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KathyA

New restrictions on Cuba

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9 hours ago, Cienfuegos said:

 

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

 

Other than a significant loss of trust.

But Viking has a cancellation policy where the most you will lose is $100 per person.

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1 hour ago, Oville said:

But Viking has a cancellation policy where the most you will lose is $100 per person.

IF you bought your trip insurance from them.

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Would really like to have a Viking response before my final payment is due in 3 weeks.

 

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1 hour ago, Barbrox said:

Would really like to have a Viking response before my final payment is due in 3 weeks.

 

Same here except we need an answer this next week as we will be on the road without access to the internet. Other folks have alread canceled their stops in Cuba and in some cases offer full refunds.

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On 6/8/2019 at 10:51 PM, KathyA said:

IF you bought your trip insurance from them.

You should check Viking’s cancellation policy.  It has nothing to do with insurance.

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On 4/19/2019 at 8:07 AM, Marykatesmom said:

Just hours before that post I booked our flights, through Viking, for our February 2020 trip to Cuba.  We have been to the Caribbean many times and weren't planning on returning but this was an 8 day Fri-Fri trip from Miami and that meant only 6 days off from work with no jet lag involved to a new destination.  Plus the overnight in Miami makes me comfortable enough to fly in the morning of departure.  Until we retire the longer cruises will have to wait and Viking has only a few 8 day cruises.  Even the 8 day Mediterranean cruises require more time off for travel and I haven't seen one yet with a Sat. or Sun. departure.

 

I was calling Viking yesterday for another reason and asked the rep about Cuba.  There is no information of any kind at the call center and he hadn't heard anything about Cuba at all.  The 2019 Cuba itineraries have been completed for the year. We've got a few months to go to see how things shape up.  

 

This is quite a bit different than missing a few ports and I'll be interested to see what happens.  If anyone hears about what other cruise lines are doing and handling this I would appreciate the information.  I do have insurance and maybe at some point I'll call and see what the insurance company says is covered and not covered.

 

FWIW my mother was horrified I was going to Cuba but I hadn't been born yet when the Bay of Pigs and the worst of the relationship with Cuba took place.  It isn't living memory to me.  I happened to be at the JFK Museum for a 50 anniversary exhibit of the Cuban Missile crisis.  https://www.jfklibrary.org/visit-museum/exhibits/past-exhibits/to-the-brink-jfk-and-the-cuban-missile-crisis which was quite interesting and I was planning on doing my homework before I left.

 

Thank you in advance for any information.  Thank you Jim Avery for your post.  We've been to Old San Juan and your right it is beautiful.  

 

 

I am on that cruise as well. I have no desire to be re-routed. The only reason that I was taking it was because I wanted to go to Cuba. I called Viking as well this morning. I also called our trip insurance company for which I paid a small fortune and was told that IF the cruise company diverts the ship and provides an alternative trip for those dates - then this insurance  company won't pay for it.  

Viking should make good on this and they say they will by allowing us to use the $$ to take a different trip. 

However, I highly doubt that we are going to get in. This happened to use once years ago when we took a cruise because Libya had opened it's ports to US citizens. Guess what - we got on the ship and were told "Sorry, we are rerouting." 

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6 hours ago, Oville said:

You should check Viking’s cancellation policy.  It has nothing to do with insurance.

Well, it does have something to do with insurance if you bought the insurance from Viking, because Viking's insurance had a "cancel for any reason" clause. So if you bought your insurance from Viking, you can cancel for any reason and get the cancellation policy that anyone can get ($100 voucher for  future trip, and the balance of the full price of your paid trip refunded).  The point is, if you invoke the insurance, then you don't get the price of the insurance back.  If Viking cancels the entire trip (as is at least somewhat likely in the case of a trip where Cuba is the only destination), then people like me (who bought insurance from Viking solely because they had the cancel for any reason clause) would  like to get the price of their Viking insurance back as well, since the cost of that insurance was far more than the deposit for the cruise.

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Havent read through the entire thread but it appears that Azamara is currently cancelling its Cuba cruises and offering guests alternatives.

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But do read the cancellation policy, to find out how much Viking will refund depending on when you cancel. Basically, for US pax,  you can cancel, for any reason, up to 121 days prior to sailing and get back all but $100*. After that a scale of increasing penalties is in place. See either the Terms and Conditions link in the footer of the Viking website or your invoice from Viking.

 

*And this will be covered by your insurance if you cancel for a covered reason. Unless, you are moving your insurance to another cruise; you can't both move the insurance and make a claim against it.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I recieved this response yesterday:

 

Dear Robert Lowe,

 

We completely understand your concern with the recent announcement from the state department and want to assure you that Viking is reviewing options.

 

We hope to have more information within the next two weeks, and would encourage you visit our website for updates. Should any changes to the itinerary be confirmed, we will notify you directly.

 

If you are unhappy with the changes made to your sailing, you will be refunded.  Your booking has been notated.

 

Thank you for your patience as Viking continues to work hard with our operations team to give our guests the best options.

 

Best Regards,

 

Guest Services Department

 

Viking Cruises I Guest Services I 888.663.8454 I  I vikingcruises.com

Edited by LauraS
Removed email address at request of Viking Ocean

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Posted (edited)
On 6/13/2019 at 5:21 PM, rnrcruzin said:

I recieved this response yesterday:

 

Dear Robert Lowe,

 

We completely understand your concern with the recent announcement from the state department and want to assure you that Viking is reviewing options.

 

We hope to have more information within the next two weeks, and would encourage you visit our website for updates. Should any changes to the itinerary be confirmed, we will notify you directly.

 

If you are unhappy with the changes made to your sailing, you will be refunded.  Your booking has been notated.

 

Thank you for your patience as Viking continues to work hard with our operations team to give our guests the best options.

 

Best Regards,

 

Guest Services Department

 

Viking Cruises I Guest Services I 888.663.8454 I  I vikingcruises.com

Positive sign! Thanks for sharing.

Edited by LauraS
Removed email address at request of Viking Ocean

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Robert, was this in response to a email or a phone call to Viking?

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Got this today from Viking:

 

17JUN2019

Dear Viking Guest,

Thank you for choosing Viking for your upcoming Cultural Cuba cruise. We want to assure you that we are currently reviewing all options for your sailing and the impact of the recent restrictions imposed on travel to Cuba.

While the U.S. State Department has issued new regulations restricting travel to Cuba, specific details are unknown. We have asked for special consideration to continue with a modified Cuba schedule in order to accommodate our booked guests. Until we receive a response to our request, it is too early to know what adjustments will need to be made. As soon as we have confirmed if and how your itinerary will be impacted, we will notify you directly. We hope to have more information within the next two to three weeks; however, we encourage you to visit our website here for any general updates we may have in the interim.

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we review all options and make any necessary modifications. We will be contacting you again soon; however, should you have any questions, please call Reservations at 1-855-300-3970, Monday through Friday, 4:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and Saturday to Sunday, 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM, PST.

Sincerely,

Viking

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Posted (edited)

I contacted Viking right after the ban was implemented in April. Their website had already changed the itinerary so that the 4 nights in Cuba were now "TBD."  While they responded to my ongoing inquiries, only today  (June 17) did we get a direct message indicating that they were seeking an exception to the new US rule. Since Cuba closed its ports in response to the ban, that would have to be dealt with as well.

 

Other cruise lines announced that they would give credits to people who decided to accept the changed itineraries for their bookings or, if they were not happy with the changes, get a full refund.  Lines other than Viking reacted promptly and clearly. Vikings response so far has been unsatisfactory.

Edited by Peekskill
to clarify a point

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I have to agree this was very unsatisfactory.  The specific detail ARE known and there is no way Viking is in any position to receive "special consideration".  

 

This is very reminiscent of the Vancouver embarkation fiasco, where they knew months out that they did not have a berth and they delayed letting the guest know  until shortly before the cruise that embarkation would be after 5PM.

 

I agree.  No Impressed Viking.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Marykatesmom said:

I have to agree this was very unsatisfactory.  The specific detail ARE known and there is no way Viking is in any position to receive "special consideration".  

 

This is very reminiscent of the Vancouver embarkation fiasco, where they knew months out that they did not have a berth and they delayed letting the guest know  until shortly before the cruise that embarkation would be after 5PM.

 

I agree.  No Impressed Viking.

 

 

 

My opinion only and my experience is that guests are not advised of the accurate story - have no idea why not - but in these days of the internet people are clever enough to source other information to get the accurate story. I felt like a mushroom when dealing with them about the Alaska cruise. Turned out we had three more tenders and none of which was advised by Viking until the night before each one although an internet search confirmed the tender. 

 

As an update to Vancouver it was very messy after 4pm in US customs hall for 2.5 hours with everyone seated in lines on hard seats and no one from Viking was there to make announcements or answer questions. People were still filing onboard at 7.15 pm. 

Edited by Pushka

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11 hours ago, Peekskill said:

I contacted Viking right after the ban was implemented in April. Their website had already changed the itinerary so that the 4 nights in Cuba were now "TBD."  While they responded to my ongoing inquiries, only today  (June 17) did we get a direct message indicating that they were seeking an exception to the new US rule. Since Cuba closed its ports in response to the ban, that would have to be dealt with as well.

 

Other cruise lines announced that they would give credits to people who decided to accept the changed itineraries for their bookings or, if they were not happy with the changes, get a full refund.  Lines other than Viking reacted promptly and clearly. Vikings response so far has been unsatisfactory.

 

I wish i could say i was surprised but as has been said it seems the M.O. of Viking head office to approach these issues with arrogance and hubris, giving the impression that they're somehow beyond the rules that govern the industry.  I appreciate the fact they want to come across as having a bespoke product onboard when it comes to no kids, casinos, photographers, formal nights, etc. but when things go sideways such as this and the Vancouver debacle, the way its handled and communicated to people is what counts as no amount of free wifi or tours is going to change the fact that their communication and planning is really abysmal.

 

If the likes of the mainstream lines can just suck it up and make a decision, even though its not ideal why is the supposed 'World's Best Cruise Line' sucking wind and irritating passengers who are paying a premium just to be ignored and treated like fools?

 

Suffice it to say, the corporate side of this operation is really letting them down and i'm sure in time it will come back to bite them...

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2 hours ago, Captain_Morgan said:

 

I wish i could say i was surprised but as has been said it seems the M.O. of Viking head office to approach these issues with arrogance and hubris, giving the impression that they're somehow beyond the rules that govern the industry.  I appreciate the fact they want to come across as having a bespoke product onboard when it comes to no kids, casinos, photographers, formal nights, etc. but when things go sideways such as this and the Vancouver debacle, the way its handled and communicated to people is what counts as no amount of free wifi or tours is going to change the fact that their communication and planning is really abysmal.

 

If the likes of the mainstream lines can just suck it up and make a decision, even though its not ideal why is the supposed 'World's Best Cruise Line' sucking wind and irritating passengers who are paying a premium just to be ignored and treated like fools?

 

Suffice it to say, the corporate side of this operation is really letting them down and i'm sure in time it will come back to bite them...

My husband could have written this! He feels exactly the same as you do. I won’t be able to get him on a Viking Ocean Cruise again. It means we will be canceling one we’d already booked but that’s what we have to do.  

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31 minutes ago, Pushka said:

My husband could have written this! He feels exactly the same as you do. I won’t be able to get him on a Viking Ocean Cruise again. It means we will be canceling one we’d already booked but that’s what we have to do.  

 

Sounds like a sensible guy 😁!!  But in all seriousness, the fact that Viking wants a considerable amount of money up front, and then leaves people in the lurch is really disappointing.  If i were paying a few hundred dollars for a cruise i'd not expect much in the way of being looked after should itineraries change, etc but when its a few thousand its a whole different story!

 

As has been said time and again, you can pay a fraction of the cost on other lines or even a little more and be treated better when it comes to planning and organization, so ultimately for the individual i guess it comes back to how much they value the itineraries (which are becoming more and more average) and lack of kids, casinos, etc versus being ignored and given empty apologies instead of answers?!?

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Was discussing this issue with friends who were planning a trip with Virgin Voyages (who have spent a lot of time and effort marketing their cruises to Cuba) and they said they've already received confirmation of a change in itinerary and their ship isn't even in service yet!!

They also said there was mention in their recent press release for their newly appointed Captain which was issued 1 week ago!  Here is the excerpt below:

 

New Voyage Offerings 
In response to the U.S. government's new restrictions on travel to Cuba from the United States, Virgin Voyages has also developed an exciting lineup of new itineraries...

Virgin Voyages will now offer five-night Riviera Maya sailings to Cozumel/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. 

For those who just want a quick getaway, Virgin Voyages' four-night sailings will now become Fire and Sunset Soirées including a sunset departure from Key West and a midnight departure from Bimini. 

 

Not our first (or second) choice for destinations but it just shows that if a company has their act together they can make things happen and get that information out to their passengers

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Our final payment is due in early July for the Cultural Cuba cruise.  Because Viking has not resolved the Cuba issue, we will cancel our cruise tomorrow and sadly may never book this line again.

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I just sent in my request for reimbursement. It has been 2 weeks since the ban was announced. Viking is just presenting a stall tactic in an effort to get everyone to complete final payments. That is not going to happen. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 10:14 AM, Barbrox said:

I just sent in my request for reimbursement. It has been 2 weeks since the ban was announced. Viking is just presenting a stall tactic in an effort to get everyone to complete final payments. That is not going to happen. 

This is what shows on their current booking page. 

 

 

641DCB72-0602-4F19-826B-B39EDC36433F.png

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The Cultural Cuba cruises have been removed from the website altogether. On myvikingjourney.com the booked Cultural Cuba itinerary shows every port TBD. I find it bewildering that they think the US government will give them an exception. Kind of a DYKWIA mentality.

 

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21 minutes ago, KathyA said:

The Cultural Cuba cruises have been removed from the website altogether. On myvikingjourney.com the booked Cultural Cuba itinerary shows every port TBD. I find it bewildering that they think the US government will give them an exception. Kind of a DYKWIA mentality.

 

 

My gut feeling is that the email we were sent was written within a day or so of the ban and they waited too long to send it.  It was before "the specific details" were known, which we've all seen the PDF that is pretty detailed and therefore sounded ridiculous.  And before it was clear there were going to be no exceptions.  There is no way that Viking is going to get an exception for a half full cruise.  Viking cruisers are much more well traveled than most other cruise lines.  We are simply not that gullible to believe that Cuba is a possibility  It also did not promise that we would be given other high quality ports and left open the possibility for an 8 day cruise to Nassau.  At that price point a terrible value.

 

That email made sense immediately after the ban but they waited too long for such a vague email asking us for patience.

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