39 Fred. Olsen Boudicca Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

We boarded Boudicca at the beginning of August in Dover for her Fjords of Greenland cruise. We had booked a superior outside cabin but were upgraded to a junior suite some weeks before departure. This cabin, 5009, was at the front of the ... Read More
We boarded Boudicca at the beginning of August in Dover for her Fjords of Greenland cruise. We had booked a superior outside cabin but were upgraded to a junior suite some weeks before departure. This cabin, 5009, was at the front of the ship and was large, warm and very comfortable. The only noise to be heard was as the ship dropped anchor or used its bow thrusters. We were due to go north to Reykjavik up the west coast of Ireland but because of a severe storm in the Atlantic Captain Degerlund opted to sail the calmer waters of the North Sea. The overnight stay in Reykjavik was pleasant and having been before we chose to wander from the shuttle bus into town to visit the sights on both days. The ship sailed onto Greenland passing through the magnificent Prins Christiansund and Terssukatok to the first of three tiny ports, Qaqortoq. Here we tendered in to a small town for a wander. The following day we docked in Narsarsuag and took an excursion across the stunning bay to visit Erik the Red’s Viking ruins. Our final stop was Nanortalik, another tender port where the hospitable locals had laid on a choir in the impressive church, a kayak display and access to museum housed across many buildings. All the time icebergs floated by and the ship paused at massive glaciers en route. After returning through Prins Christiansund the final port of call was Kirwall in the Orkneys. Here we took an excursion with splendid guide, Kathleen, to Skara Brae, Skaill House and the Ring of Brodgar passing the impressive expanse of Scapa Flow on the way. Unfortunately we had no time to explore Kirwall itself as the ship was scheduled to arrive late and depart early. As is the case for out of the ordinary destinations, Fred laid on a wide range of lectures and there were the usual sea day activities. We did have one complaint: many of the public rooms were very cold, not ideal in a cold climate. However Boudicca looks good after her recent refurbishment and her crew provided excellent friendly service as always. We continue to feel that Fred’s Guest Services are the best in the business. Cruise Director Tim Spicer provided a breath of fresh air and as with the Captain was most approachable. One final point, the weather was good in all ports of call, particularly in Greenland where we able to take some stunning images. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this ... Read More
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this one on Boudicca I received a phone call advising that we had a complimentary upgrade to a 7th deck cabin with terrace and wet room. When we opened the cabin door, Wow!!! So much space - the wet room was brilliant as well. We have never been disappointed with the dining rooms on any of the ships - Braemar stands out a mile in particular at lunchtime, with different flavours of diet bread and butter puddings each day! Most excellent waiters and captain waiter. There have been many cruises with great entertainment each night - one in particular (which was not a Fred Olsen). So to this cruise on the Boudicca. We were amazed by the organisation of the timings of the secret garden being open. There were a few mornings when we were too late for the normal breakfasts, but were able to break our fasts there. One day however we arrived just in time for lunch! The variety of food was most welcoming particularly for two diabetics. Our water glasses were topped up frequently and Captain Waiter seemed to take extra care with us (my wife being in a wheelchair). A big thanks there. We were on ship for the majority of the time and had plenty of options to bide away the time in the way that we wanted. Dolphin racing, bingo, quizzes, relaxing and reading and of course eating and the shows. The comedian, whose name I have forgotten was brilliant. Clean and very funny. Hope Fred Olsen has him as a regular. Stress free is a simple way of saying how enjoyable this cruise was. The place we stayed the most was in our cabin. It was excellent. We are not drinkers or pub people, but we did have our diet lemonades to take back to the cabin, where we played Cribbage. THE WATERFALLS AT goodolfusen (can't spell it) were splendiferous. Well worth a visit. I have an old friend and acquaintance who regularly cruises across the Atlantic and back again, without getting off the ship. A bit surprised at this, but now with this latest experience I can well understand why. Sorry Braemar, but you have been knocked off no.1 spot as the best ever cruise. A big thanks for the crew of the Boudicca for helping to make this one the best ever. Thanks Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was ... Read More
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was adequate in size, pleasant decor, very comfortable bed, and efficient shower in the ensuite. The stewardess was very pleasant and efficient, like all the other staff and crew we encountered. There was a good choice of restaurants and bars, with a different ambience in each. The food was superb and the waiting staff very efficient, besides being the pleasantest and friendliest you will meet anywhere. There were plenty of different activities available, from watercolour painting to ballroom dancing, to ukulele playing and on to games like quoits and shuffleboard. Two excellent swimming pools, jacuzzis and a gymnasium catered for the more energetic - you could be as active or as laid-back as you liked. There was a good programme of lectures, plus bridge games, quizzes and even bingo if that is your fancy. There was a good choice of shore excursions, and we enjoyed all three that we chose. We went whale-watching in Akureyri, and were not disappointed. The only quibble I have about that excursion is that it was quite a long walk from the ship to the trip boat. My husband has a heart problem and had difficulty keeping up with the rest of the group, as did another man similarly affected. It would have been better to have a minibus available. The blue lagoon trip we did from Reykjavík was wonderful. We saw a lot of the countryside and had a wonderful soak in a beautiful hot thermal lagoon. In Orkney we visited Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar, passing by Maes Howe and the stones of Stenness, and getting an excellent trip through the surrounding countryside. This was well organised, and a pleasure to experience. We enjoyed this, our first cruise, so much that we have already booked to go to the Baltic with Fred Olsen next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation procedure was smooth as usual and we received our luggage promptly. Our cabins were fairly good, though we disliked the way that the porthole covers stuck out into the room as we liked to have the portholes uncovered on evenings when we had a sea day the following day. In one cabin we were unable to adjust the temperature as the cabin had a double bed and then two fold down beds which were against the wall and stopped us from being able to adjust the temperature to suit ourselves. We got in touch with guest services who came and changed it for us but that wasn't the point - we couldn't do that each time we wanted to change it! The staff in the Four Seasons restaurant couldn't have been more helpful. We had requested a window table but weren't given one, however we mentioned it and were changed to a window table from the next evening. The maitre d'hotel was the perfect mix of professional and friendly and so were the two waiters who served us. The only issue we noticed with the dining was that butterfish was on the menu, this surprised us as it's notorious for causing stomach upsets and so could easily ruin somebodies cruise. We generally didn't take part in the evening entertainment but the British evening was good, very professional. One of the entertainers in particular had an amazing singing voice, he could have been in the West End as he was that good. We enjoyed the talks from the Scottish gentleman who spoke about Iceland, Greenland and (of course) Scotland and were pleased to note that his talks about Iceland and Scotland didn't focus heavily on shopping (obviously they couldn't for Greenland!) but on providing some great local information. Fred Olsen had also arranged for an expert from the University of Cambridge to talk about the geology and culture of the areas that we were visiting, her talks were second to none. Both her and the Scottish gentleman were on deck and would chat to passengers and give out more information at will. When were travelling through the amazing Prins Christian Sund they both spent time on deck and on the bridge giving out some interesting information which enhanced the holiday. Our only disappointment was that Fred Olsen did not arrange an excursion to the ice cap in Greenland. We noticed that there was one from the port we called at but it got back only just before the ship departed and so it wasn't worth the risk of using a third party company as Greenland isn't the easiest of places to arrange a sudden flight from to meet the ship at the next port after all. There were plenty of activities for teenagers and all of the teenagers were pleasant and extremely well behaved as you'd expect on a trip to Greenland. There were four younger children, two were very pleasant whenever we saw them but two were a nuisance, mainly because they were unsupervised by their parents even when in the swimming pool when the younger one was unable to swim. This was the fault of the parents and not the children of course. Embarkation was poor, we sat on the coach for over an hour because the cruise company took all that time to help two guests who needed extra assistance and also managed to misplace their luggage. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Booked mainly as it left from Dover, It could not have been easier to embark, cabin all ready and staff lovely. Nothing was too much trouble from any member of staff, and although our itinerary was unavoidably changed everything was done ... Read More
Booked mainly as it left from Dover, It could not have been easier to embark, cabin all ready and staff lovely. Nothing was too much trouble from any member of staff, and although our itinerary was unavoidably changed everything was done to make our cruise memorable. Shore tours were, in the main, excellent and just around the right length and certainly just as described. Dining was a pleasure with tables not too close, staff attentive and the evening menu varied. The Breakfast & Lunch buffet was very good plus there was an a la carte choice as well. Only downfall [for me] was the evening entertainment, it lacked a lot, but the evening of entertainment from the crew - excellent. Throughout the cruise we were always kept well informed of the days itinerary and shore visits very well organised. Have already booked two more cruises - from Dover of course with very helpful booking from the staff at Fred Olsen offices. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Having had to postpone a river trip in France owing to the current strikes we chose this cruise as we have always wanted to see the remoter parts of the UK by sea. Embarkation was, before time, slick and rapid and we didn't have ... Read More
Having had to postpone a river trip in France owing to the current strikes we chose this cruise as we have always wanted to see the remoter parts of the UK by sea. Embarkation was, before time, slick and rapid and we didn't have to wait long for our luggage to be delivered. We have to recommend Relyon parking in Dover who run a cost effective, cheerful, and efficient service. They are not as convenient as the Port of Dover but the latter's open air car parks are quite vulnerable to any passing storm - but the seagulls do not discriminate between either of them! A bit of confusion about availability of refreshments at boarding. FO said nothing would be available until dinner but in fact there was a good spread available in the Secret Garden Café when we got aboard. The first sea day was inevitably busy as all the port talks had to be covered but as it wasn't a nice day outside that wasn't a problem. Fred's bringing a Scots presenter aboard who was also a qualified lecturer on malt whiskies was also a bonus. Invergordon is rather remote from the sights and is a rather sad town but we learnt that it is the only deep water port for the North West of Scotland north of Edinburgh. Big ships were scheduled all week, and it has been a Royal Navy base in the past, so there is no real alternative. We did an excellent tour encompassing the beautiful house and gardens of Cawdor Castle and the Culloden battlefield. A bonus was that our guide used to be at managed at the latter. Some people felt it was a bit rushed but, if it had been two half day tours maybe they may not have been enough to run either - and of course extending it to a day tour would have increased the cost substantially. Catch 22. Lerwick in Orkney provided an efficient shuttle service for the 2 mile trip to town and the local sights were all accessible by public transport. Lerwick in Shetland is an interesting and busy fishing port and although the berth was two miles from the town a limited shuttle was available. We did a wildlife boat trip to Mousa island which was really interesting with many rare sights. Stornoway in Harris/Lewis is a pleasant town and, as the weather was not only as calm as usual but a lot warmer, our trip to 'The Far North' was well organised and interesting - lots of wildlife and impressive coastal scenery beyond the peat bogs! Tobermory on Mull was a beautiful little tender port. We chose to visit the Abbey on Iona. Apart from an 0630 start, it proved a fascinating day. the 53 mile coach trip over largely single track roads was very well commentated by our guide and the two hours we spent on Iona (after a ferry trip) were very interesting. Tiring but another place off the bucket list. The last port, Dublin, was shared with three other ships so was very busy. The traffic upset many passengers as it caused problems for several tours but we managed a few sites by walking the city centre and found the place enchanting and very friendly. Another hot and sunny day. The last day was a sea day and allowed some relaxation but all in all I don't think you'd do this sort of cruise to have a rest. The passengers were generally elderly but ready for the challenges and we made some good friends. The Captain (Mikael Degerlund) was very hands on and engaging and the two parties he hosted were very amusing and entertaining. He is obviously well liked and at ease with his officers and crew. Boudicca has had a very successful refit and has been nicely modernised. She still rattles a bit as befits her age but everything (other than the new TV system which was very disappointing in its reliability) worked well. We felt uneasy with the arrangements for breakfast and dinner where the default situation was self-service - the waiters would serve you but we wee left with the feeling that they preferred self service. As P&O cruisers we much prefer waiter service but that is simply a matter of taste. We didn't buy the drinks package as we wanted to see if our drinking habits made this an advantage or not from both financial and choice points of view. We actually found DIY cheaper and, as our Ocean's discount didn't apply to the package, distinctly so. We also much preferred to have the choice of anything on the drinks/wine menus. Maybe heavy drinkers may not find it so but to us it appeared that most people were on the package. Our table mates were on it and had to occasionally wait for the waiter to top them up at dinner. However, we really enjoyed the cruise and found the friendliness of the Fred Olsen officers and staff very refreshing. Maybe Fred Olsen overplays the small ship advantages as there is not the choice of facilities available on bigger ships and we have found that small ships are often given the less attractive berths in big-ship ports. We have been on even smaller ships than Fred's and they have had really imaginative itineraries including ports such as the island of Monserrat and Cuba. But Fred is unbeatable in Norwegian 'inner passage', Kiel Canal and river ports (Braemar) itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise to explore Norway and were not disappointed. The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful, the entertainment excellent especially the Boudicca show company. There are plenty of activities onboard for the days you ... Read More
We chose this cruise to explore Norway and were not disappointed. The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful, the entertainment excellent especially the Boudicca show company. There are plenty of activities onboard for the days you are at sea. Once in port I did find that it may be better to arrange your own excursions so you can work to your own timetable. It would have been nice to spend a little longer in some ports such as Bergen in order to explore further. Food was for the most part good and plentiful with plenty of choice. However I would suggest looking at the all inclusive option as my bill was over £700 although that did include some spa treatments and purchases from the shop. We were lucky enough to be invited to dine with the Captain and one of the singers from the show company, Sasha, a very pleasant experience. Disembarking was quite easy and quick. I would definitely recommend Fred Olsen, smaller ships do seem to have advantages. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We joined the ship in Liverpool which is very convenient for us as we live locally, so as we only needed luggage for one week, we were able to get the bus into Liverpool. Apart from the proximity of the port we always like to sail from ... Read More
We joined the ship in Liverpool which is very convenient for us as we live locally, so as we only needed luggage for one week, we were able to get the bus into Liverpool. Apart from the proximity of the port we always like to sail from Liverpool as the terminal is in the city centre so there is no need to sit and wait for embarkation. As usual we went over fairly early in the afternoon, dropped off our cases and checked in and asked about what time we would be able to board the ship. Then we went off into the town to buy some bottled water for the cruise and have a stroll around. On our return we were able to go straight on board and our cases were ready waiting for us. This cruise was around Ireland and had four ports, with two days in Dublin, so there was just one sea day, which was good from our perspective. We had an outside cabin on deck four which I will review below, though I must say here that we had a lot of problems with the air conditioning which was not able to make the temperature any lower than 23C at a minimum and was frequently higher than that even when turned down to the lowest temperature setting. It was also very noisy. We complained, but they could not improve the situation, so we decided to cope with it as the ship was fairly full and there were no other problems with the cabin and it was well placed. We have found that there have been problems with inefficient air conditioning on our last three Fred cruises. Our cabin stewardess was excellent (cabin 4044) The ship was in fairly decent condition for it’s age, but we do not like some aspects of the design, particularly the position of the pool deck, as it was necessary to go through the Neptune lounge to get there and If something was happening in the Neptune the only access to the rest of the ship was via the deck above or below. There was also no outside bar on pool deck, so bar service could be slow. Also the Secret Garden self service restaurant is not big enough for the number of passengers. This is important as the only alternative for dinner was a set early or late sitting and also they closed the main restaurants for breakfast at 9.30am some days, leaving a queue outside The Secret Garden, even coming up to its closing time of 10.00am. The service from the staff was excellent as usual, both in the restaurants and the bars. We do not often go to the shows or use the daytime activities, but enjoy the lounge musicians. On this cruise there was a very good Rosario trio in the Secret Garden Lounge and a good pianist in the observation lounge. On the first night we stayed up for what was billed as the late night disco, starting at 11pm in the Lido lounge and a good atmosphere was obtained there, though at one stage it did look as though the ballroom dancers were going to take over. That did seem very unfair as they had had the chance to dance during much of the earlier night in the Neptune lounge and The Lido had featured 50’s music prior to 11.00pm. Various requests, put what was billed as a disco back on track. For the rest of the cruise the late entertainment in the Lido was often things like Karaoke or game show type entertainments, so there was no further opportunity for disco dancing unfortunately. The musicians in the Lido, where the Mardi Gras Duo, who were not very good and Colin James, who was good, but who tended to do nothing more modern that rock and roll. We do find Fred’s entertainments very disappointing in that respect, especially when you consider that people who were in their teens in the fifties are now well in their mid seventies. I am not suggesting that they should not cater for ballroom dancing and rock and roll, but do not see why that should be to the exclusion of anything more modern. Fred’s passengers are older than average compared to other cruises, but many are below seventy five! The cold food buffets for breakfast and lunch were quite good, but the dinner’s (particularly the hot food) was quite poor at times. The soups were largely tasteless and, for instance, carrot and coriander showed no sign of either carrot or coriander. A chicken curry turned out to be a piece of hard, previously cooked chicken with a curry sauce spooned on top and a salmon pasta was pasta with a sauce and an extremely hard, dry almost crispy, overcooked piece of salmon just put on top. Some other things were OK, but I would not have called anything I had particularly good, which is a great shame as one thing Fred could always be relied upon for was good food. Overall, I would say we enjoyed the cruise, but largely because of the ports, rather than the cruise experience. At least Fred still go to less visited ports which we appreciate. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
the title says it all, really. It was our first cruise and, within a few days we were hooked. The food was good and varied. The crew were excellent .... always smiling, always polite and attentive, quick to learn our names and tastes. ... Read More
the title says it all, really. It was our first cruise and, within a few days we were hooked. The food was good and varied. The crew were excellent .... always smiling, always polite and attentive, quick to learn our names and tastes. Hygiene was a priority. Antiseptic dispensers for your hands were situated at the gangway and at the entrance to the restaurants (with a crew member checking) as well as at other points in the ship. Handrails were regularly cleaned by the crew. Entertainment was good with a choice of several performers through the day and a show at night. Ports visited were well chosen and with a good selection of shore tours. Very comfortable bed in our pleasant cabin. Looking forward to our next cruise aboard Boudicca. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We wanted to see the Solar Eclipse, Northern Lights, Arctic Circle etc. It was fantastic! The talks were informative and useful; staff marvellous and the food was really well presented and varied. We met some wonderful people and ... Read More
We wanted to see the Solar Eclipse, Northern Lights, Arctic Circle etc. It was fantastic! The talks were informative and useful; staff marvellous and the food was really well presented and varied. We met some wonderful people and visited great places. The eclipse was the highlight and thanks to the excellent captain and the scientists on board we got a great view of it. All the trips we did we were well organised and provided experiences that were truly memorable. The husky dog trip and the ice hotel were particularly excellent. The cabin was creaky and noisy but the staff moved us to a better cabin and were really helpful.Although we were low down in the ship the journey was fine and we were very grateful for our cabin when we passed through a hurricane! The entertainment was first class and we enjoyed playing table tennis and taking part in the daily quiz. All together it was one of the best cruises ever! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The highlights of the cruise were to see the Northern Lights and the total eclipse and I saw both, but the experience didn't stop there. The service provided by the crew was excellent and the staff were, with only one or two ... Read More
The highlights of the cruise were to see the Northern Lights and the total eclipse and I saw both, but the experience didn't stop there. The service provided by the crew was excellent and the staff were, with only one or two exceptions, very friendly. I would have to say that the captain did a heroic job steering the ship into a patch of good weather with absolutely immaculate timing - it was cloudy just before the total eclipse and just after but for the main event it was perfect, almost like the ship had rolled away the curtains before and back afterwards. Absolutely fabulous once in a lifetime view. Even without that I would have enjoyed the trip. The food was superb, there were plenty of on-board interests and activities of just unwinding and reading. My wife had been with me on a previous cruise with another company and really hated it, but my description of this one made her seriously consider flying out to join me at Tromso. They would have let her but she chickened out at the last minute, but after my description of the eclipse wishes she had now. However she got me to book a further cruise this year also on the Boudicca. The only thing that spoiled it was that I sprained my foot falling down the stairs early on but that wasn't really anyone's fault. I was unable to go on two of the planned trips which involved a lot of walking. If I were going again I wouldn't take a pre-paid excursion as they don't refund them even for medical reasons if you can't go. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My husband and I are veteran cruisers, and this was our 35th cruise and 7th with Fred Olsen. We had been on the Boudicca before, in 2008, so we were looking forward to being back on board this lovely little ship again. Embarkation at ... Read More
My husband and I are veteran cruisers, and this was our 35th cruise and 7th with Fred Olsen. We had been on the Boudicca before, in 2008, so we were looking forward to being back on board this lovely little ship again. Embarkation at Liverpool was very quick and streamlined with no waiting around. Our cabin was a twin-bedded outside one (with a window) on Deck 5, the main deck. It contained two very comfortable beds, two chairs, flat screen TV, dressing table and lots of drawer and wardrobe space. The bathroom had a bathtub as well as a shower. There were also tea and coffee making facilities. We were travelling on the all-inclusive package and this is well worth the money; as well as the included house beers, wines and spirits you could also purchase premium brands and cocktails for half price. The food and service were excellent, no complaints there at all. The prices in the salon and shops were very good as well, in fact I could get my hair done cheaper in the ship's salon than I can at home! I have to say that the entertainment was absolutely top-notch. The Boudicca Show Company were superb, and a lot better than some performers we've seen on the larger ships. Their shows were original and very professionally done, and they were all very nice people. The featured entertainers included a singer, comedian, magician (who was excellent) and operatic duo and all were very good; we never saw a duff show. Also, I have to mention Dong Cuyos, the "Singing Barman", he was absolutely superb and one wonders what he is doing working as a barman when he has such a talent. Our cruise was all the way up to 70 degrees north in search of the Northern Lights. We visited Alesund, Tromso (two nights in port), Alta (overnight in port), Leknes in the Lofoten Islands and Kristiansund. Once we got above the Arctic Circle the Aurora Borealis put in an appearance seven nights running. Awesome! It really is something to stand there in the dark and the sub-zero temperatures, looking at nature's light show and be able to say "I was there". As we were so far north we only got 3½ hours daylight (if that) - it was surreal to eat your lunch and then find it was dark when you went out on deck! We have done a couple of Norway cruises in the summer for the Midnight Sun, but this is the first time we've been there in the winter. Norway is absolutely stunning; all mountains, lakes, fjords and the gorgeous blue twilight twinkling and glittering off the snow and ice. Beautiful! We were also lucky enough to see lots of migrating whales (humpbacks and orcas) on the way back down. So all in all, an absolutely brilliant and memorable cruise, a great crowd of friendly passengers and staff, superb food, drink, entertainment - in fact everything we would want in a cruise. Can't wait to book our next cruise with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. :-) Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Plusses..... - Wonderful suite, spacious, and we'll worth the upgrade from deck 9 suites. - Our stewardess Grace, was discreet, friendly and hard working, as were our waiters Rowell and I Made. - Observatory staff excellent during ... Read More
Plusses..... - Wonderful suite, spacious, and we'll worth the upgrade from deck 9 suites. - Our stewardess Grace, was discreet, friendly and hard working, as were our waiters Rowell and I Made. - Observatory staff excellent during Premium afternoon tea, and in the evening. - Captain Jensen, witty and informative. During a scheduled sail by of a picturesque waterfall he was heckled by an ill informed passenger who kept shouting "Remember Costa Concordia"....Captain Jensen put this idiot in his place innate diplomatic manner and reassured the rest of his passengers and crew in a witty and informative manner. - The Grill on the pool deck is a wonderful innovation......we ate there twice and it is worth every penny. I would suggest that 99% of critics have never eaten there......it is adding an option for evening dining. We wished it had been open for other meals. - Quality of food in general was a pleasant surprise given that Fred isn't up there with Oceania, Seabourn and Silversea spend per head figures.......kudos to Executive Chef Sara and team. - Hotel staff, led by Hotel Director Lindsey all a credit. Lindsey was omnipresent and genuinely engaging. - Low key Cruise Director......discreet and professional. - The Fred Crew shows......great fun, and the only Neptune Lounge show worth seeing, with plenty of genuine, rather than stage school talent. Minor niggles....... - Lack of choice for lunch....Grill was not open at lunch, and despite the enhanced Marquee Bar, it no longer serves food. On most days the restaurant and buffet were chaotic. - The all inclusive deals seem to have changed the dynamic on board and there is a lot of "getting your money's worth".....unfortunately this affected bar service to those not on a package. - Greenock facilities poor, and embarkation a little chaotic, but disembarkation was quick. Major Gripes..... - We have never really done ships shore excursions, but opted do book tickets for the Flam Railway as it was only marginally more than booking direct. The literature stated that we were booking train tickets only, and not that we were to be cattle herded into a single designated overcrowded carriage, when those who had bought tickets direct had the choice of several less populated coaches. - On the morning of the Flam Railway trip we went down to the show lounge where trips were gathering to ask if we needed to exchange our FO tickets for train tickets, and one of the two tour staff on duty snapped back....."Didn't you read your Daily Times!?!?!" and then proceeded to wave her copy of said publication, prodding at the tours, so you couldn't even see what she was waving in my face. She eventually told us what to do, but then on the tannin, less than a minute later completely contradicted herself. She was later seen bossing around and patronising the couple who were escorting the tour (no idea who they were). We did try to give feedback to the Tour Manager about this woman's non existent customer service skills, but these were dismissed saying "It's not in her nature!".....I somehow think that the complaint will not have been logged, but needless to say her manager have ensured that I will NEVER purchase a ships shore excursion again. It really was a case of "Like it or lump it!" We did notice these two staff on another couple of occasions constantly together, and looking the other way as soon as they noticed us, retreating with audible whispers...schoolmaam to Schoolgirl!! - The ships singers and dancers were very cliquey when not on stage, many didn't engage with passengers. Two female cast members were standing next to the bar in the show lounge at the end of the second crew show scowing at the crew members on stage and not having the decency to applaud the real talent. - We received an invitation to a cocktail party for guests in suites towards the end of the cruise.....a nice idea we thought. On the day it was clear from Captain Jensens announcements that there was going to be an overlap, between the party, and the sail by of a stunning waterfall, which had everyone on deck. Most guests were late to the party, and we got there 5-10 minutes after the scheduled time. There was no welcome from the Future Cruise agent when we got there, just a couple of tables with a selection of sickly Cava, warm white wine, and a few other drinks that few were touching. We sat waiting for something to happen, but the Future Cruise agent seemed to engage with just a few select tables giving them a hard sell, despite the invitation statingn "no hard sell". We sat around for a little longer, only to note the Future Cruise agent helping the waiters clear the untouched drinks away, and as we left, feeling distinctly undervalued, observed her polishing off some of the unfinished canapés clearly thinking she was invisible to her guests. We came across this young lady a few more times, and she still failed to engage with us. - The overall theme of our niggles was the arrogance, and aloofness of the British crew members that we came across (apart from those mentioned in my "plusses" list above)......it really was a contrast with the hard working and friendly majority! Had it not been for the minuses I would have rated this cruise 5 * Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We came down a day earlier because previous week there were a lot of flooding, we found a nice B & B in Southampton called the Polygon, we gave good comments on Tripadvisor. There were 4 adults, 1 who had sailed before and she said ... Read More
We came down a day earlier because previous week there were a lot of flooding, we found a nice B & B in Southampton called the Polygon, we gave good comments on Tripadvisor. There were 4 adults, 1 who had sailed before and she said this was a nice size cruise ship to try for first timers and she was right. We got around the ship quite easy after a few wrong turns, but inside your cabin they did supply a map. A bit apprehensive booking inside cabin but when we saw the size of it we were fine, very spacious. There was plenty to do on board. We had high Tea a couple of days which was lovely. The service we got from all the staff was superb they smiled at you all the time, they were lovely. The food was superb you could more or less eat all day. Entertainment was on every night I could not find fault with this cruise at all loved it. The trips off were well organized there were shuttle buses running if needed. I have to say Embarking and Disembarking were a doddle it was so well organized. The whole experience was fantastic and are now saving for another cruise. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I have cruised many times before, both on small ships up to very large, and have never felt crowded before. This time was different, we were queuing for all meals, tables very close together, slow waiter service, confusion at lunch time, ... Read More
I have cruised many times before, both on small ships up to very large, and have never felt crowded before. This time was different, we were queuing for all meals, tables very close together, slow waiter service, confusion at lunch time, with either ordering off the menu, or choosing the buffet in the same restaurant. At the entertainments, never enough seats, and exceptionally close together in the Neptune lounge, unless you were near the front, the only way to see was to look at the video screens! Having said all of that, the passengers were a very friendly bunch, Norway was beautiful as usual, and a couple of the tours were excellent. The Northern lights tour in Tromso, was ridiculously expensive, £120 to motor for an hour in a coach, to be taken to a very uneven field, lit by a few lanterns (many people fell over) with one tepee with not enough seats for everyone, and a few fires outside to keep warm. Unlit hill to climb up to the field, and an unappetising biscuit and cup of hot chocolate. I enjoyed the food and some of the entertainment by the ships company was excellent. Also two of the speakers were good, the port speaker was usual boring not telling much about the port but selling tours. Shameful - should not be called a suite, more like a linen cupboard. A narrow cabin with old furniture, two chairs, small wardrobe and small dressingtable with tv on top. Tiny balcony but everything clean. Then there was a small gap into what can only be described as a 'cave' alcove, which housed a small single bed, just! The bedhead touched the wall which was on the other side of the lift shaft, the long side right next to the wall, and the foot of the bed, crushed up against the outside wall, in other words the room must have been 6 ft. Against the bed was a bedside table, old with marks, which had no shelves or drawers, and that was it in the alcove, it was not possible to see the television from the bed, in spite of me being told that this was a one room suite. The shower room was a funny shape, with the door on an angle, and the shower was a triangular shape with an old curtain. The wash basin was an old pedestal (but clean) but no shelves or cupboards, so no where to put toiletries except on the floor. Needless to say, I was shocked and insisted on changing cabins, but had to pay an extra £400 even though we had sailed, and no one else was going to board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was my first cruise with Fred Olsen and it will also be my last. Why do I say this? It is because I have found that unlike other cruise companies, they do not put passenger satisfaction first and are only interested in the amount of ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Fred Olsen and it will also be my last. Why do I say this? It is because I have found that unlike other cruise companies, they do not put passenger satisfaction first and are only interested in the amount of money that they can screw you for. Their attitude when faced with an inquiry out of the norm seems to be unbending and inflexible, a sort of like it or lump it policy. My wife had suffered a broken ankle before the cruise, she was on crutches and was very unsteady during the swell of crossing the North Sea, On asking at reception for temporary use of a wheelchair I was referred to the doctor who said he would need to examine her at a cost of £40 and wheelchair hire was £150. I explained we had our own one on board whereupon he still said he would need to examine her and would put us off the ship if he deemed her to be unfit. There would be no help in getting us back to the UK. His attitude was appalling, it felt like a threat so we kept quiet and got about the ship as best we could. My wife's condition improved over the course of the voyage and she could use stairs the second week if we were at port or in calm waters - yet he would have had us off the ship. Needless to say there was no help or redress from the company itself. I have been with several cruise companies and have never before come across such an uncompromising attitude. The tours were ridiculously overpriced. The trip to see the Northern Lights at Tromso involved us being deposited in a dark uneven icy field with only hot chocolate and a tasteless biscuit to eat as we froze.There was one temporary tepee to accommodate large numbers of people, many of maturer years. I went to the Arctic cathedral myself in Tromso and the Funicular railway in Bergen at a fraction of the cost that a trip would have involved. The only one my wife was able to go on was to the Ice Hotel, I must admit it was impressive and stunning to walk through. There never seemed to be enough seats jn the public areas, especially when we were at sea and really there was not enough to do at those times, though the staff organizing these things did their cheerful best. It was always a scramble for seats in The Neptune Lounge, with many forced to sit or stand uncomfortably watching screens, Also why could that area not be used to screen films when not being used for other things? The library had a very disappointing selection of books. On the positive side, the food was excellent and staff were extremely pleasant and obliging, in marked contrast to senior management. A couple of the lecturers were interesting and amusing, though lecture times were not always suitable. The ships company were brilliant when performing their shows, and passengers were extremely friendly, though that is nothing to do with Fred Olsen of course, just the luck of the draw. Also we saw the Northern Lights, the main reason for the trip. However I have been on better cruises, with more to do, friendliness throughout the ship from top to bottom, and a genuine interest shown in the welfare of passengers. I have never been threatened with being thrown off the ship after making an innocent enquiry on behalf of my wife. I enjoy cruising, arriving at a different place on your own floating hotel. But my experience with Fred Olsen means that I will never go with them again and I would say to others to beware, especially if you have a situation in any way out of the ordinary and which doesn't fit their money-making agenda.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We had a wonderful cruise to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The Ship is small by our standards, and the décor is a bit tired, but the staff and the food was wonderful. The entertainment was very good, probably the best of any of the nine ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The Ship is small by our standards, and the décor is a bit tired, but the staff and the food was wonderful. The entertainment was very good, probably the best of any of the nine cruises we have been on. Pity about the Nova-virus that affected quite a number of guests and crew. ( we escaped thanks) The Ship's crew never made any announcements. (all we had was Chinese whispers) There was however some BAD points, First the ship was late! Embarkation was an embarrassment, sitting in a Big Tent for TWO hours, Coffee from the back of a truck, Porta-loos. Information from a lady standing on a chair shouting instructions.( no loud speaker) Arrival back in Belfast to very heavy rain and being stuck in the large tent again, the same shouting lady and one senior police man and other people in yellow coats,not knowing what they were doing, directing passengers into lines going nowhere. (organized confusion) No transport was laid on, any other Port always has Buses, and/or Taxi-cabs. (some body missed a trick here).   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Embarcation at Greenock was smooth, arrived at cruise terminal at 2.15pm was in cabin and unpacked by 3.30pm with a beer in hand ready to sail away. Cabin was inside which is what we always book as very rarely use the cabin, reasonable ... Read More
Embarcation at Greenock was smooth, arrived at cruise terminal at 2.15pm was in cabin and unpacked by 3.30pm with a beer in hand ready to sail away. Cabin was inside which is what we always book as very rarely use the cabin, reasonable size although as we had asked room to be made up as a double this left very little floor space, however we had been advised this at the time of booking. Plenty of storage space will full length wardrobes which let my evening dresses hang well. Cabin decor a little tired could do with a paint job and some new decor in general, lighting was also a little poor. Bathroom fine but a bit short on storage, good size shower and plenty of hot water. Cabin was serviced efficiently without intrusion. First 2 days were spent at sea and plenty of activities to suit all ages my husband and I are in our late forties and early fifties but found the activities were good that all could enjoy with those still young at heart. Our ports of call were excellent Copenhagen, Tallin, St Petersburgh, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm. Ship docked early before breakfast at all ports except St Petersburgh which was 10am but we had two days there. Despite previous comments we found the disembarkation smooth with little or no delays. The organised trips were fantastic with great tour guides, (we still had moaners however but I sometimes think that is why they go to moan, one even complained that the signs were in Russian!!). Drinks and meals on ship were excellent the fully inclusive package only offers local wine, spirits, stella, Boddingtons on draft and bottled beer. Other premium drinks are at half price, only downside was if you had a double you had to sing two forms each which was a bit of a nightmare. Food varied every evening with plenty to choose from across the menu, Secret Garden cafe had two themed nights one Indian and one Indonesian these were excellent with no pre booking required. Entertainment was fabulous with a good variety of acts as well as the very talented hard working Boudicca Company. All in all an excellent 2nd cruise with Fred Olsen and we are now trawling the brochures for our next. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We sailed from Greenock (Glasgow)in Boudicca on 9th June 2013. Ports of call were Copenhagen, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Nynashamn (for Stockholm) and Oslo. The sea was calm except for a bit of a swell on the final day coming ... Read More
We sailed from Greenock (Glasgow)in Boudicca on 9th June 2013. Ports of call were Copenhagen, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Nynashamn (for Stockholm) and Oslo. The sea was calm except for a bit of a swell on the final day coming south, down the Irish Sea, and the weather was good - just a couple of showers. This was our second Fred Olsen cruise - the first was to the North Cape on Balmoral. Although Boudicca was not just as classy as Balmoral the food was excellent and bountiful. Everything was kept spotlessly clean, with the handrails and other surface that were likely to be touched by passengers being continuously wiped with anti-bacterial gel. (this was to reduce the risk of norovirus). The crew went out of their way to be pleasant and helpful - they were always smiling. The shows were professional and of excellent quality. There were other game shows, like Mr & Mrs but the times for these clashed with the second sitting diners. A speaker gave "port talks" about all the things that could be seen and done in each city we were to visit, and these were very helpful. The Boudicca was not able to dock in her normal position near the Little Mermaid because of other cruise ships so there was about 45 minutes of a brisk was to get into town. For those not wishing to walk there were hop-on, hop-off buses on the dock side and a train station about ten minutes' walk away. Tallinn centre was about 15 minutes' walk from the dock, although shuttle buses were laid on at £5 for the day. Helsinki was also easily accessed on foot, as was Oslo. Nynashamn was the port for Stockholm and took about 45 minutes in the coach between the two places. It was a pity that we did not dock in Stockholm as this would have saved us £35 per person for the fare. We found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable cruise. The passengers seemed to be aged from sixty to eighty or more so it may not appeal to a younger age group. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Just returned from my first and probably last cruise. Norway itself, the scenery, the inner passage and most of the tours were wonderful, unfortunately the cruise experience itself was not good -- particularly due to the poor condition of ... Read More
Just returned from my first and probably last cruise. Norway itself, the scenery, the inner passage and most of the tours were wonderful, unfortunately the cruise experience itself was not good -- particularly due to the poor condition of our 'superior' outside cabin and the fear of contracting norovirus (almost half of the passengers came down with it). In addition the only reason for us going on this cruise was to see the northern lights and we were disgusted that more was not done by the ship to assist us in this aim. CABIN. (Superior outside, deck 5). Reasonable size. Condition poor. It may have been 'superior' 20 years ago but is decrepit and rather dingy now. Dread to think how we would have coped if we had contracted norovirus and been banged up in it for 4 days, as some folk were (you had to stay in your cabin for the length of the illness + a further 48 hours after the last symptoms occurred). Rather like living in an old run down caravan that someone else has had the sense to scrap. NOROVIRUS. The ship blamed the passengers for bringing this on board and for spreading it. No responsibility was taken for the fact that the previous cruise had also suffered from norovirus and only a few hours were devoted to carrying out a 'deep' clean before we boarded. There was no way that sufficient time was allowed to effectively clean the ship before we boarded -- were the carpets steam cleaned and the curtains and bedspreads all washed? No. I am certain this virus was present on the ship (carried on fittings and in the ventilation system) when we boarded and this was the major cause of our outbreak. The continual spraying of passenger hands was probably ineffective as alcohol based sprays do not work against norovirus - apparently chlorine based ones are better, but we would have been able to smell this in the spray if chlorine had been used. In addition at no time did I see any of the staff spraying their hands and the bad practice of waiters handling used crockery and cutlery and then handing out food to passengers would have caused cross contamination (no plastic gloves used). So, Fred Olsen stop blaming the victims for this awful outbreak. NORTHERN LIGHTS. To see these was the sole reason for us booking this cruise, I quite accept that they are a natural phenomenon and no guarantees can be given but I did not expect the captain to put the smooth running of the evening meal above the passengers desire to see the lights. On the evening that we left Tromso there was apparently a brilliant display of the lights above the ship. Unfortunately we were on the late sitting for dinner and one of the last tables to be served, no announcement was made in the dining room so we completely missed seeing the lights that night. If we had been told as soon as desert had been served we could have skipped coffee and seen the display. We finally got a good sighting of the lights on the night before we got into Kristiansund. Unfortunately we struggled to see them as all the deck lights had been left on and the crew refused to switch them off ... as the captain was asleep and no-one else had the authority to do so! Great! Fred Olsen should think a bit more about what customers want from this cruise -- it would have been quite safe to turn off the deck lights on the upper decks only and to have left them on around the stairways and lower decks -- as was done on other nights. We also went on 2 of the 3 evening tours arranged by the cruise to search for the northern lights. I would not recommend these -- passengers were taken on approx. 4/6 overheated coaches a long distance (90 mins +) from the ship, this was not only to get away from light sources (not much of a job was made of this -- one night we were near a lot of houses and another night we were next to a busy, for Norway, road) but mainly to take us to a large field where a lot of coaches could be parked and a small amount of infrastructure such as a large tent provided and bonfires could be lit. You would be much better advised to use the local information centre and book a tour with a local guide, in a minibus. Other passengers used these and they reported a very good experience with the guide taking them to many different vantage points and really having a good knowledge of where and what to look for. They did not have to endure a long trek out of Tromso or Alta and the price was similar for the local guide as for the cruise tour. DOG SLEDDING and ICE HOTEL tours. These I cannot praise enough. Both were excellent. I would recommend booking the dog sledding privately just so that you can go for a longer period than the cruise tour allows - also try out driving the sled yourself, it's great fun. TOILET BLOCKAGES. Several passengers (including us) suffered from this at different times on the cruise (and no we did not flush anything we should not have done!). Not a good experience when you do not want to use the public loos in case of contracting norovirus and no one contacts you to say the problem has been fixed (the engineers work on it outside of your room); you have to ring Reception back to ask. Some passengers also suffered from very poor water pressure. One night we had no water at all for a while, we were told this had affected several other cabins. All problems you don't need when norovirus is present and you are trying to be hygienic. So now you can see why this is likely to be my last cruise! Certainly my last one with Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
A superb cruise itinerary 13 to 27 March with most time spent up at Troms and Alta. Lots of superb snow and with good weather Captain Stein Bjrheim guided the ship along a spectacular scenic route in the inner fjords. The weather was ... Read More
A superb cruise itinerary 13 to 27 March with most time spent up at Troms and Alta. Lots of superb snow and with good weather Captain Stein Bjrheim guided the ship along a spectacular scenic route in the inner fjords. The weather was kind with clear sky and we were treated to a most spectacular northern lights display viewable from the deck on departure from Tromso on 20 March. Ship entertainment was really good. My wife & I much enjoyed the performances of the Boudicca Show Company. All Staff worked very hard and were cheerful except for one day when the seriousness of a norovirus epidemic was apparent. The final total over the whole fortnight was 300+ of the 900 passengers infected with this rather nasty gastric virus. I spent two days in my cabin quarantined after a particularly uncomfortable night. In some ways I did not notice this lost time because the illness left me feeling so tired I slept much. Fred Olsen appear to have addressed the situation robustly. From first boarding we were all subject to a hand disinfection routine whenever moving between public areas -- like the dining room or lounges etc. The importance of hand washing was reinforced by daily announcements. Also they delayed the next sailing from Portsmouth by a day to enable the whole ship to be cleaned and fumigated but will this be enough? I am now interested to hear from anyone on the current cruise to Lisbon and the Iberian Peninsula. Has the cleanup worked? Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Following two recent cruises with Celebrity (reviewed here on Cruise Critic), my wife and I returned to Fred Olsen's Boudicca for an In Search of the Northern Lights cruise. Obviously these two cruise-lines are very different, but we ... Read More
Following two recent cruises with Celebrity (reviewed here on Cruise Critic), my wife and I returned to Fred Olsen's Boudicca for an In Search of the Northern Lights cruise. Obviously these two cruise-lines are very different, but we decide who we travel with purely on destination and value for money. We have no particular loyalty, although we are now at Gold Level with Fred Olsen, and Elite Level with Celebrity. Fred Olsen are an enigma to me, they must spend a fortune marketing themselves as the friendly cruise-line but that message does not appear to have reached all of their staff, either on their ships or at their H.Q. One example of this is that on that three occasions I have written to them I have been ignored twice and fobbed off once. On a more positive note their ships may be older, but they have a certain charm and character that often can't be found on larger, newer ships. I should mention as I review this In Search of the Northern Lights cruise, I have spent a great deal of time talking to as many of my fellow passengers as I possibly could in an attempt to ensure the review is as representative as possible. One last thing before I begin the review. We booked this cruise over a year ago in advance on another Fred Olsen cruise and were told then that there were very few cabins left (sound familiar?). Actually there were lots of empty cabins, I guess we should not be so naive. Embarkation Process We phoned Fred Olsen's H.Q. in the morning to ask when we could check in. We were told because of our low deck level this would not be until 3.30. Actually, it was a smooth, hassle free check in and boarding process, and we were on board and in our cabin by 2.30. The terminal at Portsmouth is new and consists of a large seating area upstairs with a Costa Coffee and small bar. It says on their website they have wi-fi, but they do not, and according to the staff we talked to, people are always complaining about it, but nothing gets done. There is a small outside viewing area, and the bar serves a very nice Italian Chardonnay. Here is a useful tip, we stayed in the Port Solent East Premier Inn, which was approximately fifteen minutes away, and we got free parking for the duration of the cruise. Our Cabin We always choose a lower grade cabin because it means we can afford to cruise more frequently, but they do seem smaller on Fred Olsen. However our cabin was spotlessly clean and comfortable, although it was a bit chilly, even after a maintenance man came in and adjusted the heating for us. A lot of our fellow passengers who we talked to also remarked on their cabin temperature. We had to change cabins after a few days because every time we were in port, there was always a lot of noise from the maintenance work. To be fair to the staff, this was remedied quickly and we were able to change cabins with no problem. In Room Entertainment This was extremely poor, with very limited TV channels and on occasions, virtually none at all. The Discovery Channel worked most of the time, something called an E Channel appeared it work all the time. BBC News was fairly consistent, as was Eurosport, but Sky News and Sky Sports News (the ones we really wanted) were intermittent. There was also a limited movie option which was fine if you were not one of the poor people struck down with a Gastro-intestinal problem, commonly referred to as the Noro Virus, in which case you were confined to your cabin for a couple of days, and must have been bored stiff. In the twenty-first century there is really no excuse for such a poor in room entertainment system. On the subject of Noro Virus, you really cannot blame any cruise-line for the presence of this bug, in winter it is rife everywhere, but personally I do not think it is unreasonable to expect to be compensated for a lack of amenities Put it this way, if you were checking into a hotel/spa resort and were told the jacuzzis and sauna were closed, there is a fair chance you are going to get sick and have to stay in your room for a few days, and by the way, the few limited tv channels we have will not work all the time, and you cannot play cards or any board games WOULD YOU STILL WANT TO STAY THERE and would you expect to pay the same price, as if all of these options were open to you ? The Boudicca is tired in places, but she is a very clean ship, with plenty of space and welcoming lounges for all of her passengers. The waiters in the main restaurants are friendly and helpful, sadly the same could not be said for some of the staff in the Secret Garden. On the subject of restaurants, I think the food on the ship was of good quality, well presented, and with a good variety, although a little more of a problem if like my wife, you are a vegetarian. Also I made the mistake of going to the late night supper club one night. I say a mistake, because the food was delicious and I ate far too much! Overall I think Fred are pretty good on food. One of the areas I used most on the ship was the gym. Fortunately it was not in great demand, I say this because when we boarded the ship in Portsmouth two of the cardio machines were not working, and this remained the case for the whole cruise. Added to this, one of the only three working treadmillls mysteriously disappeared towards the end of the cruise. Also, they had a ridiculous rule that you could not use the cardio equipment if a Pilates or yoga class was taking place, but to be fair, when I complained to the guest services manager about this, those classes were moved, so again a problem was instantly dealt with and no fuss. As always there were plenty of activities on board, and a wide variety of enrichment talks. Whilst the speaker who gave the port talks was clearly very knowledgeable, unfortunately his speaking style was not very engaging, but Jane Ann Davey the expert on Norway, was by far the best speaker we have ever come across. She was both informative and amusing, and easily able to hold your attention. There was an astronomer on board who was a good listen too. The lounge entertainment is always of a good quality on Fred Olsen, as was the ship's show company. I can't comment on the guest performers as none were of interest to us. We chose this cruise because the itinerary was good, visiting Molde, two nights in Tromso, Alta, Kristiansund, and Bergen, in addition to cruising the fjords. We were very disappointed with the attitude of the man on the tours desk who we never saw smile once in the whole cruise, and who wasn't very helpful. As with many cruises, the tours were a little expensive and did not really represent value for money, and the best excursion we did was one we booked privately in Tromso, where we went out both nights with Artic Explorers, and were fortunate enough to see the beautiful northern lights for seven and a half hours, they were exhilarating to watch as they danced across the sky, forming a kaleidoscope above our heads. Oystein, the owner of the company was passionate about the lights, and it wasn't the case of a six to eight hour trip, and finish, regardless of aurora activity, he allowed us to stay out as long as we wanted. In the second night he picked us up at 5pm and we didn't return till 5.30 the next morning! Prior to the trip he took us to his warehouse, and kitted us out in thermal suits, boots, hats and mittens, and allowed us to choose our food etc. My tip is if you want to go out in search of the northern lights, choose a small group tour like this, rather than going out with a bus load of your fellow cruise passengers. The other highlight for us was the Norwegian captain and his clear passion for his country, who unlike many of his officers, who we hardly ever saw, the Captain, Stein Bjorheim, was highly visible. He went that extra mile to ensure that the passengers were able to see all the awesome views. At one point he stopped the ship, and did a 360 degree turn, to ensure that everyone got a great view of a glacier, and we loved the way that in sub-zero temperatures he was often to be seen in his shirt sleeves! The man is a legend! The disembarkation process was as smooth as embarkation, though the luggage collection point was a little cramped, surprising considering it is such a new terminal. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise, though we were disappointed with so many of the facilities being closed due to the Noro Virus, and it does tend to affect your cruise when you are worried about catching it. Another tip would be to avoid buying anything in Norway as it is so expensive. But we set out to see the Northern Lights, and that's exactly what we did, and on many nights they were also visible from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We went on the Boudicca for a 12 day trip from Newcastle to Baltic ports, during September 2012. We booked last minute, direct with Fred Olsen, which was easy enough. However, when we later tried to get them to correct a misspelt surname, ... Read More
We went on the Boudicca for a 12 day trip from Newcastle to Baltic ports, during September 2012. We booked last minute, direct with Fred Olsen, which was easy enough. However, when we later tried to get them to correct a misspelt surname, it turned out to be quite stressful. Firstly, I had to wait ages for them to answer the phone and then they wanted to charge me £100 to change 'ea' to 'ie' on the booking form. It was only when they had listened to the tapes and found that it was their error, that they agreed not to charge me. Take care to provide the right details or it will cost you! We travelled to Newcastle by train from Merseyside. I wouldn't do it again, because the car park is right alongside the terminal. The train was delayed in both directions, causing us to miss connections. Also, the system of reserving seats on trains meant that there were empty seats and people arguing about where they should sit. Reserving seats should be stopped! That wasn't Fred Olsen's fault though, so what about the ship? Basic outside cabin at the front of deck 3 was okay for us. It wasn't very big, but it was adequate, bring clean and comfortable. It had 2 single beds, which we pushed together to make a double. It had a couple of wardrobes, a dressing table, round 2-pin electrical sockets, a kettle with tea and coffee a small television with a few channels on it, a bathroom with bath and shower. The furnishings throughout the ship were in good condition. We thought the meals were quite good. They weren't in the 5 star category, but we didn't pay 5 star prices. The staff were very friendly and seemed happy enough about the ship. There were plenty of things to do aboard ship. You could use the small library, go to dancing classes, play cards or attend lectures in the Neptune Theatre. This was an 'Antiques' themed cruise and they had T.V. expert Will Farmer doing a series of interesting talks. There were other talks, mainly about the forthcoming excursions. The excursions were fine, but when you consider what they must have cost to put on, they were very expensive for what they were. If I was doing it again, I would use their trips to St Petersburg, but do my own thing in Stockholm and Tallin, which are really close to the docks. I wouldn't bother at all with Copenhagen, which was a 90 minute coach trip from the ship and nothing much when you got there. The guide couldn't understand why the ship hadn't docked in Copenhagen itself. We would have needed to get different currencies in Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Denmark, so we didn't bother. What did we need to buy, after all? The entertainment was generally quite good. The head man, Ashley, did a pretty good job, with limited resources. The '007' night set had 3 decorated boards at the back of the stage and that was it. Still, the resident entertainers were very pleasant and tried very hard. Come on Fred, pay for a couple more of them! The guest acts were good and not so good. There was an excellent man and wife duo, a very good female singer and a comedian who wasn't very funny. The resident backing band was very good too. Then, to everyone's surprise, it turned out that Ashley could sing too!So, would we use Fred again? We think so, yes. We'd be extremely careful to get the details exactly right when booking and we'd be more selective about which excursions we went on. The ship was older than Thomson ships we've been on, but it was in better shape than the Celebration and Island Escape. The food was about the same standard. Thomson's entertainment was a bit more lavish. Overall, there wasn't much to choose between them. There is one big difference though. Thomson's prices include tips. Fred Olsen's don't. You get charged £4 each per day on Fred Olsen, which came to £96 for our trip. Yes, you can opt out of them, but I should imagine you'd feel a bit mean asking to do that at the desk. The tips only go to the cabin steward and the restaurant waiters, so what do the rest of the crew get? I hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Boudicca 7 night Norway Cruise We chose this cruise because it departed from North Shields near Newcastle close to our house and because it was the ideal chance to try Fred Olsen (FO). Embarkation. We dropped the luggage outside ... Read More
Boudicca 7 night Norway Cruise We chose this cruise because it departed from North Shields near Newcastle close to our house and because it was the ideal chance to try Fred Olsen (FO). Embarkation. We dropped the luggage outside the port departure building where it was whisked away to the ship where we found it in our cabin. Car parking was easy and managed well by FO staff. There were long queues at the port check in because many people had arrived before their allocated check in time. Despite this, it did not take long to check in, register a card for the on board account and receive our cruise card for on board use. We were bussed across the customs area and then had a 20m walk to the ship's gangway that conveniently was located on Deck 5 where our cabin was. Cabin We had booked a 'superior' outside cabin 5036 on the port side of the ship conveniently located behind the ships shops. The cabin was set up as a double bed, but was so narrow that we could not get down either side of the bed. There was no reading light or bedside table on my side and only a dim lamp in the main part of the cabin. There was plenty of storage space but only one comfy chair and one upright chair. Over the dressing table where there should have been a mirror was a folded up bunk bed. Another unused bunk was located over my side of the double bed. The bathroom had a bath with shower but there was little storage space for our toiletries. There was both liquid soap and hard soap provided, but no soap dish. Sleep quality was not great due to loud air-conditioning and ships engine noise. Also at sea, whining from the stabiliser drives was intrusive. I ended the voyage with air conditioning syndrome of dehydration and dry throat. The small flat screen TV need not have been there because the programme selection was useless even if we had wanted to watch. I tried a film (no cinema on the ship) but subtitles and poor sound quality spoilt it. There was nothing better in this "superior" cabin over a standard cabin on other ships. Public Rooms The public spaces around the ship were surprisingly spacious and there was always somewhere to sit. The library was not very comprehensive for the size of ship. However, despite pretentious names for rooms like 'Heligan', Iceni, 'Neptune', there was little character to them, so the public spaces were quite unremarkable. Dining Buffet breakfast -- quite good (also cooked items to order). Fizzy wine was available. Lunch -- buffet lunch in the dining rooms with additional cooked items served from a menu. The buffet lacked variety. They promised a variety of pates and pies, but only one pie or pate appeared at a time, never together. After Bergen they had fresh seafood on board which brightened up things considerably. Afternoon tea -- self-service in the so-called 'Secret Garden' buffet. Limited choice. The 'Gala Tea' had an excellent selection but was so poorly organised that the single queue became too long for us to bother with. Dinner -- A la Carte service with dishes that did not live up to their promise, partly because they tended to be very bland and partly because there was some time between being plated up in the kitchen and service in the dining room. Many dishes were dry and lacked adequate servings of sauce. If you didn't like what you had chosen there was no going back and getting a replacement. We wondered if the cooks ever tasted their dishes before service. Overall we thought the food was about the standard of a department store restaurant, no better. Entertainment Daytime activities were quite varied but many of them were put on at the same time or overlapped. Several times we had to choose which one of 4 concurrent activities we wanted to do. Showtime consisted largely of popular song and dance shows by the Ships Company or mediocre acts ex UK club circuits. Most popular was a show by the ships crew, which to us was a cross between karaoke and Butlins. The 3 shows we attended were spoilt by an over loud bass heavy amplification system. An excellent pianist in the Lido bar was also spoilt by over loud amplification. However, we loved the Rosario Trio of violin, guitar and double bass who performed regularly in the 'Secret Garden' lounge. The (unamplified) pianist in the 'Observatory' was also good. Overall we thought that the entertainment, although popular to the captive audience, would never make big time in a commercial world. Excursions Excursions were overpriced. Flam railway was over twice the price of DIY as was Bergen where tours could be done DIY by local tours from the information office. We did go to Kjenndalen Glacier and lake tour from Olden where there was no alternative tour running this late in the season and paid the price. Alesund was also a good place to DIY either free or at less than half of ship's prices. Disembarkation Had breakfast and found that the upper decks had already disembarked. We only had 20 minutes wait and were out of the terminal into our car 15 minutes later. Excellent. Conclusion Despite the rigorous hand cleaning routine, we both ended the voyage with stinking colds -- a first for any cruise. The price paid for the cruise was good value despite the ship and the food being unmemorable. We would use Boudicca again, not for the ship but for a destination that appealed. We would not say that about every ship we have used. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our second cruise with Fred. We loved last years cruise and booked again as soon as we got home. This year we went to the Baltic on Boudicca. BIG MISTAKE. The ship is old and tatty. It is rumoured to have had an upgrade ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Fred. We loved last years cruise and booked again as soon as we got home. This year we went to the Baltic on Boudicca. BIG MISTAKE. The ship is old and tatty. It is rumoured to have had an upgrade but all we could see was a new super gym at the top of the ship. Having said that, we felt that judging by the age of the clientele, it would have been preferable to put in a waiting for god room rather than a gym. We are in our late forties and felt the ship was really like an OAP home. The daytime entertainment was aimed at the elderly with very little for us to do on sea days. The evening entertainment was 50's and 60's based and the daytime lecturers were just snooze fests. The staff, as always, were very friendly, very polite and the waiting staff were exceptional. Food was very good and you really can't fault Fred for quality of food. For us, we enjoyed the excursions we booked but a three hour excursion was taken up with about an hour of elderly folk getting on and off a bus - sorry if we sound very down on OAP's but it really was bad. We will do another Fred - after all, last year we couldn't fault it but will choose our ship carefully as the Boudicca is quite obviously, a older ship with an older clientele. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Boudicca Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 3.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 5.0 3.8

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