Viking To Suspend All Cruise Operations Through 1MAY
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen
Viking has announced it will temporarily suspend river and ocean cruise operations until 1MAY, 2020 in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 situation.
The announcement was made in a video and a letter sent from Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen to currently booked guests; both the video and letter are also available on Viking’s website. Here are some excerpts:
“I am sure you recognize that COVID-19 has made travel exceedingly complicated. An increasing number of ports, including Venice, Monte Carlo and Bergen, have temporarily closed to cruise ships; major attractions such as the Vatican and other museums have been closed; and some countries are imposing restrictions on public gatherings and visitors.
I am writing today because the situation has now become such that operating as a travel company involves significant risks of quarantines or medical detentions, which could diminish the travel experiences for which our guests have been planning. As a private company with strong finances, we do not have to worry about quarterly profit expectations – and that flexibility allows us the ability to do what is best for our guests and our employees, as we have always done.
Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from 12MAR-30APR, 2020 – at which time we believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve. This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known.”
For guests whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, Viking is offering the choice of a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125% of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid. Guests will have 24 months to use their Future Cruise Voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise. For additional flexibility, if travellers are unable to use their voucher, Viking will automatically send out a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires. These Future Cruise Vouchers will also be fully transferable.
Viking says its reservations team is currently in the process of issuing Future Cruise Vouchers of 125% of all monies paid to Viking. Those who prefer to get are refund are being asked to contact their travel agent or call Viking by 25MAR.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.