I sailed on the Fred. Olsen "Braemar" from Dover on 31 July. It is some years since I sailed on this ship and the first time since it was "stretched" although I have sailed many times on other shipd of this cruise line. It is a fine looking ship which has been well maintained. I feel there are too many passengers for the accommodation in the public rooms. This is especially so when the weather is inclement.
The ship called in the Faroe Islands (Thorshaven), Iceland (Reykjavik, Isafjordur and Husavik) and South Norway (Maloy, Olden and Bergen). The ship remained overnight in Reykjavik.
Embarkation at Dover was very rapid. I was on board the ship in less than 30 minutes from arriving at the cruise terminal. Disembarkation was slowere but very efficiently organised. I cleared the terminal very rapidly.
I had an outside double cabin on a single occupancy basis on the Main Deck. It was a comfortable cabin with a picture window and efficient air conditioning. The shower room was small but well equipped. Drawer space was at a premium but there was plenty of hanging space. There was more engine noise than I have experienced on other Fred. Olsen ships. The stewardess serviced the cabin twice daily very efficiently.
At my request I dined in the Grampian Restaurant which is situated high up on the Marquee deck. This is ssmaller than the the Thistle (Main) restaurant, is quieter and has splendid views. The food was very good indeed although the menus were more limited than in the past. ASs usual there was a good selection of wines. The service was excellent. Occasionally I had breakfast or lunch in the Thistle Restaurant or in the self-service Palms Cafe.
The crew and staff in the cabins, the bars and restaurants were firiendly and helpful, one of the strongest points of Fred. Olsen cruise ships. The Captain, who is a relative newcomer to the company was very visible and proved popular with the passengers.
The cruise lecturers gave some interesting talks and the port lecturer was very informative about the ports of call.The evening entertainment was mixed but it is a matter of personal taste. I thought the classical recitals by the lute player were excellent. The "Braemar" singers and dancers were energetic and enthusiastic and gave some excellent performances.
I booked shore excursions for all ports of call except Bergen prior to leaving home and I wasn't disappointed. The "Golden Circle" and "Rising from the Ashes" tours from Reykjavik. the "Selje Monestary" from Maloy and the "Briksdal Glacier" form Olden were paricularly memorable.
Overall it was a destination intensice cruise visiting some lovely and interesting places.