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13 Fred. Olsen Caribbean Cruise Reviews

This was our 4th cruise on Braemar, and our 5th with Fred Olsen. I have already written to the company about some of their policies (fixed dining, tipping policy, 'confiscation' of alcohol brought onboard, drinks package etc) but ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on Braemar, and our 5th with Fred Olsen. I have already written to the company about some of their policies (fixed dining, tipping policy, 'confiscation' of alcohol brought onboard, drinks package etc) but as far as the cruise itself was concerned, we found it to be most enjoyable. We appreciated the changes made during the 2017 refit, even those in the Neptune lounge --- the new seating at least creates a little more room--- and we enjoyed a very nice meal in 'The Grill', though the additional charge for it was excessive. We had an excellent Cruise Director in Nick Cosslett, who showed that he also had a singing voice to match those of the 'professionals' on board, and the entertainment programme included Micky Zany, guaranteed to enliven a half-dead 2nd sitting audience! We were blessed with near-perfect weather so we could enjoy all the many deck spaces on Braemar. Food and service had greatly improved in the Grampian Restaurant since our last cruise in May 2017, and we enjoyed the lunchtime Fish and Chips on the Pool Deck. Braemar is still a very good-looking ship with its accessible bow and the split-deck stern which lends itself to great sailaway parties, greatly preferable to the enormous 'floating blocks of flats' moored alongside. If 'Fred' changes and makes its cruises far more inclusive we'll look forward to coming back again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our first Fred Olsen cruise, and may well not be our last. Braemar is a comfortable ship, an ideal size and much more attractive than the blocks of flats next door! We flew to Barbados, and cruised various islands before returning ... Read More
This was our first Fred Olsen cruise, and may well not be our last. Braemar is a comfortable ship, an ideal size and much more attractive than the blocks of flats next door! We flew to Barbados, and cruised various islands before returning to Barbados 2 weeks later. The staff were very pleasant, but not 'over friendly' as if seeking tips. We loved our cabin, 7005 balcony suite. Plenty of room, and great to have our balcony. Our cabin was comfortable and quiet. Meals were good, we enjoyed the Thistle restaurant for dinner, and palms for lunch. I have a mobility scooter, and it was easy to use around the ship. The crew were extremely helpful, especially helping us get it on and off the ship. It was a shame that we saw nothing of the captain or senior officers during the cruise. We were first sitting, and for the 2 captain's cocktail parties we were leaving port. The captain did not make himself known around the ship - a shame. We did ask at the start of the cruise if we could have a bridge tour - this only happened after 2 reminders and while we were in port - disappointing. The 3 ladies on shore tours were excellent. Really helpful in making sure I whether I could use my scooter and making arrangements for me when I could. We were disappointed with the entertainment in the Neptune Lounge. The stage is right on top of the front row of the audience - far too close. The entertainment was mixed, the Braemar entertainers were good, but too much unecessary dancing! We had the drinks package as part of our deal - we certainly wouldn't pay for it. Poor quality whisky and gin - you had to pay extra for 'premium' drinks - Bells and Gordons should not be premium. The wine was limited but ok, but you had to pay for liqueurs and spirits. We booked a few shore excursions. The Curacao semi submersible was great - so many fish. Bonaire island tour good, Tortola island tour and boat trip left us wanting to see more of the island. The St Kitts railway was just wonderful - plenty of rum punch and pina colada and a choir! Dominica whale and dolphin watching was very successful. Our main disappointment was Grand Turk. A very dull island, the highlight was 2 cute baby donkeys. Did we really want to be shown the landfill site in the centre of the island? Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and came back with many happy memories and loads of photos! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have always wanted to spend Christmas cruising the Caribbean and decided to go with Fred Olsen on the Braemar on the 20th December 2018. This was the biggest mistake we have ever made. The cruise started badly due to the drone fiasco at ... Read More
We have always wanted to spend Christmas cruising the Caribbean and decided to go with Fred Olsen on the Braemar on the 20th December 2018. This was the biggest mistake we have ever made. The cruise started badly due to the drone fiasco at Gatwick. It took two days to get to Barbados where we were due to board the ship. We were all day at Gatwick and then was forced to travel to Manchester by coach, which took five hours, where we were supposed to catch a plane to Barbados. When we arrived at Manchester there was no pilot to fly the plane which was loaded with our luggage. We were force to retrieve our luggage because we would not be flying that evening. We underwent the worst treatment imaginable from the security staff at Manchester airport who showed no empathy and treated us like criminals. We had to pass through security a total of three times being searched every time. We were given a cheap hotel to spend the night and no food was provided. We did not arrive on the Braemar until the evening of the following day. Thereby we lost two days of our cruise. Most of this was not Fred Olsen’s fault but it laid the foundation of what I can only describe as a nightmare beginning. The ventilation in the cabins was appalling. You were either too hot or too cold. A cheap duvet to cover you. The food started out good and then deteriorated rapidly. It was either too salty or overcooked. There was an outbreak of the coughing virus and they tried to cover it up. I was ill for the last week of the cruise. Wherever you sat someone was either coughing, sneezing or spluttering. The entertainment was recycled. They had three main artist, a comedian, a singer and a violinist. They used the three of them regularly throughout the cruise. We were supposed to go to The Grand Turk but the captain claimed that due to poor weather it was not safe to go there. He then announced that we would be going to Santo Domingo the capital of Dominica Republic instead. At the same time it was rumoured that one of the senior manager’s wife had recently given birth to a baby and lives with her other children in Santo Domingo. It was rumoured that he had not seen his new baby. When we arrived at Santo Domingo the wife and their new baby plus their other children came aboard and the children were seen playing in the ship’s swimming pool. Make of this what you will. Many guests commented on this and like me felt we had been deceived. We were so looking forward to snorkeling in the Grand Turk and a three hour tour of Santo Domingo which in my opinion is a hovel, was a poor substitute. I did not spend a fortune to eat poor food, pay a fortune for intermittent WiFi at a cost of £26 an hour, use a small swimming pool filled with sea water, have elderly people who are obviously unable to care for themselves being let lose on excursions which were totally unsuitable for them ( Hato Caves ) just to get their money and to go down with a severe viral cough. When I got home I saw a medic and the viral cough had developed into a chest infection. I am now very poorly and on antibiotics. This is the first time I have been on a Fred Olsen cruise and it will be my last. If you have high standards steer clear of this second rate cruise company whose apparent aim is to save money wherever they can by cutting standards. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have to praise Fred Olsen for handling the problem with the drones at Gatwick so well. With NO notice they arranged transport to Manchester where unfortunately the crew ran out of hours so we were put up overnight (and big shout out ... Read More
I have to praise Fred Olsen for handling the problem with the drones at Gatwick so well. With NO notice they arranged transport to Manchester where unfortunately the crew ran out of hours so we were put up overnight (and big shout out to the Last Drop Inn in Bolton will def go back at a happier time - fabulous breakfast and staff!) then flew out arriving a day late. What the previous reviewer didn't mention was that Fred Olsen - without any request - reimbursed a 14th of the cost of our cruise. They didn't have to and IT WASN'T THEIR FAULT but they still did this which I thought was incredibly generous. That wasn't a pleasant start to the holiday, yes we all acknowledge that but you have to chalk that up to experience and set off to enjoy your holiday. Overall I really enjoyed the holiday; yes I had a truly wonderful cabin with a huge balcony which I loved and was kept tip top by Maic the fabulous cabin attendant. The food was very good and mostly the service was good. I was disappointed that we didn't visit Grand Turk (and was rather shocked that the Hotel Manager's wife and children were on board and clearly (and noisily) enjoying the pool and jacuzzi) I would suggest that the more gregarious people enjoyed the Christmas festivities the most. I'm looking forward to my next cruise on the lovely Braemar but AFTER Christmas next time! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was without doubt the worst "Holiday" I have ever had - sadly it was my first cruise. We were kept hanging about at Southampton until 4pm (no reason of the delay given). Straight to Cabin and to use the Loo - NOT ... Read More
This was without doubt the worst "Holiday" I have ever had - sadly it was my first cruise. We were kept hanging about at Southampton until 4pm (no reason of the delay given). Straight to Cabin and to use the Loo - NOT WORKING! This was just the very start of all the problems this "CRUISE SHIP" was having... Lifts were out of order or being used by workmen and all their Clobber. Walk and Gangways blocked again by workmen ,ladders, paint, tools ,cables and the most disgusting smell of CELLULOSE THINNERS everywhere, inside outside where ever you went. Awful smells of Diesel on some decks and toilet smells on others. Complaints made to onboard customer services were met with "WE will inform maintenance". Wifi and some television packages not working. Deck 8 out of action as it was filled with Boxes and Packaging plus NO POOL FACILITIES. Tried to get to the Observatory but NO - workmen were taking Sun beds from the deck and stacking them in the numerous empty cabins on Deck 8 - they were blocking/cluttering the walk ways and exits (fire Hazard) We are given a £75 on board credit re loss of pool on a use it or lose it basic - this i feel was totally immoral we paid cash for our holidays and therefore it should have been re credited to our accounts. These points were put to Fred Olsen's On Board Customer Complaints - she assured all would be well when we got to Madeira....Well absolutely nothing changed - even the Comedians were making jokes about the toilets smells etc etc . We now have one pool in action - Great but who wants to sunbath/swim with all these workmen plodding about with Tiles, Cement, noise of tile cutters cables cellulose thinners paint - How in heavens name can you relax with all that going on around you??? By the end of this "Cruise "many people were ill with sore throats, chesty coughs etc. - I wonder why??? Final day whilst waiting to be transported to the airport we were on Deck 8 with people who were continuing the Cruise Sunbathing and swimming- STILL many workmen there including one using an OXY ACETYLENE TORCH -THIS SURELY HAD TO BE A BREACH OF HEALTH AND SAFETY??? This ship should never have left Dry Dock. We the passengers ( or perhaps we were just Cargo??) should have been refunded our money or the cruise re scheduled - the £75 was an INSULT FOR WHAT WE HAD TO PUT UP WITH ON THIS MOCKERY OF A CRUISE!! Yes I and many others have complained to Fred Olsen. But I have been told Good Luck - they are really not interested in complaints - they are a law unto themselves!! The flight back to Gatwick was like a sick bay with a great quantity of people coughing sneezing and snivelling after their so called "Healthy Holiday" Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I had the misfortune to sail to the Caribbean on Braemar just before Christmas. The ship had been in dry dock and was clearly not fit for guests. There were constant problems with the water and sanitary systems, both swimming pools and ... Read More
I had the misfortune to sail to the Caribbean on Braemar just before Christmas. The ship had been in dry dock and was clearly not fit for guests. There were constant problems with the water and sanitary systems, both swimming pools and the jacuzzis weren't working, the TV system was out of order etc. Workmen were on deck every day painting, tiling and using strong smelling solvents so when we were at sea for 10 of the 16 day's it was hardly relaxing. Decks were dirty and often roped off. Like other commentators, there has been little sympathy shown by Fred Olsen staff and poor recompense for a holiday spoiled. All they are offering is a voucher against a future cruise, so if you don't want to use them again tough luck! Many people were ill on the ship, including myself. Not a good experience and one I don't want to repeat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The ship had been in dry dock prior to the cruise. The work had not been completed on time and the swimming pools were out of operation for most of the cruise. Lifts were not working for a large part of the cruise and areas were cordoned ... Read More
The ship had been in dry dock prior to the cruise. The work had not been completed on time and the swimming pools were out of operation for most of the cruise. Lifts were not working for a large part of the cruise and areas were cordoned off for maintenance and painting works. The cruise should have been cancelled and money returned. £75 compensation was a derisory amount. The food at evening meals was hit and miss. Some excellent meals and some very poor quality ones as well. Coral club staff were very poor and inattentive. The only saving grace of the cruise was the entertainment in the Neptune lounge. Having travelled with fred olsen many times this will be my last cruise with them. Toilet broke 18 times during the cruise another example of the ship being ill prepared for this cruise. I have been on many cruises and this was my worst experience Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise as a stress less way of crossing to Barbados for a family gathering. The cabin (except it’s location) was excellent, food amazing, good entertainment. The distances from the ship to port gates nearly finished ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a stress less way of crossing to Barbados for a family gathering. The cabin (except it’s location) was excellent, food amazing, good entertainment. The distances from the ship to port gates nearly finished us off, no shuttles of any kind for poor walkers. Our cabin was mid-ships as far away from elevator as possible even though I had repeatedly asked for easy access. It was very shady being completely overhung by the top deck , a suite with sunbeds but with absolutely no sun! We did however have a full blown medical emergency which was very efficiently dealt with and at reasonable cost ,we also thought that the wine was very reasonably priced. We would go again in a flash but NEVER to an unknown cabin number ad would hope that some sort of shuttle service at the ports would be organised. How do Saga manage this situation? Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Just back from this cruise - fantastic itinerary - 11 islands and only two sea days! Crew excellent, shows good but was disappointed with food having traveled once before with Fred and been much more impressed. My other 'gripe' ... Read More
Just back from this cruise - fantastic itinerary - 11 islands and only two sea days! Crew excellent, shows good but was disappointed with food having traveled once before with Fred and been much more impressed. My other 'gripe' was that the excellent port talks by Huw were only made available on cabin TVs at times the shore excursion teams wanted to sell tours! The talks were excellent and having booked a shore tour for each day in port I then wanted to watch the talk to glean info for the rest of my day and walks ashore. To no avail - talks were put on several days in advance - I was told 'to sell tours' not to inform us whilst in port. Come on Fred surely it's simple to provide a way of us accessing this valuable information? Itinerary made the holiday - did a ship tour every day in port and generally happy with each of them except any involving a beach stop - on two occasions shown to sunbeds on a very crowded section of the beach, given a ticket for a free drink and then left for an hour or so. Beaches were great but packaged like sardines! I was travelling alone so hadn't wanted to do a taxi trip to a beach alone but if I go again would certainly consider it. The whole travel experience was good - case not seen after gatwick till in cabin and same coming home. Organisation on ship always spot on. Like the changes made to Braemar - all positive. Had two visits to the spa which were excellent, massages, good value. Shows were very good except the lead female singer did begin to irritate by the end of the holiday. Band in Coral Club great too. Disappointed with cabin for what I paid for it but overall had a great holiday - made special by the lovely people I met and made friends with and the trips I did - have dozens of photos to reflect on in coming months! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
have just returned from panama and mayan temple cruise loved it.(6th cruise with FO) weather was fantastic. first time doing a warmer climate.crew as you come to expect with fred olsen were superb. Waiters in bar always knowing your ... Read More
have just returned from panama and mayan temple cruise loved it.(6th cruise with FO) weather was fantastic. first time doing a warmer climate.crew as you come to expect with fred olsen were superb. Waiters in bar always knowing your favorite tipple. The cabin although narrow was kept lovely and clean by the stewardess . The food was good and the two dedicated waiters in the grampian restaurant very attentive and friendly. The palms cafe a more informal buffet style restaurant was always busy but you could always go to one of the more formal restaurants for breakfast and lunch and have same food and would be a great deal quieter. Indian and Asian nights in palm café were fab. In all of the two weeks I never came across a member of staff who did not greet you with a friendly hello or good evening wherever you were on the ship. The entertainment from the braemar show company was brilliant and we loved to go to the coral club to watch the In Tune Band who were by far our favorite entertainment. I am afraid we found rest of the evening entertainment a bit jaded and same which I think now needs new ideas and new blood. Some same old daytime activities needs looking at. Some of the trips were not up to scratch, we had a refund of 40% on one to santa marta. Jamaica ,Aruba ,Carteghena ,Cozumel were all good ports of call. The boat trip down the panama canal although interesting dragged on a bit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Overall a good cruise, good ports of call. Not to many sea days. Excellent crew, very good choice of food. The minus points, the first two weeks no port talks, very few activities or lectures on sea days, the Neptune show lounge has too ... Read More
Overall a good cruise, good ports of call. Not to many sea days. Excellent crew, very good choice of food. The minus points, the first two weeks no port talks, very few activities or lectures on sea days, the Neptune show lounge has too many loose chairs placed in it, you are packed in the lounge unable to view the show because of peoples heads and pillar obstructions, to get better seats you have to go 45 minutes before the show starts!, People were holding seats (one person saving up to six seats) in The bar area in the Morning Light pub for the quiz at 10pm whilst those people were in the show. The ship was stretched a few years ago so all the public areas have more people than it was designed for. Cabins are small as the ship was designed for 5 to 7 day Cruise's, the ship is second hand to Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have just returned from our first ever cruise. We went to the Caribbean on the Braemar and I had no idea what to expect but I am very impressed with Fred.Olsen cruises and we had a great time. The cabin was small but well designed and ... Read More
We have just returned from our first ever cruise. We went to the Caribbean on the Braemar and I had no idea what to expect but I am very impressed with Fred.Olsen cruises and we had a great time. The cabin was small but well designed and the space was maximised. A lifeboat blocked the view from the picture window but I was advised about this prior to booking. The mattress was comfortable and the room was serviced twice a day and towels were changed twice daily. The room was surprisingly quiet at night and I was never disturbed by noise from the ship or neighbouring passengers. The service was outstanding, the staff without exception are helpful, polite and friendly and there was not a single instance in the two weeks on board when a member of staff was anything less than helpful. The food is also outstanding, along with the service in the restaurant with two dedicated waiters who knew our names serving us every night, I would describe the service as exceptional. We were served lobster, venison and Beef Wellington. The breakfasts were buffet style but also with a menu choice and champagne was served on formal days. Lunch was a choice of buffet or a four course meal from the menu. Against my expectations I loved the formal nights but if you do not wish to participate there is the option to dine in The Palms buffet. I enjoyed the entertainment too, the Braemar Show Company gave very good performances as did the singer, comedian and magician and the In Tune Band was good with a particularly good lead guitarist. The cruise line appears to attract a loyal clientele mainly aged 50 + who regularly cruise with Fred Olsen, though there are a few younger passengers. This might be why I did not find many of the day time activities on board of interest, but that did not matter as I like to leave the ship when in port and the itinerary was excellent. I have to say that fellow passengers were very pleasant and friendly, the whole cruise had a bit of a 'family feel' to it. There was a wide choice of day trips which in my opinion were reasonably priced and were in the main very good. Braemar is a medium sized flat bottomed cruise ship. This brings many benefits such as being able to access more ports (ie Havana), less people on board means easier embarkation/ disembarkation. It also makes the cruise a more friendly and personal experience. The one downside is that if like me you are prone to seasickness you feel the movement of the ship more when the sea is rough. However, I still think it I probably better than travelling on a huge cruise ship, that does not appeal to me at all. Overall we had a great time, the itinerary was fantastic and the staff, food and the service was exceptional and I would recommend Fred. Olsen cruises to any apprehensive first time cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have travelled on three cruises with Braemar so we know the ship well. It is remarkable in the friendliness of the crew and excellent service both in the cabins, the restaurants and around the ship in the various lounges and services. ... Read More
We have travelled on three cruises with Braemar so we know the ship well. It is remarkable in the friendliness of the crew and excellent service both in the cabins, the restaurants and around the ship in the various lounges and services. The port and shore excursions are varied and the ship can get into smaller ports and avoid the need to tender passengers because it is comparatively small. The passenger capacity of about 900 means that the ship develops a community feel even when the cruise is comparatively short. We travel as two couples so that we are very self sufficient but it is noticeable that people on the cruise are friendly and those travelling alone do not stay on their own - they rapidly make friends because the crew organise events where singles are given the opportunity to get together besides sharing other passengers company on the trips. The cabin is impeccably serviced and we really appreciated the fun and kind attentiveness of our attendant Kitty. Dinning is for us a highlight of the holiday. We would describe all our meals as fine dining with varied menu and interesting dishes. The wines are good and excellent value whilst our waiters were all charming and very efficient meeting individual requests ( Ganesh and Aldrin). We were never delayed on embarkation and the cruise director (Alan Tait ) and his team give information clearly and in a very pleasant manner. The communications given over the ships tannoy system are all properly delivered. we appreciate the fact that they are kept to essential matters and they are only delivered in English. this means that you can relax on deck without noisey interruptions. The entertainment was superb. The Braemar show company gave 9 shows and the lead entertainers -Bruce Anderson ( Welsh tenor) Andy Rudge( Comedian) Dain Cordean(magician)provided entertainment that delighted us and everyone in the Neptune Lounge - receiving standing ovations and performing to full houses. We had two weeks of great pleasure and relaxation. Thank you to all the crew and staff of Braemar. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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