Marjorie Sexton’s husband is unable to travel due to declining health. Should she have to pay the full cruise fare again to substitute her daughter for her husband on her Viking River Cruise?
Question: I was hoping you could help me. Due to my husband’s deteriorating health, he is unable to travel with me on Viking River Cruises’ upcoming Rhine Getaway itinerary. I contacted Viking to substitute my daughter and they are requiring that I lose the initial $4,000 and rebook her for another $4,000. They will get $8,000 for one fare.
I am willing to pay a “reasonable” penalty for changing the documents to reflect my daughter’s information. I am also willing to pay a rebooking fee for the airline fare since I know that comes from the airlines. However, what Viking is quoting is completely beyond reason.–Marjorie Sexton, Blaine, Minn.
Answer: Why does Viking River treat you like this? Because they can.
When you booked your cruise, you agreed to their terms and conditions which state:
For any cruise/land booking, whether under deposit, partially paid, or paid in full and air-inclusive packages paid in full, the following travel agent or guest-requested situations are considered cancellations and penalties will apply as noted below: changes to departure date; substitutions of itinerary; substitution of another person for original booked guest(s); or changing to a promotional fare. All cancellations must be in writing. For all air-inclusive packages cancelled after issuance of an airline ticket, the air portion of the refund, if any, will be processed only after the return of airline ticket to Viking. The following cancellation charges will be assessed for all written cancellations received prior to departure up to the scheduled time of departure.
Cancellation received | Following charges will apply: (Broken out by days before departure) 121 days or more is $100 per person | 120-90 days is 15% of full fare | 89-60 days is 35% of full fare | 59-30 days is 50% of full fare | 29-0 days is 100% of full fare.
Full Fare is defined as the full cost of any cruise, land or air component purchased from Viking.
You were within the 29-0 days before departure and their conditions state that they can keep 100 percent of your husband’s fare (and charge your daughter a full fare as well).
Something can be legal and still not be right. On top of dealing with your husband’s declining health, you have a company trying to maximize their profit by charging you double. A little compassion from Viking would be appropriate.
I know that the legalists out there will point out that you could have bought insurance, but it likely would not have helped. You stated that your husband’s health declined. The insurance company would probably have determined that it was a pre-existing condition and refused to cover the event.
You might have tried to email Viking’s executive contacts. We list them on our website.
You did post to our forums which started a lively discussion about river cruises and cancellation policies.
Our advocates reached out to our contacts at Viking River Cruises and they waived the cancellation fee and rebooked your daughter with only the additional cost of the airfare.
Enjoy your cruise!