1. General Provisions
The Arctic Ocean is one of the most inhospitable regions on our planet. Logistics problems are enormous; the weather ferocious and unpredictable, ice condition is unstable. Distances are immense, facilities scarce. Safety and self-sufficiency are the paramount rules. We acknowledge and respect this. It is our obligation to warn all clients that they like us and everyone else attempting to function in this extreme environment, are at the mercy of forces more powerful than any of us. A tight time-schedule in connection with the North Pole expedition is often unwise. Despite the expected period of calm dry weather, windstorms and blizzards, as well as changes in the ice condition, are a major threat to flights and groups en route. Delays of days and even weeks must be anticipated. Changes and amendments may apply to the program, depending on the weather, ice or other conditions. It is important to consider possible delays or alterations and take them with patience. We strongly recommend buying an open date return ticket for your trip. This allows for greater flexibility in your time control.
Our flight to the Polar region takes about 2.5 hours. We always make sure that the weather conditions are suitable for safe aircraft and helicopter operation for the journey in both directions. We keep permanent radio contact with the world-famous Barneo Ice Camp and are awaiting for THEIR PERMISSION to depart. The aircraft crews are also in touch during the whole flight duration.
On board of our charter flights, clients are required to respect the authority of the chief pilot and comply with his instructions. While at Barneo Ice Camp, field operations manager is given authority and responsibility for the safety and comfort of all clients. During field expeditions, VICAAR’s lead guides are delegated similar responsibility for all participants of the expedition in their care.
By arrival at the Barneo Ice Camp, we are even more dependent on the Arctic weather. Storms and unfavourable ice conditions may easily interrupt aircraft or group departs. Considering safety matters most seriously we reserve the right to make any necessary changes in the itinerary up to the full cancellation of the expedition on the final stage should the situation require this.
Construction of the ice runway and Barneo Ice Camp — is a sophisticated logistic and technical process, which requires huge precursory work to be done. It incorporates coordination of the several air carriers’ schedules, along with other involved organizations all over the country including high-ranking officials from The Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Defense and Federal Security Service. The logistics operation of the ice runway and Barneo Ice Camp construction begins a long time before the start of the expedition; for example, fuel purchase and its supply to the Arctic take place during the previous summer. That is why VICAAR has to follow its Refund and Cancellation Policy in all customer relations. We strongly recommend that all our clients should carefully read these Terms and Conditions and purchase insurance against full or partial cancellation of the expedition as a protection against an unforeseen situation leading to interruption of your expedition.
2. Booking and Payments
2.1. To book a place in the expedition, the client or client’s agent has to send us an application for the participation in the desired expedition. This application should be sent well in advance, as we have to prepare many licensing documents along with visa support (if the client goes via Russia ).
2.2. The application should contain the following information:
— code and dates of the expedition;
— client’s full name;
— date and place of birth;
— contact phone number and e-mail
— passport number and period of validity
— clothes/footwear sizes
2.3. After receiving your application, we will return a written confirmation of initial place booking and send an invoice for deposit payment. If by the time of your application, we do not have places for the dates you specified, we will advise alternative dates, if it is not possible, we will cancel your booking with explanations of the reason for denial. If the dates are agreed, the deposit should be paid within 3 days from the invoice issue. Place in the expedition would not be secured until the deposit is paid. In case the cancellation of booking or participation was made by the client, a deposit is not refundable. After receiving the deposit, we will inform that booking has been made and confirm expedition itinerary.
2.4. Large discount applies to the programs, which are booked before December 5th (See rates and dates page). For programs, which are booked after December 5th, the cost is rising by 10% and has to be paid in full by common payment. In the case of late booking the total expedition cost should be paid flat by 15 the March (only if the places are available). Other terms of payment may be discussed in each case. All the payments are to be made in Euro.
2.5. If the money for participation in the expedition has not been transferred according to terms stated in the paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the present Terms and Conditions, VICAAR reserves the right to cancel booking and retain the payments, received by that moment, except the cases, when such changes have been agreed with authorized VICAAR representative.
3. Cancellations, Changes to Itinerary and Refunds
3.1. Should VICAAR, for any reason, except Force Majeure, cancel an expedition prior to the scheduled day of departure, all money received from the client or the client’s booking agent up to that time will be refunded to the client or the client’s booking agent within 45 working days of such cancellation without further obligations on VICAAR’s part. This will be the limit of VICAAR liability, and we will not be responsible for other consequences of the cancellation as well as for further expenses incurred by the client or client’s agent, including non-refundable airline tickets, special clothes, and equipment purchase, visa and passport fees and other expenses.
3.2. Expeditions to the high latitudes are extremely dependent on the ice and weather conditions. VICAAR makes every effort to follow planned expedition itinerary. However, we cannot accept responsibility for changes, caused by the factors beyond our control. In these situations, VICAAR reserves the right to change expeditions’ itineraries, dates, and routes without warning and further obligations to the clients. It is understood that such decisions will be made in the best interest of all clients and about the safety of all expedition members. Participants have no right to any refund or other considerations in the event of these inevitable itinerary changes. Rescheduling does not represent the cancellation of the expedition by VICAAR. We will make any effort to ensure our clients’ expectations were met. However, to avoid problems caused by the changes in itinerary we strongly recommend buying an open date ticket for your trip back to the place of residence.
3.3. VICAAR leaders and guides will do all their best to solve any possible issue for the good of the group and expedition on the whole. If, during the expedition or 3-day advance period, a responsible VICAAR representative (whether Captain, Field Manager or Guide) would decide that the client is not capable of participating or continuing the expedition without jeopardizing the life or health of other participants, or VICAAR personnel — agency reserve the right to cancel or discontinue client’s participation in the expedition. In this case, VICAAR will make any effort for client’s safe return to the Barneo Ice Camp and further to Longyearbyen ( Spitsbergen ) at the first chance, but no compensations will be made. Payment for all the unscheduled flights, arising as a result of the matter above, should be made by the client to VICAAR within three days after the expedition close.
3.4. Should the client or the client’s booking agent cancel their booking prior December 5th, VICAAR will reimburse the sum received from the client or client’s booking agent by the afore-mentioned date, except 500 euro administrative fee.
3.5. Should the client or the client’s booking agent cancel their booking after December 5th, no refunds will be payable by VICAAR. All inquiries related to cancellations or refunds should be received in writing.
3.6. Prices quoted are based on group participation, and no refunds will be made for any part of the program in which the clients choose not to participate, including any helicopter flying time.
3.7. VICAAR agents and representatives other than authorized personnel are not entitled to promise any compensation to the clients. Such oral promises do not commit VICAAR to anything.
4. Prices and rates
4.1. All the prices are given in Euro.
4.2. VICAAR offer special conditions to agencies.
4.3. Trip rates are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of printing and are subject to change before the departure. Substantial changes in tariffs, exchange rates, and price of fuel, services, and labor sometimes increase the cost of trips arrangements significantly, and we reserve the right to alter our prices accordingly, presenting a written notice to our booking agents or/and clients.
5.1. VICAAR acts as general sales agents and operator for the expeditions and trips to the North Pole and exercises every possible care about clients.
However, VICAAR, its owners, and employees assume no responsibility or liability for any political, meteorological, climatic, or other event or for the services of transportation companies, contractors, or other principals for which we act as agents. Due to the nature of the destination, it is normal to encounter flight delays and/or changes of itineraries, in the event of which all additional expenses will be borne by the client.
5.2. VICAAR accept no responsibility for any accidents, injuries, diseases, death, loss of property and other damage caused to the members of the expedition and clients or by the members of the expedition and clients to the third persons, if this damage or loss was caused through no fault of VICAAR or happened as a result of knowing violation of the Accident Prevent (Safety Measures) Regulations, which are in force in Russian Federation, by the members of the expedition or the clients. Before the departure, our representative will introduce everybody with Safety Measures. All clients have to sign a Waiver.
5.3. In the case of medical problems, requiring evacuation, using aircraft transportation and other expenses, the client holds all responsibilities for such expenditure. All participants have to acquire insurance enough for covering medical aid and evacuation expenses.
5.4. VICAAR strongly urges individual clients to obtain appropriate insurance coverage. Client’s baggage is at owner’s risk entirely.
5.5. All legal inquiries and Claims from the clients or the client’s booking agents should be addressed to VICAAR’s office in St. Petersburg in writing within 14 days after the expedition ending otherwise no claims will be accepted by VICAAR.
5.6. By forwarding application and deposit, client certifies that he/she has fully read and understood these Terms and Conditions and does not have any mental, physical or other limitations or disability that might carry a potential risk for oneself or other participants.