Frequently asked questions
We have collected the most frequently asked questions here for you:
We will update this message when new developments require it. (updated May 25th)
Update May 25th.
- Good news! :-) We will sail again from the 4th of July.
- We find it exciting to sail again, but we are also happy to be able to do what we have been looking forward to for so long and why we are doing this work: giving guests a magical holiday!
- Beacuse not everyone will be thrilled to travel, we've written a letter to inform all guests booked in July and August about the possibilities. Please see below:
What if the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, the restrictions are relaxed, tourists are welcome in Holland and Germany again, Merlin is allowed to sail with guests again? Since March, we have been looking forward to the moment when we can do it all again and receive our already booked customers.
From June 1st in Holland that moment is there! In Germany the restaurants are already open, small meetings are considered to be held safely again, museums are allowed to receive guests as well, the harbours have ships mooring again and the coffee bars serve coffee! All the ingredients for a magical Bike & Barge holiday are complete.
We will sail again from the 4th of July.
Protocols for social distancing and hygiene have been written by our professional branch organization and approved by our government. Many ships will sail earlier but we have chosen at the time to offer guests clarity regarding their booking and to cancel it until July 4th. We find it exciting to sail again, but we are also happy to be able to do what we have been looking forward to for so long and why we are doing this work: giving guests a magical holiday!
But it's not that simple for everyone.
For a number of weeks now we have been thinking about a major dilemma;
We receive a lot of emails from our dear guests, guests who are afraid to travel by plane, guests who belong to the risk group and are afraid to go on holiday with others, guests whose home government has imposed travel restrictions, guests who have to help their loved ones with the new situation. In short, all of them with a personal story and a good reason to postpone the holiday.
We, Coen and Cristina from Merlin the magic of water, would love to help these people! We want to offer all our guests safety and the best service, whether on board Merlin or not.
And that is exactly where our dilemma lies, because we started this company to give people a fantastic holiday but also to provide for our livelihood and future. We never thought we would end up in the position where we have to combine these factors. But still we have decided to offer all guests who have booked a trip with us next July until August 22nd (2020) to re-book their trip to next year for a small fee.
Where the normal cancellation fee for these trips is around 80%, we offer to re-book your trip for only 10%. In this way we hope to offer you the best service possible and not unnecessarily endanger you to travel to us when you don't really want to. And we have a small income to keep the Merlin in the good condition you’ve come to expect from us. Because imagine, we think it is great that many people want to rebook but this still means that we have no income from that booking this year.
So if you would like to go on holiday and you feel like getting back on the road, we will welcome you with all our love and do our utmost to offer you the holiday as booked. If you don't want to come to us this year, you can make use of our offer.
If we all help each other a little, together we'll get through these challenging times.
Kind regards, Coen & Cristina
For the time being, the offer is only valid for booked trips in July and August 2020 and only if you change your booking to next year. The offer does not include the price difference with next year's trip, we will then provide more service and quality to which this price is linked. If you still want to cancel your trip, the normal cancellation conditions under which you booked your trip apply. For trips later than August, the regular conditions also apply, more information can be found on our website.
Previous update May 1st.
- Tours Magdeburg - Berlin (June 13), Berlin - Malchin (June 20) and Malchin - Berlin (June 27) are cancelled. We have contacted everyone booked on this tours.
- Despite the fact that many European countries will loosen the covid-19 measures in the coming weeks, we offered a free re-booking for these upcoming tours. Even though it costs us a lot of money, we stand to offer our customers the best service, even if this means to re-schedule.
Good to know:
- Payment of the final payment for your booked trip must normally be made 2 months before departure, this is temporarily reduced (as of April 4th) to one month before departure. For the time being we will not send a final invoice until we are sure what will happen with the tour. Please note, the payment obligation does NOT expire as long as the tour can take place.
- We plan 3 to 4 weeks ahead, a tour will not be cancelled before that time.
- When we cancel a tour, we will inform you personally.
- When we cancel a tour, we will offer you to re-book to a later date, free of charge. (excl. the price difference with the new trip)
- If you wish you may always cancel your booking.
- Our Terms & Conditions applies for all tours.
- We have to cancel a tour when a 'negative travel advise' (code red) is given by the Dutch authorities for the whole area the routes goes through.
- Merlijn will not sail through ‘critical areas' (code orange), if necessary we will re-route.
We have worked out a social distancing and hygiene protocol in cooperation with our proffesional branche organisation, examples of this protocol:
- We always have had many medicines and personal protective equipment onboard (a virus is nothing new on ships). Due to the corona outbreak, we now also have composed a special ‘precaution Kit’ or a more popular name: ‘Corona Kit’ as a supplement. The kit include face masks, gloves, a protective apron with long sleeves, all kinds of disinfecting (hand) gels and more. The equipment can be used in the unlikely event of a person becoming ill on board. And only for that case!
- We will not shake hands upon embarkation, just like in all Dutch hospitals and other institutions. We normally do it with pleasure, but unfortunately this will be necessary.
- We expect you to disinfect your hands upon every embarkation, for this we have automatic dispensers at the entrance and at the breakfast buffet.
- We expect you to disinfect your hands before every meal.
- You will find a letter in your room on this subject in which we advise more on hygiene.
- If in the worst case a virus will come on board, we are in close contact with the Dutch health service RIVM & GGD.
We very much hope that this is all very exaggerated and unnecessary, but we feel the need to do this and to inform you about it.
We look forward to welcoming you on board soon!
Merlijn, Coen & Cristina
- Question: How does your booking system works?
Answer: There is a separate chapter for this just click here!
- Question: I have booked a tour with you in 2020 and I don't find the details on the website, where can I find it?
Answer: When we launched our new website in 2019, we choose to not show the fully booked tours on our website. No worries, we will carry-out all tours as booked. You must have received the tour details after you made your reservation, but you can always contact us for more information.
- Question: When do I pay the final invoice?
3 Months before departure you will receive an email from us with the final bill and all travel information. The due date of the final invoice is 2 months before starting date of the tour.
- Question: Do you have a recommended hotel at my embark/disembark location?
We sail many routes, dock in a lot of ports and hotel preferences are very personal, that's why we can't recommend a certain hotel. But of course we can help you by sharing the website from Booking.com Here you can find almost every hotel in Europe!