COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

UPDATED 5 MARCH 2021

From Thursday 5th November, following government instruction, our office will be closed. However, our small shore-based team is on hand to assist you from home based work-stations from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Please call us on the usual number, 01756 704704, or email reservations@hebridean.co.uk 

We are closely monitoring global developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and are fully focused on protecting the health, safety and welfare of our guests and crew.

The current situation poses many questions and therefore, we hope that the below answers any immediate queries you may have relating to your forthcoming cruise:

We are assessing developments constantly and will update these measures as needed.

Will my cruise go ahead as planned?
Currently, Hebridean has every intention in operating its schedule of cruises from May 2021 but will continue to monitor and review the situation and update its procedures and inform guests as appropriate should circumstances dictate.

Can I delay paying my final balance?
As Hebridean has every intention in operating its itineraries from May 2021 as scheduled, final balance payment dates will unfortunately not be extended, and you should therefore arrange to pay your final balance by the date due shown on your invoice.  By withholding your balance payment, your reservation may be cancelled, and your deposit forfeited.

If I decide to cancel my booking will I receive a refund?
Should you decide to cancel your booking, because of a disinclination to travel, it is with regret that no refund of monies will be made, and our normal cancellation charges will apply.

If I decide to cancel my booking can I transfer what I have paid to an alternative date?
Should you decide to cancel your booking, because of a disinclination to travel, it is with regret that a transfer of funds to an alternative date will not be available and our normal cancellation charges will apply.

What arrangements will Hebridean have in place to test passengers and crew for Covid-19?
Approximately 10 days prior to joining Hebridean Princess, we will arrange to send a Public Health Questionnaire and two Covid-19 Lateral Flow Test Kits for every guest named on each booking.  Lateral Flow Tests can help identify people who have high levels of virus, but who do not display any symptoms.

Two test kits will be sent for every guest named on each booking, one as spare, in the event of encountering any difficulty or damaging one of the test kits.

No more than seventy-two hours prior to the cruise, each guest should use one of the test kits as indicated in the accompanying instructions and wait for the result, which takes 15-20 minutes.  The result should be recorded on the Public Health Questionnaire and the other questions, pertaining to recent travel history and health symptoms, answered honestly.

After testing, all guests are encouraged to isolate before commencing their journey to Hebridean Princess.

Should the Lateral Flow Test return a positive result, guests must seek immediate medical advice and should not commence their journey to join Hebridean Princess.

The completed Public Health Questionnaire should be returned to us by email at reservations@hebridean.co.uk or guests should call us on 01756 704704 informing us of their test result and answers to the Public Health Questionnaire.

For extra peace of mind, all guests will be tested again, by a further Lateral Flow Test, upon arrival at Hebridean Princess.

Should the Lateral Flow Test return a positive result, guests will not be permitted to board, and the local health authority will be alerted by the Captain.

This same process will apply to all joining crew, a system which is already in place for them.  Crew temperatures will also be taken and recorded throughout the cruise.

If deemed necessary, further Lateral Flow Tests will be carried out, for both guests and crew, during the cruise.

Will it be compulsory for all guests to have had a Covid-19 vaccination prior to boarding?
An analysis of our guest age profile suggests that all passengers, due to join Hebridean Princess in 2021, will have been offered at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and in the vast majority of cases will have been offered their second dose.  While Covid-19 vaccines are not compulsory, and there is no government legislation enforcing a ‘vaccine passport’, Hebridean’s current policy is that all guests should have had a least one vaccine prior to boarding Hebridean Princess unless they are medically exempt. This may change depending on industry and government guidelines.

What prevention measures are being taken by Hebridean to prevent cross contamination?
Hebridean already advocates the use of antibacterial gel and has introduced heightened measures to help prevent any potential cross contamination during food service.  Increased sanitisation procedures are in place, especially in public areas on board the ship.  We provide pocket tissues and hand sanitiser in all cabins which we encourage guests to use, both on board and ashore. All public areas and all cabins will be disinfected using an Electrostatic sprayer between cruises. In additional only essential visitors will be allowed to board the ship and all will have to provide a negative test.

Will we have to wear a face covering?
Guests will be asked to wear a face covering when moving around the vessel, but not in the Tiree Lounge or Columba Restaurant.  Guest facing crew will be required to wear a face covering at all times.

How will you practice social distancing on board, particularly in the lounge?
In the Tiree Lounge, the bar stools have been removed and the remaining seating rearranged.  Predominantly, single chairs have been used in groups of four, arranged around tables with distancing between each chair.  In the Columba Restaurant, almost all tables will be for two people and arranged more akin to the original style on board i.e. those closest to the window will face out board with a second row facing in board.

Will there be two sittings in the Columba Restaurant?
With the social distancing in the restaurant there is a reduction in overall seating capacity.  Guests will be able to take meals in their cabins if they choose, so therefore the question of sittings will depend on:
a. how many guests we have cruising with us and
b. how many guests choose to take their meals in the restaurant.

Will the larger, hosted tables still be available?
The larger tables will be available and will seat four guests per table allow for social distancing. Hosts will dine with guests should space be available.

How many guests will be allowed in the tenders at any one time?
There will be space for guests from three cabins, allowing a maximum of six guests per tender. Where possible both Tenders and Ulva, the speedboat, will be used in tender operations to keep the tendering time to a minimum.

Will there be a one-way system on board Hebridean Princess?
There will be a one-way system throughout most of the ship.  This will include access to the Tiree Lounge, Columba Restaurant, and Waterfront Deck.  Access to the Skye Bar will be two-way, with those coming into the vessel having right of way.

Will the shore visits still happen?
As with all itineraries, even prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, we aim to make all visits to the planned places on each itinerary, however, in some locations, there may be restrictions.  For example, some visits may be restricted by numbers, so will be operated in smaller groups.

What happens if someone on board the ship has symptoms during the cruise?
Should anyone on board show symptoms of Covid-19, they will be isolated to their cabin.  Anyone sharing the cabin will also be asked to isolate. The Captain will contact local public health authorities for instruction. Other guests will not have to isolate but will be offered a further rapid flow test.

We’re Good to Go Accreditation
Hebridean Island Cruises has been awarded the 'We're Good to Go' accreditation.  Visit Scotland awards a 'We're Good to Go' certificate to all tourism businesses that have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment to check that they have everything in place to reopen safely. This new UK wide industry standard and consumer mark provides confidence for our guests, as well as communities and tourism businesses alike.