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Clay....I seem to recall your description and even pictures of all this from another thread. I don't blame you. Relatives of ours described a somewhat similar situation on a flight where, for whatever reason, a few seats were removed thereby providing far more room than what normally would have been the case. I think what really spoiled me was being in business class for the 10-hour flight from JFK to Buenos Aires. Business class with Argentine Airlines was unusually "cheap" relative to what is typically found on some of the more familiar large airlines. It wasn't just the considerably extra space, but also the special attention shown us from the moment we got our seats, not to mention the quality and amount of food. I recall saying later that it's really not fair what the people in economy DON'T get compared to what we received. I figure at my age I owe it to myself to splurge a bit for long haul. I would consider premium economy again, however, with SAS - especially since it includes lounge access (another thing that spoils you real quick compared to having to listen to all those flight announcements in the gate seating areas). It's so quiet and can just chill out, grab some wine and whatever food they have out. That was the only time we ever booked first or business class and only the 2nd time we've ever done it. The first was a totally  unexpected upgrade to business from economy for a flight from San Juan to PHL. I couldn't believe it when we got our boarding passes with a single digit seat number on it! Asked one of the agents who simply said, "oh well, go and enjoy it".  So it's easy to get hooked on it real quick, but the price is a bit tough to swallow especially if you consider it in terms of a flight costing more than a whole cruise. Then again, "can't take it with ya" as the saying goes. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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Completely agree with what you are saying. We typically fly biz on long hauls and the flight from Hong Kong was the first time we hadn’t since the flight from Santiago when I had my Scarlet O’Hara moment, “as god as my witness I will not fly long hail economy again” lol

 

We have made good use of lounge access with Priority Pass which comes with my Chase credit card. It certainly makes long layovers much more tolerable!

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As for the transfers between the airport and the ship, you can buy them separately for $60 pp.  For myself and the hubby, that comes out to $240. I think taxis or a car service in Bergen and Stockholm may cost less.  I know...I'm trying to save a tiny bit of money but it looks like it would be easy.

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On 6/1/2020 at 2:45 PM, Clay Clayton said:

Isn’t planning during a pandemic fun?  LOL

 

Not sure I have the mental fortitude to completely understand the various variables you have laid out to give you any advice.  I was prepared to share with you the two different air fees Viking had last time we used them, but based on what’s shown on this page https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/my-trip/air-services/index.html

it appears they have consolidated what was one fee to be able to request particular flights and a second fee to deviate either dates or airports into a single fee. If so, this is probably good news. 
 

We don’t like flying in the day of a cruise and like being able to have a say in our flights, so we paid $50 for what was called (as I recall) Custom Air. This allowed us to be sure we were flying on American where we were able to upgrade ourselves using points.  We paid another $100 to be able to deviate and fly into San Juan the day before our embarkation and out of Rome 10 days after embarking in Barcelona. Since the air was “free” we felt like the $150 per person was a good value to allow us to spend another $300 pp (Plus 25k points) to fly business.  Like you, the cost from Viking to go from “free air” to business was more than what we could just buy business directly from the airline. 
 

Sorry to run on, basically my info appears to be out of date so now I’m just subscribing to see what others have to say. 

Hi Clay -

We are scheduled to sail on a Viking Cruise in May.

I would very much appreciate your opinion or reaction to our airfare issues. 

 

Like you, we are thinking about using their Air Plus (Custom Air?). We do not have free air; ours costs about $1100 per person to fly economy from NY - Bergen (beginning of cruise) and return to NY from London (end of cruise. 

 

We are also planning on deviations. Instead of flying to Bergen, we will do a 4 day stopover in Iceland on our way to Oslo. From Oslo we will transfer on our own to Bergen to board the ship. The cost of the economy flight will increase by $300 per person for deviation  in additon to $25 or $50 pp to purchase their Air Plus.

 

The apparent big difference in pricing is in the cost of upgrading to Business Class.  

My TA said we could upgrade to Business for about $4K per person or with points, and Viking said they could not provide a quote for the amount of miles until August which would be 10 months out from our return date.

 

Does this make sense to you?  Are there questions I should be asking and I'm just missing the mark, so to speak. 

Thanks

Edited by travelnn
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On 6/1/2020 at 3:54 PM, ptkelley said:

Hi Everyone! We purchased,  thru Viking, air deviation ($100 pp) to go early and stay longer and purchased Viking Air ($50pp) to have flexibility in dates, times, routes, airlines.  We also upgraded to Business. I was told the cost was offset by the complimentary Economy class but I have no way to verify that. The Viking agent told us this was all 100% refundable if we change or cancel before being ticketed (60-90 days out). So, we figure that gives us till October to wait and see. We chose this option because we had a May vacation cancelled and all we got was travel vouchers from the Airline, we don’t want that again, 

right now we are booked LAX thru JFK to Rome. 

Hi - Sorry if I'm missing something but this is all so confusing. Was the upgrade to Business complimentary?

Stay safe and well - hope you are able to the newly scheduled cruise. We also had our May cruise cancelled and re-booked for next May

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On 6/1/2020 at 2:45 PM, Clay Clayton said:

Isn’t planning during a pandemic fun?  LOL

 

Not sure I have the mental fortitude to completely understand the various variables you have laid out to give you any advice.  I was prepared to share with you the two different air fees Viking had last time we used them, but based on what’s shown on this page https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/my-trip/air-services/index.html

it appears they have consolidated what was one fee to be able to request particular flights and a second fee to deviate either dates or airports into a single fee. If so, this is probably good news. 
 

We don’t like flying in the day of a cruise and like being able to have a say in our flights, so we paid $50 for what was called (as I recall) Custom Air. This allowed us to be sure we were flying on American where we were able to upgrade ourselves using points.  We paid another $100 to be able to deviate and fly into San Juan the day before our embarkation and out of Rome 10 days after embarking in Barcelona. Since the air was “free” we felt like the $150 per person was a good value to allow us to spend another $300 pp (Plus 25k points) to fly business.  Like you, the cost from Viking to go from “free air” to business was more than what we could just buy business directly from the airline. 
 

Sorry to run on, basically my info appears to be out of date so now I’m just subscribing to see what others have to say. 

Sorry to be a bother but how were you able to select your own airline to upgrade on your own? I was led to believe that Viking selects the airline. Thanks....

Elaine 

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On 6/2/2020 at 8:42 AM, duquephart said:

Comfort, on Delta at least, is quite a bit better than economy. Supposedly the equivalent of domestic first class. Delta is also retiring it's fleet of 777's in favor of the Airbus 350, a further improvement. Viking air includes transfers which must factor in regarding total cost to at least some degree.

My TA said transfers are not offered if you deviate from the itinerary's ports. Is she mistaken? 

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On 6/1/2020 at 3:54 PM, ptkelley said:

Hi Everyone! We purchased,  thru Viking, air deviation ($100 pp) to go early and stay longer and purchased Viking Air ($50pp) to have flexibility in dates, times, routes, airlines.  We also upgraded to Business. I was told the cost was offset by the complimentary Economy class but I have no way to verify that. The Viking agent told us this was all 100% refundable if we change or cancel before being ticketed (60-90 days out). So, we figure that gives us till October to wait and see. We chose this option because we had a May vacation cancelled and all we got was travel vouchers from the Airline, we don’t want that again, 

right now we are booked LAX thru JFK to Rome. 

I believe I have incomplete information from my TA regarding Viking Air.  She said we could have flexibility in all that you mentioned. However, they will not provide transfers unless you arrive at the scheduled port, and transfers will not be provided for a stopover. Do you know if transfers are supposed to be included?

Thanks-  

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3 hours ago, travelnn said:

My TA said transfers are not offered if you deviate from the itinerary's ports. Is she mistaken? 

 

If you deviate then the transfers are forfeited. On our cruise, we arrived in L/A a couple of days early and made our own way to San Pedro, but Viking graciously offered to pick us up from the hotel.

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3 hours ago, travelnn said:

Sorry to be a bother but how were you able to select your own airline to upgrade on your own? I was led to believe that Viking selects the airline. Thanks....

Elaine 

 

If you don't pay for Air Plus, Viking selects the airline & flights.

 

We paid for Air Plus and provided our TA our preferred flights - Airline and flight numbers. She called Viking Air and had no problem booking our requested flights, with Viking Air even reserving seats.

 

For next year, we again paid for Air Plus. We only have economy flights this time, so will select the airline and have our TA book Biz through Viking Air using our British Airways miles.

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Travelnn

As Andy has said, you don’t get transfers if you deviate and I suspect that the reason he got the ride from his hotel to the ship was because they were World Cruise passengers. We have only gotten transfers when we have not deviated or been on a pre-cruise extension with Viking. 
 

As Andy also stated, with Air Plus you get to have a say in which carrier and flights you want. We have only done this once so I can’t say with any certainty that you always get what you want. But we had free air for our flights from Raleigh to San Juan and from Barcelona back to Raleigh. We paid the $50pp deviation fee to arrive in San Juan a day early (otherwise we likely would have been on a 5:30 am flight😢) and to fly home from Rome ten days (you cannot deviate more than 30 days on each end) after disembarking in Barcelona. We also paid $100pp for what was then called a Custom Air (at least I think it was) but is now Air Plus. I gave our TA our first, second and third choices of flights in each direction and we were pleased that Viking booked our first choice in each direction. As all three choices were on American, we hoped (and were indeed able) to upgrade to First (using some certificates) on the Raleigh/Miami/San Juan legs and with points and cash to biz on the Rome to Philadelphia segment. 
 

Regarding your initial question to me, requesting my thoughts on your current plans and the upgrade costs-I think you need to do some research as soon as the flights become available (most airlines open flights for booking about 330 days before) and confirm that paying Viking for the air is a good deal.  Given It isn’t included in your cruise fare the way it has been for Andy and me and the deviation and AirPlus costs I would want to be sure that I could purchase it directly for the same or less.  If it is cheaper, then You should be able to cancel the Viking Air as it’s my understanding (be sure to confirm before you purchase air directly) that Viking will allow you to cancel with no penalty as long as they haven’t ticketed your flights which typically is 90 or so days beforehand. Again, be sure and confirm this before you purchase independent arrangements. 
 

Hope I answered your questions. If not ask again! LOL

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19 hours ago, travelnn said:

Hi - Sorry if I'm missing something but this is all so confusing. Was the upgrade to Business complimentary?

Stay safe and well - hope you are able to the newly scheduled cruise. We also had our May cruise cancelled and re-booked for next May

 

PT is referring to the same cruise that I'm booked on - the invitational chairman's cruise in January out of Rome. The cost for an upgrade to Business - and probably any other class - if we choose not to use the offered (complimentary) economy class - is on the passengers. He referred to it somewhat being "offset" by the value assigned to the offered economy class, and I was hoping for this as well, but in my discussions with the premier air desk the agent suggested that this is not the case. At this point, I don't foresee going with Viking for the air (IF we even go on this trip. Will it even go as planned...or possibly change of schedule, etc?) since the business class quote I got from Viking is considerably higher than what I can do on my own. I found a way to buy an insurance policy that allows for CAFR so feel comfortable with doing it all that way. Right now, I'm just taking a wait-and-see approach. 

 

What also differs in what I was told compared to PT is the part about getting 100% back in the event of cancellation (this is only if Viking cancels or reschedules the departure). If WE decide not to go, however, and the trip goes as planned, I was told I get back all but $350pp. It's tough to figure out which option works out the best due to so many unknown variables. As Jack correctly mentioned earlier, there seems no way to avoid some level of financial exposure (and potential loss) with so many unknowns. I'll await further word from Viking before doing anything further, unless I see the business class seats start to fill up. There are only a few flight itineraries that really suit me for this trip - one is unfortunately not the close-quarters-nine-people-in-a-row economy that Viking is offering. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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Here's another question that just came to mind (I'm driving myself nuts here with this - it's like trying to nail down a blob of mercury with so much uncertainty surrounding this January trip):  

 

What happens if the Inaugural Venus sailing and the Iberian Explorer cruise immediately afterwards both go as scheduled but WE decide not to go. In that event, what happens to the money I spent on the Iberian trip?  Certainly I'll insure the cost of the trip and any upgraded air purchased on my own, but just wondering. I assume that, if it would not be insured, I lose it? Guess much depends in general on how things progress with the lines restarting and what any new policies (particularly with regards to cancellation) might be by that time. I have so little experience with Viking other than the Sky trip and the aftermath, plus being booked on this Inaugural and Iberian trips. Otherwise I have zero experience with most of their policies, nor with booking air or insurance.  

Edited by OnTheJourney
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Yet another issue - and I posted this on the "Venus Inaugural Cruise" thread:  For those of you who are also doing the Iberian Explorer - have you run into the issue of the two separate booking numbers on MVJ as being combined into one - with the itinerary listed as one cruise (all under the inaugural)? I looked at it today and then chatted with an agent about what happened to the 2nd booking number. First she said I "canceled" the Iberian cruise back in February (no....I didn't) with some agent I never heard of. Then she said something about my booking numbers being "old" so she gave me new numbers but they turned out to be "invalid" when I tried to add them. So I have no idea what's going on. She gave me a number to call to try and straighten it out. 🤨 Hate stuff like this. 

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On 6/5/2020 at 9:45 PM, Heidi13 said:

 

If you don't pay for Air Plus, Viking selects the airline & flights.

 

We paid for Air Plus and provided our TA our preferred flights - Airline and flight numbers. She called Viking Air and had no problem booking our requested flights, with Viking Air even reserving seats.

 

For next year, we again paid for Air Plus. We only have economy flights this time, so will select the airline and have our TA book Biz through Viking Air using our British Airways miles.

That's terrific!

We planned to pay for Air Plus because of our deviations but didn't know I could have my TA do that for me. We had a cruise cancelled in May so I have miles. Was the cost of the upgrade less than paying for a business class flight?

Thanks so much for the information

On 6/6/2020 at 12:50 PM, OnTheJourney said:

 

PT is referring to the same cruise that I'm booked on - the invitational chairman's cruise in January out of Rome. The cost for an upgrade to Business - and probably any other class - if we choose not to use the offered (complimentary) economy class - is on the passengers. He referred to it somewhat being "offset" by the value assigned to the offered economy class, and I was hoping for this as well, but in my discussions with the premier air desk the agent suggested that this is not the case. At this point, I don't foresee going with Viking for the air (IF we even go on this trip. Will it even go as planned...or possibly change of schedule, etc?) since the business class quote I got from Viking is considerably higher than what I can do on my own. I found a way to buy an insurance policy that allows for CAFR so feel comfortable with doing it all that way. Right now, I'm just taking a wait-and-see approach. 

 

What also differs in what I was told compared to PT is the part about getting 100% back in the event of cancellation (this is only if Viking cancels or reschedules the departure). If WE decide not to go, however, and the trip goes as planned, I was told I get back all but $350pp. It's tough to figure out which option works out the best due to so many unknown variables. As Jack correctly mentioned earlier, there seems no way to avoid some level of financial exposure (and potential loss) with so many unknowns. I'll await further word from Viking before doing anything further, unless I see the business class seats start to fill up. There are only a few flight itineraries that really suit me for this trip - one is unfortunately not the close-quarters-nine-people-in-a-row economy that Viking is offering. 

Thanks for your insight and info. Hope you do have the trip happen!

  

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On 6/6/2020 at 10:18 AM, Clay Clayton said:

Travelnn

As Andy has said, you don’t get transfers if you deviate and I suspect that the reason he got the ride from his hotel to the ship was because they were World Cruise passengers. We have only gotten transfers when we have not deviated or been on a pre-cruise extension with Viking. 
 

As Andy also stated, with Air Plus you get to have a say in which carrier and flights you want. We have only done this once so I can’t say with any certainty that you always get what you want. But we had free air for our flights from Raleigh to San Juan and from Barcelona back to Raleigh. We paid the $50pp deviation fee to arrive in San Juan a day early (otherwise we likely would have been on a 5:30 am flight😢) and to fly home from Rome ten days (you cannot deviate more than 30 days on each end) after disembarking in Barcelona. We also paid $100pp for what was then called a Custom Air (at least I think it was) but is now Air Plus. I gave our TA our first, second and third choices of flights in each direction and we were pleased that Viking booked our first choice in each direction. As all three choices were on American, we hoped (and were indeed able) to upgrade to First (using some certificates) on the Raleigh/Miami/San Juan legs and with points and cash to biz on the Rome to Philadelphia segment. 
 

Regarding your initial question to me, requesting my thoughts on your current plans and the upgrade costs-I think you need to do some research as soon as the flights become available (most airlines open flights for booking about 330 days before) and confirm that paying Viking for the air is a good deal.  Given It isn’t included in your cruise fare the way it has been for Andy and me and the deviation and AirPlus costs I would want to be sure that I could purchase it directly for the same or less.  If it is cheaper, then You should be able to cancel the Viking Air as it’s my understanding (be sure to confirm before you purchase air directly) that Viking will allow you to cancel with no penalty as long as they haven’t ticketed your flights which typically is 90 or so days beforehand. Again, be sure and confirm this before you purchase independent arrangements. 
 

Hope I answered your questions. If not ask again! LOL

Thanks - this is really a big help 

 

We will need to get the AirPlus because of the two deviations - one to Iceland, and one to Oslo. The cost of the (economy) flight  is higher if I make a stopover in Iceland. The prices are insane for a one-way ticket. So roundtrip $1199 + deviation $300 is still less than a one-way ticket to Oslo with a stopover in Iceland. Insane!!!

We do have air miles and points so we would like to use them to upgrade.  

 

TA said that Viking can only book round trip air so the earliest date would be about 2 1/2 weeks after the 330 days.   

 

You are so funny - I probably WILL ask again!!! 

Elaine

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9 hours ago, travelnn said:

That's terrific!

We planned to pay for Air Plus because of our deviations but didn't know I could have my TA do that for me. We had a cruise cancelled in May so I have miles. Was the cost of the upgrade less than paying for a business class flight?

Thanks so much for the information

Thanks for your insight and info. Hope you do have the trip happen!

  

 

On our first Viking cruise we had included Bus flights, but next year it is only included economy. The upgrade with Air Plus and BA miles is considerably less than paying cash for the upgrade. When within the 330 day booking window for flights, I will provide our TA with our BA membership numbers and let her work her magic with Viking Air.

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10 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

On our first Viking cruise we had included Bus flights, but next year it is only included economy. The upgrade with Air Plus and BA miles is considerably less than paying cash for the upgrade. When within the 330 day booking window for flights, I will provide our TA with our BA membership numbers and let her work her magic with Viking Air.

Thanks Heidi

If I understand correctly, your TA was able to book to both flights within the 330 day booking window? My understanding from Viking is that they will only book round trip 330 days from the date of the return flight. Is it possible to pay for Viking economy air and have our TA upgrade to biz for the flight going to Oslo with the Iceland deviation 330 days before we leave NY (approximately sometime in July) and then have the TA book the upgrade coming home in August?

Really appreciate your input    

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26 minutes ago, travelnn said:

Thanks Heidi

If I understand correctly, your TA was able to book to both flights within the 330 day booking window? My understanding from Viking is that they will only book round trip 330 days from the date of the return flight. Is it possible to pay for Viking economy air and have our TA upgrade to biz for the flight going to Oslo with the Iceland deviation 330 days before we leave NY (approximately sometime in July) and then have the TA book the upgrade coming home in August?

Really appreciate your input    

 

For the last cruise the flights were included so our TA contacted Viking Air at 330 days to the return flight, booking both at the same time.

 

For next year, since we want to use points, I will request she books the outbound flight shortly after the schedules are posted, as rewards flights are filled quickly. Next year we only have 6 week between departure and return, so shouldn't be an issue.

 

Hope this helps.

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Can anyone for certain tell me how Viking's air policy works with regards to canceling a cruise? I was told by the premier air desk that if I decide not to go on an upcoming cruise, I'd get back all but $350 pp.  Is this accurate information?  I'm assuming deviation and air plus fees are non-refundable?  Trying to decide on whether I want to book my own B-class air (considerably cheaper) or go with Viking. Yet another question is regarding this "Risk Free Guarantee" that is being applied to reservations made up to and including 4/30/20. I understand how the cost of the cruise - if canceled for a non-covered reason - is refunded in the form of a future cruise travel; however; am I correct that air purchased (through Viking) AFTER 4/30/20 would then not be part of this risk-free policy?  Viking would do it one way or the other:  1) include the air cost in with the total value of the cruise that is covered , or 2) refund all but the amount I mentioned above.

It's a far more attractive guarantee if the airfare would indeed become part of the total since then, for future travel, you could either use it for a new air itinerary or apply it to a more expensive room onboard, etc. Any help regarding either of these concerns? Without some definite answers on some of these items it's next to impossible to try and decide how I'm going to approach a scheduled January cruise. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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Clay...great thought. As I mentioned, it was so hard to even understand her. I'll probably call them again and ask for her to send me info via email...and then hope that it's the correct information. I'm starting to think that, given all the uncertainties going forward, it might be best to place most of the details relative to insurance, flights, etc. in Viking's hands since then, if they reschedule or cancel things, it's on them to make allowances accordingly - rather than me having to deal with all of that.

 

Probably the best approach is to choose the option that offers the most security and peace of mind (and protects the money invested) in the case of a possible or even likely decision not to go, rather than looking at what is the most cost effective option under normal circumstances - where, in the case of the invitational cruise - I'd very likely book my own air and insurance, as I usually do, and not give it a second thought.

 

I don't recall ever before thinking about insurance in terms of maybe canceling a trip for a "non-covered" reason. Talk about a strange paradigm shift! 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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14 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

Clay...great thought. As I mentioned, it was so hard to even understand her. I'll probably call them again and ask for her to send me info via email...and then hope that it's the correct information. I'm starting to think that, given all the uncertainties going forward, it might be best to place most of the details relative to insurance, flights, etc. in Viking's hands since then, if they reschedule or cancel things, it's on them to make allowances accordingly - rather than me having to deal with all of that.

 

Probably the best approach is to choose the option that offers the most security and peace of mind (and protects the money invested) in the case of a possible or even likely decision not to go, rather than looking at what is the most cost effective option under normal circumstances - where, in the case of the invitational cruise - I'd very likely book my own air and insurance, as I usually do, and not give it a second thought.

 

I don't recall ever before thinking about insurance in terms of maybe canceling a trip for a "non-covered" reason. Talk about a strange paradigm shift! 

 

In these uncertain times, from a risk perspective, I would be using a single provider for all arrangements, as if it all, or even part of it goes sideways, you will only deal with 1 company.

 

Downside is by shedding risk you will pay more. However, in these times I would definitely forgo my heritage and would accept the premium from a single provider. Have read way too many stories over the past few months of travellers with separate hotel, flights and insurance providers and trying to get money back.

 

The Chairman's invite should be an amazing re-union for all of you that experienced the horrific incident, so I suggest the lower stress option of letting Viking arrange everything, will let you enjoy the pre-cruise and cruise experience. After what you experienced, you certainly are due a stress free experience. Enjoy😀

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