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20 Fred. Olsen Europe Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise because it went from the port of Southampton, I could get a cabin for single use and it went to the countries I wanted to see, which were all wonderful and very clean. Some difficulty getting off the ship if you could ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it went from the port of Southampton, I could get a cabin for single use and it went to the countries I wanted to see, which were all wonderful and very clean. Some difficulty getting off the ship if you could not walk too far, quite a walk to get out of the docks and onto coaches if you have booked trips. The drinks package I purchased worked out at £19 per day bought online at point of booking. One of my dining companions purchased a drinks package onboard and said she paid £29 per day. I have cruised before on other ships and the drinks package covered everywhere on the ship but not on the Braemar. I am sorry to say I found it to be a rip-off. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and all staff and crew at Fred Olsen were very helpful and professional. I had to use the outdated computer in the outdated library to send an urgent email, which costs £26 per hour. I was unable to get any reception on my mobile at the time. The computer was so slow and I had to send two emails that ending up costing me £52. Dining was okay, but the portions were really so small. Similar to the size of meal you would receive if you were in a care home. The crew were fantastic but everything else on board was poor. The entertainment was average and the activities were like those found in care and retirement homes. A kind of lets make do and mend mentality. I personally felt it was old fashioned and outdated. Every time the sea was a bit rough you were tossed around. I felt the ship was not that stable, specially if you were elderly and most people were using walkers, mobility scooters, sticks and wheelchairs. A few people suffered from sea sickness because of the movement of the ship. The Braemar was not the ship for me but I might enjoy it better if it is still sailing when I am in my eighties. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We booked this cruise at the last minute, we paid a lot for the trip. I was in a single room which was located on deck 2 at the front, the room was very nice being an inside cabin, well equiped and the bed was very comfortable, good shower ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute, we paid a lot for the trip. I was in a single room which was located on deck 2 at the front, the room was very nice being an inside cabin, well equiped and the bed was very comfortable, good shower and plenty of space with loads of storage for clothes. The dowside to this room and I express this to any one looking to travel on any Fred Olsen ship, the room is located above the bow thrusters which means during docking the rooms vibrates and the noise is undiscibable, I you have a heart proplem this is not the room to have. Fred Olsen should warm guests that this room has problems and at 1.00 in the morning being jolted out of a sleep is not good. The rest of the ship is OK for its size, comfotable but limeted. food very good with the down side of only being available at certain times during the day, as on other ships food is on tap 6.00 - 2.00. The entertainmant is OK very well put together. I would thing twice about going with Fred Olsen, you can get better for the same money on other cruise companys. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary and the fact it sails from Dover, close to where we live. We had never been to 4 of the ports, and so were looking for new experiences, we had visited 3 already, so knew what we wanted. We ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary and the fact it sails from Dover, close to where we live. We had never been to 4 of the ports, and so were looking for new experiences, we had visited 3 already, so knew what we wanted. We had cruised last year with FO to Norway...what a difference! Good bits....the restaurant staff were the usual helpful, attentive and able selves. Embarkation at Dover was simple and fuss free Some of the places we moored were excellent....Las Palmas, Funchal, Lisbon and Vigo...close to the town, and not too grotty. Of course FO need to moor where the port allocates them. One of the lecturers was very good...low key, but accurate and interesting. Adequate....food of a lower standard than the Norway cruise.....desserts at lunchtime very poor, better at dinner. Menu OK, but unimaginative...maybe suited the age and nationality profile of many of the passengers. House wine no better than adequate, at OK prices. Cabin fine, not too good in rough weather (force 9) but not a problem. Poor.....some meals were just bad, or weird. Schnitzel with peas and carrots? One day was awful: I complained, but got no real response. Customer service desk was hopeless....defensive and not given any updates on pool problems etc. Shore tours laughably overpriced. To ask for £10 per person for the shuttle from the ship to Arrecife (on a Sunday, when the town is closed) is taking the mickey...its buried in the T & Cs, apparently. Arrival at Vigo as Siesta time is starting and departing at 5 pm is incomprehensible. One lecturer was inaccurate, a little Englander and mumbled. No, we will not use FO again for a sea cruise Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first Fred Olsen cruise having previously sailed with Royal Caribbean and P&O. Not long after booking we got a call offering us a tour of the ship, I asked the lady to call back the next day as I needed to discuss with the ... Read More
This was our first Fred Olsen cruise having previously sailed with Royal Caribbean and P&O. Not long after booking we got a call offering us a tour of the ship, I asked the lady to call back the next day as I needed to discuss with the wife. No call back. Later we had a recorded message telling us that our dining room had been changed with no reason/explanation given. When we went to check in they couldn’t find our reservation eventually we were told that our cabin had been changed. I said that our luggage labels had the original allocated cabin and was told that this would be known and sorted. It wasn’t our cases were put outside the original cabin. We were not advised of our dining table number and had to wait on the first evening whilst this was found out for us. We had a nice large cabin but the ship was smaller than we are used to so we always knew we were at sea. The shower/bath towels were small and thin in fact the towels in the cabin for use when sunbathing were of better quality. The entertainment during the day was mixed, the entertainment staff were rather young and immature considering the age of the passengers. The evening entertainment was poor with only one show in fact the best show was the one put on by the crew rather than the on board “professional team”. The British Night was very good. On the plus side the food (particularly the evening menu) was excellent and the staff were very friendly and courteous speaking to us by name straight away. Having a buffet breakfast was disappointing having been used to a waiter service from P&O. Fred Olsen seem to have a very loyal customer base with most of the passengers we spoke with regular FO travellers. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have ... Read More
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have to pay extra. Fred Olsen want extra money all the time, 10 pounds each for shuttle bus in Lanzarote, 16 pounds for 5 cappuccinos. My husband had a fall & was helped by a member of the bar staff, an officer walked by & ignored us. Same happened to a very frail lady, the Hotel manager just walked past her. We had been to all the ports before so didn't take any trips, which like all cruises are hugely overpriced. cabin was very comfy, we paid extra for a window, & we were well looked after by our lovely stewardess. The sea water swimming pool was lovely, nice & warm, a bit deep at 7 ft 1 end & nearly 6 at shallow end. Arriving back in Liverpool, was great, we were home within 45 minutes, a big bonus. Overall a good cruise, the weather could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We have travelled with Fred. Olsen several times before but never on this, their flagship. Chosen for the itinerary and because it was a special event with all 4 Fred.Olsen ships meeting in Cadiz, a good place to visit. That was a very ... Read More
We have travelled with Fred. Olsen several times before but never on this, their flagship. Chosen for the itinerary and because it was a special event with all 4 Fred.Olsen ships meeting in Cadiz, a good place to visit. That was a very good day if a bit overcrowded. Very nice ship which probably was not seen at the best time, as it was full and so you could not get into the various events and there was always a struggle to find a sunbed or even seat inside. The average service may also have been due to the fact that the ship was full and waiters particularly were very stretched. On late sitting we were often eating until 10.30pm -too late for most people. However even when it was quiet, the bar waiters were very slack and we often went to the bar ourselves after waiting 5-10 minutes to be served. However my main complaint was that as a gluten free passenger my food choices and places to eat were limited, and this appeared to be acceptable to the senior management to whom I complained. I was even told that it was just a fad introduced by the Americans. Would therefore not recommend it if you are gluten free, unless you want to lose weight! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This is our second cruise on Boudicca since her refit and we have noticed several "economy measures" this year. Gine are the chocolate left on the pillow with the turn down service, more often or not its a boled sweet instead, ... Read More
This is our second cruise on Boudicca since her refit and we have noticed several "economy measures" this year. Gine are the chocolate left on the pillow with the turn down service, more often or not its a boled sweet instead, a humbug is not quite the same Fred! Trimmings in the cocktails , a pina colada with no cherry just a slice of pineapple and a leaf. No theme nights such as Indian, Chinese or Asian but still they persist in the dreadful "British Night", probably as an excuse to serve cheap food such as bangers and mash and cottage pie. Personally I find the concept of elderly, overweight women in John Bull bowler hats and waistcoats singing Land of Hope and Glory quite nauseating, particularly as my husband is Irish. How would they feel if he acepted the invitation of wearing national costume by coming dressed as a leprechaun singing The Wearing of the Green, after all fancy dress is fancy dress! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Definitely a decline in quality of food this trip, I noticed a distinct economising in food and bar staff, but most disturbing was the immobility of passengers. Should there unhappily have been an evacuation, the the number of wheelchairs, ... Read More
Definitely a decline in quality of food this trip, I noticed a distinct economising in food and bar staff, but most disturbing was the immobility of passengers. Should there unhappily have been an evacuation, the the number of wheelchairs, 3 pronged walkers and very immobile passengers would have been a disaster waiting to happen. The narrower passageways would have been blocked up very badly and caused much panic. A great many were unable to use any stairs and two wheelchairs plus handlers were all the lifts could take at one time. Enjoyed previous FO cruises, but had never come across so many immobile passengers. Will certainly be revising any future cruises and definitely not recommending FO any more.I agree guests with mobility problems need a break, but perhaps a review of whether so much disability is a danger to themselves and other passengers should be undertaken. A ship is not the easiest hotel to leave at the best of times, and should they even make the lifeboat, with handlers and crew milling around to help each individual, there could be serious consequences for the more able bodied.The cruise apart from that was a good break, visiting interesting ports with plenty to see at each one. The staff as usual were polite and friendly and happy to help in any way at all times. Cabin was excellent with loads of storage room.Boarding and disembarkation was very efficient. Information, by phone and website, before cruise was also excellent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Its small just over 24000 tons but has 900 plus passengers, still tidy and well laid out, it was a “cut & shut” which makes it quite long (4 times around prom deck to a mile) but only 8 decks high. Our cabin on deck 3 with double ... Read More
Its small just over 24000 tons but has 900 plus passengers, still tidy and well laid out, it was a “cut & shut” which makes it quite long (4 times around prom deck to a mile) but only 8 decks high. Our cabin on deck 3 with double port holes, it was a bit smallish, especially the shower but comfortable enough,toilet paper a bit thin though, however we had tea & coffee but no biscuits! One very good point for the cabin - Interactive TV with Sky TV channels, bow camera, weather forecast, onboard a/c and a good selection of films, we watched 2 on days that were to cold for going outside. The corridors are quite narrow and Prom deck has a one way system for walking round but difficult to pass anyone at some points. Braemar was built in 1994, refurbished in 2008 and probably had a tidy up in the last year or so. But she does vibrate a fair bit especially when your in the restaurant at the back of the ship, although we couldn’t hear it in other parts of the ship. The outside areas at the back of the ship with tables and chairs are well laid out we even had lunch outside whilst sailing down the Seine, it wasn’t that warm but at least it wasn’t raining that day. Unfortunately you do get the black soot floating around same as P&O's Aurora & Oriana - ships of a certain age! We didn’t sit on the sun deck for obvious reasons but there looked to be plenty of space, loungers and a reasonable pool. The observatory at the from of deck 8 is a smaller version of the P&O's crows nest but quite comfortable, but it gets full of people of a certain age! All the officers were Croatian apart from the doctor who was a Rumanian & the head chef who was a Brit. In fact a lot of the crew were eastern european I was expecting to see Slaven Bilic at any time( West ham joke if you don’t follow football). The Captain gave a regular lunchtime update although with long pauses but had a good sense of humour. Entertainment There wasn’t any shuffleboard or deckquoits but there was Hop-la & Dolphin Racing (a excuse to bet on a roll of the dice)maybe put on as this cruise was still in the children holidays and there were 24 kids onboard but they were well behaved. We did quite a few quizzes, not that hard but most teams had 6 and we were "billy no mates", came close to winning the Name that tune a few times. The Braemar orchestra held a resemblance to P&O's Caravan especially the brass section, the show singers 2 guys & 2 girls all had good voices and did 4 shows plus 2 appearances at welcome and farewell parties as well as helping out with distribution of tickets, holding some quizzes etc. There were 4 girl dancers that made up the troop with the singers. They did shows in either the Neptune lounge ( with the band backing) or in the Coral club bar and lounge. Two guest entertainers, Taffy Spencer magician & Stevie Jo Salter a comedian from Bethnal Green he was OK, but he did a great talk on his time working in the Met murder squad. The port lecturer was fairly poor just read from a laptop to slides but some useful information, the guest speaker was Robert Ash a gourmet chef who did 2 talks one on Monet and one on Chefs famous dishes - actually both good. Food Everyone says the food is good on Fred Olsens and we agree. There is more choice than on P&O especially in the self service Palm Cafe where we eat both breakfast and lunch. One plus point is that you are not let in to the PalmCafe unless a table is free, so its not such a bun fight as P&O, and we did try the cava at breakfast a couple of mornings! The thistle restaurant in the evening has 2 sittings (no freedom dining) we had 2nd sitting which wasn’t full our table of 6 only had 4 on it including us. The menu has a choice of 2 starters, 3 soups, 2 salads, 3 main course and 3 sweets plus cheese and the normal chicken, fish & pasta on all the time, not large portions but if you’ve had breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea you don’t want a big dinner. On one day Afternoon tea was served in the Neptune lounge as a “Tea dance” we didn’t dance but we gave the cakes a good bashing chocolate fountain with fruit, amaretto cake & Lemon meringue tart to name 3( carol had 2 tarts so it shows how good they were) but we left the doughnuts and cream cakes alone. We did have a giggle because there were 2 Dance Hosts, elderly gentlemen to dance with the ladies, we don’t think they provided any other services & you certainly wouldn’t call them Gigolos. Parties there was welcome aboard and a farewell party, you had to go in the lounge and sit down before they would serve you a drink, choice of red/white wine, sherry , G&T and Cava. We managed 2 drinks first time and 3 second time. The captain gave a speech which was quite entertaining and then introduced the senior crew members no opportunity to talk to any of them or any any other more junior officers. Crew As stated the officers are mainly all croatian but the waiters are mainly Indian, Thai, malaysian etc. we didn’t find our lead restaurant waiter that friendly he belittled his number 2 which we didn’t like, but those we came across in the Cafe, drinks waiters & cabin stewardesses were all friendly enough. we didn’t feel the entertainments team treated you like school children at least they were Brits apart from the cruise director who surprisingly enough was a Croatian lady. Weather & Tours Obviously the weather was not great as we said we did have a good day cruising along the Seine from Rouen to Hornfleur (about 6 hours) but we got soaked in a thunderstorm on the evening in Bordeaux and the only other good day was the last afternoon sailing up the English Channel, we’ve never known it so flat and the strongest wind we had was force 4. so we can’t really say how Braemar performs in bad weather, our guess is not great. We were not impressed with the tours we did a wine tour in the evening in Bordeaux a walk from the ship to a wine cellar, expensive and not much wine. We also did a tour from Lorient because there’s nothing at Lorient apart from a exGerman submarine base which is now a museum. We went too Josselin Castle by coach, the driver got lost trying to get into the village, we toured Leclerc supermarket car park and did 4 laps of the same roundabout, when we got into the village all the roads near the castle were being relaid with block paving so we had a to walk over mudyy unmade roads to get to the castle. We told the tours lady ( who was another Croatian) that if we did a Fred's cruise again we probably wouldn’t do any tours! A couple of final plus points, the Daily News sheet with whats on, has a tear off strip with times of events, useful to tear off and put in your pocket. Disembarkation is done by deck number starting at deck 8 and working down but it was all over in less than an hour and you don’t have to put your luggage outside your cabin until after 22:00 and before 02:00 - take note P&O! In summary we enjoyed the experience, we may consider Fred again but certainly not on anything longer than 10-15 days. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
to be away christmas and new year was the main reason to watch the fireworks in maderia was a memory i and my wife will remember for ever the great problems we had on the ship and on embarkation was in my opinion could and should have ... Read More
to be away christmas and new year was the main reason to watch the fireworks in maderia was a memory i and my wife will remember for ever the great problems we had on the ship and on embarkation was in my opinion could and should have been avoided 2 hours stuck in a taxi prior to embarkation is not acceptable get it right fred olsen the pool area was not completed prior to sailing we were only informed by the captain that this area would be out of bounds for the first three days it was in fact four days we were offered £75 per person i refused the offer after paying £16000 for this holiday i exspected to have all the ships facilities££ for my use and not be insulted by offering me£150 for two people the food in the main restaurant first four nights was superb but went down hill after that we had to send food back why the change i do not know the ship and crew and fellow passengers were the most friendly on any ship i have ever been on i do not exspect fred olsen to react to my review then again i might be wrong cheers brian lee Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Cabin , spacious, newly refurbed and very pleasant except for when at sea . Very loud intermittent banging, rattling noise. I have cruised several times and accept that when at sea there is always a certain degree of noise from engines, ... Read More
Cabin , spacious, newly refurbed and very pleasant except for when at sea . Very loud intermittent banging, rattling noise. I have cruised several times and accept that when at sea there is always a certain degree of noise from engines, machinery, air con but this was exceptional and unacceptable. Some service especially in the dining rooms was spa radio and at times chaotic. In the Observatory on Sunday Lunchtime, there were three waiters, one setting out tables for Afternoon tea yet some people waited for service and then walked out after being ignored. You have to ask for tea and coffee instead of waiters approaching tables . A value for money cruise but it shows on the quality of food . Avoid cabin 3106 very noisy Would I use FreD Olsen again ? Only if no one else was offering the same itinerary and I would upgrade cabins , but that would negate the advantage of being value for money. A more expensive cabin still means you would still have the Medicare food and sporadic service Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
First we found out after boarding the ship that she was flat bottomed which of coarse meant there was much more movement in when cruising. Poor sailors beware. The cabins were very clean, the size adequate. The food varied from good ... Read More
First we found out after boarding the ship that she was flat bottomed which of coarse meant there was much more movement in when cruising. Poor sailors beware. The cabins were very clean, the size adequate. The food varied from good to excellent. The staff were brilliant, very hard working and very polite. The entertainment varied from poor to excellent depending on ones taste. We never used the Shore excursions because they seemed expensive compared with what one could organize for oneself. That applies to ALL cruise lines. There was only one thing that I would complain about and that is the WiFi. It was a complete RIP OFF. It costs £13 for 30 minutes and was SO SLOW. I only managed to view my bank account twice within the 30 minutes. Fred you should be ashamed, even Virgin Trains only charge £5 for 24 hours. I don't think I would sail with Fred again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My partner bought us two tickets for a 12 day cruise beginning April 1st 2017; to visit the Canary Islands, Madeira and Lisbon; he paid a year in advance ie oer £3,400 with extra £160 each for unlimited drinks if we wanted them. Near the ... Read More
My partner bought us two tickets for a 12 day cruise beginning April 1st 2017; to visit the Canary Islands, Madeira and Lisbon; he paid a year in advance ie oer £3,400 with extra £160 each for unlimited drinks if we wanted them. Near the beginning of the cruise we found out that our fellow diners had been to the Captain's Cocktail Party but we had not had the relevant leaflet put in our room so we did not go. During our stay onboard we received around half of the leaflets we were meant to ie ie the pieces of paper which list what activities will be happening that day/week (we missed out on a few chocolates also that went with the leaflet but that was ok of course:)) We were very grateful to cabin staff and even did things ourselves incase we bothered them too much eg pushing two single beds together to make a double (they were not easy to move!). I only once asked for assistance from the cabin staff and that was when I needed a safety pin for my dress but the woman I asked was very impplite and just said 'NO' as if I had asked her to cook a swan for breakfast. The food was ok and most waiters and waitresses were nice with just one or two being bad tempered for no reason. On the last day of the cruise my partner went to pay our onboard bill in cash; he was told it has already been paid!! We were very puzzled and wondered how this had happened! The morning we got off the ship; we found that everyone's cases had been left outside of their cabins the night before to be carried to shore by staff etc. My partner had a very very painful knee but had to carry his suitcase across a very rickety metal temporary stair to the shore and I had to carry a heavy case also which was dangerous given the wobbly stairs etc and also very tiring as it was a long walk. We had not been given the appropriate paperwork telling us to leave our lluggage outside the cabin etc. When we got home we received more than one threatening letter about the onboard bill - it had not been paid of course an d we were treated as criminals until it was paid soon after. When I reported the missing paperwork we were told that this would not have happened and that (surprise surprise) the staff member denied it. I also found an item of jewellery missing on my return which i had left in the room and that also was ignored by Customer Services as were one or two other missing items. I was asked if a dress they found in the room was mine but that only happened because I contacted Customer Services ie I would not have got that back if I had it seems. This cruise was not cheap so the Customer Service we received was really a shock. So I am writring this to warn others that paying a lot of money is no guarantee of good customer service. We have travellled a lot so were not expecting VIP treatment but just some normal care and respect. The captain seemed nice but we did not get to meet him as I said; the entertainment was very amateurish we found and some was more Holiday Camp perhaps than Cruise Ship (one male crooner miming to a recording and so on and lots of young brightly coloured people jumping around but enthusiasm is not the same as talent (although we appreciated the work they did). Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
WE had very loud engine noise below us on the first night . Had no sleep ,so had to move decks. Restaurant at night noisy also,we could not hear the people on the opposite side of the table.Had no explanation for this which continued ... Read More
WE had very loud engine noise below us on the first night . Had no sleep ,so had to move decks. Restaurant at night noisy also,we could not hear the people on the opposite side of the table.Had no explanation for this which continued the entire cruise. although we complained every time.The food was excellent and our cabin clean all staff polite and friendly. Will not travel on this ship again which needs updating. Shore excursions expensive,entertainment very good.Had a previous cruise on Balmoral which was excellent so we were really looking forward to this one .Itinerary was good getting in to the center of large cities. Disembarkation was delayed and at a different terminal to embarkation which ment finding our car difficult.We had to keep going back to the reception area about moving and trying to get compensation. This made our first 3 days of the cruise very stressful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Fred's cruises offer a lot of what I want, selection of ports from UK, friendly small ships with interesting itineries. This was a well paced cruise, with overnight in the three ports, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Oslo. The selection of ... Read More
Fred's cruises offer a lot of what I want, selection of ports from UK, friendly small ships with interesting itineries. This was a well paced cruise, with overnight in the three ports, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Oslo. The selection of tours was comprehensive, if expensive. However, the only reason I have a suite is to get what is usual on other ships, ie a fridge and balcony! Fred is no cheaper than other newer ships, and the time has come to invest in new ships. Although on the surface to passengers they look reasonably attractive and clean and cheerful, behind the scenes, the air con doesn't work effectively, the plumbing is past its sell by date, having to be switched off for a couple of hours for maintenance, there is a constant smell of fuel in various places, and the communication is dreadful. To make people pay for an Internet connection which rarely works, and is only available in certain parts of the ship, when it is supposedly working, is unforgivable in the 21st century. The televisions are small and old, and the variety of programmes are small, the satellite off for more times that it is on. With the Norovirus being a problem for all cruise ships, I would hate to be trapped in my cabin, with such limitations. It is also very annoying with constant major maintenance taking place during all of the cruise. Fred has a very loyal following, but they are all getting very old, and will eventually change into a younger group, who will not put up with such antiquated ships. Fred has a good niche programme to offer, just get newer ships please. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We could not dock at the Faroes as the Braemar was in and no room for us, pilot not able to manage to get us in, rough sea, so another day at sea organized. We have had 5 Balmoral cruises (very good) 1 Bouddica (ok) but would not recommend ... Read More
We could not dock at the Faroes as the Braemar was in and no room for us, pilot not able to manage to get us in, rough sea, so another day at sea organized. We have had 5 Balmoral cruises (very good) 1 Bouddica (ok) but would not recommend or go on the Black Watch, avoid deck 7 lido deck. We had a large deluxe junior suite. Woken at 1am by deck crew pulling chairs along and then most of the other days at 5.30 onwards by deck hands banging, washing the deck down, others complained about them talking loud, we reported it twice. Moved cabin to equivalent as strong smell of diesel in bedroom, this seemed to be all round the ship. Restaurant like a canteen, and never had any moans before, but waiters not as quick and friendly as the Balmoral, never offered tea or coffee with dessert at lunch time, food good but breakfast often cold, good variety. Brenda Collins comedienne was fantastic and the male singer, team shows were good, dancers seem snobby. Special thanks to Chandra the Mater D who got us into the Orchid Room for dinner. Quizzes good with Olly, Jonny and Liam, not as good in the day with the dance team (one in particular). Met some nice people, but seemed a lot of snobs on board. Back on Balmoral Sept and trying Braemar in October. Never saw our cabin maid in 2nd cabin, name tag was not even in room. On other cruises they have gone out of their way to meet you." Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This is my experience. Everybody has a different experience so these are my opinions on what i found onboard this cruise. I booked 2 weeks prior to departure and booked a balcony cabin. Fred Olsen kindly gave me a free upgrade to a ... Read More
This is my experience. Everybody has a different experience so these are my opinions on what i found onboard this cruise. I booked 2 weeks prior to departure and booked a balcony cabin. Fred Olsen kindly gave me a free upgrade to a suite. Boarding at Liverpool was great, far more comfortable than Sounthampton. Very pleased with the cabin, all comforts and nice fresh flowers, sparkling wine, canapes, fluffy bath robe and free slippers. Also use of binoculars and umbrella if needed. Lovely bathroom, and great for smokers as you can smoke on the balcony. Unlike other cruise lines where you have to trek around the decks to find a smoking area. Bravo to FO for their smoking policy. The ship is looking its age. Sun deck tired and decor very low key and dull. All staff friendly and polite. Lifts very small and always a wait for one to arrive. The Glentaner dining room was one of the worst i have ever been in on a ship. A large version of a nursing home dining room. Very harsh lighting and too bright. Food was a let down. On Boudicca and Balmoral it was fine but not on this cruise. Were they on rations ? I ordered shrimps to start with which i know means prawns. I was served 3 prawns on a plate !!! gone in seconds. Then an Italian tomato salad. One tomato cut in slices drizzled with oil !!! useless. Main course was poor and also long waits in between courses. Not impressed. The garden cafe is lovely and food is far better and nicer surroundings. Mini cruises attract a totally different type of passenger than a proper cruise would so i seen a wedding party was onboard. Bad news ! By evening the females were drunk and swearing and bawling walking around the ship, drinks in hand. Horrendous language. FO need to curb this fast. Next day i heard other passengers say they were kept awake all night due to the noise in the cabins from these women. This is really bad that people like this spoil peoples cruises because of their drinking and bad behaviour. Half day trip to Dublin was enjoyable, only 27 on the trip. Rather bossy tour guide but it was a good trip. I would not travel on Black Watch again. She is near retirement now and her age shows. Entertainment was poor. Comedian who was not funny, a weak choir and the ships singers and dancers very amateur. I do wish people who want to sit and talk would not come in to see a show as they do not watch the show, just loud voices non stop. Go to one of the lounges if you want to talk. Its bad manners to the acts who are trying to entertain. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect. Fred Olsen customer service is terrible, I booked by 'phone, they got my name wrong and it took four telephone calls to get it corrected, their on line service ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect. Fred Olsen customer service is terrible, I booked by 'phone, they got my name wrong and it took four telephone calls to get it corrected, their on line service didn't work and what ever you do don't give them an e mail address you cannot print from because they then insist on using it for everything including the tickets even if you ask them not to. The ship is lovely and the staff cannot do enough to help you, the only problem is the other passengers we dubbed "The Black Tie Ya-Yas" although if you eat in the Secret Garden and use that lounge where the dress code is always casual you can usually avoid them. If you want to dress up like a penguin don't prance around belittling those who don't want to take part in the pantomime. I tried the main restaurant for lunch on the first day but found the staff attitude very poor, probably because I was a woman eating alone so we used the Secret Garden after that where the staff were much more accommodating. One tip on this, make sure that the compulsory £4.00 per couple per night tip for the waiting staff is paid to the restaurant you dine in or it will automatically be allocated to the main restaurant. Don't pay for any excursions unless it is something you really want to do as you can do the same trips when you get there for a quarter of the price. When you get back to Dover take a taxi from the taxi rank rather that booking thru F/O again much cheaper. Bar prices are very reasonable and the all inclusive package is definately worth doing, we didn't see anybody take advantage. We were very pleased with our cabin, the maid service' entertainment on board, everything was good once we got on board so we will know what to expect next time although the stress caused by the poor customer service prior to the start of the holiday could have so easily been avoided if the promised new cruise passengers pack had been sent as promised. On board info wasn't that good either, the speaker on our radio was turned off so we missed the safety and lifeboat drill and it was Thursday before we found out that you could have sandwiches in the Lido Lounge and "short orders" in The Grill at lunchtime if you preferred. All in all a good experience and we will definitely be doing it again Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We travelled from Liverpool to Ireland on Friday 8th May 2015 and had cabin number 9912. The room was very clean and everything that had been promised in the brochure, but the quality of the mattress and the pillows was very poor, both ... Read More
We travelled from Liverpool to Ireland on Friday 8th May 2015 and had cabin number 9912. The room was very clean and everything that had been promised in the brochure, but the quality of the mattress and the pillows was very poor, both being hard and lumpy. We found the indoor areas of the ship to be clean and bright, the standard of the food was very high and could not be faulted, and the staff were very friendly and eager to please. However, we encountered quite a few problems with our room. When returning to our room after dinner on the first night we found the wind howling around and under the door, making such a loud noise that sleep was impossible. We had to wait over one hour and make two calls to reception before maintenance attended our room. Only a temporary fix could be effected and this was only by placing a towel along the door bottom, but we were happy to accept this as we wanted to retire and were told that a permanent repair would be done the next day. After going to bed we were woken about 2.00a.m. by a loud intermittent clanging. It turned out that the metal balcony divider had come loose in the very wet and windy weather and this was swinging back and forth. After trying to fix it twice ourselves it still worked loose again after 10 minutes so it meant another phone call to reception and a visit from the maintenance man. We would expect that these type of items should have been checked as part of general maintenance before the room was allocated. We went off the ship on the Saturday and were very disappointed on our return at 5.00 p.m. to find that the howling noise under the door had not been attended to, so we called out the Customer Service Manager to explain how very disappointed we were with our experience so far. She apologised and offered to move us to another cabin but we were loathe to do that as it involved moving our belongings ourselves. She then called out the senior maintenance man who said he had listened outside our door earlier in the day but as he could not hear anything he did not think there was still a problem! He came back an hour later and effected a repair involving duct tape. On Sunday I went to use the hairdryer and it would not work, so this meant another visit from a maintenance man and the problem was found to be an electrical one in the razor point in the bathroom - yet again another item not checked to be in working order. In the newsletter we received we were told that on the last evening we would receive a questionnaire for completion - we did not, I wonder why? There a many good things to be said about Fred Olsen cruising, the embarkation and disembarkation was handled well and efficiently, the standard of hygiene is very high too. It may have just been our bad luck to have so many problems with our room but it did mar our enjoyment of the trip to a large extent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Tried a FO cruise for the first time but won't be back unless it's a very short, cheap cruise to a must see destination. Having cruised with RCI, P&O and Thomson, FO seemed sub-standard and basic. The best thing about this ... Read More
Tried a FO cruise for the first time but won't be back unless it's a very short, cheap cruise to a must see destination. Having cruised with RCI, P&O and Thomson, FO seemed sub-standard and basic. The best thing about this cruise was the suite we occupied which was very nice and the ports of call. The ship is old and past it's sell by date. The meal times were like being at school with set times with nothing open in between. For example, afternoon tea lasted for 45 minutes from 3.45 to 4.30 pm, which meant after arriving back on the ship from a day in port it had usually ended. The only option then was the limited selection off the room service menu. When on holiday one likes to eat when it suits not be driven by a timetable. Missing the afternoon tea means a long wait until second seating at 8.30 pm. The dining room staff always seemed to be in a rush and not up to the standard we have experienced with other cruise lines, they forgot orders, mixed orders up and were not very talkative. The food was ok but nothing more. Lunchtime in the Grill was not very good. They ran out of food too. The ship stopped at La Palice which is a 20 minute bus journey from La Rochelle. There was a shuttle from the ship to the port gate as it is forbidden to walk to the port gate. You can then get the number 1 bus into La Rochelle for €1.30. The bus stops in the bus station and near the harbour. The same for the return journey. However FO were charging the outrageous amount of £25.00 for this return journey, which we did for €2.60 each. Don't fall for it the bus was easy to do even though it was crowded on the outward journey with cruise passengers filling it. The bus runs about every 20 minutes. FO is clearly aimed at an older market but I think they deserve better than what is on offer currently. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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