Viking Offers Passengers New Money-Back Guarantee

December 8, 2006
You researched and booked your Yangtze River cruisetour, practiced your chopsticks skills, and even took a Tai Chi class ... but now that the trip is finally underway, things just aren't going quite right. Well, if you are sailing with Viking River Cruises you'll get your money back.

Starting in 2007, Viking River Cruises' guests are guaranteed satisfactory service onboard and ashore -- or they'll get a 100 percent refund.

Are money-back guarantees the wave of cruising's future? Maybe. Though Viking is the only river cruise line that offers dissatisfied passengers a money-back guarantee, mainstream giant Carnival Cruise Lines started the trend with their Vacation Guarantee program (you may disembark at your first port of call; Carnival will then refund the unused portion of your cruise -- and pay for your flight home).

Here's how the Viking Service Guarantee works:

Passengers who are unhappy with service upon first check-in (hotel or onboard ship) -- including food, personnel or shore excursions -- must notify the company within 24 hours of the start of their cruisetour; Viking then has 24 hours to try to correct the situation.

If a solution is not possible, guests can depart at the next possible port of call and will be refunded 100 percent of the fare paid.

Viking River Cruises can assist with departure arrangements, but costs for the return trip and/or alternate travel plans are the passenger's responsibility.

The Viking Service Guarantee is applicable to all sailings from 2007 onward. Viking River Cruises' fleet consists of 23 ships sailing the rivers of Europe, Russia and China.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor