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Complaint I referred 13 new-to-Viking travelers within one calendar year. The Referral Reward for Level 2 a free cruise, as advertised, will not be granted. BACKGROUND: The Viking Referral Rewards Program brochure is mailed to previous travelers, along with business cards to hand out to friends/family. The website at vrc.com/referralrewards explains the program. "Those you refer must not have traveled with Viking before and must mention your name and customer number when they reserve their first trip." The Level 2 reward for 13 new travelers referred within a calendar year is one free river cruise valued up to $3300. Additional eligibility and restrictions are on the website, under "Viking Explorer Society", "Viking Referral Rewards Guide". On the Viking Explorer Society page, a banner says, "Contact Your Travel Agent or Call X-XXX-XXX-XXXX" (to book a cruise). Eligibility requirements state that the Referral Rewards program "is not applicable to ... travel agents .... Travel Agents, their immediate family and household members, ... are not eligible to make referrals or be referred." 2015 CRUISE BOOKING HISTORY: I traveled on a Viking Cruise in 2013. Referral Rewards cards from Viking were given to friends/relatives, 13 of which booked cruises, all using my Customer #. All 13 completed cruises during the calendar year 2015. Some friends/family booked directly with Viking, and some used a travel agent. A party of 8, including me, booked the "Cities of Light" cruise through a travel agent, surecruises.com. I have a copy of the "Viking Referral Rewards Monthly Statement" of October 16, 2014, listing 11/13 of my referrals. 2 additional referrals were received by Viking in Nov 2014. All 13 travelers completed their cruises in 2015. I am not a travel agent, nor are any of my friends, household members, travel companions or any of the 13 friends/family who completed the cruises in 2015. The Referral Rewards brochure says that free Cruise vouchers are mailed annually at year end. I called Viking in February to inquire about the free cruise voucher and was told vouchers are generated in March or April. No voucher received. I have contacted Viking 12 times in the 8 1/2 weeks since 5/9/16 (Customer Support on 5/9, 5/19, 5/23, 5/25, 5/31, 6/4, 6/5, 6/10 and then Customer Relations on 6/20, 6/27, 6/28, 7/7). I was told on 5/23/16 that Viking would not be honoring my referral credits because the Viking Referral Verification Team called the 13 travelers after the cruise (could not give me traveler names, dates of calls), and several stated that a travel agent referred them to Viking, not me. In fact, only one of the travelers actually received a phone call from Viking, and this person's email verifying the referral came from me was submitted to a Lead Customer Support Specialist. I sent an email with attachments on 5/25/16, verifying that the other travelers submitted my Customer # when booking their cruises, and had not been contacted by Viking after the cruise. I asked on 5/25/16 (in writing) that my issue be filed as a complaint, which was not done until 7/7/16. I was told on 7/7/16 that there is no grievance procedure, no chain of command to escalate my Referral Rewards Issue, and no one will conduct a re-review. I was told Customer Relations Managers, and even the Chairman/CEO never review any complaints, sending all issues back to the same group of "case managers" in Customer Relations. If I am to continue calling, I will get the same answerat least 4 of my referrals will not be counted. These referrals are from my sister, sister-in-law, cousin, and close family friend, all of whom are willing to write letters or sign attestations that they did submit my Customer # to the travel agent when booking the cruise. IN SUMMARY: 1) The Referral Rewards Program information does not state that referrals submitted via a travel agent are invalid. In fact, the brochures and website advertise to call your travel agent or Viking to book a cruise; and 2) The Viking Verification Team did not contact 12 of the 13 travelers. No traveler stated that the travel agent referred them.
Desired Settlement All of the eligibility requirements were met to qualify me for a free cruise, up to $3300. I expect that I will receive a free cruise voucher from Viking. I would also like assurance that an internal review of the Referral Rewards Program be conducted by the Executive Team at Viking, because there are blatant discrepancies between the published program and how it is being implemented by Viking employees. Also, a written complaint process whereby issues are escalated from one level of management to the next with a decision-maker able to review and change previous determinations is sound business practice. Responses to consumers from the Customer Support and Customer Relations departments need improvement and monitoring of timeliness.
Business Response Dear Mrs. ******:
Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns.
We regret to hear of the difficulties you experienced with the auditing portion of our Viking Referral Rewards program. Please accept our assurances that we continue to refine our internal protocols to make confirming eligibility an efficient and customer-focused process.
Our records indicate that you have been in contact with a Viking representative who was able to address your concerns and reach an amicable resolution. We thank you for the opportunity to redress your experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard a future cruise
Mrs. ******, if you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to your primary contact, or Customer Relations, at 1.877.668.4546, extension 4525, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.) I received a call from a Viking representative, who rereviewed the complaint. Viking has issued the free cruise voucher, which is the Level 2 reward that was earned by referring 13 new customers.
Complaint Paid for business class got coach In may 2016 we took a river cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg. We booked this a year in advance and paid it in full. We made a change a month or two prior to departure to use American airlines. That was an additional $550. We booked the most expensive room on the boat and it included business class air. The issue we have is mostly with American Airlines but because we did not pay American airlines.. we paid Viking cruises we have been dealing with Viking for almost 2 months to get a refund for the difference in what we paid for and what we ended up getting. We really enjoyed the cruise itself and would use them again. When we departed our home town we were told there was a mechanical problem with our flight and we would not make our connecting flight to Europe. we were put in a taxi cab and took a 2.5 hour ride to JFK airport where we tip the driver 100.00. Got to London and missed our connection to Budapest and got the next flight out. This leg of travel was in business class. If that was all that happened we would not be where we are today. On our return flight we arrived at the Nuremberg airport at 4 AM to find out we did not have a valid return ticket. After spending hours on the phone with our travel agent, Viking cruise and then American airlines (everyone pointing fingers as to what went wrong) we finally got on a flight back to Albany NY in coach. We later learned that because of our problem leaving Albany the American airlines representative who rebooked our flight over to Europe cancelled our return flight and just booked our flight over to Europe. We get it that this is not Vikings problem but because we paid Viking ($25,000) for this trip that included airfare we cannot go back after American airlines for the refund. We have followed up with our travel agent several times. She has contacted Viking (several times) to press the issue of a refund telling them they need to take care of their customer and deal with American airlines after we have been made whole. Viking has addressed this several times, each time they say "tomorrow" or next week their will be a resolution. We have yet to have a phone call or email from Viking... it is always us reaching out to them. We feel we are getting the run around. Specifically we have been communicating with Candace ******* We are looking for a refund for the difference between coach and business class travel on a 100% refundable airfare. We paid a lot of money for business class. In looking at a round trim ticket the average cost difference is $5,000 per ticket! Because we traveled over the Europe business class(not counting the taxi ride debacle)we are looking for the difference on the return airfare of $5,000 total for two tickets. This should be a no brainer refund. American airlines is 100% responsible. I am sure Viking can get the money back from them without dragging this out any further. At a minimum Viking should have already received a refund for the cancellation of return flight none of which has made it us. We had an awesome cruise. The staff on the boat, the accommodations, the food, everything was wonderful. Our issue is with the cost of airfare that we paid for vs what we got. We paid Viking for this, they need to refund us and fight it out with American airlines. Vikings delay in addressing this is starting to make them look bad in our eyes which is too bad because our cruise experience was wonderful.
Desired Settlement 5,000 refund to our credit card.
Business Response Dear Mr. and Mrs. ****:
Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns.
We are pleased to report that a Viking representative contacted you on July 13, 2016 to confirm the reimbursement in question was in process, and ultimately refunded within the week via company check.
Your concern regarding the processing period for your request is noted. However, we kindly reaffirm that before Viking Cruises can proceed, we must first receive confirmation regarding which portion of your flight schedule experienced a downgrade directly from the airline.
As the process is known to involve a wait time of several weeks, we offer our sincere regrets if the resolution timeline was not communicated appropriately. Further, we thank you for your patience and understanding as we worked to resolve the matter.
Mr. and Mrs. ****, if you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to your primary contact, or Customer Relations, at 1.877.668.4546, extension 4525, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.) viking responded very quickly to this complaint and a check has been received for the down grade of airfare. Thank you for this service. ****
Complaint Booked a Viking cruise. Chose free 4.5 hour tour of Venice. Viking shortened tour to 1.5 hour, offered new similar 4 hour tour for $69 per person. In September 2014, my husband and I booked, and paid for, an ocean cruise with Viking; the booking number is XXXXXXX. The cruise is scheduled for September this year. On May 30th, this year, we were allowed to select side excursions in each port, some free and most for a fee. We selected mostly for-fee excursions, because they were what we wanted. But in Venice, we selected their free 4.5 hour "Venice Lagoon & St. Mark's Square" tour of the city. We've never been to Venice, and this tour seemed the best for us. Today, June 30th, we received an email from Viking that the free tour of Venice has been shortened from, 4.5 hours to 1.5 hours, and retitled to "At a Glance: St. Mark's Square." Viking now offers a new "Walking Tour of Venice" very similar to the formerly free tour (in spite of the very different names, the descriptions of the two are very similar), but 30 minutes shorter and costing $69 per person. We booked the new tour, but in thinking the situation over, Viking's switch of free tours, and the accompanying offer of a for-fee tour that is essentially the same as the old free tour, seems to me not right. I phoned Viking today about it, and they just said tours are optional and changes are made at their discretion; they refused my request for a refund of the $138 we have paid today for the new tour. $138 is small in comparison to the total cost of the cruise. For me, it's a matter of fairness; I feel Viking is taking advantage of us and other cruise participants.
Desired Settlement I want Viking to keep us booked on the new $69 "Walking Tour of Venice" (as the new free tour is too skimpy) and to refund the $138 price. Alternatively, they could refund us the $138 and give us the free 4.5 hour "Venice Lagoon & St. Mark's Square" tour that we originally signed up for.
Business Response Dear Mrs. *****:
Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns.
We regret to hear of your disappointment with the changes to the St. Mark's Square shore excursion for your upcoming Mediterranean Odyssey cruise. While we understand why you are disappointed, we believe it is important to reiterate that Viking Cruises reserves the right to make changes to shore excursions and the itinerary in order to address logistical restrictions. However, we want to assure you that the changes are with your best interest in mind.
Mrs. *****, we are pleased that you were able to come to amicable resolution with our Customer Relations agent.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to Customer Relations at *************** extension ***** Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
Complaint Will not stop mailing their catalog to my home. Have requested three times for them to stop sending it to me. I have contacted this business three times asking to be removed from their system so I will not get their catalog in the mail. Each time the representative told me they had removed me. I am still getting their catalogs and each time there is a different source code and customer number on the back of the catalog!?! I am hoping that you can help me resolve this problem. I have never asked for this catalog to be sent to me so don't understand why they ever started mailing it to me?! I'm not interested in cruises. I'm on a fixed income and cruises are the furthest from my mind in taking. I would appreciate if you can help me out with this irritating problem. Thank you.
Desired Settlement Just want them to remove my information out of their system once and for all! I don't want to ever get anything in the mail from them!
Business Response Dear Ms. ****:
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concerns.
We regret to hear that you have received unwanted brochures and confirm that our database has been updated to remove you from our mailing list. As some items may be queued with the printer, please allow up to 4 weeks for mailings to cease completely.
Our records indicate, upon receipt of your complaint, you were immediately contacted by a Customer Relations agent who further confirmed the completion of your request. While you are encouraged to reach out to your direct contact with any outstanding questions or concerns, you are also welcome to contact our Customer Relations at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX, Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Pacific Time.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.) Just don't agree that I have to wait 4 weeks for the mailings to cease when I've been told this (3) other times and it's been more than (4) weeks, try months and I'm still getting them. I shouldn't have to wait 4 weeks!
Complaint We booked a cruise with our friends wanting to travel together. Then our air itineraries were scheduled on different flights. Here is the complaint that we submitted to Viking: "We strongly complain about the air itinerary for our Portugal's River of Gold cruise, Booking Number XXXXXXX from 11 to 21 June, 2016. We booked with and expected to travel with *** and ***** *****, Booking Number XXXXXXX. When we booked with ****** ***** it was perfectly clear that we desired to travel together and we were given no reason to think otherwise. Then when our Air Itineraries were issued we were given different return flights. In addition your agents' responses to our complaints were poor. When I talked with Ceasar Reyes on Saturday, 9 April, I was lead to believe there would be no problem in changing our itinerary to match the *****'s. When I had not heard anything on Tuesday, 12 April, I again called ******* He gave me a number to call. The agent there was not willing to make the change so I asked for a supervisor. I was turned over to ****. He also was unable to solve our problem, but agreed to continue to look for possibilities and email me the results not later than the next day. I had not heard by Thursday, 14 April so I again called ******* He told me he would take care of the problem. On Saturday, 16 April, ****** left a voice mail that said that we were now on the same flights as the ******* On Monday, 18 April, I called Ceasar and asked for an email to confirm the current air itinerary. The email indicated the original itinerary different from the ******* ****** then admitted that his 16 April voice mail was in error and that we were not on the same flights. He further stated that a change could not be made.
An additional complaint is that our return flight itinerary is awful. With a 6:00AM flight departure, I suppose we will have to leave the ship at 3:00AM. Then we go on a two hour and forty minute flight to Frankfurt in the opposite direction from home. Frankly it will not be easy to enjoy the cruise with this facing us at the end. Surely it is not unreasonable to expect better."
Desired Settlement Please change our air itinerary to match our friends and not to leave the ship at such an unreasonable hour on our last cruise day.
Business Response Dear Mr. ** *****:
Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to respond to your comments. We sincerely apologize for any disappointment you experienced with your flight schedule.
Our records indicate that, since the filing of this complaint, you were contacted by a Viking representative and an amicable resolution was attained.
We are grateful to have been able to resolve your concerns and look forward to welcoming you aboard next month.
Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX, Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, PST.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.) Viking fully complied with my request. Thanks.
Complaint Please be advised that we represent Mr and Mrs ******* ******* of Topsfield, Massachusetts regarding a Vikings River Cruises (Viking) vacation taken by them between June 3, 2016 and June 10, 2016. The cruise was supposed to be a very special occasion for the *******s who paid Viking approximately $20,000.00 to experience a river cruise vacation of lifetime down the River Seine. However, the ******** never once traveled down the Seine as planned. Instead the ******** were subjected to lengthy uncomfortable bus rides from a docked Viking Vessel located hours outside of Paris, Frank. An account of the *******'s experience during their Viking vacation is outlined in their June 9, 2016 letter to Viking, a copy of which is enclosed for your reference. As set forth below, Viking was aware that the river cruise booked by the *******s would most certainly not occur due to historic flooding throughout the country but misled passengers **** believing otherwise. Viking?s conduct in that regard is a blatant violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute. The *******s travelled from Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2016 and arrived in Paris on June 3, 2016 where their Viking vessel was supposed to be docked. Upon their arrival, the *******s were required to take an extremely uncomfortable 3-hour van ride to Rouen France where the Viking cruise ship had been relocated. Upon arrival in Rouen, Viking personnel assured the *******s (along with other passengers) that everything was ?okay? and that the cruise would take sail on Monday June 6th without issue. The cruise never happened. Instead, the *******s were required to stay on the ship on Rouen and were shuttled by bus to different destinations hours away. On June 8, 2016, Viking required passengers ** pack up their belongings and transported them to Paris to stay in a hotel. On June 9, 2016 the *******s ended their trip and traveled back to Boston extremely upset and disappointed with their Viking ?vacation?. There is no question that Vikings should have rescheduled the cruise due to know weather conditions. On May 29, 2016 Paris was his with historically heavy rain causing river levels to rise to their highest in over 100 years. As of May 30, 2016, eight departments within france had suffered serious flood damage and had been placed on ?red alert? by Meteo-France. Interior Minister ******* ********* reported emergency workers carried out more than 12,000 interventions and rescue operations between May 29-June 2 alone. In Paris, the River Seine burst it banks and major landmarks and institutions were evacuated due to flooding. In short, France was in a state of complete crisis, Given the well known and documented flood conditions existing in the days leading up to the *******?s scheduled vacation, Viking?s failure to reschedule the cruise for a later date was nothing short of reckless. Moreover, Viking?s assurance to passengers ** June 3, 2016 that that the scheduled river cruise would set sail on June 6, 2016 amidst flood evacuations in Paris and an overall national state of emergency-were patently false and only made to induct passengers ** stay on the vessel instead of cancelling the remainder of their vacation. Viking?s conduct was, by all account,s intentionally deceitful and constitutes unfair deceptive acts and practices within the meaning of G.L. c. 93A, the consumer protection statute.
Desired Settlement For the reasons stated above, the *******s demand a refund or voucher far in excess of the small voucher currently offered by Viking. If Viking is to provide a voucher in lieu of a refund, said voucher should be valid through 2019 at the earliest. We expect Viking to resolve this matter fairly and expeditiously.
Business Response Dear Ms. ********:
Thank you for the opportunity to address your clients' concerns.
We regret to hear of Mr. and Mrs. *******'s disappointment with the itinerary changes necessitated by high river levels during their Paris & the Heart of Normandy cruise. As our pre-embarkation notice detailed, our nautical team was able to determine that high water levels would affect embarkation, however, due to the variability of river levels, we were unable to determine at that time to what degree water conditions would affect their cruise in its entirety.
While we understand, and share, Mr. and Mrs. *******'s disappointment that the cruise was unable to continue as planned, we respectfully reaffirm that Viking Cruises reserves the right to adjust the scheduled itinerary as needed. We endeavored to remain as true to the planned itinerary as possible and, shortly after return from the cruise, we initiated ship wide compensation as a token of goodwill in consideration of any remaining disappointment.
Upon receiving further contact from your clients regarding their individual concerns, we offered further review and are pleased to report that an amicable resolution was reached with our Customer Relations agent.
Ms. ********, if you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to Customer Relations at ******************************* Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Complaint Company will not remove me from their mailing list. I have written many times to be removed from their mailing list but I still receive their catalogs. Customer number XXXXXXXXXX - I am including this to make sure they update the correct customer record.
Desired Settlement I don't want to receive anymore of their catalogs.
Business Response Dear Ms. ******:
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concerns.
We regret to hear that you have received unwanted brochures and confirm that our database has been updated to remove you from our mailing list. As some items *** be queued with the printer, please allow up to 4 weeks for mailings to cease completely.
Ms. ******, should you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to Customer Relations at 1.877.668.4546, extension 4525, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Complaint Viking's cruise never sailed without notification before US departure and documentation revealed previous river closure to traffic. No refund given My spouse and I purchased on October 22, 2015 (Booking # XXXXXXX), from Viking, a cruise on the Douro River to be conducted from April 17-26, 2016. On April 15, 2016, documentation existed that indicated all travel on the Douro River was discontinued due to heavy rainfall. However, we were not notified of this condition prior to departure from the U.S. on April 17. Therefore no opportunity existed to cancel the trip. The vessel never sailed. During the entire cruise period, we were stranded on the vessel in a remote area that provided no phone service and only an occasional internet connection. To visit attractions represented to be a part of the cruise, required long bus rides over very winding roads which caused motion sickness and resulted in abbreviated tours. Some of the tours started before we could use restroom facilities that could not accommodate sufficient numbers and sometimes without toilet paper. The trip was not relaxing because of the excessive number of hours riding a bus and the necessity of packing and unpacking to be shuttled from the ship to hotels. As a result of lodging at a hotel that was not a part of the scheduled cruise, my spouse experienced foodborne illness and was hospitalized which caused us to miss a portion of the excursions. I also experienced a diarrhea but was not hospitalized. The Viking staff was insufficiently trained to handle this mess, which resulted in severe communication issues. Our communication with Viking Customer Relations has been ineffective with no attempt to provide an acceptable solution to the unfortunate conditions experienced and our travel agent has been unable to receive any cooperation. We and other customers have requested a refund, which is the normal response given by other cruise liners. Viking has only offered to provide a voucher for a future cruise which amounts to less than 25% of a future cruise. We and other customers agree that Viking's response is unacceptable.
Desired Settlement We are requesting the resolution requested by other passengers, which is a total refund of the purchase price of the subject cruise.
Business Response Dear Mr. and Mrs. ********:
Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns.
We regret to hear of your disappointment with the changes to your Portugal's River of Gold itinerary and lack of notice from Viking Cruises regarding the Douro River's water conditions prior to embarkation. As river levels are highly variable, a determination of the how the fluctuating river levels would affect your cruise could not be confirmed prior to embarkation. Because we were unable to ascertain to what degree the rapidly changing water levels would have affected your sailing, we were unable to offer a pre-embarkation notification.
In the event of a change in water conditions, our ticket contract indicates that Viking Cruises reserves the right to make itinerary changes. As your onboard experience attests, our real time decisions throughout your cruise to provide alternate accommodations allowed us to remain as true to your scheduled itinerary as possible. While it is our goal for these changes to be seamless, we understand that deviating from a planned schedule can lead to disappointment and a feeling of expectations not being met.
Although river conditions are outside of Viking's control, in consideration of this disappointment, we extended the aforementioned Future Cruise Voucher to all impacted guests. Upon learning of your disappointment in the proactive offer, we increased our efforts to better alleviate your concerns. We regret you remain disappointed, but believe we have made a significant attempt to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
While we must respectfully deny your request for a 100% refund of your cruise fare, we do hope that you understand our position and will reconsider our follow-up offer.
Mr. and Mrs. ********, we value your status as Viking Explorer Society members and hope to have the honor of welcoming you aboard for a future cruise. If you decide to accept our follow-up offer, or wish to review your experience further, please reach out to Customer Relations at 1.877.668.4546, extension 4525, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) The response by Viking is inappropriate because it is inconsistent with what other cruises offer. Only one of several issues mentioned in the complaint was addressed and an accurate response was not provided. Based on public information available to Viking, it was obvious that the vessel would be unable to navigate the River that was officially closed for navigation.
The compensation offered is unacceptable because the credit for a future cruise is misleading. Viking will only compensate for the time the ship is actually cruising, and not for airline, hotel, or extra expenses incurred. When we have booked cruises with Viking, the cost was for a complete package including air, hotel and excursions; prices have not been broken down. The trip insurance did not compensate for the excursions missed due to foodborne illness that required hospitalization.
The request for reimbursement of the amount paid for a cruise that never sailed is not only commensurate with what other cruise liners offer, but what many participants of the same cruise are requesting. In fact, some have indicated that they will pursue litigation if a full refund is not offered.
Therefore, Viking's response is not acceptable because of the lack of total recognition of the unfortunate experiences encountered and unwillingness to provide an equitable solution to compensate for failure to provide what was represented to be offered for the subject cruise. We consider our posture to be appropriate because it is commensurate with the approach that is being taken by other passengers.
Final Business Response Dear Mr. and Mrs. ********:
Thank you for your response.
We share in your disappointment that your cruise experienced itinerary changes. However, we reconfirm that, when presented with uncooperative river conditions, Viking Cruises honored its ticket contract in providing an itinerary as close to the original as possible.
Further, as your statements confirm, the amount paid to Viking for your Portugal's River of Gold itinerary was indeed a package, which included air, a Lisbon hotel stay, transfers, onboard accommodations, food, and services, and shore excursions. We therefore maintain that, with the entire package in mind, a full refund is not warranted.
Mr. and Mrs. ********, Viking Cruises has made sincere goodwill efforts to mitigate your concerns and we regret that we, together have been unable to reach a mutually agreeable resolution at this time.
As previously communicated, we remain open to reviewing your experience further and hope that you will reach out to our Customer Relations team to renew discussions. Please contact us at *************** extension ***** Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Final Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) Viking's proposed resolution was not accepted because of their refusal to honor our request for a refund for the cost of a cruise that never sailed. Previous correspondence indicated the various issues that were not addressed. The attempt to provide any credit by Viking for the failed cruise was a small allowance on a future cruise which contained misleading information and contained a minimal substantial value. The settlement that we requested is commensurate with what other passengers of the failed cruise are requesting. If a more favorable response is not received, further action is planned.
Complaint I WANT A 100% REFUND FOR A 15 DAY EUROPEAN VIKING RIVER CRUISE. TERRORISTS KILLED 160+ PEOPLE IN 4 MONTHS. I AM 72, DISABLED, TOO FRIGHTENED TO TRAVEL I PAID $10,147.75 FOR A 15 DAY EUROPEAN VIKING RIVER CRUISE, BOOKING #XXXXXXX, FOR ONE PERSON ON 10/27/2015. THIS CRUISE TRAVELS THROUGH 5 COUNTRIES. ON 11/13/2015 ISIS KILLED 130 PEOPLE IN PARIS. ON 3/21/2015 ISIS SUICIDE BOMBERS KILLED OVER 30 PEOPLE IN THE BRUSSELS AIRPORT AND A METRO TRAIN. TODAY, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIRECTOR ******* ****** SAID ON THE "CBS THIS MORNING SHOW," THAT THE ISIS NETWOK IN EUROPE IS VERY LARGE & SOPHISTICATED. THE ATTACKS ARE MORE OR LESS RANDOM. VULNERABILITY AND RISK CAN NOT BE PREDICTED. I AM SCARED. I NEED WHEELCHAIR ASSISTANCE IN AIRPORTS. I VISUALIZED MYSELF SITTING IN A WHEELCHAIR IN THE BRUSSELS AIRPORT WHEN THOSE BOMBS WENT OFF AS I WATCHED THE EVENTS UNFOLD ON TV AND REALIZED MY FEAR OF BEING UNABLE TO ESCAPE IF I HAD BEEN THERE.. I HAVE SPOKEN WITH SEVERAL VIKING RIVER CRUISE EMPLOYEES IN THE LAST 2 DAYS ATTEMPTING TO GET A REFUND BECAUSE I AM AFRAID TO TRAVEL. A SALES REPRESENTATIVE WHOSE NAME I CAN NOT RECALL LET ME SPEAK WITH HER SUPERVISOR, ***. TODAY I SPOKE WITH ADRIAN, HIS SUPERVISOR BRADY, AND FINALLY A MAN BY THE NAME OF ******. I AM APPALLED AT VIKING RIVER CRUISE'S REFUSAL TO WAIVE THE TIME FRAME OF THEIR POLICY. THIS TERRORISM SUPERSEDES THEIR REFUND POLICY. THE TERRORISM IS NO LONGER JUST A THREAT. IT IS HAPPENING AND IT IS HAPPENING IN REAL TIME NOW. VIKING RIVER CRUISES COMPANY IS DISCRIMINATING AGAINST ME BECAUSE I AM AFRAID AND MY FEAR IS EXACERBATING MY DISABILITY. MY EXPECTATIONS REGARDING THE CRUISE HAVE CHANGED DRASTICALLY DUE TO THE TERRORISTS ATTACKS.
Desired Settlement AFTER TERRORISTS KILLED OVER 160 PEOPLE AND INJURED HUNDREDS IN PARIS AND BRUSSELS, MY FEAR OF TRAVELING IS GETTING WORSE AND WORSE. I CALLED VIKING RIVER CRUISE CO. YESTERDAY TO INQUIRE ABOUT A REFUND OF THE $10,147.75 I PAID FOR A 15 DAY "GRAND EUROPEAN TOUR." I WAS TOLD THAT I WAS "...IN THE 35% RANGE," WHICH MEANS THAT INSTEAD OF $10,147.75 I PAID, I WOULD GET 35% LESS OR $6596.04, WHICH IS A PENALTY OF $3,551.71. I CAN NOT REMEMBER THE SALES REPRESENTATIVES NAME, BUT I ASKED TO SPEAK TO HER SUPERVISOR. HER SUPERVISOR, ***, TOLD ME I ONLY HAD 7 DAYS TO TAKE THE OFFER, BECAUSE THE AMOUNT WOULD LOWER TO THE 50% RANGE IN 7 DAYS (6 DAYS NOW). I AM A 72 YEAR OLD WOMAN, ALMOST 73 IN FACT, AND I LIVE ON A LIMITED SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME. AFTER PAYING OVER $10K FOR THE CRUISE PLUS AIR FARE, I DID NOT HAVE THE EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT, ABOUT $1800 I THINK, FOR TRIP INSURANCE. AND BECAUSE I DID NOT BUY TRIP INSURANCE WHICH IS NOT REFUNDABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, VIKING RIVER CRUISES WILL BEAT ME OUT OF $3,551.71. I CALLED AGAIN TODAY AND TALKED TO ADRIAN AND PASSED ME OVER TO HIS SUPERVISOR BRADY. BRADY COULD NOT HELP ME. HE WARNED ME TALKING TO HIS "MANAGER" WOULD NOT DO ME ANY GOOD. MANAGER ****** INSISTED THAT THERE WAS NO WAY I COULD GET A REFUND. BEFORE WE ENDED THE CALL, HE PUT ME ON HOLD FOR A WHILE AND THEN TOLD ME THAT I COULD TAKE THE CRUISE AT A LATER DATE IN THIS CALENDAR YEAR. THIS TERRORISM ISSUE IS NOT GOING TO GET BETTER IN 6 MONTHS. MY CRUISE IS IN JUNE. DUE TO MY FEAR AND THE OBVIOUS DANGER OF TERRORISM, THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM IS A FULL REFUND OF MY $10,147.75.
Business Response Dear Ms. ******:
Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to respond to your comments.
We appreciate your concerns to travel and assure you that the safety of our guests and crew is always our utmost priority. So you are aware, we currently have teams on the ground, abroad and in the United States monitoring the temperature of the regions in which we travel.
While adjustments were made to the cruises departing immediately following the recent events in Istanbul and Brussels, at this time, we have not yet confirmed any changes for guests, such as yourself, traveling in May.
Should safety concerns warrant itinerary adjustments as your embarkation date approaches, you will be notified immediately.
Ms. ******, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to monitor the situation. Should you remain uncomfortable traveling, please contact us directly at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX, Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, PST, so we can review other options.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) I do NOT accept their response, because Viking River Cruises, INC. will not refund the $10,147.75 I paid for the cruise. The woman I spoke with had a punitive attitude. She talked like something was my fault. What part of fear of terrorist attacks could be my fault? Because I could not afford the cost of the insurance they sell, insurance that would have NOT REFUNDED my money, I am left with two options: take the cruise or let Viking river Cruises, Inc. have my $10,147.75. Viking River Cruise Inc. is interested in one thing and one thing only. MONEY
Final Business Response Dear Ms. ******:
We regret to hear that the Viking representative you spoke with did not sufficiently address your concerns and that you remain dissatisfied with our response. It is never our intention to display a punitive attitude nor blame guests for their fears. We sincerely apologize if you were made to feel this way.
At the risk of being repetitive, we want to remind you that Viking is continuing to monitor the temperature of the regions in which we travel very closely. Should safety concerns warrant an itinerary change or cruise cancellation prior to your departure, you will be notified immediately. At this time, however, a penalty-free cancellation will not be forthcoming. Since you are currently at 38 days prior to departure, should you wish to cancel your cruise, the cancellation penalty remains at 50%.
Mrs. ******, you've made it clear that you are only interested in a cash refund, but if you would consider rebooking your itinerary for another time or if you wish to discuss any questions you may have regarding safety, you are welcome to contact us directly at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX, Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, PST.
Complaint Booked Ukraine trip months ahead.Russia invaded, we cancelled 20 days after booking. Viking kept our $1600 travel insurance but never insured anything rec'd brochure from Viking, Called and booked cruise to Ukraine Feb 8,2014 for cruise in September. Could cancel up until May 13 with no penalty. Paid $13,832. Price based upon immediate payment, included $1,438 for travel insurance "non`refundable once purchased." Russia invaded Ukraine and we cancelled March 1st. Viking kept our "insurance premium" plus a $200 booking fee. Told us to make a claim for $200 from insurance co. Asked them when they purchased insurance from the company. They never did, or at least won't prove they did. Sherry Kane from Ins Co XXX XXX XXXX cl# XXXXXXX said Viking has your money. Since we had until May 13 to cancel without penalty, there was never a risk of loss to insure against. Since the cruise was ultimately cancelled by Viking, there was never any exposure to medical expenses, luggage loss, medical evacuation or the like. Viking relies solely on the statement that the insurance premium is non-refundable "once purchased." Nothing was ever purchased. You can't put language in a contract that says, in effect, "we are going to provide you with a service and you have to pay in advance, but even if we never provide the service, we are keeping your money," and thereby change the law of contracts. Further, Viking is not licensed to carry on an insurance agency which is what collecting premiums is. We also feel that Viking has done this to many other senior citizens relying on the fact that many of them will just give up. We have talked to Angella Helle , ************@vikingcruises.com. Our Booking number is XXXXXXX. Her Phone is XXX XXX XXXX. I am retired on total VA disability from agent orange exposure USMC VietNam. We believe Viking Knew about the trouble in the region when they sold us the cruise; that's why they discounted it if we'd pay immediately. They have effectively defrauded us out of our money. Their cruise facilities are excellent (we travelled with them in the past), but this behavior is dishonest and probably violates insurance and consumer protection laws.
At this point they have caused us a great deal of grief. We'd like to be fairly compensated. This complaint has been delayed by efforts to compromise, health issues and other events beyond our control. We sure hope you can help us.. Thank You.
Desired Settlement $2,000 or a comparable true credit.
Business Response Dear Mr. *****,
Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to respond to your comments. We are truly sorry to learn you remain disappointed in Viking's handling of your cancelled booking from 2014.
Several of the concerns you have brought to our attention appear to result from a sequence of misunderstandings. In an effort to ease your dissatisfaction, we are happy to take a moment to provide a bit of clarification.
First, the Travel Guard travel insurance you purchased is not only designed to protect you from unforeseen occurrences during your trip, but also against any cancellation penalty before your cruise departs. While, in your case, the cancellation penalty was lower than the cost of the insurance premium, the travel insurance still protected this penalty and remains non-refundable. As stated on the invoices you received prior to cancellation, the travel insurance purchased at the time of booking is "non-refundable once purchased." To clarify, this means, once you purchased the travel insurance through Viking Cruises on February 10, 2014, a refund would not be forthcoming.
Furthermore, when booking your Footsteps of the Cossacks itinerary, our records indicate you received the Run of Ship discount, a promotional offer designed to fill the remaining open staterooms on a ship as a cruise date approaches. The immediate payment terms you referenced were linked to the requirements of this promotion, not associated with any prior knowledge of the political unrest in the Ukraine.
Lastly, we do not have record of the "cancel without penalty" period you describe. All cruises are subject to cancellation penalties unless a promotion specifies otherwise. Unfortunately, the Run of Ship promotion you elected did not offer such penalty waiver.
Mr. *****, we appreciate the opportunity to clarify any misunderstanding and hope you understand our position. While a refund of your travel insurance premium will not be forthcoming, our records indicate a cruise discount was offered as a gesture of goodwill in an email from Ms. Linnea Henderson dated January 30, 2016.
Should you wish to take advantage of this offer or discuss your experience with a Viking representative, you are welcome to contact us directly at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX. We are in the office Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, PST.
Kind regards, Viking Cruises
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) First of all, prospective customers, be warned, Viking will treat you like a stupid child. Notice how they tell me that travel insurance doesn't just protect against, "unforeseen occurrences on your trip, but also against any cancellation penalty before your trip departs." They act as if we didn't really know that. We had to cancel within a few days of booking our trip because Russia invaded the countries we were visiting. We did not chose to cancel. Friend who had been I've Crimea at the time tell us that there was plenty of advance warning of the trouble and that any company operating in the area would have been aware of this. Viking knew there was political unrest. Instead of warning us, they gave us a "discount if we paid immediately, in full." They told us that we could cancel up until 120 days before departure with only the forfeiture of a $100.00 "booking fee." We cancelled well within this grace period. We had purchased travel insurance from Viking for $1638; not to guard against the possible loss of the booking fee, but to cover penalties in the event we had to cancel after the 120 penalty period began to run. Also to cover emergencies on the trip, but the trip did not occur. Viking did not sail due to the invasion. So, there was never a risk of loss other than the $200 total booking fee. Now Viking is telling us they Charged $1,638.00 to guard against a loss of $200? Their contract makes it clear that there is no risk of loss until 120 prior to departure. They repeated that to us by email on February 28, 2014. In addition, we were told by the insurance company that Viking never purchased the policy!!!! Viking has repeatedly refused to provide any details of any premium payments. Finally, in this vein, it is not legal to sell insurance for a past occurrence. The moment we booked this trip, we had forfeited rights to the $200 booking fee. Now Viking is trying to claim that they were insuring us against that loss, which ha already occurred and that their premium was in excess of eight times that loss amount. Does that seem ethical to anyone? In every state, the insurance business is regulated and licensed and governed by law. The insurance business is strictly defined and Viking's activities meet the definition. Also regulated are home solicitations which, in Michigan, cover responses to mailed brochures. These laws require merchants to notify customers of rights of cancellation and provide for the perpetual right to cancel if the law is ignored. In addition, the Michigan Consumer protection Act prohibits several of the actions taken by Viking including the charging of exorbitant fees. The Michigan Fair Trade Practices Act prohibits these same practices by insurers. I include these references so that Viking does not say "we didn't know." When we go to court. I have repeatedly raised these issues and asked them to check with legal counsel. No response. Most of these laws provide for actual costs and attorney fees and some sort of enhanced damages. The extent of our disappointment over this blatant ripoff is immense. The offers to settle they have made don't even approach the normal discount we would get as repeat customers. They are banking on the fact that the average senior citizen won't pursue this further, but we will. Thanks for trying BBB.
Final Business Response Dear Mr. *****:
We regret to hear you remain dissatisfied with our response. Our intention was not at all to make you feel like a child, but to provide a gentle explanation to help clarify any misunderstanding. Please accept our apologies if the tone of our response upset you.
Your claims of unethical practices have been noted, however, we respectfully disagree with your comments. As we previously stated, the immediate payment terms you referenced were not associated with any prior knowledge of the political unrest in the Ukraine. Additionally, in an effort to be transparent, the notice of a non-refundable insurance premium was directly communicated on several occasions.
Mr. *****, we appreciate the opportunity to explain our position. If wish to discuss your comments further, or if you would like to be removed from our mailing list, we would be happy to hear from you at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX, Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, PST.
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