31 Fred. Olsen Black Watch Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

Cruising with Fred Olsen ships really is like setting sail in an old peoples home - but there are no noisy kids running around, no rowdiness or bad behaviour and this is why we enjoy it so much. The Black Watch is a small ship with around ... Read More
Cruising with Fred Olsen ships really is like setting sail in an old peoples home - but there are no noisy kids running around, no rowdiness or bad behaviour and this is why we enjoy it so much. The Black Watch is a small ship with around 800 passengers but this is so much better than the super cruisers with thousands of people on board. The crew were all polite and efficient and the ship although now 40 years old, has bags of character. The cabins (we were on deck 5)are adequate though not luxurious but kept spotlessly clean and the beds very comfortable. Food was superb with plenty of choice. Fish and chips on the Marquee deck not to be missed. Nightly entertainment in the Neptune lounge was good overall but I preferred the featured entertainers to the Black Watch Show Company, where the quality of the singers was somewhat variable. The biggest gripe we have with Fred Olsen is the shore tours, which are way overpriced for what they deliver. We did the St Petersburg organised trips because of Russian visa restrictions but chose to do our own thing in other destinations. Fred Olsen could provide much more information for those wanting to go ashore independently, such as nearest buses & taxis, what currencies are accepted and maps or locations of things to see and do. They seem to take the attitude, if you're not paying for our organised trips, then tough - find out for yourselves! They even had the cheek to charge £10 per person for a shuttle bus in Copenhagen because our berth was changed to one further out of the city centre. Otherwise, the weather was great and we had a fantastic time in the Batic. We look forward to travelling with Fred Olsen again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
From booking, to embarkation, to leaving........Fred Olsen had it totally organised so totally stress free. The cabin was clean and spacious. Entertainment was varied and high standard. Food.......what can I say about the food! ... Read More
From booking, to embarkation, to leaving........Fred Olsen had it totally organised so totally stress free. The cabin was clean and spacious. Entertainment was varied and high standard. Food.......what can I say about the food! Wonderful, delicious,presented beautifully. Having little will power I admit to expansion of waist line! The food was consistently superb. The destinations were great, sometimes felt that more time was needed but good taster for future holidays. Lots of useful information provided and excellent trips organised.Shuttle bus service was good for a bit of independence to explore on our own. Staff can not be praised enough. They consistently went the extra mile. They were professional, friendly, helpful and added so much to our overall holiday experience. Sad saying farewell to so many new friends. We are totally hooked on cruise holidays and will most definately use Fred Olsen again. Thank you to the entire team for a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Cruise to the Baltics of Fred Olsen Black Watch We had first travelled on this ship a few years ago, and like returning to a comfy cardie we were back. This time we had booked a balcony suite. If you are thinking of booking one, book ... Read More
Cruise to the Baltics of Fred Olsen Black Watch We had first travelled on this ship a few years ago, and like returning to a comfy cardie we were back. This time we had booked a balcony suite. If you are thinking of booking one, book the one we went for 9902. The actual cabin is the same size as the other balcony suites but you also get a 2nd bedroom. This meant hubby had the 2 wardrobes in there and I had 3 double wardrobes for my clothes-me over pack-never!! Next to the lifts but we never ever heard a thing. In fact it is one of the quietest cabins we have ever had. Unbelievably we had the same table for 2 that we had the first time we had cruised on BW 5 years ago. Food was very good. Soups always delicious. Some of the courses were missing something -I had a mushroom volavont one evening and you had that a couple of sliced veg and that was it-no potatoes/rice of any sort. I felt that for a main course it was a little lacking. After that I learnt to have a soup and salad course-happy then. The cruise was eventful for different reasons-we had a total power cut just prior to the Kiel Canal, amazing reason why it happened, but it meant that we were 4-5 hours late for Copenhagen. Instead of late am/early pm arrival there, we arrived at 5pm. Everything worked ok after that with wonderful weather. Captain nearly got arrested for setting of the alarms at the Hermitage 3 times..I do have to say though even for that he was one of the best Captains we have ever had. A real people person. On the last captains cocktail party we learnt we had consumed 17,500 eggs during the cruise, which was pretty good going as they only had one chicken on board. Came back via the Skagerrak channel. (over the top of Denmark) As per the captains prediction at 2am we hit the North Sea and a force 8-bit like a washing machine-husband slept through it somehow. Things quietened down later in the day though. Entertainment -only made it to one evening show. However there was a harpist on board and her concerts were lovely. I think we only missed one of them. Things I was not overjoyed about....... I think the room stewardesses must have been cut down, so the ones who are left have to do more cabins. Ours was very good, and she alternated ends so sometime we were first and sometimes last-but when we were last it could be up to 2pm before our room was done, The bathroom had windows into the cabin. A design statement I guess ,(they had blinds so you could not see in) however if I needed the bathroom in the night ,and put the light on-it woke husband up as the light shone through the blinds.. The bathtub is very small. I am only short, but after attempting 2 baths in it-I gave up and stuck to shower. We have ticked the Baltics now. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We are the sort who holiday in the quietest, remotest areas so we were nervous but decided this was the way to see the fjiords. What a revelation! Booking a suite with a balcony was definitely the way to go and worth every penny. I spent ... Read More
We are the sort who holiday in the quietest, remotest areas so we were nervous but decided this was the way to see the fjiords. What a revelation! Booking a suite with a balcony was definitely the way to go and worth every penny. I spent hours just sitting in privacy watching the mountains and rivers go by. We had no noise problems from other cabins nor at night which surprised us. We could be as private or involved as we wanted to be and the staff on the Black Watch were all wonderful without exception.We enjoyed the smaller size of the Black Watch and have decided we wouldn't like anything much bigger, especially after seeing one or two around the fjiords.Our only criticism was that it did seem silly to stop at Stavanger, where there were more shops, on a Sunday when all was closed, instead of a week day when we stopped at small places with very few shops but that might not be up to the cruiseline.We found Fred Olsen staff helpful and had absolutely no problems.Put it like this - we have already booked another one for 2012! We have even found one from the north of england which saves us going down to Dover although we had no problems with any of that either. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
It was with some misgiving that we booked our cruise on a smaller and older ship than we had previously sailed on but we needn't have had any doubts. From the moment we checked in to the moment we disembarked we were delighted with ... Read More
It was with some misgiving that we booked our cruise on a smaller and older ship than we had previously sailed on but we needn't have had any doubts. From the moment we checked in to the moment we disembarked we were delighted with the friendly welcome and service we received and with the whole ambiance of the Black Watch. Yes, it was an older ship and this couldn't be disguised but the interiors were very tasteful and fresh and there were so many delightful nooks and crannies both inside and out where you could watch the throng or be quiet and peaceful. The cabin (our first without a balcony) was amazingly light and bright and contained everything we required and the beds were supremely comfortable. The food was very good throughout with the meat and fish being particularly outstanding. A full silver service wasn't offered in the dining room (presumably due to lack of space) but we didn't find it an issue. There was sometimes a small amount of confusion at breakfast when wanting to mix and match between waiter and self-service but it soon resolved itself because the staff were all so charming and so willing to please. This attitude was reflected throughout the ship. Nothing was too much trouble and I never saw a sulky face in the whole 8 days. We had both a Welcome and a Farewell Captain's party, both extremely good with a wide range of drinks on offer plus delicious canapes and very funny speeches from the Captain. Also we got to sit down which was much more pleasant than standing. The entertainment from the resident troupe was terrific. A very skillful choreographer had chosen some wonderfully varied themes thus allowing varied forms of song and dance which really showed off the talents of the dancers and singers. The one area of disappointment for us was the poor quality of the ballroom dancing. The dance floor was very small and the music provided (both live and recorded) was played at a speed which made for totally uninspiring dancing - we gave up. We also very much enjoyed the entertainment by the ship's crew on one evening - much of it comprising charming and beautiful dances from the Philippines. Of the other facilities, we very much enjoyed the observation lounge at the front of the ship where a pianist played beautifully in the evenings and I enjoyed the swimming pool although, due to the fact that there was no shallow end, my husband who is not a confident swimmer, did not join me. We took two excursions, one on the spectacular Flam railway and onto Voss where we had a superb lunch before rejoining the ship at Gudvangen and the second from Olden over the Dalsnibba mountain to Geranger where we took a wonderful ferry trip along this most spectacular of fjords. Port 2 not listed in drop-down list. Alesund. Truly unique architecture in Art Noveau style. Town rebuilt after fire in 1904. Do climb (418 steps) or drive up to the mountain lodge which sits on a bluff overlooking the town and local area. Descriptive boards up there explain that Alesund is situated on a series of islands, many of which are linked by tunnels. Visit delightful town museum and the Jugendstil Centre which tells you all about the Art Noveau period. Rating: 5 Port 3 not listed in drop-down list. Stavanger. Visit the old quarter where all the houses are white, made of wood and set in beautiful little gardens along old cobbled streets. The town museum is very extensive covering many aspects. Parts of the town are still full of wooden buildings. Rating: 5 Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
After more than 50 years of marriage of two people with disparate natures, the cruise to the Baltic offered the prospect of finding a mutually rewarding experience. This proved to be true- to say the least. The Black Watch was small ... Read More
After more than 50 years of marriage of two people with disparate natures, the cruise to the Baltic offered the prospect of finding a mutually rewarding experience. This proved to be true- to say the least. The Black Watch was small enough to reach isolated ports, with a reasonably small group of like-minded travellers. Single dining rooms and masterful activities. The service was superb and the generous,top class meals embarassingly good. The embarassment caused solely by quantity not quality. Excersions were well taken in Denmark, Estonia, Germany and Russia. The quaint Danish port and market in Kalundborg, the delightful port in Estonia where my lack of attention let my purse be stolen(but quickly returned intact by a kindly villager-not police),Swedish/ German efficiency and Russian oppulance. St Petersburg was a revelation in grandeur and magnificance provided by a Russian guide with excellent English. While we learnt from her about Russian bloody history she learned from us many slang expressions not covered in English dictionaroies The on board entertainment was first class; the main comedian managed to get the crowded theatre laughing heartedly-without any smutty jokes and the troupe of dancers were pretty, young and delightful. Classical piano playing complemented continuous light music in the various lounges and bars. I even managed to play some duplicate bridge in the afternoons while my less-active wife read or attended interesting talks. A very good holiday which suited us both. I'm hoping to find another opportunity to find another suitable cruise which will cater for our respective interests. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Black Watch Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.4
Family 2.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 4.4

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