Viking Ocean Cruise

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Sep 25, 2017
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#1
I booked a Viking Ocean Cruise on Nov. 16, 2018 – ‘Central American Shores and Cuba’. Because Viking had not yet secured the proper permit to port in Havana as was on the original itinerary ) I was notified of this on Aug. 1, 2017), the cruise changed to ‘Cultural Cuba’, and the port in Cuba was changed to Cienfuegos (quite a distance from Havana). Additionally, they eliminated both Cozumel and Belize. In summary, the name of the cruise changed, and all but the embarkation port on day 1 and the disembarkation port on day 8 changed (days 2 through 7 on the itinerary were changed). Although Viking has not ‘officially’ cancelled the original cruise, have they ‘effectively cancelled it – meaning I am entitled to a full refund?
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#2
Have you looked at your Passenger Ticket Contract? I was reading the Terms and Conditions on Viking's website and found this:

Advanced, Cancelled or Delayed
Viking reserves the right to withdraw and/or cancel a tour or to make changes in the itinerary and hotel accommodations whenever, in its sole judgment, or in the judgment of the vessel Carrier or owner, conditions warrant it. In the event of charters of the vessels, adverse weather or water conditions, mechanical or other issues with the ship, docking issues, government or other authority actions, truces, lockouts, riots or stoppage of labor from whatever cause or for any other reason whatsoever, the Carrier or Owner of the vessels identified herein may, at any time, cancel, advance, alter, substitute or postpone any scheduled tour and may, but is not obliged to, substitute another vessel or itinerary and shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever to guests by reason of any such cancellation, advancement or postponement except as specifically set forth in the Passenger Ticket Contract.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 25, 2017
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#3
Yes, I did read that from Viking. However, the change in name of the cruise and the change in nearly the entire itinerary was due to their lack of securing the proper permits to port in Havana from the get-go. They sold me a cruise they when they did not have all the permits to do so! When they had no permits but offered a cruise into the port of Havana, then needed to change nearly everything due to a substitute port in Cuba, seems like they have essentially 'cancelled' the original cruise and created a new offering as a new cruise? I feel like they are just gaming the system.......notification was 116 days before embarkation (eliminates their responsibility to refund all but $100 - which would have happened had the notification been 121 days); then they offered full refunds from Aug. 1 trough Aug. 18, but did not notify me or my travel agent of that - tells my travel agent that the time to get a full refund has expired. And all of this from the #1 Cruise line?? Please help me..........
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#4
I would ask your travel agent what he or she is going to do about it then. your travel agent has a duty to remain informed of itinerary details and advise you promptly. if they did not notify your TA then I would say you have a case. have your TA advocate for you. If your TA tells you there is nothing he or she can do, ask to speak with his or her manager.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 25, 2017
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#5
TA has escalated as far as she can to no avail.....was told that cannot get a full refund because the time had expired.........I have options in the state of California. I will also contact the executives at Viking, and contact the media.......including social media outlets. Viking hopes I will go away and that is not going to happen. I appreciate your help. Thanks.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Yes, I did read that from Viking. However, the change in name of the cruise and the change in nearly the entire itinerary was due to their lack of securing the proper permits to port in Havana from the get-go. They sold me a cruise they when they did not have all the permits to do so! When they had no permits but offered a cruise into the port of Havana, then needed to change nearly everything due to a substitute port in Cuba, seems like they have essentially 'cancelled' the original cruise and created a new offering as a new cruise? I feel like they are just gaming the system.......notification was 116 days before embarkation (eliminates their responsibility to refund all but $100 - which would have happened had the notification been 121 days); then they offered full refunds from Aug. 1 trough Aug. 18, but did not notify me or my travel agent of that - tells my travel agent that the time to get a full refund has expired. And all of this from the #1 Cruise line?? Please help me..........
One thing I have to point out in the cruise line's defense -- the diplomatic relationships between Cuba and the USA are very complicated. There has been a recent change in the US policy on travel to Cuba and that may have prompted some changes on the Cuban side. Even if the cruise line had the permits earlier in the year those likely could have been revoked or changed given that the US changed its policy over the summer.

I am no fan of cruise lines but anything involving travel to Cuba is problematic because of diplomacy issues.
 
Sep 25, 2017
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#7
Per their email of Aug. 1, 2017, 'Having recently completed the permit process with the Cuban government, we have had to make alternative plans' meaning their permits were not granted or in place to when they offered this cruise. They sold me a cruise without having all their permits in place. I have been to Cuba, and have kept up on the recent changes which really do not effect cruises....but do effect land tours, hotels and restaurants. We were to stay on the boat (initially no hotels), and eat on the boat or in paladars (which is allowed). They knew the permits were not in place 121 days before the embarkation date, but held off notifying anyone until 116 days before the embarkation date. Then allowed full-refunds for a period of time, but did not notify anyone - only those who happened to call and cancel within that unpublished time frame got the full refunds.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#8
I can understand your frustration. What I don't understand is why Viking won't just move you to another cruise without penalty. They don't HAVE to, but since they changed nearly every aspect of what you purchased, they should be amendable to getting you a cruise that you will enjoy. Has this been discussed with Viking? Are you comfortable that your travel agent is able to negotiate something here?

I understand the moving the ship's dock away from Havana, these things happen, and frankly I wouldn't expect a Cuba cruise to go off without several meaningful changes. It must be very difficult to put it all together given the political climate. But what did they replace the other two ports with?
 
Sep 25, 2017
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#9
They did offer to move my funds to another Viking River or Ocean cruise and I considered that. I am traveling with another person, so the scheduling of another Viking Cruise proved impossible since we each lead active lives, and neither of us wanted to take any of the current Viking Cruise offerings. Was told that they keep the funds until another cruise is actually booked. And, I do not have anything in writing from Viking about moving funds to another cruise. They were negligent in their business offering a cruise without all the permits in place, offering full refunds for a period of time and not notifying all passengers, and I believe holding back on the alternative itinerary for an extra 5 days to relieve themselves of some of the responsibility based on their refund time schedule. AND, the 2 ports (Cozumel and Belize) that were eliminated were NOT replaced with alternative ports!! There was 1 additional day at sea - now 2 days on an 8 day cruise.......not what I bought into.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#11
I booked a Viking Ocean Cruise on Nov. 16, 2018 – ‘Central American Shores and Cuba’. Because Viking had not yet secured the proper permit to port in Havana as was on the original itinerary ) I was notified of this on Aug. 1, 2017), the cruise changed to ‘Cultural Cuba’, and the port in Cuba was changed to Cienfuegos (quite a distance from Havana). Additionally, they eliminated both Cozumel and Belize. In summary, the name of the cruise changed, and all but the embarkation port on day 1 and the disembarkation port on day 8 changed (days 2 through 7 on the itinerary were changed). Although Viking has not ‘officially’ cancelled the original cruise, have they ‘effectively cancelled it – meaning I am entitled to a full refund?

When they notified you on Aug. 1 of the change did they tell you that you could cancel for at full refund?

I'm not understanding why you couldn't cancel. But I not a fan of Viking and their non refundable deposit policy.

We have company contacts:

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

Start at customer service and tell them you want a full refund because you signed on for a cruise that said it was going to Havana

They should never have sold a cruise before they had the permits in place.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#12
@Neil, if I read the post correctly, LW was notified of the change on Aug 1 but that was too late to cancel without penalty. Viking said the TA was notified in a timely manner (in order to be able to cancel without penalty) but TA said they were not notified.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,621
11,210
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#13
@Neil, if I read the post correctly, LW was notified of the change on Aug 1 but that was too late to cancel without penalty. Viking said the TA was notified in a timely manner (in order to be able to cancel without penalty) but TA said they were not notified.
Which is why the OP should write to Viking. She should ask for proof that the TA was notified. There should be a dated email to
the TA. If there isn't then Viking needs to make an exception. If there was- then the TA needs to face up to their error. It seems OP is stuck in the middle.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#14
Which is why the OP should write to Viking. She should ask for proof that the TA was notified. There should be a dated email to
the TA. If there isn't then Viking needs to make an exception. If there was- then the TA needs to face up to their error. It seems OP is stuck in the middle.
I think this needs to be escalated to the TAs manager.

Explain the situation and then ask the manager to obtain proof of cancellation, with a date stamp and the to address of where it was sent, from Viking. if Viking can provide proof then the manager needs to arrange for Viking to provide a refund. if the manager cannot obtain proof, then the travel agency needs to cut a check.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,621
11,210
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
I think this needs to be escalated to the TAs manager.

Explain the situation and then ask the manager to obtain proof of cancellation, with a date stamp and the to address of where it was sent, from Viking. if Viking can provide proof then the manager needs to arrange for Viking to provide a refund. if the manager cannot obtain proof, then the travel agency needs to cut a check.
Depends on the travel agency. Some are owned and operated by the same person so
there is no manager or anyone to escalate.

But a big piece of the problem is Viking advertising a cruise they had no permits for and giving a very short time frame to cancel. IMO Viking holds more fault than the travel
agent and should be helping this person. If Viking can send Diane a copy of the email sent to the agency- then the agent is at fault for not contacting her right away.

Who books a cruise that doesn't exist and does not give the passenger more than
2 weeks to cancel?
 
Likes: sas80
Jul 27, 2016
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#16
The TA should be reimbursing Diane for her losses, and then taking up the issue with Viking. The TA should have informed Diane in time to cancel. The reason that the TA didn't so (i.e. whether the TA was notified, and failed to inform, or Viking failed to notify the TA) is a matter relevant to the TA and Viking, but not to Diane. At the very least, the TA should be paying Diane all commissions received from Viking.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
5,890
5,970
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San Francisco
#17
I think this needs to be escalated to the TAs manager.

Explain the situation and then ask the manager to obtain proof of cancellation, with a date stamp and the to address of where it was sent, from Viking. if Viking can provide proof then the manager needs to arrange for Viking to provide a refund. if the manager cannot obtain proof, then the travel agency needs to cut a check.
I think you have it just right, SAS. The TA can act much more quickly than Viking and should have no trouble finding the notification in their records. If they deny they received it, they should take this up with Viking. I would definitely expect a TA to double-check everything about my cruise the week before the 'no-refund' date.
 
Likes: sas80