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About Squawkman

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Jersey
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking Ocean; Viking River

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  1. my assumption was that you meant the optional excursion takes place at the same time as an included excursion - hence, you’re paying for two excursions and going on one. Of course we’re paying for included excursions, and we’re buying several - not just one. Not sure what your point is. I’m also paying for wine and beer I don’t drink, as well as other amenities I pay for but do not partake in.
  2. Possibly, but from my observations here, a majority of folks are taking 125% and rebooking now or holding out to rebook later.
  3. I found the price difference to vary with no pattern. Unlike other cruise line excursions I experienced, only Viking folks are included in the tour group despite a higher cost. In many (if not most) cases, taking an optional Viking excursion does not interfere with the included one, hence you’re not necessarily buying 2 excursions. This is especially true when the cruise has 2 or more consecutive nights in one port. I had a situation with a Viking excursion a few years back too complex to get into here, but suffice to say, Viking handled it well. Had it been a third party, I would not have had the same resolution. For me, the bottom line is when at sea, I use Viking for that extra insurance. I have heard first person experiences on river cruises where folks missed the boat. When on land on a pre or post extension, I do both as the hotel is not going anywhere.
  4. On May 1, we cancelled and rebooked a cruise embarking December 9 as both the cruise fare and air was reduced. I was told to expect a credit card refund for the $1,000 deposit (less $200) soon but to wait at least 3 weeks for the vouchers - tomorrow it will be 5 weeks (cancelled December cruise was paid for with vouchers from a cancelled cruise in March). Got the credit card refund, but still no vouchers. And these vouchers are dedicated for the rebooked cruise - where the payment is just about due. My Viking rep said to ignore any notices that I owe anything (so far haven't got any).
  5. I was able to cut and paste the article: TRIPPED UP Help! One Company Refused to Refund Travelers More Than $100,000 Then our columnist intervened with the Boston-based tour operator Overseas Adventure Travel. Published May 25, 2020Updated May 27, 2020 Dear Tripped Up, My trip to Egypt with Overseas Adventure Travel was scheduled to depart in late March. O.A.T. canceled the tour because of Covid-19, which was a relief. The company notified me of the cancellation and offered either a credit for rebooking or a full refund that would have included airfare. The next week, I learned via email that I had been rebooked on the same trip next year. Unbeknown to me, the stated policy had changed: O.A.T. was no longer offering refunds. I told them that I had a medical condition and did not know when — or if — I would be able to travel, and asked whether they were just going to keep my $17,500 if I couldn’t travel by the end of 2021. Answer: Yes. I feel I am being held hostage by O.A.T. How are they allowed to keep my money? Roz Hi Roz, They’re not. But, if the extraordinary number of reader complaints I have received — more than a dozen and counting — are any indication, they have been doing so anyway. Overseas Adventure Travel is part of Grand Circle Corporation, a family of travel companies based in Boston. The small-group and cruising company has been recognized nationally. But Massachusetts happens to be one of only a handful of states with specific laws that guarantee consumers protection against travel sellers, including requiring that tour operators offer the option of cash refunds (in addition to vouchers or credits for rebooking) when they fail to provide agreed-upon, paid-for services. According to the law, the cash refund must be “an amount equal to the fair market retail value of any undelivered, purchased travel service.” Translation: When they cancel your trip, they are legally required to offer you the money back. But even when individual consumers know their rights, they have few options at their immediate disposal when a customer-service representative — usually the only public-facing proxy for a company’s official or unofficial policies — refuses to relent on refunds. As Adam Anolik, a San Francisco- based travel-industry lawyer, explained over email, that’s why oversight — forcing a company to comply with state laws — can feel like an uphill battle. “The outcome can often turn on who cancels, which is why a lot of suppliers and travelers are playing chicken right now. In reality, many of these statutes are seldom enforced. This pandemic could cause some of them to be dusted off,” said Mr. Anolik. This is the third Tripped Up column in a row that addresses the issue of refunds. Although travel has stopped and is only starting up again — slowly and in only a few destinations — the aftershocks of that screeching halt, brought on by the coronavirus, continue to reverberate. As travel companies now suffer a cash crunch, they are facing off with travelers over credits and refunds. Airlines are sidestepping refund regulations established by the United States Transportation Department and the European Union, betting that negative press (and even class-action lawsuits) are still preferable to negative-balance bank accounts. It’s not hard to surmise, just by reading your email, what happened at O.A.T.: the realization that issuing refunds en masse would bleed the company dry. Tweaking the immortal words of Biggie: no money, mo’ problems. To determine if my hunch was correct, I reached out to O.A.T. While they didn’t answer my question directly, I was able to recoup more than $100,000, collectively, for you and 10 other readers. Some got total refunds, while others (including you) received partial refunds or continue to wait for certain fees and sums to clear. In an emailed statement, an O.A.T. spokeswoman said the company is “working to improve our processes and to better address the needs of each traveler whose trip was canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. We are either rebooking travelers on another trip or providing a refund.” Since mid-March, she said, O.A.T. has refunded more than 5,000 travelers — amounting to more than $12 million. Tripped Up Need advice about a best-laid travel plan that went awry? Send us an email to travel@nytimes.com.
  6. Good point. Douro cruises begin on land, so the actual cruise starts in September.
  7. July and August Viking ocean cruises are also gone from the website.
  8. FWIW, my Viking agent told me shipboard credit (SBC) is Viking’s term for what other cruise lines call on board credit (OBC).
  9. Here's a new wrinkle you can't blame on Viking: On May 1, I cancelled and rebooked the same cruise which had gotten cheaper. I was to get my $1,000 deposit back on my credit card (less $200) and vouchers for the rest. I was told by my trusty Viking agent the credit card refund would come soon, but to please wait at least 3 weeks for the vouchers. As my credit card bill is due today (5/20), I waited for the refund as it would more than cover my bill. As of yesterday, I hadn't received the credit, so I paid my bill. Today I got an email that my payment was posted - and looked at my statement - the $800 credit was there - with a date of 5/13!! So the bank waited to tell me until after I paid. And now I wonder how much before 5/13 Viking submitted the refund.
  10. Taxes are always included with Viking - not itemized on the statement.
  11. I think anyone can read this article - if not, let me know and I'll try to post the text. IMHO, it's a terrible article - it plays on the bad decisions some cruise lines made and paints us cruise enthusiasts in a negative light. As usual in these articles, no mention of Viking. https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/05/13/meet-people-who-cant-wait-get-back-cruise-ship/
  12. I totally agree. I believe cruising as Viking does it will survive. No wrongful death lawsuits like CCL.
  13. The Viking system default payment date for a 2022 cruise is December 31 of the year you book - or 2020. A Viking agent or TA could change it. I booked a 2022 cruise on May 1. I forgot to mention to my Viking agent the final payment date. When I received the booking document and saw 12/31/20, I immediately emailed him - it was changed within 2 minutes. Because I have other cruises booked, it was changed to 6 months. I believe a first time cruiser gets 12 months, but don’t hold me to that.
  14. The Heidelberg option is $179pp - not included as it is in the Cities of Lights cruise. We did the C of L cruise in 2017 - nice day having lunch with a student, etc., but I don't think it's worth that much.
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