Cruising with Fred Olsen ships really is like setting sail in an old peoples home - but there are no noisy kids running around, no rowdiness or bad behaviour and this is why we enjoy it so much. The Black Watch is a small ship with around 800 passengers but this is so much better than the super cruisers with thousands of people on board. The crew were all polite and efficient and the ship although now 40 years old, has bags of character. The cabins (we were on deck 5)are adequate though not luxurious but kept spotlessly clean and the beds very comfortable.
Food was superb with plenty of choice. Fish and chips on the Marquee deck not to be missed.
Nightly entertainment in the Neptune lounge was good overall but I preferred the featured entertainers to the Black Watch Show Company, where the quality of the singers was somewhat variable.
The biggest gripe we have with Fred Olsen is the shore tours, which are way overpriced for what they deliver. We did the St Petersburg organised trips because of Russian visa restrictions but chose to do our own thing in other destinations. Fred Olsen could provide much more information for those wanting to go ashore independently, such as nearest buses & taxis, what currencies are accepted and maps or locations of things to see and do. They seem to take the attitude, if you're not paying for our organised trips, then tough - find out for yourselves!
They even had the cheek to charge Â£10 per person for a shuttle bus in Copenhagen because our berth was changed to one further out of the city centre.
Otherwise, the weather was great and we had a fantastic time in the Batic.
We look forward to travelling with Fred Olsen again.