We chose Black Watch's Baltics, with Norway, cruise firstly because the ship was small enough to cruise through the Kiel Canal and secondly because of the interesting itinerary and Vista Guest Speaker programme.
We hadn't cruised with Fred.Olsen before, but felt immediately "at home" and that it was going to be a good fit for us. Why? Hard to pick one thing, but a mixture of the culture, service level, staff, and the passenger mix.
We had a guarantee superior outside cabin on the 5th deck, with parallel single beds and a lounge chair and a small table next to the big window. There were two big wardrobes, with enough hanging space and drawers for us to put all our clothes in, as well as our large suitcases standing up. In addition, there were four drawers either side of the large mirror, with sit down dressing table, with chair. Reasonable size bathroom, with ample shelf space in the bathroom for our toiletries. The shower was big enough that the shower curtain did not "lick" you. We loved their Cole and Lewis Handwash and Bodywash - London.
Our favourite thing was the tea and coffee and electric jug in our cabin, as well as availability of self service tea and coffee 24 hours, in the cafe area.
We loved the food on this ship, which was very good to excellent, as was the service level. We ate mainly in the Glentanar dining room, except for specialty restaurant nights (Chinese and Indian), which were in the beautiful Garden Cafe.
In no particular order, these are additional things which enhanced the cruise -
Vistas Guest Speaker Programme, which was both educational and entertaining.
Good value, with reasonable costs for gratuities 2 pounds pppn stewardess and waiter, with ability to change gratuities; 2 pounds per bingo sheet. No charge for specialty restaurant nights.
News - "Britain Today" newssheet; TV BBC News and Sky News
Entertainment - Separate Cinema for showing of films (1 matinee and 3 per night), as well as for smaller presentations. Free movies shown in cabin (5 per day)
Visitors Street Guide for each port of call.
Library - range of books and jigsaw puzzles left out for anyone to complete.
Smoking Policy, with designated outside areas.
Large dance floor, with hosts to dance with single ladies.
Overall, Black Watch, ship and staff, surpassed my expectations. I'd like to cruise with Black Watch or another Fred.Olsen ship again.