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Old January 30th, 2011, 04:40 PM
Iamboatman Iamboatman is offline
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Default Viking - Putting Dollars Before Safety?

The events in Egypt over the past days started as concerning and has escalated to dangerous. I have clients who are scheduled to be on a February 5 river cruise in Egypt. Viking's response has been of great concern...and something I think everyone should be aware of.

On Friday, January 28th as I was watching CNN and seeing the demonstrations (and where they were) I called Viking due to my clients concerns over the events and their need to know what their options were. After being given the standard, "We are in contact with our ground operators in Egypt and they advise us that all of the areas are safe" I pushed the matter and asked for a supervisor. I received more of the same.

I asked, "When are you going to consider the safety of your passengers? When are you going to consider sources other than the Egyptian operators that are looking to protect their business?" Only then did Viking even acknowledge that safety was an issue.

Yesterday, January 29th with dozens dead, protests expanding, the Pyramids at Giza closed and the Egyptian Museum already damaged by looters (and now, hopefully, the damage kept to 2 mummies and some minor artifacts) Viking continued to insist that the February 5th cruise was still a "go". (Meanwhile the US was already organizing flights to get US tourists out of Egypt.)

Only after I really pressed was I offered the option of my clients selecting another Viking cruise, whether or not in Egypt, without a cancellation charge and only liable for any increase in price (or a refund if it was less). While it is an option - and possibly one that works for some - it still keeps the funds with Viking...rather than refunded to the clients.

When it is clear that there is no way things will be safe by February 5th....and it isn't known if flights will even be arriving into Cairo...doesn't Viking have the obligation to given its clients the ability to mitigate their losses as quickly as possible? Yes, trip cancellation insurance is an avenue for some, but not all, but is that the right solution here where it is not a matter of someone just being nervous, but the collapse of order and safety exists.

It leaves me wondering. How about you?
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