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

We chose this cruise because it left from Dover, which is to near to home, and because it visits the Norwegian fjords. Norway is amazing, but I overheard Boudicca being dubbed HMS Dignitas, and that was upsettingly accurate. It really ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it left from Dover, which is to near to home, and because it visits the Norwegian fjords. Norway is amazing, but I overheard Boudicca being dubbed HMS Dignitas, and that was upsettingly accurate. It really was a floating care home. There were no activities or evening shows even remotely suitable for the under 70s; it was all bridge, knitting, and very bad easy listening piano music. The ship is old too. The decor is what I'd expect of a Travelodge, with garish patterned carpets and cheap furniture. The cabins have tiny, horrible bathrooms with shower curtains and no toiletries except soap, which is awful considering the price. It's also impossible to turn off, or turn down, the noisy, powerful air-conditioning, so the air in the cabins is desiccated, and I didn't get a single night's unbroken sleep. Value for money was non-existent. Everything cost more, and nothing was included except meals. They were charging £50 for a week's Wifi -- and Wifi isn't reliable at sea anyway. No TV signal most of the time, and a very, very limited selection of films. Soft drinks were extra, alcohol was extra, gym classes were extra, many on board activities were extra: and the cruise line was charging more than twice the amount for shore excursions than it cost to book them independently. From minute one, I felt like they were penny pinching; whatever they advertise, this is absolutely not a luxury experience. The staff were brilliant and friendly, and the food was wonderful. I was really concerned, though, that every staff member in a remotely senior position was a white man, while all the waiters and cleaning staff were from the Philippines -- I suspect being paid much less than they should have been. Especially from older passengers, I saw and overhead quite a lot of patronising racism. It was just mortifying to watch. This was my first cruise and I don't think I'll be doing it again. I was so glad to get away that I was one of the first out the door, along with the five other people who were physically able to carry their own suitcases. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Boarding was very good, the ship is old and my upgrade to a basic suite was good, but the bathroom needed a complete refurbishment. There were drain smells emanating from the plug hole. Breakfast and lunch were mediocre, but the ... Read More
Boarding was very good, the ship is old and my upgrade to a basic suite was good, but the bathroom needed a complete refurbishment. There were drain smells emanating from the plug hole. Breakfast and lunch were mediocre, but the evening meal was good. The shore trips were very expensive, wi fi had to be paid for and the photographers were over the top. You had to fill in little forms for more water which hung from the existing water bottles. It does strike you that they are trying to make money from the most basic item. Staff were lovely. Captain we did not see at the introduction nights. They did push the boat out on Captain's night, Celebration nights with lots of snacks and free wine. The entertainment was enjoyable. There is a lot of competition for cruising and basically they need to upgrade to be more competitive and review their pricing policy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Did not stay at a hotel. Sailed from Dover, embarkation was swift as the ship was only 75 per cent full. Cabin was clean. we have cruised with Fred Olsen before but this was the first time on the Boudicca. We have avoided this ship in ... Read More
Did not stay at a hotel. Sailed from Dover, embarkation was swift as the ship was only 75 per cent full. Cabin was clean. we have cruised with Fred Olsen before but this was the first time on the Boudicca. We have avoided this ship in the past as it hit the National Press for being struck down with Norovirus. We should have known better than to risk it. Within 3/4 days the infection started on board and when my husband got it, I was asked to stay confined to the cabin with him to protect other people. Having agreed to this, it ensured that I contracted it from him. We missed two ports of call and were isolated until we docked at Dover. Keeping us separated on disembarkation, we were able to see approx 60/70 suitcases with ours indicating many more victims. It was common knowledge that the ship was only 75% full - we are lrft to wonder why. We suggest FredOlsen examines their food preparation as not once did we receive hot food - at best it was warm and at worst it was tepid. We have read in today's paper that the Balmoral has been similarly affected. Olsens need to give this matter priority as it seems immoral to keep selling cruises knowing the very high risk they are putting people at. The entertainment was good, the performers worked hard especially with a much reduced audience both from the number of people sick, but also because the ship was not full. Dining was a mixed bag, due to the self service being discontinued and staff hard pushed to serve. Disembarkation was swift as we were held back for all the healthy people to go off first. We have returned from our "holiday" in far worse health than when we left and we have paid financially for the doubtful privilege of it. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Firstly I must recommend the services of the Baggage Handling Company as advertised in the Fred. Olsen brochure. Their arrangements were excellent. The cases were collected from home a couple of days in advance and in the cabin on ... Read More
Firstly I must recommend the services of the Baggage Handling Company as advertised in the Fred. Olsen brochure. Their arrangements were excellent. The cases were collected from home a couple of days in advance and in the cabin on boarding. On the return they met us in the arrivals hall and the cases were delivered home the next day. This allowed us to travel with just hand luggage. Wonderful. Arrangements at Portsmouth worked well with the transfer bus meeting us at the station although the stop wasn't obvious. Check in was OK although you're left to sit around waiting for your number to be called. This gets you on to another bus and taken to the ship where you file up the gangway. After the usual security arrangements/ cabin card issue we were directed in the general direction of a lift that was being used for baggage. No advice of where another lift was or on what deck we might find the cabin. All a bit chaotic and a flavour of what was to come. When we got to the cabin Sali soon appeared and told us she would be the steward and showed us where things were and how they worked. The cabin is made up of 2 rooms, a day room with TV, sitting area, dining table, fridge, tea coffee making etc, and the bedroom. Both have plenty of storage space although it would be nice to have a TV in the bedroom.. The bathroom has a full size tub with an over shower, don't expect power shower, separate toilet both with wash basin and mirror cupboards. The cabin we found cold and reported it. A maintenance man did fix it although the following day it was so cold I was forced to sit in my winter anorak. When I complained again I was informed they had a major equipment problem. Why didn't they come and tell us this instead of waiting for complaints? The bath/ shower gel ran out and Sali said she'd get it filled. 4 days later she was still waiting for her supervisor so I reported it to Debbie in guest relations and it was filled within a couple of hours. Now you're also provided with a drinks tray which has a decanter of gin, whiskey and brandy. After a week they needed filling and again this didn't happen until I complained to Debbie. I'm not blaming Sali but if things don't happen when she reports them, the system should pick this up. I also found it odd that you get complimentary spirits but are expected to pay for bottled water. There's also a balcony with 2 upright chairs and 1 steamer. Not much room for anything else but as we didn't go for the sun it was ideal for the quick dash outside when we were told the northern lights had appeared. The restaurant. We were allocated a table in the Four Seasons and although requested a table for 2 was initially placed on a table for 4 even though the restaurant was half full for the second sitting. Dining is allegedly open seating for breakfast and lunch on most days but you will be directed to where they want you to sit which may be with others and not necessarily in the restaurant of your choice. Due to an outbreak of Norovirus the restaurants weren't, as it became self-service, although you didn't serve yourself. You had to stand in a queue and wait for a member of staff to put your choice on a plate before taking it back to the table yourself, by which time it was cold. A bit like I remember the school canteen. There wasn't enough staff at the food stations and when you got back to the table you then had to wait for things like sachets of condiment, cruet, preserves, sugar and milk. There was nothing other than cutlery on the table. I suggested to ease this chaotic situation that sittings should be introduced for breakfast and lunch but Fernando the maitre'd thought this might upset the first dinner sitting passengers. One evening when this open sitting operated we were in and out of the dining room within 30 minutes. This is not what I want on holiday. The attempted control of norovirus has been taken to new heights of inconvenience without success. Fortunately we didn't succumb. Luckily we did see the Northern Lights which was the reason for the cruise. Cannot comment on any of the shows as we didn't go to any. On returning to Portsmouth although we had priority disembarkation, when called to leave we had to wait at the gangway while numerous crew members filed on without any security check or hand sanitation. This filled the area to congestion with the female member of security staff totally losing control. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
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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