We travelled on Viking Sea, Empires of the Mediterranean, from Athens to Venice departing 15th June, and also booked the two nights pre-cruise stay in Athens. This was our first Viking cruise, albeit postponed twice due to the pandemic. We are fairly experienced cruisers, and tend to favour lines such as Azamara and Celebrity. We like small ships. We were impressed by Viking’s marketing, in particular the aspirations and values emphasised by CEO Torstein Hagen, who talks about the three things his family encouraged while growing up in Norway - kindness, honesty, and hard work.
Covid Test Issues
As per the instructions on the Viking website, we and presumably all the other passengers, paid out to undertake Covid tests 24 hours and 72 hours before we boarded the first international flight. Certificates had to be downloaded and prepared for inspection. Upon arrival at the Athens Marriott however, we were surprisingly told by Viking that all passengers had to report for a Covid test at 0730 the next morning. Guests from the USA who had only arrived at 0330 in the morning were also obliged to attend at this time. This despite us having paid out for the tests and certificates demanded by Viking prior to departure. Viking staff had no explanation as to why the previously demanded tests no longer applied, and could only shrug their shoulders. The newly required test would be free, but there was no question of refunds (in some cases of several hundred pounds) for the previously “essential" and now seemingly not required tests. In my view this is unacceptable service and practice for a line that preaches honesty and family values.