We’re all so pleased to be able to welcome you back on board
It’s been a challenging period for so many reasons but we’re finally operating again, albeit in an adapted fashion, and we’re delighted!
I’m using this part of our Coronavirus hub to share how our services and procedures are adapting to cope with life in these extraordinary times. Services are evolving in line with feedback from passengers and crew and I hope to share those evolutions with you and give you more insight into how we’re working our way through the challenging months ahead.
Please do read about some critical changes to processes and travel on the “Together & Protected” page and learn more about life on board here.
Joëlle Croc, Sales & Customer Experience Director
A key change for regular travellers is the procedure we’ve adopted to ensure safe, distanced access to passenger areas from the ships’ garages (and back again!). To avoid crowding in stairwells, on escalators, or by lifts, you will not be able to embark until your cabin is ready. You will be given a colour code on your cabin key which will denote when you can board and disembark. Once you are parked in the garage, please remember to wear your mask before you get out of your car, make a note of the deck number and stairwell nearest to your vehicle. This will be important for disembarkation. 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. So far this has been working really well and I’m grateful to everyone for their patience and diligence with this new process.
The wearing of a mask is not a question of choice but a point of law, decreed in France in May and is imperative to conform with our safety protocols. We believe this to be a reasonable request. If you refuse to wear it, you will be refused travel.
Please note the law stipulates it must be a mask and cannot be a bandana or face-covering. If you have a medical exemption certificate permitting you to travel without a mask, you will need to notify us at least 48 hours before travel.
Our customers have expressed some concern about embarkation and disembarkation procedures and their potential for congestion and I hope you find the above, coupled to our necessarily reduced passenger numbers, reassuring.
Dining and Bars
Our *self-service restaurants will be open, with a more limited selection. Hot dishes will be available at meal times but with many supply chains still not yet up and running, I have to be clear that some ships are not quite as well stocked as we’d like. It’s improving all the time but I know there has been some disappointment expressed on some ships. We’re doing all we reasonably can to introduce more choice but need to make sure we can do so in a safe manner.
We’ve restricted the choice of food in the self-service restaurants to try and keep the flow of people moving (there will be strict physical distancing rules in place) and prevent long queues.
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. Other snacks and drinks can be purchased in *Le Petit Marché. The *Cap Finistère Bar will also open.
*Cafés will, as usual, open at busier times of year.
*Main bars will open. In the bar and café, passengers will be asked to order and pay first before being served.
Our à la carte restaurants will remain closed for the foreseeable future I’m afraid, it isn’t possible to prepare that kind of food in the galleys under current guidelines and protocols but I’ll keep you posted here as and when that changes. We’re also really keen to protect jobs (it takes 18 chefs to operate the Le Flora restaurant on Pont-Aven) and to this end are redeploying as many permanent staff as possible to cover all restaurant duties and are keen to avoid the cost of seasonal staff if at all possible; to be candid, it’s another cost we will struggle to accommodate in this, the most challenging of years.
In spite of our very best efforts, we, like so many others in our industry, are going to have a very difficult year commercially but we will do everything we can to safeguard jobs and still deliver a memorable, safe and enjoyable experience at all points on board the ships.
We’ll carefully study how the dining experiences unfold and will work hard to evolve the service through the year. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience with these necessary changes.
*Opening times will be advertised on board.
Our main *boutiques will be open, and the number of people in there at any one time will be limited, to maintain social distancing. You will not be able to try on clothes, but fragrance testers will be 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!
*Opening times and customer limits will be advertised on board.
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 hope to resume some on board entertainment for the summer season but again it will be subject to many variables beyond our control.
It’s going to be a strange time but the team have worked tirelessly to create innovative solutions that enable us to operate again and carry as many passengers as possible.
A warm welcome awaits you on board. The ships look fantastic and we’re all so pleased to be operating again. As ever, we’ll listen and learn as we go and I’ll keep you updated here with key developments to life on board.