Brent Richter books a Viking cruise from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale. But now the cruise line wants another $600 from him. What should he do about this Viking Cruises customer service problem?
I recently booked a Viking cruise as a retirement gift for my wife. I charged the cost of the cruise, travel insurance, and an airline upcharge that guaranteed us flights on Delta Air Lines.
Viking Cruises notified us three days later that we couldn’t get a Delta flight. A representative told me Delta was still a possibility, but I would have to pay an additional $600. I immediately asked for a full refund. They have only refunded $4,750 of the $5,748 I paid, leaving $998 remaining.
Viking didn’t give me the correct information from the start. Had we not been guaranteed Delta, I would not have bought the cruise. This is a questionable business practice.
I initiated a credit card dispute for this Viking Cruises customer service problem, but my credit card found in the cruise line’s favor. This has nothing to do with buyer’s remorse or finding a better deal. Can you help me get back the remaining $998 I paid for my tickets and insurance? — Brent Richter, Davenport, Fla.
If Viking promised you Delta tickets, it should deliver them. And if it can’t, it should refund your cruise.
Why do the tickets have to be on Delta? I can answer that. Delta is the top-rated legacy airline in the United States, and many travelers who are in the know will go out of their way to fly on Delta. And you probably also want to earn your frequent flier miles.
Regardless, a deal’s a deal. Although Viking refunded most of your cruise, you should have received a full refund.
How does the cruise line refund process work for airline tickets?
Cruise ticket refund processes for airline tickets vary between cruise lines.
If you cancel your airline ticket, you might be entitled to a refund of the ticket price and associated fees under certain conditions. For example, if your airline cancels a flight, you can get a full refund under Department of Transportation rules, regardless of the reason for the cancellation. You might also be eligible for a refund if there’s a “significant” schedule change and you no longer want to travel. (Related: Here’s how to get a refund on a nonrefundable airline ticket.)
Cruise lines and airlines typically have their own refund policies, which may vary depending on the specific ticket fare purchased and the reason for the cancellation. Note: The cruise line rules can not override the DOT refund rules. So, if your flight is canceled, you still are eligible for a refund — no matter what the cruise line says.
It’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions of your ticket to understand the applicable refund rules. In general, non-refundable tickets offer limited or no refund options, while refundable tickets may allow for a full or partial refund, subject to certain fees and penalties.
Some cruise lines may have specific refund policies based on the length of the cruise, the type of fare purchased, and the time frame in which changes or cancellations are made to the booking. Cruises with special pricing may have stricter refund policies, and when refunds are allowed, they are typically in the form of future cruise credits, not monetary refunds.
How to resolve this Viking Cruises customer service problem
A credit card dispute wouldn’t really work in this case. In my experience, disputing part of your purchase is tricky, and often impossible. I have details on how to dispute your credit card purchase in my complete guide to credit card disputes on my advocacy site, Elliott.org.
Applying steady pressure on Viking would have yielded better results. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Viking customer service executives on my site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have fixed this problem for you.
You kept a great paper trail of correspondence between you and Viking. In it, the company guaranteed you would get flights on Delta. Coming back and asking for another $600 was a violation of your original agreement. You had every right to ask for a refund.
In fairness to Viking, a representative contacted you after you asked for a full refund and tried to make things right. But by then, you had already booked another cruise. You contacted my advocacy team, and we reached out to Viking on your behalf. You received a full refund. Viking also sent you $500 in cruise vouchers as an apology.
About this story
Viking Cruises loves to gag our readers when they have a problem, as it did on our last case. But on this one, for reasons that are not clear, the cruise line didn’t push a settlement offer under Richter’s nose. It will not affect our coverage one way or another. A hat tip to our entire team — Dwayne Coward and Mel Smith in advocacy, Andy Smith and his team in editing and Dustin Elliott in the art department. I researched, wrote and fact-checked this story.