viking cruise misleading info

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Oct 24, 2017
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#1
My wife and I booked a tour with Viking almost a year in advance (We had just returned from our third very enjoyable Viking cruise.) I knew at the time I would be 6 months out from my 5th knee operation. I explained to the booking agent that I would delay the trip if I couldn't get plane seats with extended leg room. I was referred (for an additional fee) to Viking's "Custom Air" and reserved seats with extra leg room in case the recovery did not go well. That way I would still be able to go on the trip as walking is OK it is just sitting with a bent knee that is painful. I just got my final trip package and found I now had seats in the rear of tourist class on American. I immediately called Viking and was told they had no control over final seating arrangements. They said I could use my trip insurance to reschedule, but that would entail a $700+ loss, or I could book business class for an extra $5800. I asked why then did I pay extra to reserve seats that couldn't be reserved? I was advised to not book so far in advance but rather to wait until a month or so before departure dates, OK for next time but no help for this time. I have emailed the contacts listed on your website to register my unhappiness with being mislead, but no response. Is there an more effective way to make my displeasure noticed by Viking?
 

Neil Maley

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#2
Their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Here is the Custom Air info from their website:

Custom Air
Viking Air Plus is our exclusive custom air department, for guests who have specific travel needs or special requests. Depending upon your travel schedules, requests and flexibility, our team of experienced Viking Air Plus agents can assist with the following services whether you are traveling on economy, Premium Economy or Business Class air:

  • Deviate to an alternate destination city or stay extra time before or after your cruise or cruisetour (destinations offered for 2017 & 2018)
  • Stop over in another destination such as London, Paris, Munich, Hong Kong or a U.S. gateway (stopovers available for 2017 & 2018)
  • Nonstop flights or the most direct air service available
  • Reservations with airlines that accept frequent flyer mileage
  • Travel on specific airlines or air routing
  • Confirmation of flight schedules at time of reservation; no waiting once deposit and Guest Information Forms are received
  • Coordination of family, friends or groups traveling together from the same or different cities
Please note: Viking Air Plus is not offered 65 days or less before departure. Based on the itinerary, $50 to $150 per guest non refundable fee applies, as well as any additional fees based on the difference between the selected air and the air price paid. Date or city deviations and stopover fees are typically between $100 and $300 additional. Airlines have advised that seat assignments are subject to change therefore are not part of the Air Plus program.
 
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jsn55

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#3
This is an awful situation, halmor, while it should be a simple situation. While I understand that travel providers chose the least-expensive air arrangements, if you have stated your wishes when you booked and you were told that you could be accommodated, they need to step up to the plate here. You are not asking for a specific seat, you are asking to be seated somewhere with extra leg room for your sore knee. This statement baffles me:
"I was advised to not book so far in advance but rather to wait until a month or so before departure dates". What do they mean by this? If they have an "Air Department" that works on the flights, they should be able to book your flights per your instructions. If they cannot do that, they should not take your money. You did not ask to sit in 21B, you asked for seats with extra legroom and agreed to the extra charge. You cannot sit in a regular coach seat with your knees jammed into the seatback in front of you after your fifth surgery. You specified that when you booked the tour. To wait until the final docs are received to tell you "it's too late" makes no sense.

Are you using a travel agent? Cruises should always be booked by an agent who knows the cruise line and can arrange the best accommodations for you. I hope that you are able to work with Viking to get you seats in the proper area for your flights.
 

Neil Maley

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#4
This is an awful situation, halmor, while it should be a simple situation. While I understand that travel providers chose the least-expensive air arrangements, if you have stated your wishes when you booked and you were told that you could be accommodated, they need to step up to the plate here. You are not asking for a specific seat, you are asking to be seated somewhere with extra leg room for your sore knee. This statement baffles me:
"I was advised to not book so far in advance but rather to wait until a month or so before departure dates". What do they mean by this? If they have an "Air Department" that works on the flights, they should be able to book your flights per your instructions. If they cannot do that, they should not take your money. You did not ask to sit in 21B, you asked for seats with extra legroom and agreed to the extra charge. You cannot sit in a regular coach seat with your knees jammed into the seatback in front of you after your fifth surgery. You specified that when you booked the tour. To wait until the final docs are received to tell you "it's too late" makes no sense.

Are you using a travel agent? Cruises should always be booked by an agent who knows the cruise line and can arrange the best accommodations for you. I hope that you are able to work with Viking to get you seats in the proper area for your flights.
Believe it or not Vikings Custom Air says it's not for booking more than 65 days in advance.
Makes NO SENSE. Who waits that late to book the air?

You know how much I LOVE Viking.
 
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JVillegirl541

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Nov 21, 2014
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#5
Can I just ask for a clarification? In case anyone has misunderstood, you booked Directly with Viking (no other TA or Agency)?
 

jsn55

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#7
Even if she used a travel agency, it doesn't matter. Viking is impossible to work with and wouldn't help is she biokectjrough a travel agency. Their rules are non bendable.
I have to respectfully disagree, Neil. I'm aware of travel agents who book a ton of business through Viking, and they can often make things right for both Viking and the passenger. Apparently, Viking is amenable to solving problems if they are 'handled' just the right way.
 
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Neil Maley

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#8
I have to respectfully disagree, Neil. I'm aware of travel agents who book a ton of business through Viking, and they can often make things right for both Viking and the passenger. Apparently, Viking is amenable to solving problems if they are 'handled' just the right way.
I can only tell you my experience with them and that's why we will try our best to not use them. We book through a large consortium and even they could not help - Viking would not budge.
 
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Carol Phillips

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#9
Believe it or not Vikings Custom Air says it's not for booking more than 65 days in advance.
Makes NO SENSE. Who waits that late to book the air?

You know how much I LOVE Viking.

Gotta respectfully disagree here. Viking says in its Air Plus terms: "Please note: Viking Air Plus is not offered 65 days or less before departure."

So it's only available 65 days or more before the sailing date.

I would also say that Viking's Air Plus could have offered American's Premium Economy, which offers extra legroom. Not sure if that amount of legroom would have sufficed for our OP, but they could have discussed whether Premium Economy or Business/First Class was the better option.

If our poster PAID for Premium Economy (more legroom) and got seats in regular Main Cabin, he definitely has an issue with Viking ... or his travel agent.
 
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Neil Maley

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#10
Gotta respectfully disagree here. Viking says in its Air Plus terms: "Please note: Viking Air Plus is not offered 65 days or less before departure."

So it's only available 65 days or more before the sailing date.

I would also say that Viking's Air Plus could have offered American's Premium Economy, which offers extra legroom. Not sure if that amount of legroom would have sufficed for our OP, but they could have discussed whether Premium Economy or Business/First Class was the better option.

If our poster PAID for Premium Economy (more legroom) and got seats in regular Main Cabin, he definitely has an issue with Viking ... or his travel agent.
You are right - I read it wrong!
 

jsn55

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#11
You are right - I read it wrong!
Honest to God, Neil & cp, I read that line 3 times yesterday and decided that I didn't know what it really meant ... you have to wonder if they have a special staff that writes things upside down and backwards. How about "available until 65 days before the cruise"?
 
Jun 27, 2017
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#12
I can only tell you my experience with them and that's why we will try our best to not use them. We book through a large consortium and even they could not help - Viking would not budge.
I must agree with Neil. Our very experienced TA had a horrible time dealing with Viking on 3 different cruises he booked for us. They demanded all funds (usually over $10K) up front almost a year in advance. We paid extra for Viking Air and deviation fees, etc. and our airlines/seats/routes/flights changed multiple time and EVERY time Viking blamed the airline and told our TA to call the airline(s) directly. We have enjoyed our Viking cruises, but their office people were not the least bit interested in assisting our agent OR us.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#13
I must agree with Neil. Our very experienced TA had a horrible time dealing with Viking on 3 different cruises he booked for us. They demanded all funds (usually over $10K) up front almost a year in advance. We paid extra for Viking Air and deviation fees, etc. and our airlines/seats/routes/flights changed multiple time and EVERY time Viking blamed the airline and told our TA to call the airline(s) directly. We have enjoyed our Viking cruises, but their office people were not the least bit interested in assisting our agent OR us.
Wow, this is not just some semi-focused rumor or opinion, this is real evidence. I'm beginning to think that a TA has to belong to a super-secret exclusive group in order to get along with Viking. Just the idea of plunking down $10K a YEAR out is barely short of insanity.
 

Neil Maley

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#14
Wow, this is not just some semi-focused rumor or opinion, this is real evidence. I'm beginning to think that a TA has to belong to a super-secret exclusive group in order to get along with Viking. Just the idea of plunking down $10K a YEAR out is barely short of insanity.
They are the only river cruise line that requires full payment at the time you book when you are purchasing one of their sales. I find it outrageous that a company does this - they are getting interest free loans from their passengers for a year or more.
 

jsn55

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#15
They are the only river cruise line that requires full payment at the time you book when you are purchasing one of their sales. I find it outrageous that a company does this - they are getting interest free loans from their passengers for a year or more.
Just to be the bad guy, Neil, if Viking can convince people to park their money with them for a year, more power to Viking! They are in business to make money ... I'd love to read their P&L to see how much they earn with all that moola for months and months.
 

Neil Maley

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#16
Just to be the bad guy, Neil, if Viking can convince people to park their money with them for a year, more power to Viking! They are in business to make money ... I'd love to read their P&L to see how much they earn with all that moola for months and months.
I don't disagree. But it shows you how people blindly book them without comparing to other river cruise lines and not even thinking they are giving them an interest free loan. This is why Viking can keep building new ships.
 
Jun 27, 2017
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#17
Neil is right. There are MANY other outstanding cruise lines in Europe. Viking is great, BUT their policy of getting all the money upfront so far in advance turned us off. We were also concerned what would happen if they went belly up. Would they still be able to fulfill their end of the deal. Yes, travel insurance may cover our costs, but what if it didn't. And the other thing that bums me out about Viking is their never-ending stream of glossy promotional materials. I have repeatedly asked them to turn off their advertising spigot, but they still continue to flood our mailbox. At least we recycle.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#19
Neil is right. There are MANY other outstanding cruise lines in Europe. Viking is great, BUT their policy of getting all the money upfront so far in advance turned us off. We were also concerned what would happen if they went belly up. Would they still be able to fulfill their end of the deal. Yes, travel insurance may cover our costs, but what if it didn't. And the other thing that bums me out about Viking is their never-ending stream of glossy promotional materials. I have repeatedly asked them to turn off their advertising spigot, but they still continue to flood our mailbox. At least we recycle.
Vantage does the same thing and we have never traveled with them. My husband sent an inquiry one time and that is it. Their marketing budget must be astronomical as they send us glossy catalogs and other materials nearly every day.
 

jsn55

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#20
Vantage does the same thing and we have never traveled with them. My husband sent an inquiry one time and that is it. Their marketing budget must be astronomical as they send us glossy catalogs and other materials nearly every day.
Mama always told me "Someone has to pay for all that advertising, dearie". It's astonishing that more people don't THINK about the big picture of who/what/when they're booking travel. You are so right, ADM, we booked and cancelled a Viking river cruise nearly 5 years ago and the brochures are still rolling in weekly.