We have done 23 cruises in all but this was the first with Fred Olsen. We enjoyed the cruise very much but we think this was more due to the friendliness of the crew and passengers than any other feature of the cruise. The ship has very limited facilities. It was clean and well run and there was a good variety of food. They did have a midnight buffet, which some other cruise lines no longer have, and it was of good quality.
The entertainment crew were lovely, friendly and enthusiastic. They tried their very best and worked hard. But if you are looking for west end style shows, there is nothing like that with Fred Olsen. The entertainers we saw we had unfortunately seen before on previous cruises and had been around for quite some years without changing their acts. But they were likeable and enjoyable nonetheless.
We didn't go on any of the excursions so cannot comment on these but we simply disembarked and had a wander around the ports, which were all very similar. Our favourite was Madeira as all the flowers were out at this time of year and there was a beautiful fragrance in the air.
We spent most of our nights in the Coral lounge where several of us joined in the fun of the quiz and then listened to the In Tune band and watched the passengers enjoying dancing on the small but adequate dance floor.
The all inclusive at £10 per night was great value as my husband likes his pint of Boddingtons beer and this was always a good standard. Most of the men seemed to be drinking this beer. I didn't like the wines on offer but had a couple of glasses of Cava with the evening meal instead. It was just OK but still worth it and a couple of times I had a cocktail which you could get at half price with the all inclusive deal. Other passengers were making the most of being able to get a decent quality of brandy, but I don't really drink shorts. We certainly had our money's worth and can recommend this deal.
One word of warning though. During our cruise the Daily Times encourages you to book your future cruise while on the ship, so saving 10% and guaranteeing your cabin number and the drinks package. This sounded great and we did just that. However, the cruise we booked is supposed to be a river cruise and is entitled the German Waterways. On speaking to other passengers we discovered that this is not a true river cruise as we thought it to be. We tried to cancel it immediately but could not. We felt we had been misled as the cruise specialist did not advise us otherwise that this was not a true river cruise and could not tell us how far down the rivers the ship was able to sail. We still do not know after enquiring with Fred Olsen on our return home. So beware you are sure of the full itinerary before making a booking and don't make the same mistake as we did. Also, it seems you can get better deals by waiting for special offers, as they are cheaper than booking early.
Would we sail with Fred Olsen again. Well we have already booked so we will be. But I don't think we will be booking any more cruises as there are so many cruise lines offering so much more for your money.