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CCWineLover

Viking extends suspension of operations to June 30, 2020

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Posted (edited)

We received notice that Viking has extended the suspension of operations for an additional 2 months to include May and June.

Since our cruise planned is in June, we have been offered the 100% refund of monies paid or the 125% Future Cruise Voucher good for 24 months that has to be on a brand new booking.  We have only a week to decide which to take. (April 6).    Several factors come to mind - in 2021 the same cruise is almost 20 % more.   Will Viking be around for awhile?  Will there be cruising before the vaccine comes out (which could be at 12-18 months away still not until mid 2021.   Lots to think about.  What are everyone's thoughts?

From Viking:

".... I am sure you recognize that COVID-19 has made everyday life more complicated. On March 11, we were the first cruise line to announce a temporary suspension of operations through April 30, 2020. In the time since that announcement, many of you have expressed concern for our crew, and I want to reassure you that we are taking good care of them. We are using this period of non-operation as a time for additional training and initiatives to ensure we have the safest and healthiest fleet in the industry. As a private company we do not have to worry about quarterly profit expectations – and that flexibility allows us the ability to do what is best for our guests and our employees.
In that spirit, we have made the decision to extend our temporary suspension of operations through June 30, 2020."

Edited by CCWineLover

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Here is what the announcement says about what people get:

“As a guest whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, we are offering a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125% of all monies paid to Viking. By adding 25% to the value of what you originally paid, you now have the opportunity to enhance your trip – such as choosing a longer itinerary; adding a Pre/Post cruise extension; upgrading your stateroom category; or even upgrading to business class air. You will have 24 months to use your Future Cruise Voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean orexpedition cruise. For additional flexibility, if you are unable to use yourvoucher, we will automatically send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires.“

 

I take that to mean that everyone gets the voucher, but if you don’t use it within 24 months,  they will THEN automatically send you a refund, “after the voucher expires.”  So it looks to me like no refund option for two years...?  Thoughts?

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6 minutes ago, SantaFe1 said:

Here is what the announcement says about what people get:

“As a guest whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, we are offering a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125% of all monies paid to Viking. By adding 25% to the value of what you originally paid, you now have the opportunity to enhance your trip – such as choosing a longer itinerary; adding a Pre/Post cruise extension; upgrading your stateroom category; or even upgrading to business class air. You will have 24 months to use your Future Cruise Voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean orexpedition cruise. For additional flexibility, if you are unable to use yourvoucher, we will automatically send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires.“

 

I take that to mean that everyone gets the voucher, but if you don’t use it within 24 months,  they will THEN automatically send you a refund, “after the voucher expires.”  So it looks to me like no refund option for two years...?  Thoughts?

 

I assumed we had the option of taking full refund immediately but that's not how it reads. For us, we still want to experience the cruise we had booked so an additional 25% is welcome. Unless, of course ---------------

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Someone on another thread posted the complete letter which included "Our reservations team is currently in the process of issuing 125% Future Cruise Vouchers. However, if you prefer the alternative, you may choose a refund equal to the amount paid, by contacting your Travel Agent by April 6, 2020. "

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Yes, I saw that, but it doesn’t correspond to the paragraph before.  Or maybe it just means call by April 6 and let them know you want the refund in two years?  I’m (Was) a lawyer, but this “contract” doesn’t make sense to me with the two different provisions.  I guess someone will have to call Viking to see what they intend...

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I would definitely consider taking the refund. At least you will have your money back. Even if cruise lines do receive some stimulus money in the next congressional bill, it is questionable if Viking would be among the qualified reciepients.

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32 minutes ago, Not a Georgia Peach said:

Someone on another thread posted the complete letter which included "Our reservations team is currently in the process of issuing 125% Future Cruise Vouchers. However, if you prefer the alternative, you may choose a refund equal to the amount paid, by contacting your Travel Agent by April 6, 2020. "

 

Sorry, I see that now. Our TA did say we would have to let her know soon which way we wanted to go.

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57 minutes ago, SantaFe1 said:

I take that to mean that everyone gets the voucher, but if you don’t use it within 24 months,  they will THEN automatically send you a refund, “after the voucher expires.”  So it looks to me like no refund option for two years...?  Thoughts?

If the company goes out of business before the FCC expires you lose everything. A bird in the hand take the cash now. If my September cruise is cancelled, I will take the cash.

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16 minutes ago, Steve Q said:

I would definitely consider taking the refund. At least you will have your money back. Even if cruise lines do receive some stimulus money in the next congressional bill, it is questionable if Viking would be among the qualified recipients.

There is no way any foreign owned cruise lines will get any future US stimulus money. We have too many USA companies that will need any money to survive. Let their own countries bail them out.

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8 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

If the company goes out of business before the FCC expires you lose everything. A bird in the hand take the cash now. If my September cruise is cancelled, I will take the cash.

 

Agreed.  Cash is king, especially in times of uncertainty.

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We were to sail June 3 on the Sky on the Iceland's Majestic Landscapes cruise. We are now moved over to July 10, 2021.

 

Here is the copy of what went out today:

 

30MAR2020

Dear Viking Guests,

I am writing to you today from my home, rather than the Viking office. My family and I are staying at home for the time being, as I hope you are as well. It is an adjustment for all of us and particularly for someone like me, who spends most of his time traveling. But we are truly living in an unprecedented time.

Since we started Viking nearly 23 years ago, we have always cared first and foremost about our guests and our employees. I feel we have become one large Viking family of 500,000 guests each year and 10,000 employees. Since day one, it has been our mission to create experiences for our guests that focus on the destination and allow them to explore the world in comfort. This has always been Viking’s ambition and will remain so.

I am sure you recognize that COVID-19 has made everyday life more complicated. On March 11, we were the first cruise line to announce a temporary suspension of operations through April 30, 2020. In the time since that announcement, many of you have expressed concern for our crew, and I want to reassure you that we are taking good care of them. We are using this period of non-operation as a time for additional training and initiatives to ensure we have the safest and healthiest fleet in the industry. As a private company we do not have to worry about quarterly profit expectations – and that flexibility allows us the ability to do what is best for our guests and our employees.

In that spirit, we have made the decision to extend our temporary suspension of operations through June 30, 2020.

As a guest whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, we are offering a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125% of all monies paid to Viking. By adding 25% to the value of what you originally paid, you now have the opportunity to enhance your trip – such as choosing a longer itinerary; adding a Pre/Post cruise extension; upgrading your stateroom category; or even upgrading to business class air. You will have 24 months to use your Future Cruise Voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise. For additional flexibility, if you are unable to use your voucher, we will automatically send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires. The 125% Future Cruise Voucher will also be fully transferable. Click here for more information about your 125% Future Cruise Voucher.

Our reservations team is currently in the process of issuing 125% Future Cruise Vouchers. However, if you prefer the alternative, you may choose a refund equal to the amount paid, by calling Viking at 1-833-900-0951 by April 6, 2020.

Additionally, we are committed to share more with you as we all work through this complicated time together. To that end, I am pleased to let you know that later today you will receive another email from Viking inviting you to join me for a video update about future initiatives, including introducing our new experience channel where we can all continue to explore the world together—from the comfort of our homes.

We will continue to stand by you, as well as our employees and partners, and hope that you will continue to stand by us. 

Sincerely yours,

Viking Cruises

Torstein Hagen
Chairman
 

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My cruise(s) are not until Oct and final payment is due Friday. I was reassured by the cancel 24 hours in advance and get 100% FCC. But my TA told me that it was non transferable. If one of us died and the other wanted to sail solo in the future, or bring a roommate, we'd have to pay the other person's occupancy. That's what Viking told her last week when she called, but it is concerning because a lot can happen in 2 years at our ages! I emailed tellus this morning and they emailed me back that they wanted me to call the 800 number for clarification. I really wanted it in writing and I'm sure they are overwhelmed with phone calls right now so I'm going to wait a few days. I still am hoping to go on this cruise, especially with the perks we have ($2,000 shipboard credit). Like CCWinelover, if the cost of the cruises next year is up 25%, we'd break even if Viking canceled and we got 125%. It's a conundrum.

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Looked at moving my cruise out a year.  Prices are higher. To do the same cruise in the same category with air would cost $3000 more than what we already paid.  That puts it about 125% compared to our original price.  That 25% will not get you anything more than you already had. The letter says that you can get more value to book a higher category cabin and optional excursions, pre or post.   Requesting refund now. Not willing to wait 2 years to get it. Life is too short. 

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I'd be very interested to know which way folks are going to go. Maybe an informal poll? 

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1 hour ago, Not a Georgia Peach said:

Someone on another thread posted the complete letter which included "Our reservations team is currently in the process of issuing 125% Future Cruise Vouchers. However, if you prefer the alternative, you may choose a refund equal to the amount paid, by contacting your Travel Agent by April 6, 2020. "

 

I can confirm via our Travel Agent that this is the case.  If you want a 100% cash refund, you have to decide by April 6.   Then it becomes a 125% Credit Voucher.  That voucher must be used within 24 months, after which it becomes a 100% cash refund    Pluses and minuses to both that I can see - a lot depends on the trip insurance bought I would think - whether it can be transferred to a new cruise or whether you are out totally if you just take a refund.  Also if you have a plan for using the credit.  I imagine the extra 25% would be used to cover the increase in most cruise prices for 2021 if you are wedded to the particular cruise that Viking has cancelled (versus looking for deals).    Lots of factors to consider in a short time for sure.  Still not clear if the voucher can be used for other items like gratuities, excursions, beverage package, airfare, and more.

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We would have gone with the voucher if it could be applied to already booked cruises.  As long as it has to be a new booking we will take a cash refund. 

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We got a very good deal on our May 3 cruise that was just cancelled. Price to book the same cabin category on a May 2021 is more than the 125% FCC would cover. Plus, the 2021 is scheduled for the Venus. Will this ship be ready? We are taking the cash refund. If we receive it before April 30, we will consider booking a new cruise under the cancellation waiver policy in effect for bookings through April 30, 2020.  But, more likely we will wait until we can get a similar good deal.

 

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This may not be of any help for those of you in the USA or elsewhere (as I have no idea what your law is on this) but I thought this might be good time to remind people in the in the UK that they do have a full guarantee of a refund of all monies paid by credit card if a company fails. This is because Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 states that your credit card provider is jointly liable if something goes wrong.

 

So if a business goes bust, and the goods or services you paid for cost between £100 and £30,000, then you still get full protection of Section 75 by claiming from your credit card company. This would also apply to vouchers, as the credit card company is also jointly liable for any breaches of contract, such as the failure to provide the goods/services in exchange for a voucher.

 

I really don't think that Viking will sink, but UK customers can at least take and use the 125% voucher safe in the knowledge that if the worst happens they can still claim back all the money paid to Viking or their agent from their credit card company. 

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Posted (edited)

The funny thing is that it will be posponed every month and a few weeks prior you will keep getting these messages if the stituation wont get better. Did they give you any offers? The passangers who are waiting and ready to wait more should be given some binuses or smth IMHO. I remember there was a situation a few years ago connected with tsunami or smth, so the guy didnt go on a cruise and the company granted him a luxury suite for their world tour  because he was the only one who didnt request a refund lol. Maybe something similar will happen to some of you 

Edited by Roger88

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We booked our excursions for a mid June sailing the day before the cancellation. We were pretty sure the cancellation would happen but decided to deploy the "just in case" principle. If we take the FCC the upshoot on the extra expenditure will be a 25% return on investment in less than 24 hours. The same cruise is available in 2021 for, apples to apples, $450 less than the cancelled cruise. Re-booking seems a no-brainer to us given that we still want to experience that particular cruise. We are hoping the various credits we had against the cancelled cruise carry over to a re-booking and that the FCC can be used for extensions, excursions, etc. as well as the basic cruise itself. Also hoping that any unused FCC can be applied to a second new booking within the 24 month period. This all, of course, could go to hell in case of bankruptcy. Spot any flaws in our thinking?

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1 hour ago, photopro2 said:

This may not be of any help for those of you in the USA or elsewhere (as I have no idea what your law is on this) but I thought this might be good time to remind people in the in the UK that they do have a full guarantee of a refund of all monies paid by credit card if a company fails. This is because Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 states that your credit card provider is jointly liable if something goes wrong.

 

So if a business goes bust, and the goods or services you paid for cost between £100 and £30,000, then you still get full protection of Section 75 by claiming from your credit card company. This would also apply to vouchers, as the credit card company is also jointly liable for any breaches of contract, such as the failure to provide the goods/services in exchange for a voucher.

 

I really don't think that Viking will sink, but UK customers can at least take and use the 125% voucher safe in the knowledge that if the worst happens they can still claim back all the money paid to Viking or their agent from their credit card company. 

Whilst I don't want to dispute what you are saying and is a general assumption, I'm going to! When All Leisure failed 3 years ago, we had a Swan Hellenic cruise booked, through Thomas Cook travel agency. The deposit had been paid by a credit card, so we duly claimed from said credit card. Initially we got the money back but 3 months later they reversed the transaction saying they couldn't get the money from Thomas Cook bank. So it isn't as clear cut as all that. We did eventually get the money back through the ATOL system, but I've heard that is in trouble due to the recent Thomas Cook bailout!

So IF Viking does go under, and I pray not, claiming via credit card may be problematic!

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Thank you for your very kindly phrased and respectful response. It has given me cause to look at this further and I do need to qualify and amend what I said earlier.

 

From your description it seems your card supplier actioned your claim as a request for a "charge-back" This is a different process to section 75 where the card provider, even if they don't have joint liability, may still offer to try to recover your money from the supplier on your behalf. 

 

The reason that they did this is because having an agent or intermediary (in your case Thomas Cook) broke the direct liability of the card provider. In your case you would have been covered under section 75 if Thomas Cook (who had a direct relationship with the card provider) had failed at that stage. However All Leisure were one step removed from the card payment you made to Thomas Cook. Card companies are not jointly liable for the failure of any independent companies that agents booked on behalf of clients.

 

However, section 75 would undoubtedly be in play for anyone booking directly with Viking. This is an important difference that I had not appreciated before so thanks for questioning what I had said. 

 

I am glad to hear that ATOL stepped in and your story eventually had a happy ending. Hopefully with the above clarification people in the UK will be able to enjoy the reassurance provided by section 75 - when booking direct with Viking at least!! 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, CCWineLover said:

 

I can confirm via our Travel Agent that this is the case.  If you want a 100% cash refund, you have to decide by April 6.   Then it becomes a 125% Credit Voucher.  That voucher must be used within 24 months, after which it becomes a 100% cash refund    Pluses and minuses to both that I can see - a lot depends on the trip insurance bought I would think - whether it can be transferred to a new cruise or whether you are out totally if you just take a refund.  Also if you have a plan for using the credit.  I imagine the extra 25% would be used to cover the increase in most cruise prices for 2021 if you are wedded to the particular cruise that Viking has cancelled (versus looking for deals).    Lots of factors to consider in a short time for sure.  Still not clear if the voucher can be used for other items like gratuities, excursions, beverage package, airfare, and more.

 

Our TA spoke to Viking this AM. Basically your cancelled cruise no longer exists and you would be starting over with 25% more value to play with. You need to use the credit on the re-booking or lose it. If you already had a nice stateroom, excursions, extensions booked there is little to upgrade. In that scenario the 25% is smoke and mirrors. I very much doubt it can be used for "gratuities" or bev packages.

Edited by duquephart

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I looked at booking my same cruise for next April and the same cabin for the same itinerary is 25% more in cost than what I am booked this year. I agree the extra 25% is all smoke and mirrors. If our September cruise is cancelled by Viking I will take the cash and be done with Viking Ocean.

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