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mkerner

Viking Venus - What is the status of her build?

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Anxiously awaiting the email from him that was referred to on the other (Inaugural sailing) thread. 

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12 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

In his video announcement today, Tor Hagen mentioned that sometime next week Viking Venus would "touch water" for the first time. Whether this means that they will be floating her out next week or just filling the dry dock, I have no idea.

 

Generally it means the building dock is flooded and once they confirm no water ingress, the ship is towed out to a fitting out berth, as the building dock is then pumped out and the first mega block of the next ship is lifted into place.

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Posted (edited)

Andy, thanks. You have a special insight into stuff like this from all your maritime experience. So, if I read you correctly, it still would seem very possible that the construction is considerably behind schedule and thus could impact that January chairman's cruise. Guess we'll find out. I've not gotten the email that others have talked about. 

Edited by OnTheJourney

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8 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

Andy, thanks. You have a special insight into stuff like this from all your maritime experience. So, if I read you correctly, it still would seem very possible that the construction is considerably behind schedule and thus could impact that January chairman's cruise. Guess we'll find out. I've not gotten the email that others have talked about. 

 

These days it is tough to provide a definitive answer. The shipyards were effectively shut down for about 3 months, with the complete shutdown and reduced operations since they re-started.

 

Under normal circumstances, the late delivery penalties and loss of reputation generally dictate that scheduling overtime to catch up is more cost effective for the S/Y. However, with the current shut-down, shipping lines may welcome delays in accepting new tonnage to defray capital costs. They could even waive delivery penalties and be happy accepting the ship a few months late.

 

Unfortunately it could be sometime in the late summer/early Fall before they have dates for the trials and then a delivery date. The other factor to consider is another virus flare up, or 2nd phase, as many are predicting.

 

Sorry, but can't really help much with this one.

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I wouldn't be surprised if that Venus is not ready to go as planned. Apparently Hagen's video indicated that it is on schedule for early 2021. As you say, no definitive answers at this point. 

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2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

I wouldn't be surprised if that Venus is not ready to go as planned. Apparently Hagen's video indicated that it is on schedule for early 2021. As you say, no definitive answers at this point. 

 

Affirmative, if I recall correctly, he mentioned 1st qtr 2021, which would be Jan, Feb or March.

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12 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Under normal circumstances, the late delivery penalties and loss of reputation generally dictate that scheduling overtime to catch up is more cost effective for the S/Y. However, with the current shut-down, shipping lines may welcome delays in accepting new tonnage to defray capital costs. They could even waive delivery penalties and be happy accepting the ship a few months late.

There could be an "act of God" or "government action" clause in the contract as well, to eliminate delay penalties.  Then there are the labor laws in the EU.  I don't know Fincantieri's union contracts, or Italian law, but I remember being in shipyard in Bremerhaven, and we had a boiler failure that would affect our flood date, and when we asked the yard to put a third shift on that particular job, we were told that the yard would have to petition the national Labor Department as to why they wanted to give overtime to existing workers rather than hire additional workers.

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Thanks for sharing this info and for staying on top of it. So it now seems that both the inaugural cruise (and the schedule that comes after) will likely go. 

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Not wanting to rain on the parade, but float out normally only means the ship is ready to float and external painting is complete, so they can start assembly of the blocks for the next ship. They still have extensive internal fitting out to complete.

 

The fitting out phase can take 7 to 12 months from float out until delivery to owners. Unless fitting out is well advanced, best guess for delivery to the owner, under normal conditions, would be Feb/March 2021.

 

However, as we know the new norm bears no resemblance to "Normal", so it will be interesting to read when she heads out on trials and when she is delivered.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:
1 hour ago, OnTheJourney said:

Thanks for sharing this info and for staying on top of it. So it now seems that both the inaugural cruise (and the schedule that comes after) will likely go. 

 

However, as we know the new norm bears no resemblance to "Normal", so it will be interesting to read when she heads out on trials and when she is delivered.

 

I posted this only because it is one essential step in the process to board passengers in January. It only means that progress is being made, not necessarily that "schedules" can or will be met.

We are scheduled to board in Barcelona on 26 January, and I regard that as iffy for a few reasons, not the least of which is will the ship be ready? Also, will the cruise be able to operate as scheduled without restrictions, and will my wife and I (and others in our party) feel safe traveling.

Since we don't know what the new "normal" will be for the rest of the year and into the next, I am just going to keep tabs on any progress, as well as the travel restrictions. And I am already thinking about Plan C - two cruises were already canceled out from under us...

Edited by What was that?
Grammar

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1 hour ago, What was that? said:

 

 

We are scheduled to board in Barcelona on 26 January, and I regard that as iffy for a few reasons, not the least of which is will the ship be ready? Also, will the cruise be able to operate as scheduled without restrictions, and will my wife and I (and others in our party) feel safe traveling.

 

 

WWT.....great points, with the one I highlighted as obviously being the most critical. We are scheduled to board even before you do, so, yeah, who knows. I'm thinking back, however, to how much work they had to do to get the Sky ready to sail again only days after parts of it were really in a shambles following the storm. If they are pressed to it, they can bring on as many employees as they need and work 24/7 - which is what likely happened with the Sky. That being said, though, in a COVID-19 world, is such a thing even practical or desirable to throw untold numbers of workers together that way?  I guess it's easy to look at the outside and consider the ship already "built" but who knows what the inside looks like. Time will tell, but the decision as to whether to book my flights (if through Viking anyway) has to be made soon so as to take advantage of the 6/30 deadline for the "Risk Free" program. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Not wanting to rain on the parade, but float out normally only means the ship is ready to float and external painting is complete, so they can start assembly of the blocks for the next ship. They still have extensive internal fitting out to complete.

 

The fitting out phase can take 7 to 12 months from float out until delivery to owners. Unless fitting out is well advanced, best guess for delivery to the owner, under normal conditions, would be Feb/March 2021.

 

However, as we know the new norm bears no resemblance to "Normal", so it will be interesting to read when she heads out on trials and when she is delivered.

 

I was hoping you'd weigh in on this - just read your post after replying to WWT. So, based on what you're saying, there could well be a long way to go and the Venus may not be ready for that initial sailing schedule. All the more reason, I believe, to book everything through Viking - as you alluded to - and let them deal with the changes that need to be made. If under their guarantee program, they will adjust as circumstances require and/or make further offerings to us. Thanks, Andy, for sharing your knowledge in these matters. 

 

Once again it brings to mind the option that the one agent mentioned to me - that of simply substituting another ship instead of the Venus. Her thinking is that it would be easier for them to do that (IF a ship is available) than have to deal with a domino effect of revised schedules. But then what happens to the schedule that the other ship was supposed to do? Wow, some of this is all just internet / cruise forum quarterbacking at its best.....LOL

Edited by OnTheJourney

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3 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

 

All the more reason, I believe, to book everything through Viking - as you alluded to - and let them deal with the changes that need to be made. 

...

Wow, some of this is all just internet / cruise forum quarterbacking at its best.....LOL

 

Our party are NOT experienced Viking cruisers, which is one reason why we booked all arrangements with Viking (thru our usual TA). Well, a slight deviation on the return from Bergen, but that is easily managed. We used Viking Air Plus and got stopovers at LHR going and coming, with no muss and no fuss. And after a couple of false starts, I was able to get precisely the flights I wanted. As you say, let Viking cope with the change.

I must say that Viking Air Plus is very forthcoming and helpful in making arrangements. I asked what they would recommend, with the proviso that I want to fly American/OneWorld partners and their first suggestion was connect thru Chicago (no offense, but not my favorite airport) so with a little discussion we got the connection via LAX that seemed to be the best fit for the trip. This all happened around the 300-days-in-advance mark (from our return journey). At one point the LAX connection was not available, and then a few days later it was. And actually, since you can make changes without charge until the air travel is ticketed, just be patient and persistent - but do your research if you have specific preferences, like I do.

 

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Posted (edited)

I vacillate on some of these decisions all the time. Here's the thing...I've been looking at flights that, under normal circumstances, I wouldn't hesitate to book. Non-stop B-class, for nearly $2500 less (total cost for 2 adults, 2 flights in all) than what Viking is quoting me (if you include their deviation and air-plus fees). That's a pretty sizable difference. I'm told Viking has very little wiggle room when it comes to matching prices since they contract out with the airlines ahead of time. 

 

What I found the most disappointing, despite the level of cooperation and forthcoming approach that you report, is that she wouldn't divulge much at all in the way of specific flight options, etc. unless I said I'd commit to buying the air through Viking. That sort of put me off a bit. Other than quoting a price, and indicating that I could get most of it back if I decide not to go, that was pretty much end of discussion. It was disappointing both times I spoke to her since it sounds like she's talking through a reverb chamber or something. Extremely hard to understand. And if she can't guarantee and book seats for me right away, I won't like that either. Even the Viking agent I've been working with throughout all of this advised me to buy my own air if I can get it cheaper!!  So....still tossing it around.

 

If planning for the scenario where we're most likely to go, my decision hands-down is to book my own air, but in planning for a strong likelihood that we may not feel comfortable with going and cancel the whole thing, then it's probably best to book it all with Viking and preserve the invested $$. So I'm just finding it hard to convince myself of the latter, since it goes 'against the grain' of the way I'm used to planning trips that involve flights. 

Edited by OnTheJourney

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1 hour ago, OnTheJourney said:

And if she can't guarantee and book seats for me right away,

 

Even if they can book your seats for you right away, they can't guarantee them. Even the airlines don't guarantee them.

 

1 hour ago, OnTheJourney said:

What I found the most disappointing, despite the level of cooperation and forthcoming approach that you report, is that she wouldn't divulge much at all in the way of specific flight options, etc. unless I said I'd commit to buying the air through Viking.

 

I can understand it from Viking's stand point. They could spend all day helping people who are just price shopping when their job is to be serving those who are actually booking through them.

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7 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

I can understand it from Viking's stand point. They could spend all day helping people who are just price shopping when their job is to be serving those who are actually booking through them.

That's absolutely the reason. 

 

We always buy Viking air at time of booking to lock in any discounts or promotions. When you purchase Air Plus ($50 pp) and reserve flights through Viking, you can subsequently change your mind and drop it prior to Final Payment.  You will forfeit the Air Plus fee because they spent time with you previously.

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3 hours ago, Mitina said:

That's absolutely the reason. 

 

 

Makes sense. So, Mitina - you're indicating that I could upgrade the complimentary economy air we've been offered and then could always decline it; however, my final payment has already come and gone. As Peregrina mentioned in another thread, my situation is rather complex. The outbound flight is associated with arrival for the invitational cruise, and the inbound flight is associated with returning home after the 2nd cruise that we purchased (and already paid for). At no time did I book any air for either of these cruises, but did inquire recently as to the options for upgrading the economy flights that we were offered.

 

The main question that all this boils down to is the decision between booking my own air - where I can select the seats immediately upon booking and get a much cheaper price (I realize there are no guarantees although I've never not gotten a seat I pre-booked) or book the air through Viking (at a significantly higher cost but would be covered under the risk-free guarantee and/or possibly have most of it refunded if I'd decide to cancel the entire trip). 

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29 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

Makes sense. So, Mitina - you're indicating that I could upgrade the complimentary economy air we've been offered and then could always decline it; however, my final payment has already come and gone. As Peregrina mentioned in another thread, my situation is rather complex. The outbound flight is associated with arrival for the invitational cruise, and the inbound flight is associated with returning home after the 2nd cruise that we purchased (and already paid for). At no time did I book any air for either of these cruises, but did inquire recently as to the options for upgrading the economy flights that we were offered.

 

The main question that all this boils down to is the decision between booking my own air - where I can select the seats immediately upon booking and get a much cheaper price (I realize there are no guarantees although I've never not gotten a seat I pre-booked) or book the air through Viking (at a significantly higher cost but would be covered under the risk-free guarantee and/or possibly have most of it refunded if I'd decide to cancel the entire trip). 

Sounds like you have netted it out well your choices:

1  Your own air  -  cheaper and can select seats now but if cancel you may/may not get anything back

2  Viking air - more expensive, potentially less good seats but if cancel you will get most refunded

 

Sounds like the $ difference is essentially the insurance for airfare plus seat selection now.   Simple math then.

Only you can then make the choice, as we all do in any insurance decisions.

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With purchasing my own air, the only "insurance" is really (as far as the airline is concerned) the chance to rebook and use the value of the flight within a year. That's not real likely to happen. I don't foresee using B-class air before next June. 

 

When you say "potentially less good seats" - are you implying choice of seats within a cabin class or possibly not even able to get anything in B? 

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On 3/24/2020 at 3:49 PM, mkerner said:

I have a cruise scheduled for next year on the Viking Venus.  Is the Venus going to be completed on time with all of the issues currently going on?

Venus just floated out from builder on or about June 6. Going for fit out now.

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1 hour ago, mammothrunner said:

Going for fit out now.

 

Yes...which could take 7-12 months from what has been mentioned. 

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I wonder if there will be new"tweaks" on the inside of the ship!!! I have liked the new things each time!!!  Bigger gym, ability to regulate your own bathroom heated floor, drawers in the closets for DV cabins...I have not been on a ship with the planetarium but that maybe a miss....did I read that there will NOT be one on the Venus?

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No planetarium from what I heard. I would hope some of the new 'tweaks' might be associated with accommodating social distancing. 

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