Viking suspends cruising coronavirus

Viking is suspending river and ocean cruise operations until
May 1, a response to the coronavirus situation. 

Passengers on sailings that were scheduled to depart March
12 through April 30 will receive a future cruise credit equal to 125% of the
money paid, valid for the next 24 months, or a full refund. Viking said it
would also issue a full refund if guests decide later that they can’t use the cruise
credit. The credit is transferable. 

“I am sure you recognize that Covid-19 has made travel
exceedingly complicated,” Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said in a letter to
guests. “An increasing number of ports, including Venice, Monte Carlo and
Bergen, have temporarily closed to cruise ships; major attractions such as the
Vatican and other museums have been closed; and some countries are imposing
restrictions on public gatherings and visitors.”

He added that a guest on a Southeast Asia river cruise had
been exposed to Covid-19 on an airplane. The guest is not exhibiting symptoms but
has been quarantined. The remaining 28 guests have been separately quarantined.

“The situation has now become such that operating as a
travel company involves significant risks of quarantines or medical detentions,
which could diminish the travel experiences for which our guests have been
planning,” Hagen said.

Viking said its reservations team is in the process of
issuing credits, but booked passengers can also call Viking or contact their travel
advisor by March 25.

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