Viking has introduced it is going to briefly droop river and ocean cruise operations till May 1, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The announcement was made Wednesday night time in a video and a letter despatched from Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen to at present booked visitors.
It’s essential to notice that a number of the most prone to coronavirus are older adults, based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with these with coronary heart illness, diabetes and lung illness. Hagen is on document saying that “Viking’s guests as 55-plus years of age, English-speaking, well-educated, affluent [and more].”
In his letter, Hagen says, “Since we started Viking nearly 23 years ago, we have always cared first and foremost about our guests and our employees.”
He continues, “I’m certain you acknowledge that COVID-19 has made journey exceedingly sophisticated. An rising variety of ports, together with Venice, Monte Carlo and Bergen, have briefly closed to cruise ships; main sights such because the Vatican and different museums have been closed; and a few international locations are imposing restrictions on public gatherings and guests.
“In latest days we’ve had an expertise the place a river cruise visitor in Southeast Asia was uncovered to COVID-19 whereas in transit on a global airline. While this visitor just isn’t exhibiting signs, she has been positioned in quarantine. Separately, the remaining 28 visitors may also be quarantined.
“I’m writing immediately as a result of the scenario has now turn out to be such that working as a journey firm entails important dangers of quarantines or medical detentions, which might diminish the journey experiences for which our visitors have been planning. As a personal firm with sturdy funds, we should not have to fret about quarterly revenue expectations—and that flexibility permits us the power to do what’s greatest for our visitors and our staff, as we’ve at all times achieved.
“Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from March 12 to April 30, 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 visitors who’re booked on a cruise inside this window of suspended operations, Viking is providing the selection of a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125 p.c of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the quantity paid. Guests could have 24 months to make use of their Future Cruise Voucher to make a brand new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise. If you’re unable to make use of your voucher, Viking provides it is going to ship you a refund equal to the unique quantity paid after the voucher expires. Good to know: These Future Cruise Vouchers may also be absolutely transferable.
What does this implies for you? Viking says it is going to pay fee on any: Risk-Free Guarantee Future Cruise Voucher (FCV) reserving or 125 p.c FCV (as described above) reserving until fee has already been paid on unique reserving.
“We understand that this is a difficult time for all of us in the travel industry, and we thank you for your support,” Viking mentioned in an electronic mail supplied to journey advisors. “We hope that this announcement and the continuation of the Risk-Free Guarantee Program provides you with strong retention and sales tools that will help you continue to sell during this period of uncertainty, while providing your clients with the peace of mind they need and deserve.”
On a constructive notice, Hagen concludes in his video, “We plan to continue expansion of our destination-focused travel experiences … In early 2022 we will launch our expedition journeys to the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as North America’s Great Lakes. And, at the beginning of April 2020, we will announce our newest river voyages closer to home, in America’s heartland.”