Cancellation due to Cancer

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Sep 26, 2018
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#1
I had to cancel our reservation for Viking Homelands, due to my wife being diagnosed with Uterine Cancer. Her diagnosis and scheduled surgery occurred on the same day 9/06/2018. I called Viking to discuss our situation on two occasions 9/7/2018 and 9/09/2018 to no avail . I spoke to Skylar , Shelly and Nessa , we did not purchase the Travel Protection insurance and I was reminded of that fact many times. I also emailed Viking and received the same answer as the others had given me, this time from Rider a customer support specialist. My wife and I are only looking for some recourse , we have taken four cruises on Viking and this would have been our fifth . We have also put a deposit on a sixth cruise for 2019. Please help us during this most difficult time in our lives.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#2
I am so sorry to hear this awful news, Bruce. I hope your wife is recovering nicely from the surgery and the rest of the treatment is rapid and effective. Unfortunately, cruise lines have distinct cancellation policies and you are urged to purchase travel insurance to cover a such a catastrophic illness as cancer. Anytime a traveller invests money in future travel, unless it's refundable, it has to be insured or it will be lost.

However, you are obviously good clients of Viking and that may prove helpful. What you are looking for here is an exception to their rules. Compose a concise, polite email requesting a credit towards a future cruise ... refunds are almost impossible. Be very appreciative of anything they can do to help you through this terrible time. Use our Company Contacts to submit your letter to the first executive. Wait two weeks and if no response or you don't like what you hear, escalate up the corporate ladder, waiting a week between each submission. It's a long shot, but worth pursuing. I wish you luck and please let us know the outcome.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
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Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#3
I am sorry to hear about your wife's troubles. Have you checked with the credit card you used to see if they offer any travel protection? We recommend purchasing travel insurance for anything you can't afford to lose. When was the 5th cruise scheduled? Have you already cancelled the 6th cruise?

You may try writing to our company contacts (located at the top of the page) for Viking and see if you can get a partial refund. Please read how to write located at the bottom of the company contacts page and then wait at least a week between each correspondence.

eta: @jsn55 beat me to it! :)
 
Jun 30, 2017
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#4
Unfortunately, you are asking for the benefits of travel insurance that you chose not to purchase. You can write to Viking for a credit for a future cruise, but should not expect a positive outcome. Be sure to request a refund on your 2019 deposit before you reach the deadline for a refund.

Write (email) to Viking: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/viking-cruises/ and ask politely for a future credit but make sure it is sufficiently far in the future for your wife to complete her treatment. You are asking for a favor; they are under no obligation to grant this because you chose to forego the insurance that would have covered your cancelation.
 
Sep 28, 2018
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I hope your experience turns out better than mine. My husband went in the hospital a few days before I was supposed to leave. I was "counseled" to cancel to see if i could "find" travel insurance. This just may have been a ploy to keep my unused money since I was sort of hurried into cancelling on the day of departure. This company seems to have no scruples when it comes to sad situations.
 

Neil Maley

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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#6
I hope your experience turns out better than mine. My husband went in the hospital a few days before I was supposed to leave. I was "counseled" to cancel to see if i could "find" travel insurance. This just may have been a ploy to keep my unused money since I was sort of hurried into cancelling on the day of departure. This company seems to have no scruples when it comes to sad situations.
This is why they sell travel insurance. And this is what Travel insurance is for- unexpected illnesses that come up.
 
Likes: jsmithw
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
I hope your experience turns out better than mine. My husband went in the hospital a few days before I was supposed to leave. I was "counseled" to cancel to see if i could "find" travel insurance. This just may have been a ploy to keep my unused money since I was sort of hurried into cancelling on the day of departure. This company seems to have no scruples when it comes to sad situations.
Did you want to cancel or go on the cruise?

Did you have travel insurance? Is there a reason you did not buy it?

To quote Weihlac "Unfortunately, you are asking for the benefits of travel insurance that you chose not to purchase. "

Here is a question to all those that do not buy the insurance but want someone to cover the loss. Hypothetical --someone accidently damages your property and has no money to pay, or insurance, they have a sick family member, etc. Do you just forgive the debt because they are having a hard time? If you do not, does that mean you have no scruples?
 
Sep 28, 2018
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This is why they sell travel insurance. And this is what Travel insurance is for- unexpected illnesses that come up.
The 600.00 they wanted for travel insurance seemed huge! I can understand having it for flights, its usually about 55 to 75 dollars. But 600.00 for a 10 day cruise?
 
Sep 28, 2018
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#9
In my case, they simply cancelled my name off of the room and saved all the food and beverage expenses. My cousin's daughter used the room. So not only did they keep 5750.00 of fare, but also cashed in on my air ticket which came to 1197.00. When I checked on the air ticket, I managed to learn from Air France that they had actually Refunded Viking 907.00. I fail to see how they lost much of anything! (not to mention that their original listing promised free airfare if you paid by the end of February. Which we DID!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#10
The 600.00 they wanted for travel insurance seemed huge! I can understand having it for flights, its usually about 55 to 75 dollars. But 600.00 for a 10 day cruise?
How expensive was the cruise? $600 then would have repaid you. I’m sorry this happened but you can’t have it both ways- knowingly declining the insurance and then expecting a refund for something it covered.
Is this Viking River or Ocean Cruises? I’ve never heard of Viking Homeland Cruises.

Viking is notoriously strict about things like this and very unyielding.

If it is Viking River or Ocean Cruises, we have company contacts on top of our page. You can try writing to the Executives and see if one of them would make an exception and provide you with a credit for a future cruise. We never say never here- sometimes a polite letter asking for an exception gets on the desk of the right executive.

Read the instructions on the bottom of our company contacts page on how to write.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,767
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www.promalvacations.com
#12
In my case, they simply cancelled my name off of the room and saved all the food and beverage expenses. My cousin's daughter used the room. So not only did they keep 5750.00 of fare, but also cashed in on my air ticket which came to 1197.00. When I checked on the air ticket, I managed to learn from Air France that they had actually Refunded Viking 907.00. I fail to see how they lost much of anything! (not to mention that their original listing promised free airfare if you paid by the end of February. Which we DID!
If you substituted your cousins daughter in your room instead of you- she owes you the money.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#13
Are there any possible benefits offered by the credit card used when making the booking? Many credit cards have some coverage (not all, but you could check yours to see)
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 12, 2018
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#14
This is why they sell travel insurance. And this is what Travel insurance is for- unexpected illnesses that come up.
This line of thinking is accurate but frustrating. They sell travel insurance because travel service providers have chosen to offer their product with onerous and punitive refund policies. In the case of the airlines, you at least have the option to purchase flexible and refundable fares, though at a price that’s high enough to be its own form of dissuasion. So now, we have to pay travel fares that create profits for the service provider, and we also have to pay travel insurance premiums that create a profit for the insurance provider. Misfortune has become profitable for everyone except the person suffering from it, and we’re all okay with that. I understand that it’s complicated, that there are people who will abuse corporate good will, that there are sunk costs for Viking (in this instance), etc. But I think saying that Viking keeps $6-7k while the OP has cancer, and that this is fair and just, well, that’s a bit of a stretch.
 
Feb 11, 2018
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#15
How expensive was the cruise? $600 then would have repaid you. I’m sorry this happened but you can’t have it both ways- knowingly declining the insurance and then expecting a refund for something it covered.
Is this Viking River or Ocean Cruises? I’ve never heard of Viking Homeland Cruises.

Viking is notoriously strict about things like this and very unyielding.

If it is Viking River or Ocean Cruises, we have company contacts on top of our page. You can try writing to the Executives and see if one of them would make an exception and provide you with a credit for a future cruise. We never say never here- sometimes a polite letter asking for an exception gets on the desk of the right executive.

Read the instructions on the bottom of our company contacts page on how to write.
FYI--It's a Viking Ocean Cruise called Viking Homelands, which sails to various Baltic ports. We took it this summer and it's great. We always pay for insurance and are grateful we haven't had to use it. Insurance is for what might happen, not for what has happened.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
This line of thinking is accurate but frustrating. They sell travel insurance because travel service providers have chosen to offer their product with onerous and punitive refund policies. In the case of the airlines, you at least have the option to purchase flexible and refundable fares, though at a price that’s high enough to be its own form of dissuasion. So now, we have to pay travel fares that create profits for the service provider, and we also have to pay travel insurance premiums that create a profit for the insurance provider. Misfortune has become profitable for everyone except the person suffering from it, and we’re all okay with that. I understand that it’s complicated, that there are people who will abuse corporate good will, that there are sunk costs for Viking (in this instance), etc. But I think saying that Viking keeps $6-7k while the OP has cancer, and that this is fair and just, well, that’s a bit of a stretch.
Insurance is about risk management. A business needs to be profitable in order to continue.

How would you like to be the employee not paid because too many people cancelled and they refunded all the money?

I have paid change fees and no longer book non refundable hotels.

I am surprised that people will pay so much for a trip and not have insurance. This is particularly true as one gets older and the chances of receiving bad news about health increase.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#17
Travel companies, especially cruise lines, sell or recommend travel insurance because it can be very hard to resell a room at the last minute. Even a few months in advance. Take my situation, I have friends who are taking a Viking cruise this winter, my travel plans changed unexpectedly and I found out I could go too. Well, that Viking cruise and a number of other ones were sold out. So, I selected a different cruise and cruise line. After paying my non-refundable deposit and right before pay in full date, Viking had some rooms open up on this cruise. However, now I would be out money if I cancelled my cruise and went on Viking, which I am unwilling to do.

Now, even though this cruise is still a few months away, Viking may or may not sail with empty rooms due to some cancellations. Because a person cancelled late or held a room they were not intending to use, why should Viking be out the money more or less than the person who cancelled? This is what insurance is for. It is shifting the risk of loss to the consumer, if the consumer is risk adverse, insurance is purchased, if the consumer is not afraid of any risk, no insurance.

Another question would be why we are not allowed to resale rooms we cannot use. The risk would then be on the traveler (up to a certain point) to find someone to take their place, the traveler could potentially sell at a discount and still recoup some money. However, for a multitude of reasons, this is no longer allowed.

Cruise lines tend to operate on a slim profit margin. They typically make more money off the guest once the guest is on the ship, drinks, add on, merchandies, etc. If consumers wanted completely refundable cruises, consumers would have to pay much more to ensure that cruise lines would make a profit. Unless you don't think the travel industry should make money. Airline tickets used to be much less restricted until us consumers took advantage and the shareholder's wanted the bottom line improved, CEO's have to justify their salaries somehow. ;)
 
Likes: SierraRose49

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,767
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www.promalvacations.com
#18
This line of thinking is accurate but frustrating. They sell travel insurance because travel service providers have chosen to offer their product with onerous and punitive refund policies. In the case of the airlines, you at least have the option to purchase flexible and refundable fares, though at a price that’s high enough to be its own form of dissuasion. So now, we have to pay travel fares that create profits for the service provider, and we also have to pay travel insurance premiums that create a profit for the insurance provider. Misfortune has become profitable for everyone except the person suffering from it, and we’re all okay with that. I understand that it’s complicated, that there are people who will abuse corporate good will, that there are sunk costs for Viking (in this instance), etc. But I think saying that Viking keeps $6-7k while the OP has cancer, and that this is fair and just, well, that’s a bit of a stretch.
When spending $600 on insurance gives you back $13,000 when you get sick and can't travel - you'll be thankful you had it. We had a couple doing a river cruise they paid nearly $14.000 for. The cost of their insurance was over $700. The opted out, telling my wife they had credit card insurance.

They were traveling to a country that required proof of travel insurance. The woman sent my wife the credit card policy and asked her to look at it to make sure it met the requirements of the country. As my wife was reading the policy, she discovered the maximum payout was low - I think it was either $1500 or $2500. My wife called the client and told her what the policy said. The woman ended up buying the cruise line insurance.

A week ro two before she was to leave, her husband developed pneumonia and couldn't go on the cruise. If the wife hadn't bought the cruise line insurance, she would have been out over $10,000 because of the limit on the credit card policy. The woman thanked my wife over and over for reading the credit card policy. And the client has always purchased insurance after that.

No one holds a gun to your head to buy insurance, but if you knowingly opt out of it, for whatever the reason - you can't expect the provider to give you a refund. Every passenger needs to go into booking a trip making a decision of buying insurance or not and if you don't - don't look for the supplier to refund you. You took the risk and lost.
 
Apr 11, 2018
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#19
We've done 2 Viking cruises and have been very happy with both. But we ALWAYS buy trip insurance (and Medjet Assist) now that we're "senior citizens". So far we've been lucky, but we count the money spent on insurance and Medjet well worth the peace of mind.
 
Jun 30, 2017
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#20
This line of thinking is accurate but frustrating. They sell travel insurance because travel service providers have chosen to offer their product with onerous and punitive refund policies. In the case of the airlines, you at least have the option to purchase flexible and refundable fares, though at a price that’s high enough to be its own form of dissuasion. So now, we have to pay travel fares that create profits for the service provider, and we also have to pay travel insurance premiums that create a profit for the insurance provider. Misfortune has become profitable for everyone except the person suffering from it, and we’re all okay with that. I understand that it’s complicated, that there are people who will abuse corporate good will, that there are sunk costs for Viking (in this instance), etc. But I think saying that Viking keeps $6-7k while the OP has cancer, and that this is fair and just, well, that’s a bit of a stretch.
And suppose you show up at my private non-profit university teaching hospital with a new diagnosis of cancer, no emergency condition and no insurance. Should the hospital provide all of your care because you voluntarily decided you would not purchase readily available health insurance that covers (for now) pre-existing conditions, and eat the cost?

And now suppose that you have no health insurance or car insurance, and are driving down a two-lane undivided highway at 50 MPH (the speed limit) and have a blow out (no fault or yours) of a front tire, cross the centerline and run into another car, totalling both cars and causing serious injuries to yourself and the people in the other car. You are now brought to my private non-profit university teaching hospital with serious and life-threatening injuries. What do we do? Turn you away? In the 70-80s hospitals (not mine) did that. Now there is a law that requires hospitals to provide all EMERGENCY care regardless of the insurance status of the patient. What we would do is provide you excellent care and save your life, discharging you to home after a several weeks stay costing $100-200+K and eat the bill.

And now suppose two years later, still without health insurance, you return to my private non-profit university teaching hospital with gallbladder problems that are not emergent and need ELECTIVE surgery. What should the hospital do? Well, you will be told that you have three choices: 1. depending on the state where you live, you can purchase insurance in spite of having a pre-existing condition, 2. pay the full costs of the surgery in cash UP FRONT, or 3. go to the local city, county, state public hospital and seek care.

People make choices to remain uninsured, whether it is health, car, life, cruise, flood, hurricane etc, and need to be held accountable for their choices, cancer or not.
 
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