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Viking deposit policy. Please explain the logic.


mozfoz
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I know this topic has been discussed in the past, but I am specifically curious as to why anyone would give full payment a year or more in advance. I understand one may require a specific cabin, thus the deposit, but what other reasons exist for someone to part with their money so far in advance. Obviously Viking is successful, but are they really that much in demand as to make this requirement successful. From a personal finance point of view I cannot see the logic. Please enlighten me.

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Many people come to Viking because of the ubiquitous TV commercials, without having done any other research – so they don't even realize there are other river cruise lines, and they think this payment policy is normal.  Others have had a really good experience with Viking and are willing to pay early because they know they will like the future cruise [and some of them seem to get the deadline moved a little bit closer to their cruise].  I'm not in either category [I did take one Viking Ocean cruise, which was very nice, but they don't have any other itineraries that appeal to me and I'm a happy Scenic river cruiser], and I won't even consider Viking Ocean or River for future cruises because of this issue.

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I don't have personal experience with this but someone told me if you are a returning customer, it is 6 months. Maybe someone can confirm.

 

I also will not book with them due to their payment policy. There are several lines which offer more that are around the same price. It is just that many North Americans are not familiar with them.

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41 minutes ago, Coral said:

I don't have personal experience with this but someone told me if you are a returning customer, it is 6 months. Maybe someone can confirm.

I heard that too, but when I asked a Viking PCP [if that's the right term] as I was trying to book my second Viking Ocean cruise he said No.  So the booking went to Windstar, with FP due 90 days prior to sailing – and my TA is allowed by Windstar to give me >7% rebate [which Viking also limits to a very small amount]

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3 hours ago, mozfoz said:

From a personal finance point of view I cannot see the logic.

I do not think there is that logic, i.e. I understand what you mean and when I read about Viking doing that and getting away with it I really shook my head. It does not work in Britain or in Germany. Anyway. It is the create demand, create the supply thing I would say. The commercials that jazzbeau mentioned, the demand is created, then the supply is there but you need the exclusivity and scarcity to give that "excessive willingness" ((my not quite neutral comment)) to part with money far in advance. Commercial/advertising leads to demand leads to supply leads to booked cabins leads to scarcity through early booking leads to scarcity as you make yourself the (perceived) prime - if not only - supplier for the demand leads to incentive to book fast, leads to - repeat cycle from here. It becomes a well-oiled machine and success story. But of course you need to add sufficient customer satisfaction so that the word spreads that this is a good product. Which we know it is from many happy voices here and elsewhere.

 

notamermaid

 

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I have actually sailed with Viking.  After having done over 20 ocean cruises, on several lines, I was used to doing research before choosing.  We decided to try river cruising and chose Viking because of the itinerary and dates fit with our schedule, and the emphasis on culture and history appealed to us.  This was 2 years before the cruise and there were only 2 cabins available.  I was taken aback by the early payment but we went ahead, because at the time the TA gave enormous paybacks after the cruise (they are no longer allowed to sell Viking cruises). That payback meant that Viking cost less than other lines.

 

We were so happy with our experience that when Viking started ocean cruising, we started looking for a cruise to take with them.  I built a spreadsheet to compare apples to apples between Viking and Princess for the itinerary we wanted to do, comparing cabin sizes, extra costs, etc, and Viking only cost $10/day for a much better smaller ship experience.  OK, let's go.  Wait, it's all booked 2 years out?  So we booked it that far out.  We had to pay a year in advance, but we were willing to do it to get the experience we wanted.  On that cruise we booked our next cruise and final payment was set to 6 months.  Since then, we always get a 6 month payment because we already have another cruise booked or have just returned from a cruise, which I learned to ask for by reading the Viking Ocean board.  (I don't know why the text turned red)

 

Viking is often fully booked over a year in advance.  I just booked a July 2025 cruise because 2024 was sold out.  We have 2 river cruises booked in 2024 that we booked last year.

 

I'm sure there are some people who are swayed by the ads, but that isn't everyone.  Most of the people we met on that first river cruise were well travelled and not new to cruising.

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5 hours ago, Coral said:

Whenever I told someone I was going on a river cruise they immediately said "oh Viking?". And I was like "no". Amongst my non-travel friends - that is the only line they know of.

That is so true.  People are surprised to find out there are so many other river cruise lines. 

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We were the couple that knew Viking from their TV ads specifically on PBS TV.  We never booked a cruise before and we just accepted the payment policy and thought that this was standard.

 

Re the comment about 6 months payment, this is ONLY if you have at least one cruise currently booked with deposit.  

 

We now are going to hit our 9th or 10th cruise with Viking and we always have one cruise booked in the future which maintains the 6 month full payment option.  I also think that this option may be limited to USA and Canada, and may not apply to other countries?

 

In any case, we are taking advantage of the active $25 deposit now for the future cruises as it reduces the money we have to have on file with Viking to get 6 month payment terms.  You can also before full payment move that deposit to another cruise altogether or different dates with no penalty.... so we do placeholders.  We intend to do that cruise, but we may move it before we do it...

 

The other thing about Viking and their payment terms?  People pay it.  Yes, you see the odd person on CC that say they won't book with Viking because of this, but then tell me why we have to book 18+ months in advance to get the cabin category we want?  Because Viking fill their ships.  They don't have to lower the payment terms.

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3 hours ago, CDNPolar said:

They don't have to lower the payment terms.

Yes, the business model/strategy works well for them.

 

It is interesting that six months out full payment is considered good payment terms for a repeat customer, I do not think so.

 

1 hour ago, Pushka said:

And in Australia it is 90 days out for full payment. 

That is what many other companies ask for.

 

11 hours ago, dd57 said:

Viking is often fully booked over a year in advance.  I just booked a July 2025 cruise because 2024 was sold out. 

That is what I mean, it - if this is the correct word - perpetuates. July 2025 may well sell out as long as the cycle keeps repeating itself and people are willing to book under those terms, then 2026 opens up early, etc. Every customer willing to part with money early keeps it going. In North America, as Canal archive said it does not work in Europe due to customer protection laws.

 

If one wants it one is willing to pay, especially if the impression is that this is common practice. One may shop around and find it is not so, but is still willing to pay. Or not.

 

And deposit structuring is also regulated, as is advertising of bonuses, early booking discounts on websites, etc. in the EU and in Britain.

 

notamermaid

 

 

Edited by notamermaid
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I also think Viking "brainwashes" their customers. 

 

In talking with Viking loyalists,  they've told me they don't want to try other lines because they're afraid they won't include the amenities Viking does, such as shore excursions,  airport transfers,  wine at lunch and dinner, etc.

 

When I've tried to explain that some of the other river cruise lines provide all that and more, they seem incredulous.  I think Viking alludes to certain things,  giving passengers the impression Viking is all inclusive when in fact they are not. 

 

As a singleton (in the words of Bridget Jones), I'll never sail Viking due to their insistence on a 200% single supplement.  I can sail on Uniworld or Tauck with either no supplement,  or a reduced supplement, and pay less than I would on Viking plus get more inclusions such as gratuities and all alcohol. 

 

But no one wants to hear that.

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19 hours ago, mozfoz said:

Viking deposit policy. Please explain the logic.

 

Obviously Viking is successful, but are they really that much in demand as to make this requirement successful.

 

Dear @mozfoz, you don't give your location but from your question it is obviously the USA.

 

I can tell you the logic, it's simple. Because Americans accept it. There are plenty of Americans on Viking river boats. I'm in the UK, we pay a deposit on booking and don't  to pay the outstanding sum until a couple of months before departure. If they'd tried a payment policy the same as USA they wouldn't get any bookings from the UK.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Roz said:

I also think Viking "brainwashes" their customers. 

 

In talking with Viking loyalists,  they've told me they don't want to try other lines because they're afraid they won't include the amenities Viking does, such as shore excursions,  airport transfers,  wine at lunch and dinner, etc.

The majority (99%) of Viking clientele I met is highly educated, successful people, repeated customers, and most importantly, seasoned travelers. Don’t think they can be easily brainwashed.

After having taken many cruises over the years, I have developed my taste in traveling and understand well my priorities, tolerances, and preferences. Not every cruise line is a perfect match. I do not drink. I do not utilize air transfer, and do not care too much about the included excursions.  In fact, I think that making available optional shore excursion is Viking’s weakest point.  However, Viking hits most of my top preferences, so I keep signing up for Viking cruises when there is a suitable itinerary.  Price becomes lower in my ranking of preference, and early payment goes down further to bottom of this list. My situation is a data point for you.

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We have been on a couple of Viking cruises and a river one next month. Likely the last. I think Viking likes to lull people into thinking that they can't travel without their guiding hand in all things associated with it, planes, transport and the like. And so what Viking says, thinks and does is the only way to do things. So many times I hear questions like - how will I get to the ship/hotel/boat if I've arrived early or late and Viking won't be there to meet me? In pre Viking days, gosh, we caught a taxi, bus or train.  And now, Viking meets people in transit if booked on Viking air to get them to the next gate. Obviously some love that experience but I really don't want my hand held the way Viking does in the normal course of overseas travel. 
 

I don't think Viking brainwashes people but I do think they try to make it seem, for less experienced travellers perhaps, that this is the way international travel has to happen. And others simply enjoy handing over the travel experience for Viking to manage. Thats their call. It isn't mine, yet, maybe it will be one day. 

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43 minutes ago, Pushka said:

We have been on a couple of Viking cruises and a river one next month. Likely the last. I think Viking likes to lull people into thinking that they can't travel without their guiding hand in all things associated with it, planes, transport and the like. And so what Viking says, thinks and does is the only way to do things. So many times I hear questions like - how will I get to the ship/hotel/boat if I've arrived early or late and Viking won't be there to meet me? In pre Viking days, gosh, we caught a taxi, bus or train.  And now, Viking meets people in transit if booked on Viking air to get them to the next gate. Obviously some love that experience but I really don't want my hand held the way Viking does in the normal course of overseas travel. 
 

I don't think Viking brainwashes people but I do think they try to make it seem, for less experienced travellers perhaps, that this is the way international travel has to happen. And others simply enjoy handing over the travel experience for Viking to manage. Thats their call. It isn't mine, yet, maybe it will be one day. 

Yep there are definitely those people out there.

 

Ive never been on viking. But I asked my mother if I could fly her to London and pick her up at the airport (after I had done an ocean cruise was the rough plan) and she said she didnt feel like she could get through European airports by her self.  Keep in mind she's only seen Heathrow and CDG.

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14 hours ago, CDNPolar said:

We were the couple that knew Viking from their TV ads specifically on PBS TV.  We never booked a cruise before and we just accepted the payment policy and thought that this was standard.

 

Re the comment about 6 months payment, this is ONLY if you have at least one cruise currently booked with deposit.  

 

We now are going to hit our 9th or 10th cruise with Viking and we always have one cruise booked in the future which maintains the 6 month full payment option.  I also think that this option may be limited to USA and Canada, and may not apply to other countries?

 

In any case, we are taking advantage of the active $25 deposit now for the future cruises as it reduces the money we have to have on file with Viking to get 6 month payment terms.  You can also before full payment move that deposit to another cruise altogether or different dates with no penalty.... so we do placeholders.  We intend to do that cruise, but we may move it before we do it...

 

The other thing about Viking and their payment terms?  People pay it.  Yes, you see the odd person on CC that say they won't book with Viking because of this, but then tell me why we have to book 18+ months in advance to get the cabin category we want?  Because Viking fill their ships.  They don't have to lower the payment terms.

I am curious - do you price other lines out or are curious about other lines? I know when I started ocean cruising, I tried several lines. My 2 river cruises have been on 2 different lines and I have a 3rd one booked on a different line all together.

 

You are right - Viking does fill their ships. They have an amazing Marketing department. No one can argue with that.

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10 hours ago, Coral said:

I am curious - do you price other lines out or are curious about other lines? I know when I started ocean cruising, I tried several lines. My 2 river cruises have been on 2 different lines and I have a 3rd one booked on a different line all together.

 

You are right - Viking does fill their ships. They have an amazing Marketing department. No one can argue with that.

 

We have priced other lines, but to date all our cruising - River and Ocean -  except one River Cruise (Egypt Nile) have been on Viking.  Why?  We just like the product.  Simple.

 

I know that this might get debated here, but we really like the almost all included pricing of Viking.  We know the ships, we know the product, we like the service.

 

We do price around but so far have not jumped on anything.  We tend to fall back to Viking.

 

For Ocean we do want to look at bigger ships, but we LOVE the no children on Viking so if on a bigger ship we would look for an adults only section / concierge section of the ship.  (Off topic)

 

And back to topic - Viking do fill their ships and for those that don't like the deposit and payment policy, they don't have to book, but Viking are not suffering because of this group not booking.

 

I look at this perhaps from the wrong lens.  We are not wealthy, but we save well in advance for our travels.  I can pay the full fare if necessary one year out, but as I have stated, we have always been 6 months payment because of future cruises booked.

 

I know that if you are paying 12 months out that there is interest lost on that cash over that period if it was in a bank or an investment, but in reality it is not that much loss - in my mind.  AND, there are no penalties until 120 days out except the $100 pp if you cancel outright.  Which means cancel before 120 days and get back your full payment.

 

To us, we are ok with this.

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Pushka said:

And others simply enjoy handing over the travel experience for Viking to manage. Thats their call. It isn't mine, yet, maybe it will be one day. 

 

In the UK Viking's river cruise price includes air travel and transport between the airport and boat.

 

I do enjoy  that all I have to do is get my case to airport check in, collect it from the baggage carousel the other end and wheel it through customs and to the Viking coach.

 

Next time I see my case it is in my cabin. At the end of the cruise my case is taken from the cabin to the coach and all I have to do is wheel it from the coach to airport check in.

 

Nice & easy; for me that's part of what makes the holiday.

 

 

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3 hours ago, CDNPolar said:

 

We have priced other lines, but to date all our cruising - River and Ocean -  except one River Cruise (Egypt Nile) have been on Viking.  Why?  We just like the product.  Simple.

 

I know that this might get debated here, but we really like the almost all included pricing of Viking.  We know the ships, we know the product, we like the service.

 

We do price around but so far have not jumped on anything.  We tend to fall back to Viking.

 

For Ocean we do want to look at bigger ships, but we LOVE the no children on Viking so if on a bigger ship we would look for an adults only section / concierge section of the ship.  (Off topic)

 

And back to topic - Viking do fill their ships and for those that don't like the deposit and payment policy, they don't have to book, but Viking are not suffering because of this group not booking.

 

I look at this perhaps from the wrong lens.  We are not wealthy, but we save well in advance for our travels.  I can pay the full fare if necessary one year out, but as I have stated, we have always been 6 months payment because of future cruises booked.

 

I know that if you are paying 12 months out that there is interest lost on that cash over that period if it was in a bank or an investment, but in reality it is not that much loss - in my mind.  AND, there are no penalties until 120 days out except the $100 pp if you cancel outright.  Which means cancel before 120 days and get back your full payment.

 

To us, we are ok with this.

 

 

 

Agree 100%---paying in advance doesn't bother me--if if bothers others, then there are plenty of other cruise lines to travel with.  As said, I like what I get from Viking, and I like not paying for things I don't want or need, like full beverage plans, or butlers.  I like choosing which optional excursions I pay for and take.

 

We are not brainwashed, we just like Viking's product.  We don't all have to think the same way and like the same things, n'est pas?

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4 hours ago, pontac said:

 

In the UK Viking's river cruise price includes air travel and transport between the airport and boat.

 

I do enjoy  that all I have to do is get my case to airport check in, collect it from the baggage carousel the other end and wheel it through customs and to the Viking coach.

 

Next time I see my case it is in my cabin. At the end of the cruise my case is taken from the cabin to the coach and all I have to do is wheel it from the coach to airport check in.

 

Nice & easy; for me that's part of what makes the holiday.

 

 

But the luggage service is hardly a viking exclusive  perk, Ive had that same service on my last 3-4 AMA cruises (every one except the first that we didnt go from the airport to the ship and vice versa) and didn't pay for it.  All but one (Munich to Vilshofen) were basically chauffeurs, not even coaches, just me/us and the driver usually in a passenger car (last one was a van).  The ship to airport is always a bus.

 

Excursions, it sounds viking may have convinced some people every other cruise line only has one excursion, take it or leave it.  Ive almost always had 3-4 to choose from every morning and they were all free.
 

I chose AMA based on itinerary, and much line the viking passengers they haven't given me any reason to go elsewhere.  if viking didnt have a 100% solo supplement I would probably try them at some point, I have nothing against them but what they do is definitely available elsewhere.

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1 hour ago, CastleCritic said:

But the luggage service is hardly a viking exclusive  perk, Ive had that same service on my last 3-4 AMA cruises (every one except the first that we didnt go from the airport to the ship and vice versa) and didn't pay for it.  All but one (Munich to Vilshofen) were basically chauffeurs, not even coaches, just me/us and the driver usually in a passenger car (last one was a van).  The ship to airport is always a bus.

 

Excursions, it sounds viking may have convinced some people every other cruise line only has one excursion, take it or leave it.  Ive almost always had 3-4 to choose from every morning and they were all free.
 

I chose AMA based on itinerary, and much line the viking passengers they haven't given me any reason to go elsewhere.  if viking didnt have a 100% solo supplement I would probably try them at some point, I have nothing against them but what they do is definitely available elsewhere.


There are so many products on the market that I am sure there are pros and cons to other lines as there is for Viking. 
 

I am often criticized by my husband as I will eat the same thing in a restaurant over and over because I liked it the first time.  For food he is different, but with Viking we both liked it and therefore continue booking.  

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