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192 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

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
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
Sail Date April 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
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
Sail Date March 2018
We booked this very short cruise at exceptionally short notice (book Monday sail Saturday.) We were accommodated in a suite on Deck 9. During the booking procedure I made it clear that we wished to dine at 8-30 pm but were later told that ... Read More
We booked this very short cruise at exceptionally short notice (book Monday sail Saturday.) We were accommodated in a suite on Deck 9. During the booking procedure I made it clear that we wished to dine at 8-30 pm but were later told that we must eat at 6-30 pm. It took very many telephone calls to unravel that situation but having paid an extra £12 we were granted our wish. We have sailed in Balmoral on a previous occasion and felt confident that we would enjoy ourselves. The parking arrangements by ABP and the boarding procedure were excellent. Our suite (9028) was large and well decorated if a tiny bit tired. Our cabin stewardess was charming and efficient and worked exceptionally hard. We had asked for a double bed but were provided with 2 singles I expect that this was because I booked so late. The Champagne (Cava,) the fruit and the fresh flowers were a nice touch as were the canapes in the evening. We were assigned a table in the Ballindalloch Restaurant which is large and very noisy. We breakfasted in the Spey Restaurant. Breakfast was a very generous buffet arrangement. Dinner was a five course affair with good variation. Generally we felt that the standard of the food was good to very good without being exceptional, the one exception was the roast beef that was exceptional. The wine was perfectly acceptable if one chose carefully. There was no draught bitter beer apart from Newcastle Brown Ale which is not to everyone's taste. A disappointment! We attended the entertainment in the Neptune Lounge on all three evenings. The dance troop worked tirelessly and with professionalism, the music was not to our taste but it suited most people. The comedian was very sharp and his act in the top flight. We visited Rouen and Honfleur, in both places it rained but we enjoyed wandering about. We chose not to use the organised tours as they seemed to be very expensive. We felt that the service on board was not quite as good as we have experienced on other cruises. It may be that the staff are being worked too hard. All in all this was quite a fun break in a monotonous winter. Will we choose to sail with Fred Olsen again? I am not sure. There are many cruises on offer and the competition is fierce.. We will decide soon. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We had not been to the Caribbean before and this cruise made it simple to visit nine destinations which were all different and gave as an insight into those islands we would like to return to. Despite initial reservations we were ... Read More
We had not been to the Caribbean before and this cruise made it simple to visit nine destinations which were all different and gave as an insight into those islands we would like to return to. Despite initial reservations we were impressed with the chartered Thomas Cook flight and the smoothness of the disembarkation from the plane - it was lovely not to see our luggage from Gatwick until it arrived outside our cabin. The staff were friendly and polite and there was a good ratio of staff to passengers. The itinerary had promised ten destinations but a strong (force 5) headwind reduced our speed so the captain changed our route and we missed our Tortola stop. We were very disappointed to miss Tortola, particularly as the Braemar was one of the few cruise ships due to dock there following last year's hurricane. We assumed a Force 5 wind is fairly common in the Caribbean and wondered whether Fred was trying to include too many islands in the itinerary. If this is the case we would suggest omitting Jamaica and keeping Tortola. The Braemar Show company were excellent as were the two crew performances. The resident live music acts were also good but the visiting entertainers were a mixed bag - a brilliant comic/magician who I thought I would not like, a mediocre multi-instrumentalist and a very poor comic who was really past his use by date (although some people loved him). Shore excursions were good - we chose to explore the islands rather than just visit beaches but were disappointed that two of our excursions were cancelled one (cycling in Grenada) due to poor equipment and complaints from earlier cruises and one due to heavy rain (rafting in Jamaica). The food was good and there were plenty of public spaces to sit and relax in. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We are booked on a longish cruise on Balmoral in 2019 and wanted to refresh our Fred Olsen experience and keep our loyalty level current. So a one-night repositioning cruise was not quite as silly as it sounds. Some 200 other people ... Read More
We are booked on a longish cruise on Balmoral in 2019 and wanted to refresh our Fred Olsen experience and keep our loyalty level current. So a one-night repositioning cruise was not quite as silly as it sounds. Some 200 other people obviously agreed with us although many were travel agent staff on what is euphemistically called a familiarisation trip. Ticketing was bit haphazard as the information was an adaption of that for a usual cruise. You could interpret it that we could expect both a Welcome Aboard and a Farewell cocktail party - presumably back to back! The terminal at Tilbury was dreadful. Admittedly it was not the main London Cruise Terminal of 'Empire Windrush' fame. But check-in was rapid and efficient, we showed our free bus passes, were quickly directed to our cabin by the ever-friendly Fred Olsen crew and there was a good selection of hot and cold food available in the Glentanar restaurant. The main thing that impressed us was the quality of the refit that had taken place in the last year. A lot of money had obviously been spent bringing Black Watch as close to modern standards as is possible in an elderly lady. The decor and facilities in our cabin were very good. We were getting angry that the usual lockable drawer for valuables had no key - and then found a lovely new safe! The bathroom was spotless and storage had been very much improved. It was the same throughout the ship and the new facilities that have been shoe-horned into the ship over the years have not detracted from the sense of space. The new balconies on 7 deck (the Promenade deck) still seem a bit odd but we didn't have one, nor did we use the Prom deck much on a very cold night. There was one sitting for dinner, at 7pm, and a creditable impressionist did his job keeping everyone awake afterwards. You can't expect too much for £80 plus optional £20 return coach fare! This wasn't a busy, noisy party cruise, nor anything like a 'normal' cruise, but for 24 hours we got all the essentials and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Well done Fred Olsen - a great idea and a very nice updated ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise as a stress less way of crossing to Barbados for a family gathering. The cabin (except it’s location) was excellent, food amazing, good entertainment. The distances from the ship to port gates nearly finished ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a stress less way of crossing to Barbados for a family gathering. The cabin (except it’s location) was excellent, food amazing, good entertainment. The distances from the ship to port gates nearly finished us off, no shuttles of any kind for poor walkers. Our cabin was mid-ships as far away from elevator as possible even though I had repeatedly asked for easy access. It was very shady being completely overhung by the top deck , a suite with sunbeds but with absolutely no sun! We did however have a full blown medical emergency which was very efficiently dealt with and at reasonable cost ,we also thought that the wine was very reasonably priced. We would go again in a flash but NEVER to an unknown cabin number ad would hope that some sort of shuttle service at the ports would be organised. How do Saga manage this situation? Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My husband and I are in our late 50's and early 60's and had reservations about going on a Cruise that we had been informed consisted mainly of older clientele, however we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have booked again for ... Read More
My husband and I are in our late 50's and early 60's and had reservations about going on a Cruise that we had been informed consisted mainly of older clientele, however we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have booked again for 2018. Embarkation and luggage handling was speedy and faultless and our luggage arrived at our Cabin only minutes after we embarked. The Cabin was as described, spacious, spotless and with air conditioning and Tea and coffee facilities provided. We were pre booked onto the early Dining sitting at 6pm but could chose to go to the open Buffet restaurant if we preferred. The food was always plentiful, excellent choice and served hot, nothing was too much trouble. The evening entertainment was outstanding. We have been to many London West End Shows but the quality of the Singing and dancing whilst on board the Balmoral far surpassed some of the West End Shows we have seen. The variety of the Shows was excellent and we managed to see 3 full shows whilst on board for the 8 nights. The Shows were performed twice nightly and we enjoyed the shows so much that we watched both performances. The Show Team consisted of 10 performers, 3 main female dancers, 3 main male dancers, 2 female singers and 2 male singers. Their performances and professionalism at all times were faultless and they were all outstanding and worked so hard and well together as a team, they were a pleasure to watch. I don't think people realise how much time and energy is spent rehearsing in order produce such amazing quality shows.My only criticism would be that the 2nd Show was very late in the evening which I think restricted people coming to watch, however this did not put us off watching both shows. We thought that the entertainment during the sea days could have been a little more varied and was geared towards the older generation with Bingo and "Dolphin "racing, however the Quiz sessions were very good, but further variety would have been more interesting. The Service by everyone on board was excellent. We did not book any Tours but due to the close proximity of the places we visited, it was easy to make our own itinerary. In summary we thoroughly enjoyed our Cruise and if we had to chose one outstanding thing it would have been the excellent quality of the dancing and singing from the Balmoral team, with such amazing choreography and costume design. Finally disembarkation was also very quick and well organised. We have booked again in 2018 for another Cruise on board the Balmoral. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
As a present for a special birthday, we chose Fred and the Fjords. We always read reviews before booking and after eliminating the best and worst decided to sail with the Balmoral from Newcastle. Embarkation went smoothly after leaving ... Read More
As a present for a special birthday, we chose Fred and the Fjords. We always read reviews before booking and after eliminating the best and worst decided to sail with the Balmoral from Newcastle. Embarkation went smoothly after leaving our luggage with the handlers, checking in to receive our pass cards and taking a short bus ride to the ship. Our luggage arrived soon after we found our cabin and we made the mistake of unpacking immediately which meant we had to wait until after the emergency drill to get a drink. It became obvious to us that there were many Balmoral returners and we began to see why. The entertainment was excellent with shows twice nightly to accommodate both sittings and the entertainment staff are involved in running activities during the day. There was a Daily News paper left in the cabin each evening outlining the next days activities and excursion times and dining dress code. Cleanliness of the public areas was emphasised at every opportunity with hand sanitizers everywhere and the waiters providing more sanitizer before we entered the dining rooms. The Ballindaloch dining room was waiter service in the evening but most of the restaurants were either waiter or self service during breakfast and lunch. We took advantage of the drinks package and found it a good deal, with only having to add to the bar bill for special cocktails. We didn't take advantage of the 2 pools, 4 jacuzis, fitness room, etc. but did the mile walk 4 times round the deck. We went on 3 organised excursions and did our own thing for the other days in port. Our guides on the excursions were very knowledgeable and spoke very good English. At Eidfjord we went on the excursion to Voringfoss waterfall and the nature centre where there was an excellent film on 5 screens taking us on a helicopter ride over the fjord and valley. At Geiranger we had a coach tour up the hairpin bends to a viewpoint where we could see the Balmoral in the fjord below. At Olden we went on the excursion to the Briksdal Glacier taking the troll car for some of the climb. We visited Flam and went out before breakfast to buy our own tickets to ride on the famous railway which is very close to where the ship was docked. In Kristiansund we went walkabout and found a viewpoint on a public footpath before walking round the port. Hellesylt has a very beautiful waterfall in the centre of the village and a walk to the church which unfortunately wasn't open the day we visited. We finished our cruise with a day in Bergen which was a disappointment because the city was preparing for a World Cycling championship and was erecting barriers along the roads and marquees and gazebos blocking any good views of the port. However, the Floyen funicular railway takes you to the top of Mount Floyen with incredible views of the city below. On the evening of disembarkation we had to leave our luggage outside our cabin with labels showing our homeward journey details. Breakfast was served earlier than usual and disembarkation began soon after 7.30am. As we had travelled with Saga organised transport, our luggage was left close to the ship for our collection to meet with our taxi driver. I do feel that luggage wasn't handled very well as I had packed bottles and a mirror with plenty of packing round them but found them broken when unpacking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our first cruise with Fred Olsen and overall we were quite impressed with the value for money it provided. First of all the Norwegian Fjords were spectacular. The weather was a little unsettled at times, but this did not ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Fred Olsen and overall we were quite impressed with the value for money it provided. First of all the Norwegian Fjords were spectacular. The weather was a little unsettled at times, but this did not distract from the views of soaring mountains over the tranquil fjords. Service was very friendly although we did notice a couple of exceptions and Guest Services were excellent and always very helpful. Wi-fi bandwith is pretty abysmal even when in port, I would recommend saving your money and taking your phone or tablet ashore and finding a cafe or other place with good wi-fi. We found a number of the small Norwegian villages had their own hotspots. Although we did not attend all the shows, entertainment and activities were varied and of good quality. Food was however inconsistent ranging from very good to quite poor and often a little cold. We ate dinner each evening in the Avon restaurant which was very comfortable, although they could think about changing the art work on the walls which is quite weird. Breakfast was pretty poor quality and it always seemed rushed. Also, unlike most cruise lines they did not have a place where you could get a light meal such as a hamburger or pizza at lunchtime. We signed up for the all inclusive (AI) drinks package was very good value, although I believe it has been increased from £10 per day which we paid, to £15. AI wines were acceptable as was the gin, although I don’t know where the whiskey came from, perhaps not Scotland! The biggest negative for us was the constant chit signing to authorise payment for drinks and coffee. Quite a ridiculous system and technology options must be available to make this a more efficient and seamless process. The time wasted on the Olsen side must be significant. We only booked one excursion which was a 4 hour Great Ocean Road excursion in Kristiansund. This was because it would have been difficult to arrange ourselves. Other tours we did arrange ourselves and saved quite a bit against similar tours promoted by Olsen, all of which seemed very overpriced. We took a Seabourn cruise the previous year and although we did not expect (or get), the quality of food and service on Fred Olsen, it was much better value for money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We booked this cruise mainly because of the ports of call, which we hadn't been to before, and because of there being some river cruising involved. Embarkation at Southampton was stress free and our cases were outside our cabin by the ... Read More
We booked this cruise mainly because of the ports of call, which we hadn't been to before, and because of there being some river cruising involved. Embarkation at Southampton was stress free and our cases were outside our cabin by the time we got on the ship. We were very impressed by the quality of the food on board and had two excellent waiters. The company show group had just joined the ship and they were enthusiastic and extremely professional. We really enjoyed their shows. The ship is small and very easy to get around, but one lift was out of action for the whole cruise and this did cause problems for people with mobility limitations. We had a wet day at sea and it was difficult to find somewhere to sit in the public lounges. We sometimes found it difficult to find a chair on the promenade deck in the shade, but there were plenty of loungers on the sun deck. Unlike many ships there is not a theatre on board. Shows took place in the Neptune Lounge where the seating is not ideal for a good view. We did 3 shore excursions, and although expensive, they were well organised and interesting. Our only complaint on the Bordeaux wine tour to Graves and Sauternes was that we were not given a 'nibble' to go with the wine - not even a slice of French baguette! Disembarkation was very organised and our car was waiting for us as we got off the ship. We really enjoyed the Fred Olsen experience and will certainly use them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our first experience with FOCL and the Braemar. The cruise was 10 nights around the UK from Southampton; up to the first port of Leith for an overnight, then Dundee, Invergordon, Scrabster, Oban and Belfast. The first and last ... Read More
This was our first experience with FOCL and the Braemar. The cruise was 10 nights around the UK from Southampton; up to the first port of Leith for an overnight, then Dundee, Invergordon, Scrabster, Oban and Belfast. The first and last full days were days at sea and the cruise had two formal nights. The Ship The Braemar was slightly smaller than we're used to. We've sailed most often with Thomson on their smaller ships (Spirit and Celebration), we've sailed on much larger ships but small ships are our preference. The ship is well laid out. The side-wards on theatre fore is a first for us but the seas were kind enough that we didn't have many problems with this. Space was never an issue, getting seats in restaurants, bars or the theatre wasn't ever a problem. There's plenty of choice of seating areas during the day and when at sea. Decor is pleasant and areas are well lit. Activities We're active DIY port visitors so we didn't spend that much time on daytime activities. Quizzes seemed good, although we missed most of them as we were out in the daytime and the evening quizzes clashed with our late dining timing. Service The service from all staff was excellent throughout the cruise. Cabin stewards, waiters and bar-waiters, entertainers, reception staff, ships crew - can't fault anyone and would commend Fred for the work ethic and approach of the whole ship's staff. We rarely have to compalin about anything, but did as a neighbouring cabin was waking up with very loud TV for the first few days at 6:30 (we're on holiday, I don't want to be woken up early every day!), we complained at reception not expecting anything and the issue was somehow resolved, and the same member of the team asked us next time he saw us if it was better! This attention to service was very noticeable - staff bothered to remember who they had spoken to and to follow up where appropriate. Ports and excursions We always have to book last minute due to work constraints, so booking excursions can be problematic. On a cruise like this with 'signature' excursions (Braemar games, visits to Glamis and Cawdor castles) we were not surprised but still slightly disappointed not to have any availability on those obviously very popular trips. As mentioned we prefer to 'walk ashore' and do our own thing and this itinerary was good for that - only Oban was a tender port, Belfast had free shuttle buses to get into the city centre. Although we rarely do ships excursions on cruises anyway we were shocked at how expensive Fred's excursions are, they really were pricey compared to any other line we've been with - some eye-wateringly so (£200+pp for the dearest!). The port selection was excellent, we saw a wide variety of places and much of the beauty of Scotlands dramatic coastlines. There was the temptation at Scrabster or Oban to get a local ferry to one of the islands but the time in port didn't mesh well with ferry transit times and schedules so we didn't risk it. The overnight in Edingburgh was great, we got to meet friends who live there, and even had time to walk from Leith to the Parliament area and back (and up Arthur's Seat while there!), Dundee's dock area and centre were well worth walking around, the docks are actively being developed with restaurants and bars, there's a few very good sights in the centre worth a look including the McManus museum. Invergordon is tiny but the murals are nice to look at and the surrounding area is pretty. Scrabster was a low point, mainly because that was our one awful-weather day. We took the free shuttle into Thurso and walked around a bit, had a coffee and cake in a nice café but that was the limits of our patience with the downpour. We stayed in Oban to walk around, good vistas from the hill behind the town! Belfast we did a walking tour with a local guide and it was fascinating (though took up 2 hours)! My only recommendation to FOCL would be to amend the itinerary to call at at least one island as they are tantalisingly close as you sail around. Transfers We made our own way to Southampton before the cruise and back from it afterwards. Nothing to comment on here. Embarkation itself and disembarkation afterwards was quick and easy - no fuss. Cabin Our inside cabin was an anchor fare - so no choice over what cabin we had. It was at the front on deck 4, so some trepidation over seasickness if we had rough seas. The weather was kind, we only had bad seas on one night in the end despite all the storms brewing in the Atlantic. The first half of the trip up the east coast of the UK couldn't have been smoother. The cabin was spacious enough for our needs with a good amount of storage. Bathroom was standard for this class of cabin. We had a twin cabin and the steward made it into a double on our request, another stress of booking so last minute, we'd have been annoyed if the beds were fixed as separate. Dining We were very impressed with the food standard throughout the cruise. We ate on late service (8:30) in the Grampian. Excellent service from our two waiters and very good food throughout the cruise. We ate in the Palms buffet for breakfast and lunch as we normally do on a cruise. Interesting that on the Braemar staff seat you according to how busy the restaurant is - if it's busy you might be sharing, otherwise they find you a table of your own. Never had that in a buffet restaurant before - it makes for less chaos and 'running to grab a table'. Food was good in Palms for both times as well, very impressed with the lunch options overall. As with CMV, FOCL meal times are quite restricted - food isn't available mid afternoon. That's a bit annoying if you come back from an excursion or shore visit a bit late - we barely made lunch twice although the staff were very good about allowing us to grab a plate before they cleared. Unlike CMV, Fred do at least have a supper club - though eating this late we didn't need to use it. Normally we'd chose first sitting as we find it easier to organise our evenings when dining earlier but then the temptation for midnight snacks is always there! Alcoholic drinks seemed very reasonably priced, although the attempts at pushing cocktails of the day (which were not discounted?) was a bit annoying in the bars. Entertainment Very good shows from the company on board, they danced and sang very well. A more segmented show team than were used to - not gender balanced (no male dancers?) and the dancers didn't sing at all. Musicians were good overall in the bars, we listened to the pianist and the guitar/singer a few times each. The ship's orchestra were very, very good as well - it's nice to have live music for the shows. We weren't as impressed with the comedian/impressionist but then we weren't the target audience for the cruise perhaps (well below the average age...). Summary This cruise made a very positive first impression on us. Overall the cruise was good value and the ship and crew were welcoming and professional. The intinerary was interesting, though we were a bit frustrated by missing the castles. Food onboard was excellent, and the drinks selection was good. Would recommend! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise for two main reasons. The Newcastle port of departure and the itinerary. Fred Olsen documentation appears to indicate that port facilities at Newcastle are not as good as other ports. However, we found the arrangements ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two main reasons. The Newcastle port of departure and the itinerary. Fred Olsen documentation appears to indicate that port facilities at Newcastle are not as good as other ports. However, we found the arrangements to be pleasant and relaxed with a smooth embarkation, giving no cause for concern. Disembarkation was a little slow but our luggage was available for collection in the car park, which was helpful The cruise itinerary was very interesting taking us to areas that we had not visited before, and including some river sailing, down to Hamburg and also right down to Bremen. The shore excursions are a little expensive, but did include some good choices. There were also opportunities for some free time whilst the ship was in port. All ports were directly accessible by the ship, but the first visit at Kiel was especially impressive with airport style walkways direct to the ship. We have travelled on this ship before and generally enjoyed our experience. We are not a fan of very large cruise ships. We did feel on this cruise that the standard of restaurant service, whilst very good, had reduced very slightly. The "all-inclusive" drinks option was limited to "singles" this time, where previously "doubles" had been permitted. However, this did not cause us any difficulty. The cabin was the same category as our previous cruise, and again we were very satisfied. The cleaning was also good and reliable. There is an annoying feature in the Marquee Bar on the highest deck. The doors are automatic and cause an uncomfortable gale when the entrance onto the open deck and entrance from the inside of the ship are both open. As this tends to be used as a through route, this occurs frequently. Our overall experiences to date have encouraged us to book another short cruise from Newcastle on this ship for 2018. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We have travelled with Fred Olsen before, often to Norway, and have always enjoyed our holidays. We chose this trip to accompany some friends who were new to Fred and Norway and we always enjoy a visit to the fjords so this was perfect. ... Read More
We have travelled with Fred Olsen before, often to Norway, and have always enjoyed our holidays. We chose this trip to accompany some friends who were new to Fred and Norway and we always enjoy a visit to the fjords so this was perfect. Embarkation from Newcastle was easy with lots of pleasant, helpful staff. There seemed to be lots of first timers on this trip, first cruise, first with Fred and first time to Norway and, perhaps because it was school holidays, there seemed to be a lower than normal (for Fred) age range, with families (some three generations) and younger couples amongst the 'oldies'. There was an excellent friendly atmosphere on board and I can honestly say that I heard barely a complaint at all. As we have always found, the staff on Fred were fantastic, they really cannot do enough for you and the show company were excellent, one of the best we have seen. Our cabin girl (Natt) was a delight and looked after us so well - everywhere throughout the ship was spotless and I heard of no instances of illness. For the first time we were in a porthole cabin on deck 4 (this was an extra cruise for us this year so we were watching the budget!) and we found this to be okay - you don't get so much light into the cabin with portholes but as we spent little time in the cabin in any case it was fine. Bed was comfortable and no noise from adjacent cabins and shower always had lots of hot water. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and had no complaints - our waiter Ruben and his colleague were friendly and professional. We enjoy second sitting as it seems to give a longer evening and you don't have to rush back onboard for a 6.30pm sitting if you are ashore. We found the drinks package good value and also enjoyed many half price cocktails. The itinerary of this cruise was perfect for anyone new to the fjords. After a day at sea we had an evening of scenic cruising and it was great to see the stunning Pulpit Rock followed by a dry day in Bergen (!). I have to say that Bergen was exceptionally busy - there were four cruise ships in port - and I would probably avoid in July/August in future (other times of the year have been fine) as for instance, it was impossible to get on the funicular without an hour+ queue. There followed lots of scenic cruising to the following ports. Olden is a small port with a few shops a short walk away from the quayside. I can definitely recommend a trip on the new skylight from Loen to Mount Hoven (excursion from ship or tickets and shuttle bus available on quayside). This was one of the highlights of our trip - the steep cable car ride only takes 5, very smooth, minutes to the top of the mountain where there are absolutely stunning views into the fjords and to the glacier. There are lots of accessible walks at the top and and a lovely restaurant beautifully designed to take in the views and with lovely textiles and finishes - and delicious hot chocolate! Flam too was very busy as a large MSC ship also in port. My husband did a nice walk in the valley to a waterfall and I went on the wonderful Flam railway which really is impressive (you need to book tickets in advance at busy times of year either by a ship excursion or online before your visit). I did a ship excursion which took us to Myrdal at the top of the railway and then back down to Berkevam where we cycled back to Flam 11km downhill all the way. This was brilliant and I really enjoyed it - made me want to go back to do a longer cycling trip. There is a nice wool/gift/ice cream shop a short walk up the valley towards the church if you want to get away from the very busy shops at the quayside. Eidfjord is a pretty little town at the head of a fjord. There are some nice walks here if you don't want to don't want to do an organised excursion. In the past we have enjoyed trips to the Sima power station (we are a bit geeky!) and also to the Voringfoss waterfall where I understand there are new view points. The Xtreme Norseman Triathlon was taking place here the next day so it was interesting to see all the organisation for this and people swimming in the fjord. Evening entertainment onboard was good with something for everyone - the quiz was fun and the shows were excellent. Late night entertainment in the Lido Lounge and Morning Light pub was really good with lots of dancing and everyone enjoying themselves. Rosario classical trio were good around the ship and very good pianist in the Observatory Lounge early evening. Bar staff were cheerful and friendly as always - especially lovely Sunny in the Lido Lounge - she must have the brightest smile at sea. All in all, we, and our friends and the people we met, thoroughly enjoyed our holiday with Fred and, personally, I can't wait to sail out of Newcastle on Balmoral again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise as it was sailing from Newcastle. This avoided the journey from Yorkshire to a South Coast port before and return after the cruise. The ports of call and the small number of days at sea also contributed to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was sailing from Newcastle. This avoided the journey from Yorkshire to a South Coast port before and return after the cruise. The ports of call and the small number of days at sea also contributed to the decision. We have not travelled on this ship before and enjoyed our experience. The embarkation was excellent, although disembarkation was slightly slow. . The range of dining arrangements and entertainment was generally very good, with two sittings for dinner. We did get the impression that the later sitting was becoming less popular. We have travelled with Fred Olsen before and felt that the food and service standards on this cruise were generally not quite as good as on previous occasions. There were of course some individual exceptions to this. The selection of shore excursions were good and we took advantage of these at each port. Disembarkation arrangements for these were well organised. The "future cruise" booking desk was understaffed during the cruise causing frustrating delays and queues to see the member of staff involved. A large number of passengers were elderly and we were surprised over the selfish behaviour of a small number. The number of activities available each day catered well for most tastes, without any pressure to participate if you did not wish to. It did seem strange that the cruise actually visited ports on the west coast but passed Gothenberg to travel round the Southern tip of Sweden to Stockholm, before returning to visit Gothenberg halfway up the west coast prior to returning to the UK. Nevertheless we did enjoy the cruise overall. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Having sailed with Fred before we decided to do the Norway ,Arrived Dover parked the old bus up, Check in seemed to take for ever with those above our deck taking preference on boarding, lots of old people over 60 if you catch my drift . ... Read More
Having sailed with Fred before we decided to do the Norway ,Arrived Dover parked the old bus up, Check in seemed to take for ever with those above our deck taking preference on boarding, lots of old people over 60 if you catch my drift . One thing about Fred Olsen if it sank there are enough sticks on board you could build a raft and it is like a mortuary after 23.59 . Well her who is to be obeyed and myself found our cabin, Deck 4 not bad but this ship is beginning to look dated could do with replacement. Surprise our 3 cases were awaiting us in our cabin , Well done Dover baggage handlers !.. Don't think that we are tight wades, but we believe in the old Victorian way of showing gratuities. But first thing off to the pursers office to cancel all tips that would be taken and added to our on board account . You see T I P means to insure proficiency if some person of the crew goes way beyond there call of duty he or she will be given a brown envelope at journeys end THATS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT .Not the American way to subsidise the rest of the crew with a large bill at journeys end. I will not go waffling on but this was a well thought out cruise plenty to see and do, But Norway is a very clean and courteous country Expensive but if you want a beer or coffee prepare for a heart attack £ 11 or there about, A gift take for instance one tea towel £11 there are plenty of bicker back gift stores at very high prices complete toot ! rubbish!. The on-board Duty free shop had a sale that was a joke, A book on Norway marked £15. 00 ,we peeled a sticker back to reveal R R P £15.00 WHAT A CON !!! pointed it out to the assistant she did not want to know. Only thing good two bottles of booze 2 litres of scotch and Brandy £ 20. TO sum up Food A1 ,Fully inclusive AAA1 recommended at all cost, Trips very expensive do your home work DK guides recommended before booking. Work your trips out so you can get back to you ship for meals and tiffin ! its cheaper .We must say that the Entertainment was first class this year well done guys and gals Read Less
Sail Date May 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
Sail Date April 2017
On Saturday 30th April my partner and I travelled with Fred Olsen on Balmoral to Norway. My partner and I are in our early 20's, so much younger than most travellers. We found that the design of Balmoral was quite dated and feel that ... Read More
On Saturday 30th April my partner and I travelled with Fred Olsen on Balmoral to Norway. My partner and I are in our early 20's, so much younger than most travellers. We found that the design of Balmoral was quite dated and feel that it could do with a make-over, new carpets, chairs etc. but no problems with the facilities so we couldn't complain. We arrived at Dover at 12pm (the times given were between 12pm and 2pm) and check in was smooth and fast. We did have to wait until 2pm before they started embarkation which was a bit of a pain as we expected to get straight on as I did in my previous cruise with Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Once we were invited to the ship we were directed straight to our room where our luggage was waiting for us outside - very fast service. We asked for a table of 2 in the restaurant as we were hoping for a romantic holiday together as it was our first, and we were given this! We were in the main (Ballindalloch) restaurant which was very spacious and waiters were great. With dinner you are given a choice of wine, beer or water, but no choice for soft drinks. As we had paid for the all inclusive package and expected to have soft drinks available to us with our dinner, as advertised, but when we asked we were informed that we would have to pay for our soft drinks. Aside from this there was a lot of variety of food available and waiters were very fast in taking orders, and serving food. Very nice people. The drinks... As mentioned above we had paid for all inclusive when we booked with Fred Olsen. With the all inclusive you are offered a variety of house wines and spirits, and selected beers and ciders. Cocktails are NOT included in the AI which I feel should have been. The cocktail selection was not great either. Having the AI package you receive a 50% discount on cocktails and branded drinks, which is better than nothing and understandable with branded alcohol. Tea and coffee are only available from the restaurants and if you wish to have them from the bar you are asked to pay which is not acceptable. There were no self service machines either so you couldn't go and help yourself when you want one. The waiters serve you tea and coffee after your meals but there is no selection of tea or coffee, you just get what you are given. The entertainment and Activities provided on board was phenomenal. Fantastic staff and incredible shows every night to end the day on a good note. The Balmoral Show Company, who were new to the cruise were amazing and had incredible voices, Barnaby (the ship comedian) was very funny and Matt Cairnes (another vocalist) was fab too. 4th Dimension, who played in the Lido Lounge every night, were great and always got the crowd up dancing of an evening. The waiter service in the bars was good, fast service and always quick to take orders. We waited a max of 20 minutes but was understandable as the Lounge was very busy during the show. The Excursions provided at the Port of Calls were great. In Bergen we went to the Fløibanen funicular which was a great day out, in Olden we visited the Briksdal Glacier on Nordfjord which was beautiful and in Flam we travelled on the Flam Railway which was a little bit disappointing at this time of year. Overall, we had a fantastic cruise with Fred Olsen and would recommend travelling on Balmoral. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise around the Amalfi coast to places we gad never visited before. We have been on the Boudicca many times and we are pleased to say that the overall standard of service and cleanliness was as ... Read More
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise around the Amalfi coast to places we gad never visited before. We have been on the Boudicca many times and we are pleased to say that the overall standard of service and cleanliness was as good as ever. In the bars the service was prompt, in the restaurant the food was a very good standard and our cabin was spotless. The public areas were always clean and tidy and the entertainment was very good. Everyone of the staff seemed to have time to talk to you even though they were very busy. We enjoyed most of the trips out, the main reason for choosing this cruise, the guides were very good and the local transport used was of a high standard. Highlight for me was the isle of Capri, a beautiful place with excellent views from almost everywhere. The only downside is the price of goods in the shops.& Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I selected this cruise as an ideal Spring getaway to interesting parts of the Mediterranean, some of which I hadn't previously visited. The "Balmoral" is my favorite of the Fred. Olsen cruise ships. it is a fine looking ... Read More
I selected this cruise as an ideal Spring getaway to interesting parts of the Mediterranean, some of which I hadn't previously visited. The "Balmoral" is my favorite of the Fred. Olsen cruise ships. it is a fine looking ship, in good condition, spacious but small enough to enter ports that the more modern, large simply couldn't visit. I had booked a twin cabin on a single occupancy basis on deck 6. It was well positioned for easy access to the main features of the ship. It was of reasonable size, had a large picture window and had excellent air conditioning. There was more than ample storage, had a safe, tea/coffee making facilites and interactive television. It was fully serviced twice daily to a high standard. I dined in the Avon restaurant on deck 10. This is one of the smaller restaurants on the ship. The meals were excellent with good, variable menus. The service was excellent. I took occasional breakfasts and lunches in the Ballindalloch (Main) restaurant. The Palms Cafe was a good place afternoon tea and occasional coffees. The Bookmark Cafe served an excellent choice coffees and other quality drinks too. The inclusion of a wide range of free drinks in the "all inclusive" package was an added plus. The on-board entertainment varied enormously. In the daytime I don't think that the guest lecturers were up to the normal standard. The afternoon classical recitals were first class but there were too few of them. There were, of course the usual cruising activities taking place across the ship. The evening entertainment was very mixed with some excellent cabaret acts. The Balmoral Show Company were enthusiastic, energetic a quite talented. The Crew Show was, as usual, vastly entertaining. The swimming pools proved to be good places to exercise and catch the pleasant Mediterranean sunshine. One of the best features of Fred. Olsen cruises is the quality of the staff. They were pretty efficient, keen to help and inevitably happy and friendly. The shore tours were well organised and, in most cases very enjoyable. We called at nine different ports in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. this was, perhaps too many for we didn't spend enough time in some to fully appreciate the places of interest. I liked most of the ports of call but was especially impressed by El Ferrol (Spain), Ajaccio (France), Palermo (Italy) and Cartagena (Spain) mainly because it was my first visit to these towns. It was an enjoyable cruise. I would certainly go on a similar cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My wife and I have always preferred colder destinations, and the thought of possibly seeing the Northern Lights, and snowy scenery of Norway, attracted us to book this 15 night cruise. Also, the fact that we could sail direct from ... Read More
My wife and I have always preferred colder destinations, and the thought of possibly seeing the Northern Lights, and snowy scenery of Norway, attracted us to book this 15 night cruise. Also, the fact that we could sail direct from Southampton. After finding our ABP parking, which went smoothly, we were early for booking in, but after a not too boring wait we found ourselves on board - again, dealt with smoothly, and our luggage already waiting in our cabin. We had booked a Junior cabin with balcony on deck 9 - it was roomy, with lots of storage space. The balcony was a reasonable size also. The cabin furnishings were reasonable, if a little 'tired', the bed extremely comfortable. The bathroom had a shower over the bath - the shower was really good, and the water constantly hot. The taps were a bit tatty, but again the term 'tired' springs to mind - the last time this ship was refitted was 2008, I think! Overall, the cleanliness was excellent - our cabin attendant, Jeneth, was very attentive, nothing too much trouble, and very hard working. One of the highlights for us was the crew - a mix of nationalities, with quite a few Phillipinos, they were virtually all cheerful, professional, hard working and helpful- nothing was ever too much trouble. sadly, the way some of our fellow passengers spoke to them was a disgrace - rude and obnoxious, the worst of the 'Brits abroad' attitude, and these were a majority of middle-aged and elderly. In fact, the only drawback to our cruise was the other passengers - luckily we met some very nice people also, but so many off them were rude, would ignore you even if you said 'good morning' in the lift - the main topic of conversation was bragging about how many cruises they had been on which were 'far superior' to this one etc. The way they spoke to the crew was horrendous - snapping of fingers, interrupting them when they were dealing with other passengers! We ate in the Avon restaurant mainly - excellent food with a good choice, well cooked and presented, we never had one complaint about food, drinks or service. Our waiters were top class - professional, humorous, always attentive - head waiter Jon was brilliant, as was our main table water Germaine. All of them, in fact, would grace any hotel in the UK. The Palm café was also a good place to eat, with the Supper Club a good late evening venue. The entertainment was patchy - the Rosario String Trio were wonderfully talented musicians.We enjoyed the quiz nights in the Observation Lounge at night - and the drinks package we had purchased was well worth it!!! Overall, the experience was worthwhile, although the Northern Lights were never properly observed to any great extent due to the warmer weather conditions - rumour had it that some guests were doctoring their films to make it seem like they had seen them!!!! Even though we were above the Arctic Circle, the weather was mainly warmer than back in the UK The very north of Norway will be somewhere we would like to visit as a holiday destination in the future, and hopefully experience real Arctic conditions - apparently -15C to -20C are normal in January - it was above freezing when we were there. Shore tours we thought overpriced generally, and not long enough in duration. The amount of older passengers tended to slow things down, so an extra 15 - 30 minutes each time would have assisted those with slower mobility. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This cruise on Fred. Olsen’s ‘Balmoral’ (‘Canaries & Madeira Winter Sun’) was the third of a ‘three-for-the-price-of-two’ offer and followed voyages on the ‘Boudicca’ and the ‘Braemar’ – all in the space of nine ... Read More
This cruise on Fred. Olsen’s ‘Balmoral’ (‘Canaries & Madeira Winter Sun’) was the third of a ‘three-for-the-price-of-two’ offer and followed voyages on the ‘Boudicca’ and the ‘Braemar’ – all in the space of nine months. The ‘Balmoral’ compared very favourably with the other two (smaller) ships, not having the tired appearance of the ‘Boudicca’ and being more elegant that the ‘Braemar’. On all three ships we were located in a Superior Suite, but Cabin 9059 on the ‘Balmoral’ was the most ‘superior’ of the trio. The Starboard-side suite was spacious, well-appointed, and had plenty of storage space. The bathroom had a bath with an excellent shower which consistently provided plenty of hot water. The toilet, however, did not always flush thoroughly, but overall this was an excellent bathroom facility. Despite having the two ‘Scandinavian’ duvets, the double bed provided a very good night’s sleep, aided by the fact that there was little extraneous noise. The lounge area had a large table with a settee and two comfortable chairs. The adjacent balcony was of an adequate size and was equipped with a small table and two chairs. There was often a smell from the ship’s engines on the balcony and, if frequent use of the balcony is important, it would probably be better having a similar grade of cabin farther forward. The servicing standard of the cabin was very disappointing. In contrast to our other cruises with Fred. Olsen, we saw little of the stewardess, servicing levels were minimalistic and not very efficient. It may have been that the cabin staff had too much to do, as this was also the impression in the dining room where the waiting staff seemed to have too many tables to attend to – although our waiters were very courteous, attentive, and pleasant. The maitre d’ was charming and always helpful. We had requested a table for two, but found on the first evening that Table 326 was laid for four. This was a very small table, but fortunately, no other diners ever appeared and the table was subsequently only laid for two. Except for one incident when the roast beef was inedible, the food was excellent with the huge choice that we have previously experienced with Fred. Olsen. All our evening meals, and most breakfasts and lunches were taken in the Avon/Spey pair of restaurants on the Tenth Deck. These restaurants were spacious and civilised places to eat, with large windows providing an excellent ambience. In contrast, our limited use of the Ballindalloch restaurant and Palms Café proved to be crowded and noisy experiences. The standard of entertainment in the Neptune Lounge was very high, both from the Balmoral Show Company and the individual artists. The appreciation of the shows was enhanced by the fact that the stage of the Neptune Lounge was raised for these presentations – thus dealing with the poor viewing standards of the ‘Balmoral’s’ sister ships where this facility does not exist. The final night’s show (‘The Best of the Entertainment’s Team’) was excellent but it would have been better to see this at the commencement of the cruise so as to be able to appreciate what entertainment was available throughout the ship. There were also some excellent lectures and guitar concerts. Embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton were handled efficiently and swiftly, the latter a benefit of booking a suite. All ports of call were reached, in contrast to our previous cruise with Captain Victor Stoica who failed to get us to two ports on the schedule. We had pre-booked four excursions, one on each of the four islands in the Canaries. The first of these, at La Palma, was cancelled at the last minute due to lack of support. This was an eight hour tour when the ‘Balmoral’ did not get into port until about 1pm – so much of this ‘sightseeing’ excursion would have been in the dark. The other three excursions were good, and it was easy to explore independently in Madeira and Lisbon. Overall, an enjoyable cruise that would have been better if some of the staff had been able to devote more attention to providing a personal service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We are seasoned Olsen customers and have sailed on Balmoral (again this time) Braemar and Black Watch. This cruise got off to a shaky start due to very long delay for embarkation at Southampton.. Most ports interesting, but Casablanca ... Read More
We are seasoned Olsen customers and have sailed on Balmoral (again this time) Braemar and Black Watch. This cruise got off to a shaky start due to very long delay for embarkation at Southampton.. Most ports interesting, but Casablanca should be avoided unless on an organised tour. We settled for the shuttle bus into town and were dumped in a most appalling location. Like several hundred others in our position we stayed for about 15 minutes and headed back to ship. Olsen really must address this problem. A totally wasted port of call. Those on organised trips apparently had a good time. As always, onboard crew magnificent. If attempting to book a future cruise while onboard you may need to hassle a bit; at the fourth attempt a cabin to our satisfaction became available whereas previously nothing available. Other tour companies are taking block bookings at the expense of loyal Olsen customers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this ship as it was leaving from scotland and was not a big ship. Embarkation was good and the safety drill well done though i was disturbed that wee were not made to wear and demonstrate our life jackets on other cruises this ... Read More
We chose this ship as it was leaving from scotland and was not a big ship. Embarkation was good and the safety drill well done though i was disturbed that wee were not made to wear and demonstrate our life jackets on other cruises this has not been the case. W were well aware of the ship and were pleasantly surprised at the general state of her. Food good. entertainment really excellent with an exceptional classical pianist and a great show team, The speaker doing port talks was quite abysmal. the first speaker at any event i have ever heard. the speaker on the russian area nd jewellery was knowledgeable enough but a hustler and really was only there to sell as much on board of the good he brought but we did learn a fair bit from him, The crew were really lovely hard working learnt our preferences very quickly. we could not fault them. now for the rub. One does not pay over 4k for a holiday and expect it to be anything other than a luxury holiday. I did not expect to have th very strong smell of sewage or effluent in our corridor around our cabin we could next leave or enter the area with out it hitting us. this is cabin 5105 and i would strongly recommend anyone avoid it. We reported it an at first the smell of a lot of air freshener seemed to be on top of the nasty pong then after the canon next door complained and e did again. a pumper came ands took a panel of the corridor an ugly sight. The smell continued till finally vy the 8th day it was gone. Not a word of apology or offer of change or even on board spend. not everyone can afford cruise after cruise,i felt cheated a little by this. Having said that we did grow to really like the ship.We would consider going on her again but never on this deck. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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