29 Fred. Olsen Boudicca Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We have just returned from a wonderful cruise starting in Newcastle and going to the North Cape in Norway. The first two days were at sea, allowing us to relax. We then called at the Loften Islands before going on to Honningsvag and the ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise starting in Newcastle and going to the North Cape in Norway. The first two days were at sea, allowing us to relax. We then called at the Loften Islands before going on to Honningsvag and the North Cape. Our return trip was on the 'inside passage' between the islands along the Norwegian coast to Bergen, before the final cruise back to Newcastle. This was only possible because it was a small cruise ship. The staff on board were absolutely wonderful and responded immediately to any requests. The food was excellent and there was even a simple menu which was available every day for anyone who did not fancy anything on the menu. We never needed it. The captain said that he hoped we would be able to visit Trollfjord, which is only accessible to small cruise ships, and this was a magical experience for everyone on board. To make a u-turn in a tiny fjord is something special. For those who wanted it, there was always plenty to do on board and for those who wanted to just sit quietly and read there was the opportunity. Although the tours seemed expensive they were no more costly than making private arrangements; it is just that Norway is a very expensive country. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was the second time that we have cruised with Fred Olsen with our first being away back in 1989! The UK itinerary was the attraction coupled with the convenience of the walk on at the port of Rosyth after a short car journey of 45 ... Read More
This was the second time that we have cruised with Fred Olsen with our first being away back in 1989! The UK itinerary was the attraction coupled with the convenience of the walk on at the port of Rosyth after a short car journey of 45 minutes.Embarkation was very smooth although we did arrive far too early for the start of boarding at 2.30pm. We were very impressed with our Balcony suite on Bridge deck 8. Large sleeping and lounge area with spacious illuminated closet, drawer and storage space.The bathtub was very small but the toilet overall was spacious with unusually lots of toiletries. The ship has a good amount of open deck with adequate sunbathing areas. There was plenty of space with little sense of over crowding mainly because of the weather coupled with the average age of the passenger must have been in the region of 157!!!! There are lots of small public rooms, bars and lounges with a tranquil observatory lounge on deck 9 at the bow. The main dining room is divided into three ares with bland seating without ample space between each table giving a sense of overcrowding. Breakfast and lunch is open seating with mostly repetitive buffet food. The usual jockeying passengers trying to weave a safe return to their table with copious amounts of food!! The Neptune Lounge was the most used venue for the small scale high energy production shows, cabaret acts and guest lecturers. I have to say they were all excellent. A special mention for the resident comedian onboard going by the name of Barnaby for performing his two 45 minute gigs without one swear word or blue material!! The ships tours which were on offer we did not take advantage of for obvious reasons. Outrageously overpriced and not good value for money. I can understand the comfort and safety of a ships tour when abroad with the language and custom difficulties or a bit infirm. But, DIY sightseeing in the UK could not be more simple and made very easy with information available at all ports of call. My main gripes: Long lines at the cramped buffet, not enough wine waiters with poor wine selection plus the over priced house wine at nearly £4.00 a small glass!This is comparable with the larger cruise companies. This cruise ship suites the older British couple looking for realistic pricing with exception to the house wine! Good value for money with British food and entertainment. If you like napkin folding,line dancing and bingo, carpet bowls, Vera Lyn and prunes for your breakfast, then this is the cruise for you!! Fortunately for me it is still a bit early for the Sing Along A Max with afternoon tea and scones before Bingo!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We would consider ourselves to be experienced cruisers who go for the itinerary rather than the ship. If the ship is a good one ,then thats a bonus. We've sailed with 10 different cruise lines,some up to four times and on different ... Read More
We would consider ourselves to be experienced cruisers who go for the itinerary rather than the ship. If the ship is a good one ,then thats a bonus. We've sailed with 10 different cruise lines,some up to four times and on different vessels in the same line. Embarkation: Best ever! we joined at Rosyth, and as we live in Scotland's central belt we were on board one and a half hours from leaving home, plus we both 90kgs luggage allowance!! Just as well we did not load our luggage up to the mark as one of our cases was damaged during embarkation. Fred Olsen completed a form for our insurers. P.S. get a lift to Rosyth as Forth Ports charge over £7 per day to park Cabin : We were on the Main deck, starboard and towards the stern, we would normally book a balcony cabin but were not prepared to pay the prices asked for, we spoke later to one disgruntled couple who had paid almost £6000 more than us albeit for a suite. First impressions were that the (twin) cabin was small compared to what we are used to,but we got used to it. At least we had natural light coming in the double window, but we did find the cabin stuffy, in fact some of the public rooms were stuffy, but when you see the prevailing age of most of the guests you know thats what they like! The beds were comfy and warm, we had a bath and shower,safe,space for clothes ok, enough drawers as well. Coffee and tea maker provided but we never used it, would much preferred to have a fridge. Dining and Service: Have to say that we were pleasantly surprised here, We were not looking forward to the fixed 1st sitting after having got used to freestyle type eating, however, even in the main restaurant, breakfast and lunch was buffet style,so only dinner was served. The buffet area got a mite busy at times but there was never any shortage of food. Staff would fetch and serve breakfast and lunch to those less mobile. Breakfast was fine but repetitive, lunch options really good, dinner likewise, service was smart and friendly (as it was throughout the ship) There is an informal restaurant(secret garden cafe) which looked interesting,but we never used it, probably as its really too small and there was normally a queue waiting. Afternoon tea was served here and was very nice. Activities: We had a lot of sea days so activities were important..the lectures were good, Library and games room pleasant, gym well equipped,pool and jacuzzis fine, so the days passed reasonably well, but you would be advised to take plenty of reading material,or catch up on some writing, the Boudicca is not a resort ship! Entertainment: Generally very good,although the passenger talent show had a high cringe factor. Good tight dance and singing troupe, we had a Scottish comedian who was able to make us all laugh with clean material, an excellent crooner, and the musicians dotted around the lounges were also to a good standard. Of course its all geared to the older clientele so dont look for a disco! The Cruise Director was a very nice and experienced guy but I would say he is probably by his sell by date. Excursions: We only went on a few as two of the Greenland ports are really just walk off, however, the trips we did use were well organised and reasonable value, got to say this is when the smaller ship comes into its own,when waiting for tenders especially, dont have to get 3,500 people off !! Ship : Our last time with Fred Olsen was in 2000 on the Black Watch and it was hard to believe that in 2011 we were going on a ship nearly 40 years old. I suppose that Olsen will be able to cash in on the Vintage/Classic market soon! Best thing is that the main sailing crew are Norwegian and I always feel safe sailing with the Vikings, Captain Jan Thommessen is by a long way the best captain we've ever sailed with. He was informative,humourous,walked the ship and had a chat with everybody,instilled confidence when we had a few shaky hours in ice and fog, takes part in a jazz jam session,playing a good trumpet. When we had to miss an Icelandic port because of the ice problems the previous night he told us the reasons why he had to make straight for Reykajavik. OK the ship is a little tired in some public areas and the main theatre is really just a big lounge,so you have to be early to make sure you are not seated behind a pillar! Disembarking: No problems, little bit chaotic in the terminal(Rosyth)as its not really big enough. Summary: Despite our concerns about an older, smaller ship and being with the "blazer brigade" we would travel with Boudicca and Olsen again. We were concerned about the ships history of Norovirus, but we were exorted at every turn to use the hand sanitisers,even in the library! We felt the shop prices and bar prices were reasonable, and the photographers were excellent again with good value prices. The ship has a homely feel about it,but also has some character, a real nice touch was having the great grandchildren of Fred Olsen on board who assisted the Captain to throw a wreath over the stern during a small service of remembrance for Olsen merchant sailors who perished in WW2. We think though that as the older Olsen returnees(most of the guests we spoke to had never sailed with anyone else) pass on, they will have to address a few things. A wee bit too formal, we dont mind "proper formal" nights, but there were too many jacket and tie nights for us. Also need to enlarge the informal anytime dining area as more of us want dining flexibility. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Both my wife and I are in our middle 60's but we were probably in the 5% of the youngest passengers on board. 1. The food although good was very repititious and lacked variety. The soups were mainly of the canned variety and breakfast ... Read More
Both my wife and I are in our middle 60's but we were probably in the 5% of the youngest passengers on board. 1. The food although good was very repititious and lacked variety. The soups were mainly of the canned variety and breakfast was extremely boring with little or no imagination being considered. 2. The entertainment on board the ship was to say the least - mundane and awful - the only outside entertainers were a harpist who used to belong to the "LOS PARAGUAYOS" group and a comedian whose jokes were old and tired. The rest of the evening entertainment was provided by the Boudicca Show group which were a group of amatuer style dancers dancing in front of an amateur band ( who called themselves an orchestra) 3. We were supposed to call at 5 ports but the visits to Guernsy and Tobermory were cancelled due to bad weather - which resulted in after leaving Dublin Dublin having to spend nearly 3 days going round in circles off the island of Lewis which was followed by another set of circles off the top of the Cromarty Firth before being allowed into Invergordon on the morning of Monday 4 October. By this time most of the passengers were totally fed up or in the case of the really old ones - had remained in their cabins. The Captain did mention that he had contacted Kirkwall and Scrabster in order to check if he could get into either of those ports but was informed that the weather in those 2 places was also unfit for the launch of tenders - however - he did not mention Invergordon our next port of call - where tenders were not required as the ship was tied up against the wall. 4 We have sailed on Fred Olsen on numerous frequent occasions but almost certainly will not be doing so in the future. 5. And to cap it all advertised my wife enquired at Reception as to the advertised 5% reduction for Ocean club members and was rudely informed that it only applied to Silver and Platinum card holders as the rules had been changed and that we should have been informed of this change - which we were NOT. Needless to say we are not at all happy with this cruise or the planning - or lack of - that was put into it. If this is the best that Fred Olsen can put into their cruises then I fear that their days will be numbered. I spoke to a number of other passengers who feel as I do. Not to return. Mike Sherriff Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
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 3.8
Rates 5.0 3.8

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