Action 9

‘Doesn’t sit right’: Cruise line raises price by thousands after consumer confirms booking

ORLANDO, Fla. — A retired schoolteacher thought she and her friend had booked the trip of a lifetime. She turned to Action 9 after she claims Viking Cruises jacked-up the price of their voyage by nearly $9000 about a week after they booked it.

Elizabeth Gehron loves to travel.

“I always said when I retired, I wanted to do Australia and New Zealand,” Gehron said.

And that’s what she set out to do. Gehron and a friend found a deal with Viking Cruises for around $6,100 a piece to check out those two countries. They also added more days for the “Best of Australia” pre-excursion. It was advertised at a special starting at $899.

She said, “That allowed us to go into Australia, because the cruise just you see Melbourne and Sydney, we wanted to go into Australia and see more of it.”

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After their travel agent confirmed the price with Viking for their exact dates in December it was booked. The $899 add-on was listed in their original guest statement.

Gehron told Action 9, “We get the invoice from them. Everything is good, exactly what we were promised… what it showed and advertised online.”

But eight days later, they received an unwelcome surprise. A new statement arrived showing Viking had hiked the price of their add-on to $5,299. That’s $4,400 more than they each originally agreed to pay.

After calling for an explanation, they said this was Viking’s explanation:

“There was a price mismatch issue, and that they couldn’t honor that price that we had booked it for,” Gehron said recalling her conversation with a Viking representative.

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Tammy Levent, who runs Elite Travel points out, if this was some kind of advertising or other mistake, most cruise lines have insurance for what are called “errors and omissions” that should cover Viking if the cruise company honors this price.

And even though fine print in its policy shows the carrier isn’t responsible for errors and has the right to make corrections, Levent can’t understand why a giant company like Viking won’t make good on the deal.

Levent said, “The hundreds of thousands of people that are going to see this understand that hey, you know what, this is not good business on Viking’s part and I may reconsider booking with them because they didn’t honor this.”

Action 9 reached out to Viking asking if hiking the price after someone books is a typical business practice and why it happened in this case. So far, Viking hasn’t responded.

Gehron believes the company should honor the price of the original agreement.

She said, “Just surprised me. And I’ve traveled with Viking before on several cruises and always been very pleased with them felt they were reputable and trustworthy. This just doesn’t sit right.”

After Action 9 reached out, Gehron said Viking contacted her and offered to only charge each of them $2,200 extra instead of $4,400. The two women are now trying to decide what to do. They have until the end of the month to cancel or pay the higher fare.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.