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Upcoming Viking World Cruise 2021 and COVID-19 danger


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My wife and I enjoyed the first two Viking World cruises and were looking forward to the upcoming World cruise 2021. However is it wise to commit to a 5+ month cruise while the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, especially if you are in a high risk group of older adults and the last Viking 2020 World cruise was cut short? We love Viking but nowadays most things are beyond its control. Judging by the fact that the aforementioned cruise is pretty much sold out, it appears that many people still believe it's safe enough to embark for such a cruise. Or, mayby, most of those people are just waiting for the final payment date of June 15th to cancel the cruise? 
 
So the question is: 1) Would you proceed with the final (quite substantial) payment and hope for the best or 2) Cancel the cruise and wait for safer timesAny comments regarding this dilemma are greatly appreciated.
 
 
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20 hours ago, Danilov said:

 

My wife and I enjoyed the first two Viking World cruises and were looking forward to the upcoming World cruise 2021. However is it wise to commit to a 5+ month cruise while the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, especially if you are in a high risk group of older adults and the last Viking 2020 World cruise was cut short? We love Viking but nowadays most things are beyond its control. Judging by the fact that the aforementioned cruise is pretty much sold out, it appears that many people still believe it's safe enough to embark for such a cruise. Or, mayby, most of those people are just waiting for the final payment date of June 15th to cancel the cruise? 
 
So the question is: 1) Would you proceed with the final (quite substantial) payment and hope for the best or 2) Cancel the cruise and wait for safer timesAny comments regarding this dilemma are greatly appreciated.
 
 

That's a very good question, Danilov.  

We are actually scheduled for the first leg of this planned World Cruise on the Sun, leaving Miami for Dec 14, through the Canal and to Los Angeles.   We originally booked it because it went to Cuba and the Canal.    Even though it is still nearly sold out, I would imagine there are many who are waiting and wondering.  We have the same final payment due on June 15 as our decision deadline date as well.

Given the uncertainty in the world, it is certainly a risk to keep waiting beyond that, as Viking might not "cancel" the cruise but instead do different itineraries.  How that applies to the World Cruise is anyone's guess.   I have thought they may even go ahead and do Miami to Los Angeles with no stops in between and then perhaps just turn around and go back again.

I am personally weighing how much I want to give Viking for a cruise that doesn't do the stops I want.  We already have lost Cuba (not Viking's fault to be sure).   Our inclination is to just cancel and move on.   At least we have until June 15 to decide.

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We are scheduled for the LA to London segments.  I’m researching alternatives with my TA at this point.  I’m not willIng to hand over 6 figure numbers to Viking come 6/15.  I believe that cruising might just be getting back to maybe semi-normal.  I’m not willing to risk multiple schedule changes and possibly miss ports that are on the bucket list.  
Currently, we are into the WC ~$10k.  If we can successfully move that to a future cruise to our liking, we will.  If not, we will eat the cost.

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21 hours ago, Danilov said:

 

My wife and I enjoyed the first two Viking World cruises and were looking forward to the upcoming World cruise 2021. However is it wise to commit to a 5+ month cruise while the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, especially if you are in a high risk group of older adults and the last Viking 2020 World cruise was cut short? We love Viking but nowadays most things are beyond its control. Judging by the fact that the aforementioned cruise is pretty much sold out, it appears that many people still believe it's safe enough to embark for such a cruise. Or, mayby, most of those people are just waiting for the final payment date of June 15th to cancel the cruise? 
 
So the question is: 1) Would you proceed with the final (quite substantial) payment and hope for the best or 2) Cancel the cruise and wait for safer timesAny comments regarding this dilemma are greatly appreciated.
 
 

 

May I suggest deciding on your primary reason for booking another World Cruise - is it primarily to visit the ports on the itinerary, or are you happy enjoying the great life aboard a Viking ship for an extended period, with the ports of call being secondary.

 

Having just completed the 2nd half of the 2019/20 World Cruise, I would say we had 2 fairly distinct groups, many who enjoyed the great shipboard life and others that did not enjoy the sea days. We had already visited most of the ports, some of them multiple times, so while disappointed, we still had a positive experience.

 

Therefore, if the itinerary is important, I would seriously consider whether I wanted to continue, but if you are flexible and enjoy the shipboard life, I would proceed embarking on the 2021 version of the Magical Mystery Tour. 

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We are booked on two segments - the first, Miami to LA (with transatlantic Lisbon to Miami before it), and the last, Venice to London.  As we are in the UK, our final payment isn't due until September, by which time I think it will be clearer whether a World Cruise or a segment of one is feasible.  At the moment, if I was in your situation, I'd be cancelling!  Better times are ahead, I hope, but not anytime soon.

 

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On 5/1/2020 at 7:58 PM, Danilov said:

 

...Judging by the fact that the aforementioned cruise is pretty much sold out, it appears that many people still believe it's safe enough to embark for such a cruise. Or, mayby, most of those people are just waiting for the final payment date of June 15th to cancel the cruise? 
 

I just looked at the first segment - Miami/LA - and there is a lot of availability, though the full World Cruise is showing very few rooms available.  Not sure that this helps your decision, but thought it was interesting!

Edited by Jammy Bun
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We have a Jan 2021 Aus/NZ cruise booked.  It is our first Viking Ocean cruise and we are so looking forward to it.

 

Unfortunately, unless a miracle vaccine or cure arises before our June 2020 final payment, we are cancelling.  We just had our first Oceania Med cruise cancelled by O and still have not received the refund we requested.

 

Don't want to put good money after bad.  I can only imagine how much $$ a world cruise is.  I just prefer my money in my hands.  We can always rebook when the time comes.

 

Just my point of view.  Good luck with your decision!

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On 5/1/2020 at 2:58 PM, Danilov said:

So the question is: 1) Would you proceed with the final (quite substantial) payment and hope for the best or 2) Cancel the cruise and wait for safer timesAny comments regarding this dilemma are greatly appreciated.

 

Hard decision for you and others. Here are a few of the things that I’d be considering (they are coloured by my personal assumptions). Hope they help:

1)    If we are not back to cruising at all by December, one would normally think “ok, I’ll get my refund”. However, if the industry is offline that long, I suspect there will be significant financial difficulties for many companies, and potential inability or refusal to refund fares. Viking, while private, still has major institutional investors, and is not immune.
 

2)    The availability of cancellation / interruption insurance appears very much in flux – with many providers altering their stance to exempt Covid-19 or country closures. I would be taking a look at what the latest coverages are, to see if I would be covered if sick, or refunded in case of a default (my guess is unlikely, so I’d be on my own).
 

3)      I find it hard to fathom that the Coronavirus will have vanished by December, or that we’ll have a functional, available vaccine that soon. So, I’d be asking myself what level of personal risk I’d be comfortable with regarding getting sick. In truth, I think we’ll have had to re-open many aspects of our economies by then no matter what, so there may be little additional risk in a cruise at that point.
 

4)    Heidi13 covered the issue of itinerary very well. Especially on a world cruise which by definition goes to may different locales, I would assess the chance that there will be significant itinerary changes as quite high. We also love the sea days, and this would be a lower level issue for us, but it’s a question of how much you value seeing the scheduled ports. As prior world cruisers this may be of less import to you, especially if there are repeat ports.
 

5)    My largest concern would be an outbreak on the ship. Through a combination of superior management processes, outstanding customer service and some luck, Viking stayed infection-free and was able to disembark pax and ensure their return home, albeit often not where originally expected 😁. However, the refusal of many countries to allow a vessel with infection on board to dock, or require extended delay, could turn an adventure into a nightmare almost instantly. The experiences of Princess and HAL would warrant careful thought.

We were lucky enough to be on Sun for the 2019 Bergen to Montreal trip, well before the storm; have had our summer Midnight Sun trip cancelled (took the enhanced credit); and are desperately hoping that our April 2021 Far East and Alaska will be a go.

 

If you have not done so, I strongly recommend you spend some time on Heidi13’s blog and read their comments on the recent world voyage ( https://andyandjudi.com/ ) – it is loaded with useful information, and provided a real-time view of what it was like to be ‘in the storm’. 

Edited by CurlerRob
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CurlerRob - Great analysis. World cruises need special attention due to the large amount of money needed to be paid in advance. But I have a different take for those of us who book 1 - 2 week cruises. There are 2 principles that guide me - and I hope I’m right. First, I truly believe Viking will survive for reasons stated elsewhere on CC boards. Second, if Viking doesn’t cancel, we’re going. There may be some inconveniences, but I believe Viking won’t sail unless it meets a good standard of safety. My wife and I recently turned 70, and we don’t want to wait longer than what Viking thinks is necessary because who knows if other health issues might develop that preclude any cruising.

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2 hours ago, bbtondo said:

We have a Jan 2021 Aus/NZ cruise booked.  It is our first Viking Ocean cruise and we are so looking forward to it.

 

Unfortunately, unless a miracle vaccine or cure arises before our June 2020 final payment, we are cancelling.  We just had our first Oceania Med cruise cancelled by O and still have not received the refund we requested.

 

Don't want to put good money after bad.  I can only imagine how much $$ a world cruise is.  I just prefer my money in my hands.  We can always rebook when the time comes.

 

Just my point of view.  Good luck with your decision!


bbtondo, just wanted to throw something out there, it may/may not be a consideration for your upcoming cruise.  If you DO make the final payment in June and the virus is still unresolved, as long as you cancel 120+ prior to your departure you would be eligible for a full refund less a $100 per person penalty.  As I’m sure you know, after the 120 days out the penalties become steeper so maybe it’s something to check into and think about.

 

We had a July 2020 Viking ocean cruise PIF however in late March we decided to pull the plug (at about 125 days out) and canceled 3.23.  We received our refund back to our credit card by 4.13, less the $100 pp but Viking applied that to a FCV so essentially we’re not out anything, even if we had lost the $200 it was worth it to us.  
 

just a thought.

 

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22 minutes ago, suspaul said:


bbtondo, just wanted to throw something out there, it may/may not be a consideration for your upcoming cruise.  If you DO make the final payment in June and the virus is still unresolved, as long as you cancel 120+ prior to your departure you would be eligible for a full refund less a $100 per person penalty.  As I’m sure you know, after the 120 days out the penalties become steeper so maybe it’s something to check into and think about.

 

We had a July 2020 Viking ocean cruise PIF however in late March we decided to pull the plug (at about 125 days out) and canceled 3.23.  We received our refund back to our credit card by 4.13, less the $100 pp but Viking applied that to a FCV so essentially we’re not out anything, even if we had lost the $200 it was worth it to us.  
 

just a thought.

 

Thanks for the idea!  This is my first Viking Ocean cruise and I wasn't thinking about the 120 days for a full refund when cancelling.  I'll have to think about that.  There are more couples joining us and it's a big decisions for everyone.

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24 minutes ago, suspaul said:


bbtondo, just wanted to throw something out there, it may/may not be a consideration for your upcoming cruise.  If you DO make the final payment in June and the virus is still unresolved, as long as you cancel 120+ prior to your departure you would be eligible for a full refund less a $100 per person penalty.  As I’m sure you know, after the 120 days out the penalties become steeper so maybe it’s something to check into and think about.

 

We had a July 2020 Viking ocean cruise PIF however in late March we decided to pull the plug (at about 125 days out) and canceled 3.23.  We received our refund back to our credit card by 4.13, less the $100 pp but Viking applied that to a FCV so essentially we’re not out anything, even if we had lost the $200 it was worth it to us.  
 

just a thought.

 

Thanks for the info, but the cancelation penalty of $100/per doesn’t apply to world cruises.  For a WC, the penalty is $1000/per + the cost of the insurance which is much dearer.

We’re still looking as further cruise credit as a mitigation.

Mad

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6 hours ago, Squawkman said:

CurlerRob - Great analysis. World cruises need special attention due to the large amount of money needed to be paid in advance. But I have a different take for those of us who book 1 - 2 week cruises. There are 2 principles that guide me - and I hope I’m right. First, I truly believe Viking will survive for reasons stated elsewhere on CC boards. Second, if Viking doesn’t cancel, we’re going. There may be some inconveniences, but I believe Viking won’t sail unless it meets a good standard of safety. My wife and I recently turned 70, and we don’t want to wait longer than what Viking thinks is necessary because who knows if other health issues might develop that preclude any cruising.

 

Absolutely valid points Squawkman - the one about 'do it now, may not be possible later' resonates with us as well. Your post reminded me to pay more attention to last minute opportunities - not necessarily cheaper, or perfectly suited, but at least the chance to have a much clearer view of the near term - thank you!

 

Having only discovered Viking in 2019, after many years with HAL, I too really hope they can persevere - we would like to sail a lot with them! Cheers.

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1 hour ago, CurlerRob said:

 

Having only discovered Viking in 2019, after many years with HAL, I too really hope they can persevere - we would like to sail a lot with them! Cheers.


I never cruised until 2015 when we went with friends on a Viking river cruise. My wife and I were previously widowed, and we’ve been married 10 years. She has had extensive cruise experience and thought we should try a big boat cruise as in 2016 it had been over 10 years since she had been on one. So we did a Princess cruise. Never again. From then on, only Viking (ocean and river). We have 5 cruises booked between November, 2020 and April, 2022. 

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Thanks a lot everybody for the comments. It seems like a consensus is that it's too dangerous to go unless a miracle vaccine or cure comes from somewhere. Unfortunately, it confirms my assessment.

 

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Thank you everyone for the information. I would also like to comment. My wife and I are booked on the 140 day LA to London segment. It appears that the final payment on June 15th is standard for everyone. As of now, Viking has cancelled all sailing up to June 30th. I do not think that Viking would put their staff and passengers at increased risk of contracting the virus by making stops  at numerous ports around the world on this extended sailing. It is our opinion that the cruise will be postponed until Viking decides that it is safe for all. That will not be, at least, until the next world cruise sailing season in Jan 2022. We will pay our final payment on June 15 and hope that the trip will be postponed until at least that date. Based on current Viking cancellation information, Viking will  either, give a refund up to 48 hrs before any cruise and get a full refund OR a 125% credit for a future cruise. Considering the initial cost of a 140 day cruise, that extra 25% is substantial. We will take the credit if and when it becomes available and book the same stateroom on the next available world cruise. We are hoping that the $10K for travel insurance will be carried over.

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  • 1 month later...

Reviving this thread!  I'd be really interested to know if any of you cancelled when your final payment date was due.  

There seems to be a lot more availability on the whole World Cruise now, and  also on the Miami-LA leg that we're booked on to.   As we're in the UK our final payment is in September.

 

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37 minutes ago, Jammy Bun said:

Reviving this thread!  I'd be really interested to know if any of you cancelled when your final payment date was due.  

There seems to be a lot more availability on the whole World Cruise now, and  also on the Miami-LA leg that we're booked on to.   As we're in the UK our final payment is in September.

 

Hello Jammy

    We World Discoveries Cruiser, sailing the LA to Greenwich, have been informed that our final payment due date  of June 15th. 2020 has been moved forward to July 31st. 2020.

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44 minutes ago, Jammy Bun said:

Reviving this thread!  I'd be really interested to know if any of you cancelled when your final payment date was due.  

There seems to be a lot more availability on the whole World Cruise now, and  also on the Miami-LA leg that we're booked on to.   As we're in the UK our final payment is in September.

 

By the way Jammy, there is a thread more specific to your leg of the cruise @ the following location. Cheers.

Viking SUN Roll Call - Dec 14, 2020 to Jan 4, 2021-Jan 4, Miami to LA (Panama Canal) 

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51 minutes ago, brianvicars said:

Hello Jammy

    We World Discoveries Cruiser, sailing the LA to Greenwich, have been informed that our final payment due date  of June 15th. 2020 has been moved forward to July 31st. 2020.

Thanks for that information, and your other reply - I'll check out the link now. 

 

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