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Coronavirus (Covid 19) Company Update – 9 April 2020

Dear Noble Caledonia Clients,

Due to the current pandemic, we have taken the decision to cancel our cruises and tours up to the end of May 2020. We will keep this date under review but wanted to provide our passengers with peace of mind with regards to their upcoming bookings.

If you have a holiday booked with us which departs before the end of May 2020, we will be in touch with you 30 days prior to the start date of your holiday with an offer to increase the value of your funds which we hold in order that they can be used for future bookings. It will be your choice whether you choose the benefit of the increased funds which can be used for new bookings made prior to the end of 2021 or request a refund. Our phone lines are open and we can also be contacted via email should you have any queries or wish to make a new booking. However, we do request that if you have a booking due to depart before the end of May that you wait for us to contact you as we are working through departures in date order to allow for efficient administration. If you have requested a refund, please note that it will take up to 30 days to be processed.

Our team is currently working from home and we are doing all in our power to provide our usual level of excellent customer service, however you will appreciate that this is a stressful time for everyone and by its very nature, homeworking adds to the time it takes to process requests. We have always been, and remain a private, family owned firm, we are fully licensed and well respected by the industry bodies. Due to our responsible approach to ownership, our company has a strong balance sheet and is well set to focus on the future once we are through this challenging period.

There have been positives over the last few weeks, we are for instance very proud to have repatriated all our clients safely and without any government assistance and equally proud of the fact that our proactive measures and client support ensured that our tours and ships operated virus free. We were advised to hold tight, to wait for the government to advise on repatriations but with clients in the Caribbean, Morocco, Egypt, Botswana, Turkey and Chile, we felt the correct path was to control our own destiny and act decisively to ensure we could bring everyone home as soon as possible. I want to thank our dedicated teams in the field which included Neil, Rebecca, Carolyn, Angie, Peter, Christiane, Rhodica, Phil, John, Andrea, Pam, Jane and Wendy plus their respective teams, all of whom demonstrated why they are the most experienced and best in their field.  

I would also like to thank my colleagues in London who literally worked around the clock. As you would expect, we managed to arrange flights and hotels where required but agreeing with the authorities on the Falkland Islands that we could send our two ships, the MS Hebridean Sky and MS Island Sky there from Chile and negotiating the first charter flight out with the CAA and local authorities was something new for all of us. The MS Hebridean Sky remains in Stanley where we are assisting the British Antarctic Survey as they close their bases down for the winter and we will sail their staff home to the UK. Further information on that initiative can be viewed here www.bas.ac.uk/media-post/end-of-antarctic-field-season-2020-responding-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/     

Most of all I would like to thank our guests, those who were on tours when the travel restrictions came into place could not have been more understanding and the subsequent letters of support have been overwhelming and a great morale boost for us all. We have experienced great support before when confronted with difficult times operationally such as during the Ash Cloud incident when we sailed a ship home with passengers from Cape Verde and coached clients home from all over Europe. During the Arab Spring we also had to divert many tours but this of course is something on a very different scale and the reactions of our clients showed them to be that which we have always known, travellers not tourists.

We continue to plan for the future, this time will end and our thirst for exploration will only grow. In the meantime, to all our clients, thank you for your continued support and we wish you and your loved ones the very best in these difficult times.

Yours sincerely

  {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

Tim Cochrane

Managing Director, Noble Caledonia