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9 minutes ago, sunlover33 said:

The information on Azamara website is very vague. 
 

2. There will be mandatory specialized health screenings performed on:

  • Any guest who has traveled from, to or through select countries impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), within 15 days of boarding.
  • Guests who are uncertain about contact with individuals who have traveled from, to or through select countries impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) within 15 days of boarding.

As most countries are impacted to a greater or lesser degree, are all guests now going to have to undertake a specialised health screening? There seems to be no clarification of which countries qualify as ‘Select countries’. 

 

The UK Gov.uk website today "provides specific advice for travellers returning to the UK from:

mainland China
Hong Kong
Macao
Cambodia
Iran
northern Italy
Japan
Laos
Malaysia
Myanmar
Singapore
South Korea
Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam"

I'd guess that the cruise companies would use a similar list. 

 

Also today the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released an updated statement which includes the following:

"With strict measures in place, as guided by national and international health authorities, CLIA and its member lines do not believe restrictions on the movement of ships are justified."

 

So it looks like the cruise companies are going to try to tough it out.

 

Our Azamara cruise leaving Dubai on 26 April will have left Singapore 15 days earlier. Our first stop is 2 days in Oman that today announced it would not allow entry of passengers by plane or ship from "affected countries", which presumably includes Singapore. They may reckon we're OK as we'll have left moe than 14 days earlier although of course some passengers and all crew will have been on the previous leg. At the very least our AzAmazing evening at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre is in doubt!

 

 

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Interestingly this is how Viking is now approaching the COVID-19 problem.

 

A note to guests with a current reservation and future Viking guests,

As you undoubtedly know, the coronavirus COVID-19 is causing concern in the general public and among those of us engaged in travel. At Viking, the safety and security of our guests and employees has always been our top priority. We have implemented enhanced health screening procedures for all guests and staff before boarding our vessels and everyone is required to complete a health care questionnaire before embarkation. We continue to reiterate the importance of individual hygiene, sanitizing and washing of hands.

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely including the travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department and information updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. and the World Health Organization in Switzerland.

This is a situation that can change from day to day, and we can well understand that the decision of whether or not to travel may be weighing on your mind – particularly for those with imminent departures.

In view of this we are for the time being making a temporary exception to our cancellation policy so that you can be free to postpone your cruise at any time up until 24 hours before the planned departure, without incurring any cancellation fees. You will be issued a voucher for future travel valid for 24 months, which can be used on any Viking product (river, ocean or expedition). This temporary exception to our standard cancellation policy is applicable for all guests who currently have a reservation with Viking and for all new reservations made through April 30, 2020.

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2 hours ago, Wheelhouse said:

Interestingly this is how Viking is now approaching the COVID-19 problem.

 

A note to guests with a current reservation and future Viking guests,

As you undoubtedly know, the coronavirus COVID-19 is causing concern in the general public and among those of us engaged in travel. At Viking, the safety and security of our guests and employees has always been our top priority. We have implemented enhanced health screening procedures for all guests and staff before boarding our vessels and everyone is required to complete a health care questionnaire before embarkation. We continue to reiterate the importance of individual hygiene, sanitizing and washing of hands.

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely including the travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department and information updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. and the World Health Organization in Switzerland.

This is a situation that can change from day to day, and we can well understand that the decision of whether or not to travel may be weighing on your mind – particularly for those with imminent departures.

In view of this we are for the time being making a temporary exception to our cancellation policy so that you can be free to postpone your cruise at any time up until 24 hours before the planned departure, without incurring any cancellation fees. You will be issued a voucher for future travel valid for 24 months, which can be used on any Viking product (river, ocean or expedition). This temporary exception to our standard cancellation policy is applicable for all guests who currently have a reservation with Viking and for all new reservations made through April 30, 2020.

That's very generous 🙂

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2 hours ago, lasvegaswinner1 said:

"a health care questionnaire"  Should they ask if the passanger has had a flu shot.  They talk abot preventive measures, but I would sure like to know I am on board with those that have taken this simple precaution


A flu shot will not give any protection whatsoever against COVID-19.

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2 hours ago, aussie travel bird said:

That's very generous 🙂

 

We know someone who has had their Viking cruise completely re-routed with all new stops.  It was going out of Hong Kong.  Now re routed out of Bali.   They can take this cruise and still get an 80 per cent rebate or have the choice of a full refund.

 

I have said it on this board before "Viking is a class act".

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41 minutes ago, Mrs Miggins said:

 

We know someone who has had their Viking cruise completely re-routed with all new stops.  It was going out of Hong Kong.  Now re routed out of Bali.   They can take this cruise and still get an 80 per cent rebate or have the choice of a full refund.

 

I have said it on this board before "Viking is a class act".

This used to be the sort of customer service you expected from Azamara, but now the bean counters have control it’s all about revenue protection.

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3 hours ago, aussie travel bird said:

That's very generous 🙂

 

It's not just generous but excellent customer service and they will benefit from it in the future, what Azamara seem to be doing is just the opposite and they will also reap what they sow.

Edited by Bloodaxe
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51 minutes ago, Mrs Miggins said:

 

We know someone who has had their Viking cruise completely re-routed with all new stops.  It was going out of Hong Kong.  Now re routed out of Bali.   They can take this cruise and still get an 80 per cent rebate or have the choice of a full refund.

 

I have said it on this board before "Viking is a class act".

I agree with you 100%, we were due to travel to China with Viking this month, they cancelled the trip in early Feb with a full refund and extra discount on a future booking, it was done promptly and the refund made quickly, in our case the return of FCC's from the Viking Sky problems last year.

 

They are a "class act" and setting standards that other lines would do well to follow.

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13 minutes ago, Riocca said:

This used to be the sort of customer service you expected from Azamara, but now the bean counters have control it’s all about revenue protection.

You are correct. We have been having interactions with their land operations during some research in the last two weeks and those words absolutely reflect what I said to DH last week. It felt like oldco Azamara 

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1 hour ago, Mrs Miggins said:

 

We know someone who has had their Viking cruise completely re-routed with all new stops.  It was going out of Hong Kong.  Now re routed out of Bali.   They can take this cruise and still get an 80 per cent rebate or have the choice of a full refund.

 

I have said it on this board before "Viking is a class act".

Not making excuses for Azamara under the Royal Caribbean umbrella in these extremely challenging and unprecedented times, but it’s much easier for Viking to do this being privately owned than Royal who are answerable to its shareholders.  It’s a difficult balance to maintain, especially now.

 

Phil

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18 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Not making excuses for Azamara under the Royal Caribbean umbrella in these extremely challenging and unprecedented times, but it’s much easier for Viking to do this being privately owned than Royal who are answerable to its shareholders.  It’s a difficult balance to maintain, especially now.

 

Phil

Yes I can see that. I was going off topic and reflecting on the quality of telephone and email interaction. 
In theory a large corporation should have deeper pockets but perhaps has an additional challenge. Viking only has two complimentary products Royal have a multitude of competing brands some of whom may or may not be favoured at times like this. Time will tell. 

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At some point Azamara may realize that a more generous cancellation policy actually works in their favor economically, not just in terms of goodwill. 

 

 I would think a lot of people are coming up on decisions whether to cancel their cruises for the summer and if Azamara doesn’t relax the rules those people may well decide they can’t afford the uncertainty and risk and cancel now, and I imagine it won’t be that easy for Azamara to replace those people (at least at the fares they paid). 
 

Moreover the industry in general seems headed for a rough patch and giving people positive treatment and FCCs (which I expect still generate incidental revenue) doesn’t seem like a bad idea vs a cycle of turning off long term customers and encouraging people to book last minute discounts.  
 

That said, they may be waiting to see if people really do cancel (or they may not be seeing cancellations), and it may be harder for them to adopt these policies given the large sister ships. 

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2 hours ago, Riocca said:

Don’t know if this has already been shared but this was a link on Facebook to a message from Richard Fain.

This video really is dreadful. Clearly intended for travel agents and other cruise 'partners' it focuses entirely on how the Royal Caribbean companies and TAs will ride out the storm with virtually no mention of customers. He might just as well have said "don't worry, we'll only give the customers their money back as an absolute last resort".

In comparison to points made in other posts, this is a completely differenct perspective to Viking. We've sailed once with Viking and were very impressed and I reckon we'll be going back to them. Interesting that in the UK you can't book Viking through any of the online travel agents. It looks like Viking is making a clear decision to distance itself to some extent from the 'traditional' cruise market. The only downside to this is that there may not be as much downward pressure on their prices that there may be if booked alongside other cruise lines through TA. But it may be a price worth paying.

I don't hold with the argument that it is harder for a large cruise group to respond as it has shareholders - their dividends shouldn't be seen as more important than customer service/safety. Just as with large banks, oil companies, car manufacturers etc, big cruise companies are much better placed to survive 2 or 3 bad years than smaller companies.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Lindy028 said:

I couldn’t agree more, I thought the video was cringeworthy! 

Me too, although once I realised the target audience was travel partners less so, though I am sure they re judging the future based on the actions of the cruise lines.  Mine certainly is, and certainly on Saturday Azamara did not feature high on their list of preferred premium lines.

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6 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Not making excuses for Azamara

Well actually you are. To reiterate some of the comments above. Azamara may find that a more generous  cancellation policy and showing a more empathic approach to customers, especially those with obvious health concerns may pay dividends on the future, likewise this hard nosed corporate approach does nothing to maintain its image of friendly, customer focused care.  Even Royal Caribbean and Celebrity appear to a have more flexible approach so there is no excuse. The video only serves to underline this approach. 

Edited by sunlover33
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There seems to be a surprising number of Brits on this message board! Just a reminder that as per an earlier post of mine, if you booked a cruise package (i.e. cruise and flights together - not necessarily the flights offered by the cruise company) through a TA or the cruise company's UK operation you have additional protection under UK law. If the cruise package changes "significantly" (more than a couple of ports or the start/end port) even if it is due to circumstances beyond the package provider's control you have the right to consider the alternative offered by the package organiser but then if you don't like it you can cancel for a full refund.

We established that this works when we cancelled our recent Oceania cruise when several ports changed.

I'm an adviser for Citizens Advice and here's a link to the info on the Citizens Advice website:

 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/holiday-cancellations-and-compensation/cancelling-a-package-holiday/#h-if-a-holiday-company-changes-the-holiday-after-you-book-it

 

Hopefully it won't come to this and if our Azamara Journey cruise in April actually sails from Dubai to Athens without major changes we'll be on it. That said, Oman, Jordan and Egypt look a bit doubtful. Apart from anything else, although we all like to think all ports/countries welcome cruisers with open arms, the reality is that we eat and drink on board and then pile into coaches to visit a few local attractions. While they wouldn't want the cruise lines to permanently abandon the ports of call, in times of crisis we probably don't contribute enough to local economies in the short term to be worth the risk.

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1 hour ago, sunlover33 said:
Azamara may find that a more generous  cancellation policy and showing a more empathic approach to customers, especially those with obvious health concerns may pay dividends on the future, likewise this hard nosed corporate approach does nothing to maintain its image of friendly, customer focused care.  Even Royal Caribbean and Celebrity appear to a have more flexible approach so there is no excuse. The video only serves to underline this approach. 
 
Hi sunlover33,
I did like this approach from Viking Cruises.  Although not booked with them, whilst reading other forums regarding the Coronavirus, I noticed this link. 
We actually have 16 days booked with Crystal from 22nd. May in and around the Mediterranean. 
6 ports of call are Italian!   
 
EDIT:
I APOLOGISE FOR THE WEIRD PRESENTATION OF THIS POST 🤷🏼‍♀️
 
1 hour ago, sunlover33 said:

 

 

Edited by comas
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1 hour ago, sunlover33 said:

Well actually you are. To reiterate some of the comments above. Azamara may find that a more generous  cancellation policy and showing a more empathic approach to customers, especially those with obvious health concerns may pay dividends on the future, likewise this hard nosed corporate approach does nothing to maintain its image of friendly, customer focused care.  Even Royal Caribbean and Celebrity appear to a have more flexible approach so there is no excuse. The video only serves to underline this approach. 

Trust me, I'm not. I'm pointing out factually why the different approach and not if it's correct. I happen to think the right thing needs to be done. Taking guests on a cruise where you are unsure as to if your are able to dock at ports or more seriously not giving a customer the opportunity to cancel if they are immunosurpressed is not the way to do business. 

 

Royal Caribbean seem keen to take credit and PR space for giving a ship to Australia's first response fire fighters for example. They need to step up now in my view. 

 

Phil 

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Hello, 

 

we are suppose to stop in Sri lanka with our cruise on April 11. So now what?

 

Mar 03, Colombo: Due to the coronavirus risks Sri Lanka has taken steps to immediately stop allowing passengers on cruise ships arriving at the ports of the country to disembark, the Health Ministry said. 

The Ministry of Health stated that the Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe has advised the relevant authorities regarding the matter. 

Meanwhile, all passengers arriving in Sri Lanka from Italy, South Korea and Iran will be quarantined for 14 days, as a precautionary measure, the Ministry said.

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On 1/28/2020 at 9:23 PM, Trend said:

Yes as you can see right now they think two weeks but that can change.

So my question about AZ just got answered somewhat, I just got an email reming me of the AZ fist pump. Never had an email before a cruise with them like that, it even shows a video of the fist pump.

On a TV programme here just now fist bumps have been ruled out - elbow bump only according to the experts - no hand to hand contact.  I am assuming Azamara will be updating their onboard guidance for the coming weeks recognising this.

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