Are you booked on a Nile Cruise but worried about your safety? A Jewish couple from Oakland, Calif., shares their concerns about traveling to Egypt and Jordan due to the war in Gaza. They fear being targeted as American Jewish tourists and have reached out to Viking, the tour operator, for a refund. However, Viking initially responded with general statements about prioritizing guest safety. With the help of an advocate, the couple eventually secured a future cruise credit. This article delves into the complexities of assessing travel risk, the responses of travel companies, and the options available to worried travelers.
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Concerns About Safety on Nile Cruise
If you’re booked on a Nile cruise but worried about your safety, you’re not alone. Many travelers have concerns about the current state of global affairs, and it’s completely understandable to prioritize your well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the background information surrounding your travel plans and worries, discuss seeking a refund or voucher, examine the response from Viking, analyze the mixed evidence on safety, consider State Department warnings, and discuss the impact on the travel industry. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the situation and be able to make an informed decision. Remember, your safety is paramount, and it’s important to advocate for yourself when necessary.
After two pandemic-related delays, you were set to embark on a Nile cruise with Viking, including several days in Cairo and additional excursions to Jerusalem and Petra. However, the war in the Middle East broke out, making you concerned about the stability and safety of the region. Viking made adjustments to your itinerary, canceling the excursion to Jerusalem, refunding the money, and rebooking your flights for a later date. However, you still have concerns about the safety of Egypt and Jordan, especially as Jewish tourists.
Travel Plans and Worries
As older travelers, it’s natural for you to be worried about your safety during a war. You mentioned being heartsick at the thought of not seeing Jerusalem and concerned about being targeted as American Jewish tourists. These worries are valid and should be taken seriously. It’s crucial to assess the risks involved and make an informed decision that prioritizes your well-being.
Seeking a Refund or Voucher
Considering the circumstances, it’s understandable that you would prefer a refund or a voucher to take the same trip in the future. Many travelers have faced similar situations and have sought alternative arrangements from their tour operators. While it’s not guaranteed, it’s worth reaching out to Viking and explaining your concerns to see if they would be willing to accommodate your request.
Reaching Out to Viking
Contacting Viking is an important step in addressing your concerns. Communicate with them directly, expressing your worries and outlining why you believe your safety may be compromised. Be polite but firm in requesting a refund or a voucher for future travel. It’s worth mentioning that Viking has a vested interest in ensuring the satisfaction and safety of its customers, so they may be willing to work with you to find a solution.
Response from Viking
While it’s unclear whether my email intervention influenced Viking’s decision, they did eventually provide you with a credit towards a future cruise. This turnaround is a positive sign that Viking is open to resolving your concerns. In their responses to your previous inquiries, Viking emphasized the importance of guest and crew safety and assured you that they were monitoring the situation closely.
Mixed Evidence on Safety
Determining the safety of travel to Egypt and Jordan during times of conflict can be complex. While there is mixed evidence on the current safety conditions, it’s important to consider multiple sources and make your own risk assessment. The U.S. Department of State issues travel advisories that assess the potential risks in various countries. Egypt is currently listed as a Level 3 (“Reconsider Travel”), while Jordan remains at Level 2 (similar to countries like France and Peru). These designations, along with feedback from ground staff and tour operators, help gauge the safety of the region.
State Department Warnings
The U.S. Department of State provides valuable information regarding travel safety. While they issue general cautions about potential terrorist attacks and demonstrations, these warnings are not specific to the Middle East or North Africa. It’s crucial to read their advisories and make an informed decision based on your personal risk tolerance. However, it’s worth noting that the State Department’s warnings do not necessarily indicate danger throughout the entire country. Different regions and cities within a country can have varying safety levels.
Impact on Travel Industry
Events such as conflicts and natural disasters can profoundly impact the travel industry. Companies, including tour operators and airlines, face difficult decisions when it comes to providing refunds or vouchers to travelers. It’s important to understand that tour operators have already allocated substantial resources for your trip, including payments to suppliers who may not be able to offer refunds. While it may be challenging for companies to provide full refunds, many policies include options for future credits or date changes, as seen in the case of Viking.
Your worries about safety on a Nile cruise are understandable, especially given the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Traveling during uncertain times can be unsettling, and it’s essential to prioritize your safety and well-being. Communicating your concerns with your tour operator, as you did with Viking, can lead to a favorable resolution. Consider multiple sources of information, including official advisories, and make an informed decision that aligns with your risk assessment. Remember, the travel industry is going through a difficult period, and finding a solution that works for both parties is crucial.