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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The Fred Olsen product is dire! We will NEVER book another cruise with them. When we got home we complained, and ended up being told that we were clearly "not the type of passengers suitable for a cruise with Fred Olsen!" Such ... Read More
The Fred Olsen product is dire! We will NEVER book another cruise with them. When we got home we complained, and ended up being told that we were clearly "not the type of passengers suitable for a cruise with Fred Olsen!" Such wonderful customer service! We're experienced cruisers, but this short Valentine cruise, our first time on Fred, was truly awful. We paid £240 per person, per night, for what was described as a Superior Suite, with the All-Inclusive drinks package. What a complete rip-off! Embarkation was painful. Although we turned up on time we had to sit and wait until called. Not the "priority boarding experience" we'd expected from their "Suite Dreams" package!. It was disorganised, with no-one to meet and greet, and the general first impression was that they just don't give a toss about their customers. Our cabin was a 1/10. We've written a separate review of this. We did explain our cabin issues to a lady at Reception for whom English was still not quite yet a second language! Although we were assured that action would be taken, nothing happened, and we never saw our cabin steward even once! The "Suite Dreams" package gives you a free bottle of fizz (worth about €1,00 at most), a bowl of hard and inedible unripe fruit (green bananas even!), and unlimited free bottled water in the cabin. Be warned though that getting the small water bottle replaced is a complete pain in the butt - you have to fill out the form on the neck label EACH TIME! Never had that one before! Our dining experience was unacceptable. Think Butlins rather than Michelin! They serve the same limited choice of food in each of their restaurants. Service is of the "bored" variety, with the wait staff definitely wanting you to think that they're doing you a favour deigning to acknowledge your presence. Both the large restaurants are very noisy, and we had a couple of tables of drunken chavs close by, each of whom had already had enough booze to sink their ship, and who only seemed to talk at full shout. After two nights we gave up and ate in the buffet. Its quieter, and the food is just as awful as elsewhere. We'd describe the whole food choices as "done to a budget" - the lowest one possible! We also came home with gastroenteritis. Not fun! The "All-Inclusive Drinks Package" is a massive con. The bar drinks menu has eight pages or so; the "All-Inclusive" list is the back half page. There's a limited choice of beer and wine, and some soft drinks. No cocktails. Nothing at all! You even have to pay for tea and coffee UNLESS you want to trek to the grotty Nescafe machine in the Iceni room. To be fair to Fred, we can see that this short four day cruise possibly attracted the wrong crowd. There were a large number of noisy drunks on board shouting at each other every evening, and our escape was to the Observatory Bar near our cabin! It possible that there was a significant number of cruise first-timers onboard who perhaps weren't that careful about hand hygiene, so its easy to see how you can pick up a mild gastroenteritis bug. The key issue we have with Fred is the poor value for money. They're charging a 5* price, and delivering at best a 3* product. The customer services lady who called us to follow up on our complaint was a complete time waster who aggressively rejected all our fair and reasonable points before telling us that we were "not the type of passengers suitable for Fred Olsen". In summary, don't bother with Fred Olsen. For around the same price you can go on Azamara or Oceania, get a decent clean cabin where the bed sheets and towels actually get changed, reasonable food and a good all-inclusive drinks package. Both cruise lines offer lovely "R" class ships that have roughly the same size and passenger numbers as Fred. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I recently took our first cruise. We travelled on Deck 5 in an outer, windowed cabin, on Fred Olsen's Balmoral to the North German ports of Bremen, Hamburg and Kiel dep Newcastle 19 November. To say it was grossly ... Read More
My wife and I recently took our first cruise. We travelled on Deck 5 in an outer, windowed cabin, on Fred Olsen's Balmoral to the North German ports of Bremen, Hamburg and Kiel dep Newcastle 19 November. To say it was grossly disappointing would be to ignore the few highlights, but even they are too few to persuade us to repeat the experience. The worst aspect was the selfish and uncouth behaviour of most of the passengers. Billed as 'adults-only' this should have been subtitled, 'ideal for greedy, self-centred and rude elderly people'. The experience began as soon as we got on board where we discovered what the 'Olsen Regulars' already knew - that the light afternoon tea of finger sandwiches and cakes were laid out self-service style. Because the staff made no attempt to serve the passengers, the Olsen Regulars who charged on board at the first opportunity had emptied the single tray of roast beef sandwiches leaving just the egg mayonnaise and other lesser fillings for the others. Mind, that didn't stop the Olsen Regulars pushing, (actually 'forcing' would be more accurate), their ways past those who boarded later to wreck and largely waste the cake display. So greedy were these people they misused the serving tools and instead of serving themselves a single portion of cake they destroyed one or two others which they left for the lesser mortals behind them and helped themselves to a third or even fourth undamaged cake. I'm told by more experienced travellers that this is normal behaviour on cruise ships, especially Olsen. If so the solution is within the cruise lines' control, ie serve these teas so all passengers get a fair share. Hardly rocket science. It was a coincidence that one of the films showing in the cabins was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - not only an excellent film but also very apposite. In the open sequences the character played by Dame Maggie Smith explains to an American hotel employee who's just served her a mug with a tea bag and a flask of warm water that 'tea is a dried herb that's brought back to life by infusion in boiling water, not the lukewarm piss you've served'. That's exactly what every cup of tea served on Balmoral tasted like, grey, tepid urine. And the coffee's not much better unless you pay extra for it when they actually use real coffee. Again the solution is within Olsen's control, either teach your staff how to make tea and coffee or subcontract to Costa or Café Nero. Like un-monitored pre-school children, guests were allowed to behave as they wished regardless of the inconvenience they caused other passengers. For instance couples spread themselves and their knitting and newspapers right across a four-seat settee and refused to make space for other passengers wanting to sit down and buy a coffee. Far too many passengers using their own powered wheelchairs used the public areas like raceways to the detriment of everyone else. As we were disembarking at Newcastle the queue refused to budge for one elderly man trying to back out of a lift pulling his wife in a wheelchair, while at the same time another, obese man using a walking stick was trying to force his way into the same lift and complaining volubly because the wheelchair was in his way. God knows how many would have died due the selfish attitudes of passengers towards others if the ship had sunk. Now for some due praise. The cabin service was excellent, flawless. The girls deserve a raise for if anyone comes back it will be in large part due to them. True, the corners of the bathroom could do with steam cleaning with an industrial machine but that's a small point. The serving staff in the Ballindalloch restaurant were also generally excellent and are due similar praise though a little more attention to the cleanliness of glassware wouldn't go amiss. Sadly the quality of the staff didn't extend to the so-called premier restaurants, Spey and Avon. On two days my wife and I took lunch in these restaurants. On the first day we chose self-service, on the second we selected from the menu. That day we shared our table with a courteous and polite solo passenger. After our meal we were offered coffee and all of us accepted. The waiter brought two coffee cups, one saucer and a pot containing half a cup of lukewarm coffee. When we pointed out his omissions the waiter shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Other deficiencies we noticed in these restaurants were that waiters removed plates before diners had fully digested their last mouthful and plates were removed from one diner in a party who had finished eating before the others had completed their meal. There is little point in having an industrial toaster if the waiter operating it pre-toasts the bread and places this hot toast on a plate (albeit inside a napkin) so it's ready cooled for the next customer. This is idiocy. In general the food was adequate though occasionally tastes and flavours were rather too subtle and indiscernible. This comment applies especially to desserts, for instance lime and lemon cream item that's bright coloured but almost flavourless. My wife and I took the speciality Indian meal. We assumed that the kitchen does not include a tandoor oven but that really was no excuse for naan bread tasting more like cake. The spice in the curries was very muted and completely unrepresentative of Indian food that most passengers would know. A very poor extra. We purchased the All-in bar supplement but frankly this was not a good idea. Bar staff served erratic measures and didn't always get the right drink e.g. gin and vodka were often confused. Furthermore they constantly urged passengers to order doubles which obviously saved them work but was in contrast to the rigidly-enforced rule that passengers mustn't be served a second drink was the first is on the table. The maitre d' and the charming couple running the bridge sessions need to get some balls. In the case of the maitre d' it is not acceptable when the majority of passengers have observed the dress code for the two formal nights to have to suffer passengers seated on the same or nearby tables who have refused to conform for their own personal reasons. The code is well published and if any diner doesn't wish to observe it they should be obliged to eat elsewhere. Frankly the dress code is unimportant to the men but a courtesy to the ladies who can choose to dress up a bit if they wish. The same criticism must be levelled at the couple who run the bridge sessions. My wife and I were looking forward to learning to play bridge but our experience was completely spoiled by another couple who turned up at the beginners session despite being very experienced players. Their objective was simply to impress us with their expertise (and conversely our mediocrity) and furthermore to criticise the explanation and teaching being given by the experts. In contrast, although my wife and I were only observers, the dance tutors and hosts performed in an absolutely exemplary manner. They were not only skilled but courteous and polite and frankly a credit to whoever employs them. There is an air of parsimony in many cases throughout the ship. For example, doctors regularly recommend the elderly to drink a litre of water per day. For Olsen to charge £1.50 for a bottle in the cabin shows the company in a very poor light The entertainment offered on-board varied from first-class to puerile. The three headline acts, Geoff Taylor, Andy Eastwood and Paul Broadwood were excellent. The second level entertainers were adequate and Howard Johnson deserves special mention. Adam Reece on the other hand needed to practice. Having said that, playing music for others to talk through is a thankless task. However there is no excuse for the frankly paltry concert party. It was amateur, the singers were often out of tune and frankly Bolton amateur operatic society (with which I have no connection) would have done a better job. A number of guests who had sailed on Balmoral earlier in the season told us they had already seen the concert party performances and they were no better even after practice. If shows are contracted over a season and customers are likely to find themselves seeing the same shows twice or more they should at least be warned. For readers with young children around them the leader was reminiscent of the very talented Mr Tumble - though completely devoid of talent, charm, stagecraft or ability. He couldn't sing either. Although only six piece, the house band in the Neptune lounge was terrific. The same cannot be said of the Lido quartet who needed a considerably wider repertoire. Despite the description printed regularly in the ship's newspaper, Amy Winehouse is not representative of music of the 60s 70s or 80s. The music that was performed was too often music to slit your throat to. Even worse was the indulgence by the Olsen company of the leader of the concert party with a solo performance one evening the purpose of which he was quite open about was to provide him with a video for his CV. Again his comments revealed that his parents and possibly his grandmother were also on board and a number of people sitting near us wondered aloud how much discount they'd received. Of course staff discounts may be extended to their family but I suggest Olsen reviews the publicity staff are allowed to give this perk and treat them in the same way as British Airways staff are required to do, ie don't draw attention to your family. Of course cruise passengers realise that itineraries may have to be varied according to the vagaries of the weather. In our case it required us to remain a second day in Hamburg and all passengers were impressed by the announcement that tickets on the shuttle buses on the second day would be free in contrast to the £5 round-trip ticket charge the day before. The gesture was, of course, completely hollow since the queue to get on a bus into the city involved a 90 minute wait in line on the dockside and a 60 minute wait in the Hamburg street for the return journey. Bearing in mind how many passengers needed walking sticks and other aids the parsimony was a disgrace. You urgently need a competent cruise director who knows that his job is organising things like adequate numbers of buses and not replacing the compere at the Palladium. He needs also to be taught to speak clearly not gabble. Clearly Olsen is terrified of Norovirus. I have no experience of it but I do know that the way you handle the refusal of the captain and his crew to touch passengers even at a formal reception needs a serious review. By all means replace the receiving line with a pleasant, personal welcome and presentation but to word it in the way it was unnecessarily proscriptive. Additionally, on that subject, all the chairs in the dining rooms need a serious cleaning – the wooden arms and lower frames of most chairs were sticky. Again, most of the Dyson hand dryers in the men's toilets need urgent servicing. They only dry the backs of the hands - almost no air comes out of the palm elements. A final note of praise: the selection of films available on the televisions in the cabins was varied and should have appealed to most tastes. Overall, I would define our experience with Fred Olsen lines and Balmoral as a better-than-average holiday camp afloat. It had all the disadvantages of an all-inclusive hotel holiday without the single benefit that you can always walk out the door and into town. On the evidence of this cruise, once you've seen one German port you've seen the lot. We took advantage of the two days in Bremen to take a train to Lübeck and spend a delightful and informative – if a little wet – day in a fascinating city, but this was an exception. Our experience with Fred Olsen has ensured that we shall not be cruising again nor going to the pantomime in Billingham on Teesside where the majority of the concert party have apparently been hired to perform. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The cruise was to take my wife to the Xmas markets in Hamburg and Germany. I had lived in Germany for many years and speak the language fluently but she did not fancy the drive ( my chosen option). The boarding at Tilbury was a ... Read More
The cruise was to take my wife to the Xmas markets in Hamburg and Germany. I had lived in Germany for many years and speak the language fluently but she did not fancy the drive ( my chosen option). The boarding at Tilbury was a disgrace. car parking cost £9 per day to dump your car in a disused sand dump 4 miles away from the ship. the cabin was a good size and well designed, much better than the Britannia cabin we had last summer. The air con in the cabin cannot be shut off and the fan noise is very obtrusive and kept me awake. The food in the restaurant was ok better at dinner than the other two meals. wine and drinks expensive and not very good. a wine which costs £6 in Tesco, costs you £18 on board The entertainment was pretty dire. it made up for lack of talent by plenty of volume. The best lounge was the Observatory but even this was spoiled by the shouts and screams of the carpet bowling. The dis-embarkation at Tilbury was an absolute chaotic situation. Yiou are just dumped in the terminal no FO staff in sight. This was in stark contrast to the Magellan passengers who docked at the same time and were ushered to waiting coaches and taxis whilst we were stood in the pouring rain like poor relations until a clapped out old bus arrived for its first of many round trips. all in all never again Read Less
41 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I was brought up to say nothing, if I couldn't say something good about someone or something. So I will not have much to say about this ship. Built 28 years ago by the German builders Meyer Werft as one of the most luxurious ships of ... Read More
I was brought up to say nothing, if I couldn't say something good about someone or something. So I will not have much to say about this ship. Built 28 years ago by the German builders Meyer Werft as one of the most luxurious ships of its day. It certainly is not that now.. It was very early in the year to travel north. Too early. The daylight hours are very limited. The weather is often very poor. As indeed it was. That does make a difference. We had chosen a Junior Suite. A rather too grand description for a standard balcony cabin. Pleasant enough. Except the bathroom. No soap. Just two bottles with plungers which sent out a thin stream of coloured fluid. The bath would have disgraced the average budget hotel. The bathtaps were bent so that water sprayed onto the floor. The mirrored cabinets doors showed rust and opened when the ship rolled. Which it did. The most irritating: a notice on the swimming pool towels, that they were to be returned, used, to the cabin. If not, a £10 charge added to your account. The room was looked after adequately by the stewardess whom, after the first day, I never saw again. She may have been overworked. The ship's public rooms are quite without any character. On one deck, they stretch between the buffet restaurant and the showlounge, itself plain, with shallowly tiered seating, with higher buckets seats placed in front of the bench seats. The entertainment in this undistinguished room was unremarkable. A comedian. A singer. A dance duo. In between these, the ship's singer/dancer group. They certainly worted hard. But nothing new. Nothing innovative. There were three speakers, who gave talks. One of them, splattered with little jokes. Not good. Certainly not enlightening. The dining. We asked through our agents, for a table for six or eight. We were assigned a table for four. Our fellow diners, committed Fred Olsen cruisers. They explained at length how pleased they were that a steward had recognised them and was to show them his personal pictures. We were pleased for them. The assigned restaurant, set on one side of the ship, was very noisy. One of the two redeeming features of this otherwise less than run of the mill voyage: the buffet. On the whole good food and good service. In the restaurants service we found patchy sometimes downright bad. But the buffet seemed to have an entity nof its own. Pleasant, never too crowded, cheerful staff. The best of this ship. Outside was a good teak deck. But it was cluttered with stored chairs, so walking was often single file. Perhaps there was nowhere else to put them. Perhaps that was why the unbendable lounger on our balcony could not be removed - it blocked half of it. It was a nuisance. Shore excursions were expensive. But we found them well organised by the tour operators. Fred Olsen prides itself on having a very high repeat booking level. I cannot understand why. This is a tired old ship with less than good service. I was told by a guest relations manager that it is due for a £50 million refit later this year. Not much of a compensation for those of us travelling on it until then. The other good thing: the captain. The weather was bad sometimes very bad. We had Force 11 winds. On the way back from Bergen he reduced speed to 5 knots which made us eight hours late into Southampton. That takes courage I think. Would we travel on a Fred Olsen ship again? No. The worst thing for me: my wife feels that it was a waste of money. I feel very bad about that. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Calling this cruise Irish Markets was a joke. First stop Falmouth which I must admit I enjoyed very much lovely day & very quaint shops. Next stop Dublin not a Christmas stall in sight oh yes one. Our last stop Cobh for Cork very ... Read More
Calling this cruise Irish Markets was a joke. First stop Falmouth which I must admit I enjoyed very much lovely day & very quaint shops. Next stop Dublin not a Christmas stall in sight oh yes one. Our last stop Cobh for Cork very disappointing Christmas market consisted of fruit & veg & meat stalls oh yes & one chocolate stall so how they can call this Irish Christmas market cruise beggars believe. My cabin steward was one of the most unfriendly one's I have ever come across I have been on quite a few cruises & normally they are lovely friendly & cannot do enough for you. My friend & I were on a table with 5 other super friendly ladies our waiter was the worse I have ever come across everything we asked for took for ever to come at one point we got up & got our own wine as we had waited 25 mins for a refill but to flip the coin he had far to many tables to wait on. I would definitely have second thoughts about sailing with Fred Olsen again Read Less
67 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I must start by telling readers that I am usually pretty shirt if people start moaning about perceived trivial service faults while on holiday, especially on a cruise where so much can go wrong but is usually so right. On this occasion I ... Read More
I must start by telling readers that I am usually pretty shirt if people start moaning about perceived trivial service faults while on holiday, especially on a cruise where so much can go wrong but is usually so right. On this occasion I am forced to change my position radically. I shan't bother Fred Olsen again and the following explains why. Friends, upon whose judgement previous experience had lead me on rely and who had sailed with Fred several times in the past latterly in 2012, spoke so warmly of both line and ship that I booked with confident expectations. I anticipated a lovely experience at least akin to my handful or so of previous cruises with P&O over the past 10 years. Alas disappointment was to be my reward. You board with no ships map so stand lost in the reception area not knowing where to go. After a time a member of staff approached me and directed me to my cabin. The room was pleasant enough but as I explored I found: Large bottle of water-£1.50! No fridge No shower cap, shampoo, body lotion or soap tablet (just liquid). Mattress...not to my personal liking. Dinner in the Ballindalloch restaurant on the first night was OK but not memorable. And tepid. Following a nightmare night due to Storm Katie through which we sailed in gale force winds (later recorded on the 'cruise log' as being force 6!), as a result of which most on board hardly slept at all we eventually rose for breakfast the next morning. Shambolic! Waiters rushing everywhere, looking stressed. No sugar, milk, butter/spreads or preserves on the table. I sat and waited for some 5 minutes for my order to be taken. Nothing. I eventually managed to flag down a waiter who simply said "buffet madam" and indicated the direction. I asked for tea. He disappeared. So I found the buffet scrum and helped myself. The eggs had languished for too long on the hot plate and had set. The fruit was all from a tin. The cereals dispensed from machines which crush everything. The bacon tasted of chemical treatment and had long since been a stranger to the pan. You could get no toast at the table until you got lucky with the scuttling Toast Waiter and then you had to find and flag down the One with the Butter/marmalade. Tea/coffee took an age then you had to keep watching for the Man with the Milk, or the Waiter who could get you a Fork/teaspoon/butter knife - in some cases even a cup and saucer. A complete, shambolic nightmare of a meal spent mostly trying to achieve some sort of service instead of enjoying a conversation with fellow passengers, all of whom were struggling with the same issues. It seems that the clear table policy was an exercise to avoid Noro virus. Why then were we all forced to get our own food requiring every passenger to handle every serving utensil at the buffet rather than have it plated and delivered by the staff who we assume we're Noro-free? I don't take lunch, but understood from many conversations with similarly shell-shocked travellers that it was the same mess as at breakfast. Let's get positive. The Balmoral, once you have a map which was finally located in the 'welcome in board' pack, is easy to navigate and all public areas easy to locate. They were pleasant and the staff extremely attentive. I'd have liked to have finish one drink before being asked if I would like another but perhaps they are on commission, hence their persistence. Dinner on night two. The starters were very beautiful, 'nouvelle cuisine' sized offerings. The soup, for which I opted, was pleasant - but tepid. The main course was a perfectly cooked Filet Mignon, quite possibly the nicest I have been served in many a long day, accompanied by delectable spinach in a gorgeous sauce and a small portion of fondant potato. It was all tepid, but tasty. I shan't bore you further except to say that the main course of dinner each night was definitely the stand-out of the cruise food. Breakfast, in every restaurant (I didn't try the Cafe which was a self-service buffet), even after it seemed that their precautions against Noro virus eased to permit milk, sugar butter and preserves back on the table, remained a shambles every morning. I also found that if you could get a waiter you could order and omelette, fish, or my choice of poached eggs which I ordered with bacon. The eggs arrived on a plate swimming in water with the rim of the plate smeared greasily round with a hint of previous use suggested by a hint of dried egg yolk... No bacon. Notwithstanding, assuming it was a one-off glitch but no. The second time I tried the bacon did too, thus making the watery bath greasy. The smears and finger marks on the rim remained as before. The entertainment was, with one exception very good. The musical shows put on by the in-house troupe were outstanding. (P & O please note. Your Headliners are becoming entirely predictable and missable). There was an extremely versatile and entertaining musician in the Morning Light bar and a very pleasant Trio elsewhere whose gentle, well balanced repertoire was ideal music to listen to or as a background for a pleasant chat. The magician was excellent. The 'comedian' an embarrassment. I know, humour is personal. Well, this one managed to entertain only a small handful of the audience the rest of whom were somewhere between bored and down-right embarrassed at his ineptitude. The excursions were excellent. We were after all in Ireland and the tour guides, and often drivers too, were uniformly entertaining as well as informative. The port talks were only available pre-recorded on the in-house TV. The 'presenter' was abysmal. We were encouraged to see see the 'murials' on the walls in Belfast. I am sure as I made myself re-listen twice to be certain. He tripped, stammered, and coughed his monotonous and unenthusiastic way through painfully unexciting scripts. Oh, and there was no TV channel guide in the cabin and when you could find a programme other than a film or Fred Olsen promotion channel it was of out of date Australian television programmes. Why? One last warning to all O2 mobile users. On enquiry at Guest Services as to why it might be that I could not send or receive on my mobile phone shortly after departureI was advised that FO had signed a contract with a new mobile network service provider at the beginning of the year and that the new company did not currently have a contract with O2. Heaven help any passenger leaving home with a pressing need to keep in touch. You can't until you are within range of land. I am so truly sorry that this, my first cruise blog should be so negative but I have tried to be honest, accurate and unexaggerated in this report. I hope never to have such a negative experience ever again. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This is an old, dated ship that is in dire need of updating. The décor is a mix between a 70's social club and a care home and the smell in some of the corridors is nauseating. We were only on board for 3 nights but had to move room ... Read More
This is an old, dated ship that is in dire need of updating. The décor is a mix between a 70's social club and a care home and the smell in some of the corridors is nauseating. We were only on board for 3 nights but had to move room each night due to cabin problems. The staff watched us move and didn't offer any help and indeed, for the last move, our old room was cleared before we had a chance to fully pack meaning we are still missing some of our belongings. There were what appeared to be blood stains on the carpet in our 2nd room and one of the mattresses in the final room was covered in dubious smelling stains, although the staff did eventually replace this with a cleaner mattress although it took some lengthy conversations with the surly and often hostile staff on reception to achieve this). The food served was mediocre and no match for other cruises we had sailed on. Service in the restaurants (we dined in the Avon/Spey) was generally very good but there were some exceptions and plates were cleared before all guests at the table had finished their meal - indeed it was best to keep hold of your plate even before you had finished to make certain it wasn't whipped when you were not looking. Drinks were a reasonable price but service in the lounges was exceptionally slow, even at times when they were not busy. On an evening there was very little opportunity to escape the pub singers and quizzes and to experience a quiet drink and we regularly found ourselves moving table to escape raucous groups and screeching. Overall we booked this cruise with an open mind as we had heard some very positive things about the company. However we were extremely disappointed in the whole experience and will never contemplate a Fred Olsen Cruise again. There are much better operators out there for the same price and who offer far superior ships, better rooms, dining and overall experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
We booked the cruise expecting there to be a range of ages, and we were in a minority, as the average age of the passengers was 85-90! The entertainment reflected this, although the dancers were really good. Considering we were two days ... Read More
We booked the cruise expecting there to be a range of ages, and we were in a minority, as the average age of the passengers was 85-90! The entertainment reflected this, although the dancers were really good. Considering we were two days at sea each way, and one day mid trip, the daytime entertainment was poor. Some activities had a cost to them, and were what is provided in elderly care homes. Many of the passengers had poor mobility, and we were very lucky to find another couple to share our table, who had a bit if life about them! The trip charges were extortionate! The cost of a trip to Oporto was £27 each, when the local bus took two of us return for 7 euros! We felt that this was a way of Fred Olson making more money out of what was a captive audience. The ports of call did not meet our expectations, and were predominantly city centres. Portimao was the only port worth walking around. The food was good, but we have has better service on previous cruises. Meals were rushed, and we had to choose the entire meal at the start, instead of being able to take our time between courses. I would strongly advise anyone considering booking a cruise to do your research first, and read the reviews, which is why I am doing this to save someone else having the same experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2010
Both my wife and I are in our middle 60's but we were probably in the 5% of the youngest passengers on board. 1. The food although good was very repititious and lacked variety. The soups were mainly of the canned variety and breakfast ... Read More
Both my wife and I are in our middle 60's but we were probably in the 5% of the youngest passengers on board. 1. The food although good was very repititious and lacked variety. The soups were mainly of the canned variety and breakfast was extremely boring with little or no imagination being considered. 2. The entertainment on board the ship was to say the least - mundane and awful - the only outside entertainers were a harpist who used to belong to the "LOS PARAGUAYOS" group and a comedian whose jokes were old and tired. The rest of the evening entertainment was provided by the Boudicca Show group which were a group of amatuer style dancers dancing in front of an amateur band ( who called themselves an orchestra) 3. We were supposed to call at 5 ports but the visits to Guernsy and Tobermory were cancelled due to bad weather - which resulted in after leaving Dublin Dublin having to spend nearly 3 days going round in circles off the island of Lewis which was followed by another set of circles off the top of the Cromarty Firth before being allowed into Invergordon on the morning of Monday 4 October. By this time most of the passengers were totally fed up or in the case of the really old ones - had remained in their cabins. The Captain did mention that he had contacted Kirkwall and Scrabster in order to check if he could get into either of those ports but was informed that the weather in those 2 places was also unfit for the launch of tenders - however - he did not mention Invergordon our next port of call - where tenders were not required as the ship was tied up against the wall. 4 We have sailed on Fred Olsen on numerous frequent occasions but almost certainly will not be doing so in the future. 5. And to cap it all advertised my wife enquired at Reception as to the advertised 5% reduction for Ocean club members and was rudely informed that it only applied to Silver and Platinum card holders as the rules had been changed and that we should have been informed of this change - which we were NOT. Needless to say we are not at all happy with this cruise or the planning - or lack of - that was put into it. If this is the best that Fred Olsen can put into their cruises then I fear that their days will be numbered. I spoke to a number of other passengers who feel as I do. Not to return. Mike Sherriff Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Very dated ship. Mainly elderly passengers. Nothing on during the day except bridge bingo and handicrafts. More like a floating care home. Tour operator extremely unhelpful.. Don't book flam railway through olsen it's a lot ... Read More
Very dated ship. Mainly elderly passengers. Nothing on during the day except bridge bingo and handicrafts. More like a floating care home. Tour operator extremely unhelpful.. Don't book flam railway through olsen it's a lot cheaper to do yourself and there were plenty of seats. Guest service manager very helpful as had to move cabins as extremely noisy. Noticed a lot of cutbacks. Eg no conditioner or body lotion in cabins. However food was outstanding served by Sam and Joe who were brilliant. Entertainment on a night was good. Cocktails seemed mainly fruit juice having been teatotal for 30yrs I thought a few alcoholic drinks would be a change. Strangely there was no effect. Service was fairly quick. The gym in a great position but vastly overheated to dehydration level with one small water fountain pretty hopeless when you have to leave the equipment to get a drink. We are used to having all our baggage taken off us at check in not done in Newcastle they will only take suitcase no suit bags or small cases.which were heavy. Class them as hand luggage. On leaving ship to come home Newcastle is very disjointed. This was my 4 time with olsen and very much my last. Wasn't keen before but Newcastle is near home. Southampton is worth the journey to board a better cruise line cunard is unbeatable and cheaper Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The background for choosing this cruise, was a family bereavement. The purpose was to have a relaxing cruise to somewhere new. The Braemar cruise of "cruising the Seine" to Rouen then down to Honfluer, prior to return to ... Read More
The background for choosing this cruise, was a family bereavement. The purpose was to have a relaxing cruise to somewhere new. The Braemar cruise of "cruising the Seine" to Rouen then down to Honfluer, prior to return to Southampton, we thought would fit the bill. How wrong can you be. We booked via a travel agent, a suite on a guarantee bases at what we thought was a good price, then came the extras, 1st sitting and a drinks package. The requirement of a table for 2 we were told would have to arranged with the Maitre d' once on board. It was only after the booking was made I was informed we were on Anchor grade by Olsen. The luggage labels arrived 2 weeks prior to embarkation day, allocated 7008, port side near the bridge. Then 2 days before the cruise Olsen sent blank luggage labels, with no covering letter to explain why. On the booking in at Southampton we were told our cabin was one of several that were being refurbished in that area. Suite 7002 was our new suite allocation, which turned out to be a large sitting area with a small windowless bedroom. We were moved next door to a cabin with twin beds. But adjacent to the suites [including 7008] being refurbished. Dinner was the 1st sitting in the Grampian restaurant, and this started the nightmare. On entering the Grampian no Maitre d' to show us to a table, so we sat down at a table for 2 , only to be told you can't sit there. After handing my cabin card to the staff four times, I was told we were not on "the manifest". We were then put on a table for 6.The staff were not properly trained. When asked what was the fish of the day, he did not know and came back later to say it was Catfish. The house Pinot wine was corked, and declined and were informed it could not be, as it was a new bottle. After a plain uneaten main dish, we went to the rather nice bar for a nightcap, before we went back to the suite. The suite had a large bedroom come lounge area and what looked like a large balcony. I say looked because possibly of the adjacent refurbishing it was locked. The bathroom was tiny and for me, a 6 footer too small a toilet and shower. The shower was useless no pressure. The mattresses were hard and the pillows too soft, I like it the other was round. Sleep was not forthcoming the hardness of the mattress and poor air quality prevented a relaxed sleep. Next day we asked why we were treated so badly in the Grampian at diner. To be told that as we were on on Anchor fares we were not entitled to have pre-allocated table and that our table number would be in the cabin, but was not. No did we know beforehand this was the procedure. I explained that the reason we declined a large table was my partner did not want to have to go through the questioning of " how many children etc." The main dinning room had a table which we could have for diner for 2. This turned out to be by the entrance with the only outlook onto the table for disabled. Too depressing and declined. Diner for the next 4 nights was in the Palm canteen. At least we had a table for 2. The "Palm" had the worst food of the cruise. The only good point for me was the cheese. We also had to pay extra for a decent wine. The best meals were breakfast, good if you like bacon eggs and potatoes. Not good if you want anything but melon as a healthy start to the day, where was the Strawberries, Raspberries and blueberries etc? We never saw the usual cruise dishes of Lobster, Steak or fresh fish such as Salmon. To provide some interest we would dine in the ports for lunch, the L'Alcyone in Honfluer is worth a visit. To finish the cruise, the sea on way back to Southampton was a little rocky, but what kept us awake was the continual banging of the wardrobe doors swinging open and closing. I have gone into great detail on why it was a very disappointing.. Perhaps I was expecting more and was comparing to the 4,5 and 6* cruises we have enjoyed over the years., but I would grade the ship 2* max. Poor accommodation, uncomfortable bed, poor shower. Poor dinning, cheap and limited menus, making in my judgement a not successful cruise experience, and certainly not worth the over £360 per day for the suite. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have just returned from a trip with Fred Olsen, I hesitate to call it a cruise because as far as we were concerned (and other passengers) this was not a cruise, we booked this quite late as we had some A/L to use up and this fitted the ... Read More
We have just returned from a trip with Fred Olsen, I hesitate to call it a cruise because as far as we were concerned (and other passengers) this was not a cruise, we booked this quite late as we had some A/L to use up and this fitted the dates, when I booked I was told that we would be getting the 'Anchor fare' and therefore we were getting it cheap, they went on to explain that because of that we could not choose our cabin, dinner sitting and we would be excluded from certain 'perks' to be honest it was only for 5 days so we said fine, I was once again told I was 'getting it cheap', after the 3rd time of being told this I finally managed to book it, all the info was emailed through telling us again that as this was an 'Anchor fare' and we were getting it cheaper we would be excluded from any offers, at this point I was getting a bit sick of hearing this!! Embarkation was smooth and efficient, we had a cabin on the 3rd deck, it was small but served its purpose, we were given first sitting at dinner, bit early for us but we were after all getting it cheap, we had to pay for the shuttle service, which was really required for both ports, a total of £30, we were not invited to meet the Captain, but again we were not to worried, it was rather strange when we were talking to some people about the price of the shuttle service we were told ( by a couple who were passengers) it was our own fault we should have paid full price like they had, anyway back to the 'Cruise' it was titled 'Cruising the Seine' or words to that effect, we left Southampton at 8pm so it was overnight crossing the channel, we arrived at Rouen at mid morning, so we saw very little of the Seine, that was on the Sunday, we left Rouen at 8pm on the Tuesday, and arrived at Honfluer early Wednesday morning, so the actual cruise was mainly in the dark at night, Fred Olsen's cruise Itineraries are very basic, they do not give you times of departure or arrivals it is just early/late am or early/late pm, we felt this trip was just to keep the ship moving and fill an empty time slot, there were no meet the crew or formal night, not port lectures no port maps, no guest speakers, no art/crafts, infact not a lot was going on, we have sailed with Fred Olsen on a few occasions in the past and had a great time, but this for us was our last trip with Fred Olsen, ourselves and other 'Anchor fare' passengers were made to feel like second class passengers, what is even worse we were not looking for a bargain, just a nice break from work. On a scale of 1 to 10 we would say a 4, this would be for the nice staff, nice food and very good couple of shows. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose it to see if the small ship experience was to our taste with Fred Olsen having sailed on many other small ship cruises and also for the Ports that we wished to visit. Apart from from the first day there was no afternoon tea and ... Read More
We chose it to see if the small ship experience was to our taste with Fred Olsen having sailed on many other small ship cruises and also for the Ports that we wished to visit. Apart from from the first day there was no afternoon tea and cakes etc unless you were prepared to pay for them, and in fact it felt as if you had to pay for everything including the water. The ship itself was in good condition for an aged vessel and as we did not wish to use the shore excursion facilities, perfering to travel on foot, I cannot comment on these. I felt the trip was more expensive than other liners and no doubt if the cabin had been satisfactory I would have been writing a good report, but as mentioned below that cabin should have come with a health warning as the bow thrust is normally used whenever berthing or undocking. This is why I have given it the rating of 2 stars. I'm not sure if I will travel on Braemar again, but might think about another vessel. However the staff, food and entertainment were excellent Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the Orkneys and Shetland were great and well worth visiting. We took a shore excursion at Inverness which was informative and well organised by our guide. Check in at Newcastle was fast and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the Orkneys and Shetland were great and well worth visiting. We took a shore excursion at Inverness which was informative and well organised by our guide. Check in at Newcastle was fast and efficient. We booked an inside superior cabin on Bridge deck and it was OK with a larger than average bathroom. However, there were none of the touches such as hand cream, bath robes or flannels that we've had elsewhere. Just soap in a dispenser! The entertainment was adequate and varied for a short cruise. However, we found the food to be of a very basic standard and without a great deal of variety. Also the waiter service in the bars was very disappointing and more often that not, we had to go to the bar to order. The ship, overall, looks pretty tired and deck furniture definitely needs replacing with loungers showing rust and other signs of wear. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Wanted a short Cruise around North Scotland. House not far from Liverpool to pick the Ship up. 6 days before the Cruise Fred Olsen informed us that we would be bussed up to Rosyth from Liverpool staying overnight in Rosyth .(Due to a ... Read More
Wanted a short Cruise around North Scotland. House not far from Liverpool to pick the Ship up. 6 days before the Cruise Fred Olsen informed us that we would be bussed up to Rosyth from Liverpool staying overnight in Rosyth .(Due to a mechanical fault). The original itinerary was Liverpool>Fort William>Stornaway>Orkney Islands>Invergorgen>Liverpool. The change now was Rosyth>Invorgorden>Orkney Islands>Stornaway>Fort William>Liverpool. In Invergorden because of bad weather we stayed overnight in anchorage in the MurrayFirth and we had another itinerary change, this time going to Dundee>Shetland Islands>Stornaway>Fort William>Liverpool. Then we had another Itinerary change Dundee>Orkney Islands>Liverpool. So as you can see it was a Mystery 7 night Cruise? The Cabin Stewardess was excellent. The Food was Excellent. The Entertainment was very good especially the Cruise singers & dancers called Musicality & from the off board Scottish Highland dancers. The show featuring members of the Crew was exceptional,especially a middle aged man that worked in the Kitchen (his range of voice was exceptional. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We regularly cruise with Fred and would normally give an excellent rating but not this time. The food was excellent as were the waiters and the staff, the cabin was to the usual comfortable standard but from there on it all goes ... Read More
We regularly cruise with Fred and would normally give an excellent rating but not this time. The food was excellent as were the waiters and the staff, the cabin was to the usual comfortable standard but from there on it all goes downhill. The ship is very much still a "work in progress". The TV system kept giving the information "LAN lost" and closed down, even in port, so the problem with satellite explanation does not wash. We reported this regularly to reception and even missed part of the Queens Christmas speech because of it,but it was no better at the end of the cruise. Because of the weather, or so we were told, the itinerary regularly changed. The announcements were made on the ships system but did not sound in our cabin. This was regularly reported to reception. We were told how it should be set. In the end someone came to our cabin, set it differently to the instruction given to us at reception. On Boxing day we were supposed to enter the Port of Tyne early in the morning. We did not, instead we went to breakfast with the boat turning in a tight circle and the restaurant floor some degrees from horizontal. Later, up in the aft lounge, deck 7 it was noted that the new glass doors no longer stayed closed. By the evening it was realized that wooden wedges would solve the problem. They were still there at the end of our cruise. How could this possibly happen. The simple fact is that the ship should not have been put to service until after it had been thoroughly tested and any snagging required carried out. This was obviously not the case as other cruisers, on the first cruse have confirmed. It is now on a world cruise I wonder if the snags have been dealt with yet. The director of product and services has sent me a letter, full of apologies, but the only compensation she will offer is the equivalent of 20% of this cruise price off of a future booking made before 30th June 2017, otherwise no compensation what so ever. It appears that because some of the problems (obviously not the lack of a full test) were not of Fred's making that is it! O dear Fred you have blotted your copy book. Such a pity because the organization normally gives such good service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise as it was advertised as an Irish Christmas Markets Cruise.Unfortunately there were NO Christmas Markets.Even after submitting an E-Mail to Fred Olsen with a copy from the Office of Tourism for Ireland stating that ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was advertised as an Irish Christmas Markets Cruise.Unfortunately there were NO Christmas Markets.Even after submitting an E-Mail to Fred Olsen with a copy from the Office of Tourism for Ireland stating that there were no Christmas Markets in Dublin the company will still not accept their advertising was wrong and apologise! Apart from the lack of advertised Christmas Markets the cruise was average.The food was reasonable although I did not like being shepherded to a table at breakfast when we wished to sit elsewhere.The entertainment was good especially the comedienne who was brilliant and throughout his act made numerous references to the lack of Christmas Markets.This was the first cruise I had been on where the passengers had to pay for a shuttle bus into the town centre and the organisation for this was ludicrous!! with the queue going up and down the corridors, we eventually returned our tickets and walked into town.This was my first experience of Fred Olsen Cruises and will certainly be my last!!. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We have just returned from a round britain cruise on Breamar. First the good points. The food in the thistle restaurant on most occasions was some of the best we have ever had on cruise lines. The staff were excellent and the ... Read More
We have just returned from a round britain cruise on Breamar. First the good points. The food in the thistle restaurant on most occasions was some of the best we have ever had on cruise lines. The staff were excellent and the balcony cabins large with good storage. Now the bad points. Breamar was a vast 800 person floating old peoples home. The cabin "bathrooms were so small and poorly designed that you could nor swing round let alone swing a cat as well. The gents public toilets had a dark and dingy appearance badly appointed and when I went to use them I was always treading in what I know was not water. The ship is small and bars are always full on quiz times (conducted by a screeching member of staff ). The theatre, is just a large airless room. and the "casino is two tables and no slotts at all again hosted by two members of staff with not the slightest bit of charisma at all. The ticket collection for shore excursions was a farce. no one was quite sure what they were doing. We will never go on a Fred Olsen cruise ever again and I hope anyone thinking of doing so to think hard to make sure this is a cruise for you Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
My wife and I have just returned from a cruise of Christmas markets aboard the Balmoral and we were very sadly disappointed with our experience. We are seasoned travellers and cruisers and this was our first experienced with Fred Olsen. We ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a cruise of Christmas markets aboard the Balmoral and we were very sadly disappointed with our experience. We are seasoned travellers and cruisers and this was our first experienced with Fred Olsen. We were expecting a great cruise but our initial experiences with some of your crew soon put a stop to that and it all went downhill from there. 1. When we booked our cruise through an agency we requested for late dining (which was stated on the confirmation letter from our travel agent and on boarding the ship we were informed that we were given early dining. We proceeded to the restaurant to request a change in our dining time and there was a long queue plus a sign stating that because the ship was full, both early and late dining was full therefore giving the impression it was not possible to change ones dining time. While in the queue we spoke to a couple who were given late dining (they had requested early dining) and we agreed to swap. While in the queue we were watching the people ahead of us requesting a change in their dining times and we noticed it was possible to change your dining time. When we spoke to the restaurant staff about swapping our dining time we were informed that there would be a charge of £32 per couple (i.e. £64) just to swap the dining times over (we have never experienced anything like this before on any cruise ship we have been on). We requested to speak with head of food and beverages and on listening to our feedback he stated that he had no power to just swap our dining arrangements only if we both paid our £32 each. On principle we would not do this. Please note: his customer interface skills had much to be desired. The couple with whom we wanted to swap had requested early dining based on medical grounds (the lady was recovering from cancer) – i.e. she need to take medication early evening after a meal and the late dining was too late. On informing the head of food and beverages about her needs his was response was for the couple to either pay the £32 or eat up stairs in the anytime restaurant. He did not give the impression of any sympathy but just kept smiling with throughout the period. I believe he needs serious training in customer relationship. 2. On speaking to other passengers in the dining queue and others throughout the week (specifically those who were on the anchor deal) we got the same feedback - everybody was given the opposite dining time to what they requested. Now in my mind this seems very much like a scam – i.e. if you give people opposite dining time to what they want but then give them the opportunity to change for £32 (please convince me otherwise). Some people will change and pay because they are on holiday and they just what to enjoy themselves and a peaceful life but many will not change on principle. While in the queue (to change my dining time) I was observing those who changed their dining times and paid their £32 and everybody was so surprised that there was a charge and they were not pleased to par your charge. This is the first time on any cruise ship I have been on when I’ve been charged to change my dining time. Please note: we did meet one person who DID get their dining times swapped for free because they had special influences. 3. Disgusted with our encounter with your food and beverage manager we went to see your Guest Relations. After about 30 minute wait we spoke to your guest relations officer and she took down our details and said that because we were on the anchor deal (along with another 900 passengers) we had to pay to change our dining time and this rule was fixed by the company and is non-negotiable. She politely said she would send off an e mail to head office and come back to us shortly with a response. Throughout the whole cruise we did not receive any feedback or contact from your guest relations. The chasing for feedback came from my wife and me. To me your guest relations officer is redundant is because all she can do is refer the situation to head office and wait for a response. 4. Whatever deal a passenger has for a cruise is irrelevant to your ship staff – we should all be treated equally. Because we were on the anchor deal we were felt as though were being treated as Second class passengers. Please note: We were informed by your guest relations that over 900 of the passengers were on the anchor deal - that is more than three quarters of the passengers. 5. We came on the ship to get some rest and a good night’s sleep - we came off the ship more tired. Throughout the whole cruise we did not get one proper nights’ sleep and this was due to the noise and vibrations of the engines. We live near a major motorway (M1) and are used to the constant traffic noise and when the ship’s the engines are giving off a constant drone we were able to sleep but we were frequently awoken in the mid of night with loud engine noise and extreme vibrations. This you can appreciate upsets your sleep pattern. This happened every night plus when the ship was coming into port (early hours of the morning) the noise vibrations would go on for what seemed ages and it felt as though the ship was falling apart. Hence the lack of sleep. We have cruised on many other ships (also aft and on low decks) and never experienced the noise we heard while on the Balmoral. One night (I think it was about 2 hours after we had left Zeebrugge) I was in my cabin and I experienced very loud engine noise and vibrations. I wondered why because we out at sea. On looking out of my cabin window I saw a ship passing in the opposite direction which appeared to be only meters away. While you in your cabin at night one would expect a drone of the engine which we could sleep through but it seemed that on most nights in the early hours (while at sea) there was frequent vibrations and much increased engine noise which woke both my wife and myself therefore for most of the cruise we had disturbed nights and hence not much sleep.   7. Due to your staff not changing our dining time we had to eat (most evenings) in the anytime dining area and here we experienced food running out and not being replaced. 8. Fred Olson Guest relations said that they would be contacting the travel agency with whom I booked and discuss the booking arrangements. I have just spoken with the travel agent and to date there has been no request from Fred Olsen.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Personal Background Information Widow of nearly 70 years who likes to travel Only had experience of 3 cruises, the first on Grand Princess to Scandanavia spoilt me, I could not fault the ship experience and assumed that other crusie lines ... Read More
Personal Background Information Widow of nearly 70 years who likes to travel Only had experience of 3 cruises, the first on Grand Princess to Scandanavia spoilt me, I could not fault the ship experience and assumed that other crusie lines wold be as good. Travel To Port of Embarkation arranged private travel to Dubai Hotel and Igloo Cruises arranged transfer to Fred Olsen's Balmoral Hotel Info (if any) - Arabian Courtyard in Dubai is central and opposite the Dubai Museum which is well worth a visit. Nice hotel very efficeint, cheerful and helpful. Embarkation - I need assistance up the gangway but Olsen's staff were not in evidence despite asking for assistance. One of the cruise speakers helped me and took me to my cabin. Stateroom - Single inside Ship Info Fred Olsen's Balmoral Deck 6 Starboard exit in front of Palms diesel and air-conditioning fumes vented out. Very bad design that Olsen's are aware of but do not rectify. I was unable to use deck 6 starboad because these fumes triggered asthma, laryngitis and sinusitis. Also one day paint fumes invade the interior of deck 6 again bad for my health. Complaint made to Guest Relations Manager whos eattitude was patronising and unhelpful. A fellow passenger told me that on a previous cruise he could not use his balcony (above the doorway deck 6 starboard in front of Palms) because of fumes and on complaint could not be moved but received compensation from Olsen. I have not yet received any official acknowlwdgement of my complaint. Cruise ended 27 April 2013 Dining -reasonable choice but food deteriorated towards end of cruise Activities - limited Children's Clubs none Staff & Service not up to standard in most areas BUT in Palms Cafe waiters were excellent. Entertainment OK Shore Excursions seemed OK Disembarkation well organised. Read Less
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