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

We chose this cruise due to the excellent itinerary. There was lots of port time, including two overnights in Antwerp and Amsterdam, which gave us chance to have time off the ship and not rush back to the ship every night and the chance ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the excellent itinerary. There was lots of port time, including two overnights in Antwerp and Amsterdam, which gave us chance to have time off the ship and not rush back to the ship every night and the chance to have dinner ashore. We have travelled a lot on Fred's ship's, mainly because of the more unusual destinations. The food and dining experience was excellent as usual - both food and restaurant staff being of high quality. The set meal times are not what we would choose as they are either too early or too late, but at least the self service is available as an alternative. One very big improvement is the fact that the self service restaurant was open until midday every day so we did not have to rush to finish breakfast by 10am or skip it. The cabin was good and of a good size for a porthole cabin, with enough storage space and a bath with the shower over it. We always used the shower, but there was a lot more space then the dedicated shower cubicles. Unfortunately there was no full length hanging space as a fridge had been installed at the bottom of the longer wardrobe. We were however not impressed with the two occasions when they turned the water off ship wide without any notice being given - particularly on the change over day between this cruise and the next (we were on back to back cruises). The one thing that was noticeable was the poor cabin stewardess. We have always had excellent cabin staff in the past, but this lady was somewhat offhand and not unduly helpful, forgetting requests at times. On embarkation we told her as we were on late dinner 8.30pm (apologetically in fact) and she said nothing, yet knocked on our door at about 7.45 asking if she could do our cabin, when we were getting showered/ready for dinner. She then said she was going off duty at 8.30pm, which we felt was unacceptable as she could have told us that earlier in the day, though we did rush and managed to let her in the cabin about 8.15pm and the cabin was done. Part of the reason for our late departure from the cabin was her very late delivery of thinner coat hangers which we had asked for as the exisiting ones were taking far too much room in the wardrobes considering we were on board for two cruises. The change over day was also problematic as we had received a letter asking us to move cabin's between 10am and 12 midday and put out our do not disturb sign. She ignored the sign and knocked on our door at 9.15am saying our other cabin was ready. We held tight and moved shortly after 10.30 as we had intended. The entertainments were fine for a port heavy cruise and there was a really good young duo playing in the Lido lounge, providing a great chance for disco dancing on occasion. They were very generous with drinks/canapes for the formal welcome/departure parties, but no captain or other substitute officer turned up, which we found strange. Overall it was not a lot different to other Fred cruises, though sad we had to travel to Dover for this cruise itinerary as it is very difficult to get to having to go around London and via some very busy roads e.g. the M1. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The cruise was from Dover so an easy drive from East Sussex, the destinations in Northern Germany with combination of Kiel, Travemunde, Hamburg and Bremen were attractive and it was a good balance of sea days and port visits - an advantage ... Read More
The cruise was from Dover so an easy drive from East Sussex, the destinations in Northern Germany with combination of Kiel, Travemunde, Hamburg and Bremen were attractive and it was a good balance of sea days and port visits - an advantage of the smaller ship allowing us to dock so close to the centre of each city. First time on Fred Olsen and was impressed, the ship is an older one but had been refurbished well and the standard of cleanliness was very high, good crew and excellent food. Fred Olsen is definitely for the more 'mature' client and is very British but that made a nice contrast to other cruises we have made with a more American flavour. Entertainment is low key but fun and we met some lovely and down to earth people. We had a balcony cabin which was very nice, deck 8 slightly restricted view but really no problem, on the whole would recommend especially if over 50 and not looking for the wild nightlife! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
It fitted in with our busy schedule as we needed a much earned break and we received a good deal with all inclusive drinks. The ship was supposed to have had a refit but we couldn't see much that was new, carpets were still being ... Read More
It fitted in with our busy schedule as we needed a much earned break and we received a good deal with all inclusive drinks. The ship was supposed to have had a refit but we couldn't see much that was new, carpets were still being fitted, there were rolls of it everywhere, there was a smell of paint on several occasions but there were still areas that needed doing up, made it look untidy. Food and service was excellent. Husband was disappointed that he could not take his fold up bike as he is disabled and unable to walk very far, when we got on board several people had mobility scooters and someone even had a fold up bike! Would have made it much easier to get around as we had to make our own way because the tours were expensive, not really what we wanted to see and do and most of them involved a lot of walking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Wanted to see the Hanseatic cities so this fitted the bill. Positives:- Good itinerary, but we did our own thing in ports, usually using the excellent public transport. I'm fluent in German, which helps. Food very good. Cabin ... Read More
Wanted to see the Hanseatic cities so this fitted the bill. Positives:- Good itinerary, but we did our own thing in ports, usually using the excellent public transport. I'm fluent in German, which helps. Food very good. Cabin nice. I can't comment on the entertainment, as we didn't bother with any of it; it's just not our thing. Nice to have Bridge lessons on sea days. Plenty of activities; unlike many cruise lines these did not just involve trying to get you to spend more money on rubbish. (Usually.) Plenty of space to sit and read quietly, even though, being April, it was too cold much of the time to sit outside when under way. Drink Prices very reasonable, unlike a certain large USA-based group. Ship fully refitted a few years ago, but it looked all very new. Carpets just fitted I think. Against: We had Junior Suite 5005. Every night there was noise from above. Quite intrusive, though I usually slept through some of it. It sounded like some large wheeled objects were being wheeled around; a rumbling like distant thunder. Hopeless if you are a light sleeper. I think it must be the galley. Our neighbours in 5003 said they didn't have a problem, which seemed odd, but there you are. We preferred dining in the cafe as it just took so long in the restaurant, though that is our preference, rather than a criticism. Almost all cruise ships have to do some maintenance as they go along and this was no exception but the smell of the paint was pretty horrible tbh. Embarkation pretty smooth and disembarkation VERY quick and efficient as we took our own stuff off and Dover Port Parking were excellent. Yes- lots of very old people on there; if you don't like us oldies then please stay away! So, happy to use Fred Olsen again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Mixed review. With the exception of the performance outlined below the experience was very good. The service staff in particular were excellent.The cabin facilities were of a high standard as indeed was the food. The overall cleanliness ... Read More
Mixed review. With the exception of the performance outlined below the experience was very good. The service staff in particular were excellent.The cabin facilities were of a high standard as indeed was the food. The overall cleanliness of the ship deserves positive mention. The places visited proved very impressive with the added bonus of observing the Northern Lights and various types of whales. The drawbacks were as follows ; 1. British Night. Apart from questioning why it was held in the first place as we were visiting Greenland,Iceland and the Faroe Islands it was sad that in contrast to the final international night with its sense of togetherness the British Night was conducted in an altogether different manner . More specifically many of us in attendance were confronted with a cringe worthy triumphalist recollection of a period long gone when Britain played a not insignificant role in world affairs. The main examples were the choice of the racist tinged Jerusalem and the breast beating Land of Hope and Glory. [ I will leave alone the separate matter that both songs relate to England rather than Britain !!!]. Add to this it seems the planners rather than being sensitive to Britain`s current poor profile in the eyes of the wider world post Brexit which alone should have rendered the performance as unwise they instead were eager to tap into many of the guests wishes to return to times past. Factor in alcohol and it was no surprise to overhear hostile comments being made towards not only other cultures elsewhere in the world but also other countries in the UK. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We booked this cruise as we wanted to sail round the UK from Falmouth, our local port in South West England. The port was easy to find, and we booked valet parking with CPS, which went smoothly: our cases were taken straight to the ship ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we wanted to sail round the UK from Falmouth, our local port in South West England. The port was easy to find, and we booked valet parking with CPS, which went smoothly: our cases were taken straight to the ship by the porters. We then entered a makeshift Embarkation tent where we registered and received our cabin cards. There was plenty of seating, and refreshments were available. The tent was rather draughty, but we only had to wait about 30 minutes before we were allowed on the ship. This is the second time we have sailed on the Boudicca. We like the relatively small size of the ship, and the food and service is excellent. The clientele is largely British and over 60, but there also were a smattering of American and German passengers, and under 60s on board. Entertainment was OK. The Show Company were professional, and we also enjoyed the Rosario Trio, who played in the Secret Garden Lounge. There were Wildlife lectures given by Sandie Sowler, Port talks by Judith Cranswick, and Whisky talks. There was also a Classical Duo: unfortunately the violinist did not play very well, so we only attended the first of their concerts! Bridge was also available. The Captain Sten Ronny Jensen ("Hello, it's me again") gave a briefing every day at noon, and also emphasised the need for strict hygiene measures, hand washing and use of antibacterial dispensers. Most of the passengers adhered to this, and there were no cases of Norovirus reported, as far as I know. The Ports of Call were Liverpool, Kirkwall, Invergordon, Scrabster, Tobermory and Belfast. All were worth visiting, and Falmouth itself is an interesting town, and worth a pre or post cruise stay if you have the time. There are boat trips available to Trelissick, St Mawes and Truro, and if you have a car there are gardens to visit, plus St Ives, Eden Project etc. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
As I had done BOUDICCA a few times including when she was "GOLDEN PRINCESS". I wanted to do a cruise on her sadly money is not great but love cruises. She was doing a repositioning cruise to FALMOUTH I picked this one. PRE ... Read More
As I had done BOUDICCA a few times including when she was "GOLDEN PRINCESS". I wanted to do a cruise on her sadly money is not great but love cruises. She was doing a repositioning cruise to FALMOUTH I picked this one. PRE CRUISE. I booked this cruise Direct through FRED OLSEN and booked an inside sin SUNDAY 10th april 2016. I travelled down from LONDON to SOUTHAMPTON, Being a sunday the train was diverted via HAVANT. On arrival I went to the IBIS HOTEL to stay the night. I organised a dinner at CASA ITALIA restaurant it was a eat as much buffet always good. then after a lovely dinner went to the port to see "OVATION OF THE SEAS". sadly it was raining hard. MONDAY 11april 2016. I wanted to see BOUDICCA arrive so woke at 5am just had time to get down to see her arrive. then AIDA MAR and SAGA SAPPHIRE arrived. then back to MCdonalds for breakfast(it was cheaper than hotel buffet!) then to WEST QUAY to HARRY RAMSDENS FISH AND CHIPS. as check in was not till 2.30pm. EMBARKATION. I walked to pier 106 mayflower terminal. A small queue to Check in got a boarding card and after 20 mins boarded the ship. I was shown to my cabin 4128. I picked this as it was close to cabin 4140 which was my old cabin. CABIN Quite a good size cabin. a few drawers, Bathroom with a shower but very little toiletries. A single bed and a pull out one. as it was a short cruise I had to carry the case on myself, so quickly unpacked. LIFEBOAT DRILL. For some reason nobody wanted to tell me the time for the lifeboat drill even the daily sheet said nothing apart from saying there would be one! I went to the buffet and started to eat something when they announced the drill would start in 10 mins! I rush through a snack and no luck getting a drink. Luckily you did not have to take your life jacket so went straight there. It was well done showing how to put it on. DINING. I had early sitting for DINNER I had a table for 6 but there was only 3 of us. I had soup and IRISH STEW which was pretty good. DESSERTS were very poor I had KIWI TART not very good(hope it is cause it is a short cruise) Breakfast was in the DINING ROOM mostly BUFFET but omelettes could be ordered. I found SWISS MUESLI which I like. ENTERTAINMENT. The show was a comedian he was pretty good. SHOPS. Not a great choice I already had the model i did not find anything worth buying. PHOTOSHOP. Not cheap £9.99-£15.00 for photos I bought a few. MISS. I have a friend who draws ships they are very good but could only afford to buy one so far. HARRY gave the latest to the CAPTAIN he put it in the CREW MESS not the best place in my opinion. I did my best to go there and take a picture of it. I also managed to get into my old cabin to get a picture this was hard work as the steward did not want to get into trouble. TUESDAY 12th april 2016. DISEMBARKATION. This was pretty good after I had BREAKFAST I left my cabin and went onto the deck as it was quieter than the PUBLIC ROOMS. I had a lovely viuew of us arriving in FALMOUTH. After 45 mins my deck was called and I left the ship. TRASPORTATION. when I left the ship I was asked where I was going I said the town just keep walking I was told. no mention of a shuttle bus that ran, not great service. FINAL COMMENTS. I enjoyed going on the BOUDICCA again albeit a very short one. Food could have been better. But all in all a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I went on a previous cruise in March - see my review "Absolutely magical experience" - this time with my wife, so the previous cruise was fresh in my mind and my descriptions in hers. This time departing from Rosyth, we found ... Read More
I went on a previous cruise in March - see my review "Absolutely magical experience" - this time with my wife, so the previous cruise was fresh in my mind and my descriptions in hers. This time departing from Rosyth, we found the port facilities inferior to before when I departed from Southampton, although actual embarkation was much more painless.There is no left luggage facility which made if complicated sending luggage ahead. It was not made clear that there is no taxi rank at the small Rosyth station, better to stop off at Inverkeithing which is a more major station (indeed some of the London trains stop there). The actual cruise got off to a slow start because the first and second days were taken up with port visits - there was no captain's welcome until the third night (and the captain couldn't even come to that) - this meant that ship-bound activities such as Bridge and similar (which we were looking forward to) didn't start until the third day, which was very disappointing, for example for disabled people unable to go on trips. The "at sea" days where there were more activities so crowded the timetable that many things we wanted to go to all clashed. The Bridge sessions were very well-run and enjoyable. Having come up from London on the train, we were disinclined to launch into 4-hour bus trips to Loch Ness and such on the first full day so we stayed on-board feeling we were wasting time. However with the first sea day things picked up well. We didn't end up going on port excursions as we chickened out of going on tenders to some places and I had had the experience of missing trips I'd booked because of injury before. I thought that the food, although very good, wasn't quite in the same league as before. The soups weren't as good and the desserts were mostly very disappointing. The main courses remained excellent. Unlike before there wasn't wholemeal bread, which we like, and none of the speciality breads such as walnut were on offer. We took out the "all-inclusive drinks package" which was a huge mistake. The only things included in the price for free were the very poor house wines, a cava which we soon got bored with and a limited ranges of beers and spirits. Yes you can get other drinks for 50% of the price (reducing good wines from 3 times the price to 1.5 times) but not basics like tea and coffee for which full price was still applied. I think we averaged out losing out by about £10 per night between us. We definitely won't get that again unless they refine it sensibly. We didn't go to many of the entertainment offerings, but those we did go to were very good, all things considered although the lack of a proper theatre hampered things.There was a theme of a detective mystery run over several nights which was good fun. I even got the answer right (but didn't win the prize). The crew were uniformly good-humoured and friendly - some remembered unprompted my likings from my previous trip which was amazing! Still we enjoyed it enough to wander round to the "future cruises" office and book one for next year - this time on the "Black Watch". Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
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
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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