3 Fred. Olsen Black Watch Middle East Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. ... Read More
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. The food was okay (safe/boring) but the main dining room tried to mix buffet service with (if you were lucky) a menu service. The staff work hard but appear to be too few - there were many times that I was offered ground pepper or sauces when I'd practically finished my meal, and cheese would arrive long before the biscuits to put it on. The public rooms/bars are more like corridors and none of the seating is very comfortable. The entertainment was good, especially some of the guest entertainers, however the lack of a stage meant that you could not see the feet of the tap dancer. My cabin was perfectly okay and just as described (although I did wonder how some of the many larger guests managed in the small single beds). It is what it is ... a cruise for "old" people - not necessarily judged by years but by attitudes and the type of social activities offered. The saving graces were the few good films on offer in the cinema, some of the speakers, especially James Fraser who gave talks on photography and using your camera (and phone camera!) and the staff themselves who were generally very happy and friendly. For my next cruise i will hopefully return to Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single ... Read More
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single occupancy basis. It was clean, comfortable and had plenty of storage space. The air conditioning was flexible and effective. It had the additional bonus of a bath tub. The cabin stewardess kept the cabin spotlessly clean by servicing it twice daily. I found the food excellent throughout this long cruise. Normally I ate in the main restaurant but I had the occasional early breakfast in the Garden Cafe and the odd lunch at the Marquee Grill. The speciality evenings (Indian, Thai etc) in the Garden Cafe were most enjoyable. Wine prices remain very competitive. The daytime entertainment followed the normal cruise pattern. There were some very interesting talks by guest lecturers.The classical concerts were of a high standard. Evening cabarets were mixed, some good and some pretty poor but it is very much a personal taste. The occasional local shows brought on board at ports of call were most entertaining.Who could forget the belly dancer in Egypt? The ship's group of singers and dancers put on some lively and enjoyable performances. I booked several shore excursions prior to leaving home. Most of these proved very interesting, some were memorable. I have particularly fond memories of a day trip sailing on the Gambia River, the deserts of Namibia, Robben Island and the parks in RSA, the backwaters in Cochin India, Al Ain and the grand mosque in Abu Dhabi, Oman, the gorgeous beach in Aqaba Jordan, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and the visits to Ephesus in Turkey and Seville in Spain. The security arrangements on board to protect it when sailing through the dangerous waters close to Somalia were most impressive. Happily, there were no attacks by pirates. As usual the staff on board made the cruise as far as I was concerned. They are friendly, efficient and always cheerful. Whether it was in the restaurants, bars or or in the cabins the service was first class. I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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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