Covid-19 Guidance and Policy
Please note that as of 2.4.20 until further notice, we will only be able to take voicemails left at 01452 410411 or emails sent to email@example.com. This is because most of our staff have been placed in furlough due to corona virus so we are not able to answer incoming calls. Please be patient with us and if you leave us a message or send an email, we will respond as quickly as we can but it is unlikely to be on the same day.
I hope that you are all staying safe. We have been heartened by your response to our letter of 18th March. Many of you are rebooking for later dates, others understandably prefer to cancel but a large proportion of those cancelling have made a voluntary contribution as well as paying the administration fee. Virtually everybody – around the same 98% as we advertise as recommending our holidays – are wishing us well for the future. Challenging situations bring out occasionally the worst, but mostly the best, from the great British public and by example I must mention the customers who have both cancelled AND told us to keep the full payment for their holiday! They really did bring tears to our eyes and we are most grateful for their support. This small family company is very grateful for the support of all of you who have given it, in any form. Thank you.
We have been making calls to as many of you as possible who are booked on cruises before 15th June, plus all later cruisers calling in. Each call is taking some time, so If we haven’t talked to you yet please don’t worry, we are working flat out and will call you soon. For all of you booked on cruises boarding on or after 15th June, if you wish to change your booking in any way may I remind you to please call us after Monday 30th March.
Again, may I re-assure you that we will refund the bulk of your deposits to all who prefer to cancel cruises due to board before 15th June, 2020 . All your money is in a separate account which I have never used to run our business (until such time as we have delivered your holidays). We will struggle over the coming year but with your various kindnesses, our own reserves and some help from government, we fully intend to survive. (By the way, some of our staff will benefit from the Job Retention support scheme but marine businesses currently fall between the cracks of all the other support announced, so we are appealing for more – watch this space!).
As this is a constantly changing situation there will be a need for updates periodically. We are not able to do this by post as frequently as we have been so from now on all updates will be published to this webpage. Please read through the Frequently-Asked Questions and our answers below.
If you have email, I strongly recommend you sign up to our email newsletter using the form on the footer of this webpage so you can stay up to date.
Many thanks and continue to take care,
Richard, Judith, Jay, Sam, Fran, ‘Skip’ and the Edward Elgar Crew
We were ready to start our season as scheduled on 27th March. At the time of writing the government instructions are for no one to leave their homes, except for a few special reasons. They advise that no travel should be undertaken before 17th April. They have also advised certain at risk groups to stay at home for 12 weeks. As we know that many of our customers are in at risk groups we are actively contacting everyone booked to travel up to 14th June. Once we have completed that exercise, everyone due to travel up to 14th June will have been personally contacted to discuss options to either cancel their booking or book a date further in the future.
ABTA have a website for customers which we recommend you to visit: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak The points specifically relating to our business in the current guidelines are that travel restrictions are in place until 16 April. If there is no government advice against travel after that date you are free to make the choice not to go but there is no obligation on our company to waive the cancellation charge for disinclination to travel. Balances need be paid on bookings when they are due 90 days before the sailing date, but a full refund (less the cancellation charge of £45 per person) will still be given on any cancellation made by customers more than 30 days in advance of the 2020 cruise date. Cancellations made less than 30 days before the cruise date will not be eligible for any refund.
All bookings made for, or moved to, 2021 will have our usual terms of cancellation and booking applied as written in our brochure, on our website and attached to all our invoices. The 30-day cancellation relaxation will not apply to 2021 bookings.
All passengers can transfer their booking to a future date without any admin fee and enjoy a price guarantee that we will not raise the price and will pass on any discounts should we discount the cruise they are booked on.
Change to another date in 2020
If you move your date to another date in 2020 we will carry over any payments you have already made into that booking. If any balance payment is due you will be required to pay it before 90 days of the sailing date. Until further notice, all 2020 bookings will be subject to only 30 days’ notice of cancellation rather than our usual 90 days and if you cancel giving such notice you will receive a full refund less the admin fee of £45 per person.
Change to another date in 2021
Those who wish to transfer to a future date in 2021 can chose any of the following options regarding payment for that new date:
If you have paid in full, you can opt to
• carry all of the money over to next year’s booking;
• carry the deposit over and be refunded the balance which will become due again 90 days prior to the sailing date
• have all your money refunded less a deposit of only £100 per person, which is considerably less than our usual deposit and repay the proportion up to 25% in December 2020. The final balance will be due 90 days prior to sailing.
If you have only paid a deposit so far you can either:
• carry the deposit over and pay the balance 90 days prior to the sailing date
• have all your money refunded less a deposit of only £100 per person, which is considerably
less than our usual deposit and repay the proportion up to 25% in December 2020. The
balance will be due 90 days prior to sailing.
All bookings made for or moved to 2021 will have our usual terms of cancellation and booking applied as written in our brochure, on our website and attached to all our invoices. The 30- day cancellation relaxation will not apply to 2021 bookings.
Some passengers felt that our policies were ambiguous across recent correspondence. To clarify, based on ABTA policy and our concessions for customers, our current policies are:
• Passengers booked to travel in the 2020 season may cancel their booking with 30 days notice for a refund less a £45pp admin fee.
• All passengers may transfer their booking to a future date without any admin fee and enjoy a price guarantee that we will not raise the price and will pass on any discounts should we discount the cruise they are booked on.
• If passengers wish to transfer to a date in 2021 you can either leave money already paid with us, or we will refund money less a deposit of only £100pp, which is considerably less than our usual 25% deposit. The balance of the deposit up to a total of 25% will be payable in December 2020.
• All bookings made for or moved to 2021 will have our usual terms of cancellation and booking applied as written in our brochure, on our website and attached to all our invoices.
- All Balances on all cruises will still be due 90 days in advance of the schduled sailing.
- Balances not paid will be treated as a cancellation on the passenger’s part as per our booking and cancellation terms.
ABTA clearly advises all travellers both local and international that travel operators are not obliged to cancel travel until it is “imminent” - meaning within a few days of the date of travel. We will not usually cancel until travel is imminent, but if we ever do this, then your money will be refunded in full without any admin charge. You can view ABTA advice for travellers here: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Please check with your insurer, but it is our understanding that all policies bought before the
outbreak should be able to be transferred over to a change of date booking and be covered for Covid 19. If you cancel and then book again for a later date you are very unlikely to get cover for Covid 19.
Some travel insurance providers are attempting to ”buy back” insurance policies from their
customers. Effectively they are offering full refunds on policies before travellers contact their travel provider. Presently we believe that Covid-19 related claims should be honoured if the policy was purchased before the outbreak for travel which was booked before the outbreak, even if it occurs weeks or months into the future from now. Insurers are buying back all policies they can which they issued for any travel purchased before the outbreak to limit their exposure, although the length of the outbreak has yet to be determined.
For a new travel cancellation insurance policy (albeit probably without cover for cancellations due to Covid-19, please contact Just Travel Cover on 0800-294-2972
We will treat all international customers on the same basis as our customers from the UK and EU.
We have always adopted strict hygiene control on board our vessel. Hand sanitisers are provided free of charge in all cabins and public areas. Unlike alcohol-based sanitisers which only sterilise your hands briefly, we stock a sanitiser which acts effectively to kill viruses for up to four hours, greatly reducing transmission by surface contact.
We also have strict cleaning procedures throughout our vessel using chemicals recommended for commercial disinfection.
We do not have buffets or shared food platters on our menu for hygiene reasons and we have a 5-star hygiene rating for our kitchen.
Before boarding we will be asking guests to answer a short health questionnaire and to voluntarily have their temperature taken with a non-contact device. We will refuse entry to anyone who:
• Refuses to answer the questionnaire or have their temperature taken.
• has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case of Covid19 within the 14 days before the time of boarding.
• comes under the current government guidance for those who should self-isolate at home
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