Viking Star anchored in the Mediterranean.

Viking Temporarily Suspends Ocean and River Cruises Due to Global Coronavirus Pandemic

This site contains affiliate links for which we may be compensated.

While looking for updates on cruise line coronavirus cancellation policies, Viking was last on my list. After a couple of clicks on their site, I found their shocking news. 

Viking Cruises Temporarily Suspends Ocean and River cruises due to coronavirus
Viking Star is anchored in the Mediterranean.

Viking Temporarily Suspends Ocean and River Cruises due to global coronavirus pandemic

Earlier in the evening, the White House announced that incoming flights from more than two dozen Schengen countries in Europe would be prohibited for the next 30 days. Yes, exceptions are made for Americans under special conditions; it was noted but not clarified at this time. As an aside, flights to the US from the UK will be permitted.

Of course, this tremendously impacts Americans trying to return home after a Viking river or ocean cruise in Europe.

But the update from Viking also acts as an act of caution and prevention for itineraries that don’t disembark in Europe: “As of March 11, 2020, Viking is temporarily suspending operations of our river and ocean cruises, for embarkations taking place between March 12 and April 30, 2020. We believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve after this time and plan to resume operations on May 1, 2020, continuing all further sailings as originally planned.”

Viking Lif in Budapest at the Chain Bridge
Location, location, location. Docked right at the Chain Bridge in Budapest, it makes for a fantastic evening walk.

Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen published a letter on their site explaining the reasons behind the cancellations. While not mentioning the airlift factor, he goes on to write, 

“Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from March 12 to April 30, 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.”

The notice went on to say that Viking Customer Relations will notify those affected by the cancellations. If you happen to be booked on a Viking ocean or river cruise that departs before May 1, Viking directs you to visit for more information about your specific voyage.

Viking Ocean canceled cruises affect more than just Europe

In our opinion, Viking is doing the absolute right thing to do at this crucial time. Aside from this horrific coronavirus running rampant, getting passengers to be able to fly home from Europe after their cruise would be a challenge. But it’s not just Europe that will see this temporary suspension of Viking cruises. 

Viking temporarily suspends river cruises in Europe
Viking Jarl River ship docked on the Rhine

Viking Alaska cruises

On April 26, 2020, Viking Orion was scheduled to depart from Vancouver, BC, on a 10-day cruise to Seward, Alaska. Port visits included Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, and Valdez. For most of these seasonal ports, Viking Orion was the first ship visit of the 2020 Alaska Cruise season. But not during the coronavirus outbreak. 

What to do if your cruise is canceled

If you were scheduled to depart during the period of suspended operations, Viking is offering a Future Cruise Voucher. The voucher is valued at 125% of all the money paid to Viking. You may also request a refund equal to the amount paid.

Future Cruise Vouchers must be used within 24 months from the date of issue for a new reservation on any river, ocean, or expedition cruise.

Viking goes on to add that if you choose a voucher but are unable to use it in the allotted time frame, Viking will automatically send a refund equal to the original amount that you paid to Viking after the voucher expires. Their Future Cruise Vouchers will also be fully transferable, something other cruise lines don’t seem to do.

We will continually monitor for additional updates as they are announced. 

If you were thinking of a river cruise in Europe once the coronavirus is passed, here’s my review of Viking’s Grand European Tour river cruise. Until then, be safe and be aware.

You’ll Also Love