The "Black Watch"(28492 tons)is owned by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and is an older ship but one constructed for long-distance cruising. It is spacious and comfortable. When full it carries around 750 passengers. There is a large amount of open deck for sun worshippers and a classic wrap-around promenade deck. The public rooms are also impressive with those on the Marquee Deck (library, card room, observatory lounge) especially comfortable. There are two sittings for lunch and dinner (except in port)and open sitting for breakfast in the Grentanar restaurant. There is an alternative dining option in the Garden Cafe.
The food is excellent but very much slanted to British and European tastes. The entertainment on board is quite extensive with cabaret, classical concerts and (in the dedicated theatre)films. There are specialist celebrities who give daytime talks on a wide range of subjects. There are also first-class port lecturers who give detailed descriptions of the ports (they avoid the sales lines for shopping found on other lines!). Shore excursions are well-organised if somewhat expensive. On this cruise they were normally half-day trips. On some of the longer cruises they can extend to 2/3 days.
The navigation officers are mostly Norwegian, the entertainment staff British and cabin/dining room staff Filipino/Thai/Eastern European. They give a warm welcome and are most courteous and helpful which adds much to the quality and enjoyment of the cruise. This ship's home ports are Dover and Southampton in the UK.
However, on this cruise and many others there are fly-cruise sectors available. The majority of passengers are British but there is a always a significant number of other Europeans and a few Americans and Japanese. Dress on this ship tends to be more formal than on many cruise ships. Daywear is very casual but there are at least two formal evenings (tuxedo) each week. On other evenings men are expected to wear jacket and tie. On this cruise we sailed from Dover and called at Lisbon (Portugal),Cartagena (Spain), Kefalonia (Greece), Dubrovnik and Split (Croatia), Venice Italy where it remained overnight, Malta, Gibraltar and La Coruna (Spain) before returning to Dover. They were all interesting ports of call and worth visiting. As is the custom with this cruise line there were ten days at sea to enjoy the full facilities of the ship. This is a ship to be recommended. I have sailed on it several times and all cruises have proved to be memorable experiences.