4 Fred. Olsen Black Watch Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Europe - All

Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have ... Read More
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have to pay extra. Fred Olsen want extra money all the time, 10 pounds each for shuttle bus in Lanzarote, 16 pounds for 5 cappuccinos. My husband had a fall & was helped by a member of the bar staff, an officer walked by & ignored us. Same happened to a very frail lady, the Hotel manager just walked past her. We had been to all the ports before so didn't take any trips, which like all cruises are hugely overpriced. cabin was very comfy, we paid extra for a window, & we were well looked after by our lovely stewardess. The sea water swimming pool was lovely, nice & warm, a bit deep at 7 ft 1 end & nearly 6 at shallow end. Arriving back in Liverpool, was great, we were home within 45 minutes, a big bonus. Overall a good cruise, the weather could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose this cruise as it sailed from Rosyth and expected to see Paris. First, £95 to park on wasteland, extortionate. No complaints about the ship. Dining and service in restaurant excellent. However, refused entry to restaurant on 2 ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it sailed from Rosyth and expected to see Paris. First, £95 to park on wasteland, extortionate. No complaints about the ship. Dining and service in restaurant excellent. However, refused entry to restaurant on 2 formal evenings as not wearing jacket and tie and had to queue for 15 minutes to get a seat in the buffet. Our cruise was ruined due to the continuous loud noises of welding, grinding and hammering coming from below our cabin. Had to complain twice before we were offered a SINGLE cabin where we could go to escape the noise and read, watch tv or have a nap. Unfortunately it was next to a staff only door, with staff constantly in and out banging door. Also offered £400 compensation and asked not to tell anyone. Docked in Guernsey on a Sunday, everything closed, no chance of "stocking up on duty free or low tax goods". Bus to La Rochele, Fred Olsen £20, local bus from dock gates e1.30. Lorient, booked excursion "scenic tour of Brittainy", £48 each, 4 hour "rip off" trip, spent 2h 10ms on the bus, first stop for 20 mins to see an island which most of the elderly passengers hadn't even the time to cross the small bridge, next stop was to stand for 20 mins looking at standing stones. Last stop to quaint village with streets too steep, which meant bus late in leaving. Only chance of seeing Paris if went on £220 a head excursion. Even after we got home money taken out of bank account for Premium drinks that we did not have. Still await refund and apology. A cruise that catered more for the elderly, included Saga passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Never had visited areas before. History of all locations fascinated us and we wanted to see modern developments in the areas which had been rejuvenated post war. Although the ship was forced to anchor some distance from Helgoland ... Read More
Never had visited areas before. History of all locations fascinated us and we wanted to see modern developments in the areas which had been rejuvenated post war. Although the ship was forced to anchor some distance from Helgoland port the weather was kind and we managed to land by tender, in excellent conditions (which were a rarity for the island ). Walked around a fascinating laid back almost Scandanavian retreat . No cars or buses, delivery vehicles were all electric! Hamburg has a modern Hafen -City port, with centre easily reached by Ubahn.Architecture and area around Alster lake outstanding. The night time trip on the lake on a vintage steamer called the St Georg was memorable. Sailing, rowing and canoeing was still going on in the dusk.The new , very modern Philharmonie building near the cruise terminal offered free entry to viewing platform over the Elbe. The trip up the Weser from Bremerhaven showed Germany’s industrial redevelopment , container terminals, factories, ship building etc all featured. Although we berthed 7 km from the old town , buses took us into the centre in 30 minutes . The Town Square with the gabled builings, the Rathaus, St Peters Church wre very photogenic. However for us the main attraction was Stutting and the Art Deco buildings lesding down to the river. The Schnoor area had many pretty old alleys with typical Olde Worlde shops and houses.Although it was rather “touristy” with many souvenir shops. The Black Watch crise ship had been recently refurbished and our cabin was a compltete delight , decorated in turquoise and cream .Toilet and shower room had been tadtefully refitted too. Lifts and stairways were easily acessible and rarely crowded. Entertainment from the resident troupers was good. The guest violinist was outstanding too. Compliments were given personally to the head chef- his menus were varied and of high quality. To cap it all the North Sea was flat calm in both diirections and the sun shone when we were at sea. We would recommend this cruise whole heartedly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Taste of Iceland (and Faroes). Third F.O cruise. We have gradually moved up decks each cruise and travelled paying near top-price for a suite this time. Four negative experiences took the edge of an otherwise excellent cruise. ... Read More
Taste of Iceland (and Faroes). Third F.O cruise. We have gradually moved up decks each cruise and travelled paying near top-price for a suite this time. Four negative experiences took the edge of an otherwise excellent cruise. They were: 1. F.O's paper map (and website) detailed the approach to the Rosyth port as via the town from the north. Like others including taxi drivers we found this was out of date - a barbed wire perimeter fence is erected across F.O's map! Actual port access is two miles to the east via a new flyover and roundabout (much closer to the M90/Forth bridge in fact). Should have trusted the car's GPS and ignored the cruise operator's information. Admittedly the basic nature of Rosyth as a cruise terminal was described in advance but the bomb site-like nature of the long stay car park was not. We unloaded our luggage like all the others in the open and left it there with a promise it would be collected. We hoped so. A bus to the terminal and another bus to the ship worked reasonably well though. It would have been soaked if it had been raining on embarkation or disembarkation. 2. Two examples of really snappy and rude catering staff this time, unlike before. We pad the extra for the Afternoon Tea but were greeted by someone in charge who clearly was rattled by not being ready for us/tea. We sat in an overcrowded lounge with other non-tea taking passengers who not unreasonably wanted to enjoy the views of leaving the Faroes. They/he was just not ready to serve tea. The scones are a minuscule mouthful by the way, someone saving half a penny per passenger? Second was a disbelieving steward in the Orchid Room restaurant (a rather pointless annex off the main dining room we thought) who demanded to see the paper proof we were entitled to eat in there in front of the guests and left us standing while he checked up on someone's error. We were right, settings had to then be provided. Did he say sorry? Fortunately our table partners were excellent company for the nine days. 3. Service in the Orchid Room came nowhere near the high standards we enjoyed on the previous two cruises: indifferent, error-prone, lacking any meaningful contact with the guests, what a difference. No extra tip this time. 4. Shore tours. In summary, these were rushed, time at advertised destinations minimal and in one case not as advertised. We booked for five, one at each port. The first one to the Skalanes Nature reserve (tour D), was advertised with a half page picture of running reindeer and a description including the 45 types of bird on the reserve. When we eventually got there after an unnecessary tour of the port town and a forced change of buses (to a fwd one), we saw ten domesticated ducks and a labrador dog. No host in sight, no wildlife, no information to hand - a case of riding the Icelandic tourism boom? Take the money and…The refreshments were pleasant but slight and it seemed somewhat comical having 35 people wandering around a domestic house and grounds looking for a toilet…Our local tour guide was otherwise very good though. (£88 each). Second tours fault - rushed - we had a bare 45 minutes in the hot volcanic spring pools at two locations, spent hours getting there on the coach and could easily have set off earlier with proper planning. A mere 45 minutes in the Blue Lagoon after allowing for the rigorous changing room procedures out of a port stay of over nine hours just isn't good enough. (£72 each). Similarly, a visit to an interesting botanical garden (not the oldest one as the F.O guide says, we discovered), was honed down to 20 minutes out of three hours, and eight of those minutes were taken up walking to/from the separate coach park. Pretty poor really. One cruise highlight. The captain stopping (near enough) in the fjord leaving Akureyri to watch for whales, who duly obliged, one Ridgeback surfacing right alongside the ship just below us on the open boat deck. Fantastic. Saved £70 each on a whale-watching boat trip. Of the elderly ship, all is spotless and one would be hard-pressed to find a single dent, scrape or paint blemish. Imagine having to mildly grumble about the smell of polish on the handrails. The ship's company show was again the best feature of the organised evening entertainment we thought. Unlike the previous two cruises, the photographer made noticeably less effort to be creative/take money off us! Not even one attempt to sell us some expensive picture frames! The coffee shop inserted into the library lounge on this and the other ships provided excellent coffees at not unreasonable prices with exquisite attention to detail from the staff. Good while it lasts. This ship had suffered a fire and lost a cruise earlier this summer. One wishes the F.O formula will go on forever but maybe the supply of retired Brits will diminish as the four old or ageing ships reach withdrawal dates? We booked another cruise while on board. Make the most of it while it lasts. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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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