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New Rescheduling Policy Due to Covid-19 Concerns

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March 27, 2020

Safe Harbor

Northwest Navigation / David B Small Ship CruisesWe sincerely hope this newsletter finds you well. It’s been another week of uncertainty and we just want to check in with y’all. We also want to say thank you to everyone who has responded back to us with words of encouragement, suggestions for promotions, prepayments, flexibility, and of course willingness to reschedule for next year and beyond. We know many of you are facing a lot of unknowns too, and this is a difficult, stressful, and uncertain time. With that said, we also offer you the encouragement that this will one day pass and the resilience to keep going.

Every day this past week has brought new challenges. The State of Washington, our home port, now has a shelter-in-place order. We had to furlough Tim, our winter maintenance employee and reschedule our shipyard appointment for mid-April. Canada’s border is closed until April 21. If that is extended we won’t be able to take the David B through Canada on our way to Alaska. The State of  Alaska has imposed a 14-day quarantine period for all people arriving into the state.

That leaves us on hold without the assurance of when we will be able to operate. We do know the David B will be ready to go in late April as originally planned, but we are now expecting to have to wait until travel restrictions are lifted.

While we wait, we hope that you will stay well, stay safe, and stay home so we can all get back to cruising on the David B as quickly and safely as possible. For more information on how this is affecting us see our COVID-19 page.

With gratitude,
Christine and Jeffrey

PS – Don’t forget you can contact us at any time for reservations, information, or recipes. Our phone number is 360-474-7218 or shoot Sarah an email.

 

March 20, 2020

Assessing the Storm

Glacier Bay CruiseLast week Jeffrey wrote about weathering a storm and the need to weigh safety in all our decision making. As this week has progressed that storm on the horizon has become darker and more threatening. We have been monitoring the news from the travel industry closely, as well as news from the US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection, and all the municipalities that we visit. Last night we read that the emergency room physicians in Alaska are asking to restrict air travel into the state because of the unique way that Alaska delivers emergency medical care, usually med-evac by air from remote areas with no services. With additional visitors from “the Outside” they worry they might be unable to manage.

As we gather information it is becoming more and more likely that we will be forced to reschedule our early season trips and maybe later trips as well. Like all small businesses, the thought of losing our income is frightening, but what is more frightening is the thought of losing you.

To me and Jeffrey you are all family and a big part of our David B community. For everyone who has traveled with us, you know that Jeffrey and I care about you. We love the time we have had on the boat together, the adventures and the experiences. We’ve loved the many ways you have stayed in touch with us after your trips. You have supported us and the David B for 15 years now and because of this, we want to make sure that you are safe.

Our season doesn’t officially start until April 23. In the meantime, we will be continuing to prepare the David B for the season. The boat’s annual chocolate order arrives in a few days, and on Monday we take the David B to the shipyard for its yearly haul out. We’ll keep doing all the regular spring outfitting and maintenance so we’ll be ready. We will also keep sending out updates on possible changes to our schedule and encouraging folks to reschedule for next year or later. If you are still scheduled to travel with us this year, we will be reaching out to you at about 30 days prior to your trip to determine if we can go or if we will need to reschedule.

As we watch this storm gather, we know this is temporary. It will strengthen in the coming days and weeks, but it will pass. The seas will calm down. Please be safe, and please take care of yourself and your family first, and your community.

Stay well,
Christine
Chef, Naturalist, Mate

PS – Don’t forget you can contact us at any time for reservations, information, or recipes. Our phone number is 360-474-7218 for Sarah in reservations, 360-201-8091 for Captain Jeffrey, 360-201-8184 for me, or shoot us an email.

 

March 13, 2020

Rescheduling Policy Update 2- More Flexibility

We’re also adding a slight addition to our rescheduling policy that makes it even more flexible and better for you:

We’d like to give you the most freedom to make your own decision about what’s right for you, so we are changing our rescheduling policy effective immediately to allow you to reschedule for any reason for any equivalent trip in the future.

We’ll even let you wait as long as you’d like to make your decision. This way you can wait it out without fear of losing your trip. In return, the only thing we ask is that you pay your remaining balance this year as if you were going on this year’s trip (but see below for a slight change.)

It’s that simple: Pay as if you were going this year. Wait as long as you want to decide if you can go this year. Cancel your trip for any reason. Reschedule whenever you want for any equivalent trip in the future.

Here’s the new twist: If you’d like to pick dates from our schedule for when you would like to reschedule your trip, you can wait to pay your remaining balance until 60 days before your actual trip.   Also, for anyone with a remaining balance, if you’d like to wait longer to pay, that’s okay. We’ll let you wait until 60 days prior to your trip if that works better for you.

Like before, let us know if you’ve changed your plans. I don’t want to get lonely waiting for you on the dock, if you’re not showing up.

If you have any questions at all in regards to any of our trips this season be sure to visit our website, give us a call at 360-474-7218, or send us an email.

Captain Jeffrey

WEATHERING A STORM

Travel during COVID-19 OutbreakAs another week passes, and the outside news gets crazier and crazier, with travel bans at the forefront, and big cruise lines canceling, we continue to evaluate how our summer is shaping up.

As a captain, I feel like this is very similar to how I plan for weather and storms. There’s a lot at stake. Every day I make multiple decisions about the voyage, the vessel, the weather, the guests, the crew. It’s what I’ve been doing for 29 years as a captain. I’m continually checking and updating my decisions, and trying to use as much new information as I can. One of the biggest hurdles is to avoid weighing one’s prior decisions over new facts. Just because it was forecast to be calm when I left the dock doesn’t mean that continuing into big seas makes sense.  Checking and rechecking myself doesn’t make me wishy-washy; it’s how to make safe decisions.

I make a lot of decisions by playing out the consequences in my head and thinking about how I would explain it afterward if it didn’t go well. It’s part of my training and experience. If I can finish the sentence that begins with “Well, your honor, the reason I was doing that was because…” in a way that seems plausible, it’s probably not such a bad idea. I use a risk/reward model as well. In this case, the reward (the grandeur of Alaska) is high and the risk is still low.

At this point, like before, we’re still operating as if our summer is going to go as planned. Right now, I still feel like it’s safe. Each new piece of news or information makes me re-evaluate the decision and each time I come back to the same decision: We’re still going unless it becomes unsafe or impossible for our guests, our boat or us.

In a lot of ways, I feel like this decision is like all the nautical decisions I’ve made in my career. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of hand wringing and a lot of worry. There are big stakes. I feel like I’ve been training my whole life to make this decision.

 We’re still going. Things may change. I’ll reevaluate then.

Captain Jeffrey

 

March 9, 2020

Last week we had a long discussion about COVID-19 (coronavirus) and what it means for travel and tourism in the coming months. While we are planning our season to go ahead as normal, we do recognize that COVID-19 might alter people’s travel plans. As a result of this Captain Jeffrey sent a letter to all of our guests this week letting them know that for this year we have changed our rescheduling policy for more flexibility. If you are looking to book a trip with us this summer, please read Jeffrey’s letter below and feel free to contact us with any questions. We’ll also extend this policy to you as well.  

Hello,
I’m reaching out to you to tell you about our plans for this summer and to ease any fears you might have regarding your trip and coronavirus. At this moment we feel like our summer is going to be just fine, but there are plenty of reasons that are out of the ordinary like flight cancellations or other disruptions to think that might change.

As part of running the boat, we have a lot of plans and procedures to deal with safety and health issues. We prepare and train for them all the time and we spend a lot of time worrying about your safety. We deal with emergencies as they happen, inform you and the other guests about what we’re doing and give you options if it’s appropriate, then try to get back to normal as soon as we can. Our plan for coronavirus is much the same.

We’d like to give you the most freedom and flexibility to make your own decision about what’s right for you, so we are changing our rescheduling policy effective immediately to allow you to reschedule for any reason for any equivalent trip in the future. This applies to all new bookings as well.

We’ll even let you wait as long as you’d like to make your decision. This way you can wait it out without fear of losing your trip. 

It’s that simple: Pay as if you were going this year. Wait as long as you want to decide if you can go this year. Cancel your trip for any reason. Reschedule whenever you want for any equivalent trip in the future.

I always have lots of fears and concerns that things outside my control will affect our guests, and I’m sure you have concerns as well.  I’m including my personal cell phone at the bottom of this if you’d like to call me. One of the great things about being a small company is that we’re able to talk with you personally. I’d love to talk to you. The info for Sarah and Christine is there as well.

There are plenty of reasons to worry about what’s going to happen in the future. I don’t want your trip to be one of them. That being said, I think that being out in the wilderness, away from any crowds is really the best place to be. It’s where I want to be, and I’m pretty sure it’s where you would rather be.

Oh, and of course, if you change your plans, please let us know so we don’t wait around the dock wondering where you are. 

Looking forward to seeing you,

Captain Jeffrey —  Cell# 360-201-8091

P.S. Christine always has a way to solve your troubles with cooking, so here’s her recipe for hand sanitizer you can make at home (that also smells really nice). I really like it.

Homemade Hand Sanitizer
1 part 90% isopropyl alcohol
1 part Aloe Vera gel
Optional add 10 drops Tea Tree oil


Chef Christine
Cell# 360-201-8184

Captain Jeffrey
Cell # 360-201-8091

Sarah – Reservations
Cell# 734-612-3327

 

More information links:

Links for Travel:
Seattle-Tacoma Airport
Ketchikan Airport
Juneau Airport
Alaska Marine Highway System

Links for the David B:
Policies for cruises on the David B
David B FAQs

Links for Health Advisories:
Center for Disease Control
Washington State Health Department
Alaska Health Department
Health Canada
World Health Organization
US State Department