Viking false advertising for Christmas in Germany cruise

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Jan 5, 2018
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#1
My husband and I have been faithful customers of Viking and have had 16 bookings with them. For our 4th Christmas Market cruise, we booked Christmas in Germany, departing from Nuremberg on Nov 24, 2017 on Viking Var, headed to Cologne. When we boarded the ship, we found not a single Christmas decoration for this Christmas cruise. That was kind of depressing. That night we received the Viking Daily for the next day and the shore excursion was listed as "Sightseeing tour of the city of Nuremberg. Includes free time to visit the Christmas Markets." Next day when we took the tour, we found that the Christmas Markets would not be opening until the following Friday, a week away, As the week went on and we visited other towns along the river, we found more Christmas Markets that were not open yet. Needless to say, we were quite disappointed since that was the reason we went on this cruise. The river was too high was us to continue our cruise so we were bused to a hotel 45 minutes outside Cologne, which did have Christmas Markets open. In previous years, on Christmas Market Tours, there have been Christmas Markets open in each town, each day. Someone at Viking did not do their job and find out when the Markets opened. So what was advertised and sold as a Christmas in Germany Cruise, wasn't. Viking has offered us 25% off of the cruise only price as a credit to be used on a future trip, booked before Dec. 31, 2018. We feel this is insufficient. We asked for a refund of that amount, instead of forcing us to take another cruise with them to use the vouchers. Or to up the voucher value since we have been faithful repeat customers, but their representative doesn't even listen to what we are saying when we talk to him. I feel it is genuine false advertising on their part. Any help someone can give us would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Neil Maley

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#2
It’s well known in a he cruise industry that the Christmas Markets in Europe don’t open until at least Dec. 1. I think you have a legitimate gripe with Biming advertising this as a Christmas Market cruise before that date.

We have company contacts for Viking:

http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/viking-cruises/

Write to the customer service email address.

Give them a week to reply. If they don't respond or refuse to help, write to the first executive shown. Tell him/her that Customer Service wasn't able to help or didn't reply. Give the executive a week to reply. If necessary, repeat weekly going up the chain of Executives one at a time. If you get all the Executives with no help, come back here and let us know and we'll
Tell you the next step. Make sure you keep all the emails as you'll need to forward them to the writers if they need to get involved.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
Even tho this was probably a magical time to take a river cruise through Germany, I understand your disappointment with the markets themselves.

As a dyed-in-the-wool travel nitpicker, I must ask about the daily descriptions of the cruise. If Viking didn't promote Christmas Markets on the daily itinerary, then there won't be any ... they haven't opened for the season yet. This kind of thinking has been honed by experience ... never let your anticipation overlook the printed details! Please let us know exactly what 'you bought'.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jan 6, 2015
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#4
Even tho this was probably a magical time to take a river cruise through Germany, I understand your disappointment with the markets themselves.

As a dyed-in-the-wool travel nitpicker, I must ask about the daily descriptions of the cruise. If Viking didn't promote Christmas Markets on the daily itinerary, then there won't be any ... they haven't opened for the season yet. This kind of thinking has been honed by experience ... never let your anticipation overlook the printed details! Please let us know exactly what 'you bought'.
FYI, they actually did promite them on the daily itinerary. I'm guessing the language for that tour is "generic", and they never changed it.

They have offered 25% off the cruise price for a future sailing.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#5
FYI, they actually did promite them on the daily itinerary. I'm guessing the language for that tour is "generic", and they never changed it.

They have offered 25% off the cruise price for a future sailing.
What exactly did the descriptions say?
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#6
As per her original post:

"Sightseeing tour of the city of Nuremberg. Includes free time to visit the Christmas Markets."

And to me this is definitely misleading ...
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
Sounds like a mess by the company -- Christmas markets often are scheduled around a liturgical calendar -- opening a few days before or after Advent- Nuremberg opens on the Friday before Advent. In 2016 Advent was November 27 so market opened 11/25-- in 2017 Advent was December 3 so market opened December 1 -- other markets are less liturgical.

My guess is that the cruise line used the 2016 calendar of markets which is careless.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#8
Actually most of the river cruise lines start their Christmas market cruises in November before most of them are open. If you don’t know that most open Dec. 1 (and who would if it’s advertised that way) you can be disappointed.

Our writer is an experienced river cruiser and I can fully understand being upset over this.

And it isn’t just Viking- they all do this. I think there should be a disclaimer by all the lines that most markets don’t open before Dec.1.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#9
Actually most of the river cruise lines start their Christmas market cruises in November before most of them are open. If you don’t know that most open Dec. 1 (and who would if it’s advertised that way) you can be disappointed.

Our writer is an experienced river cruiser and I can fully understand being upset over this.

And it isn’t just Viking- they all do this. I think there should be a disclaimer by all the lines that most markets don’t open before Dec.1.
I couldn't agree more, Neil. There's no reason beyond laziness to not nail down the exact dates for a Christmas Market river cruise.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#10
So glad I read this. We are thinking of taking a Christmas Markets cruise in the next few years and now I know to not leave on one before December 1 to be safe!

I do think it is very misleading, which is why the OP was offered a 25% discount on a future cruise. I think the language needs to be changed, as the cruise lines offer almost the same itineraries and just call them different names at different times of the year.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#11
So glad I read this. We are thinking of taking a Christmas Markets cruise in the next few years and now I know to not leave on one before December 1 to be safe!

I do think it is very misleading, which is why the OP was offered a 25% discount on a future cruise. I think the language needs to be changed, as the cruise lines offer almost the same itineraries and just call them different names at different times of the year.
I agree- this should not be called Christmas market cruise into all the markets in the cities the cruise line is stopping at.

I’d ask for a 50% discount. I don’t think 25% is enough. She didn’t get the excursions to the markets that are included in the price.
 
Jan 5, 2018
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#12
Thanks, Neil. I wasn't sure what to ask for as compensation. Viking seems to be hard to deal with. I wrote a letter to the address you gave me in your first comment here. We'll see if that accomplishes anything. Thanks.
 

Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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#15
@Joan McCoy thanks for the update. I am glad you were able to secure a favorable (for you) resolution. I would agree with Neil that Viking is a very hard company to deal with however they have many loyalists, as do most other lines.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#17
Good for you, Joan! I was just researching a river cruise and read about the Christmas Markets starting 'at the end of November' ... and thought how angry many passengers would be if they weren't open yet. Somehow you don't expect that you'll have to backstop the cruise line to be sure they have their facts right.
 
Jan 5, 2018
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#18
I didn't check on their facts before we signed up for that cruise. I expected Viking knew when they were open, but apparently someone slipped up and it has cost them dearly, as I got the impression that they were dealing with other people besides me. Hopefully, now they will be sure of their facts before offering a cruise.
 

Neil Maley

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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,409
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
I didn't check on their facts before we signed up for that cruise. I expected Viking knew when they were open, but apparently someone slipped up and it has cost them dearly, as I got the impression that they were dealing with other people besides me. Hopefully, now they will be sure of their facts before offering a cruise.
They aren’t the only river cruise line that does this and it wasn’t someone slipping up. It’s not a surprise when the Markets are all open - most don’t open before December 1. None of them should be advertising Christmas Market cruises for cruises departing before then.