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Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing a Tour

Choosing the right tour

What is a Noble Caledonia tour?

Our aim is to provide our clients with lasting memories of journeys to interesting, exciting and often remote parts of the world made with a small group of like-minded travellers. Whether it’s by sea, river, land or rail, our range of tours is extensive, and each one is full of enriching experiences. We are constantly searching for new and unusual itineraries so that we will always have something different to offer the well-travelled. For help with choosing the tour that’s right for you, please call us on 0207 752 0000 to speak to one of our experienced Travel Consultants, or you may email us at reservations@noble-caledonia.co.uk.

What does a Noble Caledonia tour include?

We try to make our tours as inclusive as possible, so that after you have booked, there should be little else for you to worry about. For all our tours, the daily excursions and gratuities will be included. For most of our tours, all meals and drinks at meal times will be included. The exact inclusions differ from tour-to-tour, so please refer to the ‘price includes’ section of our brochure and the tour pages on our website for a full list of what’s included, and if there are any additional costs you may need to consider.

How physically demanding are Noble Caledonia’s tours?

Our tours are designed for the mature traveller and are not intended to be overly demanding. You may find that some tours are more active than others, however. Our Expeditions by sea are inherently more demanding than most of our Small Ship Destination Cruises, for example. To get the best idea of the level of fitness required for your chosen tour, please call us on 0207 752 0000 to speak to one of our experienced Travel Consultants, or you may email us at reservations@noble-caledonia.co.uk.

Who will I be travelling with?

The specialist and informative nature of our tours means they tend to attract like-minded individuals hailing from all parts of the UK who will share a fondness for travelling and enjoying new experiences with their fellow travellers.

The age range of our travellers varies from tour-to-tour, but most of our travellers would be between the ages of 60 and 80. Few of our travellers are younger than 50.

How many people will be on my trip?

We are foremost specialists of small ship cruising. We believe that travelling with a small, intimate group of like-minded travellers is the ideal way to explore the world. As such, for our tours by sea and river, most of the vessels in our fleet have a maximum occupancy of 100-120 passengers.

For our tours by land, we adopt the same philosophy, though the group size can vary more substantially. Our escorted land tours are usually limited to 25 passengers. Our hotel-based holidays may be larger in group size, and in such instances, they are usually limited to a maximum of 25 passengers per local guide.

Actual group size depends on sales and some of our tours may be subject to minimum numbers. For the best idea on the numbers to expect, please call us on 0207 752 0000, or you may email us at reservations@noble-caledonia.co.uk.

Is there an age limit?

Travellers of any age are welcome to join our tours. If, however, you are unsure about the suitability of a tour, then please call us on 0207 752 0000 to speak to one our experienced Travel Consultants for further advice before you book.

Travelling with children is not recommended. Our tours are generally unsuitable for children, and most of our ships have a minimum age of 15-18.

Are all tours escorted?

Yes. All our tours are fully escorted. A representative will meet you at the airport in London to assist you with check-in. The majority of flights will be accompanied by a member of our tour team but on occasions when they are not, you will be met on arrival at the airport.

For our Small Ship Destination Cruises, by both sea and river, you will be met onboard by one of experienced Cruise Directors and, where appropriate, a team of Tour Managers. Lectures will be provided by a Guest Speaker who will offer a deeper insight into the destinations we visit.

For our Expeditions by sea, you will be joined by a full Expedition Team led by an Expedition Leader. The team will consist of several naturalists and local experts who will pilot the Zodiacs during the excursions and share their knowledge throughout the voyage.

For our land tours, you will be accompanied by one of our experienced Tour Managers.

Please note that if you request to deviate from the standard group arrangements, then it is unlikely that your flights will be escorted.

We will confirm who will be accompanying you in your pre-tour information sent to you approximately 12 weeks prior to departure.

Will my holiday be protected?

Yes. We are both ATOL and ABTA bonded, and we provide full financial protection for all our holidays. If your tour includes flights, then you will be protected under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) and an ATOL certificate will be issued to you that confirms your protection. If your tour does not include flights, protection is provided by way of a bond held by ABTA. If you’re not sure what protection applies to your holiday, please call us on 0207 752 0000.

Choosing the right cabin category/room type

Our tours usually include a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and requirements. For help choosing a cabin/room that’s right for you, please call us on 0207 752 0000, or you may email us at reservations@noble-caledonia.co.uk.

Solo Travellers

Is there a single supplement?

The ships we use are small, and most are not fitted with dedicated single cabins. We do, however, make available several twin/double-berth cabins to book for a sole use supplement, which is usually significantly less that the combined cost of two people sharing a cabin. To check availability of single places on your chosen tour, please call us on 0207 752 0000, or you may email us at reservations@noble-caledonia.co.uk.

Will there be any other solo travellers?

Our cruises are very popular with solo travellers and so it is extremely likely you will be joined by several others who are also travelling solo. Our land tours are also popular with solo travellers, but where occupancy is often limited, there may be occasions when the number of single travellers is few. Whenever numbers allow, we will host an evening onboard our ships for solo travellers to meet each other early on during the voyage.

Making a Booking

Taking out an option

Once you have decided to book, or even if you need help deciding, please call us on 0207 752 0000 to speak to one of our experienced Travel Consultants who will be happy to assist you. You are welcome to hold an option with us for a few days without any financial commitment if you need time to decide. Once an option has been held, an email will be sent to you with details of your tour and further instructions on how to complete your booking.

I need longer to decide; can I extend my option?

It is usually fine to extend the hold time by a few days. Please call us on 0207 752 0000 to speak to one of our experienced Travel Consultants.

Confirming a booking

To continue with your booking, we require you to provide us with a completed booking form and the required payment as specified at the time of booking (usually a deposit payment of 10%). Once your completed booking form and payment have been received by us, we will confirm your booking and dispatch your booking confirmation within 72 hours (Monday to Friday).

What should I do if I can’t complete every section of your booking form?

It isn’t essential that you complete every section of the booking form when applying for a booking. If, for example, you are due to renew your passport, and/or you are yet to receive the details of your travel insurance policy. You are welcome to forward this information to us later. We kindly ask, however, that you provide us with all necessary information 90 days before departure to ensure we are fully able to process your booking.

How much do I need to pay?

For bookings made 90 days or more before departure, a deposit of 10% will be required at the time of booking. For bookings made within 90 days of departure, full payment will be required. Please refer to the option details emailed to you at the time of booking for the exact payment required.

How can I pay?

You are welcome to call us on 0207 752 0000 to pay over the phone using either a debit or credit card. We accept MasterCard, Visa or Visa Debit. You can also pay your deposit by card when completing the booking form online. Alternatively, a cheque can be sent to us. Please make this payable to Noble Caledonia LTD. You can also pay us by bank transfer. Please call us on 0207 752 0000 or email us at reservations@noble-caledonia.co.uk to request our bank details.

Payments

When is my final balance due?

Your final balance is due 90 days prior to departure. Please refer to your confirmation invoice for the exact due date.

Do you send a balance reminder?

No. Your confirmation invoice (and any revised invoices sent thereafter) will confirm both the final balance and when it is due. As such, we do not send a balance reminder. Please regard the most recent invoice sent to you as your final invoice.

Flights

For our tours that include flights, we will source flights with reputable national, scheduled carriers where possible and with routes and timings that we hope are convenient to our guests. Due to the nature of our tours, it may be necessary for us to arrange your flights via a group booking. With most airlines, you will not have access to your flight booking online via the airline’s website. Please call us on 0207 752 0000 to enquire about your flight booking, and what restrictions may apply.

When will I receive my flight details?

Usually, we will confirm your flights 9-10 months prior to departure. At which time we will write to you to confirm your flight details (unless you have booked within this time, in which case, your booking confirmation will confirm your flight details.)

Can I deduct the flights from my booking and arrange my own?

If you choose to arrange your own flights, we can deduct the group flights from your tour package. In such instances, we are usually also able to offer you a rebate for the removal of the flights, however, please note this is subject to availability. Please also note that we may be unable to offer a rebate for the removal of individual flights.

Can I upgrade my flights?

Most flights will be booked with scheduled airlines who will offer upgraded cabin services. Please call us on 0207 752 0000 to check availability and request a quote. Please note that, if your request to upgrade is received before the flight details have been confirmed, we will arrange to call you once the flights have been confirmed to discuss upgrade options.

Can I check-in online and pre-book my flight seats?

Due to the nature of our tours, it may be necessary for us to arrange your flights via a group booking. With most airlines, you will not have access to your flight booking online via the airline’s website to check-in online and pre-book your flight seats. You can, however, notify us of your seat preferences and we will send these to the airline who will do their upmost to meet your requests in accordance with their group seating policy.

Can I start my holiday from my local airport?

Due to the flight routes on offer for the destinations we visit, most of our tours start and end at London airports. However, we are usually able to assist you with a booking for a domestic flight departing from and returning to your local airport at an additional supplement (subject to availability). Please contact us on 0207 752 0000 to check availability and request a quote.

Can I change my flights?

Depending on how your flights are reserved, it may be possible to change the dates of the flights, should you like to depart earlier on the outbound flight, or return later on the inbound flight. Please call us on 0207 752 0000 to enquire about whether a change can be made. If a change is possible, you will be asked to pay any costs incurred in making the changes. Whilst we will do our best to meet your request, it may not be possible for us to do so.

Special requests

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

The restaurants on our ships and those visited on our land tours can handle a wide array of dietary requirements. Onboard our ships, we can arrange for the Cruise Director and Hotel Manager to meet with you to discuss meal options at the start of your cruise. Please contact us on 0207 752 0000 to discuss your specific requirements.

After You Have Booked / Before You Depart

Travel insurance

Why do I need travel insurance?

It is a condition of booking with us that you obtain adequate insurance and for many of the destinations we visit it is highly advisable to travel with insurance. We regret we may be unable to accept your booking if you do not obtain adequate insurance. For more information on your rights in respect of the requirement to obtain travel insurance, please refer to clause 4.a) of our booking conditions.

What kind of insurance do I need?

Most insurers offer a range of different covers and it is recommended that you speak to the insurer directly to ensure you obtain cover that’s right for you. If you need help finding the right insurance cover, you might like to try the following website:

https://www.biba.org.uk/find-insurance/

Generally speaking, you should obtain insurance that provides cover for your specific medical situation and includes cancellation cover to the full value of your booking. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you are adequately insured for your holiday, as we will not check the policy that you have purchased.

Do I need travel insurance in place before I book?

It is recommended you obtain insurance either before, or at the time of booking, to ensure your cover starts as early as possible. If you are unable to obtain insurance before booking, you are welcome to forward us details your insurance policy later. We kindly ask that you supply us with your details 90 days before tour departure.

Do I need travel insurance for UK only tours?

Yes. Most insurers will offer a UK-only insurance, usually with reduced cover for medical emergencies, but standard cover for personal liability, loss/damage of baggage, cancellation (amongst a host of other things) that are recommended for travel to any destination.

Visas & passports

Is a visa required for my chosen tour?

Your initial booking confirmation will include details of any visa requirements. Your pre-departure information, sent to you approximately 12 weeks prior to departure, will include further details, including full instructions on how you might be able to obtain any necessary visas.

As a British Citizen, do I need my passport for UK only tours?

As you will be leaving from an international port, it is essential you travel with your passport. Even if the tour itinerary does not include any planned visits outside the UK, there is a risk the ship will be carried into international waters.

Health & medication

In order for us to judge the suitability of your chosen tour, you will be asked to provide us with details of any medical conditions and/or mobility restrictions you might suffer from that you feel may affect your holiday arrangements. Whilst our tours are not designed to be overly demanding, they do vary in terms of their strenuousness. This information is therefore crucial in helping us determine whether your chosen tour is right for you, and to help us ensure that your experience of travelling with us is ultimately a happy one.

To assist us in preventing the spread of communicable diseases onboard our ships, you will be asked to complete a Public Health Questionnaire and present this to the onboard Doctor (or another member of the crew who might assume similar responsibilities) upon embarkation. This will be enclosed with your final documents sent to you approximately 3-4 weeks prior to departure.

For more information on your rights in respect of the above, please refer to clause 1.c) of our booking conditions.

Are any immunisations required for my chosen tour?

Your initial booking confirmation will include details of any health requirements, including if you may need to consider any immunisations that are usually recommended. The advice we provide is general for the regions & destinations we visit and is mostly sourced from the NHS FitForTravel website. For advice that’s more specific to your individual medical situation, we recommend that you speak to GP or a Specialist at a travel clinic.

Will I need a doctor’s note/certificate?

To better aid in our judgement of the suitability of your chosen tour, we may ask you to provide us with a note from your GP/Specialist that certifies your fitness to travel. Please note that for certain holiday destinations, such as Antarctica and the Arctic, the acquisition of a doctor’s note and/or the completion of an additional health and fitness questionnaire is compulsory for all passengers. In such instances, we will endeavour to give you as much notice as reasonably possible.

Travel documents

When will I receive my travel documents?

At approximately 12 weeks prior to departure, we will provide you with your pre-departure information, with several pieces of advice to help you plan for your upcoming tour. At approximately 3-4 weeks before departure, we will provide you with your final documents, which will include your joining instructions and a final itinerary.

Money matters

Are gratuities included?

Yes. In keeping with the inclusive design of our tours, all gratuities are included in the total holiday price.

How much spending money should I bring with me?

However much you want to spend, really. If you’re hoping to pick up some souvenirs or local crafts, you may want to carry some local currency. Our tours do not have lots of shopping time built in to the itinerary and as such, it may be unlikely that you will find many opportunities to spend lots of money. Your pre-departure information sent to your approximately 12 weeks prior to departure will include details on the local currencies accepted at the places we are due to visit.

What to bring

Are there any special clothing requirements?

Many of tours are best enjoyed in comfort with the proper equipment. For our Expeditions by sea, for example, this may include suitable waterproof clothing. We will write to you approximately 12 weeks prior to departure with your pre-departure information, which will include some instructions on what to pack.

How much baggage can I bring with me?

Each airline sets its own restrictions on baggage allowances. So although some airlines luggage allowances are more generous than others, in practical terms, you may find that the ‘effective’ luggage allowance for all flights is the least generous, as the lowest allowance will determine how much luggage you can take on any flight during the tour.

While on Tour

Life on board

Is there a dress code?

There isn’t a specific dress code. During the day, you should wear whatever is most comfortable. If your tour is to the tropics, or the polar regions, we will provide some guidelines on what to pack with your pre-departure information, sent approximately 12 weeks prior to departure. For dinner, the dress code is best described as smart casual (not black tie). We will usually hold a welcome and farewell dinner onboard which are slightly dressier occasions.

Do you provide hairdryers?

Hairdryers are normally provided, either in the cabin, or at reception. Please refer to the ship booklet sent to you with your initial booking confirmation for details of whether a hairdryer is provided.

Food & drink

Can I drink the water onboard your ships?

On many of our ships, the water onboard is treated and safe for drinking. On some ships, there are drinking water dispensers onboard, and reusable water bottles are distributed amongst our guests to reduce our impact on the environment. Please refer to the ship booklet sent with your initial booking confirmation for further details.

Are meals/drinks included?

As per the inclusive design of our tours, most meals are included. Our ships usually offer a full board meal basis, and therefore breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. On most ships, drinks are included at meal times. This usually includes wine, beer and some soft drinks. Please refer to the ‘price includes’ section in our brochure and the tour pages on our website for details of the meals and drinks included.

Is there an open seating policy?

We proudly operate an open seating at meal times on all our ships. Whenever open seating is not available, we will clearly state this in our brochure and on our website.

Excursions

In keeping with the inclusive design of our tours, excursions are always included. We may sometimes offer some optional excursions and musical performances. We will write to you approximately 12 weeks prior to departure with your pre-departure information, which will include details of any optional excursions on offer.

Can I opt out of the excursions?

Yes. The included excursions are there for anyone who wishes to participate but you don’t always have to. If you wish to skip an excursion, you will be welcome to relax onboard or explore independently. Please note that, in such instances, no refund will be provided in respect of any skipped excursions.

Keeping in touch with home whilst away

How can my family and friends contact me?

The contact details enclosed with your final documents will include the contact information of the ships and hotels visited on your tour. You may wish to leave a copy of this with any family and friends who may need to contact you while you’re away. You may also call us on 0207 752 0000 to arrange for this document to be sent to anyone who may have need to contact you.

Is there Wi-Fi onboard?

Most of our ships are fitted with Wi-Fi that’s accessible from both the public areas and from within the cabins. However, please note that whilst at sea, we are reliant on the strength of the satellite signal and connection may therefore be intermittent and unreliable in certain parts of the world. Please refer to the ship booklet enclosed with your initial booking confirmation for an overview of the ship’s internet and Wi-Fi facilities.

Assistance while on tour

Something is not quite right – who do I speak to?

We are committed to delivering the best experience possible, so if something is wrong, please inform our representative (e.g. a Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, Tour Manager) immediately so that they might endeavour to put things right.

Changes & Cancellations

Changes by you

If, either before or after our confirmation invoice has been issued, you wish to change your holiday in any way, such as the departure date or your accommodation, we will do our best to meet your request but doing so may not always be possible. Please call us on 0207 752 0000 to discuss the changes you would like to make.

(Please see clause 5. a) of our booking conditions).

Will there be a fee if I change my booking?

Usually, we will only pass on to you the costs incurred by us in making the changes you requested. Please be aware that these costs are likely to increase closer to departure that these changes are made.

Cancellation by you

My situation has changed – how do I cancel my booking?

You can cancel your booking at any time, either by phone, or in writing. You will be charged a cancellation fee in line with our booking conditions. If we receive notification of your cancellation after you have paid your balance and you are owed a refund based on the applicable cancellation fee, this will be sent to you together with your cancellation invoice. (For further details, please refer to clause 6 of our booking conditions.)

Why do I have to pay a cancellation fee?

Upon confirming your booking, Noble Caledonia will make several payments on your behalf to secure bookings for the various services that make-up the tour package. These payments are usually not recoverable by us and are therefore passed on you as per the maximum cancellation fees as set out in our booking conditions.

Can I change to a different tour?

Since we incur costs in cancelling your holiday, you will be asked to pay the applicable cancellation fee as set out in our booking conditions. The above notwithstanding, if you are looking to cancel your booking and transfer to a different tour, please contact us with details of the tour you wish to transfer to, so we can investigate the possibility of waiving your cancellation fee (or part thereof).

Changes by us

Why do you make changes?

Whilst we will do our upmost not to make changes to your holiday, it may sometimes be unavoidable. We will notify you at the first instance of a change having been made with an explanation and overview of the changes made.

After You Have Returned Home

Commodore Loyalty Club

Do you have a loyalty programme?

Yes. After you have completed your first tour with us, you will qualify for membership of our Commodore Loyalty Club. As a member, you will be entitled to a 5% discount on any applicable tour and some exclusive offers and promotions. To review the qualifications and entitlements of membership, and complete our application form in order to become a member, please click here.

Feedback

I’d like to provide feedback on my experience of travelling with you – who do I speak to?

Your feedback is vital in helping us improve in the things that we do, and you will be given a customer satisfaction questionnaire at the end of the voyage. If you have further feedback to share with us, including if there is something you are especially happy with, or something you feel we might be able to improve on future tours, we would very much like to hear from you. You are welcome to email us at customerservices@noble-caledonia.co.uk to share your experiences with a member of our Customer Services team.

If you have a complaint that was not resolved locally, then please follow this up within 28 days of your return home by writing to our Customer Services team at Noble Caledonia, 2 Chester Close, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7BE or by emailing us at customerservices@noble-caledonia.co.uk.