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nativeaz

Viking's Customer Service is Lacking

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Next time you cruise you will know better. The cruise travel pricing game has a very steep learning curve and the penalties can be heavy but it is not up to the cruise lines to teach its customers how to play the game or to compensate them when they make the wrong move.

 

The shipboard credits that your friends received are enticements paid by the travel agent in order to get their business. The cruise lines are not obligated to match these offers.

 

When you refer someone, you get a dollar amount discount per referral on a future cruise booked within a certain time frame--not a refund on a current cruise. Read the program details on the Viking website.

 

Your problem has not been that you aren't being treated 'fairly'--because you are being treated with the same policies as everyone else-- but that you have had no one to explain the rules and policies to you before you made any decisions. If someone had explained the role of travel agents, about customization fees on the air fares, about travel agent enticements, etc, before you started down the booking path, you would not be half as upset as you are now.

 

I believe he is referring to the credits Viking gives when you act as a reference for a new couple to sail with Viking. Both the new couple and the couple acting as a reference gets $200 credit. It certainly works that way on their river cruises. Have not tried it on Ocean, but I recall seeing a reference to the same program. Nothing to do with TA credits.

Edited by RDC1

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We have booked with five other couples all of whom booked through travel agents.

 

@Dave,

We've just returned from our first Viking Oceans cruise (with another couple). Here are some other 'gotchas' to be aware of when travelling with friends.

 

1) You'll probably confer with your friends in advance and decide which shore excursions you'd like to take together. Perhaps some of the 'free' (i.e. 'already paid-for' tours) and/or some optional extra-cost tours. Once you've all selected your desired tours, you should all log onto MVJ bright and early the day that booking opens for your class of cabins. If you want first pick (and the earliest tour times fill up first), you should log on at midnight Pacific time to make your bookings. If you're lucky, you and your friends will all be successful in reserving the same times for the tours you want to take together.

 

Be sure to print out the summary of all the tours you've reserved. That's important, because it's quite likely that Viking will unilaterally change some of your tour times. They won't tell you about it. They changed some of our tour times by 3+ hours (from morning to afternoon). They might change your tour times, but not those of your friends. They don't have a good system for managing reservations for groups of people traveling together.

 

When you get on board, there should be a stack of tour tickets waiting in your rooms. They may or may not line up with the tours you think you all had reserved. Plan on making a trip to the Explorers Desk to get any issues resolved.

 

During the cruise, they may or may not make additional changes to your tour times. They might change yours, but not those of your friends. Plan on making more visits to the Explorers Desk to get those changes fixed.

 

2) The same goes for dining reservations. You and your friends will be able to make a certain number of advance reservations in the two specialty restaurants (depending on your cabin categories). You might want to dine together with your friends. Unfortunately, Viking doesn't have a good method for making group bookings at the restaruants. If you contact Viking (by phone or at their TellUs email address), you can request that they combine your individual reservations into a larger table for your group. Alternately, stop by the reservations desk outside the World Cafe early in your cruise to request a larger table for your group.

 

BTW, Manfredi's and Chef's Table have very nice 'private' dining rooms you can reserve for your group. During our two weeks on board, we never saw the private rooms in use, so I'd anticipate you should be able to book them with your friends. There's also a big round table at the very back of the MDR, with a gorgeous view astern.

 

One other tip - if you and your friends have iPhones, you can use Apple's iMessage app to stay in touch while on the Star. We found it very handy to send messages to and fro, anywhere on the ship. If you have Android-powered smartphones, I'd expect that WhatsApp or similar messaging apps would provide similar functionality.

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Viking has excellent customer service, whenever I ask questions on cc, they call me within 24 hours, an email is answered within 24 hours. I payed for the custom air when I went to China and the Rhine river cruise. But it's not available for Bergen because of the size of the airport. As for getting flights, I do my research, I find out what flights are better from JFK, then I call them and we discuss my best options. Air France for my Rhine trip and Cathay Pacific for China, both were excellent. Did I have layovers, yes. Were there addition delays, yes, not the fault of Viking or the airlines.

Edited by Fpacifico

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This note is a followup to our comments about Viking Cruise Line Customer Service that we posted on March 20.

 

Please know, that since our posting Viking has provided exemplary service and concern to us. As I stated in the original posting, not only were we frustrated about the situation itself, but mostly about about the attitude that seemed to be so disinterested.

 

We now have been kindly approached with a Customer Service Rep who immediately understood the cause of our displeasure. She handled the situation professionally and pleasantly. We feel most appreciative and look forward to many more Viking Cruises.

As a further followup to my post regarding Viking Customer Service, we have contacted them on a couple of additional issues and have had wonderful experiences. A big shout out to Viking Customer Engagement Specialist Valerie Kepler & Customer Relations Agent Stacy Thomas.

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