Boudicca is a ship with an illustrious lineage. It began life as Royal Viking Sky, one of the legendary "white ships" owned by Royal Viking Line, which was, in its day, the epitome of elegant and luxurious cruising. After a varied career operating for Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Star Cruises (among other lines), Boudicca was acquired by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in 2005. The line also operates its sister ship, the former Royal Viking Star, as the popular Black Watch.
Boudicca was "stretched" in the early 1980s with the addition of a 91-foot midsection, gaining a considerable amount of open-air sunbathing space on the top deck. The ship went into dry dock again in late 2013, and came out with a number of new features including a dedicated coffee shop called Cafe Venus, the Morning Light Pub and the ship's first for-fee dining area, The Grill, an outside space on Deck 6.
Boudicca is decked out -- as an aging grande dame should be -- in good quality, discreetly stylish fabrics, although some of the colour schemes are a little dated. But no matter; the ship is well proportioned and devoid of cheap flashiness and surface glitz, which are the most important things to its target audience of Brits ages 60-plus.
The ship is enjoyable if your idea of fun is a gentle cruise in pleasant surroundings, peppered with light, humorous conversation; it's not so suitable if you're a party animal in search of 24-hour action.
Ultimately, Boudicca, like other Fred. Olsen ships, is known for its classically British feel. It attracts a different type of traveller from P&O Cruises -- the kind of steadfast Brit who "wouldn't be seen dead" on a big ship and has no interest in casinos or balcony cabins. (The ship does, in fact, offer both.) Although Boudicca is showing its age, these cruises are a treat for travellers who enjoy small, classic ships in a proper and cosy British setting.