Dear Fellow Seafarers
We are providing regular updates on this page for those of you concerned about the Coronavirus situation and the possible impact on your holiday.
In line with UK Government advice as well as that of the authorities in our host countries, we have suspended all overseas holidays and charters as well as RYA training courses up to 30th April. It is now looking increasingly likely that restrictions will be extended to May, though there is no official update or Foreign Office advice on this so far. We are contacting all those guests affected individually to discuss the various alternatives on offer. In most cases, we are encouraging our guests to re-book at a later date either this year or if required, also 2021, all with no cancellation penalties or change fees.
At present, whilst restrictions are very likely to subsequently be extended, all holidays operating from the May 1st onwards are still scheduled to go ahead as normal. For those affected in some way, who are unable or unwilling to travel regardless of your 2020 departure date, we are allowing changes to travel dates at no cancellation penalty (subject to the airline policy where applicable) and this can include dates in 2021, or the date can be left open if required, to allow more time to decide. In such instances we would provide you with an official credit note that will still have full ATOL/ABTA protection.
If you wish to discuss your arrangements, please contact us, and we will happy to advise on the current situation and what we can do to help.
The Seafarer office is open as usual, though the majority of staff are working from home and still able to answer calls thanks to our IT and telephone system set up.
We will update this page as more information becomes available.
In the meantime, we wish all of you the best and look forward to better times soon.
The Seafarer Team
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Holidays booked in Summer 2020
Currently there are no travel restrictions after the first of May so all holidays are presently scheduled to continue as normal, though some flights have already been cancelled by airlines. We are monitoring the situation closely through all available channels and will inform our guests as soon as possible if there are any changes in our host countries or to FCO advice. If there is a major change we will inform those guests who were scheduled to travel earlier first and we are allowing maximum flexibility on booking changes according to your requirements and circumstances.
What if my holiday is affected?
Our commitment to a personal service doesn’t end with your booking – we will do our best to offer you the maximum flexibility possible – this will vary from booking to booking, and our team will work to offer you the best option for your holiday and circumstances.
Deferring booked holidays
We work with many suppliers, hotels, airlines and agencies – talk to us about your booking and we will give you the latest information on what deferment is possible in your case. Generally there is maximum flexibility although some late season dates are already showing limited availability.
If your flight is booked through us and is cancelled or changed, we will contact you. If you have booked your own flight and this is cancelled or changed please get in touch and we will do our utmost to work out alternative arrangements.
You are ill or self isolating and can’t travel
If you can’t travel due to illness or restrictions please get in touch and we’ll look at possible amendments to your holiday. If the holiday is still scheduled to go ahead, you should be able to claim on your travel insurance if this is the case.
What is the situation with refunds
Given the very large number of holidays that have already been curtailed with many more to follow in this unprecedented crisis, we are encouraging guests to re-book for a later date or if this cannot be decided yet, to accept a credit note which can be applied to a later booking. The credit note will still benefit from financial protection under the ATOL and ABTA schemes and does not disqualify you from receiving a refund later if you change your mind. This is in line with ABTA guidelines recognising that payment of large numbers of refunds now would be unsustainable for any company.
How we are keeping your money safe
We would like to remind you our flight inclusive package holidays are ATOL protected . More information can be found on that ATOL website: https://www.caa.co.uk/ATOL-protection/Consumers/About-ATOL/
We are also proud to be members of ABTA which provides financial protection for holidays and charters without flights. We have been following ABTA guidelines in this uncertain time and you can see additional information and advice for travellers from ABTA on this link: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
How is Seafarer coping in these circumstances
This is our 25th year and whilst it will certainly be a year to remember, it is indicative of our long experience and our strength and resilience given the many international crises we have had to deal with over the years.
We have a very experienced and dedicated team who have been working hard to keep our guests up to date and change holiday arrangements where required liaising with airlines and our various overseas suppliers and partners. This can be very difficult with long waits on the telephone often being required as well as fast changing official restrictions and advice. We have been coping with all of this well and our guests generally find it easy to contact us either by telephone or email.
How soon are holidays expected to return to normal
The situation is constantly changing so it is almost impossible to predict when holiday departures will recommence. Several airlines have announced that flights are suspended up to the end of May, indicating that they are gearing up to a re-start in June. It should be noted though that the decision to re-start will depend not only on UK Government advice and lifting of restrictions but also those applicable in the destination countries.
On the positive side, our preparations for the season were well advanced in terms of yachts, beach club facilities and we are ready to re-start at relatively short notice with our overseas staff on stand-by.
What Additional Precautions are in place for holidays that do go ahead
Once we restart operations, whilst the virus is still active, guests and crew will need to complete a health questionnaire prior to travel. Additionally we have implemented an enhanced cleaning and sanitisation regime on all vessels. This had already commenced prior to the lockdown on our training vessels. The safety of guests and crew is a top priority for us and any holidays or courses that do operate, will be in line with the advice of the FCO and the authorities in our host countries.
Looking on the bright side
In the meantime, we will try to do out bit to help keep you occupied and entertained. So from our legendary April fool prank, to our Youtube channel with ‘how to’ and holiday videos, to various happenings on Facebook, do stay in touch, whilst you stay home and stay safe.