Isle of Harris
Isle of Harris

COVID-19 - Keeping you safe

We understand that now, as the world begins to recover from a global pandemic, your health and safety are bound to be at the top of your priority list when considering your next holiday – and probably more so than ever before. Let us reassure you that it will be ours, too. However, we want to do more than just tell you this. We will show you.

Our team of experts here at Brightwater Holidays has created an industry-leading 11-step initiative as a response to the COVID-19 crisis that will help you, our valued guests, get back out into this new world of tourism safely and with confidence.

Now that restrictions are slowly starting to ease up, you’re probably starting to think about where you want to visit next, and – above all – how to make it happen in a way you feel comfortable with. Well, choose Brightwater and we’ll go the extra mile to ensure you have peace of mind on your holiday.

What does this mean exactly? From specially-designed ‘travel safe’ kits that you’ll receive ahead of your departure to the use of bigger coaches on select trips that will allow for socially distanced seating, and from self-drive options to post-tour tracing, we have a set of 11 actions that have been put in place to help minimise exposure to the virus wherever possible.

FREE ‘Travel Safe’ kits for every traveller

Other measures detailed on these pages try to allow for a measure of social distancing, but there will be moments on every tour where it is impossible to maintain the required distance from other people, including your fellow travellers. In those circumstances, the wearing of face masks and regular sanitisation of hands and surfaces reduces the risk of transmission considerably. Our kits, packed in a fully sanitised environment, comprise a face mask for every day of your tour, including travel days, flight-friendly bottles of hand sanitiser and packs of anti-bacterial wipes. Every one of our guests will receive a ‘Travel Safe’ kit in the weeks before departure.

Enhanced Health and Safety audits

We have always, in partnership with two globally renowned organisations, applied rigorous health and safety checks to our hotels, airlines, cruise ships, coaches, excursion transport and any other significant aspect of an Brightwater Holidays tour.

Now though, we are going even further, by requiring that these services pass COVID-19 hygiene and cleanliness tests as part of our health and safety protocols.

COVID-19 insurance

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many travel insurance providers are excluding COVID-19 from their cover. However, we have sourced a provider offering coverage in the event that you fall ill on your holiday as a result of COVID-19 and need to return home, in addition to standard coverage.

If you have independently arranged insurance, please check its COVID-19 terms.

Distanced seating on coaches

The overwhelming majority of Brightwater holidays do not exceed 25 guests. But we will be using full-size coaches where possible, so everyone has the option of two seats to themselves. That preserves the required distance across the coach, but as there may be guests in front and behind you, we would recommend that masks from your ‘Travel Safe’ kit are worn during coach journeys.

throughout coach journeys.

Self-drive options

We are in the process of arranging self-drive options in the UK for those who wish to maintain complete social distancing during travel.

Simply follow the coach or a pre-supplied map in your own car or a hire vehicle and join the rest of the group at attractions and hotels.

‘Get me home’ service and private airport transfers

In the unlikely event that you are denied entry to your destination as a result of airport temperature checks, or you are forced to curtail your holiday as a result of COVID-19 symptoms, you may wish to avoid public transport on your journey home. We can arrange a private transfer service to take you to your front door. This private home transfer service is also available to book if you simply wish to ensure social distancing on your way to and from the airport. There will be an additional cost for this service, but our option is competitively priced.

COVID protocols at our hotels, and aboard our cruise ships

We are working with every single one of our hotel and cruise suppliers to ensure minimal COVID-19 transmission risks. We expect the very highest standards of food hygiene, gloved and masked staff, lower floor rooms to minimise lift usage, larger lecture spaces to allow for social distancing and so on.

To give some examples of our cruise side, our river cruise partners A-ROSA, Croisi Europe and Backwaters have already implemented numerous measures including the following (full details can be found at the bottom of this page).

 

 

Packed lunches and flexible dining options

Where possible, we will be providing packed lunches (prepared in an enhanced hygiene environment) in place of communal dining. We are also looking to offer opportunities to opt out of communal dining on selected
itineraries, so you can better control your social distancing at meal times by dining independently. There may be a reduction in price for choosing to do this, but it will depend on the arrangements we have with our suppliers and the number of people opting out – let us know if you would like to opt-out of meals at time of booking and, if applicable, a deduction will be applied when you holiday balance becomes payable.

Flexible balance payment date and COVID-friendly refund conditions

If there are signs of COVID-19 in the area you are due to visit, we will contact you with a change to your balance due date. To give us more time to assess whether it is possible to run your tour, we can postpone the payment of your balance from 10 weeks before departure to six weeks. Furthermore, if you are forced to cancel your holiday close to departure as a result of COVID-19 symptoms and you are not able to claim through your insurance provider, we pledge to be as flexible as possible in our cancellation costs – instead of the industry-standard 100% cancellation fee, we would negotiate with our suppliers and charge only those costs which we could not recover ourselves.

COVID-testing and medical training for tour staff

When reliable ‘on demand’ testing becomes available, it is our intention to test tour managers, Guide Lecturers and any other tour staff within 72 hours of departure.

We are also enhancing the medical training that our tour managers receive to include COVID-specific knowledge and actions.

Constant monitoring and post-tour tracing

Dedicated Specialist Journeys staff produce daily reports on the COVID-19 situation in every one of our destinations, along with any regulations or restrictions specific to airlines, attractions and local authorities. We can therefore provide you with the most useful and up-to-date advice and plan contingencies in the event of staff or guest symptoms and the closing of a hotel, restaurant or other venue. In the event of a localised outbreak, we will be able to change our itinerary and arrangements swiftly to avoid possible exposure. We will also be in touch with you upon your return – if you show any symptoms and need to self-isolate, we can let all your fellow travellers know, so that they can do the same.

COVID protocols at our hotels, and aboard our cruise ships

We are working with every single one of our hotel and cruise suppliers to ensure minimal COVID-19 transmission risks. We expect the very highest standards of food hygiene, gloved and masked staff, lower floor rooms to minimise lift usage, larger lecture spaces to allow for social distancing and so on. To give a couple of examples on the cruise side, our river cruise partners have already implemented numerous measures including the following:

A-ROSA CRUISES     

  • Infrared temperature screening upon boarding
  • A minimum 1.5-metre distance maintained on board through ‘one-way streets’, floor markings, increased seating space etc
  • All crew and guests required to wear face masks in interior public areas
  • New air refreshment and filtration system for guest rooms
  • Mandatory hand sanitising on embarkation/disembarkation and at all entrances/exits
  • No self-service food – two set sittings for meals and all food and beverage to be brought by staff
  • Guest luggage disinfection and enhanced hygiene measures for guest room cleaning

CROISI-EUROPE CRUISES                                                             

  • Infrared temperature screening upon boarding
  • A minimum one-metre distance maintained on board indicated by floor markings and directions, with furniture in public areas arranged accordingly
  • Reserved seating, two sittings for meals and lunch and dinner buffets replaced by table service
  • Hand sanitisers available at every entrance/exit
  • Daily spraying of disinfectant and multiple daily cleaning of ‘high touch’ areas
  • High temperature laundry of bedding, uniforms and tableware
  • Social distancing on excursions, in addition to the provision of masks, gloves and gel

BACKWATERS CRUISES

  • Pre-cruise screening and daily temperature checks for guests
  • Adhering to relevant distances onboard in guest seating, and food and bar service – guests will be called forward from spaced queues for restaurant self-service
  • All food preparation staff to wear face masks at all times
  • Anti-viral fumigation pre- and post-cruise. Regular inspections and increased cleaning of all lounge, galley and bathroom areas
  • Face masks for guests in public areas, on coaches etc
  • Cruise curtailment contingency plans in the event of a positive test

“I so hope I will be able to travel on one of your holidays in 2021. You are being more than generous and I wish you the very best — both you personally and everyone at Brightwater. I am looking forward to being with you in 2021 and beyond.”

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