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Question for Loyal Viking Cruisers


cabogal
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I have a question for those of you who are very familiar with Viking cruises.  I have my first Viking cruise scheduled in October 2020.  It is the transatlantic from Lisbon to Miami.

I am uncertain that this cruise will happen or that we will be able to go, but am hoping for the best.  Do you think that the level of service and the quality and choices of food and entertainment will be the same as it was before the Covid crisis shutdown?  The cruise lines have taken a devastating financial hit and I wonder if this will reflect in the onboard experience.  Thank you.

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Imho. The service, food, entertainment will be the same. I expect that in the world cafe, that you will be served and it will not be buffet style ...but I think everything I know and love about Viking will be the same..

Having said that, there may be changes to the self service laundry.

Edited by geffric
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2 hours ago, geffric said:

Imho. The service, food, entertainment will be the same. I expect that in the world cafe, that you will be served and it will not be buffet style ...but I think everything I know and love about Viking will be the same..

Having said that, there may be changes to the self service laundry.

 

What makes you think about the laundry?  I guess they could Lysol-wipe all the machines every hour or so.

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Not sure if you are aware but Viking has started a video channel called Viking TV. You can find it at www.viking.tv (NOT DOT COM). During the coming week, Tor (Viking CEO) will be doing a show this week (you can find the schedule on the website) about...first, their financial situation and second, what they envision cruising on Viking will look like once they reopen for business. 

 

I should also point out that while many of the cruise lines have taken a hit, Viking is very different from the rest of them. Viking is privately owned. They have no shareholders to answer to and they are in better financial state than most of the other cruise lines. The other reason that they are in a better place is that people are still buying Viking cruises. For instance, they recently announced that they would be sailing the Mississippi and they sold out most of the cruises within 2 weeks. Those cruises won't take place until 2022. And all of the longer ones were sold out in less than three days. The shorter ones have just a few staterooms left. Likewise, they just announced their 2022 itineraries across their entire spectrum and they are booking fast. Viking cruisers are incredibly loyal. 

 

Hope this helps calm your fears. If not, see if you can watch the video. They tape them and you can watch them at your leisure after it has been shown.

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21 minutes ago, DrKoob said:

I should also point out that while many of the cruise lines have taken a hit, Viking is very different from the rest of them. Viking is privately owned. They have no shareholders to answer to and they are in better financial state than most of the other cruise lines. The other reason that they are in a better place is that people are still buying Viking cruises. For instance, they recently announced that they would be sailing the Mississippi and they sold out most of the cruises within 2 weeks. Those cruises won't take place until 2022. And all of the longer ones were sold out in less than three days. The shorter ones have just a few staterooms left. Likewise, they just announced their 2022 itineraries across their entire spectrum and they are booking fast. Viking cruisers are incredibly loyal.

 

I spoke to a Viking rep yesterday about applying a credit toward a previously-booked cruise.  After I finished my business, I asked her how Viking was doing.  She said there's no slowdown on her end -- she and the other reps are selling lots and lots of cruises.  Good to hear!

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5 hours ago, cabogal said:

I have a question for those of you who are very familiar with Viking cruises.  I have my first Viking cruise scheduled in October 2020.  It is the transatlantic from Lisbon to Miami.

I am uncertain that this cruise will happen or that we will be able to go, but am hoping for the best.  Do you think that the level of service and the quality and choices of food and entertainment will be the same as it was before the Covid crisis shutdown?  The cruise lines have taken a devastating financial hit and I wonder if this will reflect in the onboard experience.  Thank you.

 

Hi Cabogal.  Very good question, one which we wonder about as well.

We are also currently schedule on this October Lisbon to Miami (we are also on the previous Rome to Lisbon portion).   We are torn about whether to hold out or not or take the money at the 120 day mark.   I try to be positive but I just can't see how the cruise will happen.   And even if it did, would it even be any good?  Certainly the portions on the ship would be, but I seriously wonder if many of the ports will even be open, especially Lisbon, Spain, France, and Italy.   It would become a very expensive hotel at sea for us.   If we stay the course and wait, Viking could I think keep the cruise open, but just not stop anywhere.  For us that would not be worthwhile.   I toy with the idea of cancelling and then doing this cruise at a later date (but it is not offered in 2021 so would have to pick a different transatlantic).   Decisions decisions....

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2 hours ago, DrKoob said:

Not sure if you are aware but Viking has started a video channel called Viking TV. You can find it at www.viking.tv (NOT DOT COM). During the coming week, Tor (Viking CEO) will be doing a show this week (you can find the schedule on the website) about...first, their financial situation and second, what they envision cruising on Viking will look like once they reopen for business. 

 

I should also point out that while many of the cruise lines have taken a hit, Viking is very different from the rest of them. Viking is privately owned. They have no shareholders to answer to and they are in better financial state than most of the other cruise lines. The other reason that they are in a better place is that people are still buying Viking cruises. For instance, they recently announced that they would be sailing the Mississippi and they sold out most of the cruises within 2 weeks. Those cruises won't take place until 2022. And all of the longer ones were sold out in less than three days. The shorter ones have just a few staterooms left. Likewise, they just announced their 2022 itineraries across their entire spectrum and they are booking fast. Viking cruisers are incredibly loyal. 

 

Hope this helps calm your fears. If not, see if you can watch the video. They tape them and you can watch them at your leisure after it has been shown.

 

Dr. How does Viking pay for its ships?  Cash, debt, some other kind of financing?

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9 hours ago, DaveSJ711 said:

 

I spoke to a Viking rep yesterday about applying a credit toward a previously-booked cruise.  After I finished my business, I asked her how Viking was doing.  She said there's no slowdown on her end -- she and the other reps are selling lots and lots of cruises.  Good to hear!

 

Viking is scrambling. Our next cruise (June 2021 re-booked from June 2020) is already $600 cheaper for the cabin category with an offer of "up to $1,000 shipboard credit" available. I'm guessing they'll want everything paid for immediately. Viking's business plan has always seemed to include borrowing $$$ from their customers via way early full payment. Proceed with caution.

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6 hours ago, duquephart said:

 

Viking is scrambling. Our next cruise (June 2021 re-booked from June 2020) is already $600 cheaper for the cabin category with an offer of "up to $1,000 shipboard credit" available. I'm guessing they'll want everything paid for immediately. Viking's business plan has always seemed to include borrowing $$$ from their customers via way early full payment. Proceed with caution.

 

Proceed with caution?  Is Viking going out of business?  You seem happy to book again.

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I know I should call on the phone and ask but I will start here...

 

Voucher questions:  I think I may NOT change/cancel my mind to another cruise once I use my voucher .  Is that correct?

 

Insurance:  Does anyone know if vouchers are insurable like cash paid for a cruise.

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20 minutes ago, zitsky said:

 

Proceed with caution?  Is Viking going out of business?  You seem happy to book again.

 

I was. Until I, and my TA, were flat out lied to by at least four "Viking experts" in regard to use of FCV in order to sell a booking. Now I am stuck and would rather have a refund. Viking customer relations rep refers to the lies we received as "misquotes" and "misinformation" ----- it appears Viking reps are graduates of the used car dealers school. Proceed with caution.

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7 hours ago, duquephart said:

 

Viking is scrambling. Our next cruise (June 2021 re-booked from June 2020) is already $600 cheaper for the cabin category with an offer of "up to $1,000 shipboard credit" available. I'm guessing they'll want everything paid for immediately. Viking's business plan has always seemed to include borrowing $$$ from their customers via way early full payment. Proceed with caution.

There is nothing new about these price reductions and it is not evidence of "scrambling." A few years ago, I booked a cruise onboard, and nine months later rebooked it for $500 less per person, even after losing some of the onboard booking discounts. They have vast amounts of data about how and when cruises sell and they have always adjusted prices accordingly.  

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14 minutes ago, deec said:

I know I should call on the phone and ask but I will start here...

 

Voucher questions:  I think I may NOT change/cancel my mind to another cruise once I use my voucher .  Is that correct?

 

Insurance:  Does anyone know if vouchers are insurable like cash paid for a cruise.

 

deec,

 

Not sure, as we can only speak from our personal experience, but it seems that you can change to a different cruise after using your future cruise voucher. In our case we used the FCV from our cancelled March 14th TA cruise to pay for our previously booked March 2021 South Atlantic Crossing.  

 

Upon further consideration about the pandemic outlook, we decided to to change our booking to the November 2021 South Atlantic Crossing.  It was done with the hope that the world will have this COVID-19 virus under control and cruising will resume with a high degree of safety. Viking complied with our request and we even retained our same cabin. This was done on Thursday, April 30th, so it appears that you can do a subsequent change. That being said, check directly with Viking or have your travel agent do so for you, before taking our experience as gospel.

 

Sorry, can't provide any information on your insurance question.

 

Richard and Margie (Senior Gators)

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11 minutes ago, Richard2 said:

There is nothing new about these price reductions and it is not evidence of "scrambling." A few years ago, I booked a cruise onboard, and nine months later rebooked it for $500 less per person, even after losing some of the onboard booking discounts. They have vast amounts of data about how and when cruises sell and they have always adjusted prices accordingly.  

 

On a very popular cruise that's over a year from now? Smells like raising cash to me.

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8 minutes ago, duquephart said:

 

On a very popular cruise that's over a year from now? Smells like raising cash to me.

 

Well Viking has always been aggressive, asking for payments a year before cruise etc.

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7 hours ago, duquephart said:

 

Viking is scrambling. Our next cruise (June 2021 re-booked from June 2020) is already $600 cheaper for the cabin category with an offer of "up to $1,000 shipboard credit" available. I'm guessing they'll want everything paid for immediately. Viking's business plan has always seemed to include borrowing $$$ from their customers via way early full payment. Proceed with caution.


The first of the month often brings new and surprising things from Viking. The SBC offer you cite is available on very few ocean cruises. Although it could be misleading, it is technically correct and got me to call my Viking agent. Like Richard2 (post #12), I rebooked one cruise and saved a nice amount even after losing SBC and gaining another promotion not mentioned on the website. The cruise fare on another cruise booked for November 2021 was increased again. I booked this cruise in late February, and the cabin I booked is almost 49% more now- and sold out. 
 

 

44 minutes ago, duquephart said:

 

I was. Until I, and my TA, were flat out lied to by at least four "Viking experts" in regard to use of FCV in order to sell a booking. Now I am stuck and would rather have a refund. Viking customer relations rep refers to the lies we received as "misquotes" and "misinformation" ----- it appears Viking reps are graduates of the used car dealers school. Proceed with caution.

 

This is why I use the same Viking rep (been there 7+ years) as he always takes the time to check and recheck before I make any commitments. Since I rebooked and earned excess FCV, I asked how it could be used. He checked and did say the policy now is it must be applied before boarding. It’s a 2 way street as unlike SBC, excess FCV can be used for extensions and upgrades in addition to excursions, tips, and silver spirits (maybe other stuff)

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34 minutes ago, Senior Gators said:

 

 In our case we used the FCV from our cancelled March 14th TA cruise to pay for our previously booked March 2021 South Atlantic Crossing.  

 

 

From the many posts recently that state completely different results, it would seem that there may have been multiple types of cancellation policies.

We had our cruise cancelled with the June 30 2020 group.   We had a couple other cruises booked but not yet paid for.  We took the FCV - and were explicitly NOT allowed to pay for any of these previously booked cruises with the FCV.    Both via the Travel Agent and via Viking.    We had to make a Completely New Cruise Booking.

 

Secondly, not all Viking Cruises in the future are at reduced rates.  Our "new cruise booking" was the same Into the Midnight Sun cruise that was cancelled for 2020 and we are now booked on the 2021 version.  The cost for the same cabin was 23 % higher.  So I think it depends on the cruise.   I saw that a couple other popular cruises were also still pricey (like Iceland).

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19 minutes ago, duquephart said:

 

On a very popular cruise that's over a year from now? Smells like raising cash to me.


Payment dates are detailed on the website. I also booked a new cruise for April, 2022 which automatically put in a payment date of December 31, 2020. Since I have other cruises booked, the date was moved to October, 2021 or 6 months before embarkation. I always ask for any available perks or discounts - with Viking or just about any other vendor.

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4 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

From the many posts recently that state completely different results, it would seem that there may have been multiple types of cancellation policies.

We had our cruise cancelled with the June 30 2020 group.   We had a couple other cruises booked but not yet paid for.  We took the FCV - and were explicitly NOT allowed to pay for any of these previously booked cruises with the FCV.    Both via the Travel Agent and via Viking.    We had to make a Completely New Cruise Booking.

 

Secondly, not all Viking Cruises in the future are at reduced rates.  Our "new cruise booking" was the same Into the Midnight Sun cruise that was cancelled for 2020 and we are not on 2021 version.  The cost for the same cabin was 23 % higher.  So I think it depends on the cruise.   I saw that a couple other popular cruises were also still pricey (like Iceland).

 

100% FCV can be used for current bookings and 125% can not? Is that the policy?

The problem seems to be that if you want 6 different answers you need only speak to 6 different reps.

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16 hours ago, CCWineLover said:

 

Hi Cabogal.  Very good question, one which we wonder about as well.

We are also currently schedule on this October Lisbon to Miami (we are also on the previous Rome to Lisbon portion).   We are torn about whether to hold out or not or take the money at the 120 day mark.   I try to be positive but I just can't see how the cruise will happen.   And even if it did, would it even be any good?  Certainly the portions on the ship would be, but I seriously wonder if many of the ports will even be open, especially Lisbon, Spain, France, and Italy.   It would become a very expensive hotel at sea for us.   If we stay the course and wait, Viking could I think keep the cruise open, but just not stop anywhere.  For us that would not be worthwhile.   I toy with the idea of cancelling and then doing this cruise at a later date (but it is not offered in 2021 so would have to pick a different transatlantic).   Decisions decisions....

We are on the same, Rome to Miami. I've looked at a few 2021 cruises, and, as you said, this one is not available, and I can't find anything for 28 days even close to the price that we paid for this one, they are much much more. So we are in a quandary, too. Got a good deal on this one and $2,000 shipboard credit. For now we are just waiting.....

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1 minute ago, stretchcruz said:

We are on the same, Rome to Miami. I've looked at a few 2021 cruises, and, as you said, this one is not available, and I can't find anything for 28 days even close to the price that we paid for this one, they are much much more. So we are in a quandary, too. Got a good deal on this one and $2,000 shipboard credit. For now we are just waiting.....

Good to hear from you Dobie.   Hope you are staying safe in Tucson.  Guess we are all in the same boat so to speak!

As I stated, my concern is that if we hold on and Viking doesn't cancel the cruise, but instead just shortchanges it, then where does that leave us?  Plus, all the hassles of air flights, plus ports and countries that may still be closed?   But the world has greater issues than these concerns.   I believe we have until 120 days ahead to decide.

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37 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

Good to hear from you Dobie.   Hope you are staying safe in Tucson.  Guess we are all in the same boat so to speak!

As I stated, my concern is that if we hold on and Viking doesn't cancel the cruise, but instead just shortchanges it, then where does that leave us?  Plus, all the hassles of air flights, plus ports and countries that may still be closed?   But the world has greater issues than these concerns.   I believe we have until 120 days ahead to decide.

 I am hoping that the Viking offer of 125% FCV or 100% money back will still be available if they cancel this cruise. We will wait to do anything until we hear from Viking.  If the cruise does happen I think the only port that may not be available would be Bermuda as the Azores are in Portugal and ship will be in port there. I did some research and Portugal should be open for flights in October but I have not booked flights yet and the prices, right now, keep going up. Everything changes day to day so one never knows what to do.  Our plan was to do a week in Portugal, using an Air BnB, prior to the cruise.  For now we just wait and see.

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44 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

I believe we have until 120 days ahead to decide.

 

And if at that point you decide not to cancel but to make final payment, you still have up to 24 hours in advance of sailing to cancel the cruise without penalty fees.

 

See https://www.vikingcruises.com/risk-free-guarantee.html and other postings on the Viking website.

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