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KyOh

Viking Sky survivors

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My husband and I were on the March 2-14 Northern Lights cruise on the Sky.  We've followed the stories of the problems and rescue of the passengers and crew of the next cruise.  Because we were doing this cruise, I began following several other roll calls to get ideas and share information with others, especially since this was the first year for this route.  The way Viking has handled the aftermath is really impressive.  I wanted to start this thread because what passengers are posting on the March 14 roll call makes me love Viking even more.  The reimbursement of passengers has been total and really very prompt.  My hope is that some of you who were on the ship will share the information of the follow-up by Viking with the larger cruise community.

Glad that you are all home now and recovering from your amazing adventure.

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Thank you for posting this.  I have also been following the aftermath, as I am booked on the April 16th sailing out of Amsterdam.  Some of the people I know have made disparaging remarks about my going on the Viking Sky Ship after what happened in March; however, I am very impressed with how Viking handled the aftermath and feel that they will go out of their way to ensure safety of the passengers and crew.  I am not at all worried about the cruise - in fact I can hardly wait to go! 

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Posted (edited)

In the same way that you can’t fault the actions of the on board crew, you can’t fault the way Viking responded to and dealt with the post cruise issues.

 

Our eldest son is our emergency contact and he had 4 seperate calls from Viking UK with updates, we were flown home on a charter form Molde to London Gatwick landing at around 02.30, Viking staff were in the arrivals hall to help with luggage, once through customs we had the choice of a hotel stay and travel home the next day or direct transport home, we chose the latter.

 

Over the next  2 days we had 3 calls from Viking to check that we were OK and had all our belongings.

 

Friday we received a large bouquet of flowers and this morning a letter with a cheque for all the monies we paid, including extra excursions and details about the free cruise offer.

 

All round excellent service, we will be back on Viking next year and still have the “extra” cruise to plan

Edited by Haworth

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We were also on the 14th March sailing and agree totally with Howarth.

the crew were fantastic. Their training really kicked in. They kept everyone calm under very difficult circumstances. 

For someone who stresses about nothing I was quite calm for most of the time. 🤣

Water in the muster station was scary as was the helicopter ride, but I shall always remember the crew member that said “think of it as a fairground ride” ( I hate fairground rides ) and squeezed my hand and the Helicopter crew member that gave me a massive two thumbs up.

Viking did a very professional job in very difficult circumstances and I would feel safe travelling with them again.

I keep thinking about the poor little water waitress who was working in the World Cafe and battling with sea sickness. I hope she is ok.

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Thank you @KyOh for starting this thread. You may have forgotten but we met on the Star during Viking Homelands in 2016. Was looking over the pix I took (along with the detailed notes) I made yesterday and your name among others is in my notes. Anyway - thanks again. And yes - one couldn't help but be impressed by how Viking handled events on the Sky last weekend and their aftermath. 

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We have taken three Viking river boat cruises (although not recently) and have NOT done an ocean cruise on Viking, at least not yet.  But I agree their handling of the aftermath is most impressive.

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Will crew still receive their gratuities?  They really deserve something to  recognize their outstanding service. 

 

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My wife & I were also on the March 14th cruise.   While the situation was downright scary for a time, it was handled very well by the crew and staff.  We cannot say enough positive things the way emergency responders, medical staffs, Viking, and the people of Norway responded to this situation.  The helicopter airlift crew was very professional as they labored through 15 hours of work in very difficult conditions.  Thank you again to all who helped us get through this.

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PRH, I had asked Chairman Hagen about that at our meeting.  According to him they will be well taken care of especially after hearing the many positive comments about them made at that meeting 

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4 hours ago, johneb2 said:

PRH, I had asked Chairman Hagen about that at our meeting.  According to him they will be well taken care of especially after hearing the many positive comments about them made at that meeting 

Excellent news, they deserve every penny

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I echo the previous comments made here, Viking managed the whole event and aftermath exceptionally well. The ship staff were brilliant, calm, helpful, reassuring to those who were struggling and needed help. I've described the selection of passengers for evacuation elsewhere but all was handled calmly, smoothly and without drama.

 

On the 13th Jan roll call thread I described what took place so won't repeat it here. Needless to say though, Viking have behaved brilliantly throughout and we are most impressed. Despite this being a very dangerous situation, we were fed, we were watered and they very kindly allowed trips to collect necessary meds from cabins. Once the danger was removed the staff kicked into action, cabins were made safe and ordered, room service provided meals and the very young entertainment team even put on a show that evening. It was truly impressive and I take my hat off to the entire ships staff..

 

Obviously the task of organising 900+ emergency flights was a mammoth one and some guests frustrated by lack of information were rude, surly and quite frankly very objectionable, most however were reasonable, behaved calmly and were patient.

 

As Haworth stated, since our return Viking have been in touch repeatedly and have sent flowers and the cheque and letter describing the compensation package. We cannot fault them.

 

Have to say I have read some comments that have made me doubt whether the posters were indeed on that ship but I'll say no more!

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Does anyone know the status of the one passenger who was apparently seriously injured?

 

It was mentioned as a "broken neck", but that can describe a variety of types of injuries, with varying prognoses...

 

I hope she/he will be okay!

 

GC

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Posted (edited)

We were there also - and were evac'd. Echoing what has already been said, the crew was terrific. They worked probably about 48 hours straight so must have been exhausted. It was great how they kept bringing blankets to those of us who were in the stairwells waiting to get up to deck 8. Then, plates of cookies were passed along too, and bottles of water. They did all they could under such difficult circumstances.

 

Now...for a few less glowing comments....certainly not everyone was real happy with the rescheduled flight attempts both in the hotel at Kristiansand and then on the ship. I don't understand why they seemingly have to go through the office in CA to make these arrangements. Couldn't they have flown someone in to help with this? There just seemed to be alot of disgruntled people. One lady we talked to didn't even have her flights arranged yet on Tuesday morning. I did not book any air through Viking so really didn't deal with them near as much as many people had to. One thing that really didn't go well for us is that in Kristiansand Viking called us at midnight - got us out of bed - and said that they were arranging a 3:30 bus to go back to the ship - allowing time to pack our rooms, and then a flight to Oslo set up for 6:30 or thereabouts. So, we went down to the office, discussed flight arrangements (unsuccessfully I might add), and then by the time the bus came and got us to the ship it was already well after 5. By the time we got the room packed up - working as fast as we could - there was NO way we would have gotten to the airport in time. As a result, we wound up being on the ship most of the remainder of the day - so it turned out that we would have had ample time to pack at leisure and do a better, more organized  job of it. Still not getting much satisfaction on arranging my flights (must have talked to 4 different agents in the guest services area) I finally went to a quiet place on the ship and booked my own SAS flights for the following day. And I feel the need to say something in general about sailing out of Tromsø. I'm not at all sure that we should have done it. Why did companies like Hurtigruten - who have far more experience than Viking - I suspect anyway - with sailing these waters - decide to stay in port. It has been said that the captain had more than advance notice of this storm system, but yet we sailed into this 'bomb cyclone'. A possible extended stay in Tromsø could have prevented Viking from spending however much it is costing them, let alone risking the ship, crew, and passengers. Since we already lost Bodo, it would seem we would have had more than enough time to get to Stavanger even had we held up for even a few hours before sailing on the 23rd. I hate to even mention all this but I know I'm not alone in contemplating these thoughts - it came up alot in discussions among several passengers between Sunday and Tuesday. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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I agree they could have handled the flights scheduling better.  In their efforts to get everyone home right away, it created some chaos.  I think they realized it too late.  I believe they would have been better off just getting us on charter flights to London so we could hook up with our original flights on the next day.  As for not sailing from Tromso, that is a tough call. Two Norwegian captains said the ship should have been able to navigate through the storm.  I honestly don’t know the answer on that.  What I do know is what has been said previously.   The crew, emergency responders & support personnel, the people of Norway, the hotels staff, and Viking themselves did a fantastic job given the situation 

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Didn't realize how out of control the ship really was until I looked at some of the marine tracking info. Our speed and course changed constantly as can be seen here....  

D2W02vkXQAA0tsx.jpg

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

Didn't realize how out of control the ship really was until I looked at some of the marine tracking info. Our speed and course changed constantly as can be seen here....  

D2W02vkXQAA0tsx.jpg

 

I know a lot of people are questioning that decision, and we all know hindsight is 20/20, but I’m wondering if anyone brought that up with Mr. Hagen in the meetings you had with him, and what his answer was.  

 

I’m thinking and hoping - since we have 2 Viking Ocean cruises booked - that the Captain of the Viking Sky had experience that made him confident he, and your ship, would be okay. I understand that there was a local pilot onboard as well.  Do you know if that is true?

 

While clearly not the best decision he’s ever made, and one that I’m sure he will regret for a very long time, I’m hoping (again with our 2 upcoming cruises in mind), that it wasn’t made lightly and for the wrong reasons. Somehow I doubt that we will ever know the whole story. 

 

I am so happy to hear that you were well taken care of and that you are all safe - except for the unfortunate person who was severely injured. I hope everything goes well for him or her. 

Edited by Cyber Kat

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Posted (edited)

Hi Cyber Kat,

 

Excellent question regarding asking Mr. Hagen about the decision to sail. I don't have any recollection of anyone asking about it, but certainly would have been valid even though maybe a bit awkward (?). Probably one of those things that was on alot of peoples' minds but yet hesitant to voice it. Perhaps it came up at one of his other meetings, being that he was at all the hotels where the evacuees were staying. I think this is one of those issues that will be dealt with internally by Viking and likely not to reach the public, unless of course it leaks out. As to your other question, no idea whether there was a Norwegian pilot onboard or not. To navigate such an apparently difficult and dangerous stretch of water, you'd think it wouldn't be a bad idea. I know the Celebrity Infinity had an ice pilot onboard during our Antarctica trip. You quoted what was one of my Dad's favorite sayings relative to 'hindsight being 20/20'. How often that is applicable in our own lives!!

 

I much appreciate your kind words. Thanks...

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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15 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

We were there also - and were evac'd. Echoing what has already been said, the crew was terrific. They worked probably about 48 hours straight so must have been exhausted. It was great how they kept bringing blankets to those of us who were in the stairwells waiting to get up to deck 8. Then, plates of cookies were passed along too, and bottles of water. They did all they could under such difficult circumstances.

 

Now...for a few less glowing comments....certainly not everyone was real happy with the rescheduled flight attempts both in the hotel at Kristiansand and then on the ship. I don't understand why they seemingly have to go through the office in CA to make these arrangements. Couldn't they have flown someone in to help with this? There just seemed to be alot of disgruntled people. One lady we talked to didn't even have her flights arranged yet on Tuesday morning. I did not book any air through Viking so really didn't deal with them near as much as many people had to. One thing that really didn't go well for us is that in Kristiansand Viking called us at midnight - got us out of bed - and said that they were arranging a 3:30 bus to go back to the ship - allowing time to pack our rooms, and then a flight to Oslo set up for 6:30 or thereabouts. So, we went down to the office, discussed flight arrangements (unsuccessfully I might add), and then by the time the bus came and got us to the ship it was already well after 5. By the time we got the room packed up - working as fast as we could - there was NO way we would have gotten to the airport in time. As a result, we wound up being on the ship most of the remainder of the day - so it turned out that we would have had ample time to pack at leisure and do a better, more organized  job of it. Still not getting much satisfaction on arranging my flights (must have talked to 4 different agents in the guest services area) I finally went to a quiet place on the ship and booked my own SAS flights for the following day. And I feel the need to say something in general about sailing out of Tromsø. I'm not at all sure that we should have done it. Why did companies like Hurtigruten - who have far more experience than Viking - I suspect anyway - with sailing these waters - decide to stay in port. It has been said that the captain had more than advance notice of this storm system, but yet we sailed into this 'bomb cyclone'. A possible extended stay in Tromsø could have prevented Viking from spending however much it is costing them, let alone risking the ship, crew, and passengers. Since we already lost Bodo, it would seem we would have had more than enough time to get to Stavanger even had we held up for even a few hours before sailing on the 23rd. I hate to even mention all this but I know I'm not alone in contemplating these thoughts - it came up alot in discussions among several passengers between Sunday and Tuesday. 

With respect to Hurtgruten, they are coastal Ro/Ro ferries, so comparing them to the Viking Sky is akin to comparing apples to oranges. You also must compare the company’s respective operations manuals, which are required by the ISM Code.

 

Being ferries sailing standard routes, they may have a weather matrix that limits operation based on wind speed or sea height. A ferry, with large trucks is significantly more susceptible to rolling than a cruise ship. Grand pianos sliding across the deck aren’t fun, but 40 ton trucks sliding or tipping can sink a ship.  

 

From experience, trying to re-secure large trucks in a storm is highly dangerous, even when the main engines are working. Not to negate the Viking incident, but if this happened on a ferry with trucks, the ship would most likely have foundered due to cargo shift. Hence the reason you cannot compare the 2 types of vessel.

 

By all reports, the conditions were well within the capability of the ship, had it remained fully operational. It also departed over a day before, with the Captain basing his decision on weather forecasts, which are no more than informed predictions. How often is our local weather correct.

 

While a 961 mB depression is rather low, what was the synopsis available prior to departure. Not sure when Norway issues marine forecasts, but ours came about 4 times per day, so on departure, the forecast could already have been 6 hrs old.

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3 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

Hi Cyber Kat,

 

Excellent question regarding asking Mr. Hagen about the decision to sail. I don't have any recollection of anyone asking about it, but certainly would have been valid even though maybe a bit awkward (?). Probably one of those things that was on alot of peoples' minds but yet hesitant to voice it. Perhaps it came up at one of his other meetings, being that he was at all the hotels where the evacuees were staying. I think this is one of those issues that will be dealt with internally by Viking and likely not to reach the public, unless of course it leaks out. As to your other question, no idea whether there was a Norwegian pilot onboard or not. To navigate such an apparently difficult and dangerous stretch of water, you'd think it wouldn't be a bad idea. I know the Celebrity Infinity had an ice pilot onboard during our Antarctica trip. You quoted what was one of my Dad's favorite sayings relative to 'hindsight being 20/20'. How often that is applicable in our own lives!!

 

I much appreciate your kind words. Thanks...

In regards to asking Mr. Hagen about sailing from Tromso, it did come up at our 11am meeting. He stated he could not answer it at that time, and a thorough investigation would be conducted and welcomed by him on the whole situation. In all honesty, I seriously doubt it was a “cop-out “ answer as it was still early in the situation.  They had just learned an hour earlier the ship was now headed to Molde and the evacuation of passengers had stopped.  I know at our meeting he answered all questions asked in what seemed in an honest fashion. There were some things he did not have answers for at that time, but would find out.  Again as for the decision to sail or not I don’t know the answer. It seems their are supporting reasons from both sides. I do know, one the incident happened, the support & generosity from all was unquestionable 

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Posted (edited)

In addition to all Viking have already offered us, in his Fedexed letter received today, Torstein Hagen says;

'Finally, you are also invited to join me as my guests on the maiden cruise of our latest vessel, Viking Venus, at my expense in early 2021. Details of this will be coming from my office in due course'

 

As I previously stated, we cannot fault them.

Edited by DGHOC

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DGHOC, Does this mean that Viking and Torstein Hagen are offering you one free cruise and then ANOTHER (being the maiden voyage of Viking Venus)?

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5 minutes ago, SLSD said:

DGHOC, Does this mean that Viking and Torstein Hagen are offering you one free cruise and then ANOTHER (being the maiden voyage of Viking Venus)?

We have had the same letter and yes that is exactly what we are being offered, 

 

agreed, can’t fault Viking

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I am impressed!  A refund for the disastrous cruise (at least at the end), a free cruise and a free maiden voyage cruise.  I would say that Viking is trying to make amends.  

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Well that's going to be a party ship chaps, how lovely that we'll all have the chance to meet up again or indeed meet with those we missed last time!

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