Fred. Olsen vs. Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Compare by: Demographics | Itineraries | Cabins | Dining | Onboard Fun | Entertainment | Family Focus | Pricing

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Fred. Olsen Bar

Who are you going to meet?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • Predominantly British couples with an average age of 67, though line has recently begun marketing some ships and trips to U.S. passengers
  • Summer months see more children's activity programs and school holiday time often sees several generations of families all cruising together.
  • "British country house" at sea atmosphere attracts the more sedate and conservative passenger.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • With vintage ships appealing to mature travelers, clientele onboard is primarily budget-conscious British and over 60-years-old.

  • Astor is the only non-adults-only ship in the fleet and accepts children onboard from six months, but has no children's facilities.

Boudicca in the Bay of Kotor

Where are they based, and where do they go?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • Fred. Olsen departs from the most regional ports of any line, so wherever you are in the UK (and Northern Ireland), you should be able to drive to your departure port.

  • The small- to medium-sized ships are able to dock in some of the world's smaller ports.

  • Fred. offers itineraries all over the world, including some rivers such as the Amazon and Guadalquivir, in Andalucia, Spain.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • Two of the four ships are based in Tilbury, in Essex, a third in Bristol, and a fourth operates around Australia.
  • To and from Australia and round-Australia cruises as well as Baltic and Northern Europe cruises.
  • It also offers river cruises on a handful of European river cruise ships.
  • CMV offers a wide range of short-break cruises.


Junior Suite on Magellan

What's the accommodation like?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • The ships are all old, but have been through a number of refurbishments over the years.

  • Cabin size can vary hugely, with the Braemar starting at a snug 130 sq ft while standard size on Black Watch can reach 200 sq ft.
  • Boudicca features 21 categories of accommodation up to its cavernous 736 sq ft Owners Suite.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • Decor in the Astor and Marco polo is traditional old-school cruise styling, while more recent renovations on Astoria and Magellan has modernized their quarters.

  • Standard cabins on most ships start at around 135-40 sq ft, though outside cabins with portholes can be as small as 117 sq ft.

  • Many of the line's suite-level accommodation features marble bathrooms, some with whirlpool tubs.

What are the dining options?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • Usually two or three free traditional dining rooms with both buffet and waiter service in most. Fare is international with plenty of British favourites.

  • Passengers still change for dinner (black tie on formal nights) and the highlight of each evening is a five-course meal.

  • For-fee dining comes in the form of The Grill on most ships with a premium a la carte menu.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • Similarly straightforward dining comprising two main eateries - the Waldorf Restaurant and the Bistro, on Magellan.

  • While little experimental or avant-garde, food is good-quality cuisine from around the world.

  • Speciality dining is very limited across the line, with only the Astor providing two alternative restaurant to the standard options.
Pool Deck on Magellan

What's each line's idea of fun?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • Passengers in search of around the clock action should look elsewhere - these ships are about gentle, old-style cruising activities.

  • The Neptune Lounge is the hub of activities on all four ships, offering a wholesome selection of live music, tribute acts and various cabaret-style shows.

  • Decent enrichment programmes includes the likes of the ever-popular ballroom dancing classes, as well as various seminars, workshops and presentations.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • Entertainment programmes fashioned for a more mature British cruise passenger, e.g. plenty of revues, pub quizzes and Bridge sessions.

  • Enrichment comes in the form of guest speakers such as destination experts and maritime historians.

Live show at the Astor Lounge on a CMV cruis

What's the nighttime entertainment like?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • You'll find live music in many of the ships' bars and lounges of an evening.
  • Karaoke is usually on offer in the Lido Lounge bar or Coral Club.
  • While you'll find nightly discos on most ships, they don't tend to be overly attended.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • Evening shows feature accomplished dancers and singers, but don't expect anything too flashy.
  • Bars and lounges offer classical duos and cabaret-style performers most evenings.
  • Little or nothing in way of discos or karaoke - late-night reveling not a forte.
mature cruisers in a hot tub on Balmoral

How well are families catered for?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • Three of the four ships have just enough activity programmes to keep the little ones entertained.
  • Don't expect anything particularly hi-tech with activities tending towards the ilk of arts and crafts, discos, and treasure hunts.
  • The Boudicca is not a ship for children, and there are no kid-friendly facilities.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • With only one ship allowing children onboard, and that not providing any child-friendly activities, families with kids should definitely look elsewhere.

How does pricing compare?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • Onboard bar prices are very reasonable, and around the same or sometimes less what you'd expect to pay on land.
  • Shore excursions are also generally competitively priced.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

  • Drinks also priced low compared to your average UK bar or pub.
  • Aimed at the budget-conscious traveller you'd be hard-placed to find a line offering cheaper sailings in the UK.