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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Thanks for the clarifications, but having experienced similar situations, I probably have a better understanding of the entire process than most people. As Peregrina explained, I have experienced these situations from both the pax and ship's perspective. I suggest you are only considering the pax perspective and not the implications on the entire ship's clearance and departure process. You may also not have fully read and understood the Terms & Conditions of the Passenger Contract.

 

With respect to Visas, yes I am aware that 2 options for Visas are available in Cambodia, the ship may procure a Visa upon arrival, or each pax is required to procure their own individual Visas. I believe I explained that regardless of whether you procured you own Visa or the ship procured on arrival Visas, you plans would result in delayed ship clearance and possibly also departure.

 

With respect to the cruise documents, I believe the situation is addressed in the Terms & Conditions - specifically in Section 19 and also Section 8. If I reread them in depth, I can probably find others, but these are the 2 main ones I can think of:

  • Section 8 - You are required to obey ship's rules & regulations including the Master's Orders - the gangway board with the "Time Aboard" is not a suggestion, it is a Master's Order. Any pax who have not advised the ship of an intension not to reboard and have made alternate arrangements in any port have contravened this section of the Passenger Contract
  • Section 8 - pax conduct will not impair the ship or inconvenience other pax - by planning independent travel and not returning by all aboard time, the ship's departure can very well be delayed, which is an inconvenience to pax and a cost driver for the cruise line.
  • Section 19 -  Unauthorised stopover or disembarkation or failure to make any sailing of the ship at any port shall be at your sole risk and expense, you may be denied subsequent boarding, and you will not be entitled to any refund, payment, compensation or credit of any kind. 

The other couple that disembarked in Saigon clearly contravened Section 19 by disembarking the ship without authorisation. They are actually lucky that both the ship and local authorities permitted them to reboard the ship. Many cruise lines would have prevented them from re-boarding.

 

When the Terms & Conditions require "Authorisation" for a stopover or unplanned disembarkation, I suggest that advising the cruise line of your independent travel plans is not a "courtesy", but a requirement.

 

I'm a practicing lawyer (40 years and counting); I booked the Southeast Asia trip in question; I corresponded with Viking about our ability to leave the ship and return; and I was Linda's companion on the trip.

 

Viking sent us Terms and Conditions for our cruise. I reread them this morning. Neither Section 8 nor Section 19 makes any reference to a passenger's ability to leave the ship and return mid-cruise. The T&Cs are silent on this issue.  VikingTermsandConditions.pdf

 

The day I booked the trip, I asked the Viking agent whether we could leave the ship en route and return. I reread his response this morning. He wrote, quote: "You guys can leave the ship and come back. This is not an issue."

 

In reliance on what the agent told us, we booked a nonrefundable flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia and a nonrefundable stay at a Siem Reap hotel. Two months later, we made a courtesy call to advise Viking that we wouldn't need a transfer at the end of the cruise (because of our travel plans). Only then were we told that the agent was wrong, and that the Cambodian port authorities had to approve our travel.

 

 

 

Edited by DaveSJ711
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2 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

 

Linda, with his years of experience as a cruise ship officer, we rely on Heidi13 to give us the perspective of the cruise lines. He understands what drives the policies and procedures and can give us the inside view.

 

Also, keep in mind that on Cruise Critic, responses to posts are read by more than just the person with the issue.  While his response may not apply to the specifics of your situation, his reply is instructional and informational for the other people who will be reading his response and it will help others to avoid the problems that you faced.

Actually it wouldn’t, because what we faced was a bumbling, discourteous response from Viking. I submit that the cruise lines also need to have an attitude of courtesy and customer service toward their passengers, which was sorely lacking in our case prior to getting on the ship. Guest Services and management onboard were great, but the corporate agents beforehand were not. So this whole thing is not about needing to understand it from the cruise line’s perspective. What there was was a dysfunctional corporate response.

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12 minutes ago, DaveSJ711 said:

 

I'm a practicing lawyer (40 years and counting); I booked the Southeast Asia trip in question; I corresponded with Viking about our ability to leave the ship and return; and I was Linda's companion on the trip.

 

Viking sent us Terms and Conditions for our cruise. I reread them this morning. Neither Section 8 nor Section 19 makes any reference to a passenger's ability to leave the ship and return mid-cruise. The T&Cs are silent on this issue.  VikingTermsandConditions.pdf

 

The day I booked the trip, I asked the Viking agent whether we could leave the ship en route and return. I reread his response this morning. He wrote, quote: "You guys can leave the ship and come back. This is not an issue."

 

In reliance on what the agent told us, we booked a nonrefundable flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia and a nonrefundable stay at a Siem Reap hotel. Two months later, we made a courtesy call to advise Viking that we wouldn't need a transfer at the end of the cruise (because of our travel plans). Only then were we told that the agent was wrong, and that the Cambodian port authorities had to approve our travel.

 

 

 

My husband Dave further clarifies the issue.

 

Somewhere else in these threads, someone commented about Viking’s somewhat corporate attitude and lack of customer courtesy before getting on a cruise and wondered if they were paying attention to cruise critic posts on the issue. In general, we’ve had great experiences with Viking. But this one pre-cruise experience was difficult and upsetting. Management onboard was great and we felt like valued customers once again.

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3 hours ago, DaveSJ711 said:

 

I'm a practicing lawyer (40 years and counting); I booked the Southeast Asia trip in question; I corresponded with Viking about our ability to leave the ship and return; and I was Linda's companion on the trip.

 

Viking sent us Terms and Conditions for our cruise. I reread them this morning. Neither Section 8 nor Section 19 makes any reference to a passenger's ability to leave the ship and return mid-cruise. The T&Cs are silent on this issue.  VikingTermsandConditions.pdf

 

The day I booked the trip, I asked the Viking agent whether we could leave the ship en route and return. I reread his response this morning. He wrote, quote: "You guys can leave the ship and come back. This is not an issue."

 

In reliance on what the agent told us, we booked a nonrefundable flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia and a nonrefundable stay at a Siem Reap hotel. Two months later, we made a courtesy call to advise Viking that we wouldn't need a transfer at the end of the cruise (because of our travel plans). Only then were we told that the agent was wrong, and that the Cambodian port authorities had to approve our travel.

 

 

 

 

I wanted to follow up on one issue regarding Viking's passenger contract.

 

In his comment above, Heidi13 paraphrased certain terms that didn't appear in Viking's contract for our Asia cruise.  That made me wonder:  Did Viking change the contract at some point after July 2019, when we booked the cruise?

 

The answer is yes. In December 2019, a few weeks after our Asia trip ended, we booked a cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. For this trip, Viking sent us a contract that included the terms Heidi13 paraphrased.  VikingTermsandConditions(REVISED).pdf

 

At some point between July and December, therefore, Viking modified its contract substantially. Those modifications came long after we booked for Asia, and long after the Viking agent told us we could freely leave the ship mid-cruise and return.     

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Hi All - I don’t know if anyone knows anything at this point (Covid and all)...we are booked for British Isles Explorer in August...it may be one of the first “regular” cruises that have not been cancelled.  I look everyday to see what is happening with excursions...we typically enjoy the optional excursions rather than the included and we are anxiously awaiting the descriptions of the excursions...we are 113 days out. 
 

Maybe some folks who have experienced some of the British Isles excursions would talk about the ones they went on and opine on whether or not they can happen in the likely “Viking Bubble”?

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51 minutes ago, Let Me Travel! said:

Maybe some folks who have experienced some of the British Isles excursions would talk about the ones they went on and opine on whether or not they can happen in the likely “Viking Bubble”?

 

That is a really great question and a discussion worthy of its own thread. It is buried here where not enough people may see it, let alone share their experiences.

 

 

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cute dog Let me Travel.  One thought comes to mind. The Beatles Tour in Liverpool.  It would probably be near the same.  It was a coach tour with several stops.  Penny Lane, The Cavern Club, etc. Might not be able to actually go into the Cavern Club as we did but still this tour should be much the same.  Not sure how they will let you visit cathedrals, castles, etc.  Pub visits seem, sadly, not to meet the criteria.  Be sure to let us know how it goes.

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Thanks! The puppy has grown (Lhasa Apso)... I’d be delighted with that tour! It’s my music! I understand that U K will likely open May 17.... maybe after that date we will  hear more! I’d love to get a “regular” Cruise thread started, but....I almost think waiting until 5/17 will be the best thing to do... I’m just antsy....

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

I think we all are. 😉

 

I can't believe how much time I have spent researching the ports for our two cruises that are a year and eighteen months away. Yes, I think we are all antsy!

Edited by lackcreativity
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2 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

I can't believe how much time I have spent researching the ports for our two cruises that are a year and eighteen months away. Yes, I think we are all antsy!

 

Same here. I started the day we booked the next cruise, which was 25 months before boarding. What's worse is at least half the ports are a repeat from 2020.😀

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A couple of things to keep in mind with excursions ( especially the included ones which many times are panoramic)  is that there is a difference between what you "see" on the tour vs what you "visit" on the tour. My advice is that if there is  place that you really want to visit, such as La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona or the Louvre in Paris you need to make sure that your tour focuses more on those and that will have a "visit" there. Generally, an included tour will not do that as a visit to those places takes more time that what is allocated for the included tour. It is not always true, but many times it is .

 

 

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On 4/15/2021 at 10:32 PM, Heidi13 said:

 

Unfortunately, when planning private travel that will have you rejoin a cruise in another country it is NOT a courtesy call you make to the cruise line. This is critical information that must be provided to the cruise line in a reasonable time in advance of the cruise. This is even more critical when Visas are required, especially when they are procured on arrival by the cruise line.

 

 

This is so very true.  A lot of people don't realize the ins and outs of, and the extra work required on the part of the cruise line ,to getting off and then back on a cruise ship in the middle of a voyage ; especially in a foreign country. 

 

There are actually some ports were you can not even do it because there are no options for customs and immigration. This happened to a client of mine who didn't believe me when I said the cruise line would not allow her to get off in one Australian city for 2 days and then get back in another.  She tried it anyway and was denied disembarkation  at that first port.  Everyone has to scan their pass to get on and off,  and if you seemingly miss the ship it can cause delays while they try to figure out where you are  as you mentioned. 

 

Those people that walked off with their backpacks were very inconsiderate of the work that the cruise line had to go thru once they realized that passengers had gotten off that first day but had not gotten back on. They were very lucky that they could re-board.  It is not only  Viking that would give them a hard time getting back on, but every other cruise line would, Oceania included.  

 

@LindaS272 did try to  the right thing by asking Viking at first about getting off and unfortunately, their experience is not uncommon with cruise line sales representatives. Many don't know all the rules and regulations.  I hope that she advised Viking of the agent's name so that he/she would not make the same mistake again. This is one area where an experienced travel agent would have been able to save you a lot of grief and aggravation. 

 

I hope that others will read of their experiences ( and I have read of other ones like this here on CC ) and make sure that they have written authorization from the cruise line ( it comes from an official department, not just a res agent saying that you can do it )  to do something like this even if you are doing the trip in the same country.   You also should advise the cruise line if you want to embark very late on those itineraries that over night in a port , or get off earlier than the stated start of disembarkation time or if your private excursion is getting back very late in an overnight port . Actually, any sort of deviation from the stated dates and times should be addressed with the cruise line .  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, vslparis said:

This is so very true.  A lot of people don't realize the ins and outs of, and the extra work required on the part of the cruise line ,to getting off and then back on a cruise ship in the middle of a voyage ; especially in a foreign country. 

 

There are actually some ports were you can not even do it because there are no options for customs and immigration. This happened to a client of mine who didn't believe me when I said the cruise line would not allow her to get off in one Australian city for 2 days and then get back in another.  She tried it anyway and was denied disembarkation  at that first port.  Everyone has to scan their pass to get on and off,  and if you seemingly miss the ship it can cause delays while they try to figure out where you are  as you mentioned. 

 

Those people that walked off with their backpacks were very inconsiderate of the work that the cruise line had to go thru once they realized that passengers had gotten off that first day but had not gotten back on. They were very lucky that they could re-board.  It is not only  Viking that would give them a hard time getting back on, but every other cruise line would, Oceania included.  

 

@LindaS272 did try to  the right thing by asking Viking at first about getting off and unfortunately, their experience is not uncommon with cruise line sales representatives. Many don't know all the rules and regulations.  I hope that she advised Viking of the agent's name so that he/she would not make the same mistake again. This is one area where an experienced travel agent would have been able to save you a lot of grief and aggravation. 

 

I hope that others will read of their experiences ( and I have read of other ones like this here on CC ) and make sure that they have written authorization from the cruise line ( it comes from an official department, not just a res agent saying that you can do it )  to do something like this even if you are doing the trip in the same country.   You also should advise the cruise line if you want to embark very late on those itineraries that over night in a port , or get off earlier than the stated start of disembarkation time or if your private excursion is getting back very late in an overnight port . Actually, any sort of deviation from the stated dates and times should be addressed with the cruise line .  

 

Thanks for your comment. It's clear you have some experience in this area. 

 

In our case, and to Viking's credit, a manager did admit (months after our booking) that the first agent was wrong. The manager understood that Linda and I justifiably relied on the agent's misstatement when we booked nonrefundable travel off the ship. The manager pledged to "make Viking's error right." This happened when Viking and the Cambodia authorities eventually permitted us to leave the ship mid-cruise and return.

 

Should we have sought written permission from an "official department" rather than a sales agent? With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, perhaps. But remember -- we relied not only on what the agent told us, but also on the passenger contract Viking sent when we booked the cruise (in July 2019) and when we updated our travel arrangements (in August and September). Each time Viking wrote to us, it included the same contract with the same language -- language that didn't restrict us from leaving and returning.

 

Much later, Viking rewrote its passenger contract in an apparent attempt to address the mid-cruise issue. This was the contract Heidi13 cited. It was not, however, the contract that applied to our cruise.

Edited by DaveSJ711
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5 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Same here. I started the day we booked the next cruise, which was 25 months before boarding. What's worse is at least half the ports are a repeat from 2020.😀

Repeat ports require extra research, so you can find something different to do.

Plus, with your World Cruise, you have so many visits to plan, it must take two years!

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7 minutes ago, lackcreativity said:

Repeat ports require extra research, so you can find something different to do.

Plus, with your World Cruise, you have so many visits to plan, it must take two years!

We are always amazed how many prior plans are changed on the fly.  Un anticipated changes have produced some of the most memorable days on our WCs.  We plan and anticipate for sure but then are most eager to "go with the flow' once out there..🍸😎

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52 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

We are always amazed how many prior plans are changed on the fly.  Un anticipated changes have produced some of the most memorable days on our WCs.  We plan and anticipate for sure but then are most eager to "go with the flow' once out there..🍸😎

If you aren't prepared to deal with things that change when you travel, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. For me, planning is so I know what the possibilities are. However, surprises can make the best memories of all.

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1 minute ago, lackcreativity said:

If you aren't prepared to deal with things that change when you travel, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. For me, planning is so I know what the possibilities are. However, surprises can make the best memories of all.

 

So true, and so relevant on our last cruise and also the others that had COVID curtailed cruises last year. Although the changes were no fault of the cruise line, you wouldn't believe the complaints down at the Purser's Desk when the cruise went sideways. I can only assume some had rather unreasonable expectations.

 

What we received was certainly a surprise, but all in all, a pleasant surprise, as we still had a great time. So we missed a few ports, well most of them actually, but the onboard experience more than made up for the changes.

 

If only the complainers stopped and thought about the big picture, maybe they wouldn't have disembarked, and by giving it a change, may actually have enjoyed the experience. We and many others certainly did.

 

Mind you once they left, the Atrium was much more peaceful.😀

 

Trying to think of our last cruise that never had itinerary changes/weather issues, etc and sadly, the memory isn't that good. Probably was last Century.

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2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

So true, and so relevant on our last cruise and also the others that had COVID curtailed cruises last year.


I think you had the mother of all unplanned surprise trips. It’ll be hard to top that one. (I hope.)

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Flexibility and patience ( perhaps with a good wine or beer ) is what is needed ; or as Prince Philip always said, to " just get on with it"  !  I know that my husband and I would have been with you at the Explorer's Lounge or the Living Room Bar saying, well, just let us know what we need to do 😉  

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5 hours ago, DaveSJ711 said:

Each time Viking wrote to us, it included the same contract with the same language -- language that didn't restrict us from leaving and returning.

 

Ah, that is the lawyer in you .  The New Yorker in me questions everything, even the legalese 😉. Probably because I have no idea what that legalese is really saying  ! 

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1 hour ago, vslparis said:

Ah, that is the lawyer in you .  The New Yorker in me questions everything, even the legalese 😉. Probably because I have no idea what that legalese is really saying  ! 

 

We may not be lawyers, but I'll suggest we do have more than a little knowledge and have experienced many similar situation more than a few times.😀

 

With respect to the legalese, I wouldn't be worried, as based on your earlier post, you clearly understand the process, workload on the ship and requirements for pax.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, vslparis said:

Ah, that is the lawyer in you .  The New Yorker in me questions everything, even the legalese 😉. Probably because I have no idea what that legalese is really saying  ! 

The "legalese" describes Viking's rights and obligations and the passenger's rights and obligations. That's why Viking sends a contract out with every booking and with every update to the booking.  That's also, I suspect, why Viking substantially rewrote its contract in late 2019 -- because our experience showcased a flaw in the contract that the company wanted to fix.    

Edited by DaveSJ711
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11 hours ago, DaveSJ711 said:

The "legalese" describes Viking's rights and obligations and the passenger's rights and obligations. That's why Viking sends a contract out with every booking and with every update to the booking.  That's also, I suspect, why Viking substantially rewrote its contract in late 2019 -- because our experience showcased a flaw in the contract that the company wanted to fix.    

Yes, I do know that 😉.  I am glad that Viking has put the language a bit more detailed  in their T&C paperwork . I have no doubt that others ran into the same problem  that you did in the past( such as the people with the backpacks)  so this is a situation that Viking needed to address.  

Of course, people have to not only read the T&C , but understand how it affects what they would like to do. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know .   I would have liked to see something stating that written authorization must be obtained for early disembarkation or overland trips.  Several cruise lines have very detailed answers about this in their FAQ sections. Again, you need to at least have an idea that what you plan to do might require some research and questioning. 

 

I am glad that you did get to do your trip to Angkor Wat ; it is a fascinating place. 

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1 hour ago, vslparis said:

Yes, I do know that 😉.  I am glad that Viking has put the language a bit more detailed  in their T&C paperwork . I have no doubt that others ran into the same problem  that you did in the past( such as the people with the backpacks)  so this is a situation that Viking needed to address.  

Of course, people have to not only read the T&C , but understand how it affects what they would like to do. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know .   I would have liked to see something stating that written authorization must be obtained for early disembarkation or overland trips.  Several cruise lines have very detailed answers about this in their FAQ sections. Again, you need to at least have an idea that what you plan to do might require some research and questioning. 

 

I am glad that you did get to do your trip to Angkor Wat ; it is a fascinating place. 

 

It's interesting that you bring up the issue of individual planning. In our case, this mess began with Viking's online description of Sihanoukville, Cambodia as the "gateway to Angkor Wat." The "gateway" reference caused us to consider a trip from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap, very close to Angkor Wat. Because Viking didn't offer an excursion from Sihanoukville (despite the reference), and because the flight schedule didn't let us fly to Siem Reap and return the same day, we focused on planning a DIY trip that involved an overnight stay in Siem Reap.  That's when everything went south for us.

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