Viking Cruises' ship Viking Star in Bergen.
Viking Cruises' ship Viking Star in Bergen.

Viking suspends cruises until May

VIKING has announced it will temporarily suspend river and ocean cruise operations until 1 May in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 situation.

The announcement was made yesterday in a video and letter sent from Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen to currently booked guests; both the video and letter are also available on Viking's website.

In part, the letter reads:

"I am sure you recognize that COVID-19 has made travel exceedingly complicated.

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.

I am writing today because 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.

Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from 12 March to 30 April 2020 - at which time we believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve.

This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known.

For those guests whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, we are offering the choice of a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125% of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid."

Torstein Hagen, Chairman