Serco Northlink Ferries Introduces Pet-friendly Cabins On Board
27th July 2020
Four-legged friends can now travel with their owners between the Scottish mainland and Orkney and Shetland - thanks to new pet-friendly cabins on NorthLink Ferries passenger vessels MV Hamnavoe, MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey.
Each ship has two pet-friendly cabins available which have en-suite facilities, side-by-side lower twin bunks and tea and coffee making facilities. These cabins give passengers the opportunity to keep their pet close by during their sailing but also retain the same high standards of comfort as NorthLink's suite of other cabin types. The cabins also feature:
Vinyl floor coverings instead of carpet
Lidded dog bins
A dog bowl provided
A NorthLink dog treat from ‘Wow Dog'
Customers can walk their dogs on the outer deck and are advised to bring their own bedding for their pets. It is expected that pets will remain on cabin floors and that any mess is cleaned up. As well as the cabin charge, there is a £15 supplement for each pet staying within the cabin. A deep clean will be carried out in each pet-friendly cabin each day.
Stuart Garrett, Serco’s Managing Director of NorthLink Ferries, said: "The addition of pet-friendly cabins is one of our most requested services so we’re really pleased to be able to introduce them so soon after the start of our new contract.
"We know that, for many people, pets are truly part of the family and being able travel with them by your side is important. We do also still continue to offer travel in kennels, which must be booked in advance and provide your pet with heating, ventilation and water for the duration of the journey."
Pet-friendly cabins can be booked at www.northlinkferries.co.uk or at a NorthLink Ferries port or by calling the customer contact centre on 0845 6000 449 or 01856 885500.
Serco NorthLink Ferries recorded more than 8,000 journeys during the start of 2021 as it continues to support essential travel. The service remains aligned to the Scottish Government's Strategic Framework, with NorthLink Ferries providing key worker, essential islander and freight connectivity between the Northern Isles and mainland Scotland.
Serco NorthLink Ferries is continuing to maintain vital transport links over the autumn and winter period - following the opening of its 2021 booking system at the start of October. The service remains aligned to the Scottish Government's Strategic Framework, and while passenger and car volumes are down significantly year-on-year they have shown further signs of strengthening over the last few months.
Serco NorthLink Ferries has been operating a revised service during Phase 1 and 2 of lockdown, which has provided travel for key workers as well as essential islander and freight connectivity between the Northern Isles and mainland Scotland. During the period 22 March to 30 June, passenger numbers across all routes were 6,010 in comparison to 112,416 over the same period in 2019, representing a reduction of 95 per cent.
Serco NorthLink Ferries continues to request that travellers stay at home and help to save lives as the company was forced to refuse travel to 23 passengers since 22 March. As part of the national effort to deal with the current public health crisis, NorthLink Ferries has been monitoring passengers' reasons for travelling, which are captured during the booking process, and denying travel to or from the Northern Isles to those who disclose non-essential reasons.
A new temporary timetable has been introduced by Serco NorthLink Ferries, designed to continue to provide a lifeline service between mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles whilst reflecting travel demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. In line with advice from the Scottish Government and health officials, restrictions have been implemented in recent weeks to allow only necessary travel, resulting in a significant reduction in passenger numbers.
Stuart Garrett, Serco's Managing Director of NorthLink Ferries, said: "The wellbeing of our passengers and staff is always our top priority and since the outset of COVID-19 we have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety. We have followed relevant guidelines and advice from the Government and health officials and continue to do so.
The MV Hamnavoe is due to be in dry dock from 13th to 26th January 2020 (inclusive), and there will be additional north and southbound calls into Kirkwall by the MV Hrossey and MV Hjaltland. During this time the MV Helliar will provide a replacement service on the Pentland Firth route.
Serco, the international service company, has been selected as preferred bidder to continue managing and operating the lifeline Northern Isles Ferry Services for passengers and freight between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, providing essential access and supplies for the islanders. The outcome of the tender was announced by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands to The Scottish Parliament this morning.
Company is first Scottish transport operator to introduce pioneering support service. Serco NorthLink Ferries has partnered with one of Scotland's digital start-ups to improve journeys for customers who require additional support.
Visitors to some of Scotland's main agricultural shows this summer could win free travel to the Northern Isles on board Serco NorthLink Ferries. Anyone stopping by the company's stand at the Royal Highland Show, Caithness Show, Turriff Show or Isles Shows will be able to enter a prize draw for a trip on board its vessels.