Viking revises World Cruise itinerary on the eve of departure

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Instead of sailing west from Los Angeles to Asia and beyond, Viking Star will head south to Mexico and Central America, then around South America on a route to east continuing to the Mediterranean and across the Suez Canal to the Red Sea. At the end of March in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the ship will resume its original program and return across the Mediterranean to end in London in May.

120 day trip

The 120-day trip will visit destinations in 21 countries. It looks a lot like one of Viking’s top-rated global cruises in the past, President Torstein Hagen said during a live webinar on Sunday when passengers were briefed on the change. There will be fewer Pacific beaches but more cultural content, he said.

Hagen appealed to the explorer mentality of the Viking travelers, expressing his hope that they stick to the new agenda.

He compared the short-term “180 degree chance of course” to the actions of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen more than a century ago when he turned away from the North Pole after learning of others had already reached it and were heading instead towards the South Pole.

Viking Star will be in Los Angeles on Monday as scheduled but the ship will now depart on Wednesday evening. Some 550 travelers have been booked for the first leg of the voyage on the 930 passenger vessel. Those who cancel will receive a voucher worth 110% of what they paid Viking for use on a future cruise.

Problems with ports on the first stage

Viking officials said there were issues with destinations west of the international date line, the first leg of the trip. They were only informed on Wednesday that India was closing its ports, which triggered the overhaul on short notice. In a question-and-answer session during the webinar, passengers asked if the ports on the new route could close and if there was a chance that the cruise would be canceled in progress.

Viking’s director of health, Dr Raquel Bono, said the line was in contact with the ports and believed they understood the company’s protocols, which she called “the strictest in the world. travel industry “.

Daily PCR tests, on-board laboratory

Viking has a full vaccination requirement for passengers and crew, and Bono has said crew boosters are up to date. It is the only cruise line to have PCR laboratories on every ocean and expedition vessel (there is a network of shore laboratories for river vessels) and all crew and passengers undergo saliva PCR testing. non-invasive daily. In addition, passengers must present a negative PCR test carried out within two days before boarding, and they are tested upon boarding. Masks are mandatory when traveling on the ship.

Over 2 million PCR tests since May

Since May 2021, the line has carried out more than 2m of PCR tests for more than 100,400 passengers and crew. There have been “some positives,” Bono said, but with the tests on board, people can be isolated quickly to reduce the risk of transmission.

Room for seclusion on board or possibility to join the ship

Bono also said there was room on Viking Star to isolate anyone who tested positive during the cruise, although according to a medical evaluation in some cases it may be beneficial to disembark the person and allow them to return. after completing the isolation on land. If someone tests positive on boarding the World Cruise, they will have the chance to rejoin the ship later after secluding themselves ashore.

Mandatory bubble excursions in some places

Viking officials have indicated that some ports do not want passengers to explore independently, which is why a range of bubble tours are being developed for these destinations.

Last week, Regent Seven Seas Cruises significantly altered Seven Seas Mariner’s global cruise on the eve of boarding from San Francisco. Several other lines have canceled their 2022 world tour.

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