1 Viking Ocean Viking Jupiter Cruise Reviews

We booked the “Into the Midnight Sun” itinerary aboard the Viking Jupiter, a new ship. The draws were ports of call in the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as well as in Honningsvåg, Norway, above the Arctic Circle. We had taken a ... Read More
We booked the “Into the Midnight Sun” itinerary aboard the Viking Jupiter, a new ship. The draws were ports of call in the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as well as in Honningsvåg, Norway, above the Arctic Circle. We had taken a Viking River Cruise (Danube) a couple of years ago and really had enjoyed Viking. Their ocean cruise, however, was horrible – ½ of the ports were impacted (2) or bypassed (2) due to mechanical problems with the new ship. We believe Viking should reimburse us for ½ of the amount of money we paid them for the cruise for the impacted or missed ports, and for the loss of enjoyment of the entire cruise as a consequence. Below are the details. There were significant changes to the cruise itinerary after a much-delayed departure from London. Passengers embarked the Viking Jupiter on June 30, 2019 at the Greenwich, London docks. Departure was scheduled for midnight on July 1. Early morning, June 2, the ship stopped moving somewhere near the mouth of the Thames estuary. The ship returned to the London Cruise Terminal (Tilbury, UK), a mere 16 miles (26 km) from the Greenwich docks. Passengers were told via ship-wide intercom that the ship had a propulsion problem and Viking was flying in experts to diagnose and hopefully repair the problem. The nature of the problem never was fully disclosed, except to indicate it was something electrical with the propulsion system had failed. The cause definitely was not a force majeure. The mechanical integrity of the ship is something within the Viking’s control and is solely their responsibility. The scanty information from Viking was a source of great consternation. In addition, misinformation was provided. For example, many of us were told that the ship would skip Edinburgh, and instead would steam directly to Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. We changed our plans to visit friends accordingly. Information on the Viking phone app and/or in-stateroom TV also indicated the vessel would skip Edinburgh and steam directly to the Orkney Islands. Late on July 3, after dinner, a letter was placed in our stateroom, informing us that the ship would make a port call at Newhaven, Scotland (near Edinburgh), then skip both the Orkney and Shetland Islands to proceed directly to Honningsvåg, Norway. After that, the ship would resume its originally planned schedule in Tromsø. The captain’s letter cited a “technical issue” and Viking offered each passenger $250 USD in onboard credit. We immediately drafted a letter to Viking, emailed to them the morning of July 4, expressing our disappointment with the modified itinerary and proposed a solution whereby we would disembark at the next port (Edinburgh) and Viking would book us on the exact same itinerary in 2020, at no further cost to us. Viking Jupiter departed the London Cruise Terminal in the early hours of July 4, 2 days late leaving London. We learned that Mr. Joachim Scherz, Viking’s corporate General Hotel Manager had boarded the ship, and arranged to speak with him the evening of July 4. He claimed not to have the authority to approve our proposed solution. He explicitly told us that departing the ship early would “hurt our case” and encouraged us to remain aboard the ship for the duration of the cruise. He told us our letter had triggered Viking to “open a file” for us, and that after we returned home Viking would be in contact with us. He wrote both his name and the name of the person who would contact us (Stephanie Maldonado, Customer Relations Manager) on a business card. A Viking Customer Relations supervisor later identified as “misinformation” the statement that we would be contacted by Ms. Maldonado. We continued on the cruise, missing the ports in the Orkney and Shetland Islands, arriving about 5 hours late in Honningsvåg on July 8. Once at Tromsø, the cruise continued per original schedule and we disembarked in Bergen, Norway on June 14. The subject of the missed ports and how poorly Viking handled the situation was a topic of conversation throughout the remainder of the cruse. Without fail, restaurant tablemates would engage us in conversation about the incident. It was not a “happy” ship. In contrast, we must acknowledge that all the crew/staff were very friendly and helpful and did not participate in conversations about the incident (other than the Explorer’s Desk staff at the time). The one exception was the cruise director who, when later referring to the incident, stated it was a good thing that we all were travelers, not tourists, implying that well-traveled passengers would not mind the missed ports, and would accept deviations from the schedule with aplomb. Her comment was offensive to us and to other passengers who relayed their umbrage to us. The direct effect of the revised itinerary was that 4 of the 8 planned ports of call were impacted negatively: these were the 4 most important ports to us. These are very significant changes to the itinerary and greatly devalue the Package Travel. (1) Our arrival in Edinburgh was delayed by 2 days. The consequence was that some excursions could not be executed (e.g., the Rosslyn Chapel was closed) or were modified. We were not able to meet as planned with our friends who live outside Edinburgh. (2) We completely missed the Orkney Islands (3) We completely missed the Shetland Islands (4) We arrived in Honningsvåg nearly 5 hours late and were allotted less time in port. The consequence was that we could go only on one excursion (“Drive to the North Cape”, our 1st priority). The original schedule would have allowed us to do both the “Drive to the North Cape” and “Seabirds of Stappen Island. We also suffered a loss of enjoyment, inconvenience, and disappointment with the remainder of the cruise. The 2-day delay cost us the enjoyment of visiting friends in Edinburgh. Skipping the ports in the Orkney and Shetland Islands posed a significant loss of enjoyment because those two ports were our highest priority and the main reason we booked the cruise with Viking. As a consequence of the 5 hour delay in arriving in Honningsvåg, we did not have an option to sign up for an optional birding excursion. We were greatly disappointed by the significant changes to the itinerary. A full day and a half at the London Cruise Terminal in Tilbury, not a scheduled stop, did not begin to make up for the impact to the 4 ports. Lastly, the time aboard ship among other passengers was not as pleasant as it should have been because of shared disappointment and angst over the decision to skip the Scottish Islands and the lack of information provided by Viking. The loss of enjoyment is a monetary loss. We contacted Viking on several occasions and have yet to reach a satisfactory (to us) settlement. Their last offer, on August 6, was a 30% voucher (which, no doubt, must be used within one year) or $400/person. We have no intention of giving them any more money for a future cruise, and their paltry monetary offer is insulting in light of what the cruise cost us and the proportion damaged. Because the identical cruise package was marketed to EU/UK consumers by Viking UK, we tried to engage the Association of British Travel Agents to arbitrate our claim for losses under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 No. 634. Viking UK’s webpage does indicate it is subject to this regulation and they are an ABTA member. However, our contract was written by Viking USA, which is not an ABTA member. Hence, ABTA could not intervene on our behalf. Same applies for Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004. Because our contract was with Viking USA, the government entities could not work on our behalf. We do believe these regulations apply to cruises using UK ports, regardless of where the contracts were sold, but we would be required to litigate the claims on our own. The lesson to fellow travelers is, when you have a choice, never book through USA travel companies and instead book with EU (or UK) companies where you will have some protection. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Viking Jupiter Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.9
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 4.5 4.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.5
Family N/A 4.5
Shore Excursion 4.5 4.3
Enrichment 5.0 4.6
Service 5.0 4.9
Value For Money 5.0 4.5

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