Your contract is with The Russia Experience Ltd., a fully bonded tour operator, registered in the UK, where the law requires us to protect your travel funds. We are full members of the Travel Trust Association (TTA) – www.traveltrust.co.uk – and your travel funds are held frozen in an account until your trip is complete or you cancel, and only then released to us by the TTA’s approved trustee. We are mandated to uphold the highest professional standards and stringent financial safeguards which are implicit in membership of this organization.
All bookings are accepted on a request basis only. Acceptance of a booking does not imply availability of a trip. Only when the deposit is paid is the trip confirmed.
No booking will be confirmed without a deposit, then according to the payment schedule applicable – full payment. Deposits are non refundable except where otherwise expressly stated in these booking conditions. When we are in a position to do so, we will confirm your booking by issuing a confirmation invoice. At this point a binding contract between us will come into existence. You must check your confirmation invoice and all other documents we send you as soon as you receive them and let us know immediately if any information appears to be incorrect as it may not be possible to make changes later.
The trip balance must be received by us no later than 60 days before your trip. Late or no payment may/will cause cancellation of all or part of your trip, with the cancellation charges shown in clause 9 below being payable depending on the date we reasonably treat your booking as cancelled by you.
No travel documents will be issued until full payment has been made. Packages or tickets are not transferable.
We accept payment by bankers’ drafts, bank transfers and credit cards and debit cards. We also accept personal cheques subject to clearance, for which 10 days must be allowed. All cheques and bankers’ drafts must be made payable to “The Russia Experience Limited, Trust Account”
The responsibility for obtaining and carrying correct visas, passports and other travel documents remains with the passenger. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to carry correct documentation. If you or any member of your party is not a British citizen or holds a non British passport, you must check passport and visa requirements with the embassy or consulate of the country(ies) to or through which you are intending to travel. Costs for visas and registration are not included in the package price, any visa price we supply is for reference only and the final price will be determined by the Embassy at time of application. Consequences of an embassy changing visa application rules are also each passenger’s responsibility.
If we have to cancel or make a significant change to your trip before departure, you will be offered the choice – where there is time to do so and any significant change is not acceptable to you – of a full refund of all funds paid over to us, or a suitable alternative trip of substantially equal or better quality where available. We will in addition, if appropriate and subject to the following exceptions, pay you reasonable compensation depending on the circumstances. Compensation will not be payable and no liability beyond offering the above mentioned choices can be accepted where (1) we are forced to make a change or cancel as a result of unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which we could not have avoided even with all due care or (2) we have to cancel because the minimum number of bookings necessary for us to operate your trip has not been reached (Rail Cruises) in this case we will notify you by the deadline specified [in the details of the trip in question]. No compensation will be payable and the above options will not be available if we cancel as a result of your failure to comply with any requirement of these booking conditions entitling us to cancel (such as paying on time) or where any change is minor. See clause 13.
If you wish to cancel your trip, we require written notice from you and will apply cancellation charges in accordance with the table below.
If you cancel:
Number of days before departure when we receive your cancellation. – Shown as a percentage of your total trip price*.
Over 60 days before commencement – Deposit only
59-40 days before commencement – 50%
39-14 days before commencement – 90%
14 days or no show – 100%
* The trip price does not include visas, visa processing fees, travel insurance or guidebooks, which shall be 100% forfeit in all cases.
We consider adequate travel insurance to be essential. You must ensure you take out a policy which includes appropriate cover for medical expenses and for your repatriation to your home country in the event of medical need. Also, if you are participating in snowmobiling, dog sledding or quad biking, your personal policy includes hazardous sports cover as well as loss or damage of belongings etc. Please read your policy details carefully and take them with you on trip. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs.
We have made it clear in all sales materials that it is common and accepted practice for transport methods employed on our trips to run with delays, or to run below operational standards that would be regarded as normal in Western Europe. We cannot accept any claim of any nature which relates to any failure of transport operators to conform either to timetables supplied by us, or to their own timetables, or arises from deviations from operational standards by transport operators whose services form part of our itineraries (whether original or amended).
We cannot be responsible for the safety of passengers or their belongings. All belongings are at all times at your risk and you must ensure you look after them appropriately.
If circumstances force us to amend your itinerary or any contracted services, we shall notify you in writing as soon as possible. If the change arises during your trip, our representatives will make every effort to contact you personally. We reserve the right to substitute alternative transport or accommodation in the interests of the safety or comfort of our passengers and/or the successful completion of the itinerary. This includes changes in the class of train, for example if we cannot confirm a 2-berth compartment, we may “buy out” a 4-berth compartment for 2 passengers.
If you require us to change your booked itinerary, we will do everything reasonably possible to facilitate this, subject to your agreement to meet the costs which may be incurred. An estimate of these costs, in writing, will be provided before proceeding.
Except where otherwise expressly stated in these booking conditions, we regret we cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance or prompt performance of our obligations under our contract with you is prevented or affected by, or you otherwise suffer any personal injury, damage or loss of any description as a result of “force majeure”. In these booking conditions, “force majeure” means any event which we or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not – even with all due care – foresee or avoid. Such events may include war or threat of war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity or actual threatened terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire and all similar events outside our control.
In the event of your suffering any personal injury, damage or loss as a result of force majeure, we shall provide all reasonable help. Our assistance does not replace the assistance to be expected from travel insurance up to the limits of cover of the policy recommended by us, nor shall it replace the assistance of the consul responsible for you whilst abroad.
We promise to make sure that the arrangements we have agreed to make, perform or provide as applicable as part of our contract with you are made, performed or provided with reasonable skill and care. This means that, subject to these booking conditions, we will accept responsibility if, for example, you suffer death or personal injury or your contracted arrangements are not provided as promised or prove deficient as a result of the failure of ourselves, our employees, agents or suppliers to use reasonable skill and care in making, performing or providing, as applicable, your contracted arrangements. Please note it is your responsibility to show that reasonable skill and care has not been used if you wish to make a claim against us. In addition, 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). We will not be responsible for any injury, illness, death, loss (for example loss of enjoyment), damage, expense, cost or other sum or claim of any description whatsoever which results from (1) the act(s) and/or omission(s) of the person(s) affected or any member(s) of their party or (2) the act(s) and/or omission(s) of a third party not connected with the provision of your trip and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable or (3) ‘force majeure’ as defined in clause 9 above.
We limit the maximum amount we may have to pay you for any claims you may make against us. Where we are found liable for loss of and/or damage to any luggage or personal possessions (including money), the maximum amount we will have to pay you is £250 per person affected unless a lower limitation applies to your claim under this clause or clause 19 below. For all other claims which do not involve death or personal injury, if we are found liable to you on any basis the maximum amount we will have to pay you is twice the price (excluding insurance premiums and amendment charges) paid by or on behalf of the person(s) affected in total unless a lower limitation applies to your claim under clause 19 below. This maximum amount will only be payable where everything has gone wrong and you have not received any benefit at all from your holiday.
Where any claim or part of a claim (including those involving death or personal injury) concerns or is based on any travel arrangements (including the process of getting on and/or off the transport concerned) provided by any rail, sea or road carrier or any stay in a hotel, the maximum amount of compensation we will have to pay you will be limited. The most we will have to pay you for that claim or that part of a claim if we are found liable to you on any basis is the most the carrier or hotel keeper concerned would have to pay under the international convention or regulation which applies to the travel arrangements or hotel stay in question (for example, COTIF, The Convention Concerning International Carriage by Rail and the Athens Convention for international travel by sea). Please note: Where a carrier or hotel 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 transport operator or hotelier for the complaint or claim in question. Copies of the applicable International Conventions and Regulations are available from us on request.
When requesting a refund for over-payment or cancellation of services and in line with our cancellation policy above, all refunds are processed from our trust account and processed by The Travel Trust Association. Please supply your full bank details, including bank name, address, account number and name of account holder and any SWIFT or bank codes and we will arrange a bank transfer for the agreed refund amount from our account within one calendar month. Please note that bank charges or commission will be deducted from the refund amount.
Claims for compensation will be accepted in writing only, and must be received by us (with all relevant details) within 30 days of the end of the final included service. You must notify our local representatives and the supplier of the service(s) concerned as soon as you become aware of any problem. We are unable to consider any claim where the assistance or advice of our local representatives has been unsought, rejected or ignored.
Passengers who fail to join the trip by the means or at the time and date they previously advised us by at least 14 days’ notice shall forfeit all subsequent services up to such time as they can be reasonably rejoined. Any re-scheduling so caused shall be at the passenger’s own expense. Departure without notification from the itinerary may result in forfeiture of subsequent services. “No-show” passengers shall forfeit all subsequent services if they fail to notify us of intention to rejoin their itinerary within 72 hours of their original arrival date. Expenses arising from your departure from the itinerary cannot be recovered from us.
Tariffs shown on our web site were accurate based on prices and exchange rates at the time of booking .We reserve the right to make changes to and correct errors in advertised prices at any time before your trip booked with us is confirmed. We will advise you of any error of which we are aware and of the then applicable price at the time of booking.
Once the price of your chosen holiday has been confirmed at the time of booking, we will only increase or decrease it in the following circumstances. A surcharge or refund (as applicable) will be payable, subject to the conditions set out in this clause, if our costs increase or decrease due to changes in transportation costs or in dues, taxes or fees payable for services such as embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports or in the exchange rates which have been used to calculate the cost of your holiday. Even in the above cases, only if the amount of the increase in our costs exceeds 2% of the total cost of your trip (excluding insurance premiums and any amendment charges), will we levy a surcharge. If any surcharge is greater than 10% of the cost of your trip (excluding insurance premiums and any amendment charges), you will be entitled to cancel your booking and receive a full refund of all monies you have paid to us (except for any amendment charges) or alternatively purchase another holiday from us as referred to in clause 8. You have 14 days from the issue date printed on the surcharge invoice to tell us if you want to cancel or purchase another trip as set out in clause 8. If you do not tell us that you wish to choose either of these options within this period of time, we are entitled to assume that you do not wish to do so and will pay the surcharge. Any surcharge must be paid with the balance of the cost of the trip or within 14 days of the issue date printed on the surcharge invoice, whichever is the later. Please note that travel arrangements are not always purchased in local currency and some apparent changes have no impact on the price of your travel due to contractual and other protection in place. A refund will only be payable if the decrease in our costs exceeds 2% as set out above. Where a refund is due, we will pay you the full amount of the decrease in our costs. We promise not to levy a surcharge within 30 days of departure .
With the exception of diving none of our activities require special training or above-average levels of fitness or mobility. If you are in any doubt about whether you should undertake them, you should consult your medical adviser. We are unable to refund any money in respect of services from which you withdraw after arrival. With reasonable notice, alternative versions of most of our activities can be organised for those of you who have special needs, and a section on our booking form invites information to enable us to plan for your needs in this case.
If you have any special request, you must advise us at the time of booking. Although we will endeavour to pass any reasonable requests on to the relevant supplier, we regret we cannot guarantee any request will be met. Failure to meet any special request will not be a breach of contract on our part. Confirmation that a special request has been noted or passed on to the supplier or the inclusion of the special request on your confirmation invoice or any other documentation is not confirmation that the request will be met. Unless and until specifically confirmed, all special requests are subject to availability. If any passenger has any medical condition or disability which may affect your trip, please tell us before you confirm your booking. In any event, you must give us full details in writing at the time of booking and whenever any change in the condition or disability occurs. If we reasonably feel unable to properly accommodate the particular needs of the person concerned, we must reserve the right to decline their reservation or, if full details are not given at the time of booking, cancel when we become aware of these details.
At all times passengers are bound by local law and jurisdiction in their chosen destinations. Passengers who depart from the selected itinerary, either geographically or chronologically, are advised that they may be breaking local immigration regulations, which at best will result in delay and inconvenience, and at worst may result in arrest and imprisonment, in neither of which cases are we able to assist in any material way. Passengers are advised that local duties and levies are frequently introduced, amended or increased without warning, and whilst we do our best to inform passengers of what local costs are likely to incur, we cannot guarantee that further costs will not be imposed or increased subsequent to our recent information. Such costs remain the passenger’s responsibility.
We do not organise air travel to or from our destinations. Passengers are advised to ensure that agencies with which they organise such services are properly bonded and certified to conduct such business. On request we can provide details with a recommended agent for many localities.
The Russia Experience Ltd. will not accept responsibility for any additional or alternative travel arrangements (including the use of local guides and the purchase of services and excursions) that are made independently by its clients and that are separate, or in addition, to the booked and ticketed itinerary.
We both agree that English Law (and no other) will apply to our contract and to any dispute, claim or other matter of any description which arises between us (except as set out below). We both also agree that any dispute, claim or other matter of any description (and whether or not involving any personal injury) which arises between us must be dealt with by the Courts of England and Wales only unless, in the case of Court proceedings, you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland. In this case, proceedings must either be brought in the Courts of your home country or those of England and Wales. If proceedings are brought in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you may choose to have your contract and any dispute, claim or other matter of any description which arises between us governed by the law of Scotland/Northern Ireland as applicable (but if you do not so choose, English law will apply).