We have just returned home from a lovely cruise on Fred Olsen's Braemar to Cape Verde, The Gambia and Senegal and fully understand why people travel more than once on this ship. We certainly will! Having previously travelled on P and O, Princess cruises, Holland and America, Ocean Village and Thomson we found that "Fred" comes up trumps!
Our cabin was an outside cabin on deck 4 with a picture window. It was kept immaculately clean by our stewardess. There was no fridge in the cabin but there were tea and coffee making facilities, which is a rare treat on cruise ships and we did not have to pay for the use of the safe either as we often had to before! The only criticism re the cabin was that drawer space was somewhat limited. We managed for eleven nights but a longer cruise would certainly be more difficult.
Embarkation and disembarkation at Santa Cruz were very well organised and went very smoothly indeed. Cases arrived quickly at the cabins and we had no sight of our luggage at the end of the holiday until we took them off the carousel at Manchester airport.
The ship was spotless throughout. We ate dinner in the Thistle restaurant in the evening at second sitting and usually had breakfast and lunch in the Grampian restaurant. We occasionally ate in the Palms cafe. All were excellent and even the self service Palms cafe had crisp white tablecloths and napkins. We have not seen this on many other ships! The quality of food and variety was first rate and the service very good.
My husband and I are mid sixties in age and we found that the older clientele on Fred Olsen makes for a very civilised cruise. Announcements were made over the loud speakers only when necessary, unlike the Butlins at sea approach of many ships! We found all the public rooms delightful and enjoyed the shows of the Braemar dancers and singers. There was a superb band called The In Tune Band whom we enjoyed tremendously. There were three formal nights and three theme nights during the cruise ( Tropical, British and Rock and Roll ). Not everyone participated in the theme nights but quite a few did and we were among them! It proved great fun!
There were five days at sea and I never had any problems finding a sun bed out on deck. When music was played, it was never intrusive.