Black Watch Cruise Review by Docmalc: Fred Olsen: Voyage towards the North Pole on Black Watch 2014
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Fred Olsen: Voyage towards the North Pole on Black Watch 2014
Once again Fred Olsen have pulled out all the stops here. We have been with other companies, but when we compare the standard, and in particular the food we find FO difficult to beat. We travelled the whole Norwegian coastline up to Honnigsvag, and then on to Spitzbergen.( June/July 2014). We were blessed on the whole with fine weather, which was a bonus ( no criuise company can control that though ! ). We had so many good experiences it is difficult to desribe them all, but the cruise was worth every penny and good value for money.
One thing we find with Fred is they are consistent, and make an effort to leave ports all around the Uk which is a great boon to its British passengers. Now, some points which I wish to expand upon.
FOOD..In all the venues was plentifull, of good variety and HOT when it needed to be !!. We have been with Celebrity and other USA groups who may be more flash, but they often do not provide the consitency apart from some of the speciality More restaurants. Compared with a lot more expensive MSC Yacht Club experience earlier in the year Fred left them standing. Good variety, pleasant staff and they will try to accomodate all diets. I have NEVER had a bad meal on a FO cruise and this will be our 4th now.
I did not expect 'flash' on the Black Watch, she is an older ship. We were on deck 3 (outside cabin), but no problems. The cabin was very clean and serviced well all cruise, and comfortable. Staff, as always were pleasant and could not do enough for us. Well done Fred.
Loads to do for all tastes. Some activies involved a nominal fee, but it was not expensive. I liked the Gym and had a fitness session or two with the Fitness instructor which was geat and very informative for my needs, as I am already a runner.
Entertainment was good. People will always have differing tastes re performers, but the ships show band and dancers were first rate and gave excellent shows. They work very hard, and this was complimented by an efficent and friendly cruise director who kept us all well informed. Guest speakers were good and relevant to our destination, ie wildlife and geography etc.
For those who like a tipple ( we do on occasion ), then this is where Fred excells. Drink prices are very reasonable on Freds ships ( we had a package which was good value ). No rip off prices as on many companies ships, nor the extra '15% service charge' imposed by many which makes us both very angry. I can always get my favoutrite tipple on board, and bar service is first class throughout the ship. Again, well done Fred.
Plenty of them, but no points here. I know its Norway but they were incedibly expensive this year (2014). Not much help from the tour desk when we did complain about one we went on ( but so did others ). Fred needs to sort this out. Perhaps its just incredibly expensive Norway...Not good value. On the plus side Freds ships often dock early and leave late, and always provide maps and information on the ports so you can do your own thing.
Overall staff were great. We find that Fred always tries to do that little bit extra. We were treated to breathtaking sites due to the skill of the captain and his navigation officers being able to access the smallest of Fijords; and importantly taking the time to do so. Spitzbergen is breathtakigly beautifull and they tried to show us as much as possible of this inhospitable region. truly a cruise to remember for all the right reasons.....we shall be booking with Fred again ! Less
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