We have just returned from our 1st cruise with Fred Olsen, we have however, cruised 22 times previously ! Having heard some mixed reviews about FO we decided to give them a try for ourselves.
Our itinerary was a 3 night trip Harwich-Amsterdam-Newcastle.
We arrived at Harwich, check in was efficient , easy and the staff friendly. We were invited to wait in the check-in area until we were invited for boarding.
Boarding started at 2pm deck by deck, everyone was onboard I would say by 2.45pm or so.
We went to our cabin, another 1st for us, a low deck external cabin ( no balcony). It was on deck 3 , smallish, but very well designed, beds in an odd L shape,this layout though, did provide alot of space though !
The cabin was spotlessly clean, flat screen TV ,the usual dire selection of channels as on all cruise ships ! This cabin featured 3 large wardrobes and drawers , so on a long itinerary, plenty of storage ! The shower room was functional, clean and the usual twice a day servicing. The cabin also had tea/coffee making facilities.
After we had unpacked, we made our way up to the cafe area , where a very pleasant afternoon tea was available, buffet style, a good choice of sandwiches, cream cakes , scones, cream and jam. A trio was playing which was very pleasant.
The ship has several nice bar areas, with friendly staff and a nice atmosphere.
The restaurant experience was exceptional. We requested , and paid extra for a table on the late sitting and a table for 2, albeit this was very close to a table for 4, so in effect, as we got our courses at the same time, was almost a table for 6!Choices for each course were excellent, the food was always beautifully presented and hot.
For breakfast, you had a choice of waiter service or buffet, kedgeree was excellent !
On our 2nd day, a Sunday, lunch featured a Roast Beef carvery, with all the trimmings, delicious !
On our sea day, there was a seafood buffet on offer, also excellent !
The Captains cocktail party was well attended and the drinks flowed....not always the case on larger vessels !
We enjoyed 2 shows onboard, the ships dancers and singers put alot into their acts .
Outside deck space was good, 2 large pools , with steam coming from them (important for this itinerary), several whirlpools, a good sized gym also featured.
The ship, personally , I feel , is suited to warmer climes as it didn't feature any indoor pools or whirlpools. But in fairness, its an old ship !
The staff onboard seem genuinely happy and this makes for a nice atmosphere.
All in all, we enjoyed our 'FRED' experience and I would repeat the experience !