Travel with confidence

We want to ensure you’re confident to travel with us on our smaller ships. So during this pause in operations, we are busy making preparations to explore the world again this summer.

To help you feel more comfortable booking a cruise holiday with us, and assure you of a relaxing and safe experience on board, we have created our Plain Sailing Guarantee. You can also read our FAQs below for our 'Welcome Back' sailings this summer.

Your Questions Answered

We know that many of our guests will have lots of questions about our Welcome Back Cruises this summer, so we have collated the below handy FAQs. If your questions have not been answered below, please do get in touch with us either via social media, e-mail or call our team on 01473 742 424.

Will guests be required to be fully vaccinated before being able to cruise with FOCL?

Yes, it will be a requirement for all guests to be fully vaccinated to join us on board this summer. We have made this decision following new research on the vaccine, which has found that those who are fully vaccinated are not only less likely to become seriously unwell, but also less likely to pass on the virus too.

The safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew is always our utmost priority, and as a result we will be requiring all guests to be fully vaccinated (with at least 10 days since the date of your second vaccination) to be able to sail with us.

 

Why have you changed your policy on this now?

Our utmost priority is always to protect the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew while they are on board with us.

We have made this requirement following new research and data on the vaccine, which has only recently come to light. This new research has found that those who are fully vaccinated are not only less likely to become seriously unwell, but also less likely to pass on the virus too.

We will continue to monitor the research and science and will evolve our procedures accordingly.

 

How will I need to prove that I have been fully vaccinated?

You will be required to prove that you have had both of your vaccines at check-in.

If you live in England, you are able to obtain your personal vaccine status in both digital and non-digital form.

The NHS has a mobile app that shows your vaccination status. We will accept this as proof of your vaccinations.

If you don’t have access to a smartphone or tablet, you can download a printable version from the NHS website. Alternatively, you can call 119 and request that a paper version is sent to you in the post.

For more information on this, please visit www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad

Those living in Scotland can request a printed copy of their vaccination status by calling the Covid-19 Status Helpline on 0808 196 8565. Please note, you will need to allow 14 days for this to arrive.

Guests in Jersey will automatically receive a certificate after having your second Covid-19 vaccination.

For guests travelling from Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland or Wales, we will accept your vaccination card, given to you at the time of your vaccinations, until a system is in place for these nations.

For residents of Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, please check with your regional health authority or government website for details on how to obtain your vaccination status.

 

Is there a period of time after my second vaccine that I must wait before being able to travel with you?

We are asking all guests to allow at least 10 days following the second dose of their vaccine before joining us on board.

 

I am not able to have the vaccine due to medical reasons – will I be able to sail with you?

We are very sorry, but to ensure the safety of all on board we will be requiring all guests to have received both doses of their vaccine before travelling with us.

 

Will it also be a requirement for your crew to be vaccinated?

We have introduced a crew vaccination programme for those working aboard our ships. We are working hard to have all of our crew vaccinated as soon as possible, and will continue to have regular testing and other protocols in place to keep guests and crew safe while this project continues.

 

How long will your new vaccination policy be in force for?

These requirements will be in place or all departures in 2021. We will then review the latest science and information available to us to decide if this will continue.

 

Is this vaccine requirement only for your ‘Welcome Back’ programme of cruises, or will it apply to all future sailings?

These requirements will be in place or all departures in 2021. We will then review the latest science and information available to us to decide if this will continue.

 

Does your vaccination policy include children?

Our vaccine requirement extends to all guests due to join us on board, and as such that does include children.

If you have booked to travel with children who have not been vaccinated you will, of course, be able to have a full refund or transfer your booking to another cruise in the future.

 

Now that all guests will be vaccinated, will I still need to be tested for Covid to be able to cruise on your ships?

All guests will be tested on their arrival at the port, prior to check-in, before joining the ship.

Whilst it is not a requirement for you to have a test prior to your arrival, we would recommend that you follow the Government’s latest guidance on taking lateral flow tests regularly from home.

If you receive a positive lateral flow result in the days leading up to your cruise, please do not travel to the port.

Anyone who receives a positive Covid-19 result and is unable to travel will be able to transfer to another cruise within 12 months of the original sailing date, or opt for a sailing credit.

If you need to notify us of a positive result, please contact our Guest Services team on 0800 0355 145.

 

I have a cruise booked with you but won’t have had both of my vaccines by the time it sets sail – what are my options?

We are very sorry that you won’t be able to join us for your upcoming cruise. We would love to welcome you on board at a later date once you have had your vaccinations, and so you will be able to transfer any monies you have already paid to another cruise of your choice, setting sail within 12 months of your original booking.

Of course, whilst we would love to welcome you back on board, you will also be able to have a full refund of all monies paid, with no quibbles.

 

I am fully vaccinated, but I have an underlying health condition – can I take a cruise with you?

Anyone who is considered ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined by the NHS must contact us before making any new bookings with us.

Unfortunately, anyone requiring supplementary oxygen, dialysis or medical ventilation support will not be able to travel with us at this time.

 

If everyone has been vaccinated, will I still need to wear a face mask while on board?

Based on the current Government guidelines for the cruise industry, all guests will have to wear a face mask when moving around inside the ship and where social distancing is not possible (we do ask for a mask, rather than a shield or covering).

You will not need to wear a mask when you are out on deck or sitting down, for example when you’re enjoying something to eat or a drink in one of our new bars or lounges.

 

I am exempt from wearing a face mask – will I still be able to cruise with you?

We understand that not everyone is able to wear a face mask on medical grounds. If this is the case, you will need to provide us with a letter from your GP to confirm your exemption ahead of your cruise. This will enable us to make sure you, and those around you, stay safe and healthy during your holiday with us.

 

Will I be able to wear another forms of face covering, such as a face shield?

We expect masks will need to be worn in areas of the ship where social distancing is not possible and when moving around the ship. When this is the case we will ask for face masks to be worn, rather than face shields or other forms of face coverings.

 

Will you be operating a ‘track and trace’ system or similar aboard your ships?

All guests will be provided with a ‘TraceSafe’ wearable tracing device at check-in.

Should any guest test positive for coronavirus during a cruise, the medical team will be able to identify any other guests who may have come into contact with that person and they will be notified.

If this comes to light after you have returned home, we will contact you directly.

To protect the privacy of all our guests, this information is only available to our medical team and not used for any other purposes than to protect the safety of our guests and crew.

Will it be mandatory to have Covid cover and cruise specific travel insurance?

We already require all guests to have cruise specific travel insurance, including repatriation cover.

You will also need to ensure your policy includes cancellation or curtailment cover for Covid, plus cover for any medical, repatriation and expenses costs as a result of a Covid diagnosis or illness during your cruise.

Our recommended travel insurance provider, Holiday Extras, has updated their policy details to include cover for coronavirus. This will support you if you become ill during your cruise with medical assistance plus repatriation costs and accommodation for you and a companion should you need it. This new policy is available to all guests who meet Holiday Extras health criteria, including those aged over 70.


If I am on a British Isles cruise, will I still need a valid passport to travel?

Yes, all guests will require a valid passport, with at least six months’ validity, to be able to sail aboard any of our ships, even if the itinerary is not leaving British waters.

We require that all guests have at least six months’ validity on their passports from the date they return home.

This is also a requirement that is frequently stipulated by many of the destinations we visit when we do venture further afield again.

 

Who is able to book onto your Welcome Back sailings in July and August? Are these only open to UK residents?

Yes, our Welcome Back sailings will only be available for UK residents and those who live within the Common Travel Area (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Ireland) in line with government guidelines.

Guests looking to join us from outside England should check their local travel restrictions before making travel plans.

I have an underlying health condition – can I take a cruise with you?

Anyone who is considered ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined by the NHS must contact us before making any new bookings with us.
This is so that we can arrange a call with one of our medical professionals to discuss their requirements and whether they will be able to travel safely with us.

Unfortunately, anyone requiring supplementary oxygen, dialysis or medical ventilation support will not be able to travel with us at this time.

 

Will you be sailing with a reduced capacity aboard your ships?

When we resume sailing this summer, we will initially do so with a reduced capacity on each ship, to ensure plenty of space to comply with social distancing guidelines.


When will I be able to pre-book my shore tours?

We will send you a brochure of all of the available shore excursions around four weeks prior to your cruise setting sail, and you will be able to book these in advance of your cruise.

This will include the latest protocols in the destinations that you are due to visit, and will arrive along with your luggage labels.

 

Can I book consecutive (back to back) cruises?

At this time we are sorry that we are not able to offer any consecutive (back to back) cruises. This forms part of our multi-layered approach to keeping our guests and crew safe on board with us.

 

Will you only be taking UK residents on your Welcome Back sailings?

Yes, our Welcome Back sailings will only be available for UK residents in line with government guidelines.


I am due to sail on Borealis between 22nd July and 23rd August but my cruise isn’t included on your ‘Welcome Back’ sailings – does this mean my cruise is going to be cancelled?

Our ‘Welcome Back’ cruises announced in March only includes NEW cruises which we have made available, to replace any that we have had to cancel. There are some sailings aboard Borealis – for example the eight-night ‘Lochs & Legends of Scotland’ cruise - that will still go ahead as planned. As this is not a NEW cruise, it is not featured in our new ‘Welcome Back’ schedule.

Will the itinerary for my cruise change if there is an outbreak at one of the destinations?

We are calling and speaking to our destination partners regularly, and will be closely monitoring the situation in any destination that we are due to call into. If there is a local outbreak of coronavirus, or if we have any concerns about any of the destinations we are visiting, we will alter your itinerary to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Whilst the Government’s traffic light system is in place, we will only travel to countries on the ‘Green list’ and will re-route itineraries when we need to.

 

What if one of the countries on my cruise goes onto the ‘amber’ or ‘red’ list?

We will only be sailing to countries on the ‘green’ list in accordance with the UK Government’s traffic light system. This means that if one of our ports of call is placed onto an ‘amber’ or ‘red’ list, we will work hard to find an alternative ‘green’ port of call in its place.

Our smaller ships make it a little easier for us to find alternative ports should we need to, along with our talented team of journey planners.

Of course, if we have no choice but to cancel your cruise, you will have the option to transfer to another, or have a full refund, with no quibbles from us, at any time.


What would my options be if my local area was put into a local lockdown and I was unable to travel?

We will comply with all Government guidelines at the time of our sailings. As a result, if you are unable to travel due to an enforced local lockdown in the area that you live, you will be able to transfer all monies paid onto another cruise setting sail within 12 months.

As we restart cruising, we’ve made some changes to our check-in procedures to help keep everyone safe.

Arrival times
Your cruise ticket includes your allocated arrival window to help steady the flow of guests checking in for a smooth and safe embarkation. We kindly ask that you only arrive within your dedicated arrival window; if you arrive early we will ask that you come back again during the time specified for your arrival. If you get delayed for any reason and miss your arrival window, our check-in will be open for late arrivals from 15.45hrs.
 
There is also a new location to begin check-in, rather than travelling to the cruise terminal, please travel directly to the ACC Exhibition Centre:

ACC Exhibition Centre
Kings Dock
Liverpool Waterfront
Liverpool
Merseyside
L3 4FP

Full details for getting to the ACC Exhibition Centre can be found here: www.accliverpool.com/visiting-us/travelling-here
 
Arriving by your own car
If you are arriving by your own car, please follow signs for the ACC Exhibition Centre Kings Dock car park. You will be directed to where to park your car, and your baggage will be collected by our baggage handling team to be delivered to your cabin on board. Once you have parked your car you will be asked to take the short walk to the ACC Exhibition Centre.
 
Arriving by other transport
If you are not arriving in your own car, please head directly for the ACC Exhibition Centre drop off area where you will be directed by our staff to the arrival area, which is a short walk away.
 
Testing
Upon arrival at the Exhibition Centre, you will be greeted by a member of our friendly team who will guide you to our lateral flow testing stations where you will be asked to complete a Covid-19 test with the guidance of our staff, and also have your temperature taken. You’ll then need to wait in a socially-distanced waiting area for a short period until your test results are ready.
 
Following confirmation of a negative test result, you will be directed to one of our dedicated shuttle buses, which will take you the short distance to the cruise terminal for check-in.

How will any on board procedures impact on the dining during my cruise?

Guests will be allocated tables in our main dining rooms as usual, with each table to include up to a maximum of six guests. This will become your 'social bubble’.

If you are travelling as a group, we will do our best to accommodate you within one 'social bubble’, as long as your group is of six people or less.

If you are travelling on your own, you will also be allocated a ‘social bubble’ of up to six people, for the duration of your cruise.

You will be able to enjoy all of your meals and socialising with any or all of those within your bubble, whether that be in fixed evening dining in our main restaurants, in our buffet restaurants or during breakfast and lunch. Your bubble will also be your companions in our lounges and entertainment venues.

You do not have to dine as your full social bubble for all meals, as long as you are not dining with anyone outside of your bubble. We ask you to please maintain a safe distance from anyone outside of your social bubble.

Does this mean that I can only eat with members of my bubble each evening?

You do not have to dine as your full social bubble for all meals, as long as you are not dining with anyone outside of your bubble. We ask you to please maintain a safe distance from anyone outside of your social bubble.

Will you still be offering a buffet option outside of the fixed dining times?

Our buffet restaurants will remain open across the fleet. All buffet dishes will be served by our crew.

Guests will only be able to dine with those in their household or their ‘social bubble’ in our buffet restaurants.

 

You have previously mentioned a flexible dining option on your new ships – will this still be available?

While there are restrictions in place, we will only be offering fixed dining in our main dining rooms each evening, at set dining times.

The timings are currently 6.15pm and 8.30pm.

Will you still be offering entertainment on board, including in your theatres?

To ensure that as many of our guests who wish to join our entertainment can do so, we will be adding additional performances to our schedule, including matinee performances, when required.

Guests will be shown to their seats by our crew to ensure that social distance guidelines are met. You will be able to sit with members of your household, or with members of your 'social bubble'.

 

Will there be restrictions to activities and leisure on board?

We anticipate being able to open all of our onboard facilities, including our pools, gyms, spas and shops, in line with government guidelines for similar facilities ashore.

We will, of course, adhere to the latest guidance from the UK government at the time of sailing, which may mean we need to limit the number of guests using these facilities at any one time.

 

Will you still be offering dance hosts for those wanting to have a dance in the evenings?

While we have our bubble system in place there will not be dance hosts available for any daytime or evening entertainment. 

 

Will you be operating any Little Skippers clubs for children aboard your ships this summer?

We will not be operating any Little Skippers clubs aboard our Welcome Back sailings this summer. This is because cruising restart guidelines require all guests, including children, to remain in their household or dining bubbles on board.

Will you have improved air handling and filtration systems aboard your ships when you resume sailing?

When we set sail again this summer, we will do so with new UV light treatment systems as part of our air handling system, which are specifically designed to inactivate viruses and improve overall air quality aboard our ships.

 

Will I be able to leave the ship in port if I have not booked a shore excursion?

So that we comply with requirements set out by the UK government and our governing body CLIA, guests will only be able to disembark in a port of call as part of an organised shore excursion.

We are working closely with the destinations that we will be visiting to provide a programme of shore excursions in each port of call, offering a range of experiences.

Should the guidelines change, we will notify all guests in advance on their cruise with us.

 

Will you be offering shore excursions in the ports of call?

We know that exploring ashore is such a big part of a cruise holiday, which is why we will be offering a selection of bookable shore excursions for our sailings around the British Isles, in the destinations that we are able to do so.

We will send you a brochure of all of the available shore excursions around four weeks prior to your cruise setting sail, and you will be able to book these in advance of your cruise.

We will, of course, adhere to the latest guidance from the UK government at the time of sailing.


When will I be able to pre-book my shore tours?

We will send you a brochure of all of the available shore excursions around four weeks prior to your cruise setting sail, and you will be able to book these in advance of your cruise. This will include the latest protocols in the destinations that you are due to visit, and will arrive along with your luggage labels.

 

Will the itinerary for my cruise change if there is an outbreak at one of the destinations?

We are calling and speaking to our destination partners regularly, and will be closely monitoring the situation in any destination that we are due to call into.

If there is a local outbreak of coronavirus, or if we have any concerns about any of the destinations we are visiting we will alter your itinerary to ensure you have the best experience possible.

 

Will I be able to buy duty free products on the British Isles sailings?

We will not be operating a duty free service on any of our ‘Welcome Back’ sailings around the British Isles this summer.

 

I am a solo traveller – what will my on board experience look like if I do not have a ‘bubble’ to travel with?

All guests who are travelling alone will be allocated a ‘social bubble’ who they can choose to dine with for any or all of their meals. They will be able to enjoy all other on board facilities within their 'social bubble'.

Our solo travellers will be welcome to enjoy any of our other on board activities and facilities, which will be subject to the latest guidance from the government at the time of sailing.


What additional facilities will there be available in my cabin?

All cabins aboard our fleet include tea and coffee making facilities, as well as in-cabin entertainment with television programmes, films and music on the TVs. There will also be an extended menu for room service, for both food and drink, that can be ordered throughout the day.

Will there be Future Cruise Sales reps on board?

Yes, we will have Future Cruise Sales aboard both Borealis and Bolette this summer, who will be able to help you with any future travel plans you are looking to make with us.

Small ships, not small print

As a family run business we are free to do what’s right for our guests, and our Plain Sailing Guarantee has been designed with that in mind. As the world slowly returns to normal, we want to give you every reassurance that if there are any unexpected changes before, during or after your cruise, you won’t need to worry about a thing. 

Risk free deposits ✔

You can book any of our cruises and change your mind before you sail. If you let us know no later than when your final balance is due, or an interim payment for a longer cruise, we will move your deposit to any other sailing within 12 months of your original travel dates with no transfer feesafter this time our normal transfer fees will apply 

We will only go to 'green' countries ✔

Whilst the Government’s ‘Traffic Light’ system is in place, we will only sail to destinations we are able to cruise to on the ‘Green List’. With smaller ships (and a team of talented journey planners!) it is a little easier for us to find similar alternative destinations, should we need to.   

If we have no choice but to cancel your cruise, whilst we would love for you to transfer to another, you can of course have a full refund, with no quibbles. 

Looking after you on board ✔

We have been working with the Government and our industry body CLIA to follow all the relevant guidance for cruises as we return to service. As a result, we have developed some new on-board measures to keep our guests and crew safe during this time

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