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730 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

We have travelled with Fred. Olsen several times before but never on this, their flagship. Chosen for the itinerary and because it was a special event with all 4 Fred.Olsen ships meeting in Cadiz, a good place to visit. That was a very ... Read More
We have travelled with Fred. Olsen several times before but never on this, their flagship. Chosen for the itinerary and because it was a special event with all 4 Fred.Olsen ships meeting in Cadiz, a good place to visit. That was a very good day if a bit overcrowded. Very nice ship which probably was not seen at the best time, as it was full and so you could not get into the various events and there was always a struggle to find a sunbed or even seat inside. The average service may also have been due to the fact that the ship was full and waiters particularly were very stretched. On late sitting we were often eating until 10.30pm -too late for most people. However even when it was quiet, the bar waiters were very slack and we often went to the bar ourselves after waiting 5-10 minutes to be served. However my main complaint was that as a gluten free passenger my food choices and places to eat were limited, and this appeared to be acceptable to the senior management to whom I complained. I was even told that it was just a fad introduced by the Americans. Would therefore not recommend it if you are gluten free, unless you want to lose weight! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the Orkneys and Shetland were great and well worth visiting. We took a shore excursion at Inverness which was informative and well organised by our guide. Check in at Newcastle was fast and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the Orkneys and Shetland were great and well worth visiting. We took a shore excursion at Inverness which was informative and well organised by our guide. Check in at Newcastle was fast and efficient. We booked an inside superior cabin on Bridge deck and it was OK with a larger than average bathroom. However, there were none of the touches such as hand cream, bath robes or flannels that we've had elsewhere. Just soap in a dispenser! The entertainment was adequate and varied for a short cruise. However, we found the food to be of a very basic standard and without a great deal of variety. Also the waiter service in the bars was very disappointing and more often that not, we had to go to the bar to order. The ship, overall, looks pretty tired and deck furniture definitely needs replacing with loungers showing rust and other signs of wear. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I’ve always wanted to try a cruise so picked this one as I’ve always wanted to go to the Shetland Islands and it was short so gave us a chance to experience cruising. Arrived on the boat to our very expensive upgraded cabin. Very ... Read More
I’ve always wanted to try a cruise so picked this one as I’ve always wanted to go to the Shetland Islands and it was short so gave us a chance to experience cruising. Arrived on the boat to our very expensive upgraded cabin. Very disappointed. Only soap in a bottle supplied in the bathroom - just like a 3 star hotel. Very small towels. Thick rust round the taps and some black mould round bath. On the plus side, the beds were comfortable and we heard no noise at night. Food was excellent and nothing to complain about there. We didn’t go with the drinks package but the price of drinks was very reasonable and again nothing to complain about there either. Entertainment was aimed at an older generation, dance classes, tea dances and bingo etc. and nothing that I would participate in. In fact I question the amount of disabled people on board if there was an emergency. It would be interesting to see how quickly you were able to get to the lifeboats. There was nothing in terms of entertainment for children and yet there were quite a few on board. We participated in one very expensive shore excursion (£52 each) which was described as a walk through a forest to waterfalls and the description urged walking shoes and suitable clothing. In fact the walk was no more that 30 minutes in total and we spent a lot of that waiting for unfit people to catch up. I suppose the footwear of the guide gave it away really - fashion boots. We then visited a small town which was interesting but all of it could be seen in an hour or less. In Kirkwall we hired bikes for £20 and had a great day. In Lerwick we hired a car for £32 and saw all the area below Lerwick, which was fascinating. The day we were at sea all day was awful and we were bored stiff. We used the gym, which needs updating, for a couple of hours and then read for most of the day. The restaurant boasted a sea food lunch and certainly the display was wonderful but because the ship was busy there were queues for tables and we were shown to a table for 6. I really don’t want to eat with strangers, despite them being very pleasant. Overall I feel that this was very expensive for what you got, especially accommodation. Hopefully I have been fair in this review and maybe when I’m 80 and disabled I might choose to go on another one! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Although this ship was recently refurbished (newer furniture and carpeting) it lacks the excitement and character of other cruise lines we've been on (P&O, NCL, RCCL). The entertainment was so-so (think community college theater ... Read More
Although this ship was recently refurbished (newer furniture and carpeting) it lacks the excitement and character of other cruise lines we've been on (P&O, NCL, RCCL). The entertainment was so-so (think community college theater not Vegas-style), the comedian unfunny, and the average passenger age was over 60. We traveled with a well-behaved toddler. Even so most people were friendly (only had one "shushing" in the observatory lounge) and the crew was fantastic. We were bored on our day at sea. Even the older cruisers appeared bored as most just sat in the lounges reading books or iPads. The ports were excellent (Invergordon (Inverness), Kirkwall, and Lerwick) in Scotland but I highly recommend renting your own car and self-touring to save money. We overpaid significantly for a private guided tour from Invergordon. Rent a car and do it yourself (with a guidebook if you want)! You can see the standing stones of Stenness near Kirkwall by taking the public bus for less than 7 quid round-trip! We would only consider going on a Fred Olsen cruise in the future if it improved its on-board activities for families. To leave on a positive note, the drink and spa prices were very reasonable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were just viewing it as a means of getting to Orkney and Shetland and really were not expecting much. However how wrong we were. We found our inside cabin clean and spacious with a good ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were just viewing it as a means of getting to Orkney and Shetland and really were not expecting much. However how wrong we were. We found our inside cabin clean and spacious with a good sized shower room. The food was excellent and we found the entertainment some of the best we have come across. We have cruised many many times with Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and Costa always having had either a suite or balcony so feel I am in a position to give an honest review of the Balmoral. We found the size of the Balmoral easy to walk around especially when in heels of an evening. The crew and staff were very friendly and there was none of the hard sell for good reviews from the restaurant staff or the maitre d. The only thing I would change is the disembarkation/embarkation at ports of call. This is the first ship where both have taken place on the same gang plank but I guess this may be due to size. The ports of call - Invergordon, Kirkwall and Lerwick were good and we were blessed with excellent weather. We toured independently and hired a car for the day in Lerwick through Bolts car hire who had car waiting on quay upon ships arrival at a reasonable price. The age range on board was varied and yes there were some people who had mobility issues and how nice it was that they too could enjoy a lovely holiday. I would definitely consider cruising on the Balmoral again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I wanted a trip that my young nephews could go on and so could older members of the family through Saga. The average age of passengers was probably 70 but there were a few younger folk. The ship ran a 'Young Skippers Club' ... Read More
I wanted a trip that my young nephews could go on and so could older members of the family through Saga. The average age of passengers was probably 70 but there were a few younger folk. The ship ran a 'Young Skippers Club' which catered for children 5-11 and this worked very well even though there were only 10 in it the 2 staff worked very hard. The ship itself could do with a bit of an update some of the carpets were threadbare and sometimes there were the odd strange smells (possibly sewage and petrol or cleaning fluid). My cabin was a single inside one so no porthole. It was quite small but adequate. Air conditioning actually worked in fact I couldn't turn it down but that was ok for me and it was quite noisy. Food was very good and the small swimming pools and hot tubs were a hit with the kids. There were shuttle buses running to and from the ports every 15 mins which were a great help. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Location - we wanted to travel to Greenland and this cruise left from Liverpool which was reasonably convenient. The itinerary (Iceland and Greenland with a short stop at Belfast at the end) was the decider. Plus points - ... Read More
Location - we wanted to travel to Greenland and this cruise left from Liverpool which was reasonably convenient. The itinerary (Iceland and Greenland with a short stop at Belfast at the end) was the decider. Plus points - Pleasant cabin Very efficient cabin steward Good food suitable for older conservative eaters (eating their body weight in smoked salmon) Observatory lounge very comfortable Excursions were interesting although they were keen to make sure that their elderly and very frail passengers didn’t struggle with the trips. Chris Bielby’s talks on the natural history of our itinerary were an absolute highlight. He was available to help with whale and bird watching and never endingly patient. Minus points Entertainment was embarrassingly old fashioned. The “black & white minstrel show” version of the Jackson Five was toe curling. The cinema was freezing cold and they had the nerve to show Mrs Doubtfire (made in 1993). The entertainment was overall more like a trip back into a Sunday evening television programme from the early 1960s. I wouldn’t travel on Black Watch or any other Fred Olsen ship unless it was for the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was ... Read More
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was excellent, Steve V King and Barnaby were fantastic. And then the negatives…I thought the class system was fading out but how wrong, we wished to change our dining time from the later to the earlier sitting which involved one click on the computer, we even had the same table. This we were charged £4 per day, considering there were tables that were not being used for the whole cruise on the first sitting, I found disgusting. It was at this point we discovered ANCHOR CLASS. We had booked the cruise, last minute, and paid £2700 for 11 days of Baltic cruise to be in the bowels of the ship, deck 2. The last cruise we went on we paid £1700 for 7 days in the Mediterranean inc flights on deck 10, so our expectations from Fred Olsen were high. Unfortunately we were wrong, The Braemar was in fact a floating care home for the elderly, which we were under no illusion about, some whose only purpose in life was the daily charge for the restaurant, sorry I was incorrect because when the opportunity arose after food, there was an even bigger the race for the best seats around the ship with the nicest views, which after securing, they promptly fell asleep depriving people the chance to take in the sights. If they want to sleep GO TO YOUR CABIN, selfish gits. So now deprived of the good seats we went for a stroll around the ship, if you like the smell of paint then this is the ship for you, remember despite the 2018 price you paid, this is an old ship (1993) and the rust is appearing all over the place. Back to Anchor class, you would be charged for shuttle buses whereas other floors were not. The subject of upgrades was broached onboard during Captains question time and it is not company policy, we were also told that other cruise lines don’t do this, well Fred Olsen is wrong, all the other cruise lines we have used, do free upgrades. When my other half booked this, she told me we would be going to Sweden, Denmark and Finland,..two out of three wasn’t bad. We went to an obscure little island that belonged to Finland, with two attractions, a museum and an old sailing ship. The ship was shut for renovations….need I say more. I have resisted reviewing the holiday for a while so hopefully I would forget some of the horror. Up until this trip I have thoroughly enjoyed the cruising experience, and recommended others to try, just not maybe with Fred Olsen. There are much better Cruise company’s and cruise ships out there, younger, cheaper and better. Even worse, we sent this review to Fred Olsen and they didn,t bother to respond. A simple apology would be a good start, so even customer services are poor as well. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We've long wanted to visit Iceland, so this was the perfect choice- sailing out of Newcastle is easier for us than Southampton, and we were on Balmoral the previous autumn, so knew that she was a sturdy little ship, with excellent ... Read More
We've long wanted to visit Iceland, so this was the perfect choice- sailing out of Newcastle is easier for us than Southampton, and we were on Balmoral the previous autumn, so knew that she was a sturdy little ship, with excellent food and service. The itinerary was all Iceland- some cruises add other islands, or Norway, but that's not what we wanted. The check in was simple, and everything is so well organised for you to reach your cabin with ease. The ship has had a refurbishment since our last cruise on her, which included full make over of cabins- ours was spacious and very attractve. In the main dining room, the food was as excellent as last time, when we were able to say that it was the best food we've had on any cruise line- good choices;well served; good ingredients. Because the dining rooms are much smaller than on many ships the noise was minimal; large dining rooms on big ships often are quite noisy. The buffet is small, although we ate there rarely,as there are other options for breakfast and lunch. We did like to go there for a cream scone at tea time! Small ships don't have all the activities of the big ones, but there were plenty of lectures, along with traditional ship board games, quizzes and entertainment.The evening shows were good, with the usual song and dance routines, plus comedians, magicians and musicians. The lat time we were on Balmoral,it was an adult only cruise- this time, being in the middle of the summer holidays, there were some children cruising- perhaps 30 or so, and they always seemed to be busy with their leaders. Iceland itself was absolutely wonderful, from the long sail past the glacier, volcano and Westman Islands on the evening before arrivng at Reykjavk, to the final sailing down the last fjord, whale watching. There was a commentary for all these times, explaining much of what we were seeing,or what had happened in the past (Eyjafjallajokull eruption; Heimaey life; whale spotting). We took the cruise for the itinerary, but the ship was also a pleasant part of that itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Picked this cruise as it was our three special birthdays the staff on the embarkation car parking were fantastic.We were embarked quickly and smoothly,the staff in all departments were fantastic,food was always well presented and tasty.The ... Read More
Picked this cruise as it was our three special birthdays the staff on the embarkation car parking were fantastic.We were embarked quickly and smoothly,the staff in all departments were fantastic,food was always well presented and tasty.The ship was always clean,our room was spotless.Only downside was we had to get a triple room as the single supplement was not good,it was a pull down bed with a very bad ladder which my daughter had trouble getting up so decided to put the mattress on the floor.But as i have said the service in the restaurant was first class the staff were very attentive nothing was any trouble,some times the staff on the observation deck were hit and miss if you sat away from the bar area they would come round and ask if you wanted a drink and then after being served didn’t come round for a while,the other bars kept coming round. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We always go from Port of Tyne as it makes such an easy start to the holiday. I am slightly disabled and we have two autistic grandchildren and the crew and staff on Balmoral do everything the can to make the cruise perfect. We have been ... Read More
We always go from Port of Tyne as it makes such an easy start to the holiday. I am slightly disabled and we have two autistic grandchildren and the crew and staff on Balmoral do everything the can to make the cruise perfect. We have been on three cruises and each one has been wonderful. The food is great, the entertainment first class and our rooms are so comfortable. There is plenty to do for the children, who love the quizzes and shows in the evening. My only complaint is that although we have an allocated table in the evening breakfast and lunch is a bit of a free for all, and our allocated restaurant became a bit of a nightmare for the children, who find crowds and noise quite difficult to cope with. Apart from this, I cannot fault Fred Olsen and compliment him on a really well run organisation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation procedure was smooth as usual and we received our luggage promptly. Our cabins were fairly good, though we disliked the way that the porthole covers stuck out into the room as we liked to have the portholes uncovered on evenings when we had a sea day the following day. In one cabin we were unable to adjust the temperature as the cabin had a double bed and then two fold down beds which were against the wall and stopped us from being able to adjust the temperature to suit ourselves. We got in touch with guest services who came and changed it for us but that wasn't the point - we couldn't do that each time we wanted to change it! The staff in the Four Seasons restaurant couldn't have been more helpful. We had requested a window table but weren't given one, however we mentioned it and were changed to a window table from the next evening. The maitre d'hotel was the perfect mix of professional and friendly and so were the two waiters who served us. The only issue we noticed with the dining was that butterfish was on the menu, this surprised us as it's notorious for causing stomach upsets and so could easily ruin somebodies cruise. We generally didn't take part in the evening entertainment but the British evening was good, very professional. One of the entertainers in particular had an amazing singing voice, he could have been in the West End as he was that good. We enjoyed the talks from the Scottish gentleman who spoke about Iceland, Greenland and (of course) Scotland and were pleased to note that his talks about Iceland and Scotland didn't focus heavily on shopping (obviously they couldn't for Greenland!) but on providing some great local information. Fred Olsen had also arranged for an expert from the University of Cambridge to talk about the geology and culture of the areas that we were visiting, her talks were second to none. Both her and the Scottish gentleman were on deck and would chat to passengers and give out more information at will. When were travelling through the amazing Prins Christian Sund they both spent time on deck and on the bridge giving out some interesting information which enhanced the holiday. Our only disappointment was that Fred Olsen did not arrange an excursion to the ice cap in Greenland. We noticed that there was one from the port we called at but it got back only just before the ship departed and so it wasn't worth the risk of using a third party company as Greenland isn't the easiest of places to arrange a sudden flight from to meet the ship at the next port after all. There were plenty of activities for teenagers and all of the teenagers were pleasant and extremely well behaved as you'd expect on a trip to Greenland. There were four younger children, two were very pleasant whenever we saw them but two were a nuisance, mainly because they were unsupervised by their parents even when in the swimming pool when the younger one was unable to swim. This was the fault of the parents and not the children of course. Embarkation was poor, we sat on the coach for over an hour because the cruise company took all that time to help two guests who needed extra assistance and also managed to misplace their luggage. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have cruised for many years but not with this line. I have to say this cruise was amazing from check in to check out. The staff could not have been more helpful, pleasant and funny. Our cabin 5141 was a little outdated, but was kept ... Read More
We have cruised for many years but not with this line. I have to say this cruise was amazing from check in to check out. The staff could not have been more helpful, pleasant and funny. Our cabin 5141 was a little outdated, but was kept immaculate. We ate in the Palm Café (self service) the food was lovely and there was always a good selection. The entertainment team were amazing (Mike is a dark horse) and the comedian that came on board Brenda hilarious. I cannot say enough about the shore excursions as they were wonderful and the staff from the ship so helpful if required. We didn't do many of the activities but what we did was good fun. The crew were great and nothing was too much trouble. Would I travel with Fred again, Absolutely we've been with P and O and all the rest, but Fred Olsens is personal with very little technology and plenty of smoking areas , a ship line that doesn't make a smoker feel guilty at wanting a cigarette on holiday. Well done Fred Olsens. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose the Fred Olsen Cruise Line and especially the Balmoral because it could cruise right up into the fiords that we wanted to see. Some of the larger cruise lines cannot do this. Excellent food and service in the Ballindalloch ... Read More
We chose the Fred Olsen Cruise Line and especially the Balmoral because it could cruise right up into the fiords that we wanted to see. Some of the larger cruise lines cannot do this. Excellent food and service in the Ballindalloch restaurant. Especially from our waiters Pat & Anthony. Excellent service in the Observation Lounge where we spent evenings drinking a cocktail before dinner especially our waiter Charpet. Captain Rommel Pineda always stopped for a friendly word & the same with Simon the entertainment officer. That also goes for any other staff that we met on our daily walk around the Balmoral. They always had a smile on their face & said hello or good morning or good evening. We will definitely be happy to cruise with Fred Olsen on the Balmoral again. And we would certainly recommend the Fred Olsen Cruise line to any of our friends who are thinking of booking a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We had always wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords and had never cruised before, so took the plunge and booked the 6 night cruise from Newcastle. We were lucky enough to get the all inclusive deal at the time we booked. The trip was ... Read More
We had always wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords and had never cruised before, so took the plunge and booked the 6 night cruise from Newcastle. We were lucky enough to get the all inclusive deal at the time we booked. The trip was amazing. The ship is lovely, not a glistening modern one but really classy - a wide variety of nice bars, lounges, snugs, library - plenty places to sit quietly. The food was truly amazing - buffet breakfasts and lunches were really good - and the five course meal at night in our restaurant (The Avon) was exceptional, very good quality food and variety. The service was really good - all waiter service for drinks. The crew are mainly Asian, and their standards of service are so professional, and, very friendly. Our cabin had everything we could have wanted in it - we had a superior inside cabin on the Lido Deck 8. The Fjords are a sight to be seen, and the commentary and opportunities to see things as we sailed was perfect. The ship is probably geared more towards the older client, although there were a range of ages on board. We didn't see much entertainment but the singer/guitarist in the Morning Light bar was very, very good and played a range of music to appeal to most age groups. I honestly cannot recommend this cruise highly enough - for the money that we paid, it was truly amazing value, far above what we had expected - a 5 star experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through ... Read More
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through security and on the ship.we were on deck 8 Superior inside cabin and we were very happy with it. The food at all meal times were excellent, we chose to have our evening meals in the Avon Restaurant and the staff were first class. There is plenty to do on board if you don't want to get off at any of the ports. We mainly had our drinks in the Marquee Bar on the top deck very friendly and customer focused. Entertainment was also good, a great holiday which I would recommend to anyone the scenery was amazing weather was mixed apart from one day when it never stopped raining. We did the Funicular ourselves it cost £5 each to go up as we walked back down which I would recommend if your able. We then went to find the Ice Bar which cost us £19 each it was good fun and worth going in. We bought the tickets for the Flam Railway off Fred Olsen and I would advise to do this as your seats are reserved for you and well worth doing. All of the Ports that we stopped at were expensive to buy anything but really worth looking round the shops, you can do your own thing plenty to see and do. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have traveled with a number of cruise lines over 20 years but, Fred Olsen keep on giving the very best in all areas. The ships, food and most important the staff. Wonderful destinations too. We traveled with two children 11 and 13 ... Read More
We have traveled with a number of cruise lines over 20 years but, Fred Olsen keep on giving the very best in all areas. The ships, food and most important the staff. Wonderful destinations too. We traveled with two children 11 and 13 years and they were also looked after so well by the two children's skipper staff. We are going to be back again next year.Thank you Fred Olsen for making us feel so valued as passengers. The last lunch onboard was fantastic all you could ever want. We did talk to a number of passenger that made comment about Fred Olsen after travelling with the big cruise lines. All agreed Fred Olsen was by far the best. Particularly the staff and food. The only thing we did not like is having to get off. The cruise we did was 8 nights which was fantastic but, would like to do longer next time. The only was to see Norway as we did this time is with Fred Olsen. A very easy check in at Southampton and boarded the ship directly which was nice. No waiting around. One onboard we tool a look at our cabin 3033 to find a very warm welcome from our cabin stewardess. Bags had arrived too and were placed on the two lower berths. We then went to the Palms cafe for lunch. A very nice choice of food. Not had a choice before of a hot meal so early upon boarding. In the past it has been a light lunch so this was very enjoyable with two hungry children with us. This ship is so easy to find your way around and if you do have a problem very clear deck plans around the ship. Staff too are never far away. Entertainment across the ship was great. Sail away party as we left Southampton added to the overall enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
A bit of a mixed bag. We had been on Balmoral before and it was not as good this time. Superficially the cabin appeared spotless but there was a large accumulation of dirt under the beds and it obviously had not been cleaned for a long ... Read More
A bit of a mixed bag. We had been on Balmoral before and it was not as good this time. Superficially the cabin appeared spotless but there was a large accumulation of dirt under the beds and it obviously had not been cleaned for a long time. The water in the bathroom was seldom more than lukewarm and ran very slowly. The shaver points were hanging off the wall. The toilet paper was thin and poor quality. The TV picture kept breaking up because of "incompatibilty with the onboard transmitting equipment". The beds and pillows were comfortable. We were booked on the 2030 dinner sitting by Fred, we didn't ask for it. This was far too late for us so we asked the maitre d' if we could change to 1830. He told us there were over 200 people wanting to change and he couldn't do anything for us. From an earlier review it seems that if money had changed hands a change would have been possible. As it was we had little choice but to eat in the self-service buffet every night, not exactly a prime dining experience. The food was generally quite good with a large choice. The coffee, however, was very poor indeed, almost totally lacking in flavour. Cups and glasses were often less than clean, with lipstick or stains on them. We found the waiters to be very offhand, bordering on surly, with a lack of manners in many cases. The waitresses, whom we encountered only in the Neptune Lounge, were better, with the odd exception. The Captain's cocktail party was a farce. It consisted of walking past the captain and officers at the entrance to the Neptune Lounge (a theatre), getting a free drink, the captain speaking for a couple of minutes, a few words from a sample of crew members, and that was it. Hardly a party. The entertainment was of mixed quality. The onboard company of singers and dancers worked hard and were very good across the piece. The "guest" classical pianist was excellent, the guitarists less so, often playing obscure material. The comedian was excellent. The pianist in the Observation Lounge seemed to simply tinkle away tunelessly in a totally disinterested manner on the occasions we went up there in the afternoons. The trio in the Bar were wasted; they were far far better than the inconsequential material they were required to play. The tours provide by Fred were, as always, grossly overpriced and exceptionally poor value for money. Doing-it-yourself, using local transport etc was far far cheaper and enabled close contact with local people, who were unfailingly helpful. The port call at Invergordon, a very small town, was clearly settled upon as a prime opportunity for Fred to sell his tours as there was very little to do there. On the way back to Newcastle (North Shields in reality) we left Lerwick in the Shetlands at 2300 on a Friday. We arrived at North Shields at 0600 on Sunday two days later, a journey of 31 hours doing approx 10 knots. It would surely have been possible to leave Lerwick earlier, call in at another port on the Saturday, perhaps Aberdeen, sailed a little faster than a crawl and still get into North Shields in time for a turnaround for the next departure. It felt very much like a wasted Saturday, and a missed opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Absolutely no disrespect meant to elderly people but this cruioplpse had a lot of partially disabled elderly people on board bless them I admire the fact that they can still get out and about Getting on and off the ship was not easy not ... Read More
Absolutely no disrespect meant to elderly people but this cruioplpse had a lot of partially disabled elderly people on board bless them I admire the fact that they can still get out and about Getting on and off the ship was not easy not enough wheelchairs, a stepped gangway, Dropping anchor in open water and getting on off a tender in ruff water again not easy. Mooring at a pier that could not handle sufficient transport for people to get off with only one gangway. In the unlikely event of an emergency I could see things going wrong. 3/4 hr late getting off ship to go on a shore tour which had to be cut short, disappointing Cabin not as described in all the literature They didn't send suitable transport to either pick the disabled person up from home or drop back home another 3/4 hr wait on pier with no facilities Time ashore was to short Having said that the crew, service,food and entertainment on board were with out doubt excellent. You could pick your own evening meal times Breakfast lunch and supper were available in other restaurants. Entertainment throughout the ship with a full stage and several acts. Many of the bars had singers and television. Internet throughout the ship but it was expensive. Two formal black tie evenings And one meet the Captain night Both very good. You must use the hand sanitizer on entering and leaving most areas of the ship to reduce risk of infection this is not because the ship is dirty it’s very clean and well decorated Cabin was made up every morning and beds turned down every evening I didn’t use the fitness areas Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Always wanted to visit the Scottish Islands and this cruise gave us a great taste of what was available should we want to go back for longer visits. We took one of the organised trips but for the rest of the time opted to do our own ... Read More
Always wanted to visit the Scottish Islands and this cruise gave us a great taste of what was available should we want to go back for longer visits. We took one of the organised trips but for the rest of the time opted to do our own thing. As always we were very well looked after by the staff. The staff in the restaurants were attentive and always willing to help. The food was excellent, we used the buffet for breakfast and lunch, when on board and the Ballindalloch Restaurant for fixed dining in the evenings. Staff in the bars were also very good and always on hand. The evening entertainment was most enjoyable and of a high standard and there was always something to do during the days at sea. Interesting talks and recitals. We were more than happy with our room which was very comfortable and larger than we had expected. Overall, an excellent experience which we look forward to repeating hopefully soon!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was for me, a rare opportunity to visit Orkney, Shetland and Lewis and I was not disappointed. The ship was as excellent as expected (I have grown to love Balmoral) and the itinerary wonderful. Wonderful restaurant and bar staff, ... Read More
This was for me, a rare opportunity to visit Orkney, Shetland and Lewis and I was not disappointed. The ship was as excellent as expected (I have grown to love Balmoral) and the itinerary wonderful. Wonderful restaurant and bar staff, good choice of vegetarian food and everyone very friendly, as always expected from Fred. I particularly enjoyed the visits to the ancient archaeological sites on each of the islands we visited, which gave a really good insight into how people lived thousands of years ago. In Kirkwall we took a DIY excursion by taxi and our Driver Kenny was wonderful, full of enthusiasm for his homeland and giving every bit as good an experience as a professional tour guide. In Shetland we had the very cheerful Melvyn, who has such a gleeful personality that our time there just flew by. I cannot wait for my next cruise with Fred. - next Spring! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My wife and I chose Fred Olsen, our first time on this line, because it left and returned from England sailing to Iceland at the time we wanted to travel within these locations. The service personnel, maintenance of the ship and quality of ... Read More
My wife and I chose Fred Olsen, our first time on this line, because it left and returned from England sailing to Iceland at the time we wanted to travel within these locations. The service personnel, maintenance of the ship and quality of the food were excellent. Even the song and dance shows were better than expected for a small ship of only 925 passengers. Only one aspect of Fred Olsen's business model holds me back from giving this cruise a high review, and that is, Fred Olsen's policy of withholding the exact arrival and departure times from the ports of call. My wife and I, seasoned cruise travelers by now, usually book small-group shore excursions from local providers when we can. But that can't be done unless the tour companies know the exact cruise ship arrival and departures times for pick up and drop off. Fred Olsen lists only the time of day, as in "early morning" or "late afternoon" in their public itinerary. But we know the company knows the specific times because: (1) docking space must be prescheduled with the ports, and (2), having asked seven customer agents about the docking schedule, two Fred Olsen representatives gave me the exact arrival/departure times they read off their computer screens and five told me they didn't know exact the times, only the approximate part of day. Granted, the cruise route was changed six weeks before we sailed and one arrival time was earlier than I was told, but for all the other ports of call, the exact times in port were the same as I was given by the the two open-information Fred Olsen customer reps. I can only surmise that Fred Olsen wants to discourage passengers from booking independent shore excursions. It took a lot of effort to do that. Most people would give up after the first query. So how were the two Fred Olsen excursions we did book? As expected for large-group, big-bus trips -- okay but nothing memorable or personal. I would recommend Fred Olsen tours for those who don't want surprises within a traditional cruise experience and few children or younger people milling around the ship. Although Fred Olsen promotes itself as a "value" cruise experience, choosing a balcony room with a view make the cruise more expensive than those on larger cruise ships of 2000 passengers or more. PS: My wife said the yoga and exercise sessions were great. And so was the crew. We loved the captain and had two conversations with him. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen absolutely fantastic Staff are brilliant food etc is 5 star plus Staff are always pleasant professional and always willing to help. Food is amazing in all the restaurants there is so much ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen absolutely fantastic Staff are brilliant food etc is 5 star plus Staff are always pleasant professional and always willing to help. Food is amazing in all the restaurants there is so much choice and always available We had the all inclusive the choice of drinks were amazing The bar staff would know what you liked and were on hand at all times. I was impressed that one of the bar staff knew my name from our first cruise which was 2 years ago. The cabin was spotless and the maid was so pleasant The entertainment was very good and also were the guest speakers The ship was immaculate and the crew were always cleaning the decks All the staff on the ship were so hard and always smile. It's a pleasure to sail with Fred Olsen and we will be sailing with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The ship was great the embarkation was good and the disembarkation was a very smooth operation and crew could not do enough for us. I could not fault the quality or quantity of food on board and the entertainment was really good. There was ... Read More
The ship was great the embarkation was good and the disembarkation was a very smooth operation and crew could not do enough for us. I could not fault the quality or quantity of food on board and the entertainment was really good. There was also a well equipped gym and many treatment rooms. There was plenty of information in the cabin and the Daily Times news letter was very helpful. The Cabin was clean and comfortable with more than enough storage for the two of us the. Great cruise only let down by what I would call the incompetence of the shore tour people, it seems the lack of communication between ship and shore made us nearly miss the transfer bus to the helicopter flight (it was driving off as we got to the gate) and at £250 each for my nephew and myself would have been very disappointing to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Wonderful holiday. Small ship compared to some but lovely. Spotlessly clean. Food amazing and Norway is just fantastic. The service for drinks and at dinner was slow and that's only criticism. I particularly enjoyed the ballroom ... Read More
Wonderful holiday. Small ship compared to some but lovely. Spotlessly clean. Food amazing and Norway is just fantastic. The service for drinks and at dinner was slow and that's only criticism. I particularly enjoyed the ballroom dancing and attended a ballroom class. Unfortunately missed one due to illness. Nigel in particular was so kind, professional and patient. Some of the roads when out on tours are scary but so glad I did them. Have never seen such beautiful scenery. I was amazed how many older people with walking problems were on this cruise as soon of the gangways were tricky. It's not all older people as we were told but to be fair there were a few. Weather was great. My favourite place was Olden. Entertainment was good. The crew did a show at short notice as one of entertainment team had been injured. It was so good they got a standing ovation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
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