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KathyA

New restrictions on Cuba

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14 minutes ago, Marykatesmom said:

 

I have my air booked already.  I paid for the air, Air Plus, a deviation fee AND an upgrade out of economy (all of that was still cheaper than just buying the seats directly) plus independent travel insurance.  A full refund of my cruise fare alone and we'd still take a loss. 

 

I can definitely see your concerns and if I were in the same position i'd be putting the screws to whomever I can in order to either get a definitive solution which works for me by way of a suitable change, or a full refund for all outward costs including insurance.  The fact that itineraries are subject to change is usually meant that the order of the ports may change or alternative ports in an itinerary might change for 'operational reasons' but to change an entire cruise from start to finish....i hope they don't try that route as a means of getting out of this

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56 minutes ago, rag43 said:

It will interesting to see what Viking does.  If they off a refund would that include the amount paid for insurance? What incentive would they offer to entice you to rebook?

We shall see!!!

This is my question as well. I have paid more money for Vikings' insurance than I have down on the cruise.

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I haven't heard anything from Viking (although in fairness we aren't sailing until Feb 2021 so I am sure they have bigger fish to fry...) But I've paid a hefty deposit that could have been earning interest...

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If you are not happy with the alternative that Viking comes up with and decide to cancel. Wouldn’t travel insurance cover unexpected event like this?

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3 minutes ago, sleepybobo said:

If you are not happy with the alternative that Viking comes up with and decide to cancel. Wouldn’t travel insurance cover unexpected event like this?

Seems unlikely, otherwise in theory anyone whose ports were switched could call in their travel insurance...  Thought you were going to Cococay and now heading to Nassau? Travel insurance probably not going to cover that.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Captain_Morgan said:

 

I think this is what separates the mass market brands from Viking in that the likes of RCI and NCL will no doubt absorb and redistribute those affected into other itineraries/ships of a similar nature due to their presence in the Caribbean.  Because Viking is swinging a double-edged sword in that they often sail completely full but have a much smaller presence in the area it means their options are limited in comparison.  I can see them simply offering a full refund or a transferable credit perhaps, but if recent communications are to be used as an example I wouldn't expect a prompt answer

Seriously, at least the “mass market brands” have a plan.  We have heard nothing from Viking regarding our January “Cultural Cuban” Cruise.  It is disgraceful and Viking should be ashamed.  An email at least should have been sent to everyone impacted, disgraceful.

 

 

Edited by Oville

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4 hours ago, sleepybobo said:

If you are not happy with the alternative that Viking comes up with and decide to cancel. Wouldn’t travel insurance cover unexpected event like this?

If you bought your insurance from Viking you can cancel for any reason and get your deposit back, less $100. But if you had to do that, you would not get the cost of the insurance back, which is significant.

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2 minutes ago, KathyA said:

If you bought your insurance from Viking you can cancel for any reason and get your deposit back, less $100. But if you had to do that, you would not get the cost of the insurance back, which is significant.

We booked on board so the deposit is not an issue.  It is the lack of information from Viking that is shocking.  A simple email would have been appreciated.

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2 hours ago, Oville said:

Seriously, at least the “mass market brands” have a plan.  We have heard nothing from Viking regarding our January “Cultural Cuban” Cruise.  It is disgraceful and Viking should be ashamed.  An email at least should have been sent to everyone impacted, disgraceful.

 

 

Viking's situation is somewhat different to some of the main-stream mega ship lines, in that they have ships due to visit Cuba in the next few days. The articles I read also indicated they switched Cuban to other ports on their itinerary, where Cuba was just 1 port of many. They did not have to completely re-design their cruises. For cruises further out, Carnival is still planning & hope to have information within 2 to 3 days.

 

With Viking, they have already removed the Cuba cruises from the website and from memory the 8-day Cuba cruise only went to Cuba, with Cuba being the predominant reason for the cruise. The US Govt only released the directive June 4th or 2-days ago, so not much time to review options and plan a completely new cruise.

 

Personally, if I was booked on one of those cruises I would not expect an announcement for at least a week, as it will most likely require development of a completely new cruise, which includes booking dock space, calculating transit speeds, availability of victuals, bunkers, etc.

 

I also note that Viking has minimal exposure in the Caribbean, so most likely have a limited number of cruises developed, whereas the mainstream lines have numerous options. Therefore, if the mainstream lines require a new cruise, they select one of their existing options.

 

While the inability to visit Cuba is outwith Viking's control, or that of their Flag State, I would be more interested in the options Viking offer passengers who are not interested in the alternative plans, rather than complaining about lack of notice after only 2 days.

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8 hours ago, Oville said:

Seriously, at least the “mass market brands” have a plan.  We have heard nothing from Viking regarding our January “Cultural Cuban” Cruise.  It is disgraceful and Viking should be ashamed.  An email at least should have been sent to everyone impacted, disgraceful.

 

 

 

Careful not to upset the apple cart too much as you're likely to get backlash for being 'negative' despite having a completely valid point and concern.

As has been said time and time again, Viking's inability to communicate seems to be a recurring theme which might sit fine with the die-hard fans who think they can do no wrong, but for those people who look at the principle of things and are left to feel ignored it most definitely leaves a bitter taste.

I agree that at the very least a simple email advising those affected even 6 months out that due to recent changes in US Gov't policy, bla bla bla, would be so much better than just being ignored....

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12 hours ago, sleepybobo said:

If you are not happy with the alternative that Viking comes up with and decide to cancel. Wouldn’t travel insurance cover unexpected event like this?

If I Viking cancelled, yes.  If I cancel, no.  If I had purchased "cancel for any reason".  I would get 75% of all non-fundable costs minus the cost of insurance.  

 

Although I bought my insurance within the time frame and searched for "cancel for any reason" I failed to click that option.  My mistake.  First time for any cruise I did NOT have "cancel for any reason".  All that extra money for YEARS and the first time ever I might actually have a claim, I screwed myself.  Believe me, won't make that mistake again.  I always buy insurance.

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On 4/19/2019 at 4:34 PM, VJMAZZ said:

Just a little thread drift. In September 2018 we booked the December 20, 2019 to January 3, 2020 14 nts. Panama Canal, Central America, Cuba Cruise out of Miami. The itinerary ticked the boxes we wanted, Panama Canal  & Cuba (Santiago) and over the holidays. However, I get an email on April 17 saying the stop in Cuba is cancelled because "many businesses" will be be closed Jan 1 and they are unable to operate shore excursions. It is now "NEW Panama, Central America Holiday" cruise. IMHO, a business would likely be open if the incentives were enough to do so. Instead Viking will add another sea day making it 5 out of 14 days at sea. For our inconvenience they are offering $125 PP OBC. We will be cancelling this cruise due to their change in itinerary. To many sea days for us and no Cuba.

 

We originally considered this cruise as it is one of the few that we can work into a school year schedule.  We noticed that the Cuba stop would be on NY day and thought that was a waste ... have done a lot of cruises during the holidays and while some businesses may open when the "fleet's in" frankly (IMHO) it is still a wasted day ... shopping might be facilitated with the opening of some stores, most likely museums and other attractions will not.  We are fine with the changes and yes, five sea days is a lot but this might be a cruise where we have a little more "vacation" and just a little less "trip".  

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1 hour ago, molymoo said:

 

We originally considered this cruise as it is one of the few that we can work into a school year schedule.  We noticed that the Cuba stop would be on NY day and thought that was a waste ... have done a lot of cruises during the holidays and while some businesses may open when the "fleet's in" frankly (IMHO) it is still a wasted day ... shopping might be facilitated with the opening of some stores, most likely museums and other attractions will not.  We are fine with the changes and yes, five sea days is a lot but this might be a cruise where we have a little more "vacation" and just a little less "trip".  

 

I'm in a similar boat.  I can only travel during Jan. or Feb. and the only 8 day cruise is an Iberian Explorer with exactly ONE single sailing date.  I just wish there was a least an email acknowledging the situation.

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1 hour ago, molymoo said:

 

We originally considered this cruise as it is one of the few that we can work into a school year schedule.  We noticed that the Cuba stop would be on NY day and thought that was a waste ... have done a lot of cruises during the holidays and while some businesses may open when the "fleet's in" frankly (IMHO) it is still a wasted day ... shopping might be facilitated with the opening of some stores, most likely museums and other attractions will not.  We are fine with the changes and yes, five sea days is a lot but this might be a cruise where we have a little more "vacation" and just a little less "trip".  

 

Google is your Friend!

Many NYC museums ARE open January 1 such Natural History, MOMA, American Museum and many others. NY never sleeps and there are many things to do every day of the year.

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I'm confused. Aren't we talking about Cuba, not New York?  Not sure which VO ship VJMAZZ is on in 
December. I'm on Sky, and Santiago de Cuba stop was originally Jan. 8 2020 but revised schedule shows Dec. 30 2019. A moot point since there will be no stop I guess. Too bad, I was in Cuba for a week in 2011 and liked it so much but only in the Havana area. I was looking forward to seeing another part of the island, but alas...Another sea day will be a disappointment.

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The new Cuba restrictions seem to apply to US citizens and US cruise ships.  BUT, what most of you appear to be unaware of, or choose to ignore, is that Viking is NOT a US company, and VO ships are NOT US ships.  So, VO is not directly subject to this US legislation, is not banned from sailing to Cuba, but all US passengers themselves ARE.  US passengers therefore will themselves have to cancel their own bookings (at their cost) (2019 Booking Conditions C2 and H1) or fall foul of this new law.  How Viking choose to handle potential mass cancellations by future passengers is up to them, but this is not Viking's fault or responsibility in any way.  VO has not cancelled cruises yet.  Only non-US passengers on any cruises that Viking decides for business reasons to cancel/rearrange will be able to claim recompense from Viking.  The vitriol in the above posts misdirected at Viking should be aimed instead at your government, which is 100% responsible for this problem.

 

Viking is probably working this perceived problem, and as it is only a few days old, will not want to jump in with both feet at this stage.  They will need to take legal advice, won't they?  They may want to be helpful and contact those already booked on their Cuba cruises, but is it Viking's place to act first, so soon after this legislation has been announced?  Before the ins and outs have been clarified?  Before the US pax have written to cancel?  Perhaps this thread should be put on hold for a time while things shake out?

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Rawmac said:

The new Cuba restrictions seem to apply to US citizens and US cruise ships.  BUT, what most of you appear to be unaware of, or choose to ignore, is that Viking is NOT a US company, and VO ships are NOT US ships.  So, VO is not directly subject to this US legislation, is not banned from sailing to Cuba, but all US passengers themselves ARE.  US passengers therefore will themselves have to cancel their own bookings (at their cost) (2019 Booking Conditions C2 and H1) or fall foul of this new law. 

Thanks for your post -- and no -- it's not that folks "choose to ignore" -- it's more that we simply forget that nuance.  Sorry -- don't Americans think everything is "all about them" even when it's not?? (I'm an American -- so I can say this--:classic_biggrin:).  This ban was not legislated -- but is the product of our "Child-in-Chief's" administration, specifically the Treasury & Commerce Departments. Here's the "Fact Sheet" posted by the Dept of Treasury 3 days ago: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_fact_sheet_20190604.pdf.  Also here's an even-handed article on it by the US PBS: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/what-travelers-need-to-know-about-trumps-cuba-restrictions. that I hope folks will find useful. For myself -- given the churn surrounding the US Govt's policy toward Cuba -- I personally have no interest in booking any cruise that includes Cuba  At least until things reach some kind of steady state. 

 

You make a good point by the way about how Viking is handling this ticklish issue.  How to handle a policy that in this administration might change next week? or tomorrow? or a month from now?:classic_rolleyes:

Edited by CharTrav

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I have no doubt that Viking Ocean considered operating cruises from Miami to Cuban ports for non-US travelers.  And decided that the number of passengers didn't justify the line's cost.  On our Viking trip to Cuba in late 2018, the vast majority of people I met were US residents.

 

The (Miami based) Viking cruise line could also become a convenient target for the litigation against shipping companies which use the seized Cuban dock properties.  If I was a litigant, I'd seek an injunction in the same Miami court against Viking's use of the Cuban ports.

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8 hours ago, orchestrapal said:

 

Google is your Friend!

Many NYC museums ARE open January 1 such Natural History, MOMA, American Museum and many others. NY never sleeps and there are many things to do every day of the year.

 

I wasn't referring to New York City ... the "NY" was indicating New Year's Day.  Most museums in Europe and other countries are NOT open on New Year's Day.  

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Posted (edited)

Mahogany - I believe we are in the same cruise with you leaving Dec 27 from Miami.    I looked on My Viking Journey this afternoon and for that date it showed  “New Port TBA” so I am hoping they substitute another port for Santiago de Cuba rather than another sea day.  We are disappointed not to be going to Cuba as we have never been but we aren’t going to cancel.  

Sara

Edited by greywills
Too many spaces

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It’s official. Just heard from Oceania. Our Cuba trip for dec 2019  has been changed to Caribbean ports with revised price. Luckily we are still in fully refundable period, so  we will cancel. I’m sure everyone will start to get notices soon from their respective cruise companies. 

 

 

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Not sure if this will apply to all/any of you. We had to cancel a trip due to wildfires - we did not have cancel for any reason provision in our I surance. I purchased from an online broker (not sure I can say the name but a popular one) so I called them. Explained the situation and they didn’t refund, But they gave us a 12 month extension/credit to use for rebooking another cruise. It might be worth checking into that option? 

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Posted (edited)

Shouldn’t all of us in the US be able to cancel the Cuba cruises with minimal cancellation penaltyies?

Edited by Oville

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12 hours ago, greywills said:

Mahogany - I believe we are in the same cruise with you leaving Dec 27 from Miami.    I looked on My Viking Journey this afternoon and for that date it showed  “New Port TBA” so I am hoping they substitute another port for Santiago de Cuba rather than another sea day.  We are disappointed not to be going to Cuba as we have never been but we aren’t going to cancel.  

Sara

 

I got an email from my TA that said Viking was going to decide what to do about our cruise in a couple weeks. My cruise was at the end of January and my final payment is due in a couple weeks. I don't want to make final payment and then decide I don't like the substituted cruise. I might just cancel the cruise. I might lose $100 per person but it's better than having all my money tied up for who-knows-how-long. 

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14 hours ago, Oville said:

Shouldn’t all of us in the US be able to cancel the Cuba cruises with minimal cancellation penaltyies?

 

Many contracts allow the ship line to change ports, tours, etc without recourse by the traveler.

 

Other than a significant loss of trust.

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