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Viking deposit policy. Please explain the logic.


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On 11/10/2023 at 4:12 PM, CastleCritic said:

But the luggage service is hardly a viking exclusive  perk

 

There's nothing in my post that suggests it is.

 

I'm glad you enjoy AMA and am not suggesting you change. Maybe if my first river cruise had been with AMA I would have stayed with them.

 

As it is, I know what Viking delivers and I am happy with it.

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3 hours ago, pontac said:

 

There's nothing in my post that suggests it is.

 

I'm glad you enjoy AMA and am not suggesting you change. Maybe if my first river cruise had been with AMA I would have stayed with them.

 

As it is, I know what Viking delivers and I am happy with it.

Agree 1000%---we know other companies are good, but we liked what Viking gave us and are willing to sail with them again.

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30 minutes ago, sharkster77 said:

Agree 1000%---we know other companies are good, but we liked what Viking gave us and are willing to sail with them again.

I agree. I’ve traveled on Tauck when I go alone because the lowest category is no single supplement when it’s available. It is more expensive than Viking would be if I went as a couple and paid half of that. But no single supplement is uncommon, and Tauck is excellent. That said, I prefer Viking for its many itineraries and the Scandinavian feel. I will always go on Viking if I have the choice. 

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Not brainwashed (by commercials) or stupid. I think it is a gut reaction to the payment rule and some people are not thinking it out,   I did plenty of research to pick Viking over other cruise lines. While I don't like the 1 year pre-pay it certainly wouldn't stop me from cruising on Viking (our first River cruise). One advantage I found with Viking is that they have many ships so there are options if there are water issues. And, Viking is less expensive that some of the other lines with multiple ships.

Back to the pre payment issue:   I booked for May 2025 and the total cost for our selected cabin will be $9000.  I have to pay in full in May 2024, so 9 months ahead of other lines. Figuring that extra 9 months at 5% interest is $337.50 lost. A similar cruise on another line (with multiple ships) was $600 more so I SAVED $262). Today I looked at the same Viking cruise, same cabin for May 2024 and it was $1000 more so waiting until closer to the sailing date does not save any money and could mean losing out on the cabin you want or the cruise entirely if it is fully booked.

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Different people value different things. The prepayment issue sticks in my craw, but for me the big issue is space. I really value space on a cruise, and because Viking packs so many people on their ships they have the least space. That explains why they can be cheaper, but to me it’s a clear case of “you get what you pay for.”

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14 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Different people value different things. The prepayment issue sticks in my craw, but for me the big issue is space. I really value space on a cruise, and because Viking packs so many people on their ships they have the least space. That explains why they can be cheaper, but to me it’s a clear case of “you get what you pay for.”

 

This is something that I have not looked at - the number of people vs. the space.

 

We have only done three river cruises and two were with Viking.  The third was Uniworld on The Nile, and that was not a good test of what Uniworld is all about because the ship actually to me was a huge disappointment.

 

On our recent Viking River Cruise - the first one was a few years ago prior to Covid - we did find that the lounge could not hold all guests for port talks and the dining room was a bit claustrophobic when the dinner rush settled each night.

 

If other lines offer more space, I would see that as a plus.  We love Viking Ocean because we feel there is plenty of space on the Ocean ships.

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On 11/29/2023 at 1:23 PM, CruisingAgain said:

 A similar cruise on another line (with multiple ships) was $600 more so I SAVED $262). 

I guess it all depends if you are comparing apples to apples. Some of the other lines do include more tours or better tours, may include gratuities, extras, etc....

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On 11/30/2023 at 5:33 AM, CDNPolar said:

 

This is something that I have not looked at - the number of people vs. the space.

 

We have only done three river cruises and two were with Viking.  The third was Uniworld on The Nile, and that was not a good test of what Uniworld is all about because the ship actually to me was a huge disappointment.

 

On our recent Viking River Cruise - the first one was a few years ago prior to Covid - we did find that the lounge could not hold all guests for port talks and the dining room was a bit claustrophobic when the dinner rush settled each night.

 

If other lines offer more space, I would see that as a plus.  We love Viking Ocean because we feel there is plenty of space on the Ocean ships.

When we were debating who to book our first river cruise with, the ratio number of passengers to ship size and to crew size was a factor, which was one of the reasons we chose Scenic over Viking.  The basic Viking Longship has 190 passengers to 48-50 crew while Scenic has 163 passengers to 56 crew, for the same size ships.

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On 11/30/2023 at 9:12 PM, Coral said:

I guess it all depends if you are comparing apples to apples. Some of the other lines do include more tours or better tours, may include gratuities, extras, etc.

True ...but I was comparing the apples that I care about (gratuities not included in either). I don't care about room size, cabin storage, and many extras offered on other lines. I just want to be on the water.

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On 11/8/2023 at 8:00 PM, dd57 said:

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.

My husband and I aren't new to cruising at all, but will be going on our first river cruise in July on Viking Einar. We were supposed to be doing a transatlantic in April with Holland America, but canceled that this morning. My sister in-law and her husband are also newly retired, and just booked this river cruise and asked us to join them. This is the first time I've ever booked something so quickly without doing my research. We've always wanted to try river cruising though, and the itinerary is just beautiful so we went with it. 

Aware that there are other river cruise companies, and had I done a bunch of research, we may not have gone with Viking, but, from the little bit of research I've done in the past 24-hours, YouTube videos, etc., there's no way we won't have a great time. 

It's going to feel very different than the mega-ships we're used to sailing. In a good way though...this is just going to be a very different type of trip. Definitely more about the destination. We'll be in a Veranda suite on deck 3. 

We got a deal on airfare....that was the deal...and my husband and I are flying into Amsterdam a few days pre-cruise, they're not, and then we're all spending 3 days on the end in Basel. My husband and his sister have family there and we'll be visiting with them. So really, trip of a lifetime for all of us.

 

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56 minutes ago, jules815 said:

My husband and I aren't new to cruising at all, but will be going on our first river cruise in July on Viking Einar. We were supposed to be doing a transatlantic in April with Holland America, but canceled that this morning. My sister in-law and her husband are also newly retired, and just booked this river cruise and asked us to join them. This is the first time I've ever booked something so quickly without doing my research. We've always wanted to try river cruising though, and the itinerary is just beautiful so we went with it. 

Aware that there are other river cruise companies, and had I done a bunch of research, we may not have gone with Viking, but, from the little bit of research I've done in the past 24-hours, YouTube videos, etc., there's no way we won't have a great time. 

It's going to feel very different than the mega-ships we're used to sailing. In a good way though...this is just going to be a very different type of trip. Definitely more about the destination. We'll be in a Veranda suite on deck 3. 

We got a deal on airfare....that was the deal...and my husband and I are flying into Amsterdam a few days pre-cruise, they're not, and then we're all spending 3 days on the end in Basel. My husband and his sister have family there and we'll be visiting with them. So really, trip of a lifetime for all of us.

 

Warning, they can be addicting!  I hope you all have a great time.

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1 hour ago, jules815 said:

My husband and I aren't new to cruising at all, but will be going on our first river cruise in July on Viking Einar. We were supposed to be doing a transatlantic in April with Holland America, but canceled that this morning. My sister in-law and her husband are also newly retired, and just booked this river cruise and asked us to join them. This is the first time I've ever booked something so quickly without doing my research. We've always wanted to try river cruising though, and the itinerary is just beautiful so we went with it. 

Aware that there are other river cruise companies, and had I done a bunch of research, we may not have gone with Viking, but, from the little bit of research I've done in the past 24-hours, YouTube videos, etc., there's no way we won't have a great time. 

It's going to feel very different than the mega-ships we're used to sailing. In a good way though...this is just going to be a very different type of trip. Definitely more about the destination. We'll be in a Veranda suite on deck 3. 

We got a deal on airfare....that was the deal...and my husband and I are flying into Amsterdam a few days pre-cruise, they're not, and then we're all spending 3 days on the end in Basel. My husband and his sister have family there and we'll be visiting with them. So really, trip of a lifetime for all of us.

 

Instead of Basel take a one hour train from there and spend your extra time in Lucerne--it is compact, walkable and lovely.  If you're flying home out of Zurich, Lucerne is an easy 1 hour train ride to the airport (train station in the terminal). 

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On 11/8/2023 at 7:25 PM, 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 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.

 

On 11/8/2023 at 8:11 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

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]

We are taking our first Viking River cruise in just a few days and we booked another for April of next year. For the first we did have to plunk down our $$$ almost 1 year in advance, but for the second we only had to pay at the 6 months mark. Still way too early for my tastes, but the itineary for the other cruise is just too tempting. So we did it again. 

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15 hours ago, jules815 said:

 

It's going to feel very different than the mega-ships we're used to sailing. In a good way though...this is just going to be a very different type of trip. Definitely more about the destination. We'll be in a Veranda suite on deck 3. 

 

 

 

It will feel very different than any ocean ship - mega or not.  It is a totally different vibe.

 

We have sailed both Viking Ocean and River and leave on a River cruise in just under two weeks.  We love both but you really cannot compare them.

 

On Ocean we can be totally to ourselves and sit in all dining venues at tables for 2 and kind of be anonymous to an extent.  On River, you really cannot do that.  Most River ships don't have tables for 2, and there is no place to really get away from people.  One dining room, and one lounge. 

 

Many people do both, but we find the people that do River cruising are far more friendly and ready to introduce and talk and that really starts with the first meal at a table for 6 or 8.

 

Hope you will love it.

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27 minutes ago, CDNPolar said:

 

It will feel very different than any ocean ship - mega or not.  It is a totally different vibe.

 

We have sailed both Viking Ocean and River and leave on a River cruise in just under two weeks.  We love both but you really cannot compare them.

 

On Ocean we can be totally to ourselves and sit in all dining venues at tables for 2 and kind of be anonymous to an extent.  On River, you really cannot do that.  Most River ships don't have tables for 2, and there is no place to really get away from people.  One dining room, and one lounge. 

 

Many people do both, but we find the people that do River cruising are far more friendly and ready to introduce and talk and that really starts with the first meal at a table for 6 or 8.

 

Hope you will love it.

 

Thanks for posting this, we've only been on river cruises, and have a Viking Ocean cruise booked for Jan 25.  I'm very much looking forward to all the space the ship has. 

 

We sailed Viking in 2014, and board a Viking Christmas cruise in 2 weeks.  3 Vantage cruises in the interim.  What really jumps out to me about Viking is the huge number of optional tours.  That must be a huge profit center for them.  Vantage had few optional tours, and the included tours seemed to include more.  Vantage Amsterdam we did a canal cruise, then went for a guided tour of Rijksmuseum on the included tour.  On Viking, just the canal tour is included.  The Breisach Black Forest day seems like a drive to take you to demonstrations followed by shopping. 

 

We're also back in aquarium this cruise, I think we will miss the French Balcony and larger Vantage Cabin, but the Viking $ jump to true balcony was too much, especially buying two cabins (daughter is coming as well).

 

Jazz also pointed out passenger #'s/cruise line.  That's really a big factor.  On our 2014 Viking cruise, not everyone being able to fit into the lounge wasn't great, especially as the CD couldn't get the cabin feed to work.  I'm thinking they got this worked out. But 190 on Viking compared to 170 or fewer on other lines does make a difference. 

 

Unfortunately I think our cruise is sold out...we were on one of Vantage's last sailings last November, with only 128 people.  Yeah, we were served chicken nuggets for a welcome snack, but they got some stuff right (our Prague hotel had an orange juice squeezer machine in breakfast room, pretty awesome; in Bucharest we stayed in same hotel as Tauck).

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30 minutes ago, ural guy said:

 

 

We sailed Viking in 2014, and board a Viking Christmas cruise in 2 weeks. 

Which Christmas Cruise are you on?

 

I think - or hope - you will love Viking Ocean...  it is a great experience for us.

 

Yes, Viking can have a lot of optional excursions, but we pretty much book all the included and then look more closely at the optional.  We might book one optional for every two included.  

 

If you are brave to book excursions off of Viking's offerings, you often find the same content of excursion on a site like Viator for less than Viking is offering.  The tours don't always work with the port timing, but there are deals to be had out there.

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Treasures of the Rhine, 9 N, AMS-Basel.

 

We'll do some of the included Viking tours, and venture off on our own for others.

Christmas day they have an included tour to Palais Het Loo.  They list the tour as 3 hours, and Google maps has it taking 40 minutes from Arnhem docking to get there, so you might be on site 900/100 minutes?  The Arnhem zoo is open, and has quite a few indoor exhibits.  I've been there before, and my daughter would like to try and visit there.

 

The Technik Museum in Heidelberg, we'll probably walk over and do that on our own as well.

 

On Oceans, we're taking a 14N cruise that kinda boards in Rome, and kinda ends in Athens.  I say kinda, because if you want to see either place, you need to fly in early to do the Viking pre and post cruise, or independently.  The cruise itself makes no stops in either place.  That planning seems to exist just to draw more people to sign up for the per/post cruise.

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1 hour ago, ural guy said:

That planning seems to exist just to draw more people to sign up for the per/post cruise.

Maybe it is the fact that neither Rome nor Athens are the actual ports. They dock in Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Piraeus (for Athens) which are a distance from the cities.

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Piraeus is basically Athens.10min bus or cab ride from the ship to the acropolis.  The "open top" bus tour companies in Athens all have stops at the cruise port.  Also the cruise I was on in October (virgin) did offer either a day of embarkation/disembarkation excursion if you wanted. I wouldn't have wanted the cruise to spend a night docked in Piraeus just for them to offer a "formal" excursion.

 

Civatavecchia is a different beast entirely thats a good hour away from Rome.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

Maybe it is the fact that neither Rome nor Athens are the actual ports. They dock in Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Piraeus (for Athens) which are a distance from the cities.

True, and the first tour is in Naples, the last in Katakolon.  My point is that if you want to see Rome or Athens, two pretty big attractions, you have to go on the pre or post cruise, and spend more money.  .

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47 minutes ago, ural guy said:

True, and the first tour is in Naples, the last in Katakolon.  My point is that if you want to see Rome or Athens, two pretty big attractions, you have to go on the pre or post cruise, and spend more money.  .

That is usually the case for embarkation and debarkation ports, particularly on ocean cruises.

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4 hours ago, ural guy said:

On Oceans, we're taking a 14N cruise that kinda boards in Rome, and kinda ends in Athens.  I say kinda, because if you want to see either place, you need to fly in early to do the Viking pre and post cruise, or independently.  The cruise itself makes no stops in either place.  That planning seems to exist just to draw more people to sign up for the per/post cruise.

Unless I’m missing something, the only 14 night Viking Ocean cruise from Rome to Athens is Cities of Antiquities which includes overnights in both Rome and Athens as well as an included excursion in each city. Totally disagree with your assessment that selling extensions is why this itinerary exists.

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30 minutes ago, Squawkman said:

Unless I’m missing something, the only 14 night Viking Ocean cruise from Rome to Athens is Cities of Antiquities which includes overnights in both Rome and Athens as well as an included excursion in each city. Totally disagree with your assessment that selling extensions is why this itinerary exists.

Route is called Italy, the Adriatic and Greece:  Rome (Civitavecchia) to Athens (Piraeus).

 

It's listed under Quiet Season Mediterranean.  This is Day One "Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. For centuries, Rome ruled much of Europe, building a vast empire from the power of emperors. More than 2,500 years of history live in the city’s streets. Ancient structures recall those heady days when the cheers of 80,000 spectators roared from the Colosseum, citizens mingled in the Forum and senators asked the gods for guidance at the Pantheon. Along with the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, this rich pocket of Italy is one of the world’s greatest repositories of history and civilization."

 

You never see any of that, unless you booked the precruise.  The very next morning you are in Naples.

 

https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/italy-adriatic-greece/index.html?return=true

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5 hours ago, ural guy said:

On Oceans, we're taking a 14N cruise that kinda boards in Rome, and kinda ends in Athens.  I say kinda, because if you want to see either place, you need to fly in early to do the Viking pre and post cruise, or independently.  The cruise itself makes no stops in either place.  That planning seems to exist just to draw more people to sign up for the per/post cruise.

There very few things that are common between river and ocean cruises, but there is one very important one (IME):  you should fly in early, both because of delays/cancellations and jet lag.  If you have never been to Rome before, even two days of sightseeing before your cruise would only scratch the surface.  And it's easy to DIY Rome because the Ancient Roman and Vatican sites are clustered fairly close together, with the interesting neighborhood of Trastevere nearby (and great coverage in the Rick Steves Rome or Italy books)

 

As far as Athens, there is really only a day's worth of must-see sites and this can be handled on a cruise to airport tour (if you book a late enough flight, or stay one overnight).

 

One other thing that you will find familiar on Viking Ocean cruises is that the included excursions are basic.  We very much enjoyed our one Viking Ocean cruise, but after looking at the sites in every port we didn't end up taking any of the 'free' excursions.  The optional ones were OK, but we did best hiring private guides.

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