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Full Payment Of A Viking Ocean Cruise 18 Months In Advance - Any Comments?


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We have friends who booked in Spring 2019 for a Rivers in spring 2020. They paid 12 months in advance of the cruise. Trip was cancelled due to Covid. They took the 125% voucher and booked a 2021 Spring cruise. Again, this spring’s rebooked cruise was cancelled. For various reasons, including health, they requested a refund of their original money. Viking said that because of their decision to take the 125%, they are not entitled to a cash refund. Their very good well versed in Viking travel tried to help,  but no go. Finally Viking has said that they will give them their cash back, but not until 2023. 
I am sure that there are various opinions on this, but it is something to be aware of. 

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Just reading up on the Risk Free Guarantee voucher's T&C again.  These vouchers are transferable.  If one were to sell those vouchers, they may recover their cash earlier although likely at a discount...

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Vineyard View, we took the voucher in the same timeline as your friends. If you took the voucher and didn’t use it within two years, only then can you get the refund of the original monies paid. So, it makes sense to me at least as to what they were told. The T&C have changed slightly over time since the pandemic began, too. So everyone needs to carefully read theirs as to the specifics each time. 

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On 6/7/2021 at 8:17 PM, Vineyard View said:

...
So for us, the prepayment policy of Viking is causing me to look at another company where final payment is not until 150 days prior (for a longer itinerary). It’s a hard decision, but the more I research, the more I believe that other company will be our next sailing. 
As others have stated, Vikings prepayment is the biggest complaint and always has been. We prepaid 12 months for Rivers, and 18 months for the Star’s inaugural. After that we were able to secure 6 months for several sailings, but then they moved back to the extended model in play again. 

 

I agree the early requirement for payment is off-putting.  When I was researching various cruise lines and I learned of Viking's  expectation of full payment one year in advance (and now it seems even longer for some voyages) I took them off my list of consideration.  Clearly, the policy works for Viking; however, I just can't see loaning that amount of money to a cruise line for so long.  At least Silversea offers a 10% discount (sometimes more) for early payment.  For me, another point of hesitation in paying Viking so far in advance is because they are privately held.  IMHO, it is much more likely that a private venture will go bankrupt than one of the large cruise corporations. I am not suggesting Viking is not stable, but it is something I consider when handing over large sums of money to any entity.

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On 6/3/2021 at 1:12 PM, Crystal Rich said:

I just booked my first Viking Ocean cruise for December, 2022.  The booking was made on May 31, 2021 and a deposit was made on that date.  I find it most unusual that Viking wants the final payment to be made by June 30, 2021…..18 months before sailing.  Any comments from frequent Viking customers?  Thank you in advance for giving me some feedback on this.

 

Thanks you for asking this.  We just got a "your Final Payment is Due" for our Nov 2022 cruise.  It was a bit of a shocker and they were not the least willing to change the due date.  We are currently debating as to whether or not we are going to let go of the cruise or not.  Since we didn't do research prior to this and discovered this propensity of Viking's, there's not much we can do.  At least it's nice to know we weren't the only ones surprised by this.

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We have 2 cruises booked and final pmt on 2023 Nile Cruise (with Pre & Post) I just got moved to 9 months out from sailing. The other 2022 is due 6 months prior to sailing (British Isles). Booked both of these cruises in 2020. Darn near everything is now sold out so glad I got them booked!

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On 6/10/2021 at 8:03 PM, BluebonnetTexan said:

Vineyard View, we took the voucher in the same timeline as your friends. If you took the voucher and didn’t use it within two years, only then can you get the refund of the original monies paid. So, it makes sense to me at least as to what they were told. The T&C have changed slightly over time since the pandemic began, too. So everyone needs to carefully read theirs as to the specifics each time. 

I am sure that those details were in writing when they agreed to the 125%. For them though, they immediately rebooked another cruise scheduled spring 2020 for spring 2021. That rescheduled itinerary also was cancelled due to Covid. At that point the feeling was that their best efforts to comply were out of their hands. Now with medical issues, they have to wait another two years past the rescheduled and cancelled cruise for reimbursement- making it a total of three years after first cruise was cancelled by Viking due to Covid. Sometimes I honestly feel that there needs to be some flexibility in the rules and regulations. 
My message was more of a heads up for the possible

voucher consequences. For very different circumstances we too were caught off guard with a voucher in the past and it can come v

back to bite you if you aren’t careful. 

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Posted (edited)

I think it's an improvement that Viking at least will refund your original payment once your enhanced FCC's time-out.  Regent apparently doesn't even do that--once you take an FCC, you can't turn it back into cash.  I suspect that this is common practice right now.  (Oh, and Regent is still insisting right now that the credits be used by the end of 2022.)

 

But I must say that the Viking payment policies has been a big reason over the years why I haven't booked Viking.  And this policies goes way back, before Oceans was even launched.

Edited by Wendy The Wanderer
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On 6/5/2021 at 6:49 AM, Redtravel said:

Viking is a marketing marvel.  Viking gets lots of people to pay them in full even during a pandemic.  I had a fully paid Viking cruise canceled.  While the 125% fcc was tempting, I chose the refund.  Glad that I did.  Still have fcc from other lines that didn’t offer refunds.  I keep using the fcc to book and rebook future cruises.  I refuse to post more money on any cruise until ships sail successfully again.  When ships are deemed safe after sailing, I will consider booking Viking again.  We really want to rebook “into the midnight sun” again.  Eventually we hope to take that cruise.  For now we wait.  In the meantime, we used our cruise refunds to buy a new car. We call the car, “Norway.”

Love it! I know folks who have 20 and 25+K with Viking. What is the make and model of "Norway"?

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On 6/9/2021 at 4:41 PM, Vineyard View said:

We have friends who booked in Spring 2019 for a Rivers in spring 2020. They paid 12 months in advance of the cruise. Trip was cancelled due to Covid. They took the 125% voucher and booked a 2021 Spring cruise. Again, this spring’s rebooked cruise was cancelled. For various reasons, including health, they requested a refund of their original money. Viking said that because of their decision to take the 125%, they are not entitled to a cash refund. Their very good well versed in Viking travel tried to help,  but no go. Finally Viking has said that they will give them their cash back, but not until 2023. 
I am sure that there are various opinions on this, but it is something to be aware of. 

Yes, and if you have been following the threads on Iceland, you will see that the"Viking value proposition", i.e. excursions, specialty restaurant bookings apparently is compromised as the ability to make reservations for these items is not as advertised. I'd rather pay for these amenities and get them than to have them included in the cruise fee and not be able to get them as advertised.

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7 hours ago, Wendy The Wanderer said:

I think it's an improvement that Viking at least will refund your original payment once your enhanced FCC's time-out.  Regent apparently doesn't even do that--once you take an FCC, you can't turn it back into cash.  I suspect that this is common practice right now.  (Oh, and Regent is still insisting right now that the credits be used by the end of 2022.)

 

But I must say that the Viking payment policies has been a big reason over the years why I haven't booked Viking.  And this policies goes way back, before Oceans was even launched.

It’s a mess for sure.  I just feel really bad that Viking has $20k of their money for not three, but by 2023, for four years, particularly when they have documented health issues. 
Yes, we booked way in advance years ago for Rivers. We booked 18 months in advance to sail on the inaugural cruise of their first Oceans ship, The Star. Afterwards, Viking changed their policy to 6 months for a while. We felt much more comfortable with that policy when we booked. I think that lasted a year or less, and it was right back to full payment way in advance. People weren’t happy, so they then added the 6 month pay in full as long as you a.ready have one booked and paid for. 
I was not aware of Regent’s FCC policy. We have never really looked at them for a couple reasons. But we are looking at “O” seriously now. That said, we have not ruled out Viking in the future as we seriously love them. 

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On 6/3/2021 at 4:12 PM, Crystal Rich said:

I just booked my first Viking Ocean cruise for December, 2022.  The booking was made on May 31, 2021 and a deposit was made on that date.  I find it most unusual that Viking wants the final payment to be made by June 30, 2021…..18 months before sailing.  Any comments from frequent Viking customers?  Thank you in advance for giving me some feedback on this.

On our first cruise to Alaska we also had to have final 18 months ahead of time.  While on that trip we booked another cruise and were given 6 months before final.  Latest booking is for Feb 2022 and final is due end of this month.  

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Although not a particularly popular point of view as it comes across as being 'negative' or 'anti' but if you were to remove 'Viking' from the below and just say 'the company' it would not be far from reasonable to assume/believe the following:

'the company' has been on a course of rapid growth from the very start, and its not rocket science to believe that these endeavors are not cheap, although by industry standards the ships were built cheaper than comparables at $400m apiece and how better to assist with the bankrolling of future plans than to demand (and receive) what are essentially interest free loans from future customers?

 

Obviously the monies paid by future guests is not funding the entire future build program, but it goes without saying that 'the company' has managed to secure another revenue stream which it pays no interest on, and in the event a return of the loan is requested, the initial response seems to be the offer of an FCC with a little extra which is akin to paying a loan with an IOU + %

 

Clearly this method of operating has been extremely successful for 'the company' and the majority of current and future guests appear to be OK with it; however, the question remains what happens to your many thousands of dollars if 'the company' were to become insolvent?  I am not an expert in this field but I can only guess that those holding seemingly worthless FCC would simply be added to a long list of creditors waiting to be made whole.  Of course the upside is the asset holdings (i.e. ships) have value which I presume would be liquidated in some way to pay creditors but it should be no surprise that a percentage of people don't feel comfortable with lending large sums of money to a company on the hope that they will receive what they've paid for 12 months in advance.

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If people refused to pay far in advance the company would have little choice but to alter their payment policy. If people refused to pay Rolex $15,000 for a $2,000 watch Rolex would would have little choice but to get real. 

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2 hours ago, duquephart said:

If people refused to pay far in advance the company would have little choice but to alter their payment policy. If people refused to pay Rolex $15,000 for a $2,000 watch Rolex would would have little choice but to get real. 

 

Very true, however when dealing with a quality product you will always find customers willing to pay the best terms they can negotiate.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/16/2021 at 9:56 AM, duquephart said:

If people refused to pay far in advance the company would have little choice but to alter their payment policy. If people refused to pay Rolex $15,000 for a $2,000 watch Rolex would would have little choice but to get real. 

 

True. But you would need a sizable number of people refusing. Even if every CC member refused, it would hardly make a dent. Itineraries we are booked on are either sold out or almost sold out up to two years in advance. The company would have no problem filling those cabins. Those of us who are planning once in a lifetime trips, such as to Antarctica or the Nile, would sure hate to lose one of those coveted spots. I have been successful in negotiating down to six months, but I doubt I could get another extension.

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7 hours ago, emileg said:

 

True. But you would need a sizable number of people refusing. Even if every CC member refused, it would hardly make a dent. Itineraries we are booked on are either sold out or almost sold out up to two years in advance. The company would have no problem filling those cabins. Those of us who are planning once in a lifetime trips, such as to Antarctica or the Nile, would sure hate to lose one of those coveted spots. I have been successful in negotiating down to six months, but I doubt I could get another extension.

 

Hence the "if" ----- perhaps you missed that.

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In the UK the payment terms are different.  I am due to pay the balance for my end of December cruise in October.   For my Scenic cruise next July I will get a 10% reduction if I choose to pay 12 months in advance.

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Agree with Mrs Miggins. We pay a deposit then the full amount 3 months before the cruise. This even applied to the short notice Welcome Back cruises.  I wasn’t aware of an incentive to pay it off earlier. I think maybe our (U.K.)  Consumer Rights Laws are very different. Viking is in line with other Cruise lines I have sailed with regards to their payment schedule. 
 

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The cruise next July is a river cruise with Scenic not Viking - our third - expensive but excellent.  Didnt think about the confusion in the word "Scenic"  for those in the UK who have been enjoying the first Viking ocean cruises to start and called England's Scenic Shores I believe.

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44 minutes ago, Mrs Miggins said:

In the UK the payment terms are different.  I am due to pay the balance for my end of December cruise in October.   For my Scenic cruise next July I will get a 10% reduction if I choose to pay 12 months in advance.

Interesting to note, thank you MrsM.

We have just returned from a Venus 7 night cruise which we booked less than a week before sailing and reading this thread I was thinking that I wouldn't book a further one with them on the terms described by the OP.

There is no way we would pay for a cruise a full a year in advance unless there was the sort of incentive that you received from Scenic. 

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