the person from Viking that is posting credit..unfortunately I dont believe he/she has the authority to change anything...

Having dealt in the past many times with Viking, (River and Ocean) I had decided last year never to have anything to do with them again..their on board product may be good but their office in California is impossible to talk to and work with..the only answer they know is NO..so fortunately I never have to talk to any of them again..

Jancruz1

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Star is now close to the long bridge between Sweden and Copenhagen. I think the anticipated arrival time at whatever beacon marinetraffic uses to calculate arrival into Copenhagen port (usually not the actual berth) is reported as 3:45 UTC, which would be 5:45 Copenhagen time. There's no tug, but there's a pilot boat that looks like one in the vicinity, which is quite typical for cruise ships approaching a port. The marine traffic around Copenhagen is pretty congested right now, and the general harbor area is rather broken up, so I'm not surprised they require use of a harbor pilot there. If you haven't seen a pilot climb/jump on board a cruise ship, it's pretty interesting....the first few times, anyway.

 

I looked on Marine Traffic a few hours ago when Star was in open sea. She was going 16.4 knots. Most cruise ships don't cruise at their top speed, so I certainly didn't expect to see her hurtling along at her top speed, whatever that may be. (Is it really 20? I haven't seen too many cruise ships doing that, even if they can - but then again it's not something I typically look at.)

 

If you want to see where she's scheduled to dock, Copenhagen has a good port website that lists docking areas. Langelinie is the prime spot to be - pretty close to the Little Mermaid, and close to bus and water bus stops.

 

Can't wait to board Star in Venice.....

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The Star has just docked in Copenhagen.

 

I know several folks on the next cruise were concerned about whether this would, in fact, occur. You can relax now . . . and BON VOYAGE!!:D

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The Star has just docked in Copenhagen.

 

I know several folks on the next cruise were concerned about whether this would, in fact, occur. You can relax now . . . and BON VOYAGE!!:D

 

And actually several folks on the ones after! We are so happy that the Star seems to have turned the corner, here's another Bon Voyage to those passengers boarding in the coming weeks!

 

Also for any other geeks looking for webcams, my understanding is that it is illegal to stream any feed in Norway that could be used to identify any individual, so most of the ones around are of grand expanses.

 

Peace

Edited by Crisismon

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I give the person from Viking that is posting credit..unfortunately I dont believe he/she has the authority to change anything...

Having dealt in the past many times with Viking, (River and Ocean) I had decided last year never to have anything to do with them again..their on board product may be good but their office in California is impossible to talk to and work with..the only answer they know is NO..so fortunately I never have to talk to any of them again..

Jancruz1

 

Not really what I want to hear Jancruz, but having had some experience you may be right, only time will tell. I usually take a pessimistic view of things but have hope that since this is a new foray into ocean cruising they may be more inclined to come around to the the prevailing views here so as not to tarnish their image from the get go. I appreciate the comments of support folks on this thread have made and hope Viking keeps reading it, but it seems to have been hijacked by the ship trackers. At least they will know where the ship really is. :D

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