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36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to see fjords. Do not go on this ship if you are under 70 as you will feel you are in a nursing home no disrespect meant as I admire some of the older clients for attempting the trip one lady was 101 . We had to avoid ... Read More
We wanted to see fjords. Do not go on this ship if you are under 70 as you will feel you are in a nursing home no disrespect meant as I admire some of the older clients for attempting the trip one lady was 101 . We had to avoid morbility scooters even in the restaurant Frames and zimmers also. The ship was very dated old and worn and repairs welding and grinding were going on aft swimming pool steps whilst people were in pool and on loungers . Our first cabin was inside on 5 it was very depressing we did update to 8 outside which was better. At our cost, The dinning was very busy and we felt rushed and had to sit with other clients often. We have had better food in hotels We always had to que ,The 2nd sitting was too late in restaurant and portions small , The service was OK the drink waiters worked well but we did have to wait sometimes The shore excursions were like cattle markets especially when 2ships arrived together and the little places we visited were ruined by hundreds of people. Embankment was ok but we waited a long time to disembark We would certainly not cruise with Fred Olson ships again Very boring ,we would have taken the 48hr return home deal but thought it might get better it didn't . I really wish I had read some of the reviews I have reported this to hays travel with whom I booked .we did try to get a flight home on the Wednesday but nothing available from Oslo Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Scenic cruise from local embarkation . From embarkation to disembarkation at port of Tyne could not have ask for better service.on board the balmoral the service on all levels were first class. Entertainment ,bar service dinning room ... Read More
Scenic cruise from local embarkation . From embarkation to disembarkation at port of Tyne could not have ask for better service.on board the balmoral the service on all levels were first class. Entertainment ,bar service dinning room service food very good and waiters very helpful .great fjords great port of calls many bars to choose from .live music plenty of sun beds on rear of ship to top deck. We got a room with picture window which was great to watch the fjords go by while getting ready for your night time out two formal nights which I love to see when everybody taken a effort to dress up .if you ever fancy a go at ballroom dancing they had lesson in the afternoon and at night the host were there to encourage you to get up or if you were a solo guest they would dance with you overall five satrs to Fred olsen Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I had never been on a cruise before, this being on my Bucket List. I had a really great time, I could not fault the Ship or her Crew. The sailing was very smooth and the scenery spectacular. I would recommend this to anyone, I enjoyed ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before, this being on my Bucket List. I had a really great time, I could not fault the Ship or her Crew. The sailing was very smooth and the scenery spectacular. I would recommend this to anyone, I enjoyed it so much I have booked to sail on another cruise next year. The shore excursions were well organised and interesting, with a local guide who knew the area well, and could answer any questions asked. The facilities on board could not be faulted and the food was well above average. In fact I might have gone just for the food. There were plenty of activities for those who wanted them, or for people like me a quite relaxing time chilling out and reading with the occasional glass or two. The evening entertainment was good and varied with different artists at various locations on board. Overall I would recommend this to anyone. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
All in all an excellent first ever cruise for us. That is apart from an irresponsible passenger who decided to abandon the Barcelona tour and make his own way back to the ship without telling anyone. He caused a 40 minute delay whilst a ... Read More
All in all an excellent first ever cruise for us. That is apart from an irresponsible passenger who decided to abandon the Barcelona tour and make his own way back to the ship without telling anyone. He caused a 40 minute delay whilst a search for him was conducted which in turn caused the abandonment of the highlight stop on the tour. Not Fred's fault I know, but very very annoying. Boarding at Dover was a breeze, we were aboard before we knew it. Our suite, 5015 on the Main Deck was very comfortable and well serviced as was the rest of the ship. No sign of the dreaded Noravirus. There were sanitisers everywhere. All the passengers appeared to use them as a matter of course which was good to see. The food was excellent. Somehow I managed to maintain my weight. Goodness knows how. Disembarkation was pretty quick although there was a slight delay due to fork lift activity around the dock. We enjoyed the experience so much we re-booked on board for the Amalfi Coast Cruise aboard Boudicca in April 2017 Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
For our Wedding Anniversary we decided to do something special and choose the Fred Olsen cruise "Easter Ireland" and booked a Premier Suite. We could not fault anything (perhaps apart from some of the weather - not in Fred ... Read More
For our Wedding Anniversary we decided to do something special and choose the Fred Olsen cruise "Easter Ireland" and booked a Premier Suite. We could not fault anything (perhaps apart from some of the weather - not in Fred Olsen's control!). As it was our 40th Anniversary we were given the complimentary anniversary package of sparkling wine, flowers, cake, card, portrait photo and gift. During the cruise it was also my birthday so we were slightly embarrassed when a cake was brought to our table on the Friday for my birthday together with the table staff serenading me and the next day another cake and serenade for our anniversary. The staff were superb and could not do enough for us. We asked if the anniversary cake could be packaged to take home to share with family and they made a special box for it and wrapped it with ribbon. The staff soon learned our names and we were often called "Sir, John and Madam, Jennifer". The food was superb both in choice, presentation and cooking. Most evenings we only managed three of the five courses due to the quantity. The ports of call were Belfast, Dublin (two days) and Cobn. All of which were interesting and we went independently rather than take the organised tours. We are not night owls and in Dublin managed to find a pub (Oliver St. John Gogerty) which had live Irish music during the afternoon. The evening shows were very good but I much preferred the live music from the string trio and pianist/singer in the small lounges. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Some things on the cruise were terrific. The waiting staff were. The food generally was of a high standard, at times excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and in that respect the cruise was 5 star plus. When I needed my trousers ... Read More
Some things on the cruise were terrific. The waiting staff were. The food generally was of a high standard, at times excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and in that respect the cruise was 5 star plus. When I needed my trousers repaired, the tailor appeared in moments, disappeared briefly, and reappeared with the trousers totally repaired. A lot of the staff were actually incredibly nice. In other respects it was a bit wide of the mark. The wifi was very poor, but that is being upgraded, apparently. The communal seats were sprayed with some sort of deodorant, so every time I sat on them, I had to change my trousers because they stank of something nasty. The washing machines all injected with a washing liquid automatically into the system, so after I washed my clothes, I couldn't wear them because I need a non-bio powder, and am allergic to the chemical ones. I was left with a couple of T-Shirts and a few pairs of pants that I had to recycle manually. There is a notice in the launderetter - an A4 laminated thing in black and white ink, that was stuck behind someone who was ironing- that alerts you to the fact the washing machines are self-powdered. i never saw it. Not sure I would have seen it had the person ironing not been there either. The downstairs launderette boasted 4 machines that didn't self powder...I tried one. it also automatically injected detergent. WhenI got back to the UK, I needed 5 washes to remove the strong chemicals from my clothes so that I was able to wear them again. So 10 washes in all. I raised these issues with F.Olsen, and they replied a stock reply. I pointed out that the reply was factually incorrect, and they replied that I was wrong and they were correct. I took umbrage. I wrote to their head office. They wrote back and said they were taking my complaint seriously. That was the last I heard. I could easily have gone for a 2 star rating here, but I feel that is unjust to the 1000 staff who work very hard onboard. There were other niggly things. A major problem is what happens when you dock. In Casablanca we experienced Taxi Wars. Eventually a gun toting policeman came in and starting physically fighting with the taxi drivers. A bit eyebrow raising at the best of times, even more so when you have a disabled person with you. As I waited for the scheduled bus, I was harangued and harassed by the same culprits as before...I then got totally lost in Casablanca, and ended up in the slums; as sundown approached I realized I could have a serious problem. If I had known how louche and potentially dangerous the place was, I would have been more circumspect. A decent map would not have gone amiss. I am surprised the Cruise Companies don't work together, and have a Local Guide in major ports who can handle things like....taxis...and so on. The Southampton Port Authority is a joke. Staff are rude and hostile. Lots of people were getting very irate. Don't suppose F.Olsen care, as they would say once off the ship it is not their responsibility. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
On board the Black Watch is like stepping back in time. The decor and fittings are very 1970s although clean, there is no WOW factor anywhere on the ship. This was our first cruise and based our poor experience it could be our last. ... Read More
On board the Black Watch is like stepping back in time. The decor and fittings are very 1970s although clean, there is no WOW factor anywhere on the ship. This was our first cruise and based our poor experience it could be our last. The boarding process at the port was one of the worst travel experiences I have had. Hundreds of passengers crammed into a hangar waiting their numbers to be called and we waited for 1hr 50 minutes and were the last to board even though we arrived exactly at the time we were instructed to on our boarding instructions. There was no explanation given just occasional apologies. So we arrived at our cabin fighting disappointment at our introductory experience with Fred Olsen. The next blow was that we learned that we would not be stopping at our first port of call, la Coruna, due to some mechanical problem. This port and the onshore trip to Santiago was the reason I booked the trip. The food was good. The alcohol reasonably priced and the service of a high standard with one or two surly exceptions. The shows were unoriginal. There was a very good comedian. The onboard activities were ok. The highlight of the trip was the Observatory Lounge where we enjoyed lovely cocktails while listening to an excellent trio. We met people who we will keep in touch with. Overall we both feel we spent a lot of money on a poor holiday and that same sum could have got us a luxury hotel for longer. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first cruise and it exceeded expectations. Boudicca was spick and span, cleanliness was a top priority, staff were friendly, the cabin was comfortable (but we spent little time there apart from sleeping) and the food was ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it exceeded expectations. Boudicca was spick and span, cleanliness was a top priority, staff were friendly, the cabin was comfortable (but we spent little time there apart from sleeping) and the food was excellent. We used two organised tours which were very good but the rest of the time when we docked we "did it ourselves" with the help of the local tourist information. The weather was good apart from rain on a couple of days which wasn't heavy enough to spoil the visit. Other than that we saw the splendour of the fjords with one or two extra fjords visited that were not on the original schedule. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
the title says it all, really. It was our first cruise and, within a few days we were hooked. The food was good and varied. The crew were excellent .... always smiling, always polite and attentive, quick to learn our names and tastes. ... Read More
the title says it all, really. It was our first cruise and, within a few days we were hooked. The food was good and varied. The crew were excellent .... always smiling, always polite and attentive, quick to learn our names and tastes. Hygiene was a priority. Antiseptic dispensers for your hands were situated at the gangway and at the entrance to the restaurants (with a crew member checking) as well as at other points in the ship. Handrails were regularly cleaned by the crew. Entertainment was good with a choice of several performers through the day and a show at night. Ports visited were well chosen and with a good selection of shore tours. Very comfortable bed in our pleasant cabin. Looking forward to our next cruise aboard Boudicca. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Having worked for four years in P&Os iconic ss Canberra, including her farewell cruise in 1998 prior to her being decommissioned, I have always avoided the temptation of a cruise holiday; party because I had 'been there and done ... Read More
Having worked for four years in P&Os iconic ss Canberra, including her farewell cruise in 1998 prior to her being decommissioned, I have always avoided the temptation of a cruise holiday; party because I had 'been there and done that' albeit from a different perspective, and also because I feared I would spend too much time complaining that 'it isn't like it used to be...' However a partner keen to cruise, a twenty year time gap and a curiosity to see how things had changed, combined to weaken my resolve. What I thought they did well: Firstly, the crew. I know it's a cliché, but the mainly Indian, Filipino and Thai crew could not have worked harder or done more to make our cruise enjoyable. They were friendly, engaging, always appeared happy and managed to remember our names and our favourite drinks. I really could not fault them. Our cabin: we booked a modest deck 2 outside cabin, which was surprisingly spacious and well appointed, though slightly dated decor-wise. The cabin was clean and our cabin steward(ess) (Kitty) was a delight. Even a severe flood requiring a cabin change on the last night was well-handled, with housekeeping staff appointed to help us pack and move. A letter of apology and a £50 credit to our on-board account to apologise for the inconvenience was a nice way to defuse any irritation we may have felt. Food: I thought the food was absolutely first rate. Every day I ordered breakfast from the menu rather than the buffet, and I could not fault it if I tried. The galley even made a slight adjustment to their kedgeree recipe to suit my spicier palate. Lunch as usually taken in the buffet or shore-side when alongside. The buffet was good with plenty of choice. Afternoon Tea (only taken twice) was perhaps the weakest offer - sandwiches were tasty but a but clunky and unrefined, the cake selection was limited, the scones were not the best (a bit dry) and served with UHT whipped cream, which as a shame given we were in port six of ten days so obtaining fresh stores should not have been a problem. Dinner, however, was the highlight of the day; we were lucky to have 4 great table companions whose company we enjoyed and who each added a different perspective to the conversation. Our Head Waiter (Xavier) and the Commis Waiter (Ryan) were efficient, charming and friendly. Each night we had a five course menu, with three to six choices of each. In total we had ten meals on board and I don't think I once left the restaurant unhappy. Full marks and thank you to all concerned. Guest entertainers: we had some super guest entertainers, including Leo Shavers (musician) whose impromptu jazz session was superb. The classical pianist was good, though I would like to have heard more of him, as was the Welsh baritone singer - both of whose names have slipped my mind (sorry). I also greatly appreciated the bridge lessons, which has whetted my appetite for the game. The Braemar Orchestra and the cocktail pianist were also super. Disembarkation: this morning we woke at 7am, were showered and packed by 7.45am and we're in our car on the way home by 8.45am. It could not have gone better. What I didn't like: Having been effusive in my praise for what I felt was done well, I will be equally honest in highlighting what I didn't like. Braemar Show Company: in fairness, a few of them put their heart and soul into the shows, but generally I thought their productions were uninspiring and badly choreographed and the team were very young and lacked believe-ability. Sadly I felt most of them didn't really want to be there and made little effort to hide the fact. Reception (Purser's Desk): I had little dealing with the front desk, apart from towards the end of the cruise when I noticed a billing error. We had upgraded to the 'all inclusive' drinks package for an additional £10 per person per night, this allowed complimentary 'house' drinks and 50% discount on branded drinks, cocktails and wine. When I checked my account on day 8 I noticed they had charged for all drinks. I raised this with the front desk, and rather than apologising and promising to investigate the error, I was asked if I could 'prove' we had paid for the all-inclusive package. I informed the receptionist that I was able to do so as I had just checked my online bank statement and I could see the £200 additional payment leaving my account. Having insulted me once by asking me to prove my case, she then insulted me again by asking how I was able to access my account as the ship's satellite wasn't working (for the record I had international data roaming and was able to access via my Blackberry). Having convinced her I was telling the truth I was then told that they would have to re-enter all our purchases with the relevant discount and we shouldn't order any drinks until this was done. Given this was an error wholly of the company's making, to have a member of staff twice infer I was lying and then to cause me further inconvenience whilst they sorted out an error of their own making, was a poor show. I honestly do not think they could have handled the situation more badly than they did. Show timings: it was also a slightly irritating that passengers on second sitting (8.30pm) had to watch the cabaret at 7.30pm (before dinner) with first sitting passengers watching the cabaret at 8.30pm. Personally, I like to relax with a glass of champagne or a cocktail and chat with my partner/friends pre-dinner - which I couldn't do unless I missed the cabaret. Nor did I particularly want to watch a jazz show or a comedian at 7.30pm before eating. I understand second sitting passengers usually watch a later show and it had been changed for this cruise. If so, I don't think it worked very well. Visibility of Senior Officers; my final gripe was the total lack of visibility of the 4 stripe officers on board. This might be a throw-back to my P&O days, but I would have expected to see the ship's senior management out and about in public areas most evenings, even if only for an hour pre-dinner. Apart from the welcome aboard Cocktail Party I didn't see the Captain, First Officer or Purser once during the whole cruise, which I thought was surprising and disappointing. Overall, despite the above complaints we had a super time. Would I cruise again? Much to my surprise, the answer is yes. And I would also happily cruise with Fred. Olsen in Braemar again. However the bar tenders, the stewards and the waiters were far better ambassadors for the company than the ships' officers and deserve to be acknowledged as such. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
The ship was fantastic, small but very friendly as you got to know lots of people. The food the entertainment and all the staff were fantastic. This was my first cruise and I worried that there may not be enough to do.What a joke we ended ... Read More
The ship was fantastic, small but very friendly as you got to know lots of people. The food the entertainment and all the staff were fantastic. This was my first cruise and I worried that there may not be enough to do.What a joke we ended up running from deck to deck in order to do all the quizzes, table tennis and every thing else we wanted to do. The out door pool even though we were in the Arctic was 30 degrees so we swam nearly every day. The cabin was amazing but we did have a suite. Some of the information was incorrect. We were told we could get on the ship early due to our suite.We got to Dover early and that information is wrong you have to wait like every body else.We took priority disembarkation and this was excellent we got off the boat at least 2 hours before everybody else. The cruise was excellent except we never knew exactly where we were. The day sheet for all the on board entertainment was great but we needed one to tell us where we were passing and where we were. We took the drinks package. For me that was fine but for my sister it was a waste of money. Strongbow cider was included but Kopperberg cider which cost 5 pence more was excluded so she had to pay 50% of the price every time but she could drink rum and brandy until she fell over. Read the small print before you pay. DO NOT BOOK ANY TRIPS WITH THE CRUISE COMPANY. They are a total rip off. Example in Bergen a trip to the Funicular including price up and down £40. Distance from ship a slow 5 mins walk. Return trip £10 on the Funicular. Do the maths yourself. And this was a cheap trip most were at least £90 each and you did not get the right time off the ship and you had no time at the attraction. The Atlantic Road was fully booked up price £80 each. We got a taxi and did it alone for less than £50 for the 2 of us. The ship photos are good but expensive choose carefully but the video is great. All the services on the ship were amazing nothing was too much trouble. I would do another Fred Olsen Cruise but not book any trips. Research them before you go and do it yourself. Would recommend the Braemar to anyone it is a first class ship with a great crew and Captain. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
As seasoned travellers with many years of road tripping under our belts (to most parts of the UK, Europe, Eastern Europe & Canada) we wanted to try a tour of Norway, a country we'd never been to before but had been considering for ... Read More
As seasoned travellers with many years of road tripping under our belts (to most parts of the UK, Europe, Eastern Europe & Canada) we wanted to try a tour of Norway, a country we'd never been to before but had been considering for quite some time. However, as we started planning it, it became evident just how expensive such a trip would be, plus there was also the issue of there being no ferries to Scandinavia from the UK anymore, which would have meant a very long drive via Holland, Germany, Denmark & Sweden before we even reached Norway. We’d never tried a cruise before, but as an alternative to a road trip we looked at some Norwegian offerings, which appeared to be a more cost effective way of getting / staying there than going by road. We eventually ended up booking with Fred. Olsen for a cruise on the 'Black Watch' leaving Liverpool on 11th May bound for the Norwegian ports of: Alesund, Hellesynt, Gerainger, Olden, Bergen, Eidfjord & Stavanger. The Black Watch is quite small for a cruise ship, it accommodates just over 800 passengers, its compact size meaning it can access the smaller fjords. Being so early in the year meant that we were the only ship in most ports on a given day which was a plus.. The first thing that struck us about the ship as we embarked was how 'well used' and dated it is. On board it's quite jaded in places and in need of a good spruce up and some modernisation. Some people - Fred. Olsen and a few dedicated fans of cruising - call it charm, we call it, 'wearing out'. The exterior of the ship also looks quite bad with it's many “battle scars”, looking at it close-up at the ports of call reveals some nasty looking dents in the hull, and some rust appearing in several places. There seems to be a never ending painting programme going on to cover up the rusty bits. In every port we called at, out came the bucket of paint & rollers to conceal a bit more of it. What this poor 43 year old lady really needs is to go into dry dock for a spell and have the rust properly treated – or better still she should be gracefully retired as her best days are most certainly now behind her. We’ve been on nicer cross channel ferries. When we booked the cruise, we opted for the 'all inclusive' drinks package at £220 for the 2 of us. Like a lot of other things with Fred. Olsen the details of this were very vague until we got on board and found out that 'all inclusive' actually isn't. Water is available at the bar as part of the deal but only by the glass so it can't really be taken back to the cabin and is probably only the tap water anyway. Bottled water in the cabin has to be requested and paid for. Coffee and tea and a kettle is provided in the cabins but in the bars aren’t covered under the all inclusive deal. Only very cheap wines and spirits are part of the all inclusive package on-board, the house “whisky”, as an example, is some cheap Spanish brew which is quite rough, if you want even the lower end brand blended Scotches, like Bells or Grouse etc you have to pay a 50% surcharge – despite it being listed as only 10p dearer than the nasty house whisky in the bar price list. The same applies to other spirits and wines, although it has to be said the red 'house' wine is more palatable than the spirits. For draught beers there’s very little choice – lager or Boddingtons bitter were all that was on offer in the bars. No Guinness or any other dark beers on draught – only tins & bottles which again are not part of the All Inclusive package so attract the 50% surcharge . Olsen need to be a little more transparent regarding things like this because the way things stand it's all just a little too vague in the pre booking information and can catch out the unwary. If we'd known beforehand that the all inclusive package included only the cheapest unbranded whisky and other spirits that nobody outside of the ship has ever heard of we'd never have taken it, we'd have paid for our drinks as we went along and bought the cheap branded stuff on offer, but having to pay 50% extra, even for the likes of Bells, Grants and Grouse made us feel a little cheated. Calling it 'all inclusive' is very misleading. We used the complimentary cabin service on a few days when we arrived back at the ship too late for lunch or dinner and found it very good. Our order was usually at the cabin door within 10 mins of phoning it through. Only things like sandwiches & soup and a few deserts were available but they were of good quality – better than the main restaurant food in some cases. Food in the main waiter served “Glentanar” restaurant was pretty average at best, with more emphasis being placed on the presentation rather than the taste & texture. To be honest it's all just a bit pretentious on what is a rather tatty little ship, especially the formal evenings where passengers have to dress accordingly for dinner. A lot of folk did seem to like that sort of thing though, which only added to the pretentiousness of the whole affair. We only ate in the main Glentanar restaurant on a couple of occasions, on our second and final visit our rather pompous waiter was quite rude to an elderly gent at our table who had complained about his soup. On that particular night we had what was allegedly pheasant which it has to be said was disgusting, it all looked very nicely laid out on the plate in nouveau cuisine fashion, but eating it was like chewing an old inner tube. I'm no expert on pheasant but I'm sure it shouldn't have been that tough and dry. After that experience we elected to eat in the Braemar Garden Café which is a self service buffet restaurant and the food all the better for it. This was a far less ostentatious atmosphere and the waiters were marginally more pleasant. We didn’t eat too may lunches on board, preferring instead to stay out using the limited time available to explore wherever we were docked, as no matter where we’d arrived it was always more interesting than on board the ship. We partook of breakfast most mornings, but found the cooked offerings to be invariably cold to lukewarm. The first morning we tried it the fried eggs were barely warm, as were the beans, sausage and bacon. The cold scramble egg was the particularly unappetising “piece de resistance”. The following few mornings were no better in either restaurant so we opted for the cold continental breakfasts after that which were an improvement even if the croissants were miniscule. We'd booked a couple of shore tours before we left home. The first was from Gerainger by coach up the Eagle Road which was spectacular and well worth the cost. Sadly the second one from Stavanger was a huge disappointment. This one consisted of a trip on the so called Jaeren Railway to Egersund which cost us £75 each. It promised wonderful views as we travelled through the “Breadbasket of Norway”. The reality was a ride by coach through Stavanger at rush hour to the railway station, where we got on to a commuter train. We then travelled for over an hour and a quarter through some pretty underwhelming countryside to the lacklustre town of Egersund where we then boarded the coach for the run back to Stavanger by road which was only slightly better. We did have an hour to kill in Egersund though so rather than stay with the tour guide (who at least had the decency to look a bit embarrassed), we took off to find a coffee shop instead. Talking to other participants of this tour back on the ship afterwards it transpired that we weren't the only ones who felt disappointed by it. We could probably have done the same trip ourselves for less than £20 Norway is undeniably beautiful, the cruise showed us a mere glimpse of what this wonderful country has to offer and we will return there, but next time will be a road trip - and hang the expense, it'll be worth it. As far as cruises go for us, never again. I'm too young even in my mid 60s. If this particular cruise is typical of most then they seem geared more to passengers in the 70 – 80 age group who's idea of fun and adventure appears to be stuffing themselves with as much food as possible, a game of bingo and a quiz chucked in now and then.... and dressing up for dinner whilst on an ageing ship being the icing on the cake. Just short of 3 days to get to and from Norway is excessive, and boring, I’d have preferred a quicker cruise and more time in Norway. Having experienced the open road for years, we simply felt trapped inside the ship. Having too little time to explore the places we saw became frustrating as we had to keep a constant eye on the time in order to get back in time for departure and we hated the stress of clock watching whilst on holiday. I can see the appeal of cruising for some people, but it's not for us I'm afraid. In future I’ll be firing up my car or the motorbike again and taking off for some real travel adventures Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I was desperate the see the Norwegian Fjords, which by the way were spectacular, so my sister and I booked a trip with Fred Olsen which included the all inclusive drinks package. Embarkation at Liverpool was a breeze and the baggage ... Read More
I was desperate the see the Norwegian Fjords, which by the way were spectacular, so my sister and I booked a trip with Fred Olsen which included the all inclusive drinks package. Embarkation at Liverpool was a breeze and the baggage handlers at the port were slick and fast, however, you do have to fight through all types of walking sticks, Zimmerframe walkers and very slow infirm passengers. My sister and I, although not young, felt like teenagers in comparison as the average age on board was in the region of 70+. Although on the fully inclusive (FI) package, which is good value for money, the rules around what is included in the fully inclusive package is ambiguous and at best vague. This is compounded by the staff offering you items that are not on the FI package, although knowing that you are on the FI package. The result is that you find yourself being charged for a drink that you didn't realise you'd bought? There is a form of stealth sales that goes on as I think the staff receive an incentive to sell drinks and on several occasions I found that I'd unwittingly bought a coffee or a glass of wine in error. The other irritant is that on the occasion that you do order a drink on the FI package you're still expected to sign for the price of it which left us with a tree's worth of paper receipts. Make sure you always check the receipt which has a printed 'FA' on it if you've achieved the fully inclusive package as the staff don't tell you. We found this helpful piece of information from a fellow passenger. All communication is provided whilst on ship via a daily paper put into your room by the evening service staff. This is useful and provides you with all the information you need with regard to sailing time, ports of call, activities and services. We didn't pre-buy port and shore excursions but used the hop on, hop off, facilities that is available at each port. They were perfect for us as it gave us the opportunity to see what we wanted to see and was much cheaper than the excursions. Our cabin was small and dated but was kept super clean by our Cabin Attendant who was fabulous. Everything onboard is chargeable including the cabin bottle of water. We were on deck 5 which is perfectly based for reception, the restaurant one deck below and to disembark which is on deck 3 and the spa which is on deck 3. You don't have to use the lifts and can get everywhere fast. You'll never get in the lift anyway as 2 walkers fill the entire lift and there are only 2 lifts in the centre of the ship. The food is good although typically British themed with it's target passenger being the older demographic. I was however, so tired by the end of the trip by the continual chorus of 'Happy Birthday to you' which is sung by the staff and an attempt to get you to buy your table a round of expensive liqueurs. Although, we met some lovely passengers, the more mature passenger can tend to feel superior and will reserve the best seats, push you out of the way and tell you to move if you're in their way, although they've reserved seats for their friends. You having to stand wherever possible to enjoy the evening is an insult to them. Some would go into the library and put all their belongings down and then disappear for a couple of hours, returning at their leisure expecting their seating to be there waiting upon their return. This resulted in my sister and I roaming around the ship looking for somewhere to sit during inclement sea days, eventually going back to our cabin. The only place that would guarantee us an escape from the infirm was the Gym which was well equipped, clean and tidy with showers and a steam room. The most modern part of the ship in fact. On day 8 of our trip there was a terrible smell across our deck which was attributed to the water refuse tanks being full. They had to dump it into the sea but because we were still in the Fjords the ship had to keep hold of it. All deck passengers complained and we were offered a move to another deck but only for the night which meant we would have had to pack up and then move back - we declined and stayed wishing we'd brought pegs with us for our noses. The reception staff are all poe faced women who know nothing and are accountable for the same. We had several encounters with them and at no time do their faces crack into a smile which is accompanied by 'the computer says no' mentality. The 'can do' ethos is nowhere to be found on this ship. The restaurant staff are polite and friendly, however, have to be because the Management in charge seem to run the place with a fear culture,as we saw staff being told off in public areas in view of passengers which was very uncomfortable to witness. We would cruise again but not on this line - an expensive disappointment to say the least. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We booked last October for a cruise of the fjords. At embarkation, our luggage was delivered to outside our cabin on third deck. The cabin was clean and throughout the cruise was well-serviced by Rodell. We found the entertainment very ... Read More
We booked last October for a cruise of the fjords. At embarkation, our luggage was delivered to outside our cabin on third deck. The cabin was clean and throughout the cruise was well-serviced by Rodell. We found the entertainment very good, and we saw a few great shows, and a funny comedian. As we bought the all-inclusive drinks package, we were limited to what and where we could drink, no drinks included on deck seven, and a limited number of drinks on deck six, which meant we were drinking house rum or Stella. We used the buffet for most of our meals, and the food was reasonable to good, the service was good to indifferent. The Reception staff were helpful and polite, and the staff in the Braemar Room were very cheerful and funny. The pianist Ronald is very good indeed, and we enjoyed our time in their as well as the quizzes at 10pm. Wi-Fi is available on board but is very slow,and some days doesn't work atall, It is very expensive if you only buy a few hours, so I would suggest paying £30 for a 24 hour package,not £5 for half an hour. The excursions are very expensive, so think about making your own way around when you dock. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, but felt that we didn't get the value for money we should have got, and considering we booked so far in advance, should have been given the all-inclusive drinks package and gratuities free of charge, which were later advertised as included. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
1 Helpful Vote
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: April 2015
Embarkation couldn't have been any easier..our first time on a cruise I was a nerves reck but once on board and unpacked cases I was fine the ship is very stable nothing like I thought it would be..this was a special 80th birthday ... Read More
Embarkation couldn't have been any easier..our first time on a cruise I was a nerves reck but once on board and unpacked cases I was fine the ship is very stable nothing like I thought it would be..this was a special 80th birthday ELVIS CRUISE..!!! And what great fun..there were two acts on board plus the ships singers dancers band and comedian.quiz nights film shows and talks by the two Elvis E T A'S dance lessons bingo ..there was a coffee and a cocktail of the day every day..we were lead to believed drinks were very pricey on board..NO they are not..a beer was about £3-80p and a cocktail £5 or £6 it did very a little but you could pay more in your local pub at home..cabins are not huge but they are OK.you have tea and coffee in there all the time and a hair dryer..beds are very comfy..the ship is kept spotlessly clean all staff a so sweet and very attentive..the food is fabulous very very tasty each night the them of the menu was changed..again the entertainment was fantastic..we had a couple of tours one to Randers Graceland..not a copy of Memphis Graceland ..the out side is the inside is a shop cafe' and museum and there is a huge room upstairs which is used for talks and concerts..the food in the cafe is great..and the owner Henrik is such an amazing man so down to earth a real people person..our only let down was because of the nature of the cruise the entertainment lounges just weren't really big enough..and left people having to stand through the shows..at different times through the cruise photos were taken at £5 each we felt this was not a bad price..you can also buy frames if you wish to..there is duty free shops on board but you can not buy ciggys or alcohol ..and so I went from being scared stiff of getting on board to NOT wanting to get off..!!!! Thank you so much Fred Olsen and you amazing staff on the Braemar....hope if our pennies allow to be back on board in the future.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Embarkation couldn't have been any easier..our first time on a cruise I was a nerves reck but once on board and unpacked cases I was fine the ship is very stable nothing like I thought it would be..this was a special 80th birthday ... Read More
Embarkation couldn't have been any easier..our first time on a cruise I was a nerves reck but once on board and unpacked cases I was fine the ship is very stable nothing like I thought it would be..this was a special 80th birthday ELVIS CRUISE..!!! And what great fun..there were two acts on board plus the ships singers dancers band and comedian.quiz nights film shows and talks by the two Elvis E T A'S dance lessons bingo ..there was a coffee and a cocktail of the day every day..we were lead to believed drinks were very pricey on board..NO they are not..a beer was about £3-80p and a cocktail £5 or £6 it did very a little but you could pay more in your local pub at home..cabins are not huge but they are OK.you have tea and coffee in there all the time and a hair dryer..beds are very comfy..the ship is kept spotlessly clean all staff a so sweet and very attentive..the food is fabulous very very tasty each night the them of the menu was changed..again the entertainment was fantastic..we had a couple of tours one to Randers Graceland..not a copy of Memphis Graceland ..the out side is the inside is a shop cafe' and museum and there is a huge room upstairs which is used for talks and concerts..the food in the cafe is great..and the owner Henrik is such an amazing man so down to earth a real people person..our only let down was because of the nature of the cruise the entertainment lounges just weren't really big enough..and left people having to stand through the shows..at different times through the cruise photos were taken at £5 each we felt this was not a bad price..you can also buy frames if you wish to..there is duty free shops on board but you can not buy ciggys or alcohol ..and so I went from being scared stiff of getting on board to NOT wanting to get off..!!!! Thank you so much Fred Olsen and you amazing staff on the Braemar....hope if our pennies allow to be back on board in the future.. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
I took my wife on our first cruise to see if she could be treated like a lady. British hotels are going to the dogs, in general, as far as style and service are concerned, being run by indifferent staff to any old standard. Fred Olsen took ... Read More
I took my wife on our first cruise to see if she could be treated like a lady. British hotels are going to the dogs, in general, as far as style and service are concerned, being run by indifferent staff to any old standard. Fred Olsen took my booking knowing how important these issues were to me, and in spite of understanding how important a table for two was to me. Having paid in full for a premier suite I gathered a table for two was not only not guaranteed but unlikely. I protested but bit my lip. As it turned out we had not only a table for two but the finest professional waiter I have ever encountered bar one. The suite was astounding and the housekeeper obliging and, also, professional. The food was to the highest standard I've encountered in spite of the quantities being served. The menu was imaginative. However, if fine dining and service is your bag, think before booking with Fred Olsen. Nothing to do with Fred ! There was a lot of interpretive license taken on the definition of "smart casual" with varying degrees of conduct and manners to go with it. One could easily have a T-shirt and jeans clad dining companion with table manners and language to match. NOT IN EVERY CASE....before I get edited out. Breakfast and lunch was a total shambles. One reviewer likened it to Asda. It was plain the normally professional waiters were fed up with the mob-like behaviour of the passengers when jostling for tables. This behaviour proves the demand for tables-for-two. Many more two seater tables could be provided with simple splitting of four-seater tables. On occasions we were able to dine and breakfast on the deck, in the secret garden or with cabin service. This changed my days absolutely as breakfast and lunch times were to be "got over with" as opposed to being enjoyed with anticipation as was the evening meal. A fair percentage of the passengers matched the standards set by the Boudicca crew and a small percentage were badly behaved. The greater percentage were somewhere in between. The lounges accommodated people fly-catching,others with feet up on the furniture or tables. Scruffy track suite bottoms were in abundance. I was subject to abuse and ridicule in a lift from a party not appropriately dressed on a formal night. Remarks were passed in this vain more than once. "you make me look like a tramp" was one such comment. We were once big fans of hotels now taken over by the Britannia group and visited three of them before we realised they had set their stall out accommodating cheap coach parties, some including drinks packages. The very reason I've gone on a cruise instead. Meal times put me in mind of these establishments. Fred Olsen standards are high. However, the things that were important to me were nullified. The entertainment was o.k and the daytime activities and choice of environment was prolific. All would have found something.The preset gratuity system sat very uncomfortably with me. I saw it as some kind of manouvre to adjust the Olsen payroll. However, I reluctantly let it stand and, in fact, felt the need to tip further to our evening meal waiter and others otherwise excluded from the set system.Lastly, I got the feeling we were being dumped and got rid of on disembarking morning. The boat had to be empty by 8.00a.m, breakfast betwixt 6a.m & 8a.m with the cushion covers being removed the evening before together with cases in the corridor before 1.00a.m following a formal dress evening. The efficient helpful parking attendants/luggage handlers on arrival were notable by their absence on departure. I'll be doing a lot more research before I book my next cruise. Fred Olsen couldn't do more. (by the way, this ship is as about as stabilised as the waltzers, in case you want to know. It didn't bother us, though.) Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We booked the cruise via Saga, and were told that it was All Inclusive. The list included all on board gratuities. However, at the end of the cruise we were charged the standard £4 per day for this. On the first day we did not know that ... Read More
We booked the cruise via Saga, and were told that it was All Inclusive. The list included all on board gratuities. However, at the end of the cruise we were charged the standard £4 per day for this. On the first day we did not know that we had the all inclusive drinks package. Fred Olsen had written to us inviting us to pay for this. However, once on board, our Saga rep told us that we already had this package included. Some miscommunication there between Fred Olsen and Saga. Other than that the cruise was very enjoyable. The food was wonderful, the staff could not have been more helpful and friendly, and there were various on board activities and talks. We liked that the boat was relatively small, and the slick way in which it docked and left the ports was very impressive. The time ashore was rather short, and as we chose not to go on any organised trips (very expensive), our options were somewhat limited. Just time for a short stroll around really. We didn't dare to venture too far for fear of missing the boat departure time. There were shuttle buses where the town was far for walking, and, as Saga passengers we did not have to pay for these, though others had to pay £5. It would have been nice to spend a couple of days in Madeira and miss one of the other islands. In fact, maybe miss two islands and spend more time at the other two? That might encourage us to book another cruise to the Canaries, next time seeing the islands missed. As it is, we will probably go on another cruise, but to a different destination. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Had a great 7 Night cruise to France our first time on Fred Oulson we have cruised mostly with P and O must say we enjoyed the smaller ship as it was very friendly.We had one and a half days in Rouen must say what a very nice place to ... Read More
Had a great 7 Night cruise to France our first time on Fred Oulson we have cruised mostly with P and O must say we enjoyed the smaller ship as it was very friendly.We had one and a half days in Rouen must say what a very nice place to visit we walked into the Town don't be fouled by paying for the bus as it is not far to walk. We took the trip the next day to Paris that was a good trip to go on must say the weather was not very warm. The next stop was Honfleur that was a most stunning place we also walked into the town would have liked to see it in the sun shine but again it was not warm and it also rained never mind still enjoyed it. The 3rd place was La Pallice for La Rochelle again DONT!!!! pay to get the bus into La Rochelle as the local bus takes you for 1 euro 30cents and people had paid £18 pounds but they don't tell you till the day before many people were not happy as they had booked it on line. The ship itself was great and we had a great time the staff were very friendly, the meals in the dining room were excellent ,we asked for a table of 2 and got it next to another table of 2 and we got on well with them. The entertainment was very good,except we didn't like the magicion but I am sure other people did you cant please everybody. The drinks package is a no brainer we had our moneys worth and I don't drink much just soft drinks alone would add up nearly to ten pounds a day. All in all we had a very great time and would go with Fred Oulsen again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
Norway - Rivers and Railways cruise. First time cruisers so make of this what you will. Service, was good throughout though the pronunciation of English, yes, we know it is a world language, really was hard to follow sometimes - and we ... Read More
Norway - Rivers and Railways cruise. First time cruisers so make of this what you will. Service, was good throughout though the pronunciation of English, yes, we know it is a world language, really was hard to follow sometimes - and we are well-used to multicultural London. The numbers were well-managed at breakfast times when everyone arrived at 9am we thought. The all-inclusive drinks package was only just about worth it for us two though one of us was getting over an operation, the other about to have one and loosing weight. The floor shows reminded us of the end of the pier show at Cromer pier which many rave over but not us. A clean and well-painted and well-polished ship. Getting off the ship in Stavanger was not well-managed as cruisers were left standing on the main staircase for up to an hour without any expiation for the delays. The shore tours which we booked a number of and spent about £600 on were not all that well finessed with pretty disengaged entertainment staff roped in as somewhat reluctant tour leaders. The Bergen steam railway tour began as a sort of anticlimax, a pre-climax as the station (and shop?) were not opened for us. There was loose talk of coffee which never arrived and the visit fizzled out beside a busy main road, not even a group picture. The follow-on tour of Bergen city centre in a max size 3-axle coach was we thought an inappropriate way to sight-see a small city centre, in the rain. With only four elevators (lifts) for the elderly passengers when one of then broke down, as it did, there was real inconvenience. We paid extra for white glove Afternoon Tea but the staff were flustered when we arrived at the correct time and this was the only time that service standards slipped really, as far as we were concerned. It didn't help the occasion that scruffy passengers wandered in and out of the bar around us in essentially beach wear. A lot of men did not make much effort to dress appropriately for the two formal dinner nights. We are thinking of booking with Fred.Olsen again but wonder if the organisation isn't a tad blind to it shore tour shortcomings? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
We booked this cruise as a last minute holiday and therefore got a very good deal. (Less than half the original cost) We had never cruised before and therefore we felt that getting a last minute deal was a good way to try it out. We were ... Read More
We booked this cruise as a last minute holiday and therefore got a very good deal. (Less than half the original cost) We had never cruised before and therefore we felt that getting a last minute deal was a good way to try it out. We were not disappointed. Firstly check in was so quick and easy at Southampton. We only had a short wait in the departure longe before we boarded our ship and went to our cabin. We had a superior outside cabin but were warned that it had a fully restricted view. We were pleasantly surprised as although our view was restricted due to our cabin being opposite a lifeboat - we were still able to have some view due to the large picture window and our cabin was light and a good size with both a bath and shower. It was all beautifully clean and kept that way by our cabin stewardess Aurora. We didn't spend a lot of time in our cabin as there was so much to see and go on board. Meals were fantastic. As we booked late we could not change our sitting time but we were first sitting and this suited us as we don't like to eat late. Meals in the Ballandaloch restaurant were amazing - easily would match and in many cases excel any of the best restaurants we have dined in on land. Our waiters were very attentive and friendly and service was extremely efficient. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Palms cafe where the choice was beyond our expectations and we could have as much or as little as we wanted. Again the service was second to none. The mostly Filipino crew couldnt have done more for us and were extremely polite and nothing was too much trouble. As we booked late we were unable to purchase a drinks package but this was not a problem as drinks were in line with pub prices and a bottle of house wine was similar to what you would pay in your local indian restaurant or similar. We are moderate drinkers only so we may not have saved with a drinks package. Entertainment on the ship was of the highest standard. the Balmoral show company were absolutely incredible. Their "musicals" night would match anything seen in a West End show. Special guests were a comedien/singer, another singer who sang Michael Buble songs and a lady saxophonist who was beautiful and hugely talented. There was also 4th dimension who entertained us in a number of the lounges, other singers, a classical guitarist and a string trio. the genres were many and varied and there was something to suit all tastes. My only regret is that we didn't join in the dancing lessons early on in the cruise as we would have enjoyed dancing to Ricki and the Balmooral orchestra, although we enjoyed listening. Our cruise was to Norway and the Arctic Circle and the scenery was spectacular.The shore excursions were quite expensive but we thoroughly enjoyed the four we took and have no regrets about paying for them. On these coffee and cake was laid on for us at the main attractions. The ride on the replica viking ship was a bit hairy due to torrential rain just after we set off but is a great memory to keep. All tours were well arranged and we felt secure having great guides and drivers. We also took a couple of trips on our own and if we go again we would do our research first and probably arrange our own excursions at the local tourist offices. Virtually everyone speaks English and the Norwegian people are extremely helpful and welcoming. We were unable to visit the Lofton Islands as planned due to bad weather but the captain and cruise director arranged a stop at Kristiansand which was a perfect substitute. The facilities on the ship were excellent - treatments in the spa are to be recommended. There are two pools, masses of seating on deck, deck games, a library with games and jigsaws, quiz nights and other talks and demonstrations. If I had any criticism at all it was the cost of things in the shop and the boutiques but we didn't need to buy anything as we had everything we needed. All in all my husband and I had a brilliant time and we would say that given the standard we enjoyed it would have been worth it even if we had paid full price. We would certainly book with Fred Olsen again and would recommend them to our friends. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
We came down a day earlier because previous week there were a lot of flooding, we found a nice B & B in Southampton called the Polygon, we gave good comments on Tripadvisor. There were 4 adults, 1 who had sailed before and she said ... Read More
We came down a day earlier because previous week there were a lot of flooding, we found a nice B & B in Southampton called the Polygon, we gave good comments on Tripadvisor. There were 4 adults, 1 who had sailed before and she said this was a nice size cruise ship to try for first timers and she was right. We got around the ship quite easy after a few wrong turns, but inside your cabin they did supply a map. A bit apprehensive booking inside cabin but when we saw the size of it we were fine, very spacious. There was plenty to do on board. We had high Tea a couple of days which was lovely. The service we got from all the staff was superb they smiled at you all the time, they were lovely. The food was superb you could more or less eat all day. Entertainment was on every night I could not find fault with this cruise at all loved it. The trips off were well organized there were shuttle buses running if needed. I have to say Embarking and Disembarking were a doddle it was so well organized. The whole experience was fantastic and are now saving for another cruise. Thank you Read Less
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