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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I consider the price we paid for the itinerary, distance travelled, entertainment, drinks package and cabin comfort (superior interior) was far too much. The A/C in the cabin was rubbish we had the setting off the scale and still found it ... Read More
I consider the price we paid for the itinerary, distance travelled, entertainment, drinks package and cabin comfort (superior interior) was far too much. The A/C in the cabin was rubbish we had the setting off the scale and still found it stuffy and through the night it seemed to go off altogether, maybe to save money- so very poor sleep quality. Obviously we reported this and it was supposedly checked out twice and found to meet the required temperatures. It did not meet ours. We were offered another similar cabin which we examined and found to be no different as it was in same vacinity. We spoke to other people on the ship some found theirs too warm and others found theirs too cold. Never had this problem before and have cruised many times. For the price we paid I would have expected a decent pillow to rest my head on but they were obviously job lot and I I awoke every morning with a creek in my neck - there was no bounce back whatsoever. I ended up having to put towels underneath to get some sort of support. Please note you no longer get branded spirit in the basic drinks package so another cut back making FO even less value for money cruise line. Food in general was good and much better than it had been on our last Balmoral cruise, so you can't judge them all by one. Staff were excellent except for one group serving in Ballindalloch at lunch time to whom everything was a bother. Entertainment disappointing - was a bit on the scarce side and very mediocre. The places we visited were so so, except for Kiel canal which unfortunately we could not go through on the way there due to windy conditions. We found there were a lot more very elderly and infirm, disabled passengers on this occasion. Definitely the best part was meeting some very nice people and making friends. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
the time was right and some good places to visit and trip was good and food and service excellent good value for money. the cruise director had a snuffly cold and was announcing things over the tannoy and you could hear her sniffles ... Read More
the time was right and some good places to visit and trip was good and food and service excellent good value for money. the cruise director had a snuffly cold and was announcing things over the tannoy and you could hear her sniffles (not a good impression ) the toilets had no hot water in them and when we told the desk they said they would look into it. needless to say it was not fixed and as everywhere notices were posted about washing your hands to avoid the novo virus this should have been rectified. overall the ship was neat and catered for disabled guests the food excellent and the staff were very helpful and were quick to remember what you had ordered before so proving how attentive they were there was a change of ports due to the yellow jackets being in Bordeaux so we missed them but this did not affect us and it was done with safety in mind Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Care of the customer seems to have become secondary to profit. A92 yr old pensioner had to be admitted to hospital in Cherbourg but was released as fit a few hours later. We saw him at 1pm sitting in the drafty embarkation shed having been ... Read More
Care of the customer seems to have become secondary to profit. A92 yr old pensioner had to be admitted to hospital in Cherbourg but was released as fit a few hours later. We saw him at 1pm sitting in the drafty embarkation shed having been refused entry to the ship despite the fact the hospital had discharged him as fit to travel, he was 50 meters from the ship,and the ship was not due to sail until 7.30pm. Having made a noisy protest at customer services whose only response was 'we cannot tell you anything' he and partner were finally allowed back on board. All we could do was to mention the Press and hope for the best. They were 12 hrs from Southampton but were expected to get a taxi and three trains to get to the port in the UK to get their luggage which was still on the ship. A truly disgraceful way to treat anyone. Ports and excursions left a lot to be desired. We apparently did not always get our normal births so shuttle buses were used, these dropped you off where they felt like rather the centre of towns, lots of walking on rough pavements. Lisbon was cancelled due to the weather, whose bright idea was Cherburg as a replacement? Entertainment was very good, the new dancing troupe were excellent. Food was adequate but small portions and not as good as before. Restaurants appear to be understaffed. My wife was confined to the cabin for over 30 hours following something she ate, and received a letter saying how grateful they were that she obeyed the guidelines, and as a reward she was offered £71 - off the next cruise booking within the next 12 months. We are speechless. Needless to say, we will not be using their offer. Our disappointment at the whole episode, which should have been a happy break, is now a very miserable experience, not to be repeated. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The Fred Olsen product is dire! We will NEVER book another cruise with them. When we got home we complained, and ended up being told that we were clearly "not the type of passengers suitable for a cruise with Fred Olsen!" Such ... Read More
The Fred Olsen product is dire! We will NEVER book another cruise with them. When we got home we complained, and ended up being told that we were clearly "not the type of passengers suitable for a cruise with Fred Olsen!" Such wonderful customer service! We're experienced cruisers, but this short Valentine cruise, our first time on Fred, was truly awful. We paid £240 per person, per night, for what was described as a Superior Suite, with the All-Inclusive drinks package. What a complete rip-off! Embarkation was painful. Although we turned up on time we had to sit and wait until called. Not the "priority boarding experience" we'd expected from their "Suite Dreams" package!. It was disorganised, with no-one to meet and greet, and the general first impression was that they just don't give a toss about their customers. Our cabin was a 1/10. We've written a separate review of this. We did explain our cabin issues to a lady at Reception for whom English was still not quite yet a second language! Although we were assured that action would be taken, nothing happened, and we never saw our cabin steward even once! The "Suite Dreams" package gives you a free bottle of fizz (worth about €1,00 at most), a bowl of hard and inedible unripe fruit (green bananas even!), and unlimited free bottled water in the cabin. Be warned though that getting the small water bottle replaced is a complete pain in the butt - you have to fill out the form on the neck label EACH TIME! Never had that one before! Our dining experience was unacceptable. Think Butlins rather than Michelin! They serve the same limited choice of food in each of their restaurants. Service is of the "bored" variety, with the wait staff definitely wanting you to think that they're doing you a favour deigning to acknowledge your presence. Both the large restaurants are very noisy, and we had a couple of tables of drunken chavs close by, each of whom had already had enough booze to sink their ship, and who only seemed to talk at full shout. After two nights we gave up and ate in the buffet. Its quieter, and the food is just as awful as elsewhere. We'd describe the whole food choices as "done to a budget" - the lowest one possible! We also came home with gastroenteritis. Not fun! The "All-Inclusive Drinks Package" is a massive con. The bar drinks menu has eight pages or so; the "All-Inclusive" list is the back half page. There's a limited choice of beer and wine, and some soft drinks. No cocktails. Nothing at all! You even have to pay for tea and coffee UNLESS you want to trek to the grotty Nescafe machine in the Iceni room. To be fair to Fred, we can see that this short four day cruise possibly attracted the wrong crowd. There were a large number of noisy drunks on board shouting at each other every evening, and our escape was to the Observatory Bar near our cabin! It possible that there was a significant number of cruise first-timers onboard who perhaps weren't that careful about hand hygiene, so its easy to see how you can pick up a mild gastroenteritis bug. The key issue we have with Fred is the poor value for money. They're charging a 5* price, and delivering at best a 3* product. The customer services lady who called us to follow up on our complaint was a complete time waster who aggressively rejected all our fair and reasonable points before telling us that we were "not the type of passengers suitable for Fred Olsen". In summary, don't bother with Fred Olsen. For around the same price you can go on Azamara or Oceania, get a decent clean cabin where the bed sheets and towels actually get changed, reasonable food and a good all-inclusive drinks package. Both cruise lines offer lovely "R" class ships that have roughly the same size and passenger numbers as Fred. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Our dinner sitting was 6.15pm. My husband's parents were also on the same cruise but had an 8.30pm sitting. We were advised to ask at the restaurant if they could change to earlier so we could dine together. The 1st and 2nd night the ... Read More
Our dinner sitting was 6.15pm. My husband's parents were also on the same cruise but had an 8.30pm sitting. We were advised to ask at the restaurant if they could change to earlier so we could dine together. The 1st and 2nd night the matre dee said no but when we offered him a £20 note on the 3rd evening suddenly a table was available and according to the other 2 people already at the table these seats had been empty both previous nights that we'd asked. Amazing what a tip can do!! Entertainment was dire. Pretty much like a seaside resort with average dancers, singers, comedians etc. Thouroughly enjoyed the food and choice of restaurants. Cabin was good sized and clean but disappointed that we only saw our cabin steward once on the day we arrived and not at all the rest of the cruise. Plenty of sunbeds and seating round the outside deck areas. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
From the moment we arrived at Southampton arrived bang on time 1 o’clock like ticket said staff could not be more helpful cases gone in a blink of an eye , no que in the terminal got the cruise card and straight through customs on to the ... Read More
From the moment we arrived at Southampton arrived bang on time 1 o’clock like ticket said staff could not be more helpful cases gone in a blink of an eye , no que in the terminal got the cruise card and straight through customs on to the ship in less then 20 mins and can I just say she is a lovely ship . we didn’t go for lunch instead we headed for the morning light pub to have a pint of Stella and a whiskey and coke they don’t sell Stella here but the staff are more than willing to go and get one from the neptune bar like always can’t do enough for you . cabin ready 2.30 pm couldn’t wait to unpack and start my holiday the cabin no 8004 what can I say, really nice size ,very clean , nice size bathroom with bath plenty of storage space .the balcony is to die for , nothing above apart from blue sky, I worked it out , it is 67 steps from balcony to the observatory bar , no draft but cocktails and cans of largar , the food in the Thistle restaurant was very good as too was the palms cafe , as for the service nothing too much . entertainment was good can’t praise all the staff enough . all of the ship was clean and tidy all of the time , sea days , plenty to do . if you wanted or just lounge about like we did the weather was great , unexpected for that time of year in northern Spain . Passengers mixed ages all up for a laugh . getting on and off the ship at ports was effort less thanks to the stafff.didn’t what to leave but had to ,just like to say ,£15 a day drinks package no brainier thank you Fred Olsen see you soon Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise to explore Norway and were not disappointed. The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful, the entertainment excellent especially the Boudicca show company. There are plenty of activities onboard for the days you ... Read More
We chose this cruise to explore Norway and were not disappointed. The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful, the entertainment excellent especially the Boudicca show company. There are plenty of activities onboard for the days you are at sea. Once in port I did find that it may be better to arrange your own excursions so you can work to your own timetable. It would have been nice to spend a little longer in some ports such as Bergen in order to explore further. Food was for the most part good and plentiful with plenty of choice. However I would suggest looking at the all inclusive option as my bill was over £700 although that did include some spa treatments and purchases from the shop. We were lucky enough to be invited to dine with the Captain and one of the singers from the show company, Sasha, a very pleasant experience. Disembarking was quite easy and quick. I would definitely recommend Fred Olsen, smaller ships do seem to have advantages. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this ship because it was smaller than most circa 800 guests and around 300 crew. As it transpired we felt the decision was justified as the service was first class in both the housekeeping and hotel services on board. Food was of ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was smaller than most circa 800 guests and around 300 crew. As it transpired we felt the decision was justified as the service was first class in both the housekeeping and hotel services on board. Food was of an exceptional standard and plenty of it. Bar prices were very reasonable and the same in any of the bars and restaurants. Entertainment was very professional and would stand up to comparison with any live show on shore, this is inclusive of the singing and dancing, musicians and comedians. The various crew departments had a show night which although was an amateur night it was nonetheless extremely entertaining. All in all on board ambiance was terrific and the scenery in the Norwegian fjords was second only to Highland Scotland. There was an abundance of shore excursions should you wish to partake in or the ports visited were close enough to walk to the centres. I should add all furnishings re seating etc in the lounges were of a very high standard. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because it was easy to get to the port from Scotland. The itinerary was good as we had never been to Bremen, Kiel or sailed the canal. The late embarkation didn't suit everybody and the first evening was a free ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was easy to get to the port from Scotland. The itinerary was good as we had never been to Bremen, Kiel or sailed the canal. The late embarkation didn't suit everybody and the first evening was a free for all. The cruise settled down and we quickly found our sea legs. After a day at sea we got to Bremen. Deciding not to take a ship tour we made our way through a huge shopping Mall to the tram stop just beyond the mall. 2.60 Euros each way into the city centre. It was easy to buy your ticket on the tram. Take some small Euros. Bremen is a quaint German town with decent sights and a vibrant waterfront market. Next day through the canal. It was a very pleasant journey. It is an amazing feat of engineering. Then onto Warnemunde another pleasant port of call. just wandered the local streets and stopped for a beer when the rain came down. We then continued back to the ship. The Captain announced that due to impending bad weather we may not go back to Kiel and the canal but instead head for Copenhagen and home via the North of Denmark. For guests who have never been to Copenhagen it may have been a better visit than Kiel. As we had been there last September for a number of days so we just took the hop-on-hop-off bus which picked us up ate the ship. Good value for those who don't want to walk for miles. Back to Newcastle where our cruise disembarked, although we decided to do back to back with the Norwegian Fjords. We went on the anchor fare for outside cabins and were given 5052 on the port side forward. It was close to lifts and stairs. The room had ample storage and plenty of room to move about. I would also like to thank the bridge class organisers for their patience and advice when we played on sea days. We paid the £2 a night to change to the first sitting for the evening meals. The service in the Ballendalloch room was excellent. The food was always good without being oversold. Here comes the complaint, the service in the Morning Lite Pub went from excellent to really poor. I didn't get the waiters name but he was very jovial and loved his work. Unfortunately the other waitresses did about a quarter of the work of the waiter mentioned and on one evening we waited 30 minutes to be served. Very poor Fred. Your sales receipts will show who was working and who spent their time trying not to work. The Lido lounge service was poor as people would go to the bar and get served by the waiters as the barmen would not take orders. This meant the waiters never really got a chance to go to tables. The all inclusive was good value. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Its small just over 24000 tons but has 900 plus passengers, still tidy and well laid out, it was a “cut & shut” which makes it quite long (4 times around prom deck to a mile) but only 8 decks high. Our cabin on deck 3 with double ... Read More
Its small just over 24000 tons but has 900 plus passengers, still tidy and well laid out, it was a “cut & shut” which makes it quite long (4 times around prom deck to a mile) but only 8 decks high. Our cabin on deck 3 with double port holes, it was a bit smallish, especially the shower but comfortable enough,toilet paper a bit thin though, however we had tea & coffee but no biscuits! One very good point for the cabin - Interactive TV with Sky TV channels, bow camera, weather forecast, onboard a/c and a good selection of films, we watched 2 on days that were to cold for going outside. The corridors are quite narrow and Prom deck has a one way system for walking round but difficult to pass anyone at some points. Braemar was built in 1994, refurbished in 2008 and probably had a tidy up in the last year or so. But she does vibrate a fair bit especially when your in the restaurant at the back of the ship, although we couldn’t hear it in other parts of the ship. The outside areas at the back of the ship with tables and chairs are well laid out we even had lunch outside whilst sailing down the Seine, it wasn’t that warm but at least it wasn’t raining that day. Unfortunately you do get the black soot floating around same as P&O's Aurora & Oriana - ships of a certain age! We didn’t sit on the sun deck for obvious reasons but there looked to be plenty of space, loungers and a reasonable pool. The observatory at the from of deck 8 is a smaller version of the P&O's crows nest but quite comfortable, but it gets full of people of a certain age! All the officers were Croatian apart from the doctor who was a Rumanian & the head chef who was a Brit. In fact a lot of the crew were eastern european I was expecting to see Slaven Bilic at any time( West ham joke if you don’t follow football). The Captain gave a regular lunchtime update although with long pauses but had a good sense of humour. Entertainment There wasn’t any shuffleboard or deckquoits but there was Hop-la & Dolphin Racing (a excuse to bet on a roll of the dice)maybe put on as this cruise was still in the children holidays and there were 24 kids onboard but they were well behaved. We did quite a few quizzes, not that hard but most teams had 6 and we were "billy no mates", came close to winning the Name that tune a few times. The Braemar orchestra held a resemblance to P&O's Caravan especially the brass section, the show singers 2 guys & 2 girls all had good voices and did 4 shows plus 2 appearances at welcome and farewell parties as well as helping out with distribution of tickets, holding some quizzes etc. There were 4 girl dancers that made up the troop with the singers. They did shows in either the Neptune lounge ( with the band backing) or in the Coral club bar and lounge. Two guest entertainers, Taffy Spencer magician & Stevie Jo Salter a comedian from Bethnal Green he was OK, but he did a great talk on his time working in the Met murder squad. The port lecturer was fairly poor just read from a laptop to slides but some useful information, the guest speaker was Robert Ash a gourmet chef who did 2 talks one on Monet and one on Chefs famous dishes - actually both good. Food Everyone says the food is good on Fred Olsens and we agree. There is more choice than on P&O especially in the self service Palm Cafe where we eat both breakfast and lunch. One plus point is that you are not let in to the PalmCafe unless a table is free, so its not such a bun fight as P&O, and we did try the cava at breakfast a couple of mornings! The thistle restaurant in the evening has 2 sittings (no freedom dining) we had 2nd sitting which wasn’t full our table of 6 only had 4 on it including us. The menu has a choice of 2 starters, 3 soups, 2 salads, 3 main course and 3 sweets plus cheese and the normal chicken, fish & pasta on all the time, not large portions but if you’ve had breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea you don’t want a big dinner. On one day Afternoon tea was served in the Neptune lounge as a “Tea dance” we didn’t dance but we gave the cakes a good bashing chocolate fountain with fruit, amaretto cake & Lemon meringue tart to name 3( carol had 2 tarts so it shows how good they were) but we left the doughnuts and cream cakes alone. We did have a giggle because there were 2 Dance Hosts, elderly gentlemen to dance with the ladies, we don’t think they provided any other services & you certainly wouldn’t call them Gigolos. Parties there was welcome aboard and a farewell party, you had to go in the lounge and sit down before they would serve you a drink, choice of red/white wine, sherry , G&T and Cava. We managed 2 drinks first time and 3 second time. The captain gave a speech which was quite entertaining and then introduced the senior crew members no opportunity to talk to any of them or any any other more junior officers. Crew As stated the officers are mainly all croatian but the waiters are mainly Indian, Thai, malaysian etc. we didn’t find our lead restaurant waiter that friendly he belittled his number 2 which we didn’t like, but those we came across in the Cafe, drinks waiters & cabin stewardesses were all friendly enough. we didn’t feel the entertainments team treated you like school children at least they were Brits apart from the cruise director who surprisingly enough was a Croatian lady. Weather & Tours Obviously the weather was not great as we said we did have a good day cruising along the Seine from Rouen to Hornfleur (about 6 hours) but we got soaked in a thunderstorm on the evening in Bordeaux and the only other good day was the last afternoon sailing up the English Channel, we’ve never known it so flat and the strongest wind we had was force 4. so we can’t really say how Braemar performs in bad weather, our guess is not great. We were not impressed with the tours we did a wine tour in the evening in Bordeaux a walk from the ship to a wine cellar, expensive and not much wine. We also did a tour from Lorient because there’s nothing at Lorient apart from a exGerman submarine base which is now a museum. We went too Josselin Castle by coach, the driver got lost trying to get into the village, we toured Leclerc supermarket car park and did 4 laps of the same roundabout, when we got into the village all the roads near the castle were being relaid with block paving so we had a to walk over mudyy unmade roads to get to the castle. We told the tours lady ( who was another Croatian) that if we did a Fred's cruise again we probably wouldn’t do any tours! A couple of final plus points, the Daily News sheet with whats on, has a tear off strip with times of events, useful to tear off and put in your pocket. Disembarkation is done by deck number starting at deck 8 and working down but it was all over in less than an hour and you don’t have to put your luggage outside your cabin until after 22:00 and before 02:00 - take note P&O! In summary we enjoyed the experience, we may consider Fred again but certainly not on anything longer than 10-15 days. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Wanted to see the Hanseatic cities so this fitted the bill. Positives:- Good itinerary, but we did our own thing in ports, usually using the excellent public transport. I'm fluent in German, which helps. Food very good. Cabin ... Read More
Wanted to see the Hanseatic cities so this fitted the bill. Positives:- Good itinerary, but we did our own thing in ports, usually using the excellent public transport. I'm fluent in German, which helps. Food very good. Cabin nice. I can't comment on the entertainment, as we didn't bother with any of it; it's just not our thing. Nice to have Bridge lessons on sea days. Plenty of activities; unlike many cruise lines these did not just involve trying to get you to spend more money on rubbish. (Usually.) Plenty of space to sit and read quietly, even though, being April, it was too cold much of the time to sit outside when under way. Drink Prices very reasonable, unlike a certain large USA-based group. Ship fully refitted a few years ago, but it looked all very new. Carpets just fitted I think. Against: We had Junior Suite 5005. Every night there was noise from above. Quite intrusive, though I usually slept through some of it. It sounded like some large wheeled objects were being wheeled around; a rumbling like distant thunder. Hopeless if you are a light sleeper. I think it must be the galley. Our neighbours in 5003 said they didn't have a problem, which seemed odd, but there you are. We preferred dining in the cafe as it just took so long in the restaurant, though that is our preference, rather than a criticism. Almost all cruise ships have to do some maintenance as they go along and this was no exception but the smell of the paint was pretty horrible tbh. Embarkation pretty smooth and disembarkation VERY quick and efficient as we took our own stuff off and Dover Port Parking were excellent. Yes- lots of very old people on there; if you don't like us oldies then please stay away! So, happy to use Fred Olsen again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
It fitted in with our busy schedule as we needed a much earned break and we received a good deal with all inclusive drinks. The ship was supposed to have had a refit but we couldn't see much that was new, carpets were still being ... Read More
It fitted in with our busy schedule as we needed a much earned break and we received a good deal with all inclusive drinks. The ship was supposed to have had a refit but we couldn't see much that was new, carpets were still being fitted, there were rolls of it everywhere, there was a smell of paint on several occasions but there were still areas that needed doing up, made it look untidy. Food and service was excellent. Husband was disappointed that he could not take his fold up bike as he is disabled and unable to walk very far, when we got on board several people had mobility scooters and someone even had a fold up bike! Would have made it much easier to get around as we had to make our own way because the tours were expensive, not really what we wanted to see and do and most of them involved a lot of walking. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We travelled by Evesway coach from Chester. Although we had 2 coach changes everything went smoothly. Embarkation went well and we boarded quickly, greeted by friendly staff and the usual photographer who took our photos as we boarded. The ... Read More
We travelled by Evesway coach from Chester. Although we had 2 coach changes everything went smoothly. Embarkation went well and we boarded quickly, greeted by friendly staff and the usual photographer who took our photos as we boarded. The ship a traditional older style suited myself and my husband and we enjoyed the freedom of moving from deck to deck outside. We had cabin 5019 junior suite. This is the third time we have travelled o and Boudicca. We have always been on deck 5 and find it an ideal deck location for the main activities and restaurants. The entertainment was good we enjoyed a new Boudicca Show Company, although the singer was a little dated for my liking. Other entertainers and dancing hosts were very good. We also enjoyed the lectures. Cabin very comfort and our hostess looked after us very well. We went on several tours, although not included in the initial cruise price, such tours I consider excellent as you travel in a group and you are likely to visit places you wouldn't do on your own. We went as a personal choice to see Bergen Belsen, Berlin, Lubeck, and superb Brenem. We had an excellent guide in Brenem. A special thank you to the waiters. I fact the waiter David also waited on us on the ship 3 years ago when we went to see the Solar Eclipse. One point it does seem a same that when you are asked to complete a form a couple of days into the cruise Fred Olsen will donate a 1p,yes 1p to the RNLI!!!! Why so little Fred? I would certainly recommend Fred Olsen. Although I was probably in the youngest 10%on board the ship suited me and being a smaller ship ideal for River Cruising. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Small ship. Less 1000 passengers. Very well recommended. Cabin 7016 excellent, comfortable spotlessly clean. Lovely stewerdess. Dining, first class service, food hot, good selection, staff and service excellent. Entertainment brilliant and ... Read More
Small ship. Less 1000 passengers. Very well recommended. Cabin 7016 excellent, comfortable spotlessly clean. Lovely stewerdess. Dining, first class service, food hot, good selection, staff and service excellent. Entertainment brilliant and very professional. Bars, lounge's, library again very efficient excellent service. Ship generally is very comfortable softly furnished with very little glitz. We never queued once either embarkation, disembarkation, dinning rooms etc.in all Fred Olsen Bramar is an excellent comfortable cruise ship. A real pleasure to sail on her and will Do again along with the other three ships. One comment is the cruise is really for 50 plus as the amenities are not so extensive as on the large glitzy ships. Well done Fred Olsen staff and crews.The smaller ships allow access to ports and places that the larger ships cannot access. We would recommend cruising on this comfortable ship and hope when we cruise on the other three it will be equally enjoyable Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
During the bleak November short evenings an e mail arrived in my inbox from Fred Olsen advertising a mystery cruise for 5 days over Easter. Where were we going ? Don't know! So of course we booked on! Driving down to Dover from ... Read More
During the bleak November short evenings an e mail arrived in my inbox from Fred Olsen advertising a mystery cruise for 5 days over Easter. Where were we going ? Don't know! So of course we booked on! Driving down to Dover from the Midlands is always fraught with delay so we went down the day before and stayed at the Best Western Hotel on the seafront. Nice hotel and a good bar meal. Taking a walk I looked over to the port and there was the Boudicca, tied up in the docks. Over breakfast we could see the steady arrival of lorries replenishing the ship which had been undergoing a refit for the previous two weeks. We boarded at 2:30 pm after a trouble free check in. We had a wheelchair and were taken on to the ship with as much help as we needed. A quick visit to the Secret Garden on deck 6 supplied the first of our tea and cake stops. There were sandwiches for those who were more hungry. The lifeboat drill was our first event and it passed the time until dinner. I was getting a little worried as the ship was getting underway and our bags were not in the cabin. However I need not have worried as they turned up shortly afterwards. Our first port if call was Ghent in Belgium which is a pretty town and accessible for visitors. There is a chocolate shop there where you can see chocolates being made and they are the best in Belgium. There was a shuttle bus from the port and our driver was a star getting the large coach through the narrow turnings and obstacles. The second port was Amsterdam which we accessed by a taxi. It was really busy and a frightening experience, but we are glad we went as we have never seen so many bikes. To be honest I never want to see that many again. Rotterdam was accessed by the port shuttle bus and was quite nice with an outdoor market and an indoor food hall but I think quite a lot of the town was shut as it was a Bank holiday. However we came back laden with cheese. We booked two outside cabins on deck 3 with port holes. We like deck 3 as it is the evenest place to be on the ship when the weather is bad. It is also good when the boarding is at deck 3. Boudicca is a small ship which means that you can find anything you want and you don't lose your family or friends for too long! We tend to hang around the same areas such as the library so we can find each other. The ship has had some changes since we were on her in August. Most noticeable is the Indian Ocean Restaurant which is now a light and airy place to eat and the oriental tea room on the way to the Neptune lounge. Again this is light and airy. There is a new TV system which seemed to work and had some reasonably new films on it. There did not seem to be the controlled chaos which followed the first trip on Black Watch after the refit . ( We were on that too) There is no 24 hour dining on Fred Olsen ships but I can't think why people want it anyway. Breakfast is available in either the main restaurants or the Secret garden at the times displayed in the Daily Times. There is probably everything to eat that you have at home and everything that you could wish for, from cold meat, cereals and porridge through to the full English. Lunch is a choice, you can go to the buffet and choose what you wish yourself or the waiters will serve you. We tend to do a mixture of both as my husband is very keen on the soup which is waiter service only. Afternoon tea is served in the Secret Garden which is the self service restaurant and is available without booking. There are a selection of sandwiches and cakes for those who have an appetite. Following this there is dinner which can be a 5 course extravaganza if that's what you fancy. There are limited options to choose from but the food is usually good or excellent and I have yet to find an equal at home. There is a supper club but I am usually tucked up in bed by then. Service is good in the restaurant and the bars and I noted that there were staff taken on to provide some activities for children. Would we go again? You bet! Would we go on a mystery cruise? Yes! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. Fred Olson passengers must be some of the most loyal and supportive of any customers in any business in the world. I never heard any compaints at all. My compaints cover penny pinching:- 1. I am diabetic so upon boarding the ship i needed a sandwich at around 4 pm to last me to 8-30 dinning. I was sent to Palm cafe and was given the most disgusting cheese and ham sandwiches. both the cheese and ham were cut so thi that you could not tast them. 2. Both my wife and I paid £150 each for the drinks package. I am diabetic so drink diabetic drinks such as Diat pepsi or diet lemonadw. the first time I asked for a pint of diet Pepsi. Answer came back you can have pints of beer or larger but only halves of diet drinks. Ok I said I will have 2 halve. No was the answer you must drink one then ask for another. . It is in the small print rules. I would have been happy to drink just the diet drinks on the full cruise but to get my own back ordered enough wine each evening to use a full bottle each night. 3. I am an International Director of Operations and use a vodafone IPAD whenever I am overseas. I paid £50 for 5 nights up front. For 2 nights I could not send emails and on the third Fred Olson lady linked me to Google to send messages. My advce to people would be purchase 1 days WIFI and check first. My advice to Fred Olsen would be to do the same as most hotels these days and give free access to WIFI on board your ships. I started my working life as an Accountant with Glaxo, British Oxygen working my way to Finance director. I then became MD and CEO of an Anglo/American company. The reason I mention this is that I started off looking for pennies to turn into pounds of saving but as an MD I learnt to make judgements on how to make savings that were not petty and would harm the company reputation. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
'Essential ' maintenance was carried out. Now we'd all agree the maintenance to lifeboats is essential. However, Fred insisted on chipping off the paint on the upper decks of Boudicca during the very brief time that the sun ... Read More
'Essential ' maintenance was carried out. Now we'd all agree the maintenance to lifeboats is essential. However, Fred insisted on chipping off the paint on the upper decks of Boudicca during the very brief time that the sun came out when we were trying to relax in the sun. The noise was unbearable. Unbelievable given that the ship was about to go into dry dock for a refit the week after! The weather was against us (no fault of Fred) and so the captain decided that we should miss out 2 stops. Quite understandable from a safety of life view, but the holiday was ruined. The prospect of spending three nights and two days at sea in the forecasted storms made us jump ship, stayed in an hotel overnight in Lisbon and flew home early., at quite a price. We would welcome the views of other passengers. The other comment is that the entertainmment (with the exception of the comedien, who was hillarious), seemed to be aimed at a much younger audience, for instance, 'Get off your feet and dance' shouted over and over again, didn't seem to suit the average age of about 68.. This is the last cruise we shall be booking. Nick Lodge. 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
destination good but wouldn't recommend this as ship needs to be replaced by o old. The whole experience of this cruise was as if I had been in an old people's home. The entertainment was geared for this and so we're the ... Read More
destination good but wouldn't recommend this as ship needs to be replaced by o old. The whole experience of this cruise was as if I had been in an old people's home. The entertainment was geared for this and so we're the activities. The destination was appealing but to be given a port that was a coal mining destination Port Richard and get covered in dust isn't my idea of interesting port even captain agreed and told us he had notified the company of this. Must have been a cheap port to go to. The overall staff really very good and helpful, food good, cabins not up to today standards. Entertainment needs to be updated though an older crowd they need to realise we are not one foot in the grave. Lovely table but also of the same opinion. Perference given to people who book Fred Olsen direct. Independence passages required to desembark no later than 10.00 a.m. But Fred Olsen passengers were allowed to stay on board as long as necessary before their flight departure. I hope Fred Olsen take note of these comments Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Plenty to do on the Black Watch, throughout the day and plenty excursions to enjoy when in port whether you choose to do it yourself or through one of the organised activities. The ship was very clean considering her age and constant ... Read More
Plenty to do on the Black Watch, throughout the day and plenty excursions to enjoy when in port whether you choose to do it yourself or through one of the organised activities. The ship was very clean considering her age and constant maintenance takes place to ensure this. Our cabin 8005 with balcony was adequate for our week's holiday and it was cleaned and maintained daily by our wonderful young lady who looked after us for that week. Dining was excellent, we requested first sitting and had a table for two, although we were in close proximity of 4 other people whom we struck up good conversation with. The waiters could not do enough to please you, along with bar staff in all the bars. Evening show was well presented and varied with some talented artists. Although there were a high percentage of elderly people on board that did not make the experience less enjoyable, in fact it was nice to see older people enjoying themselves. Trip was so good, we booked for another one next year to the fjords and the port being 5 minutes from our door. Couldn't ask for more. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
While on our first short cruise to the Norwegian fjords on Fred.Olsen's Balmoral in May 2016 we booked this year's longer cruise to the fjords north of Bergen and Bergen itself. As the cruise started in Belfast this saved ... Read More
While on our first short cruise to the Norwegian fjords on Fred.Olsen's Balmoral in May 2016 we booked this year's longer cruise to the fjords north of Bergen and Bergen itself. As the cruise started in Belfast this saved connecting flights and the itinerary included a short visit to Kirkwall on the Orkney Island. The coach connection provided (at a cost) by a local travel agent and embarkation went to plan but there was then a long wait till departure. The following days were enjoyable, blessed with wonderful weather, good food, excellent entertainment and plenty of companionship among our fellow travellers. We enjoyed the extra perks of a balcony suite, though 8010 on the port side seemed to miss out on a lot of the sunshine! Towards the end of the 8-night cruise we learnt that some of our fellow passengers had been laid low with what may have been an upper respiratory infection and that some of the crew were also unwell, but still working. Unfortunately, soon after our return we both succumbed to a particularly debilitating virus and almost 2 weeks' later we are still "under the weather". This has not just been the usual headcold but a full-on viral infection with fever, coughing and overall malaise. Could it be that we picked up a foreign strain which has knocked us both out and curtailed our normal very active lives? The promised feedback form has not yet been received from Fred.Olsen despite having received emails from them prior to our departure. Our subsequent illness has left a rather negative feeling about cruising overall and perhaps the Fred.Olsen line, with whom I first travelled in 1962! Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We had travelled on Balmoral and thought this was a good cruise company and we needed a break. The cabin was adequate but very tired. The bathroom facilities very basic, and this was a Superior Suite, £5k plus!!.. The food on board was ... Read More
We had travelled on Balmoral and thought this was a good cruise company and we needed a break. The cabin was adequate but very tired. The bathroom facilities very basic, and this was a Superior Suite, £5k plus!!.. The food on board was adequate, buffets were varied but nothing out of the ordinary offered. Very little fresh fruit, lots of tinned, and very few vegetables with plated meals. The restaurant staff and service were good good. It was a scramble to get seats in the Neptune lounge for evening entertainment. The floors in the toilets next to the Neptune Lounge were filthy. The announcements were often inaccurate. The ports visited were, on 3 out of 4 visits, building sites which needed to be negotiated on leaving the ship. The Observatory during this trip, was used as a napping area, with no atmosphere, nowhere to sit because of the sleepers. We are regular cruisers with several companies and this was the worst...ever. 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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I had the Cruise booked for me by my Daughter, direct with Fred Olson. I had never been on a cruise before, except across the Mersey and to the Isle of Man once, many years ago. Arrived at Southampton to be kept waiting whilst ... Read More
I had the Cruise booked for me by my Daughter, direct with Fred Olson. I had never been on a cruise before, except across the Mersey and to the Isle of Man once, many years ago. Arrived at Southampton to be kept waiting whilst 'Green and Yellow Boarding cards were embarked first, I had a white one. One on board everything was fine, until I went to Dinner in the Ballindoch Restaurant, table 111 on second sitting. The soup was cold with a layer of grease on top, the main course was also cold (turkey with veg) although it was not supposed to be a salad. I walked out in disgust, I was on a table set for 8 only 3 of us were sat at the table. I later found out that the other 5 people (all single travellers had eaten in the Palm Cafe, after being warned). The cabin I was allocated 9034 was termed a 'Superior Inside Single' As someone whom has worked with the Hotel Industry, in Kenya, Greece, Austria and Portugal as a 'House Manager' there is NO WAY this cabin was 'Superior', it was very roomy and had 2 wardrobes, the Bathroom had a shower over the bath, I could forgive the chipped mirrors on the vanity unit doors. BUT there was no reading lamp over the bed, No Radio (BBC World Service) There was BBC World News T.V., Sky News and ITV Choices. But no Radio only 3 channels of low end supermarket pipped musac. To turn OFF the bedside light was a challenge, that I lost, I had to unscrew the two bulbs to get some darkness in the cabin There was only 1 thin pillow, when I asked for a second, the reply was 'You are a single - no, so why need 2 pillows. The second day I went to the singles coffee morning it was there that I was informed of the Palm Cafe, where I had taken breakfast that morning. The Palm Cafe is the jewel on this ship without any doubt, by Third day I had to queue to get a seat in the Palm Cafe, it was so popular, even my two table companions from my first night ended up eating in the Palm Cafe. Not only was the food excellent and there was always a make up your own salad every lunch time and evening, the Chef would cook omelets, on demand for breakfast lunch and even dinner, each Sunday there was a carvery. This Palm Cafe became my home on the Balmoral, so much so that the waiters all knew me and the headman reserved a table for a party of us at each meal time. Read Less
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