3 Fred. Olsen Black Watch Holiday Cruise Reviews

My husband and I had the worst cruise in 25 years of cruising. We were due to leave Southampton on 20th December but the Captain announced that due to heavy storms we would have to stay in port overnight and leave the following afternoon. ... Read More
My husband and I had the worst cruise in 25 years of cruising. We were due to leave Southampton on 20th December but the Captain announced that due to heavy storms we would have to stay in port overnight and leave the following afternoon. We have subsequently discovered that we believe the delay was due to technical problems with the ship, bearing in mind this ship had a 2 day breakdown on the previous cruise, and a further breakdown on the following cruise. So because we were late leaving, our stop in Madeira was cancelled and our first stop would be Barbados after 11 sea days. We actually sailed past Madeira half a day later than scheduled so we could have had a stop there. The P&O ship Aurora left Southampton on the day we were due to leave so how did that ship weather the storm.? We could have left on time we were sure if the ship was mechanically fit. The first week onboard was a nightmare, the weather was awful and a lot of passengers were seasick, me included, I couldn't wait to reach a port, any port. The captain announced that we were only going to be able to have three and a half days port stops instead of the scheduled seven stops. We emailed Fred Olsen to show our disappointment and eventually the port stops were extended a bit, but still only 4 and a half days, everyone was disgusted. On top of all this people were so upset at having to pay £2 a day to have their dining time changed, it is an absolute ripoff. People should ask for the opposite sitting to the one they want because it is a money spinner for Fred. Then they closed one of the bars for 4or5 daysto redecorate it, can you beleive this. The next bombshell was workmen turned up and started moving a companionway on two decks. There was drilling and sawing all day for days on end, and tarpaulin coverings which looked so shabby, So many people complained that they stopped daytime work and started nightwork on both decks.You couldn't make it up. So many people couldn't sleep with the noise that the workmen went back to daytime work. It was so disrespectful to all the passengers onboard, no compensation was offered, not even a complementary bottle of wine on each table. Can you imagine it, sitting on deck, or eating lunch on deck and looking at men working on your deck and the one below, I could go on and on about our total disappointment with this cruise, the food was very average, not up to previous Fred Olsen cruises. We have cruised with P&O, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Princess and never ever experienced anything like this. We have used Fred Olsen cruises for years, we are gold members, and have always recommended them as good value for money and really lovely waiters, cabin crew and reception staff, in fact all the crew have always been exceptional, but since old Fred handed over to young Fred it has all gone to pot, it is such a shame. I really think because of all these cutbacks and lack of consideration for their passengers enjoyment that their days are numbered. We are very upset by this and so are many other Fred Olsen passengers that we know. Bring back original Fred please. I would never cruise on the Black watch again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Smooth and well organised embarkation, nice welcome from staff as we entered the ship. The cabin was spacious with ample storage, we had a wardrobe each with space for shoes & suitcases, the cabin was clean & tidy and the beds were ... Read More
Smooth and well organised embarkation, nice welcome from staff as we entered the ship. The cabin was spacious with ample storage, we had a wardrobe each with space for shoes & suitcases, the cabin was clean & tidy and the beds were really comfortable, the cabin steward made up our beds and cleaned the cabin whilst we were at lunch & dinner. The highlight for me was the standard and quality of the food served at all meals, our table waiter (Danzil)was first class friendly & very professional what we really liked was that the staff had time to stop and chat unlike the P&O staff on our last cruise who were surly and too busy to care.The soups served at lunch & dinner were hot extremely tasty and well presented, the meals were good sized portions and were always hot and well presented (unlike the lukewarm effort one gets with P&O). Entertainment wasn't always to our choice but the 3 shows we did choose to watch were excellent, I would say that the majority of passengers went to most of the nightly shows. The weather wasn't always good enough to have a sail away party when leaving ports but the one we did have was great fun and we were even given complimentary rum punch unlike P&O who charge an average of £3.50 per drink. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation we were driving out of Dover within 1 hour of getting up and we even had time for breakfast! We will certainly be going with Fred.Olsen again they seem to have everything right, the ships are not the huge liners that one sees these days but for quality of service, food and the right balance of all day entertainment small is definitely beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
For this cruise to the Red Sea for Petra in Jordan ,we travelled to the NEC Cruise Show in October 2010.We were informed the ship was almost full and we were offered a total of 4 cabins to choose from.We thought we received a reasonable ... Read More
For this cruise to the Red Sea for Petra in Jordan ,we travelled to the NEC Cruise Show in October 2010.We were informed the ship was almost full and we were offered a total of 4 cabins to choose from.We thought we received a reasonable discount on brochure price until in February 2011 we were given an additional fuel charge ,this almost wiped out the discount from the cruise show. Seemingly there were many cancellations for this cruise presumably because of the unsettled situation in the middle east,therefore there became available many late deals.Yes i am aware that shipping Co's must try and fill available cabins as they don't wish to sail with empty space,i also know that cabins were sold for half the price we paid .This is not my main gripe but the additional fuel charge still rancour's ,i know for a fact that the late Booker's despite the reduced price for the cruise did not pay this additional fuel charge,and those who did were subsidising these half price travellers. CAN THIS BE RIGHT? That off my chest,This Cruise was Fantastic and everything we had expected There was some doubt as to whether we would be able to stop at the planned ports in Egypt.The Captain gave us updates as we sailed towards Alexandria,as after we had left the UK there was the COPTIC MASSACRE.However we were assured that the tours planned would be undertaken. Our tours were in ALEXANDRIA,CAIRO and GIZA,LUXOR and VALLEY of the KINGS,and from Sharm El Sheikh a Trip to ST CATHERINES MONASTERY.On all these coach tours we were accompanied by an Armed Plain Clothes Policeman,in Alexandria we had in addition Police Motorbike Outriders who preceded us and stopped traffic to let us pass.To Cairo [from PORT SAID]we went in convoy of 5 coaches with additional forces in jeeps interspersed between the coaches to the outskirts of the area ,however there were plenty of security present at Giza Pyramids and Cairo Museum,also at the Temples of Karnak ,Luxor and the Valley [FRom SAFAGA]. No we did not feel intimidated at all and felt that we were being taken care of under special circumstances existing [i have been to Egypt Twice Before].Lucky for us we managed to get to Petra in Jordan which was the main reason in booking this cruise and one to mark off "our to do list",and it was well worth our expectation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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 3.5
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 4.4

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