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Viking Sky survivors

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I wondered also as to what is actually meant by a 'maiden voyage', especially having never been involved in the initial sailing dates on any ship. As you say, if a good number of 3/14/19 passengers decide to go, it could already fill a good portion of the ship, so I wonder how they will handle this - whether or not the cruise we're invited on will also be open to the public or reserved in some manner. 
My guess would be that it won't be open to the public, but either way, I'll admit I'm a bit jealous. Should be a great reunion for you. And hopefully they will invite some of the crew from the Sky as well.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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Indeed an opportunity. I just hope the 'where and when' particulars of that sailing works out for our schedule. 

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How marvelous to have discovered this thread 2 weeks after our aborted cruise!  We have already used our voucher to sail Athens to Rome 23-30 December 2020. Looking forward to re-connecting with many of you in 2021. Slainte Mhai!

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The way this whole situation was handled compelled my wife and I to send an email to Viking on it.  If you wish to write an email to them, the address is customerrelations@vikingcruises.com.   Below is our letter.

 

The events of the weekend March 23rd & 24th, 2019 aboard the Viking Sky left my wife and I with a deeper appreciation and gratitude of all those who assisted us during those trying times.  We would like to personally thank the following:

·        To the staff and crew of the Viking Sky, who kept calm and acted professionally while seeing that our needs were met as best as possible.  To the Captain, who kept us informed throughout the entire situation.

·        To the helicopter evacuation teams who labored throughout the night in challenging conditions, risking their lives, and still finding the time to ease some of my wife’s fears when she stated “I am terrified”.

·        To the volunteers of the Norwegian Red Cross, and local support, who assisted us upon our arrival at the health complex in Molde, making sure we were okay.

·        To the people of Molde for their generosity in donating clothes to us, and opening their shops, allowing us to purchase our necessities.

·        To Viking, who attended to us from start to finish, physically and financially trying to make the experience the least stressful as possible.

This experience could have left us with tremendous fears, but instead we feel gratitude with the grace, dignity, and caring with which this was handled.

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13 minutes ago, johneb2 said:

The way this whole situation was handled compelled my wife and I to send an email to Viking on it.  If you wish to write an email to them, the address is customerrelations@vikingcruises.com.   Below is our letter.

 

The events of the weekend March 23rd & 24th, 2019 aboard the Viking Sky left my wife and I with a deeper appreciation and gratitude of all those who assisted us during those trying times.  We would like to personally thank the following:

·        To the staff and crew of the Viking Sky, who kept calm and acted professionally while seeing that our needs were met as best as possible.  To the Captain, who kept us informed throughout the entire situation.

·        To the helicopter evacuation teams who labored throughout the night in challenging conditions, risking their lives, and still finding the time to ease some of my wife’s fears when she stated “I am terrified”.

·        To the volunteers of the Norwegian Red Cross, and local support, who assisted us upon our arrival at the health complex in Molde, making sure we were okay.

·        To the people of Molde for their generosity in donating clothes to us, and opening their shops, allowing us to purchase our necessities.

·        To Viking, who attended to us from start to finish, physically and financially trying to make the experience the least stressful as possible.

This experience could have left us with tremendous fears, but instead we feel gratitude with the grace, dignity, and caring with which this was handled.

Perfect letter! We share the exact sentiments based on our own experience which was remarkably similar to yours, including the terrified wife-ME!

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ref. the 'maiden voyage' being offered, i'm almost certain this will be on what is referred to as the 'shakedown cruise' which is what Jupiter was on when it struck the pier in Athens.  think of it like a dress rehearsal where 'friends and family', select media types, and corporate get a sneak peek at the product before the full revenue cruise begins.

 

although there is much fanfare and gratitude being shown for the offers being made, Viking is a business and as such has shareholders who've no doubt taken a hit from the incident so any goodwill gestures will surely be done with a fine balance of minimizing lost revenue, and trying to keep their customer base happy.

 

not trying to rain on anyone's parade, just adding some context.

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19 minutes ago, Captain_Morgan said:

ref. the 'maiden voyage' being offered, i'm almost certain this will be on what is referred to as the 'shakedown cruise' which is what Jupiter was on when it struck the pier in Athens.  think of it like a dress rehearsal where 'friends and family', select media types, and corporate get a sneak peek at the product before the full revenue cruise begins.

 

although there is much fanfare and gratitude being shown for the offers being made, Viking is a business and as such has shareholders who've no doubt taken a hit from the incident so any goodwill gestures will surely be done with a fine balance of minimizing lost revenue, and trying to keep their customer base happy.

 

not trying to rain on anyone's parade, just adding some context.

While Viking cruises is certainly a business, it is a privately held business, so there are no shareholders to satisfy. Torstein Hargen is the owner, and as such he is the one responsible for all such decisions. There are no doubt benefits to the company by trying to keep the customer base happy, but in my experience that is pretty much what they do most of the time. 

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10 minutes ago, Captain_Morgan said:

ref. the 'maiden voyage' being offered, i'm almost certain this will be on what is referred to as the 'shakedown cruise' which is what Jupiter was on when it struck the pier in Athens.  think of it like a dress rehearsal where 'friends and family', select media types, and corporate get a sneak peek at the product before the full revenue cruise begins.

 

although there is much fanfare and gratitude being shown for the offers being made, Viking is a business and as such has shareholders who've no doubt taken a hit from the incident so any goodwill gestures will surely be done with a fine balance of minimizing lost revenue, and trying to keep their customer base happy.

 

not trying to rain on anyone's parade, just adding some context.

Regardless of whether the additional comp voyage is a shake-down or an official maiden voyage, is irrelevant, as this is a very generous offer from Viking,

 

I also note that Viking is a private company owned by Norwegian Billionaire Torstein Hagen. They do not have shareholders, nor do they publish annual results.

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i'm not taking away from the gesture, but if anyone thinks that Hagen is bank rolling the entire operation off his own back they're mistaken, and I clearly misspoke and intended to write investors, not shareholders.  Quick google search for MISA Investments will tell the story, case in point is one such article here https://www.pehub.com/2016/09/tpg-capital-and-cppib-acquire-stake-in-viking-cruises-for-500-mln/#

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Captain_Morgan said:

 Quick google search for MISA Investments will tell the story, case in point is one such article here https://www.pehub.com/2016/09/tpg-capital-and-cppib-acquire-stake-in-viking-cruises-for-500-mln/#

Thanks for the reality check. Business is business. And if $500M only buys a minority stake, it puts a high value on Viking.

Edited by OceanPatter

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12 hours ago, johneb2 said:

The way this whole situation was handled compelled my wife and I to send an email to Viking on it.  If you wish to write an email to them, the address is customerrelations@vikingcruises.com.   Below is our letter.

 

The events of the weekend March 23rd & 24th, 2019 aboard the Viking Sky left my wife and I with a deeper appreciation and gratitude of all those who assisted us during those trying times.  We would like to personally thank the following:

·        To the staff and crew of the Viking Sky, who kept calm and acted professionally while seeing that our needs were met as best as possible.  To the Captain, who kept us informed throughout the entire situation.

·        To the helicopter evacuation teams who labored throughout the night in challenging conditions, risking their lives, and still finding the time to ease some of my wife’s fears when she stated “I am terrified”.

·        To the volunteers of the Norwegian Red Cross, and local support, who assisted us upon our arrival at the health complex in Molde, making sure we were okay.

·        To the people of Molde for their generosity in donating clothes to us, and opening their shops, allowing us to purchase our necessities.

·        To Viking, who attended to us from start to finish, physically and financially trying to make the experience the least stressful as possible.

This experience could have left us with tremendous fears, but instead we feel gratitude with the grace, dignity, and caring with which this was handled.

 

Totally agree with all of what you're saying 100%, but the big question that still remains is whether or not the Sky should have been sailing during that cyclone or perhaps harbored in Trondheim. Can't imagine that this storm did not show up on the bridge's screens by Thursday or Friday, unless it developed so suddenly as to not anticipate the conditions in advance. 

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18 hours ago, kittycrews said:

How marvelous to have discovered this thread 2 weeks after our aborted cruise!  We have already used our voucher to sail Athens to Rome 23-30 December 2020. Looking forward to re-connecting with many of you in 2021. Slainte Mhai!

 

Great! We're going to wait on this - might use it for a river cruise, since we've never done one with Viking. Will see first where the cruise will be on the Venus - I suspect somewhere in the Mediterranean since the builder is Fincantieri, based in Italy. 

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If this is the case, why was the Sky sailing into this? This truly could have turned into a maritime disaster had we run into the rocky coast. 

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11 minutes ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

If this is the case, why was the Sky sailing into this? This truly could have turned into a maritime disaster had we run into the rocky coast. 

 

Heidi13 posted a statement regarding this question in the long thread back on 25 March: 

It's one of the last paragraphs of the post.  Basically, there are many factors that would have been considered.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I re-read some of what was in that thread. Certainly others here know infinitely more about the procedures, etc. that apply in these situations than I ever will, but it just seems that so much inconvenience and expense on the part of Viking could have been avoided. Perhaps 'erring on the side of caution' might not have been a bad idea, even if we would have lost Stavanger (especially since we did anyway). I will be forever thankful that things turned out as well as they did. I was taking video in the theater when "code echo" was announced. Not knowing at the time what this means, I assumed it was something serious. The crew sure moved quickly when it was announced. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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As I mentioned in an earlier post on this, it is very difficult from the passenger point of view to make a judgement on whether or not they should have sailed that day.  Two Norwegian pilots said the ship should have been able to handle the conditions.  I know somebody mentioned about another ship that stayed in port, but it appears that was a ferry.  What I do remember is that before the engines went out, it was a little bumpy but I did not think it was terrible.  It was when the engines went out that all hell broke loose.  Again though, I honestly don't know what went into the decision making on sailing that day, or what weather information they did or did not have.  That decision I am sure will be determined by the investigative agencies.  All I know is that I am happy we are safe, and hope those who were injured have now recovered.

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Posted (edited)

Johneb2...indeed a very balanced reply. Certainly from the passenger standpoint there is likely to be a predominantly emotional response, but I just keep thinking of all the extra work and huge expenses that Viking has incurred. All that could have easily been avoided by perhaps even spending just a few hours in Trondheim. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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15 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

Johneb2...indeed a very balanced reply. Certainly from the passenger standpoint there is likely to be a predominantly emotional response, but I just keep thinking of all the extra work and huge expenses that Viking has incurred. All that could have easily been avoided by perhaps even spending just a few hours in Trondheim. 

Hindsight is an exceptional tool and provides many opportunities to make changes. This incident could have been prevented by many things, with delaying or cancelling the sailing only one of them.

 

Each of the contributing risk factors has a measure that would have prevented the holes aligning on the Swiss cheese model. The weather is simply the easiest to consider. However, with all risk analysis, what additional risks are generated by the original risk mitigation. By delaying departure or staying in port what additional risks would be present?

 

On passenger ships, I can assure you the risks of remaining in port in a storm can be higher than than going to sea. Unfortunately, even with hindsight, nothing is ever simple, as we will never know how the ship would have survived in port. 

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And not sailing (or sheltering somewhere south of Tromso) would have resulted in missing Stavanger (in addition to Bodo), and then most passengers would have been complaining about having missed TWO ports on their cruise without any compensation.

Hindsight.

Personally, I realize that once something has happened, you can't go back and change it, so there's no point stressing over it. Look forward, and move on to life's next challenge.

 

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

 

Edit: Not trivializing anything those passengers went through or the questions you have.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, just_dont said:

And not sailing (or sheltering somewhere south of Tromso) would have resulted in missing Stavanger (in addition to Bodo), and then most passengers would have been complaining about having missed TWO ports on their cruise without any compensation.

 

 

 

I agree with many of your thoughts but.... really? I don't think anyone who was on the Sky would have been averse to trading what we all went through that Saturday for missing Bodø and Stavanger!!!  Had the captain explained that we were going to miss these ports rather than sail into potentially very dangerous conditions, I truly don't think many people would have had a problem with that, especially on a ship full of (I suspect) quite experienced travelers. Several of the Northern Lights cruises also didn't get to Bodø, so I really didn't expect that we would either. I suspect had the Sky either delayed her sail out of Tromsø and or harbored in Trondheim or someplace, we probably WOULD have gotten to Stavanger and may well have averted the near disaster. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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5 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

 

I agree with many of your thoughts but.... really? I don't think anyone who was on the Sky would have been averse to trading what we all went through that Saturday for missing Bodø and Stavanger!!!  Had the captain explained that we were going to miss these ports rather than sail into potentially very dangerous conditions, I truly don't think many people would have had a problem with that, especially on a ship full of (I suspect) quite experienced travelers. Several of the Northern Lights cruises also didn't get to Bodø, so I really didn't expect that we would either. I suspect had the Sky either delayed her sail out of Tromsø and or harbored in Trondheim or someplace, we probably WOULD have gotten to Stavanger and may well have averted the near disaster. 

[Apologies for the long post - it ended up much longer than I expected when I started typing]

 

Ah, but if you hadn't sailed into the storm, you'd never have known how bad it would have been.  Especially if you'd stayed way up in Tromso for the extra day in good weather wondering "Why are we sitting here in Tromso?  We're going to miss Stavenger."  And then when you left after the storm had passed, and then headed straight for London in "normal" seas... "Why did we wait?"

Or, perhaps if you'd waited the extra day in Tromso, the storm may have been really bad there then, and you wouldn't have been able to leave even then.  And I know port calls are planned many months in advance.  It's not like driving a car, where you can necessarily just decide to take a detour.  I don't know whether stopping at an unplanned port could have possibly been arranged.  Certainly the emergency port call in Molde was accomplished, but short of an emergency...?

You could play endless "what if..." hypothetical scenarios like this.  But if you play out any of these hypothetical scenarios, you have to avoid "cheating" by using hindsight.  It's not fair to say the day before Viking Sky lost power, that the Captain should have not sailed into a forecast storm based on your knowledge that the ship actually did lose power.  That's not something the Captain would have (or should have) expected might happen at the time he decided to sail.

I'd imagine the Captain in doing his risk assessment would have played out all of those scenarios in his mind (or in conjunction with the local pilots and other officers) prior to deciding on the course he did based on his conclusion that it was the right option.  He had to get the ship down from above the Arctic Circle at some point, and there really aren't that many options.  I'm certainly not qualified to say when the right time to sail would have been.  An hour earlier?  An hour later?  24 hours later?  36 hours later?  Based on weather forecasts of what was to be expected 24 hours later when the ship would be hundreds of miles away from Tromso?  The ship ended up in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time, and something no one would have expected to happen, did.

I'm certainly not arguing that you wouldn't have been better off if the situation hadn't unfolded as it did.

But perhaps this is a lesson for all those cruise passengers who grumble and complain about missing a port due to a Captain's weather-based decision: "If the Captain had tried to make the port, we could have ended up in a situation like Viking Sky." 

One certainly can't have it both ways (and I'm not suggesting you are), where one complains about a Captain's decision to miss a port to avoid weather and also complains about a Captain's decision to sail into weather.  The reality is there are people on both ends of that spectrum, which means there will always be some people who will be disappointed by and disagree with the Captain's decision, whichever one he makes.  I'd hope the vast majority will be in the middle and support the Captain's decision, whichever one he makes. 

But I do think challenging the Captain's decision based on hindsight knowledge of the outcome is at least a bit unfair.

 

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JD...thanks for the very thorough and balanced reply. At the risk of oversimplification, a précis of your post might be accomplished by using the old 'hindsight is 20/20' adage. It is for the experts to evaluate at this point as to whether or not the option chosen on the weekend of the 23rd - given all the possible (and even more undoubtedly) scenarios you suggest - was the right one. And if 'fortune favored the foolish' (or the bold?) in some fashion, so be it. 

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