1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Norwegian Fjords Cruises
  4. Norwegian Fjords Cruise Reviews
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a good overall experience on our “Grand Fjordland Splendour” cruise on the Magellan. Overall, we believe that the cruise provided good value for money. Nevertheless, some upsetting incidents arose that could have been avoided, ... Read More
We had a good overall experience on our “Grand Fjordland Splendour” cruise on the Magellan. Overall, we believe that the cruise provided good value for money. Nevertheless, some upsetting incidents arose that could have been avoided, or much better handled, if managers had taken more care of their customers. The ports of call were good, and the excursions, though expensive, were worthwhile. We found the food and cabins perfectly adequate. The gym is good, but the library and the areas for quiet discussion and games are small. Much of the inside space is taken up by the casino, beauty salon, photograph shop and gift shop, which seem designed to make profit for the company, rather than to add much to customers’ pleasure. The singing and dancing shows in the theatre are spirited and appealing, but some singers in the bar areas are over-amplified. Cabin, restaurant and bar staff were unfailingly helpful and pleasant. By contrast, the staff on Reception can be off hand. One we encountered was actively rude. These staff need to be better managed. We had a few occasions in which we needed to speak to the Reception staff. Once we asked for a town map for a port we intended to explore on our own. There were two ladies at the desk. The unhelpful lady did not bother to look, and said that they didn’t have any. The helpful lady said, ‘I think we might have some.’ She got up, looked in a cupboard, and found a pile of town maps. Another unhelpful lady brushed aside a query about changing our dinner sitting. We asked to speak to the restaurant manger. The reception lady replied in an uninterested voice that we had to sort this out ourselves. One night the toilet flush didn’t work. Someone had pushed something down the pan and blocked the loo for several cabins. I called Reception. The lady was uninterested and said that it would be fixed in the morning. In the morning, it hadn’t been fixed. When we went to Reception to find out what had happened, one member of staff was particularly unpleasant. For example, when I asked why we hadn’t been moved to a different cabine as soon as I reported the problem, he said, ‘We have emergency cabins, but you didn’t ask for one.’ There’s a reason for that. I didn’t know they existed, and Reception didn’t tell me. After much persistence, we were allowed to speak to the customer services manager. He recognised that our enjoyment of our holiday had been reduced, and that we deserved compensation that he could not authorise himself. He undertook to write to CMV company management to set out our case, and assured us that CMV would wrtie to us after our return home. We have had no communication from CMV. Management can be slow to respond to situations that arise. Once, we returned from an excursion to find that the tide was low, and that the gangway resembled a limbo dancing pole. You couldn’t enter the ship, even by bending low. Passengers, many of whom had mobility difficulties, were having to sit on the gangway and slide down on their bottoms. Some complained that they had been injured by this. In my case, the only damage done was to my dignity. However, it was not pleasant to hear that a lady had been asked to leave her wheelchair to slide down the gangway. Only after angry passengers had voiced their complaints did management belatedly make tender boats available. This need should have been attemded to hours earlier. CMV needs to ensure that managers and staff responsibie for customer welfare treat passengers like valued guests, rather than like a bunch of nuisances. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a ... Read More
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a great experience departing from Liverpool. Easy to get to, drop the luggage, park the car and get on board. We arrived 1 hour before we were due on board but this was no problem and we got straight onto the ship. The ship is lovely and to a good standard. Small and very welcoming. We have a porthole cabin on deck 4 with 4 bunks and was fine for us. Very clean and the house keeper was amazing. She even knitted my daughter an outfit for her bear. Staff at the restaurants were all really good and made us feel really welcome. They got to know us so well that they always had 2 glasses of apple juice ready for our daughter and new to bring her loads of ketchup for her dinner! All the staff in general were great and very friendly. Entertainment was good and we went to the show after dinner every night and during the day there was a full itinerary of what was on offer. We stopped at Flåm, Olden and Bergen in Norway and Lerwick in Scotland. We had great weather at all the stops so we were lucky. Our favourite was olden as it’s such a lovely place. At Flåm you would really need to do an excursion as there is not a great deal to do there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I ... Read More
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I don't travel light. My husband had also requested a table for two and this was met. The Glentanar was a lovely, light, spacious Dining room, the breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent as was the waiter service dinner with excellent menu. We had lovely waiters but there were one or two who were not the friendliest. For our Anniversary Dinner we dined in the Black Watch Restaurant which again of high standard, my husband declared his steak one of the best ever. The ship was spotlessly clean in all areas, the Neptune Lounge especially pleasing.The Captain and Crew helped to make this a very special time for us. Flower Arrangement, bottle of Cava when we arrived and on the Day a lovely card, gift and Cava in Ice Bucket delivered to our suite along with our card from the Queen. In the evening we were presented with a lovely Happy Anniversary cake. These were all done in a very tasteful, no fuss way which we appreciated very much. My husband did have to visit the Cruise Doctor, again efficient attention.All in all this was a most memorable holiday, with wonderful scenery, off shore excursions and very relaxing on board atmosphere. Our first Fred Olsen Cruise but hopefully not our last.Thank you to everyone who helped in making this a very happy memorable occasion. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely ... Read More
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely fantastic quality with plenty of choice. The dining staff were also so attentive, friendly and professional. We requested a table for two for our evening meal and at breakfast we generally sat at a table for 2 or 4. At lunch time we sometimes were seated at a larger table and always enjoyed the company. We didn’t get involved in too many onboard activities but there are certainly plenty to choose from. I did a yoga class at the well equipped gym and had 2 treatments in the spa which were very relaxing. We attended the show each evening in the Neptune lounge and some were really good, 1 or 2 were a bit outdated. The destination lectures are well worth attending or watching on your cabin tv if you miss out. To break up the relaxing cruise we booked all active shore tours from Fred Olsen and can recommend them to anyone looking for a more active way to spend time ashore. Flåm railway with hiking was great. In Olden we took a lake cruise then got a bus to the sky lift. At the sky lift you have refreshments and free time to walk or admire the view before returning by bus to the port. We then had 2 hours left to wander around the most beautiful local area. I also paddled in the Fjord as the weather was hot. In Bergen we took a cycle tour in the morning which then allowed us the whole afternoon to visit the places we wanted to explore further. ( we walked up higher in the city and went running then visited the UNESCO area) in Lerwick we took a sea kayaking trip. We were picked up and driven to the bay and kitted out. A dad and daughter duo then helped us get comfortable with all the basics of kayaking before guiding us around the most breathtaking coastal wildlife areas for 3 hours. We were surrounded by seals, some moved away and other followed us around. Above us flew guillemots and gannets and some of us were very lucky to see a sea otter. There would just have been enough time to head to the town but we chose to go back aboard for the afternoon tea that day.. It’s worth mentioning that the scenery is fantastic along the way in Norway and with sunsets after 11pm in July there is plenty of time to enjoy and take photos. It would be very hard to fault anything on this cruise. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My husband and I chose this cruise not just for its itinerary and reasonable cost but for the convenience of the return trip from Liverpool; disembarkation went smoothly but we were surprised our hand luggage was not scanned or inspected ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise not just for its itinerary and reasonable cost but for the convenience of the return trip from Liverpool; disembarkation went smoothly but we were surprised our hand luggage was not scanned or inspected in any way, we could have been carrying anything - very disturbing given the times we live in. The Magellan is very dated, desperately in need of a refit. Public areas are drab and uninteresting but there are plenty of places to sit. We had an outside cabin which again was set in a time warp but it was quite spacious, ample storage and the bathroom quite roomy. There didn't have to be much of a swell for it to creak and groan which sometimes kept us awake. The walls seemed to be very thin as we often heard nextdoor's TV and the toilet flushing, also it got very hot and stuffy due to the air conditioning knob not being adjustable. Dining had its ups and downs - mostly downs. Raffles Bistro is the self service option which was a nightmare at breakfast, obviously not big enough with insufficient seating, most mornings we were forced to sit outside which was quite chilly and uncomfortable. We did try the other two restaurants for breakfast and lunch but the Bistro had more choice, better fare and we didn't have to put up with some of the ill disciplined waiting staff's shoddy service and lack of decorum. There was far too much fooling around, loud chatter, singing and banging of crockery. From behind the waiters' stations we heard one say to his colleague 'move your ass' when he came in with a tray of meals and on another occasion a waiter mimmicked a northern English accent. Our designated restaurant for the evening was the Waldorf, I might add that our two waiters were very pleasant and attentive, one of whom even gave us a napkin folding after our meal. But mostly we ate in the Bistro as there weren't many people - guaranteed table for two, it had a cloth on it and we had a view - happy days! In and around the bars a few of the barmen and male waiting staff had the same clowning around attitude but most were very professional and good at their job. We found all the female waiting staff extremely efficient, attentive and you certainly didn't have to wait long to be served. The entertainment was dire, especially the singing which was amateurish, out of tune and performed with fake American accents. Far better was heard from passengers on the karoke night, one girl sang 'Fields of Gold' - she was superb; knocked spots off the so called professionals. As for the comedian, well, he was an embarrassment and totally inappropriate, not only were his 'jokes' lame and inane but he sang some ditties ridiculing world leaders, one targeting Mugabe, the lyrics of Old MacDonald changed to that he no longer had a farm - this odious creep thought that it was funny that people had lost their way of life and their livestock in such horrible cruel acts of violence. I can't comment on the shore excursions as we made our own way around. Activities such as paper plane folding and creating flowers from crepe paper and plastic bottles didn't exactly appeal so just as well we took the £17 p/p p/d drinks package which was very good value and worth doing, so no complaints there. Overall, even though we had our gripes, we saw the places we set out to, seeing beautiful scenery. I know it's a cliche saying 'you get what you pay for' but this cruise surely endorsed that. 9 nights was enough. And no, I wouldn't go with CMV again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a ... Read More
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a particular problem on sea days. Lots of staff on Reception but most appeared poorly trained and they constantly had to find more experienced staff to consult. Overall, there appeared to be a total lack of communication between staff in all departments. When problems arose, few of them were willing to help solve them. The problem always remained with the customer to sort out. II thought the theatre entertainment was good and Dana was a brilliant revelation. The remaining organised activities during the day were poor. Trying to find seats in the bars and lounges in the evening was difficult because there were too many passengers for the limited facilities of the ship. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Our cruise was to the Norwegian Fjords on a 10 day cruise on the Magellan. Sailing from Liverpool, we were due to visit Eidfjord, Flam, Bergen, Kirkwall and Dublin. Boarding the vessel was straight forward and relatively quick. ... Read More
Our cruise was to the Norwegian Fjords on a 10 day cruise on the Magellan. Sailing from Liverpool, we were due to visit Eidfjord, Flam, Bergen, Kirkwall and Dublin. Boarding the vessel was straight forward and relatively quick. However, I was a little concerned that as we entered the ship, the crew member ushering us on board was standing in front of the automatic liquid hand cleanser dispenser and we weren’t told to clean our hands. During the voyage, I saw several examples of this lax attitude to hand cleaning by both passengers and members of the crew. For example, at the entrance to the self-service Bistro cafeteria there was a dispenser but no member of the crew telling people to use it. Consequently, I saw many passengers walk straight past the dispenser without cleansing. My wife also said that several women using the toilets before lunch did not bother to wash their hands and then walked straight into lunch. In Kirkwall, several of the crew got off and, and as we got back on to the ship, I observed at least four crew walking up the gangplank and straight into the ship without hand cleansing. To me, the attitude to cleanliness/hygiene was far too casual. The whole ship seemed to be in need of a ‘deep’ clean. The carpets were shabby and the ship was generally ‘run down’. Overcrowding was most apparent in the Bistro cafeteria (self-service) at lunch times. If you didn’t get there early, it was hard to get a seat. Consequently, we took lunch in the Kensington restaurant, as we did with our evening meal. The food was generally of a good standard and the evening table service was excellent. Magellan has also done away with the late night snacks (11.00pm) in the Bistro. Instead, food was supposed to be served in the lounges. So if you wanted a small cake/biscuit before bed with a cup of tea – tough! And if you wanted a cup of hot chocolate, you might as well have asked for a pot of gold! We had an inside cabin on deck 6. There was a reasonable amount of space but no chairs to sit on – so what, you may ask?! (See below). The walls seem to be thin and we could hear the people in the next cabin; especially the woman, who was particularly loud, mainly at midnight! The evening’s entertainment on the Magellan was disappointing. Dana was the singer – very good and Dave Hubbard, the comedian, was excellent (and ‘clean’). However, the show team and the singers were pretty poor. Liked the pianist and violinist duo –very good. The scenery in the fjords was spectacular and we were able to do our own thing in Eidfjord, Flam, Bergen and Kirkwall. We felt the organised visits were too expensive. We went on the train ride ourselves in Flam. Judging from the comments of the people, who went on the organised trip, it was better and cheaper for us! Our visit to the Highland Park whiskey distillery in Kirkwall was very interesting and only cost us a tenner each – with samples after the tour. On the evening of day 7 of a 10 day cruise (after Kirkwall), we went to the Kensington restaurant (6.15pm) as per usual. My wife chose the pasta dish. However, after a few mouthfuls, she complained that it did not taste nice and opted for the fish dish. By 9.00pm, my wife was complaining of stomach cramps, which got progressively worse. So much so, we called the medical centre. A male nurse attended and treated my wife. We were then told we were to be put into quarantine and we were not allowed to leave our cabin for 48 hours. My wife suffered stomach cramps and diarrhoea for about twelve hours. I can assure you that being incarcerated in our inner cabin for two days was horrendous - with nowhere to sit except the bed. We weren’t allowed off in Dublin. This was particularly disappointing, as we had arranged to meet up with an old friend whom we had not seen for six years. We were finally let out of our cabin at 9.30pm on the last night. Our holiday was ruined - it was hell! We know of at least three other people who were similarly affected. The cruise line (CMV Cruises) deny any responsibility. The staff were generally hardworking and pleasant. So would we recommend the fjords as a destination – definitely. Would we recommend the Magellan – definitely not. The ship itself reminded us of a hotel that had once been five star and was now two star. Would we use CMV as a company again – definitely not! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Magellan is probably OK for a good weather cruise, but there is insufficient seating and, in this case, poor quality guest lecturers and other indoor entertainment for a wet or windy weather cruise. Enjoyment of the evening shows is ... Read More
Magellan is probably OK for a good weather cruise, but there is insufficient seating and, in this case, poor quality guest lecturers and other indoor entertainment for a wet or windy weather cruise. Enjoyment of the evening shows is limited by poor visibility (due to lots of pillars and non-tiered seating) and the fact that each show only last for 45 minutes (so that they can be repeated for two dinner sittings). The quality of the shows is comparable with a UK holiday camp. Most of the travel in the fjords was at night. This could be to maximise the shore time for the sale of overpriced excursions. To view properly enjoy the scenery, it would probably be better to stay in hotels at a different locations and use smaller local boats to explore the fjords. The value of the excursions is very dependant on the quality of the guide. We had one good one (a Swede in the Orkneys!) and one poor (a Norwegian in Norway whose English was very limited - although the CMV excursion team stated that it is better to book excursions with them as the guides' commentary is in English!). Junior "hotel" staff are good, very helpful and much more guest-friendly than the perception given by the company as a whole. The car park staff are also very friendly and helpful. Bar service could have been better. On the whole the food was of good quality and the service in the restaurants excellent, although the bacon at breakfast could have been better. Although embarkation from Liverpool was straightforward, the CMV directions were poor due to several instances of roadworks. Disembarkation was very straightforward. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
we chose this cruise to see the fjords, and for the convenient port of embarkation. chose the ship for its smaller size for our first cruise. embarkation was very smooth and quick, no waiting at all, straight on board and our cases were ... Read More
we chose this cruise to see the fjords, and for the convenient port of embarkation. chose the ship for its smaller size for our first cruise. embarkation was very smooth and quick, no waiting at all, straight on board and our cases were outside our cabin within minutes!. Cabin was excellent, with plenty of space to move about and very good facilities. Cabin steward was first class and very helpful, as were every single member of staff on board, such a cheerful bunch! The food was excellent, plentiful and frequent. Although the marco polo is an older ship, she has an understated elegance about her, Plenty of activities if you wanted them, and quiet areas if that was your preference. Entertainment crew were very good, and carried on regardless of some difficult sea conditions. the excursions were varied and very interesting. we had an unscheduled overnight stop in bergen due to rough seas, and missed out tobermory. Some passengers were unhappy about that, but surely the safety of passengers and crew should take priority. Personally, i think the captain is to be commended in the decision he made! Dining was a real pleasure, particularly of an evening. We were fortunate to be seated with lovely people, and the waiters/waitresses were top notch, nothing was too much trouble for them the only downside was the weather, which was nobodys fault! We would certainly cruise again on the Marco Polo, maybe a summer one next time. Disembarkation was just as good as embarkation. I had reservations about having to use a tender for a couple of excursions, but need not have been worried, the staff were there to assist and made it very easy Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Never cruised before and wanted to see if we would enjoy it. We cannot fault the crew or ship we were well looked after by very pleasant staff who tried to do every thing in their power to make the cruise a pleasant experience. The food ... Read More
Never cruised before and wanted to see if we would enjoy it. We cannot fault the crew or ship we were well looked after by very pleasant staff who tried to do every thing in their power to make the cruise a pleasant experience. The food and service in the Waldorph restaurant was superb . Our cabin was very comfortable a superior ocean view, kept immaculate by our steward Dexter who greeted us with a smile every morning, he also came every evening to turn down the bed. Loved the Captains bar with its settees and arm chairs great for coffee and a read during the day and for sitting having a drink in the evening after the super shows the staff put on. The only downside was I wasn't a good sailor (sea sick) the sea was quite choppy being late September. Unfortunately most of the ports due to them being small were closing down as it was coming to the end of the season. I recommend this cruise ship to anyone who would like to experience a cruise where it is more intimate than larger ships. Take no notice of negative reviews on this ship we found it very pleasant and comfortable. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Just returned from a 9 day cruise out of Liverpool and taking in The Shetland Isles and the Norwegian Fjords. This was our first time on the Marco Polo and knowing that she is 50 years old, we were delighted how well she and her crew, ... Read More
Just returned from a 9 day cruise out of Liverpool and taking in The Shetland Isles and the Norwegian Fjords. This was our first time on the Marco Polo and knowing that she is 50 years old, we were delighted how well she and her crew, always rose to the occasion. Embarkation and Disembark. We were impressed at how smoothly 800 passengers were welcomed into the ship at Liverpool only a few hours after a similar number had just left. The Cruise Terminal works well and a special mention for the CPS Car Parking Service which worked very smoothly. Ambience & atmosphere This is a proper ship in the traditional style and although well travelled, is kept clean and comfortable which is a tribute to the maintenance staff. The absence of children and a more mature passenger profile makes for a relaxed atmosphere during the day although most people observe the semi formal dress code in the evenings. I have never been on a cruise ship where so many of the staff at all levels, make a real effort to say hello and be helpful. Food Few could fault the choice and quality of the food provided both in the Waldorf Restaurant and in the more casual (and at times very busy) Marco Polo Bistro. The restaurant service is unfailingly friendly and helpful and compares well with that we have received on premium cruise lines like Regent Seven Seas. The Beef Wellington served one evening was the best I have ever eaten. Organisation & Communication The Guest Services team kept everyone abreast of events and timings with clear PA announcements and a daily Newsletter listing the programme and background details on the destinations. Getting passengers to shore by boat tender can be tricky, especially with older less mobile guests but all was done efficiently and safely. The excursions were well advertised and well run. We were particularly lucky with the tour guides we had who gave lively and informative commentaries. Entertainment After full days we did not spend too long in the late night lounge bars but watched several of the Shows in the small intimate Theatre. The standard of singing and dancing were exceptional and we particularly enjoyed an ‘Abba’ tribute night and the first class comedian Al Brown. You cannot please all the people all of the time (as these reviews often show) but to this reviewer, the Marco Polo delivered all it set out to deliver. An enjoyable,comfortable and entertaining cruise experience at a reasonable cost and in a proper cruise ship - not a floating apartment block. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons living close to Liverpool it was an ideal place to set off from. Another reason we chose this particular one is that the Marco Polo is not to big as we felt that some of the other ships were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons living close to Liverpool it was an ideal place to set off from. Another reason we chose this particular one is that the Marco Polo is not to big as we felt that some of the other ships were rather daunting due to their size. We chose Norway Fjords because the scenic beauty of these appealed. Although first timers we were guided through embarkation without any problems, and the same with disembarkation. The ship was an ideal size for finding your way around and also made for a friendly and more intimate atmosphere. We had a standard plus twin which was basic but comfy with adequate room for all our needs. The dining facilities were very good as was the food with a good variety. The youngsters that put on the twice nightly shows gave a good variety of entertainment even when the sea was a bit rough. There was a variety of other activities held to suit a vast majority of people. The service was excellent with all of the crew being very friendly and helpful. The whole cruise was excellent so much so that we have booked to go on a 28 day cruise on the Marco Polo in 2017. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Leaving Nottingham in good time for our 3.30pm slot to arrive, we were horrified to find the M6 completely closed between junctions 18 and 19.It took over an hour queuing to get off at junction 18, and then following an abnormal load for ... Read More
Leaving Nottingham in good time for our 3.30pm slot to arrive, we were horrified to find the M6 completely closed between junctions 18 and 19.It took over an hour queuing to get off at junction 18, and then following an abnormal load for several miles after that, we eventually rejoined the M6 at junction 20 only to exit as planned at 21A heading for Liverpool.Time was marching on, and our instructions said that boarding was closing at 5.30pm .We eventually arrived at 4.55pm! The car-parking was prebooked and simple, as was check-in. We had booked a Junior Suite with a double bed, but on arrival in our cabin the beds were made up as singles. Complaining to the assistant housekeeper, she explained that converting the beds to a double would compromise the space in the bedroom and the only way to get into bed was by climbing over it- totally unsatisfactory! Reluctantly we asked for the beds to remain as singles. Cruising with Fred Olsen for the fourth time we knew what to expect in all other aspects and were not disappointed. Norway's scenery is amazing! My wife has dietary problems including being alcohol and dairy free, and on some of the nights, in spite of being given the menu on the previous evening for adaptations choice was very limited. In spite of the irksome niggles overall we enjoyed the cruise, and will return in due course. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise for three reasons. Firstly we wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Secondly e liked the idea that it sailed from a UK port and finally it was organised by SAGA and we trust their services. We were picked up by car ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three reasons. Firstly we wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Secondly e liked the idea that it sailed from a UK port and finally it was organised by SAGA and we trust their services. We were picked up by car and dropped at Liverpool Cruise terminal and the return was just the reverse of that. It was extremely smooth with luggage being well and speedily handled on embarkation and disembarkation. The ship was comfortable and suited us but may not suit younger people as the entertainment was not particularly geared to a young audience.There were places to sit and read or just talk so we were not confined to our cabin as has happened on larger ships. The cabin was not large but sufficed for our needs but we also had a balcony so it didn't feel too cramped. The crew were very helpful and pleasant throughout. The food was good with plenty of choice. Drinks service in the various lounges was efficient. The ships entertainment team were better than any I have experienced on other cruise lines. They actually had singers who could sing - a rarity in my experience. They had good additional entertainers including a good comedian, a good singer a flamenco guitarist and a multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, saxophone and flute) We booked four excursions but one was cancelled due to lack of take-up, The other three were better than most I have experienced before and although not cheap were reasonable value for money. Beware of the price a drinks ashore in Norway. A 500 ml bottle of beer cost the equivalent of £11.50 Overall this was a superb cruise. I have cruised about 12 times altogether with five different cruise lines and this was the best so far. Far better than P&O and a little better than Thomson. An enjoyable experience Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our second cruise on Black Watch - she is an old ship but we find her comfortable with a good ambience - no glitz or glamour and traditional but we quite like that and also much prefer the fact that she is a 'small' and ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Black Watch - she is an old ship but we find her comfortable with a good ambience - no glitz or glamour and traditional but we quite like that and also much prefer the fact that she is a 'small' and elegant ship. Car parking service and embarkation at Liverpool were easy. We walked easily to the ship but there was a mini bus for people with mobility issues. Port of Liverpool staff were friendly and helpful. The seas were very rough for our first day out of Liverpool and many passengers were unwell - unfortunately not a lot can be done about this, but the remainder of the trip was fine. The ship was spotlessly clean with good hygiene standards and we were not aware of any problems in this regard. Our cabin was 5039, centrally situated and with everything we needed. The beds were comfortable and our room stewardess, May, was excellent, in fact, the Black Watch staff generally are superb - they are extremely polite and friendly and cannot do enough to help, we could not fault them at all. The food was once again delicious with a great choice whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner (we didn't visit the Supper Club so can't comment on that) - I would think that there was food available at every meal for all tastes. We always ate in the Glentanar Restaurant and had faultless service from our waiter Jimmy. For dinner we sat at a table for 6 and our fellow diners were great company. Passengers on Black Watch (and I believe the other Fred ships) do tend to be 'older' - everyone was very friendly and most had excellent stories to tell! The itinerary for this trip was excellent and a perfect introduction to Norway for anyone who hadn't travelled there before and enjoyable for 'returners' like us. It was a good mix of towns, cities and beautiful small ports in heart of the fjords. Our thoughts on these are below: Alesund - normally an interesting town with a good atmosphere but unfortunately it was bank holiday when we were there so pretty much everywhere was closed (this is generally the case in Norway on a Sunday too). A visit to the top of Mount Aksla for the view is a must. I did an excursion to Giske & Goday which was interesting with excellent cake at the lighthouse. Hellesylt, Geiranger, Olden and Eidford - all in beautiful locations. If you do not want to do an excursion in any of these places maps for walks are available at the tourist information (or shop in Hellesylt) and can be recommended. One different excursion in Eidfjord was to the Sima Hydroelectric power plant - worth a visit. Bergen - the highlight of the trip was to be in Bergen on Norway Day - an unforgettable experience to see the parade and the joy and pride of the Norwegian people. If you get the chance to be in Norway on this day (17th May) do take it. For the slightly energetic can recommend the walk down from Mount Floyen (take funicular up) about 45 minute walk down through woodland and then streets of old wooden buildings that are beautiful. Stavanger - nice city with few streets of beautiful old wooden buildings - we didn't go into the commercial part of the city so can't comment. We did the Jaeren Railway excursion which was okay but wouldn't recommend. On leaving Stavanger the Captain took us to Lysefjord to view Pulpit Rock which was an 'extra' and much appreciated. Our only minor niggles - we would have like the evening show for second sitting to be after dinner as it was in the past - on this trip it was normally at 7.15pm which is when I prefer to have a pre-dinner drink! (Fred's all inclusive is excellent value at £10 day) and we would have liked announcements as to what the ship was passing occasionally as we sailed by (again this happened in the past). There was an excellent speaker, Jane Ann Davey - we would have liked more lectures. All in all, we had a good and happy holiday and feel that Fred is excellent value for money and look forward to sailing with Fred again in the not too distant future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I was desperate the see the Norwegian Fjords, which by the way were spectacular, so my sister and I booked a trip with Fred Olsen which included the all inclusive drinks package. Embarkation at Liverpool was a breeze and the baggage ... Read More
I was desperate the see the Norwegian Fjords, which by the way were spectacular, so my sister and I booked a trip with Fred Olsen which included the all inclusive drinks package. Embarkation at Liverpool was a breeze and the baggage handlers at the port were slick and fast, however, you do have to fight through all types of walking sticks, Zimmerframe walkers and very slow infirm passengers. My sister and I, although not young, felt like teenagers in comparison as the average age on board was in the region of 70+. Although on the fully inclusive (FI) package, which is good value for money, the rules around what is included in the fully inclusive package is ambiguous and at best vague. This is compounded by the staff offering you items that are not on the FI package, although knowing that you are on the FI package. The result is that you find yourself being charged for a drink that you didn't realise you'd bought? There is a form of stealth sales that goes on as I think the staff receive an incentive to sell drinks and on several occasions I found that I'd unwittingly bought a coffee or a glass of wine in error. The other irritant is that on the occasion that you do order a drink on the FI package you're still expected to sign for the price of it which left us with a tree's worth of paper receipts. Make sure you always check the receipt which has a printed 'FA' on it if you've achieved the fully inclusive package as the staff don't tell you. We found this helpful piece of information from a fellow passenger. All communication is provided whilst on ship via a daily paper put into your room by the evening service staff. This is useful and provides you with all the information you need with regard to sailing time, ports of call, activities and services. We didn't pre-buy port and shore excursions but used the hop on, hop off, facilities that is available at each port. They were perfect for us as it gave us the opportunity to see what we wanted to see and was much cheaper than the excursions. Our cabin was small and dated but was kept super clean by our Cabin Attendant who was fabulous. Everything onboard is chargeable including the cabin bottle of water. We were on deck 5 which is perfectly based for reception, the restaurant one deck below and to disembark which is on deck 3 and the spa which is on deck 3. You don't have to use the lifts and can get everywhere fast. You'll never get in the lift anyway as 2 walkers fill the entire lift and there are only 2 lifts in the centre of the ship. The food is good although typically British themed with it's target passenger being the older demographic. I was however, so tired by the end of the trip by the continual chorus of 'Happy Birthday to you' which is sung by the staff and an attempt to get you to buy your table a round of expensive liqueurs. Although, we met some lovely passengers, the more mature passenger can tend to feel superior and will reserve the best seats, push you out of the way and tell you to move if you're in their way, although they've reserved seats for their friends. You having to stand wherever possible to enjoy the evening is an insult to them. Some would go into the library and put all their belongings down and then disappear for a couple of hours, returning at their leisure expecting their seating to be there waiting upon their return. This resulted in my sister and I roaming around the ship looking for somewhere to sit during inclement sea days, eventually going back to our cabin. The only place that would guarantee us an escape from the infirm was the Gym which was well equipped, clean and tidy with showers and a steam room. The most modern part of the ship in fact. On day 8 of our trip there was a terrible smell across our deck which was attributed to the water refuse tanks being full. They had to dump it into the sea but because we were still in the Fjords the ship had to keep hold of it. All deck passengers complained and we were offered a move to another deck but only for the night which meant we would have had to pack up and then move back - we declined and stayed wishing we'd brought pegs with us for our noses. The reception staff are all poe faced women who know nothing and are accountable for the same. We had several encounters with them and at no time do their faces crack into a smile which is accompanied by 'the computer says no' mentality. The 'can do' ethos is nowhere to be found on this ship. The restaurant staff are polite and friendly, however, have to be because the Management in charge seem to run the place with a fear culture,as we saw staff being told off in public areas in view of passengers which was very uncomfortable to witness. We would cruise again but not on this line - an expensive disappointment to say the least. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We booked last October for a cruise of the fjords. At embarkation, our luggage was delivered to outside our cabin on third deck. The cabin was clean and throughout the cruise was well-serviced by Rodell. We found the entertainment very ... Read More
We booked last October for a cruise of the fjords. At embarkation, our luggage was delivered to outside our cabin on third deck. The cabin was clean and throughout the cruise was well-serviced by Rodell. We found the entertainment very good, and we saw a few great shows, and a funny comedian. As we bought the all-inclusive drinks package, we were limited to what and where we could drink, no drinks included on deck seven, and a limited number of drinks on deck six, which meant we were drinking house rum or Stella. We used the buffet for most of our meals, and the food was reasonable to good, the service was good to indifferent. The Reception staff were helpful and polite, and the staff in the Braemar Room were very cheerful and funny. The pianist Ronald is very good indeed, and we enjoyed our time in their as well as the quizzes at 10pm. Wi-Fi is available on board but is very slow,and some days doesn't work atall, It is very expensive if you only buy a few hours, so I would suggest paying £30 for a 24 hour package,not £5 for half an hour. The excursions are very expensive, so think about making your own way around when you dock. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, but felt that we didn't get the value for money we should have got, and considering we booked so far in advance, should have been given the all-inclusive drinks package and gratuities free of charge, which were later advertised as included. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
As seasoned travellers with many years of road tripping under our belts (to most parts of the UK, Europe, Eastern Europe & Canada) we wanted to try a tour of Norway, a country we'd never been to before but had been considering for ... Read More
As seasoned travellers with many years of road tripping under our belts (to most parts of the UK, Europe, Eastern Europe & Canada) we wanted to try a tour of Norway, a country we'd never been to before but had been considering for quite some time. However, as we started planning it, it became evident just how expensive such a trip would be, plus there was also the issue of there being no ferries to Scandinavia from the UK anymore, which would have meant a very long drive via Holland, Germany, Denmark & Sweden before we even reached Norway. We’d never tried a cruise before, but as an alternative to a road trip we looked at some Norwegian offerings, which appeared to be a more cost effective way of getting / staying there than going by road. We eventually ended up booking with Fred. Olsen for a cruise on the 'Black Watch' leaving Liverpool on 11th May bound for the Norwegian ports of: Alesund, Hellesynt, Gerainger, Olden, Bergen, Eidfjord & Stavanger. The Black Watch is quite small for a cruise ship, it accommodates just over 800 passengers, its compact size meaning it can access the smaller fjords. Being so early in the year meant that we were the only ship in most ports on a given day which was a plus.. The first thing that struck us about the ship as we embarked was how 'well used' and dated it is. On board it's quite jaded in places and in need of a good spruce up and some modernisation. Some people - Fred. Olsen and a few dedicated fans of cruising - call it charm, we call it, 'wearing out'. The exterior of the ship also looks quite bad with it's many “battle scars”, looking at it close-up at the ports of call reveals some nasty looking dents in the hull, and some rust appearing in several places. There seems to be a never ending painting programme going on to cover up the rusty bits. In every port we called at, out came the bucket of paint & rollers to conceal a bit more of it. What this poor 43 year old lady really needs is to go into dry dock for a spell and have the rust properly treated – or better still she should be gracefully retired as her best days are most certainly now behind her. We’ve been on nicer cross channel ferries. When we booked the cruise, we opted for the 'all inclusive' drinks package at £220 for the 2 of us. Like a lot of other things with Fred. Olsen the details of this were very vague until we got on board and found out that 'all inclusive' actually isn't. Water is available at the bar as part of the deal but only by the glass so it can't really be taken back to the cabin and is probably only the tap water anyway. Bottled water in the cabin has to be requested and paid for. Coffee and tea and a kettle is provided in the cabins but in the bars aren’t covered under the all inclusive deal. Only very cheap wines and spirits are part of the all inclusive package on-board, the house “whisky”, as an example, is some cheap Spanish brew which is quite rough, if you want even the lower end brand blended Scotches, like Bells or Grouse etc you have to pay a 50% surcharge – despite it being listed as only 10p dearer than the nasty house whisky in the bar price list. The same applies to other spirits and wines, although it has to be said the red 'house' wine is more palatable than the spirits. For draught beers there’s very little choice – lager or Boddingtons bitter were all that was on offer in the bars. No Guinness or any other dark beers on draught – only tins & bottles which again are not part of the All Inclusive package so attract the 50% surcharge . Olsen need to be a little more transparent regarding things like this because the way things stand it's all just a little too vague in the pre booking information and can catch out the unwary. If we'd known beforehand that the all inclusive package included only the cheapest unbranded whisky and other spirits that nobody outside of the ship has ever heard of we'd never have taken it, we'd have paid for our drinks as we went along and bought the cheap branded stuff on offer, but having to pay 50% extra, even for the likes of Bells, Grants and Grouse made us feel a little cheated. Calling it 'all inclusive' is very misleading. We used the complimentary cabin service on a few days when we arrived back at the ship too late for lunch or dinner and found it very good. Our order was usually at the cabin door within 10 mins of phoning it through. Only things like sandwiches & soup and a few deserts were available but they were of good quality – better than the main restaurant food in some cases. Food in the main waiter served “Glentanar” restaurant was pretty average at best, with more emphasis being placed on the presentation rather than the taste & texture. To be honest it's all just a bit pretentious on what is a rather tatty little ship, especially the formal evenings where passengers have to dress accordingly for dinner. A lot of folk did seem to like that sort of thing though, which only added to the pretentiousness of the whole affair. We only ate in the main Glentanar restaurant on a couple of occasions, on our second and final visit our rather pompous waiter was quite rude to an elderly gent at our table who had complained about his soup. On that particular night we had what was allegedly pheasant which it has to be said was disgusting, it all looked very nicely laid out on the plate in nouveau cuisine fashion, but eating it was like chewing an old inner tube. I'm no expert on pheasant but I'm sure it shouldn't have been that tough and dry. After that experience we elected to eat in the Braemar Garden Café which is a self service buffet restaurant and the food all the better for it. This was a far less ostentatious atmosphere and the waiters were marginally more pleasant. We didn’t eat too may lunches on board, preferring instead to stay out using the limited time available to explore wherever we were docked, as no matter where we’d arrived it was always more interesting than on board the ship. We partook of breakfast most mornings, but found the cooked offerings to be invariably cold to lukewarm. The first morning we tried it the fried eggs were barely warm, as were the beans, sausage and bacon. The cold scramble egg was the particularly unappetising “piece de resistance”. The following few mornings were no better in either restaurant so we opted for the cold continental breakfasts after that which were an improvement even if the croissants were miniscule. We'd booked a couple of shore tours before we left home. The first was from Gerainger by coach up the Eagle Road which was spectacular and well worth the cost. Sadly the second one from Stavanger was a huge disappointment. This one consisted of a trip on the so called Jaeren Railway to Egersund which cost us £75 each. It promised wonderful views as we travelled through the “Breadbasket of Norway”. The reality was a ride by coach through Stavanger at rush hour to the railway station, where we got on to a commuter train. We then travelled for over an hour and a quarter through some pretty underwhelming countryside to the lacklustre town of Egersund where we then boarded the coach for the run back to Stavanger by road which was only slightly better. We did have an hour to kill in Egersund though so rather than stay with the tour guide (who at least had the decency to look a bit embarrassed), we took off to find a coffee shop instead. Talking to other participants of this tour back on the ship afterwards it transpired that we weren't the only ones who felt disappointed by it. We could probably have done the same trip ourselves for less than £20 Norway is undeniably beautiful, the cruise showed us a mere glimpse of what this wonderful country has to offer and we will return there, but next time will be a road trip - and hang the expense, it'll be worth it. As far as cruises go for us, never again. I'm too young even in my mid 60s. If this particular cruise is typical of most then they seem geared more to passengers in the 70 – 80 age group who's idea of fun and adventure appears to be stuffing themselves with as much food as possible, a game of bingo and a quiz chucked in now and then.... and dressing up for dinner whilst on an ageing ship being the icing on the cake. Just short of 3 days to get to and from Norway is excessive, and boring, I’d have preferred a quicker cruise and more time in Norway. Having experienced the open road for years, we simply felt trapped inside the ship. Having too little time to explore the places we saw became frustrating as we had to keep a constant eye on the time in order to get back in time for departure and we hated the stress of clock watching whilst on holiday. I can see the appeal of cruising for some people, but it's not for us I'm afraid. In future I’ll be firing up my car or the motorbike again and taking off for some real travel adventures Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise