Viking will temporarily suspend all river and ocean cruise operations until May 1, 2020, in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen made the announcement late March 11 in a video and a letter sent from to currently booked guests. He noted that a Viking traveler in Southeast Asia has been placed in quarantine.
“I am sure you recognize that COVID-19 has made travel exceedingly complicated,” Hagen said. “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.
“In recent days we have had an experience where a river cruise guest in Southeast Asia was exposed to COVID-19 while in transit on an international airline. While this guest is not exhibiting symptoms, she has been placed in quarantine. Separately, the remaining 28 guests will also be quarantined.”
He said 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.”
Travelers booked on cruises that fall within this window of suspended operations can choose a future cruise voucher valued at 125 percent of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid. Guests will have 24 months to use the future cruise voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise.
Those who are unable to use the voucher can get a refund equal to the amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires. The cruise vouchers also are fully transferable.
Hagen said the Viking reservations team is currently issuing future cruise vouchers, but if travelers want a refund, they can call 833-900-0951 or contact their travel advisor March 25, 2020.
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