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3 Fred. Olsen Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise to see the South Pacific and avoid much of the English winter. We have cruised a lot, including with Fred, so knew the pitfalls, which were mainly that this is an old ship with the sort of problems it may throw up. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the South Pacific and avoid much of the English winter. We have cruised a lot, including with Fred, so knew the pitfalls, which were mainly that this is an old ship with the sort of problems it may throw up. In the event, we got away with one episode of arcon failure, when some of us slept on deck, but were rewarded with a £75 sweetener. On the plus side, this was about as cheaply as we would be able to visit the remote islands of the South Pacific. Lectures were excellent, we played bridge on sea days and the ship was well run. Our biggest grumble - and this is a recurring theme with Fred - is their refusal to bring in what is now the industry standard of open seating for dinner. To stick with the old system of two sittings, in this case 6.15 or 8,30, is absurd, in fact the maitre d' admitted his job would be easier if they had open seating, as almost all other cruise lines do. If there is a sudden rush,just give people a pager and ask them to sit down for a few minutes, works a treat and we've never had to wait long. Apart from having to eat either too early or too late, the other big disadvantage with set seating is that you are stuck with the same table companions for the duration; if you want to do so,that's fine, but many of us like to meet a variety of guests. So come on Fred, join the rest of the world! In spite of the above grumbles, we had a great cruise and saw lots of interesting places in generally good weather. If you want a completely trouble-free cruise, go up-market - and pay the price! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The ship is very old and it shows, the metalwork on handrails, floor areas etc. is just overpainted rust. The sunbeds are uncomfortable and badly stained, if they were in my garden I'd put them in a skip. On four or five occasions we ... Read More
The ship is very old and it shows, the metalwork on handrails, floor areas etc. is just overpainted rust. The sunbeds are uncomfortable and badly stained, if they were in my garden I'd put them in a skip. On four or five occasions we were covered with black deposits that were belching from the funnel - my wife's silk dress wasa ruined. On a long cruise we had to use the laundry - it was so inefficient, dryers that took a coule of hours to finish and 2 working irons between hundreds of passengers. One bar area is out of bounds if you are a non-smoker, the smoking area is next to non-smoking and as you would expect, the smoke drifts over. Ignore the markeing about restarants, there is really only one, and its not too bed unless you have to eat there night after night. OK, it was full of very very old people but that didn't bother me. Their devotion to Fred.Olsen Cruises did. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Sometimes you can get lucky and score a nice cabin on an Australian Coastal leg of a "foreign" ship. This is what happened to me this summer. Balmoral was quite heavily advertised for several legs of the second part of her ... Read More
Sometimes you can get lucky and score a nice cabin on an Australian Coastal leg of a "foreign" ship. This is what happened to me this summer. Balmoral was quite heavily advertised for several legs of the second part of her round-the-world voyage on the cruise agents websites. I booked a sole use Superior Outside Cabin on Deck 8 (Lido) on a gaurantee. From the look of the deck plan many of these cabins had obstructed views - hence the trepidation. To my surprise my cabin was very nice, spacious and the view was only vaguley obscured by the pontoon used for tendering. Nice. Embarkation was a breeze and aside from the pesky ships photographers getting in the way I found my way to my cabin in no time. I believe 600 people joined the ship that day but the place was quite calm and collected. Alas my cabin door swipe key didn't work. I asked for help from some bloke standing at an office next to my cabin. He tried the key, said it didn't work, (ya don't say ?) and told me to go to Reception. I trooped down two decks to Reception and they issued me with a new key. In the end I trooped up and down no less than 5 times before my gyppie hip and gammy knees started screaming at me. I was very hot and very bothered and very annoyed at this stage. Finally that same crew member reappeared, turned out he was the Assistant Cruise Director and he couldn't believe my story (ya don't say ?). I thrust the key card at him and told him that I would sit on the stairs until something was done about it. He didn't seem very impressed. Finally someone in cover-alls arrived with implements for repairs. Turns out the lock on the door needed to be re-programmed. The Reception staff should have perhaps twigged ? Anyway, finally in after 55 minutes, luggage arrived, unpacked and relaxed. Balmoral is a rather nice ship but suffers from very dated decor. The ship was cut in half a couple of years ago and a 33 metre section was added and I'll be blowed if I know where they managed to find the 80's decor to fill the new space. But find it they did and install it they did. I was allocated a table in The Spey Restaurant, one of two smaller restaurants way up on The Highland Deck. All three restaurants on board served the same menu for that meal. The Spey (and The Avon) have beautiful floor to ceiling windows, although fairly cramped seating (the waiters constantly having to squeeze between diners). The food was, as expected very British but surprising good. The portions looked a bit small but if you followed the others and ate each course, you did just well. My table companions were all on the 105 day Dover to Dover cruise, they were all 60 plus but they welcomed me with a nice British reserve and we were all quite relaxed after a few days. The Palms Cafe was also surprisingly good with a great variety of foods and there never seemed to be a crush or a scramble for seats. A Nono Virus outbreak prior to departing Dover and with a small reoccurance after San Francisco had the ship on alert. Handwash was everywhere and crew stood at the entrance to restaurants and bars offering it. For the first few days from Sydney the food in the Palms Cafe was actually served to you by staff. This was not a problem and their attention to detail on this was a reassuring comfort. The staff throughout the ship were wonderful except maybe some of the surly Reception staff. I guess you might get surly when the same hot sweaty and annoyed passenger appeared 5 times with his faulty key ? My cabin stewardess was dying of some terrible flu but showed up each day to clean the room and staggered back at night to turn the bed down. Poor lass should have been sent to her bed to recover. I didn't participate in much of entertainment. It reminded me of Butlins holidays camp stuff. Very British. But then this is a very British ship. The ship is well maintained and kept spotlessly clean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
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