This was our first time on a Fred Olsen cruise. We did the Cape Verde Isles and not only were we disappointed with the itinerary but also the ship as it did not live up to the advertising. Firstly it says that the ship is one big happy family and the staff get to know your name and treat you as a special part of the"Family". This was not our experience, the waiters in the restaurants couldn't wait for you to finish and at times were quite rude. However, the bar waiters were a lot friendlier and the service was good. We found meal times especially at breakfast quite stressful; crowded & disorganised. We were disappointed the the informal buffet had specific times when it was open, which was not for very long; for example most of the other cruises have the informal buffet restaurant open most of the time so you can go whenever you wanted. However, the marquee bar was a lot better with times more flexible and service good plus the fish & chips was great, but the menu was limited and was only open when the weather was good. It was unfortunate that there was the norovirus on the boat which made meal times even more restrictive. This is another issue which I won't go into but not very impressed with the handling of the outbreak..
Secondly, the entertainment was not that great, it lacked spontaneity and was boring at times, including the daytime activities, sometimes these were good but it showed a lack of experience from the entertainment team. Thirdly the food was slightly disappointing, it was quite good some evenings but not as good as some of the ships we had been on so not what we expected.
The Cape Verde isles and Senegal do not have a lot to offer, once ashore there is very little to do or see, as they are not into tourism yet,Senegal and Dakar we were told was disappointing but we did find Goree Island interesting but be prepared to be seriously hassled by the islanders. Madeira and Lisbon were lovely. But the organisers had not taken into consideration that when we visited Lanzarote on a Sunday everything was closed, and it was a May Day holiday in Lisbon but still enjoyable. We had good weather for most of the cruise apart from the crossing from Southampton across the Bay of Biscay which was very rough, a lot of people unwell, then we had the virus, again lots of passengers very unwell. However We did enjoy this cruise very much as we met some wonderful people and made the most of the holiday, I felt the cruise was not good value for what we paid, our most expensive cruise to date, drinks and trips quite expensive too, a bottle of wine just under Â£15 and cocktails Â£4.50 or over.
However, there were quite a lot of positives, as there were lots of nice places to sit both inside and outside, there was no hassle finding beds or chairs and none of these were squashed against each other, a big bonus for us. The pool area was nice and spacious the gym was good and the library area excellent. Also a lot of lovely friendly passengers making the cruise enjoyable. So there was a lot of positives with the Boudicca but not enough for us to cruise with them again.