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271 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

We chose this for our first ever cruise and we were delighted with it. The staff on the Balmoral were attentive and caring. Dinner was a treat every night with excellent service. We were on Deck 5 with a lovely picture window and the cabin ... Read More
We chose this for our first ever cruise and we were delighted with it. The staff on the Balmoral were attentive and caring. Dinner was a treat every night with excellent service. We were on Deck 5 with a lovely picture window and the cabin was very comfortable and kept beautifully clean by our lovely cabin assistant. We went to see Norway and we certainly did! Stunning scenery, leisurely cruising and drinks on deck, brought to you by beautiful smiling staff. The shore tours were efficient in their organisation and very informative and extremely enjoyable. Everyone we met in Norway and on board were friendly and happy. We were blessed with beautiful weather and were happy not to bother with formal nights preferring to watch the stunning scenery slip by. There is no pressure to join in with dancing the night away if it's not your thing! I also can't believe how Fred gets negative comments. We were spoon fed from boarding to disembarkation, totally spoilt and loved it. The all inclusive saved us a good deal of money and I thoroughly recommend the Atlantis Spa where I had the best Swedish massage of my life. We can't wait to join this beautiful ship and lovely crew again. Thanks for our gorgeous memories Fred Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Only ever cruised with Fred. over many years. Black Watch is still to me the best. Excellent food all crew member were excellent Entertainment excellent ( I especially liked the choir performed by some passengers. Some crew ... Read More
Only ever cruised with Fred. over many years. Black Watch is still to me the best. Excellent food all crew member were excellent Entertainment excellent ( I especially liked the choir performed by some passengers. Some crew say when they see me ' Welcome home'. Even remember my name and what I drink. I think of some of crew as friends, however the do not forget all passengers and are always professional. The ship is always spotless and all crew work hard to keep it so. I used to travel with my partner, who was confined in a wheel chair. The seating arrangements at meal times for her was excellent. we always had a table to suit her needs. and spoilt her of many years. Pushing her in her wheelchair we managed to complete many miles around the desk. I now travel alone and now go on most of the trips on port days. I especially liked the cycle trip of about 8 miles (although it was electric cycle full instruction was given to all. Have booked for Iceland for next year, together with two other cruises with Fred. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Scenic cruise from local embarkation . From embarkation to disembarkation at port of Tyne could not have ask for better service.on board the balmoral the service on all levels were first class. Entertainment ,bar service dinning room ... Read More
Scenic cruise from local embarkation . From embarkation to disembarkation at port of Tyne could not have ask for better service.on board the balmoral the service on all levels were first class. Entertainment ,bar service dinning room service food very good and waiters very helpful .great fjords great port of calls many bars to choose from .live music plenty of sun beds on rear of ship to top deck. We got a room with picture window which was great to watch the fjords go by while getting ready for your night time out two formal nights which I love to see when everybody taken a effort to dress up .if you ever fancy a go at ballroom dancing they had lesson in the afternoon and at night the host were there to encourage you to get up or if you were a solo guest they would dance with you overall five satrs to Fred olsen Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have been on Balmoral before, and we have been to Norway lots of times before - but who could ever tire of Norway? We chose the "Fred's Favourite Fjords" cruise because the departure port was from Newcastle, which is ... Read More
We have been on Balmoral before, and we have been to Norway lots of times before - but who could ever tire of Norway? We chose the "Fred's Favourite Fjords" cruise because the departure port was from Newcastle, which is very handy for us in Durham. Embarkation was straightforward and efficient, and we found ourselves on board by about 2.30pm. We had wanted to sit out on deck with a cold cocktail, but the grey and drizzly Newcastle weather made this impossible. It was, however, the only grey and drizzly weather we saw, because there wasn't a cloud in the sky once we reached the fjords. We were allocated cabin 4125, a spacious outside cabin with a large window and two single beds in an L-configuration. There was ample wardrobe and drawer space, tea and coffee making facilities, a flat screen TV and a small-but-adequate bathroom with a shower stall. Not the Ritz, but certainly enough to ensure we would have a comfortable cruise. I like the Balmoral (indeed, all the FO ships) because they actually look like ships and not like floating apartment blocks like some of the RCI monstrosities. Balmoral is the flagship of the FO line with 1350 passengers, and is just a nice size to ensure there is plenty to do on board without being overcrowded. We ate in the Ballindalloch restaurant on the 6.15pm sitting and the food was the high standard we have come to expect on Fred cruises. Service was quick and done with a smile. We were travelling on the all inclusive package and this is well worth the money if, like us, you enjoy a drink. Even premium brands and cocktails were half-price. Entertainment was very good; the Balmoral Show Company put on original, lively performances and the guest entertainers included a funny comedienne and an amusing comedy magician. I must also mention John Smithson, the resident entertainer in the Morning Light pub, who played the keyboard, guitar and violin (not all at the same time) and had everyone's feet tapping and hands clapping with his lively fiddle tunes each night. The cruise itself was fantastic. As I mentioned, the weather was perfect and the scenery, cruising along through the beautiful fjords, was stunning. Think of the Lake District but on a grander scale - all mountains, waterfalls, mirror-like water and glaciers; absolutely beautiful. We did an excursion in most of the ports and these were expensive (aren't they always?) but well organised, with the exception of Hellesylt, where the cruise director made the mistake of announcing that the gangway was open, leading to a massive bottleneck as 1350 passengers all tried to disembark at once, leading to our tour starting over an hour late. This was the only blip, however, and everything went to plan after that. Our only complaint on this week-long cruise was that it wasn't long enough! We could easily have managed another week. Everything was spot-on and I cannot understand the negative reviews I have read here - it's hard to believe those people were on the same cruise. We are looking forward to our next one, and would advise anyone who hasn't been to Norway to go there at once; if there is a Heaven, it must look how the Norwegian fjords look. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This is the 2nd Fred Olsen cruise for me 1st from Southampton and latest from Newcastle which is only a 2hr drive or less from my home town Doncaster. The ship Balmoral is fantastic, a Premier Suite cabin very very good, dining superb, ... Read More
This is the 2nd Fred Olsen cruise for me 1st from Southampton and latest from Newcastle which is only a 2hr drive or less from my home town Doncaster. The ship Balmoral is fantastic, a Premier Suite cabin very very good, dining superb, entertainment especially Lisa Harman who is an excellent pianist and superb singer/activities very good/ service with smiles from the waiters and excellent choice of food. Ports excellent,did 3 tours which were excellent. Yes I would and have booked a cruise for 2017 with Fred Olsen on the Balmoral. My husband & I cruised on the QE2 and I have cruised with Cunard alone twice and with my 98yr old Aunt (who was in a wheelchair) on the Balmoral in 2013, help was given at every stage. My last cruise from which I recently returned, I took my friend for whom it was the first time cruising and everything came up to expectations. I would highly recommend a cruise with Fred Olsen. Norma B. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Having never cuised with Fred before I did not know what to expect. We had a bad experince many years ago with costa, and since then only cuised on the Hebridean Princess. Being used to spend around £1,000 a night I was very apprehensive ... Read More
Having never cuised with Fred before I did not know what to expect. We had a bad experince many years ago with costa, and since then only cuised on the Hebridean Princess. Being used to spend around £1,000 a night I was very apprehensive of a 5 night cuise for £800 each. I was so wrong. The Balmoral and Fred's crew exceeded all our expectations. The ship is lovely, the crew will bend backward to satify any wish you might have, the food is at a level with the one on the Hebidean Princess, and our waiter was polite, fun, and extremely efficient. The public rooms must have been refurbished recently as the furniture looks almost new, and our cabin was comfortable and efficient. The only downside to our cabin was the bathroom wich was obviously a little tired, and having some practical plumbing problems, however everithing else was so nice we did not mind too much. The thing I particularly loved is the crew. Helpful and polite at all times. We will definetly cruise with Fred again, and have already booked our next cruise with them to Iceland. I would definetly recommend the Balmoral, and as a final point would like to admit that I am a clean freak, and despite my impossible standards, and against all odds, I found the ship very clean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
A short 5 night cruise out of Newcastle which was fantastic. we both had a great time, our suite on deck 10 was better than expected with a very large balcony sitting room and separate bedroom, the food on board was better then other ... Read More
A short 5 night cruise out of Newcastle which was fantastic. we both had a great time, our suite on deck 10 was better than expected with a very large balcony sitting room and separate bedroom, the food on board was better then other cruises we have been on and the drinks package was fantastic value, the service from all the crew was again fantastic, happy and always helpful, all the other passengers which we spoke to were all very friendly and although we were expecting a more mature age group, we were very surprised to find a good mix of all ages, a ship that I would recommend and a trip to the fjords that covers so much in five days, I'm sure it would take 7 or eight days sailing from one of the ports on the south coast and you miss out a lot of the North Sea. top marks to Fred Olsen and thank you for all the little extra touches that made this short break seem much longer and very special . I will be looking at your web site first next time we book a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I had never been on a cruise before, this being on my Bucket List. I had a really great time, I could not fault the Ship or her Crew. The sailing was very smooth and the scenery spectacular. I would recommend this to anyone, I enjoyed ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before, this being on my Bucket List. I had a really great time, I could not fault the Ship or her Crew. The sailing was very smooth and the scenery spectacular. I would recommend this to anyone, I enjoyed it so much I have booked to sail on another cruise next year. The shore excursions were well organised and interesting, with a local guide who knew the area well, and could answer any questions asked. The facilities on board could not be faulted and the food was well above average. In fact I might have gone just for the food. There were plenty of activities for those who wanted them, or for people like me a quite relaxing time chilling out and reading with the occasional glass or two. The evening entertainment was good and varied with different artists at various locations on board. Overall I would recommend this to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Because my friend and I wanted to go to the places this cruise visited. I have cruised a few times and this is the first Fred Olsen and best one I've been on. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, I particularly liked the way you ... Read More
Because my friend and I wanted to go to the places this cruise visited. I have cruised a few times and this is the first Fred Olsen and best one I've been on. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, I particularly liked the way you were given a table at lunch time, the food was presented and cooked well and a good variety. The ship was smaller than I been on before and I felt it was much better and more friendly. The entertainment was superb, also the activities. The night where the staff entertained us was brilliant it was good to see the different customs and dances. I went on a number of excursions which were brilliant with the exception of St Petersburg city visit which I think you need to go on foot (I couldn't walk well that's why I chose this excursion) The whole of the holiday from embarkation to disembarkation went like a dream and most enjoyable. (Thank you Braemar for a lovely cruise) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this cruise for three reasons. Firstly we wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Secondly e liked the idea that it sailed from a UK port and finally it was organised by SAGA and we trust their services. We were picked up by car ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three reasons. Firstly we wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Secondly e liked the idea that it sailed from a UK port and finally it was organised by SAGA and we trust their services. We were picked up by car and dropped at Liverpool Cruise terminal and the return was just the reverse of that. It was extremely smooth with luggage being well and speedily handled on embarkation and disembarkation. The ship was comfortable and suited us but may not suit younger people as the entertainment was not particularly geared to a young audience.There were places to sit and read or just talk so we were not confined to our cabin as has happened on larger ships. The cabin was not large but sufficed for our needs but we also had a balcony so it didn't feel too cramped. The crew were very helpful and pleasant throughout. The food was good with plenty of choice. Drinks service in the various lounges was efficient. The ships entertainment team were better than any I have experienced on other cruise lines. They actually had singers who could sing - a rarity in my experience. They had good additional entertainers including a good comedian, a good singer a flamenco guitarist and a multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, saxophone and flute) We booked four excursions but one was cancelled due to lack of take-up, The other three were better than most I have experienced before and although not cheap were reasonable value for money. Beware of the price a drinks ashore in Norway. A 500 ml bottle of beer cost the equivalent of £11.50 Overall this was a superb cruise. I have cruised about 12 times altogether with five different cruise lines and this was the best so far. Far better than P&O and a little better than Thomson. An enjoyable experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was one of the best, most relaxing cruises I have been on. The highlight was cruising along the Seine, to and from Rouen. We also cruised inland to Bordeaux, and that is a beautiful city. Evening entertainment was very good, and we ... Read More
This was one of the best, most relaxing cruises I have been on. The highlight was cruising along the Seine, to and from Rouen. We also cruised inland to Bordeaux, and that is a beautiful city. Evening entertainment was very good, and we were always able to find a seat for the 2nd sitting show. We were seated at a table for 4 and the couple we shared with, Edna and Peter were excellent company. The food was of a very high standard - much better than I experienced on the Queen Mary 2 in October last year. Daytime entertainment for me (57) and my mum (92 but very fit) centred mostly around the quizzes. These were made extra entertaining by the staff who ran them but especially Thomas, who, at the age of 26, was funny and entertaining and really brightened up the day. Only problem was that the quizzes were very popular, and so Fred needs to re-think the venue - the Morning Light pub simply isn't big enough. I also used the gym and was often the only person in the pool - it was a chilly April, but the pools were heated and lovely. Our cabin was lovely and quiet - we were on deck 4 with a picture window. The queues sometimes to get off and on the ship were a bit of a pain, but when when you have several slightly disabled octagenarians it's only to be expected. On the whole our fellow guests were a lively lot and out to have a good time. This cruise was quite expensive, but worth every penny. I'd definitely do the same one again, but it would be even better in the summer! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise as it stayed overnight in Madeira for the Flower Festival and what a treat that was, we could not believe that we were the only cruise ship that stayed overnight. Celebrity left on the day of the flower festival and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it stayed overnight in Madeira for the Flower Festival and what a treat that was, we could not believe that we were the only cruise ship that stayed overnight. Celebrity left on the day of the flower festival and the MSC and Aida both arrived the day after - well done Fred Olsen and thank you. As always we found the food and staff to be the same excellent standard as we have experienced in the past. There was plenty of choice both at lunch time and in the evenings and no meals were repeated. Indeed we were on the Balmoral in January, and the meals were quite different. All the staff from the waiters, to the entertainment staff to the Show Company were outstanding, especially as they did have to cope with the dreaded Norovirus and all the extra work that it entails for all on board. They were still cheerful and always had time to talk to you. It doesn't help when passengers who are infected with norovirus leave their cabins and go into the shops, spreading the disease further, and one lady refusing to use soap after visiting the toilet - then we wonder why these incidents keep happening. Perhaps the people should be banned from cruising and thrown off the ships. We look forward to returning to the Balmoral in July and are very pleased that we will have the same Show Company who were outstanding - can't wait to see the shows again. Anyone that doesn't know that Fred Olsen caters for the more mature passenger, hasn't done their homework! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
For our Wedding Anniversary we decided to do something special and choose the Fred Olsen cruise "Easter Ireland" and booked a Premier Suite. We could not fault anything (perhaps apart from some of the weather - not in Fred ... Read More
For our Wedding Anniversary we decided to do something special and choose the Fred Olsen cruise "Easter Ireland" and booked a Premier Suite. We could not fault anything (perhaps apart from some of the weather - not in Fred Olsen's control!). As it was our 40th Anniversary we were given the complimentary anniversary package of sparkling wine, flowers, cake, card, portrait photo and gift. During the cruise it was also my birthday so we were slightly embarrassed when a cake was brought to our table on the Friday for my birthday together with the table staff serenading me and the next day another cake and serenade for our anniversary. The staff were superb and could not do enough for us. We asked if the anniversary cake could be packaged to take home to share with family and they made a special box for it and wrapped it with ribbon. The staff soon learned our names and we were often called "Sir, John and Madam, Jennifer". The food was superb both in choice, presentation and cooking. Most evenings we only managed three of the five courses due to the quantity. The ports of call were Belfast, Dublin (two days) and Cobn. All of which were interesting and we went independently rather than take the organised tours. We are not night owls and in Dublin managed to find a pub (Oliver St. John Gogerty) which had live Irish music during the afternoon. The evening shows were very good but I much preferred the live music from the string trio and pianist/singer in the small lounges. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
‘Easter Ireland’ on board Balmoral was our second cruise with Fred Olsen (last year’s ‘Round Britain’ cruise on Braemar was the first) and our ninth cruise to date. We came back a second time because the ‘value for money ... Read More
‘Easter Ireland’ on board Balmoral was our second cruise with Fred Olsen (last year’s ‘Round Britain’ cruise on Braemar was the first) and our ninth cruise to date. We came back a second time because the ‘value for money proposition’ is unbeatable. It’s interesting to read two very recent reviews of this same Cruise which are so divergent. The top-end suite-guests could not be more complimentary; the outside-cabin guests were to my mind unreasonable. We always travel pretty near the bottom-end – but we enjoy the same food, entertainment and facilities as those who pay top-dollar. Our ‘superior inside’ cabin (£384 each – yes, just £384 for seven days transportation to new destinations, food that only the most churlish would dare to criticise and entertainment that we thought some of the best to date on a cruise) must represent excellent value. Our cabin was fully adequate – and it should be noted that there were some even less expensive deals available closer to the time of sailing. The message seems clear to me; tough it out and wait for the prices to drop if you want the very best deals! For those who book early and pay a lot more, you need to accept that some of your fellow-passengers may not be quite to your liking (not everyone purports to be, or can afford, ‘Titanic First Class’) - but ‘you pays your money and take your choice’! A few general observations: (1) The Captain’s decision clearly, but not delaying Easter Sunday’s departure from Southampton when storm-force winds were known to be likely seemed a little odd; the cynic in me says that the Captain must necessarily run his ship as a business which needs to generate a decent profit each trip and it cost him nothing (other than discomfort for the passengers) to be at sea, whereas delaying departure would have cost the company a considerable amount of money in additional port-fees. As it happens, we still arrived late at Belfast, so a delayed departure from Southampton with a rather ‘pacier’ trip once the winds abated would have been of little overall consequence (except again in terms of cost, as more fuel would be expended if the ship sailed faster). (2) It was very nice on the Braemar last year to see table-cloths in the Palms Café at all times. Balmoral’s rather more utilitarian tables were a small sign of evident cost-cutting. (3) Other cruise lines’ Captains and Senior Officers are regularly seen around their Ship; other than at the ‘Cocktail Parties’, they were rarely, if ever, seen on Balmoral. Fred Olsen and/or Balmoral should think about this as passengers like the opportunity to interact with the Crew (even if it is only a quick ‘Good Morning’). (4) All credit to the resident Showtime Team; the ten members worked very hard and put on three very good shows. (5) Future guest should think about organising their own shore-tours. We sourced on-line a really excellent ‘Giant’s Causeway’ trip at Belfast for just £35 each (as against Fred’s £72 – although this did include an unwanted lunch). Whilst broadly following the same agenda, we also experienced a tour of Belfast (in the failing light) which, as part of living history, included the Falls & Shankill Road areas. To the best of my knowledge Fred’s trip did not. I’m sure this is just one example of equivalent/better value can be obtained elsewhere. In overall summary, another enjoyable week with Fred Olsen. We will be back! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The journey to Southampton was delay-free and the parking arrangements at the port were, as usual, efficient. It was good to see the new external livery of the "Balmoral" that Fred. Olsen have introduced. The check-in was quite ... Read More
The journey to Southampton was delay-free and the parking arrangements at the port were, as usual, efficient. It was good to see the new external livery of the "Balmoral" that Fred. Olsen have introduced. The check-in was quite swift and, as an Oceans Gold member, I boarded as soon as the ship was ready. I had a double cabin with single occupancy on the main deck (deck 6) which was well placed for all the ship's facilities. It was in good condition with plenty of storage, good air conditioning and a picture window. Of course it had a safe and tea/coffee making equipment and a television. It was well serviced twice daily. I dined in the Spey restaurant which is situated on deck 10. The food was excellent as was the service. I normally took breakfast and lunch there but occasionally used the Avon or the Ballindalloch restaurants. The Palms Cafe was useful for coffee, afternoon tea and snack meals before or after excursions. As this was very much a sightseeing cruise the daytime entertainment was more limited than on longer cruises but there were some excellent lectures on Norway. The evening cabarets were very good indeed better than many I have seen on recent cruises. Especial mention must be made on the "Balmoral" Show Company who put on some great shows and the talented, enjoyable and emotional Crew Show. The ports of call were all in Norway. We visited Molde, Tromso, Alta (with an overnight stop)., Bergen and Stavanger.. In addition, we cruised through many beautiful fjords some of which are inaccessible to larger ships. Most of the shore tours I took were first class. The best of all was, of course, the late night visit at Tromso to a snow camp to see the Northern Lights. We were extremely lucky and saw, according to the locals, one of the best displays for a long time. Despite the cold I didn't want to leave although it was past midnight. Another well worth mentioning was the all-day excursion from Bergen to explore the Hardangerfjord. The scenery was stunning. The North Norwegian snow scenery was really beautiful and the weather was glorious. On most days we has blue skies and sunshine. As we moved South the weather became very mild and in Bergen and Stavanger it was more like early Summer. As usual on Fred. Olsen the things that makes all cruises with them are the crew and the staff. They are friendly, cheerful and cannot do enough for you. It was yet again a most enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We sailed on the Norway Winter Cruise on Balmoral. The ship is nice size (1200 passengers versus several thousand on most of the mail cruise lines today). The Embarcation lounge at Southampton in intimate but very efficient. We found ... Read More
We sailed on the Norway Winter Cruise on Balmoral. The ship is nice size (1200 passengers versus several thousand on most of the mail cruise lines today). The Embarcation lounge at Southampton in intimate but very efficient. We found Cred Olsen practiced noted British service standards, which we (group of 6 adults) appreciated. The food was much better than we have experienced on our last two cruises (Princess and NCL). The wait staff was excellent, especially Christooher, Jiddah and Ass't Maitre'D Angel. We looked forward to the meal times to interact with the staff. The cabins were adequately sized with more than adequate storage space. Another feature we found very nice were the library and card rooms. These were actually large enough to use and enjoy. We also found adequate quiet space during the day in the various lounges to enjoy play games or cards, as well as a nice drink. Since it was a Norway Winter cruise, outdoor activities, other than walking the promenade, were limited. They did open the pool and hot tubs when weather permitted. We found the Fitness Center to be modern and sufficiently large that access was never a n issue. Recognize that the ship is smaller, so amenities like shopping, casino and specialty dining are not comparable to larger ships, but that is not the reason that we cruise anyway. The cruise line takes cleanliness very seriously, as the rooms are cleaned (or at least reviewed) twice daily and the public areas were always spotless, including wiping down the handrails. There are constant reminders to wash your hands to maintain healthy conditions on board. This cruise attracted a mostly senior citizens, with a number of people using canes, scooters or wheelchairs in use. The staff did an excellent job of accommodating and assisting these passengers. Kudos for this. We found the entertainment to be very professional and enjoyable. One very pleasant surprise was the Balmoral Company Entertainers. They consisted of a group of ten 20-somethings who had never performed together before they were joined together six weeks before cruising. They performed every other night with a different show of singing and dance routines, in different costumes. Very well done. Other than that, the Cruise Director's Staff were extremely busy providing offerings to occupy the passengers throughout the cruise. They also offered special dance hosts to help the single passengers have an enjoyable time. The excursions were a mixed bag. We marveled at the Northern Lights in Alta and Tromso; enjoyed the dog sledding and Artic Cathedral concert in Tromso; loved the scenery in Molde; and would have loved more time to experience Bergen. The Stavanger stopover did not seem worth the effort or cost. Two unusual feature that we appreciated was that Fred Olsen provided an escort on each of the excursions from their own staff, in order to ensure communication and that the excursion went smoothly. We also appreciated that the tour people were not constantly seeking tips but provide good information about the area. these two features should be adopted by all cruise lines. There were two areas that we would recommend that Fred Olsen look to improve. First being a British cruise line, it is clearly oriented to its primary British customer base. However, as Americans, we found it almost impossible to make arrangements on-line. We had to confirm our arrangements over the phone and to have the Customer Service people process manually our payments with US credit cards. This was frustrating and time consuming. The other aspect that we found a bit frustrating was the "all inclusive" drink package. It was not all inclusive and had different rules for different locations on the ship. Further, we could not run a tab as we sat enjoying the peace, the music, or each other's company. We had to sign for every drink, wherever consumed, even if it was just for a Pepsi and on the all inclusive package. The slips showed an amount charged for the full amount, even for the all inclusive; the amount was subsequently adjusted on the cabin billing. This should be made more efficient and less confusing. Overall, based upon this cruise, we would definitely recommend Fred Olsen cruises to anyone looking to enjoy a comfortable, relaxing cruise on a passenger-oriented, customer-focused cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise headed north to Alta in northern Norway seeking the Northern Lights and offering scenic cruising and port calls en route. Despite a few minor niggles the cruise was successful, enjoyable and generally well-run. The ... Read More
The cruise headed north to Alta in northern Norway seeking the Northern Lights and offering scenic cruising and port calls en route. Despite a few minor niggles the cruise was successful, enjoyable and generally well-run. The itinerary was suited to the nature of the cruise; the ports of call were appropriate and the scenic cruising in the fjords was magnificent. Embarkation was slow. We queued standing for almost an hour but once checked in we were on board without much further delay. I was part of a Mr Bridge party so spent much of my time on board at tutorials on bridge or playing the game. My attendance at other talks was limited but those I was able to attend were good. The Arctic weather limited deck games but I participated in a couple of quizzes and other activities which were generally well organised. Evening dining in the Ballindaloch restaurant was very good and a couple of evenings in the Palm Buffet were also good. Breakfast and lunches were also of a good standard; not much variety at breakfast but the lunch menus had good selections and the buffet food was better than on other cruises. Entertainment was varied and of variable standard but there was usually something to enjoy each evening. Daytime entertainment included quizzes, at which I failed miserably, and other activities which I did not have time to try. Talks on Norway were amusing and informative but the port lectures, as often, seemed to feature more on the excursions (many of which were already sold out) than any background to the ports themselves. Other lectures were available but I was not able to attend or not interested in them. Excursions were generally well organised and available at typical cruise prices. One excursion on which I participated left the ship late and was curtailed but my comments to the Excursions Manager resulted in a partial refund and apology, which I considered a reasonable response. Disembarkation was swift and efficient (I was amongst one of the first groups to leave) and the valet parking service was efficient. Overall a very good cruise which has left me happy to sail again with Fred Olsen when a solo cabin is available at a reasonable price. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our sixteenth cruise and our first with Fred Olsen. What a brilliant find. We thought the whole experience was fantastic from the minute we saw the ship in Bridgetown to when we left Braemar in Dover. It was such a pleasure to ... Read More
This was our sixteenth cruise and our first with Fred Olsen. What a brilliant find. We thought the whole experience was fantastic from the minute we saw the ship in Bridgetown to when we left Braemar in Dover. It was such a pleasure to be on a small, VERY friendly ship, we have tired of the glitzy, enormous floating resorts and have now found a cruise line that treats you as an individual rather than a number. We booked last minute finding an absolute bargain in the national press. Fifteen nights cruise, free drinks package and tips plus £200 cash back. We usually book a balcony or outside cabin but this time decided to try an inside. This was perfectly adequate and was very spacious as it was designed to take 4 people, so loads of wardrobe space. What made the cruise special was the Crew, from Captain down to room steward nothing was too much trouble and you were always greeted with a smile. Food was excellent and the Palm Café was another brilliant find. Entertainment was very good and varied with some excellent guest performers. All in all a great 15 days and one we shall definitely repeat. Well done 'Fred' Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our third cruise on Black Watch and we were a little concerned that standards had deteriorated, following a few mediocre reviews - not so. The standards of service and quality of food were outstanding. It is an old ship and ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Black Watch and we were a little concerned that standards had deteriorated, following a few mediocre reviews - not so. The standards of service and quality of food were outstanding. It is an old ship and a number of minor issues arose during the cruise, which were dealt with rapidly and professionally by Guest Services. It is a relatively small ship and the charm of this is that we got to know, quite well, a fair number of like minded passengers. The itinerary was excellent, although trips arranged by Black Watch are quite expensive. If you are relatively active and a little adventurous, you can always find fellow passengers to share taxis etc. at considerably less cost. Optional activities on board such as bridge (Terry), choir singing (Margaret), historical talks ( John Waters ) dancing etc were first class. Very well done again, Black Watch. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have just returned from our first ever cruise. We went to the Caribbean on the Braemar and I had no idea what to expect but I am very impressed with Fred.Olsen cruises and we had a great time. The cabin was small but well designed and ... Read More
We have just returned from our first ever cruise. We went to the Caribbean on the Braemar and I had no idea what to expect but I am very impressed with Fred.Olsen cruises and we had a great time. The cabin was small but well designed and the space was maximised. A lifeboat blocked the view from the picture window but I was advised about this prior to booking. The mattress was comfortable and the room was serviced twice a day and towels were changed twice daily. The room was surprisingly quiet at night and I was never disturbed by noise from the ship or neighbouring passengers. The service was outstanding, the staff without exception are helpful, polite and friendly and there was not a single instance in the two weeks on board when a member of staff was anything less than helpful. The food is also outstanding, along with the service in the restaurant with two dedicated waiters who knew our names serving us every night, I would describe the service as exceptional. We were served lobster, venison and Beef Wellington. The breakfasts were buffet style but also with a menu choice and champagne was served on formal days. Lunch was a choice of buffet or a four course meal from the menu. Against my expectations I loved the formal nights but if you do not wish to participate there is the option to dine in The Palms buffet. I enjoyed the entertainment too, the Braemar Show Company gave very good performances as did the singer, comedian and magician and the In Tune Band was good with a particularly good lead guitarist. The cruise line appears to attract a loyal clientele mainly aged 50 + who regularly cruise with Fred Olsen, though there are a few younger passengers. This might be why I did not find many of the day time activities on board of interest, but that did not matter as I like to leave the ship when in port and the itinerary was excellent. I have to say that fellow passengers were very pleasant and friendly, the whole cruise had a bit of a 'family feel' to it. There was a wide choice of day trips which in my opinion were reasonably priced and were in the main very good. Braemar is a medium sized flat bottomed cruise ship. This brings many benefits such as being able to access more ports (ie Havana), less people on board means easier embarkation/ disembarkation. It also makes the cruise a more friendly and personal experience. The one downside is that if like me you are prone to seasickness you feel the movement of the ship more when the sea is rough. However, I still think it I probably better than travelling on a huge cruise ship, that does not appeal to me at all. Overall we had a great time, the itinerary was fantastic and the staff, food and the service was exceptional and I would recommend Fred. Olsen cruises to any apprehensive first time cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have travelled on three cruises with Braemar so we know the ship well. It is remarkable in the friendliness of the crew and excellent service both in the cabins, the restaurants and around the ship in the various lounges and services. ... Read More
We have travelled on three cruises with Braemar so we know the ship well. It is remarkable in the friendliness of the crew and excellent service both in the cabins, the restaurants and around the ship in the various lounges and services. The port and shore excursions are varied and the ship can get into smaller ports and avoid the need to tender passengers because it is comparatively small. The passenger capacity of about 900 means that the ship develops a community feel even when the cruise is comparatively short. We travel as two couples so that we are very self sufficient but it is noticeable that people on the cruise are friendly and those travelling alone do not stay on their own - they rapidly make friends because the crew organise events where singles are given the opportunity to get together besides sharing other passengers company on the trips. The cabin is impeccably serviced and we really appreciated the fun and kind attentiveness of our attendant Kitty. Dinning is for us a highlight of the holiday. We would describe all our meals as fine dining with varied menu and interesting dishes. The wines are good and excellent value whilst our waiters were all charming and very efficient meeting individual requests ( Ganesh and Aldrin). We were never delayed on embarkation and the cruise director (Alan Tait ) and his team give information clearly and in a very pleasant manner. The communications given over the ships tannoy system are all properly delivered. we appreciate the fact that they are kept to essential matters and they are only delivered in English. this means that you can relax on deck without noisey interruptions. The entertainment was superb. The Braemar show company gave 9 shows and the lead entertainers -Bruce Anderson ( Welsh tenor) Andy Rudge( Comedian) Dain Cordean(magician)provided entertainment that delighted us and everyone in the Neptune Lounge - receiving standing ovations and performing to full houses. We had two weeks of great pleasure and relaxation. Thank you to all the crew and staff of Braemar. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
As a widow I find Braemar to be an exceptionally friendly ship for single people. I have made friends with people so easily and have always asked for a table of 6 or 8 in the Grampian dining room which is a good social mix. The cabins ... Read More
As a widow I find Braemar to be an exceptionally friendly ship for single people. I have made friends with people so easily and have always asked for a table of 6 or 8 in the Grampian dining room which is a good social mix. The cabins are small but the new ones mid section are better and have bigger wardrobes and more drawers. I certainly would not consider storage adequate for 2 people but for me it is fine. The ship is kept spotlessly clean and the crew are very helpful and friendly. Embarkation is incredible as once your cases are checked in at the UK airport, the next time you see them is outside your cabin door when on board. The same process applies for returning home as all luggage is placed in sealed containers to go straight to the plane and does not have to be "identified" as with so many cruise lines, particularly thinking of my USA experience with Celebrity and Princess! I have cruised with Celebrity, Princess and Cunard but none remotely come up to the satisfaction level of Fred Olsen as their ships are too big and single people cannot make friends so easily. The dance hosts are wonderful and it is such a treat to be able to enjoy the dancing with a partner. Having enjoyed 3 F.O. cruises so far, I have another Caribbean one booked for next January and will be hopefully cruising on the Boudicca in the Indian Ocean later next summer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Setting off from Southampton on 5th Jan we were a bit apprehensive about being away for so long and lots of sea days....but now we are back all those worries were unnecessary and we really have had the trip of a lifetime. Every port of ... Read More
Setting off from Southampton on 5th Jan we were a bit apprehensive about being away for so long and lots of sea days....but now we are back all those worries were unnecessary and we really have had the trip of a lifetime. Every port of call was a new adventure. Some places are not tourist hot spots so we got to see the real countries not some made up place just for visitors to buy things. Magnificent islands, scenery, animals and local people. Some basic things such as simple coaches not "tourist coaches with A/C and reclining chairs" and local people who were proud to show you their country and all its fascinations, and not just where to shop and eat McDonalds! So, all of these unusual things made the whole experience far more interesting. ( if you want pampered tourist places stick to Europe or the Caribbean) The ship is quite small and wasn't full so there was plenty of space to sit, lots of sunbathing areas, in fact plenty of space everywhere on the ship. Kept immaculately clean by the wonderful crew who we cannot praise enough. It was easy to see why Fred Olsen has so many returners. On the whole the food was good, but obviously 77 days is difficult to vary the menu completely, however there was always something you fancied and the chefs and waiters were always happy to mix and match to our tastes, so we could have chips instead of mash or this veg instead of that, and as many desserts as we could eat! Drinks prices very fair and the bar staff got to know your preferences very quickly. Fellow passengers: mostly retired as you would expect but apart from a few who thought the world owed them a living everyone joined in and the atmosphere was always happy and friendly. Plenty of activities on sea days, most days we had to "toss a coin" to decide which to do and which to leave out. Excellent lectures and mostly great entertainment, there was something for everyone. Cabin was spacious with plenty of storage, which you need on a long journey. Would definately do the same trip again, it was that good! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my 2nd trip with F.O. first on Braemar. It was excellent !. My previous voyage on Boudicca. My wife's first cruise with Fred, not to sure what to expect. But she was pleasently surprised. Braemar was in very good condition ... Read More
This was my 2nd trip with F.O. first on Braemar. It was excellent !. My previous voyage on Boudicca. My wife's first cruise with Fred, not to sure what to expect. But she was pleasently surprised. Braemar was in very good condition and spotlessly clean throughout. Late deal on an Anchor fare which was excellent value. The food would be my highlight for the entire fortnight. Special mention to Christian, Senior/Head Chef Palms Cafe, Many Thanks. Cabin 3044 comfortable, with an excellent peaceful nights sleep on an excellent mattress. L shape configuration, giving plenty of space. Bars in particular, Morning light our favourite well run by Gerrard and his team, Cheers !. Entertainment budget needs attention, Brenda Collins and Anthony Stuart Lloyd performed with great flair, Bravo. Lounge act, In Tune Band also provided great entertainment. Met some great people on our table in the Thistle 2nd sitting. Many Thanks for making our cruise so memorable ! . Served impeccably by Philber and Ritish, Many Thanks. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This our third time on this cruise ship and it gets better each time ,We have cruised many times with other companies is Thompson,P @ O Cunard,We like this ship because of its smaller size and find the clientele a little older as we are ... Read More
This our third time on this cruise ship and it gets better each time ,We have cruised many times with other companies is Thompson,P @ O Cunard,We like this ship because of its smaller size and find the clientele a little older as we are retired its nice to be with people of our age group.The service.food .and the care given by all members of staff on this ship we found to be first class the attention to detail on board is fantastic never have we seen so much help and attention given to senior passengers as on this vessel.E very where is kept spotlessly clean Any problems that may occurs are dealt with straight away The guest relations lady was absolutely fantastic with us when we had a small problem and dealt with it emediatley The entertainment on board was fantastic .There was something going on all day long if you wanted to be part of it is,pub quiz.deck quouts,lots of other deck games .we would definatley recommend this ship and will be going again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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