North Africa cruise ports canceled

By: Karen Wagner
This item appears on page 27 of the July 2018 issue.

My husband, Gery, and I were quite taken with the lead article in the November 2017 issue of ITN about an 8-day “Southern Mediterranean Discovery” cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises that featured Tunis and Algiers as ports of call.

We booked the March 1, 2018, sailing — the last of the season — on Oct. 25, 2017. The cruise we booked differed from the one in the article in that it eliminated the port in Malta and, instead, included a stop in Sicily. This was fine with us, as we had been in Malta a couple of times in the recent past. We really booked the cruise for the ports of Tunis and Algiers.

On Jan. 19, we received by email a letter from Viking stating, “…there are currently civil protests in Tunisia. Out of an abundance of caution, we are replacing the call to Tunis with Naples…” The funds for optional excursions purchased for that port would be refunded in 14 to 21 days.

We were SO disappointed that the cruise did not go to Tunis.

While we were on the ship, Viking canceled the Algiers port call as well and substituted Mallorca. We had visited Mallorca last year, with a long, 12-hour port call, so the four hours we were scheduled to be in that port were only marginally interesting to us.

In addition, the ship’s shore excursion in Valencia was canceled the day before we docked there, as there were too few participants, which was disappointing. By then, all the more desirable ship excursions were full and there was no time to explore other options.

With so many disappointments on this cruise, it seems that the excursion staff could have made arrangements for our tour in, perhaps, a smaller van. I know there were at least six of us passengers who had paid in advance for this excursion.

After filling out a rather negative evaluation form on the ship, we were contacted by Viking Ocean Cruises by email. I called and talked with them, and, as compensation, we were offered $1,000 toward a future cruise (booked within 12 months) plus $500 in shipboard credit. We might do a river cruise but are not likely to try another ocean cruise.

This was the second cruise we’d booked that canceled the Tunis port. The other was on the morning of our reaching port. Next time we are in Europe, we may just head down to North Africa and visit Tunis on our own.

KAREN WAGNER

Monarch Beach, CA

ITN emailed a copy of Ms. Wagner’s letter to Viking Ocean Cruises and received no response.