[Resolved] Viking River Cruises / lack of customer service by any reasonable standard
We are very disappointed in the Viking customer service policy. We are booked on the upcoming “In the Wake of the Vikings” cruise (booking # 4474807). This will be our 4th cruise with Viking – 5th if you count the one we had to cancel on short notice in January.
When we booked this trip back on February 22, 2017 we added the two-day Oslo City Tour extension which starts on 7 September 2017. We could not arrange flights to arrive on 7 September, but we could arrange to arrive on 5 September. I asked the customer service rep if they could add 2 more nights on to our Oslo City extension and I’d pay for them. Answer: No, we can’t do that. I said I was certain the river cruise division often offered extra nights in some cities – answer: No, they can’t… Not happy with that answer, but figured I could work around it by booking our extra nights at the same hotel they used.
I asked what hotels they use in Oslo for this extension and was told they use Radisson Blu Scandinavia and the Thon Hotel Bristol. I made reservations at both hotels for the extra nights so we did not have to break up our vacation in Oslo by having to change hotels. I told the customer service rep my plans and I mentioned to her that the description of the two-day city tour extension says, “ on day one we pick you up at the airport.” I asked how that would work with us coming in two days early. She said they would not pick us up. They only pick up passengers that arrive on 7 September. I mentioned that it doesn’t say that in the extension description. Answer: Still no. Not happy about any this, but I figured I’ll deal with it…
We got our cruise info booklet last week and in it there was no hotel mentioned. It just says: Oslo City Stay September 7, 2017 2 nights Oslo Norway. I called the customer service center and the rep said we would be staying at the Thon Hotel Opera. I told him, and then a second rep, this is a problem and not of my making. I did everything I could to work around all the things Viking would not do for us and now they changed the hotel to a third hotel and did not notify us of the change. I checked with the Thon Opera while I was on the phone with Viking to see I we could switch to it -- no vacancy. So now we are stuck having to stay in one hotel the first two days, check-out and then check-in to the Viking sponsored hotel that they didn’t even list in our cruise information booklet – I had to call to get it!
I asked if they could work it out to get us moved over to the Thon Hotel Opera for the entire stay (surely a company as large a Viking has some connections for hold-back rooms) . Answer: No. One rep said the he didn’t they could do it because it “was so late in the game.” Again, I found there was a problem when I got my booklet last week with NO hotel information listed in it. I asked if they could arrange to have a Viking rep pick us up and transfer us from the Bristol hotel to the Opera hotel. Answer: No. I reminded them that this extension includes an airport transfer that we are not getting because we are coming in early. I remarked that if we arrived on 7 Sep they would drive all the way out to the airport to pick us up, but they have no one in Oslo that can pick us up at one hotel and drive us maybe 2 miles or less to their hotel? Answer: No
I’ve been a senior executive in retail, finance, credit, loss prevention and served as a diplomat. I retired a few years ago and I must say I really have never seen a more indifferent customer service policy than Viking’s. If you can’t or won’t handle a simple customer service issue such as this for a long-term customer it is very unlikely that you will perform well in an urgent customer matter. I’m taking the time to write all this because up until now we liked Viking and I know that strategies and policies regardless of how well thought out or preached at the top often fail at the line level. I’m hoping that is the case here… If it isn’t, you may want to re-think your customer service policy.
Not counting airfare we are spending well over $20K with you on this trip. Over our remaining travel lifetime we might likely spend at least another $100k with you. Your marketing people will tell you that you can’t afford to lose that kind of revenue. As I have told my folks countless times, it doesn’t matter what type of industry you are in, if you deal with customers, you are in the customer service business. If you can’t grasp that you are irrelevant, and irrelevancy usually precedes insolvency. I'm hoping you will fix this problem, you have about 24 days... Solve for Wow, not No!
Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.
Viking River Cruises Customer Care's Response, Aug 08, 2017
Dear G. JerryD,
We sincerely regret to hear of the situation you’re describing, and thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns. As a loyal guest, we appreciate this feedback. To assist you with these frustrations, a seasoned Viking Agent will contact you within 48 hours. We look forward to speaking with you soon, G. JerryD, and until then, wish you well.
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