Booking Conditions

The following booking conditions, together with the information set out on the relevant Tour page of the Whale Zone website, will form the contract between you and us for your holiday with us.
By 'us' we mean Whale Zone Lda, a limited liability company and travel agency registered in Portugal, TAX ID PT513184228, National Register of Travel and Tourism Agencies (RNAVT) number 4820, registered office in Rua Engenheiro Álvaro de Freitas, 9950-335 Madalena do Pico, Azores, Portugal.
In this contract a reference to "you" and "your" include the lead-named person on the confirmation invoice (who must be at least 18 years old at the time of booking) and all persons on whose behalf a booking is made.
  • 1. IN THIS AGREEMENT:
    • "Meeting Point" means the place specified by us in the Tour Pack as the place we will meet and start your holiday.
    • "Start Date" means the date on which we meet to start your holiday.
    • "Tour" means a holiday organised by Whale Zone Lda.
    • "Tour Pack" means whatever documents we send to you in hard or soft copy to provide information about your Tour.
  • 2. WHAT IS IN THE HOLIDAY
    • 2.1. The following items are included:
      • 2.1.1. Travel from the Meeting Point to your return to the departure place (which is likely to be the same place as the Meeting Point);
      • 2.1.2. Accommodation;
      • 2.1.3. Meals indicated in the Tour Pack (if stated in the itinerary);
      • 2.1.4. Services of one or more leaders;
      • 2.1.5. A donation to a designated conservation project, if stated in the Tour Pack.
    • 2.2. The following items are not included:
      • 2.2.1. Return flights to the Tour destination;
      • 2.2.2. All other costs incurred before you board transport at the Meeting Point and after you return to the departure point;
      • 2.2.3. Travel insurance or any other insurance personal to you;
      • 2.2.4. Passport and visa costs;
      • 2.2.5. Vaccinations and medication, before, during and after the Tour;
      • 2.2.6. Food and drink over and above what we include in the Tour;
      • 2.2.7. Gratuities you choose to give, in addition to any we give on your behalf where we consider appropriate.
  • 3. BOOKING YOUR HOLIDAY
    • 3.1. You can book at any time after a Tour is published in our website. We will hold a provisional booking for seven days to allow you time to send us your deposit. We follow this strictly, because many holidays are booked up fast. When we receive your deposit, we will send you a confirmation invoice which confirms your booking. The contract between us comes into existence at that time. You undertake to pay for the holiday you have booked and we undertake to provide you with the holiday we describe in the website and/or in the brochure (in the Tour Pack as a whole);
    • 3.2. If you make a booking on behalf of others as well as yourself, we shall take it that you have the authority of each of those other people to enter into the contract on the basis of these booking conditions and that you and they have agreed to be jointly and severally liable to us;
    • 3.3. If we are unable to accept your booking, we will of course return your payment to you immediately. The balance payment for all tours is due at latest 70 days before departure. We will send you a reminder 1 - 2 weeks before the balance due date. If you are making your booking within this period, full payment will be necessary immediately;
    • 3.4. Where the cost to us of any part of the tour increases, we reserve the right to pass on that increase to you up to a maximum of 5% of the advertised cost of the Tour and to change the price of unsold holidays. In case of a more substantial increase in the price of your Tour (i.e. greater than 5%), you will have the right to cancel the booking and receive a full refund;
    • 3.5. You can give us your personal details, insurance, special requests, medical conditions, next-of-kin and passport details by completing a form we shall send to you;
    • 3.6. For bookings made within 70 days of departure, we require full payment within 72 hours of a verbal booking;
  • 4. PAYMENT
    • 4.1. Payment may be made preferentially by electronic transfer (wire transfer), for which full information will be provided at the time of booking;
    • 4.2. You can also pay by credit card via PayPal. For payment by credit card there is a charge of 2% of the transaction amount. We do not keep your card details;
    • 4.3. The last date for payment of the balance of the cost of your holiday will be due to us at least 70 days before the Tour Start Date. We will tell you the last date for payment after we have confirmed our acceptance of your booking;
    • 4.4. If you do not pay us before the last date for payment, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled. If we do that, you accept that a cancellation fee will be due to us.
  • 5. SURCHARGES AND REFUNDS
    • 5.1. The prices given on our web site and in our brochure are calculated at costs current at the time we fixed them. If costs rise or adverse currency exchange rates apply, you agree that we may increase prices at any time to a maximum of 5% of the advertised cost of the Tour. If we do this, we shall tell you the costs which have risen and the percentage by which they have risen.
    • 5.2. No matter what the increase, we shall not increase the cost less than six weeks before the departure date;
    • 5.3. If we increase the price of your Tour by more than 5%, you are free to cancel. In that circumstance we will return to you all money paid to us;
    • 5.4. Whenever a minimum number of participants are required in order for a Tour to be viable, we will indicate such number on the Tour web page. In the unusual event that we cancel a Tour, we shall return the full amount of your deposit or other payment.
  • 6. CHANGES AND CANCELLATIONS BY YOU
    • 6.1. We will try to accommodate any change you are compelled to make, but we cannot promise to do so. If we do, you agree to pay an administration fee of € 100 and any additional cost of a different arrangement. Please note that an airline may treat a change as a cancellation and create a new booking, charging a 100% cancellation fee;
    • 6.2. Only the person who made a booking may cancel. The cancellation takes effect from the date at which a written notification reaches our office;
    • 6.3. If you cancel, your deposit and any flight costs (if applicable) which have been invoiced will be forfeit;
    • 6.4. We shall charge an additional sum related to the time remaining before the date of departure, as follows:

      Up to 70 days: Deposit plus invoiced flight cost, if any
      69-45 days: 50% of Tour cost
      Less than 45 days: 100% of Tour cost

    • 6.5. If circumstances force you to leave the Tour early, you will have to bear any additional costs yourself;
    • 6.6. In any circumstances giving rise to cancellation, we will consider allowing you to transfer the money you have paid to some other Whale Zone Tour or this booking to some other person. That person must meet any conditions which may apply to the booking and you must ask for the transfer not less than 30 days prior to the Tour Start Date.
  • 7. CHANGES AND CANCELLATIONS BY US
    • 7.1. We reserve the right to change travel and Tour arrangements. This is necessary because many of our tours involve variables which are outside our control. These include, weather, political issues, currency problems, flights and accommodation issues;
    • 7.2. We shall tell you about small changes before departure. If we think a necessary change is important, we will tell you about it as soon as we can and give you the opportunity to either accept the change, or take an alternative holiday (paying or receiving a refund / credit in respect of any price difference), or cancel and accept a full refund;
    • 7.3. If such problems occur during a Tour, we will make alternative arrangements so as to comply as closely as possible to the description of the tour in our brochure;
    • 7.4. If a problem occurs which is so serious that we have to cancel a Tour before the date of departure, you may choose to accept either an alternative holiday (paying or receiving a refund/credit in respect of any price difference) or a full refund of all money paid;
    • 7.5. In certain cases we may pay compensation too, at our discretion;
    • 7.6. We are not liable to you in any circumstances for damage or loss of your holiday when:
      - unusual and unforeseeable circumstances arise which are beyond our control, the consequences of which we could not have avoided even with all due care; or
      - the change is not significant.
      We are not liable to pay you any additional travel or any other costs, expenses or losses which you incur as a result of any change or cancellation by us, such as changes to times of connecting flights or other travel arrangements;
    • 7.7. We reserve the right to cancel any Tour, for which there are not enough bookings, not less than four weeks prior to departure. In the event of our cancellation, your deposit (and any other payment you may have made to us) will be refunded in full, or, if you prefer, transferred to an alternative Whale Zone Tour.
    You agree that all these provisions are reasonable.
  • 8. PAYMENT PROTECTION
    As required by law, we contribute to a Travel Guarantee Fund which is used to compensate customers in the unlikely event the company fails to fulfill its obligations due to financial difficulties.
  • 9. TRAVEL INSURANCE
    • 9.1. It is a condition of booking a Whale Zone Tour that you take out appropriate travel insurance. You must send us proof of cover when you make payment of the balance due for your Tour. We cannot approve the cover you have bought and are not responsible if it is inadequate;
    • 9.2. Cover should be obtained not only against normal travel risks, but against additional risks appropriate to the destination country. In particular, local road transport insurance may be inadequate, so you should check that your cover includes accidents happening whilst you are a passenger in a vehicle;
    • 9.3. We advise that you should also check that any valuable optical equipment is covered either in your travel policy or your home contents policy.
  • 10. PASSPORT, VISA AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS
    Please note carefully:
    • 10.1. To be absolutely safe, it is a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of return of your Tour;
    • 10.2. Remember to apply for any necessary visa in good time;
    • 10.3. Check what vaccinations and medication you may require and allow time to obtain them;
    • 10.4. It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain all necessary inoculations, take all necessary medication and follow all medical advice in relation to your holiday. Remember to bring certificates and confirmations with you in your hand luggage;
    • 10.5. If you need professional medical care whilst on a tour, we will try to obtain it and inform your travel insurers as quickly as practically possible. Please ensure that you provide us with your next of kin details so that we can make arrangements for them to be contacted in an emergency;
    • 10.6. You agree to repay to us all costs we incur in providing this assistance, including payment for any transport and telephone calls must be reimbursed to the company. We will give you a receipt on your return, for you to pass to your travel insurers;
    • 10.7. It is full responsibility of the party leader to make sure that all members of his/her party are in possession of all necessary travel and health documents before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you and we cannot accept liability if you or any member of your party are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to carry correct documentation. If failure to have any necessary travel or other documents results to fines, surcharges or other financial penalty being imposed on us, you will be responsible for reimbursing us accordingly.
  • 11. TOUR INFORMATION
    Approximately four weeks before the Start Date, we shall send you a pack of information relating to your Tour. This information will include:
    • 11.1. Location of Meeting Point and time of meeting;
    • 11.2. Climate and clothing recommendations;
    • 11.3. Any important details relevant to a particular site that we may visit;
    • 11.4. A checklist of cetacean species and other wildlife we are likely to encounter.
  • 12. ACCOMMODATION
    We will arrange accommodation as close as reasonably possible to the Whale Watching sites or other sites we visit. Accommodation will be in good quality hotels or lodges. Occasionally it may be necessary to use bed and breakfast accommodation. En-suite facilities will be provided wherever possible. We will discuss your exact accommodation requirements when you have made a booking, but please note:
    • 12.1. We reserve the right to change accommodation to that stated on our website itineraries - (see below "changes of itinerary");
    • 12.2. Single rooms are normally available at an extra cost. However, if you so wish, it may be possible for you to share a room;
    • 12.3. Accommodation in some countries will be of a lower standard than comparable accommodation in your country. You should expect mattresses and pillows to be less comfortable; shower rooms and toilets may be shared if indicated in the Tour Pack.
  • 13. CHANGES OF ITINERARY
    • 13.1. Despite careful planning, it is possible that a site may become inaccessible due to matters outside our control, for example through natural disaster or political turmoil;
    • 13.2. It is also possible that new information on the movement of cetaceans will in our opinion benefit the Tour participants, generally by providing better cetacean watching opportunities;
    • 13.3. We may therefore decide to make changes to the itinerary to accommodate either of the above possibilities. We will tell you of any such change as soon as we decide to make it. If that happens, you may transfer to an alternative holiday. If your chosen alternative is of a lower price we will refund the difference. If it is of a higher price, you must pay the difference.
  • 14. BAGGAGE RESTRICTIONS
    It is your responsibility to be aware of any baggage restrictions applicable in the countries visited during the Tour.
  • 15. LIMITATIONS IN OUR LIABILITY
    We want you to enjoy a perfect holiday with Whale Zone Lda. We shall do our best to make your holiday special for you. Nonetheless, we must make clear the limitations in law. We are not liable to you for:
    • 15.1. Any event which happens before you board our transport at the Meeting Point or after you leave our transport at departure;
    • 15.2. Any problem arising from your failure to reach the Meeting Point on time, for whatever reason; (though we would do our best to help you in any way we reasonably could);
    • 15.3. The numbers and/or quality of cetacean encounters (or encounters with other wildlife) during your Whale Zone Tour;
    • 15.4. Any aspect of goods or services you buy or accept other than those arranged by us;
    • 15.5. Medical problems or physical difficulties, even if you have told us about them in advance;
    • 15.6. Medical emergencies;
    • 15.7. Your own carelessness or negligence in any aspect of your behaviour whilst with us;
    • 15.8. Changes we reasonably make to an itinerary or to accommodation or any other aspect of the management of a Tour;
    • 15.9. Problems or issues which we could have resolved whilst on a Tour but which you raise only after your return.
    • 15.10. Injury, illness, death, loss (including loss of enjoyment or possessions), damage, expense, cost or other sum or claim of any description whatsoever which results from either:
      • 15.10.1. The act or omission of you or anyone in your party;
      • 15.10.2. The act or omission of a third party not connected with the provision of your holiday.
    • 15.11. Services we have not provided. The services and features included in your Tour are those specified in our web site. If you choose to buy other goods or services during your holiday, those are not part of the package we provide, even if arranged at your request through our Tour leader. Accordingly we are not liable to you for any happening in connection with that service or those goods.
  • 16. LOCAL STANDARDS
    • 16.1. Laws, standards, culture and attitudes are different in many countries from what you reasonable expect at home. We are not responsible for standards of service, safety, hygiene and behaviour which may be lower than you are used to or which you expected;
    • 16.2. We do not make any representation or commitment that all services will comply with applicable local laws and regulations and failure to comply does not automatically mean we or the service supplier has not exercised reasonable skill and care;
    • 16.3. Please also note that we will only be responsible for what our employees, agents and suppliers do or do not do if they were at the time acting within the course of their employment (for employees) or carrying out work we had asked them to do (for agents and suppliers).
  • 17. LIMITATION OF COMPENSATION BY INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS
    • 17.1. We and you are subject to international conventions, when they apply. This may limit the amount of a claim you may be make, against us or anyone else. The most we will have to pay you for many claims for personal injury will not exceed what a carrier would pay under, for example, the Warsaw Convention or the Montreal Convention for international travel by air, or the EC Regulation on Air Carrier Liability, or the Athens Convention for international travel by sea, or the Convention on International Travel by Rail. Please note: where a carrier would not be obliged to make any payment to you under the applicable international convention or regulation in respect of a claim or part of a claim, we similarly are not obliged to make a payment to you for that claim or part of the claim. When making any payment, we are entitled to deduct any money which you have received or are entitled to receive from the carrier for the complaint or claim in question;
    • 17.2. Where we are found liable for loss of and/or damage to any luggage or personal possessions (including money) where international convention or regulation does not apply, the maximum amount of compensation we will pay you will be € 500;
    • 17.3. Other than as set out above, and as is detailed elsewhere in these booking conditions, we shall have no legal liability whatsoever to you for any loss, damage, personal injury or death which you suffer arising directly or indirectly from any aspect of your holiday.
  • 18. FLIGHTS AND OTHER TRANSPORT DELAYS: LIMIT OF OUR LIABILITY
    • 18.1. There is no guarantee that flights, trains or ferries will depart at the time specified. If they do not, we are not liable to you for any delay or cancellation or for any failure to take what you think are the best actions to have taken in particular circumstances;
    • 18.2. In the case of air travel, the airline is responsible for providing assistance under the Denied Boarding Regulations. We will try to keep you informed throughout the period of any delay;
    • 18.3. If a delay occurs, our policy is to continue with our plans until the flight (or other form of transport, if relevant) is cancelled with no suitable alternative flight being offered by the airline. However, if we considered it impossible to find a reasonable alternative form of transport, we would cancel the holiday and refund you all holiday payments;
    • 18.4. Where any delay in returning home lasts for longer than 24 hours, the airline should continue to meet your accommodation and reasonable meal expenses. This will be the case where the airline is an EU carrier or was due to depart from an EU airport. They may, however, require you to stay at the accommodation and take the meal arrangements they provide. We regret we cannot meet such expenses where the airline does not do so, or where you choose not to accept the arrangements offered;
    • 18.5. If you wish to find at any time to return home early or independently, for example by booking an upgrade with the airline or by organising overland travel, we will provide whatever assistance we can. All expenses involved in doing so will be your responsibility;
    • 18.6. EC Regulation No 261/2004 (The Denied Boarding Regulations) apply where the airline is an EU carrier or the affected flight was due to depart from an airport within the EU. Where applicable, you must pursue the airline for the compensation or other payment due to you. The compensation set by the regulations is your full entitlement. It covers, for example, distress, disappointment, inconvenience or effects on other arrangements. We have no liability to make any payment to you in relation to the Denied Boarding Regulations or in respect of any flight cancellation or delay, downgrading of any flight ticket or denial of any boarding;
    • 18.7. If, for any reason, we make a payment to you or a third party which the airline is responsible for in accordance with the Denied Boarding Regulations, you agree, when requested, to assign to us the rights you have or had to claim the payment in question from the airline;
    • 18.8. If your airline does not comply with these rules, you may complain to the pertinent authorities;
    • 18.9. Remember that transport and other service providers have their own booking conditions or conditions of carriage or service. You will be bound by these as far as that service is concerned. Such conditions may limit or exclude liability on the part of the relevant provider and they are often also subject to international conventions.
  • 19. HELP WE NEED FROM YOU
    • 19.1. Most Whale Zone Tours require reasonable physical fitness and appropriate footwear. You should be prepared to spend a long time on boats and, sometimes, walk up to a couple of kilometres a day;
    • 19.2. To satisfy the majority of our clients, we apply “no smoking” rules in the same way that they are applied in the European Community. Please note however, that smoking is permitted in some countries we may visit so we cannot prevent third parties from smoking in a bar or restaurant;
    • 19.3. If we provide medical help to you, whether or not you specifically ask for it, we will provide receipts for all costs (for your insurer) and you now agree to repay us that cost on your return from the Tour;
    • 19.4. If at any time, it is our opinion (given by any of our staff or Tour leaders) that you and/or any of the parties you represent are acting in a way which may cause accident, injury, discomfort or extreme displeasure to any other Tour member, we may exclude you from the programme for the remainder of the Tour. You will understand that this extreme action will not be taken lightly but may be necessary to protect the health, safety or enjoyment of other clients. In this situation, we will have no further responsibility towards the person or people excluded and no refunds will be made. Morevoer, we will not pay any costs or expenses associated and/or derived from the exclusion.
  • 20. COMPLAINTS
    We shall try our utmost to provide a happy and fulfilling holiday, but if we fail in any way, do please raise any issue with your Tour leader immediately. If your complaint cannot be satisfied it is not dealt with to your satisfaction at the time of reporting it to the leader(s), then you should give us full details in writing, immediately on your return. We cannot respond to verbal complaints.
  • 21. MISCELLANEOUS
    • 21.1. In this agreement unless the context otherwise requires:
      • 21.1.1. A reference to a person includes a human individual, a corporate entity and any organisation which is managed or controlled as a unit;
      • 21.1.2. Any agreement by any party not to do or omit to do something includes an obligation not to allow some other person to do or omit to do that same thing;
      • 21.1.3. Except where stated otherwise, any obligation of any person arising from this agreement may be performed by any other person;
      • 21.1.4. If any term or provision of this agreement is at any time held by any jurisdiction to be void, invalid or unenforceable, then it shall be treated as changed or reduced, only to the extent minimally necessary to bring it within the laws of that jurisdiction and to prevent it from being void and it shall be binding in that changed or reduced form. Subject to that, each provision shall be interpreted as severable and shall not in any way affect any other of these terms.
    • 21.2. The parties agree that electronic communications satisfy any legal requirement that such communications be in writing;
    • 21.3. In the event of a dispute between us, you undertake to attempt to settle the dispute by engaging in good faith with us in a process of mediation before commencing arbitration or litigation;
    • 21.4. We are not liable for any failure or delay in performance of this agreement which is caused by circumstances beyond our reasonable control;
    • 21.5. The validity, construction and performance of this agreement shall be governed by the laws of Portugal and you agree that any dispute arising from it shall be litigated only in Portugal.