When to contact Cruise Line Customer Service

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Oct 29, 2018
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#1
We have booked a Viking Cruise sailing on 13 December 2018.
Although not major, we have had a few rough patches when dealing with Viking.
Everything from having to wait for a referral fee, change in itinerary (we discovered this before the company emailed us of the change), having to wait to book shore excursions only to find they were no longer available, misinformation from booking agent, long waits on the telephone while agents verified information & sometimes being disconnected, to agents who gave us answers that we are not confident are correct.
The biggest problem we have had is that our flights were changed by an agent at Viking without our knowledge. We just happened to be checking our itinerary and discovered this. There was no email or telephone call from Viking to advise us of the change.
Fortunately our flights were able to be rebooked, but I have lost my confidence in their air staff, and am checking a number of times a day to make sure they have not been changed again.
My question is if it is best to contact Viking Customer Service now with our concerns before we sail or after the cruise is finished.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Did you book this directly with Viking? What is a referral fee? Itineraries can be changed and you agree to this when you make your deposit.

Why do you say an agent at Viking changed your flights? Can you explain what happened?

You might have more issues when you get back. I would suggest waiting. If you have a great cruise- this can all be just an inconvenience. If you dont have a great cruise you are better off listing everything that has been an issue.

Viking is not a customer oriented cruise line. We have quite a few complaints about them here and most don’t end up with a customer friendly resolution.
 
Feb 16, 2018
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#3
You are excited and anxious for your cruise. Remember that with your cruise and air travel those arrangements may change again over the next month and a half. It depends how soon after the change you checked your itinerary, it might be reasonable that you weren't yet notified. As to the shore excursions, if you feel you missed out on something you may wish to draft a polite email setting out your concerns. If you didn't purchase travel insurance for this trip, you probably should, it could give you some reassurance that everything will work out, and if not you won't lose all of your money. I wouldn't start complaining yet, be positive, enjoy your cruise.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,700
13,757
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
The recent rains have helped with the levels since August but there still may be some problem areas. As the summer season ends, river levels aren't as affected in the fall and winter as they are in summer.

Also, our LW doesn't say what itinerary they are sailing - river levels can be very different on the Douro than on the Danube. This date there is a Douro river cruise so I am thinking it might be the Douro. The Douro has five dams that help control water levels but generally in the winter, the levels aren't as problematic as they are in the summer.
 
Likes: lindatravels
Oct 29, 2018
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#6
Hi Neil, Thank you for the quick reply.
1.)We booked directly with Viking.
2.)We referred another couple & are due a fee for doing that according to Vikings website & the agent we booked with. We were told by the booking agent that we could use the fee onboard but that was incorrect. After a few phone calls I established that I would be credited the fee but it would take a few weeks. I insisted to one agent that I would like our fee sooner and I was told it would take at least 3 weeks as the North American office has no way to refund and everything is done in Switzerland.
3.) We understand that the itineray can be changed, however we knew about it a few days before we were ever notified by Viking.
4.) We booked our flights with Vikings air department for 11 December, as we have booked a pre cruise package.
I was checking our itinerary & noticed the flights were changed to a different routing & times.
When I called Viking air department I was told that one of their agents changed the booking because we would arrive too late to join the cruise.
That was the only explanation I was given, and the agent had nothing more to say when I asked for further explanation.
I explained that the cruise was not until 2 days later, the 13 December .For some reason they must not flag passengers who have pre cruise bookings.
The agent said he would need to try & get the flights reinstated, as if it was a change that I had made.
He was able to reinstate the flights, however the inconvenience of all of the things I have mentioned has been unnecessary and not the proper way to treat a client.
 
Oct 29, 2018
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#7
1. I understand that cruise & air arrangements may change, however our flights were changed by a Viking employee who appears not to have checked our booking before making the change. The change was made on the day we booked our flights after I hung up the phone, which was 6 October. I checked our flights on 28 October and that is when I discovered the change. We were never notified.
2. The shore excursions are available for booking based on the cabin category booked. It is a system I have never encountered on a cruise.
3. I have purchased insurance.
4. I am being positive. I simply stated what has happened to us so far to make other people aware of what could occur.

I have worked in the travel & tourism industry for 28 years & have never encountered such a sequence of events.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,317
7,139
113
San Francisco
#9
We have booked a Viking Cruise sailing on 13 December 2018.
Although not major, we have had a few rough patches when dealing with Viking.
Everything from having to wait for a referral fee, change in itinerary (we discovered this before the company emailed us of the change), having to wait to book shore excursions only to find they were no longer available, misinformation from booking agent, long waits on the telephone while agents verified information & sometimes being disconnected, to agents who gave us answers that we are not confident are correct.
The biggest problem we have had is that our flights were changed by an agent at Viking without our knowledge. We just happened to be checking our itinerary and discovered this. There was no email or telephone call from Viking to advise us of the change.
Fortunately our flights were able to be rebooked, but I have lost my confidence in their air staff, and am checking a number of times a day to make sure they have not been changed again.
My question is if it is best to contact Viking Customer Service now with our concerns before we sail or after the cruise is finished.
I know how you must feel, it wasn't that long ago that I booked my first cruise. It's just all so unique and seems so complicated. I see you really have only two issues. Booking air through a travel provider is fraught with peril; you have to stay on top of it weekly, or at least monthly. If you read the fine print, it states that essentially they can do whatever they want with your plane tix. I have heard too many horror stories to allow a TP to book my air ... at least if there are changes, I'm informed immediately.

Your second issue of Shore Excursions sounds strange. I am reading that they wanted you to wait to book them, now the ones you want aren't available. Very strange. Don't you fill out some kind of a guest form and establish an online account so you can get all this information on your computer? Or are you relying on the phone for everything? These days, I regret to say, I don't trust anyone to give me correct information. I want it on my computer screen so I can study and absorb it and have a hard record for posterity.

I would compose a concise, polite email to Viking asking for the shore excursions you want to book and how you can get them booked. The air you'll need to follow on the airline's website yourself, that's too important to leave to anyone else. Next time, use an experienced travel agent to book cruises. They speak the same language as the cruise line. You can't believe how much easier they make the whole operation. Good luck, and have a fabulous cruise! Viking rates very high with the people on Cruise Critic; they offer very good value.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,700
13,757
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Thanks for answering our questions. You certainly have been treated terribly. Knowing this is an ocean cruise and not a river cruise makes somewhat of a difference. If you’ve been in the Travel industry for 28 years I’m sure you must know about issues dealing with Viking. It seems some of your issues are because you booked so late.

Here are the rules for the referral program. Your issues seem to be because you booked the cruise so late.

http://wpc.475d.edgecastcdn.net/00475D/PDF/VikingReferralRewardsProgram_Update_092017_footer.pdf

As far as shore excursions, it seems like you may have booked after or very close to final payment if you booked and they base the excursions on your cabin category. Nothing you can do about it- it’s their policy. If you are in the industry, you know that there are companies that sell shore excursions that you might be able to use that might have the same cabin categories.

  • OS Explorer Suites - 107 days from sail date*
  • ES Explorer Suites - 97 days from sail date*
  • Penthouse Junior Suites - 87 days from sail date*
  • Penthouse Verandas - 77 days from sail date*
  • Deluxe Verandas - 67 days from sail date*
  • Verandas - 60 days from sail date*
I hope the rest of your cruise goes better and this is just a bump in the road.
 
Likes: lindatravels

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,317
7,139
113
San Francisco
#11
Thanks for answering our questions. You certainly have been treated terribly. Knowing this is an ocean cruise and not a river cruise makes somewhat of a difference. If you’ve been in the Travel industry for 28 years I’m sure you must know about issues dealing with Viking. It seems some of your issues are because you booked so late.

Here are the rules for the referral program. Your issues seem to be because you booked the cruise so late.

http://wpc.475d.edgecastcdn.net/00475D/PDF/VikingReferralRewardsProgram_Update_092017_footer.pdf

As far as shore excursions, it seems like you may have booked after or very close to final payment if you booked and they base the excursions on your cabin category. Nothing you can do about it- it’s their policy. If you are in the industry, you know that there are companies that sell shore excursions that you might be able to use that might have the same cabin categories.

  • OS Explorer Suites - 107 days from sail date*
  • ES Explorer Suites - 97 days from sail date*
  • Penthouse Junior Suites - 87 days from sail date*
  • Penthouse Verandas - 77 days from sail date*
  • Deluxe Verandas - 67 days from sail date*
  • Verandas - 60 days from sail date*
I hope the rest of your cruise goes better and this is just a bump in the road.
So there's a heirarchy over who gets first dibs on the shore excursions??? Wow, that's something very good to know. THIS is why you use a good, experienced travel agent!!
 
Likes: lindatravels

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,700
13,757
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
I wasn’t even aware of this and my wife told me today one of her agent friends just booked a V cruise and just learned the same thing and isn’t happy. She is going to a country that requires a Visa to do excursions and all the shore excursion are sold out that Viking had the required visa fir. Now she has to try to find a Shore excursion company that has visas so she can get off the ship.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#13
Oh my, all these (seemingly) new rules just when there is such a big push for everyone to go ‘global.’
I have to admit, having one world, one set of rules sounds good but I seriously doubt this could ever happen.
Too much red tape.
 
Sep 21, 2018
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#14
I wasn’t even aware of this and my wife told me today one of her agent friends just booked a V cruise and just learned the same thing and isn’t happy. She is going to a country that requires a Visa to do excursions and all the shore excursion are sold out that Viking had the required visa fir. Now she has to try to find a Shore excursion company that has visas so she can get off the ship.
Check out Port Promotions or Shore Trips - they may be able to help
 
Likes: jsn55
Oct 29, 2018
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#16
Thank you all very much for the comments & suggestions.
Viking has struck again with a hotel change on our pre night hotel.
Very slow to get documents out to us even though I have advised them of revolving postal strikes in Canada where we live .
I suggested they send them courier as most cruise lines we have booked with in the past have done. The agent response was "not authorized to send documents by courier". A staff supervisor should have been consulted on the delivery of the documents, but that was not done.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,317
7,139
113
San Francisco
#17
Thank you all very much for the comments & suggestions.
Viking has struck again with a hotel change on our pre night hotel.
Very slow to get documents out to us even though I have advised them of revolving postal strikes in Canada where we live .
I suggested they send them courier as most cruise lines we have booked with in the past have done. The agent response was "not authorized to send documents by courier". A staff supervisor should have been consulted on the delivery of the documents, but that was not done.
To obtain your docs, this may be a semantics issue. I think you mean a delivery service such as UPS or FedX. A courier is usually considered someone who delivers one package personally, like a box of jewels or a precious item. Ask Viking to ship them via a delivery service such as UPS or FedX ... they may use another company, but you get the drift, right? Next cruise, use a specialist travel agent and S/HE will deal with all this.
 
Oct 29, 2018
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#18
As you say it's a semantics issue - In Canada we call them couriers.
The agent I spoke to was very bright and she knew exactley what I was talking about when I mentioned a courier service.
Thank you for your input, but I no longer require it.