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Viking Sun World Cruise Christening Debacle

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Mr. Torstein Hagen

Ms. Karine Hagen

Captain Atle Knutsen

Mr. Sujith Mohan

As well as looking forward to the event for weeks before sailing, we received a lovely formal invitation to the Viking Sun Christening. Little did we know that it was our first UNinvitation to an event in our lives. To add insult to injury, new clothing and jewelry was purchased in Shanghai because we were told a half of a dozen times or more by the Cruise Director and in the Viking Daily that it was an "elegant" event. Instead, this was nothing more than a scam to get us off the ship that we paid in excess of $114,000 to be on to not even be in the bleacher seats to witness the most momentous event of the Inaugural World Cruise we selected. We were herded onto buses, having to step aside for the "valued" guests, to an off-site, low class venue where we were not served in any way. We "enjoyed" lousy, largely unedible food in a combination of family style and long buffet lines because you wanted us out of our dining rooms. There was cheap wine and warm water and juice with no ice and only one glass per person. Despite all this, we still waited excitedly for the event. The event appeared on a few TVs that were postage stamp size from where we were sitting and we could see little and hear nothing. Although this was better than the Viking brand of internet, there is better media coverage at your average local sports bar. We are sure you enjoyed it very much and we knew that every management crew member (because they were not with us) and many members of the press were truly enjoying the event, a real kick in the gut to those of us who have made a major monetary and time commitment to this Viking voyage. Finally, word got out before the event was over that there was a few buses waiting and a mass stampede ensued. All ticket groupings were ignored and there was pushing and shoving to get on the buses because people could not wait to get out of there. We have photos that are suitable for #myvikingstory.

We have since heard that there was not room for everyone so some people (who didn't arrive until 7:45, by the way) were shuffled off to another room. It makes the poor planning and lack of due diligence by Shore Excursions for this world cruise to look not quite so bad.

We waited a couple of days to write this for two reasons. First we wanted to see if we would be less angry in the light of day. This has not happened because there is nothing you can sugarcoat or excuse but mostly we waited for the second reason. We waited for you. There has been not one single note of acknowledgement or apology let alone compensation for what we endured and lost since this debacle happened two days ago. Organizations should not do world cruises who do not know what world class behavior is and the importance and impact of their paying guests. We suppose you wish to retain your #1 ranking, but it is going to be difficult.

Edited by worldcruisr
word correction

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Worldcruisr .. my heart sank as I read your post. My thoughts, and the thoughts of many, are with you. I hope Viking make it up to you, and all affected passengers, in a meaningful way. Best wishes, Frank

Edited by helenandfrank
error

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Oh dear. That sounds awful. Way beyond disappointment with Viking. Their non response to you passengers strikes an ominous note.

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This is certainly worse than how the christening of the Star was handled but consistent with previous christenings I.e., exclusion of passengers in deference to local notables. Sigh.

 

 

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Worldcruisr .. my heart sank as I read your post. My thoughts, and the thoughts of many, are with you. I hope Viking make it up to you, and all affected passengers, in a meaningful way. Best wishes, Frank

Hi Frank

I did not opine on this as we saw it coming and did not attend but this is consistent with reports from valued friends. Not the first “ball dropped”.

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So were the ship’s dining facilities being used for christening guests during this time? I had already read Jim’s comment on the other thread and wondered if this was China trying to control the passengers. Viking definitely has some ‘splaining to do. Will be interesting to watch the tap dancing, if you know what I mean.

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If Wagnerite’s information on the other thread is accurate - about American crew not being allowed off the ship, then this sounds like something political going on. Hagen may have been trapped between the proverbial rock and hard place. I know, I know - black helicopter stuff. Still, just pay careful attention to how Viking responds.

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Similar to how the christening of the Star in Bergen occurred. There was some heavy backlash from passengers as a result. We also received a similar invitation -it was not a stellar Viking move. Once people were off the ship and bussed to a hotel to watch on it all on TV - they were not allowed to return to the ship until the festivities were over which were quite late at night. I am surprised a similar repeat happened.

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I can't imagine treating their paying guests this way. You think they would have learned a lesson the first time but I guess not. I guess they don't care. I am truly disappointed in Viking and I normally am a Viking cheerleader.

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I agree, Jiminy. Didn’t know about the issues with the Star christening. I’m also remembering the assorted “corporate versus onboard experience” conversations I’ve seen here. Corporate needs to remember that the passengers ARE the bottom line.

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They've had your money and are looking for future passengers by showing fabulous film of the event without showing that they've shuttled the current passengers off and stuck them out of the way. Not very impressive

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Worldcruisr .. my heart sank as I read your post. My thoughts, and the thoughts of many, are with you. I hope Viking make it up to you, and all affected passengers, in a meaningful way. Best wishes, Frank

Thanks Frank. Still not a peep from Viking.

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Oh dear. That sounds awful. Way beyond disappointment with Viking. Their non response to you passengers strikes an ominous note.

Yes, amazing isn't it.

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Worldcruisr .. my heart sank as I read your post. My thoughts, and the thoughts of many, are with you. I hope Viking make it up to you, and all affected passengers, in a meaningful way. Best wishes, Frank

Thanks Frank. Not a peep from Viking so far.

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Hi Frank

I did not opine on this as we saw it coming and did not attend but this is consistent with reports from valued friends. Not the first “ball dropped”.

Not a good or smart business practice.

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They've had your money and are looking for future passengers by showing fabulous film of the event without showing that they've shuttled the current passengers off and stuck them out of the way. Not very impressive

You are right. They have our money for this trip, but we will be rethinking future trips. They do not have a good listen to the paying customer policy.

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So were the ship’s dining facilities being used for christening guests during this time? I had already read Jim’s comment on the other thread and wondered if this was China trying to control the passengers. Viking definitely has some ‘splaining to do. Will be interesting to watch the tap dancing, if you know what I mean.

Yes, our dining facilities were being used for their "valued" guests. It seems that China had nothing to do with this as Viking has done this to their customers before. It's s.o.p. for Viking. Yes, they could make it worse by tap dancing instead of an honest acknowledgement of the situation.

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If Wagnerite’s information on the other thread is accurate - about American crew not being allowed off the ship, then this sounds like something political going on. Hagen may have been trapped between the proverbial rock and hard place. I know, I know - black helicopter stuff. Still, just pay careful attention to how Viking responds.

Still no response from Viking. Evidently not political as from reading the responses, this is not the first time they have inconvenienced their paying customers. Still wondering what they are thinking, especially given how easy it is to share this information these days.

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I agree, Jiminy. Didn’t know about the issues with the Star christening. I’m also remembering the assorted “corporate versus onboard experience” conversations I’ve seen here. Corporate needs to remember that the passengers ARE the bottom line.

 

That is so true. Their video doesn't portray how the passengers were treated. Just all the glorious hoopla. Shame, shame

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Similar to how the christening of the Star in Bergen occurred. There was some heavy backlash from passengers as a result. We also received a similar invitation -it was not a stellar Viking move. Once people were off the ship and bussed to a hotel to watch on it all on TV - they were not allowed to return to the ship until the festivities were over which were quite late at night. I am surprised a similar repeat happened.

Wow! So they have done this before! In hindsight, the best thing we could have done was not to leave the ship. They got a 95 percent attendence because they told us to dress elegantly (for no one) and they lied about being a part of the celebration and having a special meal. I heartily urge future Viking customers to not leave the ship.

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I can't imagine treating their paying guests this way. You think they would have learned a lesson the first time but I guess not. I guess they don't care. I am truly disappointed in Viking and I normally am a Viking cheerleader.

We are.normally Viking cheerleaders as well, but given their willingness to repeat this fiasco and given how we are seeing first hand how they are handling excursion problems and their lack of preparation for new ports, we are rethinking this position.

Edited by worldcruisr
Wordsmithing

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I agree, Jiminy. Didn’t know about the issues with the Star christening. I’m also remembering the assorted “corporate versus onboard experience” conversations I’ve seen here. Corporate needs to remember that the passengers ARE the bottom line.

Absolutely.

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That is so true. Their video doesn't portray how the passengers were treated. Just all the glorious hoopla. Shame, shame

If I can figure it out, I will post a photo of the mayhem that ensued pushing and shoving trying to get on the bus before the event was even over because people just wanted to get out of there. They should have simulcast it.

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Gosh. We booked our first Viking Ocean cruise a week ago and, based on our river cruise experience, we have been excited to expect wonderful treatment. This sounds like the "cattle herding" on the mainline cruise lines.

 

 

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On the Star christening there were invitations sent out by mistake that some of us received but did not specify offsite. I cannot say for certain what was communicated to those passengers who did not receive the mistaken invitations - maybe they were told that they would be able to view the christening from afar before they left - i just cannot confirm what exact expectations were set. I can say that those of us who received the ‘wrong invitations’ were basically uninvited that evening. Viking did sincerely apologize for the mistake. So it sounds as if the Star situation was a bit different?

For others who did not receive invitations, I can only speak to the aftermath stories I heard about being them all being in a couple Hotels in Bergen watching it on screens, and that it was late before they were allowed to return to the ship. I do not remember anyone being very happy about the experience. Understatement.

I can also honestly say that on subsequent christenings, I do not remember reading about anything going terribly wrong...

I am really sorry to hear about this - I too am a big Viking Cheerleader....but I am also okay with calling out their misses when appropriate because improvements cannot happen without Viking realizing what isn’t working for their passengers. I sincerely hope your journey is going to unfold exceeding your expectations moving forward.

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