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9 Fred. Olsen Harwich Cruise Reviews

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
A bit like a care home especially the lounge areas. A lot of elderly people with their carers on board and ambulance often waiting at the dockside. Some good points and some bad. It certainly would not suit everyone this ship or the type ... Read More
A bit like a care home especially the lounge areas. A lot of elderly people with their carers on board and ambulance often waiting at the dockside. Some good points and some bad. It certainly would not suit everyone this ship or the type of people. This review in 3 sections. 1. the Good 2. The Bad and 3. Some other general observations GOOD: Classic elegant salons Small ship - easy to get around Good service Uncluttered well designed interior Informative lectures Clear TV screen in cabin Good drinks prices. Good docking locations - due to small ship. Quick and easy to get off Good choice of wines Lovely library Some very interesting Norwegian works of art throughout ship No children Reasonably priced excursions THE BAD Amateurish shows including comedian Bad smells Maintenance work Average food Lack of friendly personable staff - extremely perfunctorily manner. Bored Only Stella lager on tap and Boddingtons beer Extremely unfriendly future sales - some kind of issue here Catastrophic port talks, the worst I've ever experienced Old peoples home atmosphere Very class based - various comments made - I.e. by comedian - reference to 'High Brow’ A Rough old crowd Extremely slow walkers Lack of current and/or forecasted weather conditions on in cabin screen Inaccurate Google Maps weather info on in cabin screen. 2nd restaurant sitting quite late @ 2100 2nd show sitting quite late @ 2230 Library can get very crowded. Strange games being played. Some general Observations: * There was Noise issue during 3 of the lectures which included the game of quoits as general maintenance work. I informed the GS about this in good time but they took a long time to stop the noise. Unacceptable. Even less acceptable was that they repeated the disruption on subsequent lectures and had to go to GS AGAIN to ask them to stop the noise. * Yellow water from taps * Guest Services seemed unable to take decisions or act with efficiency and basically not very happy with their job * Sticky handrails * Coaches not at ship in good time due to security at Casablanca delaying disembarkation. This should have been anticipated. Not good enough. * No current or forecasted weather conditions on TV * Google maps ship locator TV screen showed inaccurate information such as weather * Some girls lack warmth and performed duties with perfunctory boredom. * The port talks extremely poor - the worst I've ever experienced. * Guest Services - somewhat insolent. Not understanding questions. Impatient, tired, unsmiling. * Garden Cafe - matre D very good. But still there's a detectable uneasy malaise * Bookshelf Cafe - surly personal * No apology for maintenance wk * Special mention to staff of Observations bar plus William Rodriguez. Plus Chandra. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We were part of the Ramblers Worldwide group on this 7 night cruise. I'd read previous reviews and expected a tired, shabby vessel with ultra smiley staff. Black watch is a small ship therefore the dining room is overcrowded and the ... Read More
We were part of the Ramblers Worldwide group on this 7 night cruise. I'd read previous reviews and expected a tired, shabby vessel with ultra smiley staff. Black watch is a small ship therefore the dining room is overcrowded and the staff overworked but deal well with the confines of the room and the number of guest they care for. The food was very good, drinks were pub prices or better. We found Boddingtons on offer at £1.60 a pint. Fred does not seem to like to communicate with customers. I found it very hard to book spa sessions before boarding. Bearing in mind our limited time on board due to our planned walks I wanted to make sure I could enjoy the cruising aspect of the holiday too, but booking ahead seemed an odd request. We boarded as request at 1700 with a dinner sitting at 1815, but had time to shower and change into the clothes we had taken on with us. On arrival at the restaurant we found that the dress code had been relaxed so that we could have turned up in our travel clothes. We probably wouldn't have, but they just didn't tell us. The beds are very comfortable, there is a strange custom of the beds being made up during the day with a counterpane on, but the duvets are folded up at night into a zigzag so that you have to put them straight before retiring, no big deal, just odd. Shower was spacious, everything very clean and not shabby as described by some. Entertainment very good. Coffee shop prices surprisingly good too and the specialist chocolate are a treat. It's not hard to find your way around as it's a small ship, luckily as the deck plans are a bit worn, but the staff are only too happy to help out with direction. The band (orchestra) were excellent but don't smile, perhaps they are concentrating too hard. Crew show is super. The Captain appeared to meet guests twice and spoke well which was impressive as I'm sure there are many things he'd rather have been doing. I'm sure the ship will benefit from it's forthcoming refit but it wasn't as shabby as others will have you believe. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our 2nd cruise, first for Fred Olsen. Our room was a balcony suite 9903 on Marquee deck 9. Having heard the reports over the past trees weeks when they had the engine problem we were slightly apprehensive as to if the cruise ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise, first for Fred Olsen. Our room was a balcony suite 9903 on Marquee deck 9. Having heard the reports over the past trees weeks when they had the engine problem we were slightly apprehensive as to if the cruise would be cancelled or not, thankfully no problems on enquiring. We sailed from Harwich, only a 30 mile journey and for once we had someone drop us off, there was not much indication on where to go, the FO map not 100% clear but thinking back obvious. On parking up at the drop off, the port handlers were ready with a trolley right next to the car, this was at 15:40, we then checked in at the departure hall, got our room cards and waited, at 15:50 our deck was called, by 16:00 we were in our room. Several concerns we read about was that the rooms were dated and the ship small, our room was in our opinion fantastic loads of storage inn wardrobes and drawers/cupboards, comfortable double bed, small sofa and arm chair, tea and coffee with kettle on tray stowed away, mini bar all behind a walnut colour traditional timber doors. We had a large patio door with two chairs and a table. The TV was the only poor thing in the cabin, flat screen but square and slow - maybe the reception via satellite link. The dreams package came with this room, so binoculars, flowers bath robes bottle of Cava, with daily canapés and fruit each day at 17:30. So cabin really good, blemish free and fresh looking, 1 minute walk from the Observatory lounge and bar. We can only compare this with a Thomson Celebration Red Sea cruise being a similar sized ship but with 400 less people. There was always plenty of space and we generally sat where we pleased. We had requested a table for 2 at 20:30 and its was there as promised, restaurant staff all very friendly and accommodating, we spend a lot of time talking to other tables so a table for two not essential. Every passenger we sat with spoke and were good company, we are in our mid 50's and were towards to younger band on the ship but everyone we spoke to were happy and cheerful so no need to feel your not with the right "set". Excursions were a limited factor for the older cruiser but many had done them years ago anyway. The FO "enrichment activities" were 3 talks by Ben Still, very interesting but way over my head. Entertainment was ok, we expected a bit better but what the cast did they did well, a need for broad appeal, Comedian was great, Saxophonist good, Lead singers excellent. The South Wales Male Voice Choir were the big hit very friendly , 2 performances on sea days, so the accents onboard were mostly East Englian and Welch. All day shore excursions were expensive +£130 each but were well put together (Olden & Flam) for Bergen we did our own thing. We went for the drinks package being £10.00 a day each, without being greedy this was very good even with wine with dinner, I believe this is going to rise to £29.00 each per day and I can see why, no one we saw had to much. So we learnt that Fred Olsen has a loyal client list, they know what to expect and say when its not right, the ship is not a massive shiny centrepiece it has a heart. I'd cruise on this boat again, its not dated, carpets seemed brand new in the public areas, decor was very good but made traditional cruise, a very friendly ship. People have a right to criticise, only our second cruise and many have had loads others but we really enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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 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 April 2015
PRE CRUISE. I saw this deal and thought it might be nice to do. I was on this ship in 1994 on my very 1st cruise then known as "CROWN DYNASTY" Running for CUNARD LINE, I went to ALASKA. I booked a single inside guarantee ... Read More
PRE CRUISE. I saw this deal and thought it might be nice to do. I was on this ship in 1994 on my very 1st cruise then known as "CROWN DYNASTY" Running for CUNARD LINE, I went to ALASKA. I booked a single inside guarantee cabin and paid £210. I got my e ticket and documents a week before the cruise. Then I heard from others going on cruise the Embarkation time had changed! I never got the email and, then got a letter by post explaining they had a GASTRIC VIRUS on the previous cruise. So had to do MAJOR CLEAN of the ship, So embarkation was 1630hrs. I got train from my local station to STRATFORD but had to wait ages to buy a ticket/. So had to catch a later train to HARWICH INTERNATIONAL PORT. EMBARKATION. I entered the TERMINAL to CHECK-IN it took ages to get through to check in. Gave me my CRUISE CARD and showed my Card to use to pay the bill. Had my picture taken and board the ship. I was not shown my cabin but found it myself I had been given the number when I got my ticket 2079 on deck 2. CABIN. It was a single cabin not a twin that I had on my 1st cruise. 1 SINGLE BED, a chair, safe,small tv. The bathroom was good with cabinets to put things as well as the sink. Also a shower. Lots of drawer space and wardrobes. DINING. I had booked 1st sitting which I prefer but had got GRAMPIAN RESTAURANT which is a newer one. I had found a few people on the cruise but they had 2nd sitting. I did try to change sittings but this cost £4 and as there were no seat left I didn't bother. I changed restaurant to the THISTLE RESTAURANT which I had on my 1st CRUISE and was at a singles table. DINNER was good a good selection of dishes and wine list was good too. SERVICE was quick too and were out by 8pm. Had breakfast here as well but waiters had to put the buffet food on our plate which took a while. Afternoon tea was really disorganised as it took so long and long queues. ENTERTAINMENT. Saw 2shows "MICKY ZANY" the comedian who was very good. 2nd night was SWING with singers and dancers who were good as well. PORT OF CALL. AMSTERDAM in Holland was our only port of call I had done ANNE FRANK'S house and canal before. So I walked off the ship and asked where the MARITIME MUSEUM was. It was quite a walk but well worth it. Went onboard a sailing ship and 4 floors of maritime stuff. An interesting idea was you couldn't take any backpacks around but had to put them into a locker. This was very easy to do. DISEMBARKATION. This was very quick despite me not get any info on when we could disembark and had to ask for one. I used my old label and put my suitcase outside my room. Next morning after breakfast we left the ship at 8am and found my luggage and made my way home. PHOTOS. I always like buying pictures so got quite a few including the same view I did on my 1st CRUISE. They had a dvd of AMSTERDAM and the ship as well and quite reasonable. SHOPS. Quite a few shops but usually like the souvenir one. They had hats,t shirts but none with the ship on. No special key rings either. I bought a ship model which was good and a dvd of "MICKY ZANY". SUMMARY. A good cruise and enjoyed it despite it being hard work with not touching any plates which did make it hard. Would love to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After cruising with Royal Caribbean, Cunard & P & O (never had any problems) some "acquaintances" persuaded us to give Fred Olsen a try. So we thought, a quick 7 day "Easter Getaway", across the North Sea & ... Read More
After cruising with Royal Caribbean, Cunard & P & O (never had any problems) some "acquaintances" persuaded us to give Fred Olsen a try. So we thought, a quick 7 day "Easter Getaway", across the North Sea & up a couple of rivers, what could go wrong ! A letter arrived just before departure stating; "Some F/O Braemar passengers have been affected by mild Gastric Flu, therefore there will be a delay in departing". I phoned their office and was told "some people had taken on-board viral gastric flu from grandchildren, but no one had been positive tested for noro-virus". Fred O Ipswich told us that no Car Park booking paperwork was required as APNR was in place at Harwich, I queried this, as we needed it when sailing from Harwich before and were told we were incorrect. We arrived at the car park - no ANPR was ever in place, this caused additional delay as well as embarkation due to fumigation. Finally on board, access to our cabin was prohibited as we had to carry our hand luggage & wear the lifejackets for the Evacuation Drill. Breakfast & lunch were taken from the cordoned off open buffet containers by serving, non fluent waiters. Food requested and quantities misunderstood. At all meals salt & pepper packets, butter, sugar etc. had to be repeatedly requested. The waiters were overwhelmed and often did not return with the requested items before the food, tea/coffee was cold. All this took a considerable time, with no additional time allowed for consumption. We were regularly rushed to leave the restaurants, closing at, say 9.30 a.m. didn't mean last orders - they wanted you out the door by then. No fresh milk whatsoever available through out the cruise. Inclusive draught mixers were always flat; bottles & tins were available at additional cost. Despite the heighted hygiene measures with all the disinfectant spray (causing rough & swollen hands) menus were handed from passenger to passenger, and with each drink order a signature was required - using the same, possibly infected pen (we used our own). Identical food (under another description) was served from buffet lunch to dinner. All guests were forced to sit very close together yet dozens of tables were empty (with less guests each time as the "Gastric Flu" clearly spread). When asked by us where their "partner" was, we were regularly told "they're got a cold or flu", one guest (with a straight face) said her husband got sunstroke (in cold, 5 degree Hamburg the previous day!). Maybe the Ships Doctor had told them not to admit to any possible Gastro Problems. Often when noticed a new red sticker over an open door, we could see the poor patient laying in bed, no bunk beds in there - the reason for a red sticker often used to denote additional beds.. There were large red bins marked "Gastro" parked in the corridors, the cabin On the only sunny afternoon, we could not sit in certain deck areas because of "cleansing protection, for our passengers wellbeing". The Captain updated the situation every day, blaming the passengers, but they were fine for the first couple of days. His final comment was always "Look after each other". We purchased hand wipes, for use each time we touched door handles etc. I saw no Male public toilets with urinals, consequently queues of men formed to use the single WC, toilet rolls rolled around the floor. After two days the Captain requested everybody to return to their cabin if they needed the toilet. When berthing the ship's bow thrustors shuddered & rattled so much that decorations fell over. The Captain often chose this time to make his announcements, and his comments were drowned out and any useful information lost. Two days in Amsterdam consisted of arriving very late afternoon (dinner at 6.15pm) and leaving next day at 3pm. After arriving at the Church in Hamburg on Easter Monday, access was not possible as it was restricted to the regular Worshippers. The entry to Hamburg miniature railway world was delayed because F/O did not purchase the entry tickets in advance or advise the tour operator the numbers. The cruise was so stressful & rushed, upon returning home we are paranoid and still won't touch anything & are constantly washing our hands. I went to put my hand on the bannister and quickly recoiled, before I realised I was home. In contrast, my only reasonable experience were the evening meals served in the Grampian Restaurant. All in all a complete waste of money and a wasted week of our lives. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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