Valued friends & guests: I was hoping we were not going to be bearers of bad news but it is with deep regret that we have no option but to suspend our April & May Spring Sailing schedule for 2020 until further notice.
For the ship & crew, this could not have come at a worse time as after a winter refit and overhaul, the hard working crew has her fully commissioned, surveyed and ready to go sailing.
My decision has not been made lightly, but as a hospitality business with no possible way of enforcing social distancing, the government have impelled us to cease trading (20/03/20).
As I am sure you are all aware, the government is telling “entertainment and hospitality premises to close temporarily”, that “people should only travel if absolutely
essential” and that these steps must be taken to “stop the spread of the virus
and protect the most vulnerable people in our society, and our NHS.”
Under this duress, and our primary concern being for the health and wellbeing of our customers and crew, we have no choice but to cease operating immediately.
We are already halting the start of the season hoping to operate as normal later on this year but the pandemic we are experiencing, unfortunately, makes the situation far from normal and difficult to plan ahead. We will be monitoring the situation daily keeping you in touch and up to date.
Whilst we have no way of knowing if government guidelines will be relaxed, we can look to the actions of other countries and expect, realistically, the situation will get worse before it gets better.
By acting now, and giving our customers as much notice as possible, we are
confident that we can ride out the difficulties ahead and be ready for a
rewarding full season of cruising in 2021. Next year we will be offering a
virtually identical itinerary, and so sadly our promises of Norway will be put over to the following year. I am freezing prices and all dates will be very
Customers who kindly booked with us for 2020 will be given priority on
these future trips and will be transferred onto the 2021 cruises.
We feel this solution offers a fair alternative due to challenging circumstances entirely out of our control (Terms and Conditions, 14 d).
We will be contacting guests individually over the coming days and weeks but
please bear with us as we have a lot of people to contact, and those with
bookings earlier in the season will be prioritised.
Customers who cannot reschedule onto similar dates in 2021, or alternative
dates if available, are advised to seek reimbursement of deposits with their
holiday insurance provider. We always recommend holiday cancellation
insurance when you book (Terms and Conditions, 10)
Considered management of both the current worldwide crisis and our own
resources means we are as confident as can be that we will meet the challenges ahead and just sorry that due to extraordinary circumstances, we are unable to offer your planned holiday this year. The crew and myself always look forward to these cruises just as much as you do and value each and every one of you who sails with us, many of whom have become friends.
Bessie Ellen is currently moored in the river Fowey and although she’s had an extensive winter refit and work will continue through this crisis, as long as it is safe to do so, thus ensuring the vessel is in excellent condition for next season.
On behalf of myself, and the team at Venturesail Holidays, we hope very much to see you aboard Bessie Ellen in 2021