Viking Cruises has become the second cruise line in the last several days to extend its suspension on operations until summer 2021. This now increases growing concerns that a new round of cruise suspensions is occurring and those operations from the U.S. are no closer to restarting.
Viking Cruises Cancels Sailings Through May
Viking Cruises has announced that its river and ocean operations will remain on hold through May 31, 2021, which means cruises won’t resume until June at the very earliest.
The reason for the further extension is due to continued travel restrictions around the world and the fact that it’s making complications on resuming cruises safely. It’s now been almost one year since Viking first suspended operations in March 2020, the first cruise line in the world to do so.
The good news is that Viking vessels remain in a “warm layup” and ready to begin sailings with new health measures in place once government approvals are given. The update was released on February 17 along with a letter sent to any impacted guests and travel agents.
Viking Cruises preciously announced on December 8, 2020 its extended hold on operations through March 31, 2021. The first suspensions was way back on March 11, 2020.
Viking Cruises has detailed options for guests who are impacted by further cancelations through May 2021. The cruise line is offering a 125% future cruise credit, which can be used on any future sailings with the cruise line.
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The added 25% credit provides the opportunity to gain some benefits such a selecting a longer itinerary, cabin upgrade, and enhancing the cruise vacation experience.
With Viking offering flexible options, guests can have confidence in booking for the future, which the cruise line is no doubt hoping guests will do. A full refund can also be requested, but this will have to be done before February 26, 2021.
A Sign of Things to Come
With Viking Cruises following Norwegian Cruise Line in canceling sailings through May 31, 2021, many cruisers are now fearing a new round of suspensions is upon us.
It’s clear that cruise lines are waiting for further guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and that is the case for many major cruise lines. However, for Viking, a lot of its operations are not just ocean cruises but also river cruises in Europe.
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The Vaccine rollout is going to take time and many countries across Europe are far behind in this process. Without the majority of populations being vaccinated, travel restrcitions are still in place and that makes it hugely difficult for vessels to get passengers to ships and visit ports of call.
So for now Viking Cruise is just going to have to wait to return to service. The cruise line is still very much focused on the future with the new Viking Venues cruise ships being delivered later in the year, its first river vessel for the U.S., and its new Expedition ships.