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VIKING SUN joins new Chinese company in 2021


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21 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

The Chinese are desperate to claw cruise ship construction away from Europe.

 

Having been subjected to the quality, or more specifically the lack of quality, of their manufacturing, we often placed comments on safety equipment purchase orders that it could not be China made.

 

Personally, I have never worked on a China built ship and have no desire to change.

The Chinese manufacture some of the highest quality products in the world. But only if the company ordering it specs it that way. They build exactly to specifications. Don’t specify and you will get the cheapest possible version. Pot metal instead of stainless, thinnest possible wiring, the cheapest. The problem is knowing who did the specs and how complete they did them. 

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21 hours ago, ronrythm said:

The Chinese manufacture some of the highest quality products in the world. But only if the company ordering it specs it that way. They build exactly to specifications. Don’t specify and you will get the cheapest possible version. Pot metal instead of stainless, thinnest possible wiring, the cheapest. The problem is knowing who did the specs and how complete they did them. 

 

Certainly wasn't my experience. Even when we used Internationally accepted standards in the specs, we often received poor quality.

 

Best one I recall was an order of Grade 8 bolts for use in machinery, which had nowhere close to the required strength. Metallurgist determined the metal wasn't as specified for that standard of fastener.

 

When dealing with Chinese parts, in my experience, at least in the marine industry, you get what you pay for more than what you specify. 

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2 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Certainly wasn't my experience. Even when we used Internationally accepted standards in the specs, we often received poor quality.

 

Best one I recall was an order of Grade 8 bolts for use in machinery, which had nowhere close to the required strength. Metallurgist determined the metal wasn't as specified for that standard of fastener.

 

When dealing with Chinese parts, in my experience, at least in the marine industry, you get what you pay for more than what you specify. 

We have the same problem with Korean made equipment.  All of our valves are JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard), but the valves will last about 2-3 years before they leak by.  And, the Chinese and Koreans are the only ones who make JIS valves these days.

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I am with Andy and the Chief.  We would order in bulk stainless steel wood screws, machine bolts, and other fasteners.  Pass a magnet over them and at least 10% to 15% were ferrous.  Real junk.  And don't even get me started on diesel engine water pump impellers.......😱

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12 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

I am with Andy and the Chief.  We would order in bulk stainless steel wood screws, machine bolts, and other fasteners.  Pass a magnet over them and at least 10% to 15% were ferrous.  Real junk.  And don't even get me started on diesel engine water pump impellers.......😱

 

Jim - how about lead paint, I haven't used lead paint since I was a cadet in the 70's. We called it Red Lead back in those days, but fortunately it is long gone. However, the Chinese yards still use it and you have to test the coatings to ensure the paint is as specified.

 

Not too many years ago they used lead paint on kids toys. 

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27 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Jim - how about lead paint, I haven't used lead paint since I was a cadet in the 70's. We called it Red Lead back in those days, but fortunately it is long gone. However, the Chinese yards still use it and you have to test the coatings to ensure the paint is as specified.

 

Not too many years ago they used lead paint on kids toys. 

And, asbestos.  While they can claim to be "asbestos free", but Chinese materials used in shipbuilding have been found to contain as much as 15% asbestos.  China has no standard for level of asbestos to be considered "asbestos free".

Edited by chengkp75
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27 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Jim - how about lead paint, I haven't used lead paint since I was a cadet in the 70's. We called it Red Lead back in those days, but fortunately it is long gone. However, the Chinese yards still use it and you have to test the coatings to ensure the paint is as specified.

 

Not too many years ago they used lead paint on kids toys. 

Haha, all my toys had lead paint.  As you know, hasn't bothered me a bit.....a bit......a bit......😳

Good ole Red Lead.  In my early days in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Patch, Red Lead also referred to Tabasco Sauce.  The red lead bottom paint was cheap (compared to the exorbitant price of bottom paint today) and the local Captains in NW Florida dosed each gallon with a bunch of cayenne pepper.  Swore it kept the Teredos out of their wood hulls.   Back to the present, testing modern coatings is a science.  Amazing what can be hidden beneath a nice topcoat.  

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Unfortunate SELL OUT to China.  Viking needed the $$$$ after their marketing strategy of having passengers pay in full two years before cruise was not enough to "stay afloat" due to their over aggressive worldwide expansion.  Time to switch brands?

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5 hours ago, CincyAL said:

Unfortunate SELL OUT to China.  Viking needed the $$$$ after their marketing strategy of having passengers pay in full two years before cruise was not enough to "stay afloat" due to their over aggressive worldwide expansion.  Time to switch brands?

Not really following the "sell out" thought.  It is one, possibly a couple of vessels that will be transferred to the joint venture, not the entire fleet.  And financing is just money, the ships are not built, maintained, or operated differently just because they are financed by Chinese interests.  Now, any ship that is reflagged to China is a different story, but that still only applies to the ships of the joint venture.

 

And, since the Chinese cabotage laws require Chinese ownership as well as Chinese flag for coastwise trade, the only way Viking could have gotten into this trade was to joint venture with a Chinese firm.

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5 hours ago, CincyAL said:

Unfortunate SELL OUT to China.  Viking needed the $$$$ after their marketing strategy of having passengers pay in full two years before cruise was not enough to "stay afloat" due to their over aggressive worldwide expansion.  Time to switch brands?

 

Similar to the Chief, I am having difficulty comprehending how this could be deemed as a "Sell Out", especially when considering the timing of this initiative and other recent re-financing initiatives. Viking just announced new financing from Canada Pension Plan and another outfit.

 

The Joint Venture (JV) had an MoU signed in April 2019, which means that discussions probably started in 2017/18, possibly prior to Viking arranging Chinese financing for the Sun & Orion. Although cruising in China is an emerging market, it is most likely to be one of the fastest growing markets in the short/medium term.

 

Viking has 10 new ships planned by 2027, which is a highly aggressive expansion. With China being an emerging market, I am not surprised that Viking have factored this into their tonnage requirements in the short/medium term. Some years have 2 ships scheduled, so possibly those years have 1 ship destined for VO and the other for the JV.

 

As the Chief mentioned, China cabotage laws, require China Flagged ships for engaging in Coastwise trade. Therefore, the only option Viking had to enter this market was forming a JV with Chinese interests.

 

This is similar to the model developed by Viking for the Mississippi River cruises. 

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Excellent points Andy, especially about the Mississippi River cruise line.  Owned and operated totally differently from the VO fleet.  And I view it as a good move to mitigate some of the massive cash burn laid up ships consume.  If Viking is to survive in any similarity to what we all love about Viking, they will need to take whatever steps necessary to make it.  How about Carnival Corp issuing approx. $2Bil in unsecured notes?  How's that for creative?🍸

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We're booked on one of the impacted sailings (British Isles, August 22, 2021). I online chatted with an agent who basically said "yes, we know about the new arrangement for the Viking Sun, but don't know anything about your sailing ... wait for an email from Customer Service". I wonder how long we'll have to wait???!!!

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  • 2 months later...

Unfortunately I wasn't on Cruise Critic to see and hear about the Viking Sun being handed over to China. We  were also scheduled for the August 22nd, British Isles Cruise. This was to be our second Viking cruise, but our first a Danube river cruise  for August of 2021 was canceled due to COVID. we were so looking forward to the upcoming Ocean cruise on the Viking Sun. We made our final $5000.00 payment on February 11 and just seven days later we received the letter for Viking stating that the cruise was canceled. I'm furious with Viking for accepting a final payment, when it had to be known that they wouldn't be sailing. We still have a voucher left over from the river cruise cancelation, which we will attempt to use since many of the choice cruises for 2022 are already booked. Whatever cruise we schedule will be our last on VIKING due to how we have been treated! 

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21 minutes ago, philbarb87 said:

We made our final $5000.00 payment on February 11 and just seven days later we received the letter for Viking stating that the cruise was canceled. I'm furious with Viking for accepting a final payment, when it had to be known that they wouldn't be sailing.

 

I am assuming that they offered you a full cash refund when they cancelled your cruise?

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