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Please forgive me if this is already covered elsewhere.

 

I have a cruise booked for summer 2021 that is essentially a rebooking of the same cruise we had planned for summer 2020. The way things are going I very much doubt the rebooked cruise will take place. Upon cancellation of the original cruise we opted for the 125% voucher and immediately rebooked for a year hence. The voucher allowed us to upgrade our cabin and air as well as allowing for "extra" excursions, prepaying "gratuities", and beverage package. Long story short I was also able to negotiate substantial OBC. In other words, we have quite a bit of extra value in the hopper for the rebooked cruise. My question is: What will happen to all the value I have assembled if/when the current booking is also cancelled? Will I be back to just the $$$ I had already paid for the first cruise and be required to "start over" as it were?

Edited by duquephart
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34 minutes ago, duquephart said:

Please forgive me if this is already covered elsewhere.

 

I have a cruise booked for summer 2021 that is essentially a rebooking of the same cruise we had planned for summer 2020. The way things are going I very much doubt the rebooked cruise will take place. Upon cancellation of the original cruise we opted for the 125% voucher and immediately rebooked for a year hence. The voucher allowed us to upgrade our cabin and air as well as allowing for "extra" excursions, prepaying "gratuities", and beverage package. Long story short I was also able to negotiate substantial OBC. In other words, we have quite a bit of extra value in the hopper for the rebooked cruise. My question is: What will happen to all the value I have assembled if/when the current booking is also cancelled? Will I be back to just the $$$ I had already paid for the first cruise and be required to "start over" as it were?

 

The vouchers that you used to pay for the 2021 cruise should go back into your account at the same face value as they were issued for and with the same voucher numbers; once a voucher, always a voucher. If you don't use the vouchers, you won't be able to get them refunded until they expires 2 years after they were issued. 

 

OBC over and above the 125% voucher, I can't say. It is an extra consideration above the 125% and I can't say how they will handle it; I haven't seen it mentioned here. Maybe someone else will be able to shed some light.

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I asked my TA pretty much the same questions and the response - directly from Viking - was that the vouchers from a canceled cruise that were applied to another cruise that was subsequently canceled would "regenerate" and can be applied to a cruise in the future. As for the other items of value, it may depend on your negotiating skills. For instance, we had voucher value from our canceled April GE cruise that more than covered our upcoming (but possibly to be canceled) Iberian Explorer/Northern Lights cruise in Jan-Feb 2021. By means of several inquiries to Viking Social (Tellus@VikingCruises.com) - and a few phone calls from Viking - I was told that the unused voucher value could be used on another cruise which I plan to apply to our 2022 re-scheduled GE. Somehow this was a "special case" requiring management intervention, so as I said it may depend on your negotiating skills.

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2 hours ago, duquephart said:

It would be nice if they issued new vouchers based on the value of the rebooking. Too much to expect I imagine.

I can only speak to what just occurred for us the past days.   We had a June 2020 cruise that Viking cancelled back in April.  We had special OBC's on it, and some good discounts.  We took the 125 % voucher and applied it to the same cruise in summer 2021.   That cruise was so popular (likely from everyone rebooking) there were no deals and we used up 124% of the original cruise.   Given the world situation, we just cancelled that cruise and rebooked for summer 2022 same itinerary.  Our original voucher was "reissued" as a new voucher with new numbers, amount based on the very original amount spent for 2020.

Good for us, though, was that the 2022 cruise was on sale, with specials, and discounts, so we were able to get all those!  Just by moving back one year.   So it works both ways.   We "lost" out the first rebook and got lots back the second rebook.

 

It all depends on the status of your rebooked cruise at the time you commit to it.  It is basically like starting over.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.   We "lost" the first time and "won" the second time.

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2 hours ago, duquephart said:

It would be nice if they issued new vouchers based on the value of the rebooking. Too much to expect I imagine.

 

Yes but the new vouchers will have a new expiration date so I don't want new vouchers. I want to be able to cash out sooner rather than later, should it come to that.

 

9 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

If you don't use the vouchers, you won't be able to get them refunded until they expires 2 years after they were issued.

 

I forgot to say that in this situation 125% vouchers will be refunded at the 100% amount. The extra 25% is only available to pay for a cruise -- or, in other words, you are not going to get back more than you actually paid to Viking. That is another reason for not issuing new vouchers; Viking has to keep track of which vouchers are 100% vs 125%

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41 minutes ago, Cienfuegos said:

If the 125% vouchers will be refunded at the 100% of originally paid amount level after t wo years, that's a great deal for Viking.

 

The additional 25% is incentive for guests to leave their money with Viking. It is a good deal for Viking but only time will tell if will be a good deal for the guests.

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12 hours ago, duquephart said:

I think if the rebooking cancels it will be time to bail.

 

Hard to bail if all you have is vouchers. Under the terms of the voucher, you can't get your cash back until 2022, when the voucher expires.

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2 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Hard to bail if all you have is vouchers. Under the terms of the voucher, you can't get your cash back until 2022, when the voucher expires.

This is a point of great confusion for me. The voucher offers states: 

  • After 24 months, if you are unable to use your 125% Future Cruise Voucher, simply return your expired voucher to Viking and we will send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking to the original form of payment.

What constitutes "unable to use"? Cancelation by Viking? Surely. Unable to find a cruise to your liking? Implied, I think. Wish to cancel a cruise booked with a voucher? Unclear. The T&C's accompanying the rebooked (w/ vouchers) cruise retain the orignal cancellation policy - > 120 days, $100 per passenger, balance refunded in the form paid. So... another voucher only, or the monies we paid for the original cruise?

 

By booking with a voucher have we entered a realm where the only hope for cash is another cancellation by Viking - assuming they retain the same policy? 

 

Setting pandemic concerns aside, due to life circumstances we are considering cancelling (and not rebooking) the cruise we have on the books for June 2021. Would our only option be another voucher?  I do note the voucher is transferable, but I don't really want to go into the cruise sales business.

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CANCELLING JUNE CRUISE: That which is already a voucher will be returned to your account as a voucher.  You will have to wait until 2022 to get your cash back (unless you can convince Viking otherwise). if you have any 125% vouchers, they will be refunded less the 25% bonus.  

 

 

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The 125% voucher applied to a 2022 cruise is a vote of confidence in Viking, but it does have some risk. Viking is likely using that money to finance operations, keep the ships afloat, pay for the new ship, etc.

 

Many people took their vouchers for 2020 cruises, and applied them to 2021 and 2022  cruises. Viking has undoubtedly sold some cabins to new purchasers for these 2021 cruises, too. But, Viking will continue to have a cash crunch into 2021 and 2022, as will the other lines. A significant number of occupied cabins won't produce any new revenue.  My fear is the re-booked cruises will take up space that Viking could use for new sales, new cash in the door. By mid-2021, the cash collected and rolled forward in 2020 will be gone.

 

I'm not predicting anything, and I don't have any inside info. But, this whole game is heavily leveraged, and dependent on a resumption of cruising in early to mid-2021. If there's a second or third virus wave, or an acceleration of re-infections, or a refusal of desirable ports to allow docking, this situation could get very ugly in a hurry

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I am angry at viking as well. I canceled just before they did , and I received my 50 percent refund. Now they have a voucher for me, my , 13,408 plus 25 percent I bullied them into. Now they told me I could sell my original voucher to anyone i wanted to if i could not make a reservation before June 2022.  I will be 72 by then and while I was planning a trip since september, 2018, my husband passed away, I changed the trip. Now they have my money and I have a useless piece of paper. Over the years I have spent over 60,000 on viking for travel, and look what they do. Nothing. They are as scared as we are of covid. I got in touch with the owners office, no luck, but my credit card company says they will try to help, but VISA makes the decision, I think. Have to wait it out. NOT HAPPY.

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6 minutes ago, seven1113 said:

I am angry at viking as well. I canceled just before they did , and I received my 50 percent refund. Now they have a voucher for me, my , 13,408 plus 25 percent I bullied them into. Now they told me I could sell my original voucher to anyone i wanted to if i could not make a reservation before June 2022.  I will be 72 by then and while I was planning a trip since september, 2018, my husband passed away, I changed the trip. Now they have my money and I have a useless piece of paper. Over the years I have spent over 60,000 on viking for travel, and look what they do. Nothing. They are as scared as we are of covid. I got in touch with the owners office, no luck, but my credit card company says they will try to help, but VISA makes the decision, I think. Have to wait it out. NOT HAPPY.

I do feel your pain . . .

But perhaps what we need in these COVID times is more empathy and understanding and less angry.  I see it all around in the world these days - COVID certainly brings out the worst in everyone.  Things are not great to be sure.  Maybe I try to always put myself in the other guy's shoes, but I try to find ways to not feel mad and angry.  It serves little purpose in this crazy world.  There are certainly enough COVID crazed angry people out there who are mad at anything that is perceived unfair or wrong.  Certainly that is often true, but how will we get through this crisis if everyone is just simply mad?

Time to take a deep breath....

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On 10/15/2020 at 11:06 AM, duquephart said:

Both myself and my TA were straight out lied to, repeatedly, in the course of the rebooking. I can assure you that if I opt for a full refund I will get one.

Just curious - on what aspects did the agent mislead you? 

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On 10/15/2020 at 7:52 PM, Cienfuegos said:

The 125% voucher applied to a 2022 cruise is a vote of confidence in Viking, but it does have some risk. Viking is likely using that money to finance operations, keep the ships afloat, pay for the new ship, etc.

 

Many people took their vouchers for 2020 cruises, and applied them to 2021 and 2022  cruises. Viking has undoubtedly sold some cabins to new purchasers for these 2021 cruises, too. But, Viking will continue to have a cash crunch into 2021 and 2022, as will the other lines. A significant number of occupied cabins won't produce any new revenue.  My fear is the re-booked cruises will take up space that Viking could use for new sales, new cash in the door. By mid-2021, the cash collected and rolled forward in 2020 will be gone.

 

I'm not predicting anything, and I don't have any inside info. But, this whole game is heavily leveraged, and dependent on a resumption of cruising in early to mid-2021. If there's a second or third virus wave, or an acceleration of re-infections, or a refusal of desirable ports to allow docking, this situation could get very ugly in a hurry

 

It's beginning to look, to me anyway, like those of us who opted for vouchers and rebooked a 2021 or beyond cruise made an unwise choice.

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5 hours ago, SempreMare said:

Just curious - on what aspects did the agent mislead you? 

 

He (actually they) did not "mislead" me, "mislead" is Viking corporatespeak. He flat out lied to me. I was in the first round of cancellations. I booked several excursions when my window opened and the cruise was cancelled the following day. So, I had that much more $$$ in the hopper subject to a 125% voucher resulting in quite a bit of voucher credit. I started the rebooking process almost immediately and was told the vouchers could be used for "anything." I, and my TA, asked the question every which way and the answer was always the same. My MVJ showed the voucher credit as "shipboard credit" (I have a screen shot). Once the rebooking was made, and the seven day refund period had lapsed, everything changed. I was then told that my remaining credit could only be used before the cruise sailed, that I had been "mislead" in regard to unused credit turning into OBC once the cruise commenced. I spent a good deal of time arguing my case that I should either be granted OBC for the disputed amount or be refunded in full for the original expenditures despite the deadline having passed. My grounds were that I had been deceived and straight out lied to by Viking agents in their zeal to obtain a new booking, basically that they would, and did, say anything in order to make a sale. Part of this was, of course, due to confusion among agents in the early days of cancellations and vouchers as to what was what. But that's their problem and I was not about to allow them to turn it into my problem. Long story short, I prevailed. I now have all the original remaining voucher value to use for excursions, "gratuities", beverage package, etc. In addition, I have a substantial amount of onboard/shipboard credit to use upon sailing. The squeaky wheel, as they say, got the grease. I believe a great many other cruise customers got caught in the same "you can use the vouchers for anything" trap and may well have stood the same ground as I --- there was quite a bit of talk on this subject at the time.

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Let's be honest. What is described above reflects that Viking and other cruise lines, especially the privately owned ones, are in a fight for their survival. Their situation has to be perilous. Three things stand out:

1) Forbes reported on 9/24/2020 that Torstein Hagan's net worth had reportedly dropped 66%. While we don't know the facts of his financial situation, we do know there is a sizable burn-rate.

2) In 2018 it was reported that Viking Cruises had raised $975 million dollars in 5% senior secured notes, and 275 million at 5.875%.  Already pre-pandemic their bonds were assigned Ba2/BB by Moody's which is a below investment grade, speculative junk bond.

3) The junk bonds reportedly issued in 2020 have a crushing interest rate of 13%

 

How will Viking continue to pay staff and meet expenses? Unlike a government, they cannot print money. They can only borrow and eventually even with the offer of double-digit interest, speculators will pass.

 

That said, I still want to believe, with the help of a good insurance policy, that Viking will pull through. It has been a great cruise company with a first-class product.  I hope it survives and is not bought out. They and we are in uncharted waters.

Hoping and waiting for our December 2021 cruise has kept my sanity through the pandemic!

RB

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, SempreMare said:

Many thanks for your detailed explanation @duquephart

 

Do you have any advice for me who might rebook my May - June 2021 British Isles cruise on the Venus?  (final payment date on Dec 2, 2020)

 

I will not sail without a vaccination.

Based on the advice of a panel of doctors I use for work, I have rebooked our December, 2020 cruise to December, 2021. Full Disclosure:  I did not ask about earlier than December because of our work schedules.  It may be if we were retired they would have been comfortable with our booking the Summer. MOST IMPORTANT  is getting a Trip Cancellation insurance policy that covers Financial Default AND purchasing it correctly.

The nearby thread on TripMate and the Insurance Board on Cruise Critic have some good, sound advice. Given what is at stake (a lot of money!), I would deal with Steve at tripnsurancestore.com. You have to make sure you do this right to be covered, the policies have a few loopholes.  For example, you have to buy the cruise from a cruise travel agent.  I hope you get to go. We have now deferred our 65th birthday celebration and will hopefully get to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. We all just have to be patient!

Wear a mask!

RB

 

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@rbslos18I would but...

 

I have my heart set on being at the Dubai World Fair in Dec 2021

https://www.expo2020dubai.com/

 

When I was in Dubai for work and then a week of play, unexpectedly , I had so much fun! 

(confession:  I did not know what to expect - would I be kidnapped?)

 

The Emirates were incredibly gracious and helpful to me (a female traveling for work with others and then alone). 
Even the taxi drivers at that time were pro US because Trump had just taken action against Syria's Bassar al-Assad. 

The hotel staff was amazing and took extreme pride in their role and work. 

 

Every single taxi driver talked about Expo 2020 with such pride.  They want to put on a grand show for the world. 

 

Also - I LOVED the shopping in Dubai.  I haven't been to a mall in the US, pre-covid, in years. 

In Dubai, shopping was so experiential.  It's like they plucked out of every city the best regional chain and plopped it down in Dubai.   

ex:  The best boulangerie in Paris has an outpost in Dubai.  Madam M's from NYC has a store in Dubai

 

I want to be there for 2 weeks.  1 to explore the world fair.  1 to see and shop Dubai again.   This is one of those *truly* once in a lifetime events.

 

Edited by SempreMare
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8 hours ago, Cienfuegos said:

Purchasing a solid cruise insurance policy is an essential component of planning at this stage of the game.

Given the circumstances, using a knowledgeable agent is essential. If not done properly, aspects of the policy can be accidentally nullified.

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