Q&A: COVID-19 & Planning Your Cruise Aboard Northwind

How was the 2021 luxury crewed charter season during Covid-19?
It was a beautiful dry warm spring and summer in the islands and we did not get any measurable rain until September. We can report that we had no issues with our guests or crew due to COVID-19 and 95% of our guests were fully vaccinated. Those that weren’t vaccinated wore masks for the duration of the trip. By mid season Washington State created an indoor mask mandate. Unfortunately, the Canadian border was still closed for most of the season and only recently opened up, so we did not offer any 12 day charters on the Inside Passage but concentrated our trips in our home waters of the beautiful San Juan islands within Washington State.

What we did different…
We continue to sanitize the boat between charters, we screened our guests prior to leaving home and more comprehensively once they arrived at the boat. The crew wore masks inside the boat, and distanced ourselves from our guests as much as possible.

So where does that leave us with the Coronavirus for 2022 and how safe is it?
We only take a maximum of six guests each week so the risk is minimal when compared to a cruise ship that takes thousands. We also spend all but one night of our trips anchored out, so this greatly reduces exposure to crowds of people in busy ports. In addition, for the 2022 season we now require all of our guests to be fully vaccinated by the time they sail with us. If you are considering chartering with us in 2022-23 we can’t think of a safer vacation for you and your loved ones than to spend six days sailing and relaxing in quiet coves in the islands. With a private group of friends or family, this is a safe option to consider for your vacation. If you are a couple wanting a private trip for two and you don’t mind paying more to have the boat to yourselves, our vessel is perhaps the perfect solution to having a safe, romantic, and carefree escape during the pandemic. Finally, if you’re interested in just taking one cabin and welcome joining others aboard for your adventure, then trust us to have the procedures in place to make your time aboard stress free while still enjoying beautiful scenery, fine food, and the comforts of Northwind.

What is your cancellation policy?
• Up to 90 days prior to departure – Cancel for a full refund*.
• Cancellation between 90 and 60 days prior to departure will result in a forfeit of your deposit.
• Cancellation less then 60 days prior to departure will result in no refund and no rescheduling of your trip. Because of our short sailing season there are no exceptions to this policy.
*Cancellation from a credit card will incur a 4% cancellation fee to cover our processing costs. If Sail the San Juans needs to cancel your trip for a COVID related reason on our end, then we will contact you to reschedule your trip.

Should I purchase trip Cancellation Insurance?
We have always been strong believers in trip cancellation insurance, now even more so due to COVID-19. We highly recommend purchasing trip cancellation insurance with a supplemental “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) policy. This extra coverage should reimburse you for up to 75% of your charter fees and generally costs about 50% more than the regular policy. This can be purchased online from many sources and offers great peace of mind during the pandemic if you have to cancel last minute. You may still need to cancel a certain number of days prior to departure to get a CFAR refund. Check with your provider.

What happens if your charter company is shutdown by a state or federal agency for Covid lockdown during our scheduled charter dates?
If Sail the San Juans needs to cancel your trip for an unforeseen COVID-19 related reason on our end, then we will contact you to reschedule your trip.

What you can expect during your sail with respect to Covid
• Crew fully vaccinated
• All guests required to be fully vaccinated
• Screening prior to boarding with temperature, pulse oximeter checks, and health questions.
• Masks may be required depending on current Washington state or federal guidelines.
(No masks required on foredeck, within private cabins, while eating, during kayaking or hikes ashore)
• Cabins, bathrooms, seating, and high touch areas disinfected prior to boarding with EPA “N” list disinfectants.
• Crew required to regularly wash hands (guests highly encouraged)
• Hand sanitizer available to guests in common areas.
• Tables disinfected between meals.
• Masks available to guests