29th May 19:15
A message from Martin Balcombe
We are all aware what a massive impact the Coronavirus is having on our lives and what measures we all need to take now to limit the spread of the virus as much as we can. Here at Caledonian Discovery we switched to home working for the office, but we are still sorting out computer and telephone systems to help us do that. We are keeping our e-mails and bookings system working effectively, along with a somewhat reduced ability to answer phone calls or take voicemail messages. We are monitoring global developments and government and travel industry advice daily.
The situation continues to escalate in the UK. We must take steps to protect the vulnerable, do everything we can to support our amazing healthcare workers and keep our emergency services from being inundated. We must also look after ourselves, our loved ones and our colleagues.
So, we are delaying the start of our season and will not be running our early season holidays (Please have a look at our “Is my Caledonian Discovery holiday still going ahead” section below.) We very much hope that all our guests will stay safe – from those of you have recently booked for the first time, to those friends who have been coming for years. Meanwhile here in the Scottish Highlands, we will be working to make sure that when the situation returns to normal, we are in a good position to continue running our amazing holidays.
We are announcing which holidays are affected by contacting people on an individual basis, each week in turn. By contacting our guests in a chronological order, we are hoping that our rather stretched resources will be able to cope with the workload.
The situation will go on changing and we will keep all our guests informed by updating this page.
For bookings made with Caledonian Discovery prior to 16 March your booking is covered by our standard terms & conditions as follows:
However, in view of the disruption due to the Coronavirus, we have been making it easier for our guests to amend their bookings.Since the 16th March our Booking Flexibility Offers have been available to guests whose cruises are scheduled up to 10 weeks ahead of the current date. These offers will only remain available whilst they are published on this webpage. Please see below for details.
What is the latest situation in Scotland and the UK?
Please follow these links to see the latest government information:
Scottish Government – Coronavirus in Scotland.
UK Government – Coronavirus-Information-for-the-public
Is my Caledonian Discovery holiday still going ahead?
We have cancelled the earliest holidays of our season. Currently this includes all cruises up to those starting on the 27th June. This information will be reviewed and updated at least twice a week.
Is my Caledonian Discovery holiday likely to be cancelled?
We will continue following government instructions as they are issued. In the meantime, we are making our own decisions on a chronological basis. If your holiday is not listed above, then it is not currently cancelled. We do expect to announce cancellations to holidays later than those listed above. If your trip is affected, we’ll be in touch with you directly, at least 3 weeks before the departure date. We will then discuss the options available with you. We are planning to increase this notice period as soon as we catch up with immediate issues.
Is my money safe if I’ve booked a trip, or about to book one?
Yes! If your trip is cancelled by Caledonian Discovery for whatever reason, including coronavirus, we will offer you another trip, and, if this is not acceptable, you will be entitled to a full refund. To back up this promise, all your pre-payments are protected against ‘tour operator failure’ in line with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.
Booking Flexibility Offers
(Temporary amendments to our standard terms and conditions)
These offers will only remain available if accepted whilst they are published on this webpage.
Changes more than 10 weeks ahead of the departure date
|Cancellations more than 10 weeks ahead of the departure date.||If you wish to cancel your booking more than 10-weeks before the start date, then our standard terms and conditions apply, and your deposits will be forfeited. Please check your insurance policy.|
|Transfer of the booking to another person, more than 10 weeks ahead of the departure date||If you cannot come on the trip, and you know anyone who might like to go in your place, we can transfer your booking to their name. If this request to transfer is due to the Coronavirus outbreak, then we will waive the usual admin fee of £30 per person.|
|Amendment to bookings more than 10 weeks ahead of original departure date.||The Coronavirus outbreak and its effect on travel is so difficult to predict that we are not encouraging people to change their holiday plans with us more than 10-weeks before the start date. Up to this point our usual terms and conditions apply. However, if need be, do get in touch with us. We are a small company and can consider cases individually if appropriate.|
Changes between 10 and 4 weeks ahead of departure date
|Guest cancellations between 10 and 4 weeks ahead of departure date||If you wish to cancel your booking between 10 and 4 weeks prior to the start date, then your deposits will be forfeited. Later than 4 weeks prior, you will be liable for the full cost of the holiday. Please check your insurance policy.|
|Transfer of the booking to another person, between 10 and 4 weeks ahead of departure date.||If you cannot come on the trip, and you know anyone who might like to go in your place, we can transfer your booking to their name. If this request to transfer is due to the Coronavirus outbreak, then we will waive the usual admin fee of £30 per person.|
|Amendment to bookings between 10 and 4 weeks
ahead of departure date.
|If you wish to amend your booking at this point, then we will work with you to find another date suitable for you from our current list of published departures. We will then transfer your 25% deposit to the new booking date. There will be no admin fee and any additional cost of the new departure will be waived.
If the new departure date is in 2020, the balance will be payable 4 weeks before the cruise start date. If, between 10 and 4 weeks ahead of the new departure date you wish to change it due to the Coronavirus situation, we will repeat these arrangements as necessary.
|I’d like to amend my booking between 10 and 4 weeks ahead of the departure date. Can I have a voucher?||We want our temporary 10-4 week amendment terms to be attractive enough that you would not choose to ask for a voucher from us. If, however, you would like that then yes we can – it would be on these terms:
If, between 10 and 4 weeks before your departure date, you would like to defer your booking with us but can’t decide on the new date then we can issue a voucher for your booking deposit. This would be transferable within 1-year of issue, to secure a new booking, and would count at face value against the new holiday price. We would not charge any admin fee for this amendment.
Do I need to pay the balance of my holiday 8 weeks ahead of the departure date?
We are temporarily changing this requirement in our standard Terms & Conditions and will now only require you to pay your balance at least 4 weeks before the departure date.
Changes within 4 weeks of departure date
|Guest cancellations within 4 weeks of departure date||Your booking is now within the non-refundable and non-transferrable period. However, depending on the reason for your cancellation, you may be able to make a claim on your travel insurance (see below)|
|Transfer of the booking to another person, within 4 weeks of departure date||If you cannot come on the trip, and you know anyone who might like to go in your place, we can transfer your booking to their name. If this request to transfer is due to the Coronavirus outbreak, then we will waive the usual admin fee of £30 per person.|
|Amendment to bookings within 4 weeks of departure date.||From 4 weeks before the departure we are not accepting amendments to your booking unless we have cancelled the departure (see ‘What if Caledonian Discovery cancels the trip’ below). Otherwise your booking cannot be amended, and our usual terms and conditions apply.|
What if Caledonian Discovery cancels the trip?
If your trip is cancelled by Caledonian Discovery, at any time and for whatever reason, including coronavirus, we will offer you another trip, and, if this is not acceptable, you will be entitled to a full refund of payments you have made to us.
Will my travel insurance cover me for cancellation?
This section is about you cancelling your booking with us. If we are unable to run the holiday then please see the section above.
We always strongly advise you to take out travel insurance as soon as you book. This should cover you if you must cancel your holiday for insurable reasons. You will need to check with your own insurance company but it might cover you if you have contracted Covid-19; if you are required for medical reasons to quarantine or self-isolate; if your government advises against travel to the Scottish Highlands for all but essential journeys. If this is the case, then ask us for a cancellation invoice for you to forward to your insurance company.
If you decide not to come for your own reasons then this will be deemed ‘disinclination to travel’ and unless you have specifically upgraded your policy to include ‘cancellation for any reason’ then your policy is unlikely to cover this.
We would be interested to hear your stories of what insurance companies are saying about their travel insurance policies at this time. Please check the advice on the following links regarding travel insurance.
When will Caledonian Discovery return to normal operation?
We are sorry that we are not able to answer that yet. However, we do look forward to returning to normal operation and we will publish that information here as soon as we are able. Our trips are small group travel journeys, here in the Scottish Highlands where we have space to breathe and freedom to roam. The cabins and communal spaces on our barges have windows which open to the fresh air. We are never far from the next canal lock or place to tie up and people always have good options for going ashore, stretching their legs or getting involved in one of our activities. Despite all this we will need a thorough operational protocol that we will adopt as soon as we are able to commence our operations. This will be designed to reduce risks to travellers and crew as much as possible and will be published here on this webpage at least 2 weeks before we return to cruising operations.
Thank you again for your patience & understanding. We hope that we will all find a safe way through this and that we will be able to welcome you onto one of our holidays before long.