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Down-payment and Pricing, Any Haggle Room?


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Trying to decide if I want to "spring the trap" on a June 2020 Homelands Cruise.  Viking wants full payment August 31st which seems extreme to me.  Think I have read about TA's offering shorter final payment dates on this very site. 

 

Also, current promotion is the Explorer's Club deal, but they won't guarantee to match any future pricing promotions (reductions).   The "early committers" are disadvantaged under that kind of policy.   They claim I am also getting the return customer $800/person discount. 

 

How common I wonder is it to get the opportunity to do a cabin upgrade at a reduced price closer to sailing date?  

 

Based on Viking's recent PR problems I would think they would have to start being more price/terms competitive. 

 

Any comments, or shared experiences out there in cyber land related to these issues?   

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1 hour ago, Dark Avenger said:

 

Based on Viking's recent PR problems I would think they would have to start being more price/terms competitive. 

 

 

 

One would think, but I'm not convinced they get this. We just booked a May 2020 cruise earlier this week under the same terms. Our TA is now haggling with Viking Air (and we choose the Air Plus) to get the business air flights we want (and know are available) and Viking is balking. They want to have us fly with an additional stop since the published airfare (on airline's website) is considerably lower. While Viking makes promises not to "nickel and dime" customers, perhaps this applies only to the cruise. But, I seek a consistently high complete experience when dealing with all departments at Viking. I have the impression Viking may be running their Air as a separate profit center, or there are pressures throughout the company to reduce costs, perhaps in light of their recent PR problems. But, I'm not enjoying this uncertainty over the flights, nor is our TA in haggling with Viking Air. They have until August 31 to get it right for us, or I will not make the final payment and risk loosing our reservation and $200 of our deposit for cancellation fees. 

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3 minutes ago, caskale said:

We booked our own air for next May,got a much better price than Viking was offering us, and got flights I wanted

 

Which airline, what cabin class, and what home airport? 

 

We fly out of PDX (Portland, OR) and we need to get to Bergen and there are limited airlines (primarily Delta - partnering with KLM to Bergen, IcelandAir, and KLM). We may need to consider adding a pre-extension to Oslo to expand flight availability.

 

Did you use a web based consolidator or other service?

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Can only comment on our experience. We booked 15 months ago for a cruise starting Jan 2020. Since we booked, our cabin has increased $1,500 and the OBC is cut in half. We are not liable for the increase and also maintain our OBC.

 

Viking are not like other cruise lines and have no desire to follow other Lines. When we booked, you could negotiate on final payment date, but Oct/Nov 2018 they stated it was fixed at 1 year.

 

I note that many cruises sell out well in advance, so unlike mega lines they rarely/don't have fire sales to fill the ships.

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1 minute ago, Hanoj said:

 

Which airline, what cabin class, and what home airport? 

 

We fly out of PDX (Portland, OR) and we need to get to Bergen and there are limited airlines (primarily Delta - partnering with KLM to Bergen, IcelandAir, and KLM). We may need to consider adding a pre-extension to Oslo to expand flight availability.

 

Did you use a web based consolidator or other service?

British Airways,booked economy then upgraded to Premium, flying from Vancouver .

We are starting in London,then staying in Oslo on our own, lots more choice fling that way. Booked on BA’s website

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9 minutes ago, Hanoj said:

 

Which airline, what cabin class, and what home airport? 

 

We fly out of PDX (Portland, OR) and we need to get to Bergen and there are limited airlines (primarily Delta - partnering with KLM to Bergen, IcelandAir, and KLM). We may need to consider adding a pre-extension to Oslo to expand flight availability.

 

Did you use a web based consolidator or other service?

Our TA booked flights with Viking a couple of weeks ago. Got exactly the flights we wanted - YVR to LAX (Air Canada) & LHR to YVR (BA), both in business class. The cost of these flights is $2,000 + pp more than the flight allowance for the cruise, which is specified on our booking form.

 

I provided on TA with the 2 flights we wanted and she completed the process in less than 1/2 hr.

 

The YVR to LAX  flight had cheaper options with connections and earlier/later times, but our request was accepted without issue. 

Edited by Heidi13
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1 hour ago, Dark Avenger said:

Trying to decide if I want to "spring the trap" on a June 2020 Homelands Cruise.  Viking wants full payment August 31st which seems extreme to me.  Think I have read about TA's offering shorter final payment dates on this very site. 

 

 

The last couple times I contacted Viking they were willing to push back the payment date to 6 months prior to departure. (In one instance the agent supposedly had to get it approved by a supervisor.) 6 months out is not as good as some others, but it's better than 9.

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I have a question about Viking Air.  We booked with air but are considering changing.  How do you get into Business Class if you are using Viking Air Plus?  

 

I get that you pay $100 so you can fly in early or leave late and/or choose your seats, but does that $100 allow you to say you want business class?  Cause if it does I'm going to stop looking for my own flights! 😄

 

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18 minutes ago, Liz Masterson said:

I have a question about Viking Air.  We booked with air but are considering changing.  How do you get into Business Class if you are using Viking Air Plus?  

 

I get that you pay $100 so you can fly in early or leave late and/or choose your seats, but does that $100 allow you to say you want business class?  Cause if it does I'm going to stop looking for my own flights! 😄

 

Yes you can request Biz.  Some find Viking's price more than they can book for themselves some find Viking less.  We booked Viking River in Egypt and the quoted r/t Biz was less than we found on our own.  On the Upcoming WC they automatically include Biz for the full WC but many on the segments are flying Biz with some offset in the included Viking air.  Always worth asking for.

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On 7/25/2019 at 6:10 PM, Liz Masterson said:

I get that you pay $100 so you can fly in early or leave late and/or choose your seats, but does that $100 allow you to say you want business class?  Cause if it does I'm going to stop looking for my own flights!

 

The price quoted on the Viking website for flights is for Economy and it is for the flights that they are offering at that price; if you want something that is not on that list it may cost more. If you upgrade, the prices go up. That is separate from the Air Plus fee which allows you to choose which of the flights Viking is offering you prefer and from the deviation fee which allows you to arrive early and/or leave late.

 

There is more general information about Air Services on the Viking website (too much to share here): https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/my-trip/air-services/index.html

 

This is also from the Viking website (can be found when you click the Booking Terms and Conditions link at the bottom of the list of sail dates under the Dates and Pricing tab of any itinerary):

 

AIR UPGRADE: Upgrade to Premium Economy air from $999 per person or Business Class air from $2,999 per person based on select gateways and dates. Additional airline-imposed baggage charges may apply; for more information visit Airline Luggage Restrictions. Air prices are per person based on cruise/cruisetour check-in date and include transfers plus all government taxes/fees of approximately $160 and air fuel surcharges. Air seats are limited; airfares are subject to change and are not guaranteed until full payment of air is received. For more information about customized air services and US gateways, visit the Viking Air Plus page.

 

Don't stop looking for your own flights. Be familiar with what is out there. Decide which flight plans are acceptable and which aren't (and hour and half connection time at CDG is NOT acceptable; you might not make it to the gate in time). **Know the prices of your preferred flights so you can decide if you are going to book your own flights because it is cheaper to get what you want on your own (especially since you are deviating which will add at least $200 pp to the cost of your flights -- $100 Air Plus fee + $100 deviation fee + any changes to the airfare imposed by the airlines).

 

**This might not be as important if you are arriving and departing on the first and last days of the cruise and want to fly with Viking because they will handle the transfers and you don't care so much what the cost is because you want the comfort and convenience of letting Viking handle those details. HOWEVER, if you are deviating  arrival and/or departure dates, remember that you lose transfers on the deviated arrival/departure days.

 

Also note that if you are doing pre-/post- with Viking, this counts as part of your cruise for determining your arrival and departure days for your package. Transfers are included if you land on Day 1 and depart on the last stated Day of your package. Arriving/departing before/after those days is a deviation. (Sorry, I hope this is clear; I haven't had enough coffee yet)

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We leave on our third Viking Cruise in about one month. (1 river and 2 ocean)   This will be the first time we have used Viking air as they were cheaper.  The other two times I booked myself.  (I use google flights.)  We flew KLM from SFO to Amsterdam and then into Bergen.

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We have used Viking Air for both of our Viking cruises and have been satisfied. We purposely booked our June 2020 Midnight Sun cruise so that we began in Bergen and ended in London. The Bergen flights can sometimes be a problem. We flew from DFW to Detroit and then to Amsterdam and Bergen. It really worked out fairly well. Coming home, we had a nonstop fight on American from London to DFW. That was the best.

 

While I realize that many Viking cruises sell out, that was not the case with ours. Only 5 weeks before our sailing, we received a 3 day offer from our travel agent, for many of the Midnight Sun sailings, offering most of the room categories at a discount plus free airfare! We were very surprised. We had booked while onboard our June 2019 sailing. I have cruised long enough to know that this can occur, but nonetheless, we were surprised. 

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Peregrina651—-We had about two hours between the Amsterdam and Bergen flights. Our luggage had been ticketed straight through to Bergen so we did not have to deal with it in Amsterdam.

the plane leaving DFW, however, was late so we ran straight to our plane in Detroit. FYI— We flew on a Delta and the Detroit to Amsterdam flight was on a brand new A350 jet. Very nice plane. 

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We went into Bergen a day early.  LOVE Bergen!  We arrived, checked into hotel (VERY close to cruise ship).  Had a late lunch on the wharf.  We got up in the morning and did my planned walk:

 

Walking Tour: Historic Bergen
Start: The Fish Market. Finish: West Norwegian Museum of Decorative Arts.
Time: 1 hour

1. Fish Market: From here, walk west along the Strandkaien, hugging the harborfront on your right side, making a small detour inland at the Strandkaien's end. Within a block, at an angular jog in the avenue known as the Strandgaten, you'll see the solid, partially fortified walls of:

2. City Wall Gate: This gate was originally built in 1550 as a checkpoint in a once-continuous wall that surrounded Bergen. Today it stands isolated amid the newer buildings and broad avenues that surround it on all sides. From here, walk west along Strandgaten, noting the many shops that line the street on either side. Within about 5 minutes you'll reach:

3. Nykirken: Noteworthy features of this church are the Danish-inspired, mansard roof from around 1761, the copper-capped baroque spire, and its location overlooking the entrance to Bergen's harbor. From here, walk steeply uphill for a block along the Nykirkeallmenningen, and turn left onto the narrow confines of the cobble-covered Ytre Markeveien, noting the antique wood-sided houses on either side. Walk 4 short blocks to the Kippersmauet, and then turn left, walking down a steep, cobble-covered alleyway where, at nos. 23 and 24, there was a disastrous fire in 2001.  Now retrace your steps uphill back to the Ytre Markeveien, and then turn right onto the big square (Holbergsallmenningen), originally conceived as a firebreak. Cross the wide boulevard (Klosteret) and walk east for 1 short block, turning right (sharply downhill) on the impossibly narrow cobble-covered alleyway identified within a few steps as the:

4. Knøsesmauet: You'll immediately find yourself hemmed in, somewhat claustrophobically, by the antique wooden houses of a district known as the Klosteret. It's composed of compact, impeccably well-maintained wooden houses immediately adjacent to one another. The risk of fire among the brightly painted historic buildings is a much-feared issue.  Continue descending the cobble-covered, steeply sloping length of the Knøsesmauet, bypassing brightly painted wooden houses, prefaced, in some cases, with tiny gardens. Cross over the Skottogaten and continue walking downhill. Turn left onto the St. Hansestredet. (Sankt Hanse is the patron saint of the summer solstice, often invoked in midsummer with bouquets of midsummer flowers such as the ones that adorn the sides of the houses along this street.) St. Hansestredet, within 2 short blocks, merges with the busy traffic of the Jonsvollsgaten, a wide commercial boulevard. Walk east for about 3 minutes, cross over the Teatergaten, and continue walking east along Engen, the eastward extension of the Jonsvollsgaten. On your left rises the stately looking, Art Nouveau bulk of the:

5. National Theater: Details to look for inside and out include life-size portrait statues of Bjørnson, author of Norway's national anthem, and Ibsen, who served as the theater's director for 5 years. (The stern and magisterial-looking granite sculpture of Ibsen, completed in 1982 and set into the lawns of the theater's eastern side, was considered so ugly that it remained in storage for many years.) On the theater's tree-shaded western side, just outside the entrance to its lobby, is a flattering likeness, in bronze, of Nordahl Grieg, often referred to as the Norwegian version of Winston Churchill because he warned of the Nazi menace before many of his colleagues in the Norwegian Parliament.
If it's open, walk into the theater's lobby, a survivor of a disastrous fire in 1916 and of a Nazi bomb that fell directly into its lobby in 1944. Completely restored in the late 1990s, the lobby has an understated Art Nouveau style and portraits of great Norwegians lining its walls.
Now, with your back to the ornamental eastern side of the theater, walk easterly along the:

6. Ole Bulls Plass: Descend the gradual slope and note the grand commercial buildings that rise on either side. Broad and wide and flanked with flower beds, restaurants, bars, and shops, it was originally laid out, in an era when virtually everything that flanked it was made of wood, as a firebreak. Today it's an architectural showcase of Bergen, named after Norway's first musical superstar.  Descend along the Ole Bulls Plass, past a violin-playing statue of the musical star himself. When the street opens onto the broad esplanade known as Olav Kyrres Gate, note on the right side the turn-of-the-19th-century brick facade of the:

7. West Norway Museum of Applied Art: The statue of a seated male lost in thought set into a niche on the museum's facade commemorates the 19th-century painter J. C. Dahl. It was crafted by one of Norway's first widely celebrated female sculptors, Ambrosia Tønnesen. The abstract sculpture set onto the lawn in front of the museum, composed of a series of rainbow-colored concentric hoops, is in honor of Bergen-born early-20th-century composer Harald Saeverud.

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It does depend where you are traveling whether you will be able to upgrade to Business using Air Plus. For instance; if it is not an international flight (San Juan)  then the airline (ie American) may not allow you to pay or use miles to upgrade because of the class of service that Viking books in. We were able to pay to to move to Economy Plus but not Business. 

Also, if you are flying internationally and there is a flight change before leaving the mainland, even if you pay for Business, you may be in economy during the non-international flight segments. 

So as Peregrina highlighted, your own homework will serve you well. 

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9 hours ago, cvgrammy said:

We went into Bergen a day early.  LOVE Bergen!  We arrived, checked into hotel (VERY close to cruise ship).  Had a late lunch on the wharf.  We got up in the morning and did my planned walk:

 

This is a great post full of very helpful information but it is going to be buried here; the subject line of the thread gives no idea that the thread has wandered off into a discussion of Bergen. Very few people will find your post now or in the future.

 

This is what you should do. If you are about to embark and plan on posting while you are traveling, what you really should do is start what is a "live" thread -- the live indicates that you are posting while "on the road". Start a new thread in the Viking Oceans forum (the same forum that this thread is in) and title it something like "Live from <itinerary name> <dates>." Itinerary name so we know where you will be traveling and date, even if it just the starting date, so we know when you are traveling.

 

After you start the thread -- and post your marvelous first day in Bergen there (just copy and paste) -- then go to your roll call and invite everyone share their thoughts and experiences along with you. People especially want to hear about the tours. Most of us know about the ship itself and what we really want to hear is about the tours and the ports themselves. Include a link to the Live thread so that everyone can find it-- no excuses.

 

Once you go live, I promise you that I will be there, pestering you with a million gazillion questions!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Peregrina651
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Peregrina651, I can't post "live" as we went on that cruise a year ago last May.  I do a ton of research before a trip and put together a booklet with flight information, excursions, "my walking guides", etc.  That way we have it and we toss the paper away after that particular day.

Tracy

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1 hour ago, cvgrammy said:

Peregrina651, I can't post "live" as we went on that cruise a year ago last May.  I do a ton of research before a trip and put together a booklet with flight information, excursions, "my walking guides", etc.  That way we have it and we toss the paper away after that particular day.

Tracy

 

Darn! I was hoping for a hot live thread! We could do with some new topics!

 

If you have more info on Bergen, or even to repost the above, try this thread for sharing things about Bergen: 

Bergen Port

 

If you don't want to repost, I am happy to do it for you, but only with your express permission.

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We went to Bergen a title over a year ago.  Darling town!

Bergen, known as the "Gateway to the Fjords," is Norway's second-largest city. 

We traveld in May and had warm beautiful weather...NO rain!  woo hoo!

 

We came in one day before we were to board the ship.  Stayed at: Thon Hotel Bergen Brygge (walked to the ship)  By the time we got to the hotel we were tired but walked to the wharf and had a fantastic shrimp lunch/dinner outside with a cold beer.  We then walked a couple of blocks and went straight to the Funicular (we were told if it is sunny it is a must do as not sunny often)  SPECTACULAR!  Just sat and looked at the extraordinary view!  Very relaxing, took pictures.

 

Woke up, ate breakfast and did "my walk".  Perfect!  Went back, got luggage and boarded ship.

 

Top things to see:

1.    Mount Floyen & the Funicular (Floibanen): Go before cruise ship tours as the cruise ship groups cut to the front of the line. If the line between the lake and Fish Market were the base of an isosceles triangle, at the apex of the triangle would be the station for the Floibanen Funicular, which climbs more than 1,000 feet to the peak of Mt. Floyen. Magnificent views of Bergen and the other six mountains that frame the city, as well as the fjords beyond. Don’t go when the weather turns bad or rains as not much to see! 
2.    Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf: walk & wander through the wharf and down its historic, wooden alleys.

3.    Fish Market: in Bergen is one of Norway's most visited outdoors markets. The Fish Market sells seafood, fruit and vegetables. Open: 8:00- 23:00
  

Where You're Docked
The cruise port is within walking distance of Bryggen and Bergen Town Centre.

Good to Know:
It rains quite a bit in Bergen, and it can be especially chilly by the water, so be sure to pack layers.

 

Shopping: 
Everything is expensive! Wool sweaters, troll dolls, contemporary tableware, silver and ceramics. These can easily be found in Bryggen (historic wharf area) and in the cross streets running southwest perpendicular to Olav Kyrres Gate.  For true quality two stores: OLEANA: STRANDKAIEN 2A  BRYGGEN; The flagship store of this famous Norwegian design shop is full of gorgeous, colorful wool sweaters. BERLE BRYGGEN: BRYGGEN 5  BRYGGEN; This clothing and souvenir store stocks the complete Dale of Norway collection of sweaters and cardigans, as well as trolls, pewter, down duvets, and other traditional knitwear and souvenir items.

 

My Walking Tour: Historic Bergen
Start: The Fish Market. Finish: West Norwegian Museum of Decorative Arts.
Time: 1 hour

1. Fish Market: From here, walk west along the Strandkaien, hugging the harborfront on your right side, making a small detour inland at the Strandkaien's end. Within a block, at an angular jog in the avenue known as the Strandgaten, you'll see the solid, partially fortified walls of:

2. City Wall Gate: This gate was originally built in 1550 as a checkpoint in a once-continuous wall that surrounded Bergen. Today it stands isolated amid the newer buildings and broad avenues that surround it on all sides. From here, walk west along Strandgaten, noting the many shops that line the street on either side. Within about 5 minutes you'll reach:

3. Nykirken: Noteworthy features of this church are the Danish-inspired, mansard roof from around 1761, the copper-capped baroque spire, and its location overlooking the entrance to Bergen's harbor. From here, walk steeply uphill for a block along the Nykirkeallmenningen, and turn left onto the narrow confines of the cobble-covered Ytre Markeveien, noting the antique wood-sided houses on either side. Walk 4 short blocks to the Kippersmauet, and then turn left, walking down a steep, cobble-covered alleyway where, at nos. 23 and 24, there was a disastrous fire in 2001.  Now retrace your steps uphill back to the Ytre Markeveien, and then turn right onto the big square (Holbergsallmenningen), originally conceived as a firebreak. Cross the wide boulevard (Klosteret) and walk east for 1 short block, turning right (sharply downhill) on the impossibly narrow cobble-covered alleyway identified within a few steps as the:

4. Knøsesmauet: You'll immediately find yourself hemmed in, somewhat claustrophobically, by the antique wooden houses of a district known as the Klosteret. It's composed of compact, impeccably well-maintained wooden houses immediately adjacent to one another. The risk of fire among the brightly painted historic buildings is a much-feared issue.  Continue descending the cobble-covered, steeply sloping length of the Knøsesmauet, bypassing brightly painted wooden houses, prefaced, in some cases, with tiny gardens. Cross over the Skottogaten and continue walking downhill. Turn left onto the St. Hansestredet. (Sankt Hanse is the patron saint of the summer solstice, often invoked in midsummer with bouquets of midsummer flowers such as the ones that adorn the sides of the houses along this street.) St. Hansestredet, within 2 short blocks, merges with the busy traffic of the Jonsvollsgaten, a wide commercial boulevard. Walk east for about 3 minutes, cross over the Teatergaten, and continue walking east along Engen, the eastward extension of the Jonsvollsgaten. On your left rises the stately looking, Art Nouveau bulk of the:

5. National Theater: Details to look for inside and out include life-size portrait statues of Bjørnson, author of Norway's national anthem, and Ibsen, who served as the theater's director for 5 years. (The stern and magisterial-looking granite sculpture of Ibsen, completed in 1982 and set into the lawns of the theater's eastern side, was considered so ugly that it remained in storage for many years.) On the theater's tree-shaded western side, just outside the entrance to its lobby, is a flattering likeness, in bronze, of Nordahl Grieg, often referred to as the Norwegian version of Winston Churchill because he warned of the Nazi menace before many of his colleagues in the Norwegian Parliament.
If it's open, walk into the theater's lobby, a survivor of a disastrous fire in 1916 and of a Nazi bomb that fell directly into its lobby in 1944. Completely restored in the late 1990s, the lobby has an understated Art Nouveau style and portraits of great Norwegians lining its walls.
Now, with your back to the ornamental eastern side of the theater, walk easterly along the:

6. Ole Bulls Plass: Descend the gradual slope and note the grand commercial buildings that rise on either side. Broad and wide and flanked with flower beds, restaurants, bars, and shops, it was originally laid out, in an era when virtually everything that flanked it was made of wood, as a firebreak. Today it's an architectural showcase of Bergen, named after Norway's first musical superstar.  Descend along the Ole Bulls Plass, past a violin-playing statue of the musical star himself. When the street opens onto the broad esplanade known as Olav Kyrres Gate, note on the right side the turn-of-the-19th-century brick facade of the:

7. West Norway Museum of Applied Art: The statue of a seated male lost in thought set into a niche on the museum's facade commemorates the 19th-century painter J. C. Dahl. It was crafted by one of Norway's first widely celebrated female sculptors, Ambrosia Tønnesen. The abstract sculpture set onto the lawn in front of the museum, composed of a series of rainbow-colored concentric hoops, is in honor of Bergen-born early-20th-century composer Harald Saeverud.
 

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