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2 Fred. Olsen River Cruises Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We have been on previous river cruises, but always with Avalon Cruises, we thought that with a reputation like Fred Olsen this cruise would be of the same standard, Oh how wrong we were. The only thing that matched Avalon was the food. ... Read More
We have been on previous river cruises, but always with Avalon Cruises, we thought that with a reputation like Fred Olsen this cruise would be of the same standard, Oh how wrong we were. The only thing that matched Avalon was the food. Everything else was poor, it was not even a Fred Olsen cruise, but a Luftner Cruise and only one person on the whole boat actually worked for Olsen, the hygiene standards where not good, it was possible to come down the steps of the sun deck, straight into the bar area where the light lunch was served daily without even passing a hand sanitiser, not once did we see any hand rails cleaned, this is normally carried out daily on most cruises. On booking we were not told that due to one river having numerous low bridges the sun deck would be closed for three days, we were not told that on the same river we would have to pass through 34 locks. The entertainment was poor, with the vocalist being unable to sing in the same key as the piano quite often, some nights she almost emptied the bar in minutes. One very hot day, moored next to an Avalon boat, the sun deck was roped off and no chairs or sunshades were erected, people in their 70’s and 80’s were left to either climb over the rope and grab a chair or just stand, while some of the lazy crew watched from the back of the boat, where they had erected something for themselves, while others stood on the dock smoking. By contrast, the Avalon crew had put out sunshades and sun beds for their guests. I have photos of this. I spoke to Richard, cannot remember his job title as he came back on board with the only Fred Olsen employee, Jess, who shot off quickly before I could speak to her, I think he did try to help, but he had no authority and we were just left to stand there. I have never in 40 years of holidays heard so many guests moaning about so many things, I could site numerous other failings, but I am sure they will be covered by other guests. The only praise that I can credit them with is the standard of the food and the willingness of the waiting staff, who were very good, but even their, although the food came out hot at breakfast, their was totally inadequate facilities to keep it hot, the person in charge of service was aware of this, but again did nothing to rectify it, just total lack of competent management from start to finish. To be fair to Fred Olsen, they are relatively new to these type of cruises and I have been told that their sea cruises are much better, the only advice I can give them, is to book themselves onto an Avalon Cruise, observe, record, go back to Brabant and implement. They are doing their hard earned good reputation not good by carrying on with cruises of this standard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First for the postives, we travelled for less than £1000 each and the scenery was absolutely beautiful - particularly the Moselle River! We had not been to Germany before and the castles, vineyards and pretty villages were lovely. A ... Read More
First for the postives, we travelled for less than £1000 each and the scenery was absolutely beautiful - particularly the Moselle River! We had not been to Germany before and the castles, vineyards and pretty villages were lovely. A river cruise is a slow and relaxing way to enjoy rural parts of Germany that we otherwise may not have been able to enjoy. In terms of our experience of the Fred Olsen river cruise, we believe that there are a number of considerations for future travellers: The ship and staff are not Fred Olsen and may not be consistent with your previous experience. We didn’t have any problems with service but we noted that some other passengers were disappointed. This is an older boat and it has not been renovated recently. It is clean but there are obvious signs of wear and tear, seems quite dark and the bathrooms needed updating. If boat appearance and facilities are important to you, this is not the boat for you. The average age was around 70. If you are in that category, all is good but we weren’t and did feel a bit like an outsider but we did meet some lovely people. There are 2 reasons were will not sail with Fred Olsen again: The cruise was rough around the edges. The communication was amateurish and the ‘daily news’ was a wasted opportunity. The tours were predictable and probably ok if they had been free. The entertainment was basic, the onboard singers were fine but the ‘special German entertainment’ was not good. We had a special buffet which was organised chaos and if that had been the first time they did this then we could understand but it is probable that this was repeated every week. It is disappointing that Fred Olsen are not using this as an opportunity to be distinctive as opposed to providing what felt like a simple and cheap offering. Finally, we feel that Fred Olsen did not adequately deal with situations when things went wrong. Unfortunately the cruise could not finish in Basel due to low water levels. This was totally outside of Fred Olsen control but what was disappointing was how they decided to manage the situation. We had an early connection on the last morning of the cruise and the Fred Olsen organised bus was not suitable. We spoke to the Fred Olsen representative on board (who was very polite and visible on the boat) and he said the company were not planning on offering any alternative and the best they could do was write a letter to our insurance company. In addition we were told that they weren’t even sure where we would end up. This uncertainty and what felt like a lack of support from day 1 really tarnished our experience. As young(ish) people we were able to reorganise things but I could in no way recommend this company to my parents or elderly relatives....not knowing where they are going to end up and having to organise and finance their own arrangements. We have decided not to travel with Fred Olsen again and I trust this review will help others decide if it is for them. We did note that many of the other passengers were loyal Fred Olsen customers and they had already booked future ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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