Viking River Cruise - Significant Change to Itinerary and unable to obtain appropriate compensation by Viking

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Jan 23, 2019
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#1

Viking Cruises notifed us the day before our cruise departure that a large portion of the 14 day river cruise would be via bus rather than on a Viking ship due to very low water levels on the rivers. We contacted Viking Customer Relations and were advised that our options were either to go forward with the substantially different cruise itinerary or cancel the cruise and invoke our trip insurance (Tripmate). We were told that Tripmate would not refund the cruise money but instead would at least issue Viking travel vouchers for the amount of the trip. We filed the claim with Tripmate and since that the claim has been denied. I have contacted Viking Customer Relations repeatedly but they have been unwilling to provide appropriate compensation. It have since learned that Viking has been dealing with the low water problem for months and yet waited until the day before departure to advise us.
What's your desired resolution? Viking Customer Relations advised us that using Tripmate after cancelling was a viable option. If we had known we would get no compensation from Tripmate we might have gone forward with the cruise even though it was substantially less than what we had paid for. It was bad advice from Viking and now Viking is offering zero compenstion and blaming Tripmate. Tripmate claims "cancel for any reason" is not underwritten by them rather is a guarantee by Viking.
What's the value of your claim (in US $)? 13000
Date of transaction/travel date: 10/23/201​
 

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Jul 13, 2016
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#2
The problem is that you didn't talk to Tripmate before canceling. You relied on Viking's advice, and they do not underwrite the policy. It is like a gas station attendant telling you that your car dealership would fix a broken windshield under warranty. The first rule of refunds is to verify, verify, verify.

You won't get anywhere complaining about the lack of forewarning about the low water levels. It is true that Viking (and all river cruise lines) have been dealing with low water for many months. But a good couple of days of rain would help raise those water levels and perhaps ameliorate the problem. That is one reason why the cruise lines delay announcing low water levels.

However, it does sound like the Viking rep you spoke to (and I hope you got their name), gave you a lot of inaccurate information. You should stop calling, and start emailing (creates a paper trail) to the executives on our list, under "Contacts". Start with the first name and wait a week, before moving on to the next name.
 
Likes: Patina
Jan 23, 2019
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#4
All communications with Viking has been written via email so there is a paper trail. The cancellation provision (CFAR) is not underwritten by Tripmate rather is covered by Viking so that is why I have been dealing with Viking. And by the way, Tripmate is terrible to contact via telephone - it takes sometimes days to get them to call you back (on hold forever) and when Tripmate calls you back the representatives are not very knowledgeable.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#7
What a horrible experience, first the cruise is "ruined" and then you find out that the insurance won't cover your cancellation. There seems to be a key bit of information missing from your narrative.

The good old days of picking up the phone to solve problems are gone forever. It's a double/triple whammie now. It takes forever to reach a human being on the phone and when you do, they're either useless or stubborn and won't let you talk to someone in charge. And you can't really believe anything they tell you anyway.

Have you read all the information from Viking and TripMate? Have you followed the proper steps to obtain compensation? What reasons have you been given that you're not receiving the proper vouchers for a future cruise? These kinds of issues need to be handled via email and website forms. If not, you'll just be running around in circles and becoming frustrated ... which usually leads to bad communication.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Apr 19, 2017
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#8
Viking is the one line that uses large boats for river cruising. Rivers fluctuate a lot, even in Europe. This means that when at times of low water your cruise is cancelled because the boat could run aground, and that when the water is high you get cancelled for fear of hitting bridges.

Book on a line that uses boats designed for cruising rivers. We have had goodluck with AMA Waterways.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#9
This is what the policy says and I can’t see a reason why it wouldn’t be covered unless the claim was filed more then 30 days after the cancellation.

But it appears you need to be working with TripMate on this piece as it tells you to file the claim with them:

This “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver (this “Waiver”) will become effective when We receive Your full payment for this Viking Cruises Travel Protection Plan (this “Plan”), provided that you purchase this Plan within the limited time period in which it is offered it to You by Us.
What we will do under this Waiver:
• If you cancel Your Trip for any reason before the scheduled Trip departure, We will waive Our corresponding cancellation penalties and reimburse You in travel vouchers for the nonrefundable portion of the Trip Cost. The limitations on the travel voucher are explained below.
• We will also waive any additional fees that You would otherwise incur for changes to Your per person occupancy rate if a person booked with You on Your Trip cancels his/her corresponding reservation with Us before the scheduled Trip departure and You do not cancel Your Trip.
Please Note: This Waiver does not cover fees or costs associated with any transportation, accommodations, or other travel services that are not arranged by Us. Any amount payable under this “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver will be reduced by the amount of any Trip Cancellation amounts paid or payable under the Trip Cancellation Benefit of this Plan or under any other travel insurance or travel protection plan providing Trip Cancellation benefits.
Reporting a Claim: You or a person on Your behalf must present Your claim for reimbursement under this Waiver to our claims administrator within 30 days of the date You cancel Your Trip to qualify for reimbursement hereunder. Waiver claims presented more than 30 days after such cancellation may be disqualified for reimbursement.
 
Likes: Patina