14 Fred. Olsen Boudicca Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise because it sailed from Liverpool. We were asked to arrive at 2pm we were swiftly checked in and were on board by 2.25pm Same can be said for disembarkation which was just as quick and efficient with porters to help ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it sailed from Liverpool. We were asked to arrive at 2pm we were swiftly checked in and were on board by 2.25pm Same can be said for disembarkation which was just as quick and efficient with porters to help getting luggage to taxi. We had a balcony suite which was a good size and kept to a high standard of cleanliness. Tintagel restaurant was chosen because we had that restaurant when we sailed before in 2010 and we had a table for two by the window. The food was excellent with good choice and restaurant staff brilliant. Entertainment staff worked hard and guest speakers were quite good to listen to. Staff from all aspects of the ship were polite and pleasant and nothing was a bother. We didn't use shore excursions as most ports of call were a fifteen minute walk away and we were happy to stroll around. However, we saw lots of passengers taking the tours. The Boudicca is an elderly ship like most of our fellow passengers were. We thoroughly enjoyed Christmas and the happy atmosphere on board. Must give the firework display on New Years eve in Madeira a mention it was amazing..... Will definitely be booking with Fred again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
In early October I received an email offer from Fred Olsen for a November 20th sailing on the Boudicca for a 21-day cruise to the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. The price was quite good at less than 100 GBP per day although it was for ... Read More
In early October I received an email offer from Fred Olsen for a November 20th sailing on the Boudicca for a 21-day cruise to the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. The price was quite good at less than 100 GBP per day although it was for what Fred Olsen terms an Anchor Fare (i.e. a guaranteed cabin with no choice in assigned dining time). When I went to book I discovered that Fred Olsen now uses a different American booking agent and the change is not a good one. They used to use Borton Overseas Travel based in Minneapolis which is a very good company, but now they are using something called World View Travel based in New York and they are terrible. They rarely answered emails or the phone and knew almost nothing about the cruise line; my cruise documents barely arrived in time and then only after I left phone messages asking where they were. It’s a pity that Americans cannot book directly with Fred Olsen as it would be so much easier. However, this itinerary was so interesting and the Liverpool departure location meant the opportunity to visit relatives in the area so I could not pass up the chance. And I was fortunate to snag some last minute frequent flyer tickets to the U.K. so I was off! I expected travel to the embarkation port in Liverpool to be a breeze from Altrincham where I was staying, but I did not take into account last minute rail works, which altered my itinerary, nor the surprise that some 30,000 crazed rugby fans would also be making their way to Liverpool that same morning for a world’s final match between Australia and New Zealand! Nothing says “adventure” like fighting your way onto a two-carriage Northern train at Manchester Piccadilly with hundreds of others while carrying two large suitcases and then standing the whole way to Liverpool holding onto your cases one stacked upon the other. Once at Liverpool Lime Street the station taxi cue barely moved as fans ran out to the street and snagged many of the available taxis there. Those of us left in the cue started finding fellow Boudicca passengers and joined up to share whatever taxis we could find. Once at the port, though, things went very smoothly. Luggage disappeared out of the taxi before I even alighted and was already waiting in my cabin when I boarded about an hour later. Check-in was already in progress when I arrived at 1:30 pm and at 2 pm embarkation began by group starting with the upper class cabins and those with elite status. The Liverpool terminal is fairly basic, but had plenty of seating for all of us. Toilets were in a separate trailer-like building just outside. The walk to the ship was a bit long and covered at least most of the way; however, it would not have been a pleasant walk, though, had it been raining. I believe assistance was provided to those passengers who needed help getting to the ship. My second unwelcome surprise that day came when I arrived at my cabin. When sailing on the Black Watch this past summer I had been told by the Future Cruise Consultant that the Boudicca was a sister ship, meaning they had the same layout. Since I booked exactly the same cabin category (category N, inside solo cabin) and even was assigned the same cabin number (4107) on this voyage I expected the same cabin facilities. However, instead of the nice wide bed I had on the Black Watch, I had a bed that was all of 30 inches wide—something I would provide for a child, not a full grown adult. And in place of a desk with drawers, there was a small triangular shelf that held a phone, small lamp and barely room for anything else. Even the closet was smaller with only about 16 inches of hanging space. The Black Watch bathroom had nice counter space and a real medicine cabinet, whereas this Boudicca bathroom had a pedestal sink with just a single shelf along the bottom of the mirror. Even the door hit the toilet which meant you had to sit sideways unless the door was fully closed. I went to the service desk immediately to ask about changing cabins, but was told I would need to speak to someone else who was not readily available. The staff person did, however, get on the phone, and within 20 minutes a crew member turned up with a nice small three-drawer cabinet to add to my cabin which provided me with enough additional storage to unpack. I think that had I booked a Freedom Fare (regular cruise fare) I might have had a chance to change cabins to something larger as the ship was not sailing full. On the plus side I love this location on the ship as it’s very quiet and convenient to both the mid-ship stairs/elevators leading to the dining and public areas as well as the aft stairs/elevator that lead to the pool area and laundry room. Fred Olsen ships are older ships without the glamour of the newer behemoths that many cruise lines have launched, but the ship is very comfortable and just the right size at 800 passengers for me. All the necessities are provided (pools, gym, both formal and informal dining spaces, bars, a library, etc.) as well as lots of places to sit both inside and out, with the exception of the promenade deck which could use a few more chairs. Smoking is contained to two outside aft locations and to private balconies. There is a full wrap-around promenade deck as well as additional walking space on the top deck. Indeed, walking seems to be one of the most popular activities on Fred Olsen ships. One of my favorite locations is the Bookmark Café where you can order up hot drinks as well as select from a variety of chocolates while browsing the library collection of books and then sitting in a comfortable armchair with a nice sea view. Those folks who are sun worshippers could choose from quite a number of lounge chairs on several decks. The major public space on the ship is the Neptune Lounge where lectures, entertainment and some activities such as dance classes were scheduled. The layout here is not ideal as it’s all mostly on one level with just one step up to a second level around the sides and back of the space. They do provide some video monitors on this upper level to assist those in back to see the screen or stage area. Some of us early on figured out the best place to sit and would just arrive extra early to grab our favorite seat for any even we wanted to attend. The dining experience on Fred Olsen is decidedly British with a significant emphasis on seafood and geared towards night folk rather than morning people like myself. Breakfast began at 7:30 or 8:00 am, depending on dining venue, except on some port days when one of the venues would open at 7:00 am. Prior to that, the coffee/tea area would be set up at 6:30 am. This was another change from the Black Watch which had a 24-hour coffee/tea area. Lunch began at noon and tea with snacks was served at 3:45 pm. The dining room had two fixed-seating services, one at 6:15 pm and the other at 8:15 pm. For the main dining room there were some designated formal nights, although I noticed that many passengers dressed up a bit for diner here even on regular nights as well. The informal Secret Garden café provided buffet style dinner at 6:30 pm. At 11:30 pm each evening an additional supper would be served, usually with a theme meal. As a morning person and one, whom for medical reasons cannot eat much of anything after 6 pm, this schedule provided quite a problem. To compensate I would try to find something to eat at tea time or put together a sandwich from items on the breakfast buffet to save for later. The ship does provide room service from 11 am to 10 pm, but it is a very limited menu of soup, a few salads and cold sandwiches only. I called and tried to just get a bowl of ice cream one evening and was told that was not possible. I ended up just ordering a glass of milk each night. Except for that standard breakfast every morning the menus varied daily and did provide some gluten-free and sugar-free options for those that needed them. I found the overall quality of the food on this sailing not quite as good as on the Black Watch this past summer. I’m not sure why this was the case. The activities on board are geared toward the general age group that Fred Olsen attracts which is the over 60s. There was a small gym on the top deck, but I found some of the equipment rather old and was quite turned off by the horrible metallic rock music played by the gym attendant. Why he possible thought our older generation wanted to listen to that music was beyond my understanding. He also offered some deck games during the day on the promenade deck. There were two saltwater pools, an exercise pool, and some hot tubs—all wonderfully heated to just the right temperature. As I mentioned before, though, walking the deck seemed to be the most popular physical activity on this sailing. The ship also offered trivia games, dance lessons, a passenger choral group, and painting and craft classes. My preferred activities were the lectures. We had a port lecturer who was quite good, but they limited him to only 45 minutes per port—not enough time really. We also had three other very good lecturers, but I was surprised on their topic choices (Hollywood stars, 18th Georgian England, and assorted political/historical topics). Aside from a lecture on Columbus none of these lectures had any connection to our itinerary, unlike our summer Arctic cruise where we had nature and maritime history lectures that fit the bill. The entertainment on board such a small ship is limited because of facilities. We had a few musicians who played at tea time and there were two scheduled shows in the evening, none of which I attended as they were so late. The cabins had small televisions with terrible speakers; it was so difficult to hear without turning up the sound but then you worried about disturbing your neighbors. Channels included BBC News, Sky News and an ITV station with an occasional show from some other mystery station. There were also two movie channels but the Daily Times often had errors in the schedule so I often found I missed a movie I wanted to see. And I really question the movie selection on this sailing as there were a large number of very old movies while the newer movies tended to be about aliens and/or Marvel comic heroes—not really of interest to the older passengers. Again this differed from the Black Watch cruise on which we had some really good recent movie selections. Service is one area in which Fred Olsen really stands out from many other cruise lines. The majority of their staff has been with the company for many years and has the most amazing ability to remember passengers’ names and preferences-even passengers who have sailed with them before. My cabin attendant was a very sweet and quiet young woman who kept my cabin spotlessly clean and had no difficulty with my requests upon arrival to remove several items from the cabin to reduce clutter/improve storage space. When I mentioned to one of the ship’s photographers that Cape Verde would be my 100th foreign country visited, he made a special effort to follow me around that day to get pictures of me with the little sign I made for the occasion. And I cannot say enough good things about Hannah in the Shore Tours office. She was just great and the best provider of any information I needed while on board. Fred Olsen offers a good range of shore tours in ports and they are, in general, more reasonably priced compared to many other cruise lines. I booked tours in the all the ports and was only really disappointed in two of them--Mindelo (too many people booked for the accommodations) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (poorly run tour). The one major negative aspect and one very frustrating for me is Fred Olsen’s refusal to provide specific port times in advance for any of its cruises. They provide only vague information such as “Early AM arrival” which can mean anything from 5 am to 9 am. Even if you ask for port times once on board, they refuse to provide them until they appear in the Daily Times the night before saying “things can change”. What good is that? It’s too late to make any adjustments to shore tour bookings or make any independent arrangements. And in the case of this cruise, twice the “Early AM” information was not correct. Our “Early AM” arrival in Lisbon turned out to be planned for 12 noon. I’ve sailed with nine other cruise lines, both British and American, and they have all provided ports times at the time of booking. Cruise companies have to pre-book specific times with the port authorities and with their on-shore tour companies so they do know the times in advance. And, sure, anyone who has sailed before knows that occasionally sea conditions, port staffing issues, or medical emergencies, etc. can cause a change in port times, but at least you do get to plan your port time in advance. I will say the frustration with this lack of information was the one reason that kept me from booking a future cruise deposit with them while on board. Disembarkation at Liverpool went very quickly and smoothly. Breakfast was served starting at 6:30 am and we were told to be out of our cabins by 8 am. We docked at 7 am and disembarkation began about 7:45 am once luggage had been off-loaded. As usual those guests in the upper deck suites and balcony cabins were called first followed by the other decks downward. This is another advantage of sailing on a smaller ship as the luggage was easy to find in the terminal and the cue for taxis outside was almost non-existent. I was off the ship, in a taxi, and at my hotel by 8:45 am. Although I’ve pointed out a number of negatives on this Canary Island/Cape Verde cruise on the Boudicca, in particular in comparison to the wonderful Arctic cruise on the Black Watch this past summer, I still believe that the Fred Olsen cruise line is a good company to sail with. Their smaller ships and level of personal service really make them stand out from the crowd. And what, to me, is the truly outstanding feature is the people—you really feel you have become a resident in a wonderfully charming English village with all the marvelous characters one might encounter there. Passengers are very friendly and really care for one another. Even though I’m an American, my mother was English so I feel a part of that heritage. I never had a chance to meet my English grandparents but talking to one retired Cumbrian railroader at early morning coffee with his crazy stories made me feel as if I’ve “found” my grandfather, whom I was told was himself a great story teller. Helping my elderly neighbor up a steep ramp or the memory-challenged gentleman across the hall locate his cabin upon occasion or getting an invitation to stay at their home from the charming couple I met at breakfast—these were all wonderful connections, the type of connections I’ve rarely found on any other cruise ship except perhaps on Swan Hellenic, another small ship British company. So, yes, I expect to be back again on Fred Olsen; I just beg their home office to reconsider providing passengers with port times in advance and please let Americans book directly with your office. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
First time aboard a Fred Olsen ship and overall, I would say it is good value for money but it depends what your expectations are. I would also say that the crew - with only a few exceptions - are outstanding and deserve some recognition ... Read More
First time aboard a Fred Olsen ship and overall, I would say it is good value for money but it depends what your expectations are. I would also say that the crew - with only a few exceptions - are outstanding and deserve some recognition for their tireless work & infectious happiness...particular thanks to Jean, Christine, Gerome & all in the Lido Bar for putting up with us! There are many ships where the crew to passenger ratio is a lot higher but the service does not necessarily go up accordingly; this crew work very hard to deliver good service - they remember your cabin number within a day, your name..your children's names, everything! The consensus is that Fred ships are floating retirement homes - not entirely untrue but in the event, I will take a Fred Olsen ship as mine - far cheaper for sure. As we were amongst the youngest, we did receive quite a few bemused stares for the first couple of days but soon managed to pally up with some people reasonably close to our age and some far older - we met some really lovely folks so don't let the 'nursing home' jibes put you off too much; some of these elders had far more stamina than me and were hilarious fun. Unless of course you particularly want a 'proper' disco & steamed up Brits every night... CABINS: We were Deck 3 midships- totally fine; not noisy, beds comfortable & attended to twice a day by a lovely cabin steward named Na. DINING: For the most part, great. We were on a 2nd seating dinner so hunger often meant we hit the Secret Garden buffet at 6.30 rather than wait. The Secret Garden staff were the big let-down for me & I'm not sure what the deal is here - are they working up the ranks until they become fit for the main dining rooms I wonder? At first I thought maybe it was just us they did not particularly care for but having discussed with others, it seemed to be not just us - sort of thankfully! The actual maitre de of the whole place by far had the worst attitude, thus setting the standard for all the staff under him & this needs a close inspection by Olsen Corps I personally think.... But main dining room fab by night, waiters were wonderfully sweet - Suwat & Oliver spring to mind. Extremely busy at breakfast & lunch mind you. Food on the whole was great all over. I was told that the £20 surcharge for the Grill at night was not worth it but never tried myself - you can sit there during lunch for no surcharge & the burgers are really good. ENTERTAINMENT: Well I think there is something for everyone, tailored to the particular age group. Bridge, the usual shuffleboard etc,, daily quizzes & bingo, classes & talks. The evening shows can be hit & miss; some fall flat and some are pretty good - we were lucky to have Brenda Collins on board who looks more like Cilla Black than even Cilla herself, and she did some very funny shows. The resident musicians are all reasonable with the only exception being the 'Timeline Duo' who seem to have only the most depressing songs known to man in their set list! I heard more complaints about them than anything else which meant they got happier one night, but the following night it was back to morose. The actual entertainment staff - as in the singers & dancers - could do more, there are a couple of blinding singers amongst them, but I think they do so much during the day that it doesn't leave much scope for night. ON BOARD SERVICES: Gift shop, Photographer & Salon are OK but as usual, it's slightly inflated so none do particularly well. The 'Casino' - one roulette, one BJ - is staffed by two very miserable & bored girls. Sauna & steam rooms were great; I was always the only one in them. The gym is actually very sufficient - everything works and after midday, you have it pretty much to yourself. The reception & staff are great - I quietly watched them a few times; they take the full frontal and are very patient indeed. SMOKING FACILITIES: For those that do, this is where it falls down. Presently, one can only smoke on the Deck 7 starboard aft wing overlooking the pool area & on the small Deck 8 area. I don't need to be told that the habit is filthy & we shouldn't do it but nonetheless, I feel that there should be 'reasonably' comfortable & safe areas to do it in - neither of these areas being the case. Apparently, it used to be that Deck 7 outside the main Lido bar was smoking - makes sense, being outside the main bar - but was terminated due to the 'lappers' (Deck 7 is the only deck where you can do the 'mile') complaining & general folk who were sitting there during the day...perfectly understandable complaints. But by night, the only people that venture out of those doors are smokers to get to their designated areas. I have no issue with compliance to the rules but for most nights during our cruise the wind was howling. Had anyone gone over to smoke on the wing - bear in mind the tables & ashtrays had been removed due to rough weather - they may have been blown clean off & no-one would've been any the wiser, since it's barely lit. OR, you can try & get up the stairs to Deck 8 where it is effectively like being in a wind tunnel! I tried in vain to mention these points to a very agitated security man who was called because my 87 yr old friend was smoking outside the bar when there was no-one else present - the deck was 2 inches deep in water from the rain, we were in the Bay which was rough and yet, even though she needs a stick to walk, we were told (quite aggressively) that she must go to that wing with no tables or ashtrays present or try & climb the stairs to Deck 8 Wind Machine!! Really? As I said, I know smokers are lesser human beings but since they pay the same money, there should be provisions for it to be at least safe for someone not so good on their feet?! I would say many were quite disgruntled, around 50 smokers, of which at least 20 said never again on Fred - not a drop in the ocean financially speaking. SUMMARY: Generally great value for money; things are not as polished as on other cruise lines but you get what you pay for; no more, no less. I would recommend it for ages 50 and above, definitely. I think the crew are the jewel in Fred's crown and some of them make the whole trip change from mediocre into something very comical. Fred, if you're reading, Jean & Christine deserve Employee of the Month, well, for as long as they're with you!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I took my wife on our first cruise to see if she could be treated like a lady. British hotels are going to the dogs, in general, as far as style and service are concerned, being run by indifferent staff to any old standard. Fred Olsen took ... Read More
I took my wife on our first cruise to see if she could be treated like a lady. British hotels are going to the dogs, in general, as far as style and service are concerned, being run by indifferent staff to any old standard. Fred Olsen took my booking knowing how important these issues were to me, and in spite of understanding how important a table for two was to me. Having paid in full for a premier suite I gathered a table for two was not only not guaranteed but unlikely. I protested but bit my lip. As it turned out we had not only a table for two but the finest professional waiter I have ever encountered bar one. The suite was astounding and the housekeeper obliging and, also, professional. The food was to the highest standard I've encountered in spite of the quantities being served. The menu was imaginative. However, if fine dining and service is your bag, think before booking with Fred Olsen. Nothing to do with Fred ! There was a lot of interpretive license taken on the definition of "smart casual" with varying degrees of conduct and manners to go with it. One could easily have a T-shirt and jeans clad dining companion with table manners and language to match. NOT IN EVERY CASE....before I get edited out. Breakfast and lunch was a total shambles. One reviewer likened it to Asda. It was plain the normally professional waiters were fed up with the mob-like behaviour of the passengers when jostling for tables. This behaviour proves the demand for tables-for-two. Many more two seater tables could be provided with simple splitting of four-seater tables. On occasions we were able to dine and breakfast on the deck, in the secret garden or with cabin service. This changed my days absolutely as breakfast and lunch times were to be "got over with" as opposed to being enjoyed with anticipation as was the evening meal. A fair percentage of the passengers matched the standards set by the Boudicca crew and a small percentage were badly behaved. The greater percentage were somewhere in between. The lounges accommodated people fly-catching,others with feet up on the furniture or tables. Scruffy track suite bottoms were in abundance. I was subject to abuse and ridicule in a lift from a party not appropriately dressed on a formal night. Remarks were passed in this vain more than once. "you make me look like a tramp" was one such comment. We were once big fans of hotels now taken over by the Britannia group and visited three of them before we realised they had set their stall out accommodating cheap coach parties, some including drinks packages. The very reason I've gone on a cruise instead. Meal times put me in mind of these establishments. Fred Olsen standards are high. However, the things that were important to me were nullified. The entertainment was o.k and the daytime activities and choice of environment was prolific. All would have found something.The preset gratuity system sat very uncomfortably with me. I saw it as some kind of manouvre to adjust the Olsen payroll. However, I reluctantly let it stand and, in fact, felt the need to tip further to our evening meal waiter and others otherwise excluded from the set system.Lastly, I got the feeling we were being dumped and got rid of on disembarking morning. The boat had to be empty by 8.00a.m, breakfast betwixt 6a.m & 8a.m with the cushion covers being removed the evening before together with cases in the corridor before 1.00a.m following a formal dress evening. The efficient helpful parking attendants/luggage handlers on arrival were notable by their absence on departure. I'll be doing a lot more research before I book my next cruise. Fred Olsen couldn't do more. (by the way, this ship is as about as stabilised as the waltzers, in case you want to know. It didn't bother us, though.) Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Got back this week from a fab 14 day cruise that left Liverpool for Casablanca, Canaries and Madeira. The Boudicca is a lovely ship, small enough not to get lost in, but large enough to find a quiet space. The staff were fantastic (as ... Read More
Got back this week from a fab 14 day cruise that left Liverpool for Casablanca, Canaries and Madeira. The Boudicca is a lovely ship, small enough not to get lost in, but large enough to find a quiet space. The staff were fantastic (as usual on a Fred Olsen ship), the entertainment team delivered a polished show when they were performing and the food was as described in the brochure - 'fine dining'. Our cabin was an outside twin on Deck 4 mid-ship which was very comfortable. We met some really interesting and lovely people on the ship and shared a table each evening with a very pleasant and amusing couple from the Wirral, Keith and Ruth. There were lots of activities to get involved in during the day, or a well stocked library to visit for those feeling a little less energetic. Embarking from Liverpool was a real bonus as we live about 1 1/2 hours away and will definitely be planning our next venture from this port. All in all a great holiday, lovely places to visit (possibly with the exception of Casablanca - did a 1/2 day trip on the coach but didn't like the feel of the place at all). Madeira and the Canaries are a joy for those who have young children - the variety of clothing (fabric, knitted, crocheted) and craftsmanship is bewildering. Look out for Chris, a man originally from Brighton living in San Sebastian, La Gomera and now makes a living making and selling his leather goods. If you need a beautiful hand stitched bespoke bicycle saddle he is your man! Fred Olsen have a unique customer care style - their staff are efficient, elegant and extremely polite - this is what they have built their reputation on. The Boudicca may lack many of the trappings of the larger ships (no climbing wall, golf green, tidal pool etc) but she has a quiet grace offering comfort and style throughout. Travelling on the Boudicca was a joy and one we will be repeating soon. This trip ticked all the boxes for us and we hope you too enjoy your holiday on this lovely ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Have just returned from the worst cruise we have ever had. Emaarktion,,,This was the new terminal at Liverpool which is not suitable for the amount of passengers as people had to queue outside.The toilet facilities are in a portacabin ... Read More
Have just returned from the worst cruise we have ever had. Emaarktion,,,This was the new terminal at Liverpool which is not suitable for the amount of passengers as people had to queue outside.The toilet facilities are in a portacabin there was no hot water or paper towels after reporting this a roll of toilet tissue was placed for hand drying,Embarkation was slow and the luggage did not arrive in the cabins until very late allowing no time to change for dinner. Cabin o Our cabin 4127 was very noisy small but adequate if a lot of time was not to be spent there.Sleep was impossible due to the noise.Amove was requested but the only alternative was on a lower deck.A lot of time was spent in the cabin as there are very few activities available unless you like whist bridge or listening to speakers, Entertainment The evening entertainment was extrmelly good as were the visiting acts.Dance hosts available for single ladies Howevwer the dance floor is very small and difficuly to dance around the older passengers. The entertainment during the day does not meet the needs of the younger passenger.The only thing available is the fitness centre which had a broken treadmill from the beginning .Fitness classes are charged at €5 for 30 mins Food Very good but long queues spoil the experience.Passengers on the ship are very elderly and many are frail or disabled The ship is very much like a nursing home The breakfast experience is dreadful as half the dining room is closed and you are placed on tables with total strangers. Shore excursions Walking excursions were cancelled due to lack of interest once again as the passengers were on the whole frail and elderly The ship The ship is old and worn the whole entertainment area is dated The ship is noisy and in bad weather which we had very unstable The noise from the engines is dreadful and the ship travels at a very slow pace.To many days were spent at sea. Future cruising Certainly never on this cruise line in comparison with other ships it was a very disappointing holiday The advertising should state it is catering for a very elderly passenger. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Boarded at Portsmouth in no time and luggage already at cabin.Cabins have been refurbed and it was sufficient for our needs and conveniently positioned near the spa.and lifts. Everyone on board seemed to contract the cabin cough, however, ... Read More
Boarded at Portsmouth in no time and luggage already at cabin.Cabins have been refurbed and it was sufficient for our needs and conveniently positioned near the spa.and lifts. Everyone on board seemed to contract the cabin cough, however, it was probably because we are not used to air conditioning. The crossing over was quite rough,but then it was fine for the rest of the time. Beds comfy, food very good indeed and waiters although they have more tables to deal with than on other cruises it went well and the steaks and fish were very nice. My husband contracted winter vomiting or norovirus on New Years day as well as bronchitis. Fred Olsen do NOT CHARGE for norovirus injections tablets etc but they DO charge for ordinary illness, eg bonchitis.The male nurse, in particular was very good indeed to my husband and we had to stay on board until everyone had left when we docked at Portsmouth. The ship was decorated and there were carol services and a Christmas service, which were well attended with the staff all on stage and the audience taking part. It was nice. There were the usual quoits shuffleboard, quizzes, bridge and various arty things as well as lectures if you wanted them. One thing that is needed for European sailing is heaters outside the lido bar on deck 7 (the only place smoking is allowed) it is freezing trying to smoke in a gale in evening dress. The automatic heaters they use in pub smoking places and Thomson cruises have them on Celebration would be nice and civilised. The entertainment was so, so. The dance crew need new costumes and the comedian and singer were ok, but the panto was absolutely awful, made you embarrasses to look at it, and the seating is bad in the theatre which is really a lounge not a theatre. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This trip was another cruise to get to the smaller canary islands so we thought small to get into the ports of call. That said everything on the ship was small, it does not help that the ship was fit to bursting with an unexpected ... Read More
This trip was another cruise to get to the smaller canary islands so we thought small to get into the ports of call. That said everything on the ship was small, it does not help that the ship was fit to bursting with an unexpected abundance of very senior citizens. The number of those who exhibited infirmity and incapacity and unaccompanied led to the inevitable conclusion of what would happen should there an emergency at sea. There was clearly no administrative checks by Fred Olsen as to the needs of these individuals or indeed sufficient staff on board to cope. Fred Olsen appeared to have an insurance policy condition to limit wheel chairs to six in use on board. The indignity of seeing incapacitated people being pushed backwards on wheeled zimmers clearly exhibited blatant greed by the shipping company to maximise passenger occupancy. The good points of the ship firstly the staff particularly cabin stewardess and our table waiters. The food was good with our limited requirements. The ports of call were excellent with an abundance of time in them. The in house ships musicians and singer were way above our expectations. Such a pity about the rest of the entertainment. This is a personal choice and does not make or mar a cruise for us. The bad points the cabin was the smallest we have had, it was cramped and difficult to negotiate without bumping into fittings ie overhead bunk beds etc. The shower toilet and basin were designed by some one who will never have to use them. It goes without saying that every passenger had a very intimate experience with his her shower curtain. Thankfully we are slim! All the public rooms were small especially on sea days and required occupation of a seat in most at least an hour prior to event to ensure a seat was to be had. The refit last year does not appear to have considered the layout of the buffet area to prevent people causing an obstruction to other passengers when getting their meals. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We have just returned from a 13 night Canary Island cruise having booked a disabled adapted cabin on Fred Olson Boudicca.Having travelled down to Portsmouth by portlink coach service we arrived at 1300hrs and we were in our cabin 7045 by ... Read More
We have just returned from a 13 night Canary Island cruise having booked a disabled adapted cabin on Fred Olson Boudicca.Having travelled down to Portsmouth by portlink coach service we arrived at 1300hrs and we were in our cabin 7045 by 1400hrs.The checkin service was very quick and as soon as the staff saw my wife in the wheelchair they gave every help that they could. Within 20 minutes our cases were in the cabin which was very well adapted for disabled use and also a full size walkin wetroom. We dined in the Tintagel dining room, second sitting with exellent service from all the waiters serving some of the best quality food, better than most cruise lines we have sailed with before. There was quite a good choice of activities on offer daily, and some wonderful shows every evening.The performances were also very good but perhaps a stronger male or female singer would have been an improvement. One of the big letdowns was the Cruise Director who only ever appeared at the start and finish of the evening shows. We were on the ship 13 nights and only ever saw her once. Sat in the restaraunt.She also spent a lot of time relaying messages over the tannoy system. The ports of call were all very good but due to my wifes disablement and the shortage of shuttle bus services we could only manage 1 tour. The average age of the passengers would be around 70 years and many of those were relient on walking sticks etc and found it very difficult to walk to any of the nearest points of interest.The cabin service was also good and always on time.We had breakfast in the cabin every morning which proved a big help. The drinks on offer were all at an affordable price without any % charges added.The draught beer was Boddingtons and the barstaff were well trained in how to dispence a good pint priced £3-10. Disembarkation very well organised and quickly carried out. All in all a very good cruise by a very good company and I would have no hesitation in recomending them. In closing I would say that the icing on the cake would have to be the wonderful passengers we met in the restaraunt and around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We booked on-line after seeing an offer. We were attracted by the price. We booked a superior outside cabin and were allocated cabin number 5045 on the 'main deck' (deck 5) We travelled from 5th-19th January 2012. The ... Read More
We booked on-line after seeing an offer. We were attracted by the price. We booked a superior outside cabin and were allocated cabin number 5045 on the 'main deck' (deck 5) We travelled from 5th-19th January 2012. The catalogue price was in excess of £1500 per person. We paid £899. I like to think we got a bargain, but I couldn't bring myself to ask other passengers what they had paid. The destinations included Madeira, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Agadir, and Lisbon. Most of which we had visited previously. This was mostly a trip to find out whether we liked cruising. The first 4 nights and 3 days were spent travelling to Madeira, across the bay of Biscay. We thought the crossing was quite rough, with the ship bobbing around so much that it was almost impossible to walk with holding on tightly to what was fixed down. I don't know what we would have done without travel sickness pills. The rest of the cruise went fairly smoothly. The good points were numerous. Boarding and eventual disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff were all friendly, smiling, and helpful. Making us feel very welcome. The food was varied and of excellent quality. The evening entertainment, though of quite good quality, was definitely aimed at the older age groups. My wife and I are in our 60's and were amongst the youngest passengers. A few days in there was a minor outbreak of some sort of stomach upset, with some passengers being confined to cabin for several days. They crew appeared to cope very well with this and the only way in which passengers were affected was by the suspension of all self service breakfast and lunchtime buffet meals. We had to wait to be served by staff members wearing blue plastic gloves. Despite the extra work load, the staff continued to serve us with a smile. Nothing was too much trouble. A few of the passengers complained about the restrictions (perhaps they would have preferred to catch the bug?) Most of us appreciated the efforts of the staff and just took it it our stride. We had one problem with our cabin, 5045, the shower temperature was 'erratic'. One could be having a lovely warm shower when, suddenly, the water flow dropped, and so did the water temperature. We became friends with the couple in 5043 and found that they were having the same problem. The only way to avoid this was to shower 'off peak'. Did we enjoy the experience? YES. Would we cruise again? Definitely YES. Would we go to Morocco? NO. I've not reviewed the ports of call because I don't know what say say about them. We've been previously several times to each of the Canary Islands, and to Madeira. They are quite convenient for a short winter break from the UK weather. We didn't like Agadir. It has no character. Outside of the tourist area we were Harassed by people wanting us to give them money in exchange taking a picture of their camel. In the Souk every time we stopped moving the sellers would be waving their goods at us, trying to harass us into buying something. Had they left us alone to browse, we would almost certainly have bought some souvenirs. As it was we left with nothing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We booked this cruise extremely last minute as the cruise we had originally booked on was cancelled a few days before we were due to sail!! Boudicca was sailing in and out of Portsmouth and within easy distance to our home, managed to get ... Read More
We booked this cruise extremely last minute as the cruise we had originally booked on was cancelled a few days before we were due to sail!! Boudicca was sailing in and out of Portsmouth and within easy distance to our home, managed to get a superior cabin (which glad we chose)and one of the stops was Madeira - for the fireworks (something that has been on our must-do list) Embarkation was easy, we did arrive a bit earlier than stated, but found did not have to queue to check-in, although did have to wait about an hour before we were called to embark. Once aboard we went directly to our cabin which was on the Lido deck, and first time ever, our luggage was there :-) We did expect that we would have found some sort of lunch available - even tho it was a bit late for that.A disappointment! But we went to the Secret Garden and had Tea with a roll etc. which we managed to survive till 8.30 (second sitting.) The ship we found was easy to get around, as we were on the Lido deck (7),reception, shops on 5, the Neptune lounge, dining rooms,swimming pool etc. being one below on 6, library, Internet and Lido lounge on 7, Observatory "lounge" which we used a lot on 9. The ship being a "mature" lady we found her similar to a welcoming comfortable friend, like an old English established hotel, with regular clientele - it has apparently been "upgraded" beginning of 2011, not quite sure what, apparently the gym was on deck 4 and now top of the ship!! New carpets, not sure about that, but reserve judgement. We did find her rather "tired" but that is our humble opinion. Our cabin was a very good size (200 sq ft)An extremely comfy mattress, the shower was over the bath, personally would have just preferred a shower cubicle! Our windows looked out to the Promenade, but did have a coating on the windows. The food, we feel, was the best we have had on any holiday - and we have travelled quite extensively. To have Beef of such a wonderful quality in the dining room!!! The was a very good choice for Vegetarians, fish eaters etc. The entertainment was pleasantly acceptable, a very good Jazz sextet, Classical guitarist, Male & female singer, comedian, together with various pianists trios, duos round the ship, together with 7 young dancers/singers who also doubled as "cruise helpers" round the ship. We enjoyed the ports the first being Casablanca and then 5 islands of the Canaries and finally Madeira. We found the port info given was not good enough, yes I know all cruise companies want to sell their tours, but today many more passengers, like to do their own thing. To offer shuttles at ports at £5 per head, when able bodied people can easily walk, is not on. Yes offer the shuttles for those who want them, but.... We only used the shuttle at Casablanca, but then needn't have!! Unfortunately the crossing of the Bay of Biscay upon our return I found a bit too uncomfy, and were grateful for the tablets I had taken - that can happen on any ship! The day before we were due to return, we were advised by the captain that we would be returning to Southampton and not Portsmouth, as the weather was not good and too windy etc. etc For us it was not a problem. All passengers were offered a free 5 min call or Internet access to change arrangements. Those passengers who had left their vehicles in Portsmouth were coached back complimentary. Most of the passengers we chatted to we found only travel Fred Olsen and are a mature age, but still knew how to enjoy themselves. Constructive criticism, no Tea Pots , we don't like Tea poured out of a "Thermos" Even tho we had an enjoyable and restful cruise, not sure we would sail with FO again, maybe just a bit too old fashioned for us. Would definitely recommend the ship for the "food" - great Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Spending Christmas with the Queen of the Iceni ? Don't worry, no time travel required just a delightfully smooth train journey to Portsmouth Harbour where a complimentary shuttle was waiting to whisk us to the sparkling Cruise Ferry ... Read More
Spending Christmas with the Queen of the Iceni ? Don't worry, no time travel required just a delightfully smooth train journey to Portsmouth Harbour where a complimentary shuttle was waiting to whisk us to the sparkling Cruise Ferry Terminal where we first caught a glimpse of our final destination, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' M.V. Boudicca. It is so nice to be taken care of. Apart from dragging my over-packed bag off the train to shuttle bus, from there it was taken care of only to reappear in my cabin. After a hassle free check-in I strolled around the light and airy terminal building, met up with my two travelling companions and had a nice 'cuppa' while we waited to board. When our group were called to board there was an orderly rush for the boarding gate. While in the inevitable queue to stride up the gangway it was great to be personally greeted by our Cruise Director, Stein Dyb. It is these little touches that enhance Fred. Olsen's reputation for friendliness. Once onboard and, having been processed, we made our way to our Deck 4 cabins. After fighting my pals for wardrobe space (ladies -- please don't worry, there is plenty of hanging space) we set out to discover the geography of our floating hotel. Boudicca has 9 'public' decks (10 if you count the golf nets and putting green). The Beauty Salon was on our deck but all of us were beyond repair. On Deck 5 -- Main Deck were the shops, reception, tours desk and future cruise sales office. Deck 6 was where all the restaurants were situated together with lounges, the show lounge and swimming pool, Jacuzzis and lap pool. Deck 7 was home to the Internet Cafe (6 units), library, card room, gambling tables and the Lido Lounge. Deck 8 was the Bridge deck and Deck 9 housed the Observatory ( perched above the Bridge and offering a great 180 degree view) and aft (towards the blunt end) was the Marquee 'Fine Weather' Snack Bar and a plunge pool. Not that we crossed its threshold but up on Deck 9 was the Gym. To make the dining facilities feel more cozy the area has been divided into 3 semi-separate areas and also includes an alternative dining restaurant 'The Secret Garden'. The ship was in full festive mode with Christmas trees laden with decorations abounding and holly, bells and baubles glistening everywhere. With the dulcet tones of Christmas songs issuing from every broadcasting orifice how could we not embrace the spirit of Christmas? Our cruise was to take us to Casablanca for a quick visit to Rick's Bar (for our slightly older readers), all the Canary Islands and, to finish off with a flourish, New Year's Eve in Funchal, Madeira where, I have to tell you, the firework display was quite fantastic. Anyone who wonders where the variety show has disappeared to, it has grabbed it's passport and joined the plethora of cruise ships that now sail the many seas. Boudicca is no exception and boasted a good selection of acts to keep the full complement of passengers amused. These include an excellent crooner, Geoff Taylor who brought to life greats like Frank Sinatra, Matt Monroe and Sammy Davis Junior to name a few, Gabor Podhorszki, a classical guitarist who held his audiences in rapture during his afternoon recitals and Rikki Jay, a comedian who built up his act as the cruise progressed until he had the audience in stitches on the last night. Day time fun included reindeer racing, deck quoits, shuffle board, table tennis (in a force 9), putting, carpet bowls and for less excitement but full of interest, port talks, enhancement lecturers and Gillian Slade's Flower and Spice Craft 'classes'. This is definitely the way to spend Christmas and New Year. No washing up, six opportunities a day to eat, interesting ports of call with a nice range of tour options if you want explore beyond the ports and Fred. Olsen's super friendly girls and boys to take care of you. Even your social calendar is filled to capacity with the Captain's Welcome and Farewell cocktail parties, formal nights, Caribbean nights, an international night and, of course, special meals to celebrate Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. Add to that the fun of several sail away deck parties and you get the picture -- a great time was had. My sincere thanks go to Captain Robert Bamburg (It used to be that you felt old when policemen looked young but now, even masters of cruise ships look young) and his crew for a thoroughly enjoyable experience with special mentions for Hotel Manager Clive Ramshaw, Cruise Director Stein Dyb, the Tours Team of Adela & Derrick and finally, our favourite supplier of cocktails in the Observatory, 'Princess' Paula. Don't miss out - to make sure you grab your place on one of this year's Christmas and New Year cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Embarked from Greenock which is surely the best port in the UK for ease of embarkation. Boarding was easy and completely stress free and took approx 30 minutes from arrival to cabin. Cabin was a superior outside which was spotless and ... Read More
Embarked from Greenock which is surely the best port in the UK for ease of embarkation. Boarding was easy and completely stress free and took approx 30 minutes from arrival to cabin. Cabin was a superior outside which was spotless and roomy with tons of luggage space and all the required facilities. The ship itself was small enough to be intimate and large enough to give ample variety.Our fellow passengers ranged in age from about 30-90 and all being Brits were very friendly leading to us meeting lots of new friends. Dining was a very positive experience with the food in all the eating places being varied and of the highest standard. We even went along with the formal evenings and surprisingly found this to be a very enjoyable part of the cruise and well worth the effort.The ships company were the best I have encountered on any kind of holiday ,being always attentive,helpful and polite and nothing seemed to be a problem for them. The bars and entertainment areas were again first class and on board entertainment was of the highest order and the price of drinks were roughly uk pub prices or cheaper. I did hear one or two moan about various aspects but could not understand why. I suppose some people are just programmed to moan no matter what. The only single complaint I had was that there were not enough outdoor areas to have a smoke and this took a little bit off the enjoyment for me...not the biggest issue,but...if you are a smoker? Would I cruise again with Fred Olsen? Yes I cant wait but only from a UK port and hopefully Fred Olsen and others might attempt more departures from Greenock which now attracts about 30 odd ships as a port of call. Overall 9.5 out of 10 for a great experience Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I have been forced to put S`Hampton as our departure point as the website does not feature LIVERPOOL as a departure port. We are frequent cruisers but decided to take our first cruise with Fred Olsen as the Boudicca was sailing from ... Read More
I have been forced to put S`Hampton as our departure point as the website does not feature LIVERPOOL as a departure port. We are frequent cruisers but decided to take our first cruise with Fred Olsen as the Boudicca was sailing from and back to Liverpool (we thought) only a half an hours journey from home. Two weeks before departure, F.Olsen wrote and informed us that we were now coming back into Southampton and would be coached back to Liverpool; not what we wanted at all as we are not good coach travellers. The reasons they gave were the difficult tides in the Mersey - it was high water at 11.00 a.m. on the day of our return and ships have been docking in Liverpool for over 100 years AND, the real reason, that they wanted to take the ship to Hamburg for a minor refit. Easier and cheaper from Southampton than Liverpool and no doubt arranged even before we booked. £100 each on board credit was offered in compensation. We were distinctly unimpressed as were all the passengers we spoke to. Some faced a journey from S.Hampton to Scotland on the day of our return. Now the ship. Clean, a very large cabin, good food, although not top class, and reasonably priced drinks. A mainly elderly passenger grouping with a sprinkling of bored teenagers. The Filipino/Indonesian staff were excellent and most patient with those passengers with infirmities - quite a number. A small outbreak of norovirus a couple of days before we returned although hygiene on the ship was first class. It was surprising how many passengers had to be reminded to use the bacterial spray before entering the dining rooms! The entertainment was O.K. a decent comedian and a multi instrument musician. The song and dance group made up in enthusiasm for what they lacked in talent. The highlight was the Crew Show. Dancing and singing which put the professionals to shame. Read Less
Sail Date December 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 3.7
Rates 5.0 3.8

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