These booking terms & conditions set out the specific terms on which you contract with us, Puffins ltd. They are an extension to the General Terms & Conditions of the Belgian Arbitration Committee on Travel to include specific conditions which apply to adventure expeditions with Puffins who operates in remote parts of the world with a sailing vessel as primary accommodation.
All information provided on the website and in detailed day-to-day travel schemes is, to the best of our knowledge or belief, correct at the time of publication. We will advise you of any changes that are fundamental to the contract, or which we believe will affect your enjoyment of the holiday.
After having registered your interest for a specific expedition, either by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the forms on our website, we will send you a trip specific information sheet including a provisional day-to-day travel itinerary. At all times, this itinerary should be considered provisional and Puffins and the Skipper of the yacht, reserve the right to alter the trip planning due to weather conditions, conditions that are beyond our control and for any other reason which is deemed to be in the best interest of our guests. All detailed practical info sheets have the nature of a travel guide and are no part of this travel contract.
Booking & confirmation
When you ask us to proceed with a booking, you will receive a written confirmation by e-mail including an invoice, which requires you to make a deposit payment of 20% of the total travel sum. Your booking is confirmed upon receipt of payment of the deposit, which is due within 5 days after receipt of the invoice.
You must be at least 18 years old to make a booking and the person making the booking accepts these terms and conditions and takes responsibility for all members of the party (including anyone who is added or substituted at a later date).
We reserve the right in our absolute discretion to refuse to accept any booking without necessarily specifying a reason.
On receipt of the confirmation and invoice, it is important to check all details (including your personal details) and if there is any inaccuracy, this must be notified to us immediately.
The payment of the total travel sum is due in three stages:
1/ an initial deposit of 20% of the total travel sum upon booking;
2/ 50% of the total travel sum 4 months prior to departure;
3/ the remaining 30% of the total travel sum 2 months prior to departure.
The due dates are shown on your invoice.
People who register less than 2 months prior to departure pay the travel sum in full upon booking.
If you do not pay the full cost within the time specified, Puffins reserves the right to cancel your holiday, in which case the cancellation charges mentioned below will apply.
Payment is preferably carried out by bank transfer. Your invoice will include the bank transfer details.
If you prefer to pay by creditcard, any additional PayPal transaction costs charged to Puffins will be passed on to you.
Cash payments are accepted up until 10% of the travel sum with a maximum of 3000 euro per booking.
The price of an expedition is quoted on the website and on expedition information briefs. Prices are quoted per person and in Euro.
We reserve the right to notify you of any alteration in the advertised price and any changes in expedition arrangements before accepting your booking.
We make every effort to ensure that the most up to date and correct prices are shown on our website and in information briefs, but on occasion, there may be an unfortunate pricing error. We reserve the right to correct any such errors to advertised or confirmed prices as soon as reasonably possible, either prior to, or after your confirmation invoice has been issued and before the deposit has been transferred. If you do not wish to accept the corrected and actual price, we will cancel the booking.
Once the booking is guaranteed after payment of the initial deposit, a price increase may occur as a result of currency fluctuations or an increase in transportation costs or taxes. In that case, the travellers will be informed immediately. At price increases of more than 10% of the total travel sum, the traveller is entitled to cancel the booking without cancellation charges and any paid deposits will be immediately refunded.
No surcharges will be passed on if they occur within 20 days prior to departure.
Cancellation & variation of the booking by the traveller
Any changes in the booking must be communicated to Puffins as soon as possible, in writing by phone or by e-mail. Should any additional administration fees apply related to services provided by others than ourselves, for changes or corrections in the booking, they will be passed on to you. It is a service of Puffins not to charge alteration costs for the extra administration this entails.
Booking transfer: if you are unable to travel yourself, we may transfer your booking to another person suggested by you, provided that the transferee meets all conditions that apply to the expedition. If the request is made before e-flight tickets are issued, no surcharge will apply. Insurance premiums are not transferable.
If you fail to pay the full cost of the holiday within the specified time, you will be liable as a minimum to pay the cancellation charges detailed below. Should you wish to cancel your booking, after it has been confirmed, the person who made the booking must send us written notice as soon as possible. The date of cancellation to be considered is the date of receipt of written confirmation by Puffins.
We reserve the right to apply the following cancellation charges:
- more than 150 days prior to departure: the initial deposit of 20% of the travel sum;
- between 149 and 91 days prior to departure: 40% of the total travel sum;
- from 90 days prior to departure: 100% of the total travel sum.
Insurance premiums and amendment charges are non-refundable.
Our trips require long term planning by our clients and it is therefore recommended (but not required) to take cancellation insurance in addition to your travel insurance. You can opt for a cancellation insurance via Puffins without any obligations. If your cancellation falls within the provisions of your travel insurance policy, you may be able to make a claim. Any claim must be made directly to the insurance company.
Puffins accepts no responsibility for missed flights nor their consequences and strongly recommends that international return flights are fully flexible to allow for missed connections due to bad weather, mechanical breakdown and for any other reason whatsoever.
Travellers have the responsibility to join the group at the start of the expedition at the agreed time and place. Any additional costs made by Puffins resulting from the late arrival of a traveller are passed on to the traveller. Services that are not enjoyed, due to late arrival, are not refunded.
If you cut short your expedition while on holiday, we are unable to offer you any refund. Depending on the circumstances, your travel insurance may offer cover for curtailment and we suggest that any claim is made directly with them.
Cancellation & variation of the booking by Puffins
We start planning our expeditions many months in advance. Whilst we always endeavour to avoid changes and cancellations, we must reserve the right to do so. We will only cancel your confirmed booking less than two months prior to departure where we are forced to do so as a result of circumstances beyond our control and when the sailing yacht cannot be deployed because of technical breakdown.
Our expeditions require a minimum number of participants to enable us to operate them. If the minimum number has not been received, we are entitled to cancel it, providing we notify you of the cancellation no less than two months before departure. Please note that in such cases we are not able to accept responsibility for costs of additional travel arrangements made in association with the cancelled expedition, unless booked through Puffins.
In case Puffins needs to cancel the expedition, you will be notified as soon as possible and the so far paid travel sum will be refunded.
Flight time changes or changes in the timetables of local service providers can affect the itinerary and the duration of the expedition. The traveller is not entitled to full or partial financial recompensation of the travel sum due to changes issued by transport service providers and beyond control of Puffins.
Very rarely, we are forced by circumstances beyond our control, to change or terminate your expedition after departure but before the scheduled end, we regret we will be unable to make any refunds (unless we obtain these from our suppliers), pay you any compensation or meet any costs or expenses you incur as a result.
We reserve the right to substitute any named guide with an alternative qualified person. In addition, it is not possible to guarantee sightings of wildlife, or any natural phenomena.
Local circumstances and the adventurous character of the expedition can imply that the itinerary needs to be changed, prior to or during the expedition. Puffins commits to limit any negative consequences for the travellers and will provide an alternative that is as close to the original plan as possible.
Circumstances beyond our control
We cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance of our obligations under our contract with you is prevented or affected by – or you otherwise suffer any damage, loss or expense of any nature as a result of – circ,mstances beyond our control. This means any event which we could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events may include: actual or threatened war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity and its consequences (including suspected terrorist activity and all action taken during any terror alert), industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, epidemics and pandemics, unavoidable technical problems and fire. This list is not exhaustive.
Refunds will be processed in the form of payment used at the time of booking. This will be made payable to the person who made the original payment.
We cannot be held liable or responsible for any elements of your holiday which are considered own arrangements and that our not included in our package. We recommend that sufficient and appropriate insurance is therefore obtained.
Health & medical condition
Travellers must be healthy and fit to participate in an expedition. Any medical condition that can imply a health risk must be notified to Puffins upon registration and any change in medical condition after registration must be communicated immediately. In case of doubt, written confirmation of a doctor may be requested. Puffins reserves the right to refuse or cancel bookings if valid and relevant certificates are not provided. In this regard, Puffins will not be liable for any failure, negligence or deceit on behalf of the traveller.
Travellers older than 70 years will be requested to provide a medical certificate.
Travellers under 18 are only accepted if they are accompanied by a responsible adult.
Travel documents and visa
It is the responsibility of the traveller to obtain and carry the required travel documents: a valid international travel passport and/or travel visa.
Nature of the expedition & liability of the travel organisation
Travellers explicitly confirm to be aware of the adventurous nature of the expedition and specific risks and inconveniences this entails, including – but not limited to – potential lack of comfort, communication equipment, medical relief in wilderness setting, lack of marked trails …
The individual traveller acknowledges and accepts that nature and weather conditions can change suddenly beyond control of the travel organisation.
By participating in the expedition, you expressly assume all risks and responsibility and release Puffins and its employees off all liability for personal injury or death to the maximum extent permitted by law, with the exception of foul play.
Puffins cannot be held liable for personal injury or death resulting from high risk activities undertaken at your own risk, such as for instance ice swimming, wakeboarding, …
Participation in the expedition
It is a condition of participation in our expeditions that you agree to accept the authority and decisions of our employees, sailing crew and guides whilst on expedition with us. If in the opinion of such a person your health or conduct at any time, before or after departure, appears likely to endanger the safe, comfortable or happy progress of an expedition, you may be excluded from all or part of the tour and/or we may terminate your expedition. Any additional costs incurred by you as a result of such exclusion will be your responsibility.
Puffins is not liable for any traveller who deviates from the itinerary on his or her own initiative during the expedition. All extra costs resulting from this deviation will be passed on to the traveller.
Alcohol consumption during the expedition
During activities on land, or on water, or while the ship is moving, no alcohol is to be consumed. Reasonable amounts of alcohol can be consumed when the ship is moored or anchored. Excessive alcohol consumption that leads to situations putting people at risk, or where the harmony of life on board is disturbed to an extent that other guests are made uncomfortable will not be tolerated. If this situation arises, the Skipper reserves the right to disembark any passenger in a group if necessary.
Drug consumption during the expedition
The use of illegal drugs and narcotics (unless prescribed by a doctor) is strictly prohibited at any time, and can result in instant dismissal from the program with no refund. If you have used or stored any illegal drugs or narcotics on board, the captain of the vessel has the right to ask for a signed written statement in which you admit their storage and/or use. This statement will be handed over to relevant authorities and/or customs during control on board.
The traveller is responsible for carrying adequate clothes and equipment for the expedition. Puffins will advise with a checklist on required luggage well in advance.
Puffins cannot be held liable for loss, theft or damage of luggage.
It is the responsibility of the traveller to meet airline requirements of checked-in and carry-on luggage.
In case of non-delivery or late delivery of luggage by the airline, it is the individual responsibility of the traveller to report a lost luggage claim.
Use of equipment provided by Puffins
For overnight camping trips, all camping equipment is provided by Puffins: tents, sleeping bags & mattrasses, cooking stoves & pots… Travellers need to take good care of this equipment. Intentional damage or negligence will result in a claim for compensation by Puffins.
Laws and regulations
It is the laws and regulations in the country in which the services are actually provided which apply to your holiday arrangements and any resulting complaint or claim will be judged on this basis.
Puffins cannot be held liable for any traveller who fails to comply with international and local legislation. All extra costs as a result will be passed on to the traveller.
If you decide not to take the optional travel insurance provided by Puffins, it is a condition of booking with us that you obtain alternative travel insurance, which meets or exceeds the level of protection offered by the policy we offer. The cost of repatriation, search & rescue, medical and other treatment overseas can be high and we are unable to assist in meeting those costs.
Puffins is a licensed member of the VVR, the Association of Flemish Travel Agencies and thus complies to all requirements of the Belgian Law on Travel Contracts (16 February 1994). We participate in the group insurance “Vlaamse Solidariteit Reisgelden” (Flemish Solidarity Travel Funds) which fully protects our travellers financially for our package expeditions in the event of financial insolvency.
We will store and use the personal data supplied by you during the booking process for the purposes of fulfilling the contract between us. We will never pass on your information to third parties, other than to fulfill the contract between us, without your written permission.
Travellers agree that any film, sound, video or other recordings taken during the expedition will not be used in any production or advertising campaign without prior consent of Puffins.
If you have any reason to be unhappy with any element of your expedition, we would ask you first to bring this to the attention of the person in charge of the relevant service, on the spot. It is essential that you do this to enable us to try and put matters right where possible. Failure to do this may mean that any claim for compensation will be affected as we have been deprived of the opportunity to rectify your complaint. If a problem remains unresolved, you should make a complaint in writing within 28 days of the completion of your expedition.
In case of dispute, only the Belgian law is applicable.
For complaints outside the competence of the Arbitration Committee on Travel, only the Court of Bruges is competent to settle the dispute.