Latest update on next years schedule has been posted on the CEO update page.
Opening for the Winter and 2021, a message from our CEO
It feels like we’re finally getting back to something approaching normality this week.
Teams here have been working hard in the most exceptional of circumstances to prepare our schedules for this coming winter and next year. I have to say it’s a relief to get to this point and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you. We are very nearly there.
This year’s opening will be different. It has to be. We’ll start with most French routes but not all, as they aren’t quite finalised everywhere yet. Then, we will launch Spanish routes shortly afterwards, probably a week later.
One thing I want to be clear about. We disrupted thousands of passengers this year, and four in five helped us through the darkest period of our history by accepting refund credit notes. As a thank you for your loyalty and support, I will ensure you get first choice of sailings, ticket types and cabin choices and the best chance to secure exactly what you want for 2021.
Don’t panic if you can’t see your preferred routes or services, there’s still plenty of work going on behind the scenes and our plan is to launch some a little later than others. Watch this space!
Similarly, I should be clear that we are launching ferry-only services. Our sail-and-stay holiday products won’t be launched until later this year and I anticipate this will also be a staggered launch.
Launch day always brings with it overwhelming demand on our contact centres and websites. This year, the contact centres are already swamped so I need to ask you to please try and keep contact to a minimum. We’ve made huge progress in the past week, but service levels are still not where we’d like them to be.
The website has been rigorously tested however and the team is on hand to ensure it delivers the best possible service speed. I’m hoping a staggered approach to launch will help.
Moving away from our exciting launch, we’ve heard from many of you questioning the documentation required for entering Spain. The Passenger Locator Form required by Spanish authorities that you can download doesn’t explicitly mention travel by ferry. But it should! Please do not worry, the authorities in Spain are aware of this anomaly. You will still be allowed to travel and we even have copies of the form on board so that you can complete it en-route and hand it in on arrival in port.
Elsewhere, I know there’s still considerable unhappiness about our decision to not accept any further bookings for cyclists or foot passengers. I can only apologise now, but these are unparalleled times. We are taking a step-by-step approach to re-commencing passenger services and we have had to make many tough calls such as cancelling three ships for the entire summer season and restricting passenger capacities on others.
Every decision we have taken is a balance of what constitutes unnecessary risk operationally and what is truly viable in these most straitened of times. I can assure you the decision on cycles will be subject to regular and pragmatic review and if the service can be reintroduced with minimal disruption to our core business, it will be. Again, I’m sorry for the disappointment this decision created.
We’re seeing lots of encouraging signs from our customers looking to travel far enough away from home to feel like they’re escaping but close enough to feel they’re safe and this hugely encouraging.
I hope to see further positive trends once we launch and look forward to sharing our fabulous destinations with you into 2021.
Wherever you are, stay safe and well.