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baronpl

Viking Star cruise to Iceland and Norway mid July should be cancelled

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My family and I have been very excited about our trip to Iceland and Norway aboard the Viking Star.  The trip is scheduled to start in Iceland  on July 18 and finish in Norway July 30th, 2020. The last 5 days are in ports in Norway.  According to publications from Norway and an article in today's cruise critic (https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/5097/), Norway "has extended its border closure through August 20, 2020, restricting the entry of foreign citizens. " At this point in time, Viking Ocean has cancelled all cruises through June 30 due to the COVID pandemic.  Since we cannot stop anywhere in Norway, Viking should go ahead and cancel this trip.  We have called Viking Ocean about this and they are only willing to give us a 50% cash refund and a 50% credit for future sailing since it is more than 50 days prior to sailing.  This will go to 25% cash and 75% credit in 6 days. They are clearly hoping passengers will cancel the trip due to COVID and take the credit for future sailing rather than give a full cash refund to passengers for a cancelled trip.  Does anybody have suggestions on how we can get our full refund now since the cruise which included Norway is clearly not going to take place? 

image.png.aa6e4744a27333a19b7ebc9b2cfedc1a.png

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Welcome to Cruise Critic baronpl!  There are many, many, threads already regarding cancellations and refunds.  Please look around on the forum and view discussions about your questions.  Usually if you want a 100%  refund it's better to wait for the cruise line to cancel.  Good Luck!

 

~Nancy

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Posted (edited)

Since you have decided to cancel rather than wait for Viking to cancel, this is what Viking is offering.

 

Viking does have the right (see the Terms and Conditions on the website) to make any alterations to the itinerary and they could possibly re-route rather than cancel. We are booked for August, having moved from June, and we are waiting to see what Viking decides before we move to cancel.

 

If you wait for Viking to cancel the cruise you will be able to get 100% back in cash or if you opt for a voucher, they have been offering %125.

 

It is a tough decision how to proceed, especially since things seems to change ever day. 

Edited by Peregrina651

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, baronpl said:

My family and I have been very excited about our trip to Iceland and Norway aboard the Viking Star.  The trip is scheduled to start in Iceland  on July 18 and finish in Norway July 30th, 2020. The last 5 days are in ports in Norway.  According to publications from Norway and an article in today's cruise critic (

/), Norway "has extended its border closure through August 20, 2020, restricting the entry of foreign citizens. " At this point in time, Viking Ocean has cancelled all cruises through June 30 due to the COVID pandemic.  Since we cannot stop anywhere in Norway, Viking should go ahead and cancel this trip.  We have called Viking Ocean about this and they are only willing to give us a 50% cash refund and a 50% credit for future sailing since it is more than 50 days prior to sailing.  This will go to 25% cash and 75% credit in 6 days. They are clearly hoping passengers will cancel the trip due to COVID and take the credit for future sailing rather than give a full cash refund to passengers for a cancelled trip.  Does anybody have suggestions on how we can get our full refund now since the cruise which included Norway is clearly not going to take place? 

image.png.aa6e4744a27333a19b7ebc9b2cfedc1a.png

 

Welcome to cruise critic, as i noted this is your first post.

 

The first thing I note from this article is the contradictions, as while the Norway border is closed, Bergen and a number of other Norwegian ports are reportedly open???

 

Viking is also a Norwegian flagged company, so they may have some perks not available to foreign flagged ships. I also note that 5 of the 6 ships are docked in Norwegian Ports. I also know of an Italian/US Doctor that disembarked in Norway, so Viking is obviously able to get some people ashore. The new Doctor was also an Italian.

 

My suggestion is to base your decision on your risk tolerance, taking into consideration Viking's current workload - still trying to repatriate crew, settling refunds and planning to determine which, if any cruises can restart. Where some ports are closed, they may be able to find alternative ports.

 

At present, Viking were the first cruise line to shut down operations for the safety of the crew & pax, at present, they are most likely reviewing every region to determine whether it is safe for any cruises to resume. Not all regions of the World are the same. Example - all Alaska cruises must visit a BC port and we require a 14-day quarantine to enter the Province. In addition, the US/Canada border is also closed, so the largest group of pax could not board in Vancouver.

 

If your risk tolerance is low, the contract you signed outlines the cancellation policy, but if Viking cancels the cruise you will be well looked after.

 

Good luck making a decision.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Heidi13

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Posted (edited)

I appreciate the advice/feedback from everyone.  Virtually all major cruise lines are not planning to resume trips till August 1: Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Oceana, Princess, Regent, Royal Carribean, Seaborn .  I don't know why Viking has not issued a new update extending the cancellation period; especially since those cruises going to Norway are not really feasible to August 20 (I'm am confused how the ports can be open as per Heidi's post when the government says the ships can't dock). It makes it so hard for all of us who have booked with them to plan; especially since we chose Viking because of its stellar reputation as a cruise line....

Edited by baronpl

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The ports being open were included in the Cruise Critic article attached to the first post. While I have no way of verifying the information, I am aware that 5 Viking ships have docked in 3 separate Norwegian Ports, since April.

 

I suspect the delays result from trying to sort out the facts from fiction and also note that things can change significantly in 7 weeks. In the 6 weeks since we disembarked the Viking Sun, our local ICU hospitalisations have reduced from > 70 to only 8 (population 5.1 million) and now we have no active cases in the community. Therefore, even regions with high numbers could have them significantly reduced in 7 weeks.

 

In our experience of being aboard the Sun throughout the pandemic until April 10th, Viking Management walks the talk and they did put the safety of the crew and passengers first. They also don't follow the industry and don't make big decisions in haste. They led the industry by shutting down operations, with our SE Asia experience probably being a driver. They will make a return to operations decision in good time and it will be based on safety, not economics, which I believe is the primary driver for the other cruise lines.

 

When it is safe to resume operations they must also work out getting crew and supplies back aboard, to the locations the ships will deploy to, which is also a challenge. Viking have also continued paying their crew that we meant to be on shift, but are now at home, so they have their crews on retainer. Some of the mass market lines did not pay their crews, so may take longer to re-hire sufficient crew.

 

Viking have also proven that they are comfortable sailing with small pax counts, for example we departed Bali with only about 260 pax, as segment pax were not permitted aboard. When we departed Dubai, we only had 8 pax, so even if some nationalities can't travel, but it is safe to resume operations, you may see them resume operations with low pax counts. 

 

With the mass market Lines, it is less costly to keep the ships laid up than sail with low counts, so their no sail decision based on economics and risk were probably easy to make.

 

Just a few thoughts and considerations on what is not a simple decision.

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We have a 78 day cruise booked with Viking the end of August.  Talked to our travel agent on Friday, and she had attended a Webinar earlier in the week with their Viking rep and he said the next wave of cancellations should be out the first of June.  Your cruise will probably canceled but only you can decide what you are comfortable with.  Since Viking's is allowing cancellation for Future cruise vouchers till 24 hours before the trip, we have decided to wait for them to cancel or we will at the last minute and take the FCV's. 

Vikings policy is similar to the rest of the cruise industry.

 

 

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We had The Holy Land cruise booked for Nov this year. We decided that even if the cruise were to happen we would not feel comfortable traveling. We were able to transfer the booking to 12/22/21 South America cruise and picked up $1500 sbc that is offered currently.

 

Our original payment due was 5/15. The new date is 8/31/20. A long way out but at least after the 7/1 operations resume date.

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We also cancelled our Nov 2020 trip and Viking transferred the booking to a cruise next fall - and the allowed the final payment to be pushed back to 6 months and we received OBC for the difference. 

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48 minutes ago, worldtraveler1234 said:

We had The Holy Land cruise booked for Nov this year. We decided that even if the cruise were to happen we would not feel comfortable traveling. We were able to transfer the booking to 12/22/21 South America cruise and picked up $1500 sbc that is offered currently.

 

Our original payment due was 5/15. The new date is 8/31/20. A long way out but at least after the 7/1 operations resume date.

 

Did they happen to explain to you what SBC is and how it may be used?

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We used about $1200 for the beverage package and prepaid gratuities. This was shown on the original invoice. The remaining $300 showing under profile on MVJ  can be used for excursions when they open or transferred as a  sbc  a week prior to departure.

 

It could be used for any Viking charge but not the cruise price or insurance. The cabin was already discounted $750 pp and the air $400pp plus $400 pp past guest discount. We chose beverages and gratuities, something that we always buy.

Our original deposit and  insurance was transferred using the same booking number.

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Viking may also be evaluating the quarantine rules applicable to staff who have gone home. Recalling crew members from Russia, Moldava, Thailand, etc to board ships in the UK or Norway might require extended quarantines.

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Why should it be cancelled? All these bew regulations are a joke. Whats the point of cruising in the first place if you will be limited in many things (buffet, clubs, casino). I mean I understand that some people just enjoy the sea but most of passengers like to spend their time consuming content on board that involves dozens of people. I hope they will put those new regulations down

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