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Coronavirus (COVID 19) - Questions & Answers

Whether you’ve already booked a boating holiday with Nicols or you might simply be considering booking one we expect that you’ll most likely be worried about the impact of the coronavirus, especially due to the situation evolving day-by-day.

Given the huge media coverage the coronavirus is getting we completely understand any concerns you might have. We too are taking the situation very seriously and are being extra vigilant with protection measures against the coronavirus – after all the wellbeing and safety of our customers and staff teams is extremely important to us.

The update below will hopefully provide you with some reassurance about the situation. 


1. Is the region of my boating holiday affected by the coronavirus?

Currently, on the advice from governing bodies, Nicols bases are affected as follows:

  • In France: bases open. Lot Valley: base closed until 26.06.2020.
  • In Germany: bases open.
  • In Portugal: bases open
  • In Hungary: bases closed until 04.07.2020.
  • In the Netherlands: bases open.

These dates are subject to change according to new advice we may be given and we will update the list accordingly.


2. If all Nicols bases are closed, what happens to my holiday booking?

If your boating holiday is affected by the closure of a base, Nicols will offer you, in accordance with the order of 25/03/2020, a carryover of the sums already paid and this credit is valid for 18 months. In the event that you fail to use this credit within 18 months, Nicols will then, unless there are new amending legal provisions, fully reimburse the amount of the credit at the end of this 18 month period.

If you need to re-arrange your boating holiday then please contact our reservation team.

3. What if my holiday region is accessible but I’m unable to go? What happens now?

If you are in any of the following positions...

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (or any other Government body) advises or prohibits going to the region.
  • The border is closed between your country and the country where you are holidaying.
  • Your flight is cancelled due to the coronavirus.
  • You or a member of your crew has contracted the coronavirus.
  • You are placed in quarantine by the health authorities or on the advice of a Government body.


...then Nicols will offer you the following solutions:

  • If your boating holiday is less than 10 weeks away then Nicols will offer you, in accordance with the order of 25/03/2020, a carryover of the sums already paid and this credit is valid for 18 months
  • If your boating holiday is over 10 weeks away then we suggest for now you monitor the situation. Then, should you need it, our offer of postponement above would be available to you as you reach the 10 weeks before departure timeframe.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss the various options available to you.


4. What if I need to cancel the booking due to one of the crew being ill?

If you have taken out the cancellation insurance offered by Nicols (Europ Assistance) the note that this only applies to those crew members listed on the policy.


5. If my boating holiday destination and starting base is open can I still cancel my booking?

As soon as the waterways are once again open, and Nicols are permitted to welcome you aboard again, and there are no major external events that prevent you from going on your boating holiday as planned, then your booking cancellation is not a case of "force majeure” as stated in the Tourism Code (article L211-14). Therefore, if you wish to cancel your booking, you will be subject to the original rental conditions and cancellation fees (see section 8).

6. Are any extra measures being taken to counter the threat of the coronavirus?

In the current circumstances our priority is ensuring the safety of both our customers and staff. So that we are in a position to welcome boaters back to our nautical bases we are implementing strict sanitary rules for the cleaning of our boats.
Joining forces with other businesses and organisations in the boating holidays/rentals industry, NICOLS has participated in the development of a health charter in collaboration with the FEDERATION DES INDUSTRIES NAUTIQUES. This charter has been approved by the French authorities. 

This health charter specifies in particular the conditions for welcoming customers to the base (one person at a time, social distancing rules, mandatory face mask, etc.); removal of hard-copy onboard documents and replacing them with digital versions (waterways guide, onboard instructions, etc.); protective measures for during your navigation instruction (only one person on board with the staff team member giving the instruction, compulsory face mask); strict boat disinfection rules (ventilation, cleaning, then systematic disinfection of surfaces, worktops, sanitary fittings, handles, dishes etc).

We also require the crew to take responsibility and will ask them to complete a “Good Health” certificate once at the base. Here they will confirm that the crew on the booking did not show any symptoms related to COVID-19 on the date of boarding and that they respected government health protection measures during the 14 days preceding the cruise.

Let’s end on a positive! Don’t forget, the nature of a boating holiday means that you are going to be away from areas of mass tourism and large crowds of people, so if you are travelling then by enjoying a boating holiday there is less risk of exposure compared to if you were visiting large cities or staying in hotels complexes.

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