A warm welcome awaits
After a year of disruption, uncertainty and frequent change, we’re so pleased to have settled into more routine operations, albeit with a scaled back service and timetable. It hasn’t always been easy but one thing has been constant; our will and commitment to offering a comfortable, covid-secure journey with our usual warm welcome and customary flair and style.
Inevitably, given the well-publicised challenges all travel operators have faced, there have had to be changes. We’re listening carefully to our customers as those changes evolve and doing all we can to provide the very best service in the most challenging of circumstances.
Driving on to the ship
Admittedly driving on board has never been the most popular part of the journey! In previous years it’s often been very busy with cars parked closely together, especially on older ships, queues by the lifts and slow progress made up the stairwells.
In order to maintain the physical distancing required for crew and customers alike, we’ve adopted a new procedure incorporating colour coding.
When you drive on board and park, you will be in a specific area of the garage represented by a colour. That colour will be on the reverse of your cabin key and you’ll note considerably more room around your vehicle than in previous years.
To avoid crowding on the stairs, on escalators, and in the lifts, you will be told by a crew member when you can leave your car to go to your cabin. Please remember to wear your mask before leaving your car. This is extremely important and a matter of French law.
Please note there won’t be a sanitisation station in the garage itself, it is still a busy, working environment that needs to be negotiated as swiftly as possible, but there are stations throughout the passenger areas for your use, including near most lifts.
There have been some issues with this procedure and we’ve worked hard with the teams to address them. It works best when all passengers wait for crew instructions before exiting their vehicles but clearly there have been times when some passengers have either been too keen to get on board and get their holiday started or simply forgotten this important change to our operating procedures. Thankfully these issues have been isolated and the process is working well, keeping all involved safe and covid-secure.
Eating and drinking on board
We’ve always loved feeding you. Over the years we’ve built a reputation for excellent cuisine on board, as far removed from the usual transport food options as you can imagine and we’re really proud of that!
With services necessarily scaled back and the number of passengers on board at any given time significantly reduced, we’ve done what we can to still provide tasty food that reflects our values but that is delivered in a manner that is both covid-secure and respects the recommended physical distancing rules.
Sadly we’re not yet able to offer A La Carte services but we’re working hard on their anticipated return in the new year. Instead we’re offering food through our self-service restaurants, ensuring a structured and constant flow of people through the service area and giving plenty of space in the dining area too.
On busy sailings, in order to maintain social distancing, you will be invited to dine at time slots, according to the colour code on your cabin key. Announcements will be made to this effect and again, I hope you’ll find the system reassuringly structured and helpful.
On Cap Finistère, hot meals will be served in Le Café Salad Bar and we have temporarily opened a basic self-service facility for all passengers in the Driver’s Lounge. Other snacks and drinks can be purchased in Le Petit Marché. The Cap Finistère Bar will also open.
Main bars on all our ships will be open but please ensure you observe the onboard guidelines with respect to physical distancing and, as with all public areas on board, please wear your masks at all times until you are seated and ready to eat or drink. Again, this is a point of law, not choice.
Feedback from our customers on these changes so far has been good, some have found it hard to understand what time some facilities will be open and where certain food will be served. We’re working on a way of delivering this information to you before you travel however, if you have any concerns at the time of sailing, please do go to our exceptionally friendly colleagues at the Information Desk; they’re always happy to help.
Our main boutiques will be open* and the number of people in there at any one time will be limited, to maintain physical distancing. You are now able to try on clothes (we quarantine all items afterwards) and fragrance testers are available on request. We’ve worked really hard in recent years to make your time in the boutiques much more interactive but I’m afraid that too will have to be pared back. The team will still give you an exceptionally warm welcome and will be keen to share their expertise, albeit in slightly unusual circumstances.
We’ve all been learning how to smile with our eyes from behind our masks and again, the welcome will be warm and helpful.
*Opening times and customer limits will be advertised on board.
I’m pleased to confirm that cinemas are now open on board but are subject to the usual distancing rules and masks must be worn throughout the performance.
Children’s play areas and spas will remain closed for the time being, until we are able to open them safely and with confidence.
We have resumed some on board entertainment on selected sailings and this is proving a welcome break for many of you.
Although our services have to be limited today to make them covid-secure and help ensure our long-term viability, our values remain undimmed. We still want to give you an outstanding experience that you will find secure, reassuring and, most of all, enjoyable!
We’ll keep listening to you and continue to drive improvements to every aspect of your time with us. We can’t wait to see you back on board!
Director of Customer Experience, Products and On Board Sales