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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through ... Read More
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through security and on the ship.we were on deck 8 Superior inside cabin and we were very happy with it. The food at all meal times were excellent, we chose to have our evening meals in the Avon Restaurant and the staff were first class. There is plenty to do on board if you don't want to get off at any of the ports. We mainly had our drinks in the Marquee Bar on the top deck very friendly and customer focused. Entertainment was also good, a great holiday which I would recommend to anyone the scenery was amazing weather was mixed apart from one day when it never stopped raining. We did the Funicular ourselves it cost £5 each to go up as we walked back down which I would recommend if your able. We then went to find the Ice Bar which cost us £19 each it was good fun and worth going in. We bought the tickets for the Flam Railway off Fred Olsen and I would advise to do this as your seats are reserved for you and well worth doing. All of the Ports that we stopped at were expensive to buy anything but really worth looking round the shops, you can do your own thing plenty to see and do. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I fancied a short cruise with some formal nights included, so this 8 night cruise ticked that box! As I stay on the ship the ships life, crew, staff, food, gym, restaurants and entertainment are important to me..and I was not ... Read More
I fancied a short cruise with some formal nights included, so this 8 night cruise ticked that box! As I stay on the ship the ships life, crew, staff, food, gym, restaurants and entertainment are important to me..and I was not disappointed. All were brilliant for me so my rating is 15 out of 10! The older ship has a lot of character for me, views of the seascape almost everywhere.. The cabin was fine with the welcome addition of a fridge.. The TV has been upgraded since i was last on board much better.. Room service was very good too.. Absolutely loved dining in the Thistle restaurant.. Entertainment suited me and followed on from second sitting in the restaurant.. A general spread of various activities, not my bag though..this was a "spa break" for me..so enjoyed the gym and sauna most mornings.. I found the service excellent..:-) I stay on board so cannot comment on the shore excursions.. I will book on Braemar again soon..the small ship really suits my condition...embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze! Enjoy :-) BFN "Grumpy!..." Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
we were intending to visit Spain this month and when this last minute fly cruise to Spain and Portugal came up we jumped at it. I was a little nervous as Fred. Olsen has a bit of a fuddy duddy image and some reviewers have been positively ... Read More
we were intending to visit Spain this month and when this last minute fly cruise to Spain and Portugal came up we jumped at it. I was a little nervous as Fred. Olsen has a bit of a fuddy duddy image and some reviewers have been positively unkind about the older cruisers it attracts. Its true the clientele are mostly middle aged to senior but they were the sprightly kind, who scrub up well and a pleasant, active bunch. There were some smart people on board. After my experience on Brittania last year the complete absence of children was welcome. There wasn't anyone who was too elderly and/or infirm to enjoy the cruise on the ship. We had dreadful weather and were unable to visit 2 of the scheduled ports which was unfortunate but not Fred. Olsens' fault. The Captain explained the situation very clearly during the first Cocktail Party and the ship handled the rough seas well. Boudicca is a smallish ship and its very easy to orientate yourself. It is not glamorous but is extremely comfortable, pleasant and well kept. Cleanliness is an absolute priority and the anti-norovirus procedures are stringent - they do everything they possibly can to prevent an outbreak. The food was outstanding, we had some delicious meals, roast duck, filet mignon, steak bernaise, dover sole and some excellent puddings, including crepe suzette and creme brulee. Drink prices are about the same as in a good pub or restaurant on shore and hairdressing, beauty treatments etc are not expensive. I enjoyed the 2 cocktail parties - the Captain was very entertaining in his dry way and we all felt he was a consummate professional. The ship was pleasantly warm inside. The swimming pool and jacuzzis on deck are kept well heated and people were using them even in the chillier weather. The gym is well equipped with great views as it is right at the top. There were talks, crafting, bridge and dancing lessons to keep you occupied. The dance hosts were very pleasant, mostly a bit older and genuinely interested in helping anyone who wanted to learn a dance or improve their skills. I thought the live music onboard was good and the shows were excellent, songs from the current musicals in London etc. and well known, lively favourites. There is a late night buffet and dance scene later on for those interested - didn't experience it but saw the ice sculptures etc. being wheeled up on the last night. We really enjoyed our holiday and are Fred. Olsen converts. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Having cruised on P & O and enjoyed the experience, we thought that Fred Olsen with its smaller ships stopping at ports unavailable to larger ships would be better. There are many positive things to say about this cruise including the ... Read More
Having cruised on P & O and enjoyed the experience, we thought that Fred Olsen with its smaller ships stopping at ports unavailable to larger ships would be better. There are many positive things to say about this cruise including the very friendly atmosphere. The accommodation was fine, the staff were fantastic, with nothing being too much trouble. The entertainment was exceptionally good throughout the cruise. The shore excursions were somewhat hit and miss, but overall fine. The great let down was the food. The restaurant food was passable, however the buffet options were the worst that I have ever experienced. The menus suggest that for health reasons, passengers should make sure that the food was thoroughly cooked so as not to risk individuals health. Unfortunately I was unable to find a single egg which you would consider safe to eat or even hot. For those who ate in the buffet areas when they opened, the majority of the food was cold. A breakfast of partially cooked fried egg, cold beans and cold sausage and bacon is not ideal. One fantastic plus for this cruise were the Phillapean staff who were amazing. Despite a very busy working schedule - they smile Day and night. Their attention to detail and warm personalities provide the kind of atmosphere that can only be admired. We did enjoy the cruise - shame about the food. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
A near perfect 8 night cruise from Southampton. The first time with Fred Olsen to see if smaller ships deliver...and they did this time, pleasantly surprised with the total package...very well done to the FOCL... The whole experience was ... Read More
A near perfect 8 night cruise from Southampton. The first time with Fred Olsen to see if smaller ships deliver...and they did this time, pleasantly surprised with the total package...very well done to the FOCL... The whole experience was brilliant..even though we had to sail through the aftermath of the recent hurricane with gusts to force 12 and not being able to enter Amsterdam port until things calmed down...that was a first. We did roll quite a bit...but we were in hurricane force winds..always take sea sickness tablets on this ship just in case! This traditional ship design reminded me of the QE2 on a smaller scale and style...particularly the aft decks layouts..plenty of deck space to move around too. Have booked 2 more cruises ahead with FOCL...that says a lot...... Very well done FOCL.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We went on this cruise because we were very attracted by the golf package. We enjoyed playing on 4 different course with the group of 18 golfers. The professional golfer was very pleasant, but several ladies agreed that he should not ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we were very attracted by the golf package. We enjoyed playing on 4 different course with the group of 18 golfers. The professional golfer was very pleasant, but several ladies agreed that he should not have just gone off and played with low handicap men, but spent some time with each group. Suite 7031 was excellent, huge suite and balcony. We had canapes each evening, some very good, some a bit ordinary and stale. We eventually opted for 8.30 dinner, we did not like either choice (6.15 or 8.30)and will always in future only go with cruise that offers free seating. It was rather late to eat and had one 'less than fun' occupant on our table. Food varied. some excellent steaks, sometimes 2 had good meat and 2 had poorly cooked same choice. eg Lobster tended to be a small amount with lots of pasta . At night the boiled potatoes were dark blue and horrid. We had one excellent departure where the group played on the aft deck, but why not for most ports. The aft deck has very large area for smokers which made it less pleasant for non smokers. The one late sailing was from dominica on a sunday, which was total waste of time, NOTHING was open except one very grotty bar. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
Various friends keen on cruising had suggested that we try it and so, after years of travelling abroad by plane and car, we chose Fred Olsen's Christmas and New Year trip on the Balmoral to Madeira and the Canaries to dip our toes in ... Read More
Various friends keen on cruising had suggested that we try it and so, after years of travelling abroad by plane and car, we chose Fred Olsen's Christmas and New Year trip on the Balmoral to Madeira and the Canaries to dip our toes in the water, as it were. In short, I have to say we both found it simply excellent. We stayed at the De Vere New Place hotel, 10 miles outside Southampton, the night before our embarkation and found their cruise package very good. It included dinner, bed and breakfast, 16 nights car parking and taxi transfers to and from the terminal before and after the cruise and we would certainly stay there again. At the terminal the check-in and embarkation process was trouble-free and we were delighted with our Superior Suite on deck 9. Our cabin stewardess, Ellen, was a delight, as were our two evening waiters. The food and entertainment was suitably varied and of high quality throughout our time onboard and what struck us most was just how friendly all staff were, from the Master down. It really was a happy ship. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were simply superb thanks to the staff's efforts. We, in our mid 50s, were probably some of the youngest passengers aboard, but the age mix was not a problem for us as we made some good friends along the way. We tended to do our own thing whan ashore, but found the mix of land and sae days fine. Disembarkation was just as impressive, particularly compared to passing through airports. We enjoyed this trip so much that, whilst we will still look forward to other forms of overseas holidays, we will definitely look to cruise again and more than likely with Fred Olsen. In short, Fred and his team on the Balmoral made this the best Christmas and New Year we have ever had, and we are already eyeing up a trip for the same time this year. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2011
Departed on 23 April 2011 from Southampton, having stayed on the previous night at the Dolphin Hotel. For anyone cruising from Southampton, this is a cheap and cheerful option due to it's location and car-parking deal, but not ... Read More
Departed on 23 April 2011 from Southampton, having stayed on the previous night at the Dolphin Hotel. For anyone cruising from Southampton, this is a cheap and cheerful option due to it's location and car-parking deal, but not it's breakfast on the day we were there. Our cabin on deck 8 was lovely and much larger than we expected - after paying half- price upgrade in January. No bath, but the shower space was comfortable and the shower was a good strong one. We had a double bed, covered with two single quilts when we arrived. We requested a double quilt which was duly delivered, albeit on Day 2 of the trip.We had breakfast delivered to our room on all but two days, because we like to start our day in the comfort of our cabin, but did enjoy the breakfast in the main restaurant as well. The food we had throughout the trip was excellent and I found that I had the 'dish of the Day' on about 5 days, which included typical English fayre such as Cottage Pie and Fish Pie, which were very tasty. We also found that the portions were more than adequate, especially in light of the number of courses offered.We also felt that Casablanca was a disappointment, but we only went into the Town and not on a trip, so I can't comment on the experiences of thosebwho did. I have been to Gibraltar before but still enjoyed our independent visit here. We took a trip to Jerez when we visited Cadiz, visiting the Tio Pepe Bodego. The tourbaround Jerez itself was cut short because of the weather (agreed by all), but I felt that this trip was expensive for what was included. This w the only trip we took because we had to pay a fuel surcharge within a couple of weeks of paying our final balance. This was particularly galling as we had to pay much more due to our taking advantage of the upgrade offer.Lisbon was also a great independent visit, and we felt quite pleased with ourselves using the Metro, which was really cheap and so quick, it took us less than five minutes from the Centre back to the Ship. We were disappointed when we found that we were not visiting Portamao, as this was one reason for selecting this itinerary, but it gives us an excuse to make another trip!Embarkation was ordered and reasonably quick, but the disembarkation was the best we have ever had. We were at breakfast at 7.25 and back at our hotel in the town centre by 8.15 - fantastically well organised!All in all a great time. Read Less
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