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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Rugged & Rural Canada: May 14th to 30th 2016 This was our second cruise with Fred Olsen, having previously sailed on the 'Black Watch' some years ago. We were attracted to this cruise by our recollection of the wonderful ... Read More
Rugged & Rural Canada: May 14th to 30th 2016 This was our second cruise with Fred Olsen, having previously sailed on the 'Black Watch' some years ago. We were attracted to this cruise by our recollection of the wonderful crew on the 'Black Watch'; the opportunity to visit parts of Newfoundland and Labrador; and an offer to book three cruises for the price of two. In general, we were not disappointed with the service provided by the crew, or with their attitude to their tasks and to the passengers. However, there were two negative incidents. Firstly, at breakfast on May 23rd a waiter treated my wife's request for soya very rudely. He brought a carton of soya to our table, and on being asked for the soya to be placed in a glass, his facial expression displayed his displeasure. On bringing the glass of soya to the table he told my wife quite rudely that she should get the soya herself from the buffet in future. We immediately complained to the Assistant Maitre d' who handled the situation admirably, and this was a satisfactory end of the matter. However, there was no satisfactory end to the second incident which occurred on May 25th when four of us were playing cards in the Card Room. During our game, we were brusquely told by the Bridge Instructor that we were making too much noise. I do not believe that we were making too much noise, and I am certain that it is not in the remit of the Bridge Instructor to tell us how we may enjoy a game of cards with friends, which is one of the simple pleasures that should be enjoyed on a cruise. We were interested to hear from two other passengers playing dominoes at the next table, that they had previously been 'told off' for making a noise when clicking their dominoes! Subsequently, two Scrabble players confirmed that this was not an isolated incidence of rudeness. I was informed that I could not register a formal complaint on the day of the incident, and was required to include it in my end-of-cruise comments - it would have been more satisfactory if there was a proper system on-board to enable a complaint such as this to be dealt with immediately. Regrettably, the Boudicca did not visit two of its scheduled ports. This was particularly disappointing to us as these two ports would have been the highlights of the cruise. Combined with the fact that of the six days that were actually spent in ports, five were on a weekend or Bank Holiday when the majority of tourist attractions were not available, exacerbated the disappointment. Although I do not hold the view that seemed to be held by the majority of passengers that there was a hidden agenda relating to economics that resulted in us not visiting Corner Brook and Red Bay, it is noteworthy that the Captain's letter to passengers provided us with pointless information regarding the speed of the ship under various scenarios. After spending the first night of the cruise in Suite 5001, we were moved to Suite 7016, due to an urgent requirement to fix a problem with a safety hatch nearby, that would be a noisy operation. This move was described as an 'upgrade' but, in fact, 7016 had few advantages (and some disadvantages) compared with 5001, except for the provision of a terrace. The move was made efficiently, but we would have expected some acknowledgement for the inconvenience caused, eg a 'Welcome Bottle of Sparking Wine' that was not provided in Suite 5001. Our waiter (Freddie) and our stewardess (Loubelle) gave us excellent service, and we would also like to praise Melvin, whose cheerful and extremely efficient service in the Neptune Lounge was much appreciated. Compared with more modern cruise ships, the 'Boudicca' is now somewhat dated in its appearance and facilities. The lack of theatre style seating in the Neptune Lounge made it difficult to appreciate some of the shows, which were otherwise extremely enjoyable. Suite 7016 lacked the charm and design of more modern ships. To counterbalance these factors, I feel it is important that the ship's crew provide a friendly and efficient service at all times, without the type of incidents detailed above, and that proper recognisance is taken of any changes made to customers' expectations, whether it is regarding changed accommodation, changed itinerary, or other disappointments. After two disappointingly bland dinner menus on the first two nights, the food throughout the rest of the cruise was of a high standard, both in terms of choice and the quality of the food, except for the British Night where the food was poor - Potted Shrimp with too much butter and few shrimps; Yorkshire Pudding that was inedible; and Treacle Sponge that was not served hot. It was disappointing that coffee is no longer served with chocolates, and it is a pity that other minor cost-cutting measures have been introduced given my comments above regarding the somewhat dated aspects of the ship. The Port Talks were good, even though we didn't get to two of the ports! We enjoyed the Lectures by Peter Varley, but those by Louise Le Marquand were generally lightweight, yet managed to miss out some basic information. We particularly enjoyed the 10pm quizzes, and all the 8:45pm shows, despite two minor irritations: the poor presentation skills of the Cruise Director and the infuriatingly repetition of the 'no recordings' message prior to the start of the shows. Of course, minor irritations are inevitable in the provision of such a complex operation as catering for some 750 customers on a cruise ship, and these would generally be accepted when the promised itinerary is delivered. However, when two ports are omitted under dubious circumstances, minor irritations grow out of proportion and the following may be added to those detailed above: - the cabin keycard failed on two occasions; - the amount of our On Board Credit being initially incorrect (£25 short); - tender boat not working in St Pierre; - creaking noises in cabin at night; - glasses rattling on glass tabletops in the Neptune Lounge; - varying and unpredictable temperature of water in the shower; - bags not fitting beneath beds. Perhaps realising that the Captain’s letter circulated on board regarding the omission of Corner Brook and Red Bay from the itinerary was inadequate, we received a letter from Fred Olsen dated June 20th. This stated that “Our itineraries are planned at least two years in advance and analysed by our panel of Captains. This itinerary was passed without any weather or navigational concerns and similarly no concerns were raised by the local Port Authorities when booking the berths. Additionally, one month prior to sailing the itinerary was further reviewed by our senior Captain and again based on the latest ice flow charts available no concerns were raised. Indeed post cruise our port agent has stated that ‘whereas there is usually ice at this time of year, most certainly not to the degree experienced on this cruise. The high winds and high tides drastically changed the situation.’ Shortly prior to our call in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the wind speed had been forecast at between 10-15 knots which would not necessitate tug assistance, subsequently none was booked. However, once on the berth the winds rose to 30 knots and without tug assistance available within a 24 hour period, owing to the requirement to pre-book, the Captain had no option on safety grounds but to extend our stay in Sydney.” As with any ‘Health & Safety’ issue, it is impossible to disagree with the decisions made. However, passengers will still be disappointed, and this disappointment will only assuaged by a sensible offer of compensation. Inevitably, Fred Olsen’s offer is a 25% discount on a future cruise, excluding existing bookings and other restrictions. This type of offer only made me more disappointed with Fred Olsen’s attitude towards its customers, and makes me think that the company has lost the plot. In summary, an enjoyable cruise on which we were disappointed not to get to two ports, and that disappointment was exacerbated by the ‘compensation’ offered. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We are all retired young at heart couples travelling for a birthday celebration with my husbands brother and his wife. We travelled on the door to door service organised by Saga which was very good. Embarkation was very good. We ... Read More
We are all retired young at heart couples travelling for a birthday celebration with my husbands brother and his wife. We travelled on the door to door service organised by Saga which was very good. Embarkation was very good. We were so looking forward to our cruise booked for my brother in laws 70th birthday year. The Cabins which were supposed to be superior outside, were awful. We have been cruising for nearly 20 years and superior these cabins were not. Once we set sail things went from bad to worse. The vibration from the engines and creaking and rattling of the ship prevented any of us from a decent nights sleep the whole holiday. We resorted to earplugs but these did not help with the vibration. When we put our heads on the pillows it was rattling our heads. I would advise avoidance of cabin nos. 5059 or 5061 arghhh! Needless to say we all complained but the situation went unresolved. The daily information on the ship was excellent. The food was very good and our waiters Chai and Arnold really looked after us and we had them the whole holiday which was great. The staff in the dining area and bars worked extremely hard and nothing was too much trouble for them. There were activities onboard such as Quizes and quoits but unfortunately a couple of these flew overboard Read Less

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