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Book ahead if travelling this Christmas

Passengers travelling on the ferry network across Scotland's west coast this Christmas are being urged to plan ahead.

Ferry operator CalMac wants to ensure safe and smooth journeys for all when COVID-19 travel restrictions are relaxed from the 23rd to the 27th of December.

Tickets for both forward and return journeys should be booked in advance where possible to avoid disappointment and can be made through the contact centre, the website and at port offices.

 Social distancing rules mean that there are limits on the number of travellers allowed on board at any one time, and passengers must wear face coverings unless exempt where required. Physical distancing must also be adhered to.

Cashless payments remain in place to protect staff and passengers, so passengers should remember to bring cards for buying tickets and for spending on board.

If you are travelling with pets, ensure you have a special pet ticket for them, which you can buy here. For the comfort and safety of all passengers, animals should be kept within designated areas on ferries during crossings.

Some routes require people to remain in their vehicles throughout the journey - please check the CalMac website to find out more.

Anyone travelling should make sure that they have accommodation arranged in advance, as many hotels will be closed over the festive period.

Robert Morrison, Operations Director, said: "We recognise that people will want to visit loved ones during the relaxation of travel restrictions over Christmas and we want to play our part in making sure that journeys go ahead smoothly. Islanders can be reassured that we will continue to do everything we can to protect their health during this time.

"Please book in advance for both outward and return journeys, and do not worry about having to cancel - you will receive a 100% refund until the end of January.

"Weather can also play a part in disrupting sailings, so always check your journey by signing up to receive updates or by checking your journey online.

"CalMac staff are working hard to make sure that everyone has a safe and pleasant festive season when travelling with us, so please be respectful and follow all safety rules."

Anyone planning to travel with CalMac this Christmas are being encouraged to fill out a short survey here, which will help to gauge demand for sailings.

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