This is a photo from the Navigation Bridge of Sun Princess, cruising Glacier Bay way back in 1980, which was my 2nd consecutive summer in Alaska, having also worked on Island Princess in 1979. Since my working days with P&O/Princess, Judi and I have completed a number of additional R/T cruises to Alaska from Vancouver.
Although Judi is still unable to cruise, we are hoping by 2025, we can return to our nomadic lifestyle of cruising and RV’ing. In April, Viking re-introduced the $25 pp deposits, so we thought, brilliant timing, we can book something in 2025, with minimal risk. After some research, we selected a 20-day R/T Alaska, on Viking Orion, departing Vancouver 6th June 2025. An Alaska cruise in the 2020’s would mean I have completed at least 1 Alaska cruise every decade from the 1970’s to 2020’s. Read on to find out why this cruise and possibly Viking, are no longer in our future.
Unfortunately we have already cancelled this cruise, and as a result of a 2nd very negative experience dealing with the L/A office, we will not book with the L/A office again, so Viking is not currently our preferred cruise line. I don’t see any benefit from posting specifics on both incidents, other than noting that their treatment of customers fell well below our expectations, not once, but twice.
We still have great memories of the 2020 World Cruise, especially those days when we were 2 of the final 8 pax aboard a fully crewed ship. The onboard leadership and pax experience is vastly superior to the leadership, and the sales/booking experience provided by L/A.
I believe Viking’s major markets are USA, Canada, UK and Australia/New Zealand, and they have sales/booking offices in USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, us poor Canadians are the only major market without their own sales office, so although Viking has a Canadian website and pricing in Canadian dollars, our bookings must go through the L/A office.
If Viking opens a Canadian office, or moves our business to the UK office, we will definitely be interested in booking another Viking cruise. However, if the status quo continues and our business goes through L/A, we are sadly done with Viking.
Andy/Judi – We too have experienced a lack of attention to deal tail with Viking. Today we are sitting in Liverpool with 7 days to go to finish our extended W/C. Yesterday they informed us that we had to book a transfer Booking from the ship in Bergen to the Airport since we had separate disembarking. This is total BS. Jan took it to guest services last night and they said OPS guess we goof up. We have been on Neptune for roughly 145 days (time does fly) and we have experienced may OPS. This is not our old Viking and the New Viking I’m not sure we want to be part of. However Jan says she is not sure if any other cruise company is any better.
Wow Russ – that is shocking to hear the onboard standards are also slipping. However, at least on the ship they admit the mistake at the first point of contact and fix it.
I tend to agree with Jan, as we will definitely be lowering our expectations, if we do book the cruise we are currently researching.
Greetings Andy, Sorry to hear about your mis-adventures at the hands of the Viking LA office. I have been cruising with Viking for over 10 years and never had a bad experience with my bookings/reservation process. This may be because my wife and I have always dealt with the same representative who provides extraordinary, personalized service. I dealt with another very competent individual for a few years, who earned a promotion and referred me to my current rep. I have never had a problem, nor have the many friends that I have referred to him. I call his extension, he returns the call promptly, he knows our preferences on everything, he handles minor snags reliably and goes “above and beyond” in our opinion. Should you wish to try this approach, I will certainly provide his name and contact info. I am confident you will be more than satisfied with the service and the long-term relationship. Dave Monaghan
Dave – thanks for the offer, but our issues are entirely with the management level and our decision is final.
I understand the frustration of customer service or lack there of. We did the Nile with Viking last month. We had prepaid for the Luxor Balloon ride. This was canceled due to weather. I expected a refund to my credit card. This week the statement arrived and no refund. I call customer service who needs to contact the ship to verify. They did and 26 hours later I received an email notifying me that a refund in check coming in two weeks.
Two things to note. 1. I should not have to chase down a refund such as this. 2. They had to contact the ship to verify?
I understand that the Nike cruises are different, but changes to prepaid excursions needing refunds should be a top corporate priority.
Given poor experience with HAL and dislike now of big cruise ships, what is left? Azamara? I do think we will book Viking Auckland to Sidney as our next cruise
I’m sorry to hear about your negative experiences with the LA office. Although, I’m not sure I would discount a whole cruise line for a few bad apples, especially since you have had numerous positive experiences. I am a bit confused though, because I thought you booked your cruising through a Canadian travel agency, so you should not have to deal with LA office? Wouldn’t that be the travel agent’s job?
Tammy – I really don’t want to get into specifics. Affirmative, we book our cruises using our local travel agent, but during 1 of the incident Viking refused to discuss the issue with her any further. I had to assist my TA by contacting the European Office for assistance in having L/A resolve the issue.
With respect to discounting an entire cruise line due to a few bad apple, I’ll suggest it depends where those apple are. We aren’t saying we are done with Viking Cruises, we are just not dealing with the L/A office again. Rest assured this was not an easy decision, based on the number of positives we experienced on the World Cruise.
I don’t know if this is possible, but maybe you can send a letter to the top man himself, Mr. Torstein Hagen. I bet he would not be happy to know about this.
I will definitely be sending detailed feedback to my contact in the head office. Not Mr Hagen, but somebody at the top table.