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SM77

BEWARE - Viking 125% FCV for Viking Canceled Cruise

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Wow, I just checked a future river cruise that we booked in March 2020 as part of the wave of guaranteed cancellation policy bookings and saw that we had our FVCs applied from the 2020 April cruise that was canceled by Viking.   We had received the FVCs in April 2020.  When I called Viking, they said that they 'automatically' applied the FCV to any outstanding booking that was not paid in full and that it could not be removed.  Our FCV is over 10K pp and this Ukraine river cruise is less than $5300 pp.  There is nothing on the voucher saying that it would be automatically applied to an existing booking.  In fact we had another booking for Southeast Asia in April 2021 that we were planning to use the vouchers but decided to cancel that cruise instead.  Viking said that they had notified our Travel Agency(and not us?) and we didn't get anything from the TA so I will call the TA tomorrow.  We want the voucher to be removed since we already have a credit from the TA that will go to Viking to pay for the cruise so our balance to Viking is about $3500 pp.  I sent a message to Tellus to see if the voucher can be removed.  I will call Customer Relations as well.  Just be aware that if you have any existing bookings without final payment, Viking is applying any outstanding FVC automatically.  Check MYVikingJourney.  I am so disappointed w/ Viking on this.  If I had known this, we would have paid the Ukraine trip in full immediately since they wanted payment by June 30, 2020 or requested a refund for the canceled April 2020 cruise instead of taking the 125% FCV with the understanding if we didn't use it, we would get back what we paid Viking initially.  We were trying to be good customers and be supportive.  This is so unlike Viking.  I will update on what happens.

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Update - Voucher was removed from the booking by Viking Customer Relations.   I spoke to them this morning, it was not a problem to remove the voucher and reissue the Guest Statement.  We will get an email reactivating the FCVs to be used on a future booking.  The person at Viking Customer Relations said there is no 'automatic' applying of the FCVs to bookings that have not made final payment.  Apparently, some spreadsheet was created and all those individuals w/ FCVs had the FCVs applied to current bookings that had not made final payment.   He had seen this before by other Viking customers so it was not new to him.  He was very reassuring and took care of it.   He reissued the Guest Statement w/o the vouchers being applied.   Calling the regular Viking reservations line yesterday is a waste.  The supervisor that I spoke to said that Customer Relations could not remove the voucher and that I was 'stuck'  with the voucher being applied to this Ukraine river cruise booking.  So glad that it is resolved.  Even if you have a booking that is 15 months out, make sure you check MyVikingJourney to  ensure that your booking is correctly done.  Kudos to Guy McCarthy of Viking Customer Relations in being responsive and customer focused.

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Glad it worked out for you.

I have always felt that the "service" you received before boarding can be anywhere from poor to very poor.

They seem only to be trained to "keep calm and carry on".

You have to be persistent or very lucky to have a problem resolved.

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3 minutes ago, MikeyB said:

Glad it worked out for you.

I have always felt that the "service" you received before boarding can be anywhere from poor to very poor.

They seem only to be trained to "keep calm and carry on".

You have to be persistent or very lucky to have a problem resolved.

Generally, I have had good to excellent interactions w/ Viking Air Plus, Tellus@Vikingcruises.com, and most definitely from Viking Customer Relations.  I usually do not interact w/ staff that answer the 'regular' 800 number since I book through a TA.  I think my issue was resolved by Customer Relations quickly since this person had already encountered this issue w/ others and Viking Customer Relations is focused on customer service.  Dealing w/ the supervisor from reservations, I felt that she really didn't have the experience or authority to address my concerns and should have just said to contact Viking Customer Relations but what she did instead was discount Customer Relations ability to be handle and resolve the issue (which I thought was odd and unprofessional), insisted that the voucher could not be removed from the booking and insisted that this 'automatic' application of FCVs to existing bookings is 'how it is done and cannot be undone'. 

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So, you can teach an old horse (me) new tricks...

Three questions...

1-If you book thru a TA, are you allowed to contact Air Plus directly to book your flights?  I thought if you booked thru a TA, everything must be handled by the TA.

2- What is the telephone number of customer relations?  I generally talk to the folks at the extension of already booked passengers.  And they are not extremely helpful.  If you question anything a second time, they tell you that your TA must call and ask the same question.

3-If you book directly with a TA, do they have the ability to tell you immediately which cabins are available?  Vikings website lacks that ability.

I am having a similar problem with FCV.  I am having my TA handle this with Viking. 

Thanks.

 

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1 minute ago, MikeyB said:

So, you can teach an old horse (me) new tricks...

Three questions...

1-If you book thru a TA, are you allowed to contact Air Plus directly to book your flights?  I thought if you booked thru a TA, everything must be handled by the TA.

Usually my TA will conference in the Viking Air person so that I can talk to the Viking Air person directly to get the flights & seating that I want.  Also, when I had a problem w/ AA canceling flights back from Bali Indonesia (via email and telling me to contact my TA) - I was able to email my TA & then she emailed me the Viking Air person's email so I could OK whatever alternative arrangements were being made directly(w/ a 15 hour time difference in doing these emails) - You are not suppose to directly interact w/ Viking Air but I usually find that Viking Air will be flexible depending on the situation.

1 minute ago, MikeyB said:

2- What is the telephone number of customer relations?  I generally talk to the folks at the extension of already booked passengers.  And they are not extremely helpful.  If you question anything a second time, they tell you that your TA must call and ask the same question.

Viking Customer Relations - 1-877-523-0579, available 6 AM - 6PM, M - F, Pacific Time, Sat-Sun 7:30 - 4 PM PT the phone & hours is listed under the Tab for 'Updates on Current Sailings' under the tab 'My Trip'

I usually only call the reservations number for very general questions. I find it helpful to email: Tellus@Vikingcruises.com for specific questions related to a particular cruise, logistics, etc.  I give them my booking number.  Sometimes Tellus may not be able to be specific but once we are on the cruise, the concern that I had will be addressed.  For example, I asked whether a bus or shuttle from the Sydney White Bay Cruise Terminal be available (since the terminal was not close to the main port area of Sydney) - Tellus said no, but when we did the cruise, Viking made arrangements for a free water taxi to go between the White Bay Cruise Terminal & Circular Quay.  I call Customer Relations for specific serious issues (like the voucher being applied to booking and I had not asked it to be applied).

1 minute ago, MikeyB said:

3-If you book directly with a TA, do they have the ability to tell you immediately which cabins are available?  Vikings website lacks that ability.

The TA should be able to find out from Viking what cabins are available.  I agree, the website only shows a limited number, I may ask for a particular cabin to see if it is available, generally though, I get whatever is assigned by Viking for that category.  

I am having a similar problem with FCV.  I am having my TA handle this with Viking. 

Thanks.

 

Not to make excuses for Viking but this massive pandemic has upended everything.  After this recent experience, I have had really great response from Viking (except for yesterday's conversation w/ this supervisor on the reservations line).  And if you read many of the postings on Viking Ocean, you will see how Viking has handled a lot of difficult situations that arose for folks cruising during the immediate halting of cruises (read Andy's posting of the World Cruise).  We love sailing w/ Viking and have sailed on Crystal & Oceania as well.  However for us, Viking goes the extra mile in making sure our travel experience is easy and seamless. 

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, MikeyB said:

1-If you book thru a TA, are you allowed to contact Air Plus directly to book your flights?  I thought if you booked thru a TA, everything must be handled by the TA.

 

3-If you book directly with a TA, do they have the ability to tell you immediately which cabins are available?  Vikings website lacks that ability.

I am having a similar problem with FCV.  I am having my TA handle this with Viking. 

 

1... Yes, our air was booked on a three-way call with my TA and Viking.  However, when my FlightView app indicated one of the flights could not be found, I called Viking directly and we consulted on rebooking the flights.

 

3... I work with a high-volume agency and although cabin availability is available on their computers for most cruise lines, it doesn't seem to be the case with Viking.  I believe they need to contact Viking for cabin availability.

 

Although most cruise lines will not speak with you if you're working with a TA, I like the way Viking handles it.  I've called to switch cabins when a better location has become available.  Why bother my TA?

 

We book all of our own travel...except cruises.  A good TA is worth her weight in gold if there's ever an issue.

Edited by -Lew-

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45 minutes ago, -Lew- said:

 

1... Yes, our air was booked on a three-way call with my TA and Viking.  However, when my FlightView app indicated one of the flights could not be found, I called Viking directly and we consulted on rebooking the flights.

 

3... I work with a high-volume agency and although cabin availability is available on their computers for most cruise lines, it doesn't seem to be the case with Viking.  I believe they need to contact Viking for cabin availability.

 

Although most cruise lines will not speak with you if you're working with a TA, I like the way Viking handles it.  I've called to switch cabins when a better location has become available.  Why bother my TA?

 

We book all of our own travel...except cruises.  A good TA is worth her weight in gold if there's ever an issue.

Confused.  How do you know when a better cabin becomes available on Viking?

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2 hours ago, MikeyB said:

 

3-If you book directly with a TA, do they have the ability to tell you immediately which cabins are available?  Vikings website lacks that ability.

I am having a similar problem with FCV.  I am having my TA handle this with Viking. 

Thanks.

 

 

 

TAs can see available staterooms on the TA Viking website. 

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Maybe yours can.  I subsequently asked my agent.  She cannot view availability of individual cabins.

 

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And as I indicated above, I was having problems with getting a reply to the amount of my FCV.

I had my TA call Viking. MY TA left a message with my Viking agent.

So, guess what my Viking agent does?

Time up.

Answer- She applies the credit to a river cruise I'm taking next year.  Sends a revised guest statement to my TA.

Just one problem....It is already paid in full!  I couldn't make something like that up.

Now my agent has clean this up.

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2 hours ago, philw1776 said:

Confused.  How do you know when a better cabin becomes available on Viking?

 

Good question...

 

I can tell when cabins in the category I'm interested in become available as availability on the website cycles through SOLD OUT, 1 LEFT, 2 LEFT, 3 LEFT, LIMITED AVAILABILITY, and AVAILABLE.  If availability increases I'll give Viking a call to learn the cabin location.  If, in my opinion, the location is better I'll request a cabin change.

 

When we booked a cruise sailing in September 2021 the only cabin available was a DV2 very close to the bow...not our favorite location.  We took it just to get booked, hoping we'd be able to move.  A few weeks later a PV1, a few cabins from the stern became available and we were able to switch.

 

 

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Thank you SM77.  A good man is hard to find. 🙂

I was going to ask you for his extension.  Once Viking reads that his extension is known, I fear for his safety.

However, for now I am going to wait for my TA to get back to me.

After all, the cruise was paid in full.  Should be a pretty easy fix.

But, what do I know.

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10 hours ago, -Lew- said:

 

Good question...

 

I can tell when cabins in the category I'm interested in become available as availability on the website cycles through SOLD OUT, 1 LEFT, 2 LEFT, 3 LEFT, LIMITED AVAILABILITY, and AVAILABLE.  If availability increases I'll give Viking a call to learn the cabin location.  If, in my opinion, the location is better I'll request a cabin change.

 

When we booked a cruise sailing in September 2021 the only cabin available was a DV2 very close to the bow...not our favorite location.  We took it just to get booked, hoping we'd be able to move.  A few weeks later a PV1, a few cabins from the stern became available and we were able to switch.

 

 

When you said "better cabin available" I took it to mean cabin, not cabin category. I'm aware of the website cabin category booking status.

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The availability info on the website is often not accurate. I have had situations both ways (sold out that was available and categories indicating they were available were actually not available). I work directly with the same Viking rep - what he sees is not necessarily what it says on the public website. 

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3 hours ago, philw1776 said:

When you said "better cabin available" I took it to mean cabin, not cabin category. I'm aware of the website cabin category booking status.

 

I wanted a PV1 from the beginning; however, in the case I related that only available cabin, a DV2 #5011, was too far forward.  When I noticed a PV1 available I called Viking immediately.

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21 minutes ago, Squawkman said:

The availability info on the website is often not accurate. I have had situations both ways (sold out that was available and categories indicating they were available were actually not available). I work directly with the same Viking rep - what he sees is not necessarily what it says on the public website. 

 

I've noticed it takes the website 30-60 minutes to update after a cabin is booked or becomes available.  If you call within that timeframe, there might be discrepancies.

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6 minutes ago, -Lew- said:

 

I've noticed it takes the website 30-60 minutes to update after a cabin is booked or becomes available.  If you call within that timeframe, there might be discrepancies.


I don’t think there’s a hard and fast process as there are several variables (cabins held for 2-3 days before deposit and cancellations, possibly for group bookings, maybe Viking holding some cabins). I had one booking recently where the website said 1 left, I booked it, but the website never indicated it was sold out until weeks later.

 

Did you get the PV1 you wanted? BTW, we had a PV1 once - loved it.

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16 hours ago, SM77 said:

I would call Viking Customer Relations - Talk to Guy McCarthy (that's the guy I worked with) ext 8596 - I'm not sure if he's working now since I called him @ 9:00 AM ET today.

 

Home office is in Los Angeles and unless Guy is based elsewhere, it was just too early to find him at his desk.

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13 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Home office is in Los Angeles and unless Guy is based elsewhere, it was just too early to find him at his desk.

Actually Guy is based in Boston, Viking has a call center there but he was working from home - he mentioned that everyone transitioned to working from home starting in March.  

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58 minutes ago, Squawkman said:


I don’t think there’s a hard and fast process as there are several variables (cabins held for 2-3 days before deposit and cancellations, possibly for group bookings, maybe Viking holding some cabins). I had one booking recently where the website said 1 left, I booked it, but the website never indicated it was sold out until weeks later.

 

Did you get the PV1 you wanted? BTW, we had a PV1 once - loved it.

 

You're correct, of course, about there being many variables.  Always best to call to get accurate information.

 

We were fortunate to get a PV1 in a location we prefer.  It's actually the same cabin on the same ship we're booked on this October...both by chance.  Hopefully we'll be able to cruise this fall, but just in case we're making alternate plans.  One of our stops will be the Jersey Shore...it'll be a first for us.

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We often spend a week at the NJ shore in the late spring or early fall. Great times to go as you avoid crowds and expense. Which town(s) are you thinking about?

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1 hour ago, Squawkman said:

We often spend a week at the NJ shore in the late spring or early fall. Great times to go as you avoid crowds and expense. Which town(s) are you thinking about?

 

Thank you for asking.  Having never visited the shore I am in need of advice.

 

The Today Show was on site in Asbury Park and Long Beach Island recently.  Both looked very nice.  I'm open to suggestions as we'll be driving and likely heading further south after spending some time there.

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1 hour ago, -Lew- said:

 

Thank you for asking.  Having never visited the shore I am in need of advice.

 

The Today Show was on site in Asbury Park and Long Beach Island recently.  Both looked very nice.  I'm open to suggestions as we'll be driving and likely heading further south after spending some time there.

 

Used to spend summers in Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island -- but that was a long, long time ago. I google mapped it a few months ago and was mightily surprised to see that our little house remains barely changed in the 45 or so years since my parents sold it. My mother was complaining about the mildew even then, so I can help but wonder what it is like today. 45 years ago, Barnegat Light was a peaceful haven with beautiful beaches (especial at 24th and 25th Streets) at the northern end of Long Beach Island and far from the commercial build-up. No idea what it is like today; maybe on day I will get there and check it out.

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Lew -

 

If you're continuing south, you have a lot of choices. Let me know what you're looking for - quiet seclusion, boardwalks, Atlantic City, quaint B&Bs, etc. Asbury Park has undergone a transformation from run down to upscale with tons of restaurants and night spots that cater mostly to millennials. The Jersey shore is approximately 130 miles - not as much as California, but quite a lot - and, like CA, very varied.

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