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738 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise because of the ports it was visiting, we have sailed on all of the other Fred Olsen ships in the last few years. This was our first and and is definitely our last cruise on Black Watch, she is a tired old ship from a ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the ports it was visiting, we have sailed on all of the other Fred Olsen ships in the last few years. This was our first and and is definitely our last cruise on Black Watch, she is a tired old ship from a bygone era and it shows, they really are papering over the cracks with this ship, she is a tired old lady who should be put out to grass or advertised as a ship for the over 70's and especially single older ladies. We don't wish to be rude to any one but, just pass by the Library at any time and you will see what we mean, we nicknamed it the dormitory, it was full of old people fast asleep. We like traditional cruising and enjoy formal nights and all of the other things that go with it and we like smaller ships, we don't want to go rock climbing and surfing on board or wish for a 6000 passenger super ship but, Black Watch is past it. The specialty restaurant was dark and uninviting with people queuing outside for the main restaurant staring through the lattice grill whilst you ate, not a good option. The self service restaurant is tiny and full of staff members so we could never get in. The saving grace was the crew, they are very good and try hard to get things just right for you. The Observatory Bar Staff in particular were excellent. We chose the all inclusive drinks package, it wasn't worth it, the longer the cruise went on the less wine refills seemed to be available in the restaurant, the spirits are short measures and mixers from the pump so very sweet in taste and not much flavour. Beware when in the outside spaces as great chunks of oily soot from the funnel make an all too regular appearance on you clothes, in your drinks and in the swimming pool! I am sure some people reading this review love Black Watch and will howl in protest at its content but, we are in our early 60's so not 30 year old's wanting a "Night Club" ship, and this ship in our view is not up to standard for the 21st century. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Definitely a decline in quality of food this trip, I noticed a distinct economising in food and bar staff, but most disturbing was the immobility of passengers. Should there unhappily have been an evacuation, the the number of wheelchairs, ... Read More
Definitely a decline in quality of food this trip, I noticed a distinct economising in food and bar staff, but most disturbing was the immobility of passengers. Should there unhappily have been an evacuation, the the number of wheelchairs, 3 pronged walkers and very immobile passengers would have been a disaster waiting to happen. The narrower passageways would have been blocked up very badly and caused much panic. A great many were unable to use any stairs and two wheelchairs plus handlers were all the lifts could take at one time. Enjoyed previous FO cruises, but had never come across so many immobile passengers. Will certainly be revising any future cruises and definitely not recommending FO any more.I agree guests with mobility problems need a break, but perhaps a review of whether so much disability is a danger to themselves and other passengers should be undertaken. A ship is not the easiest hotel to leave at the best of times, and should they even make the lifeboat, with handlers and crew milling around to help each individual, there could be serious consequences for the more able bodied.The cruise apart from that was a good break, visiting interesting ports with plenty to see at each one. The staff as usual were polite and friendly and happy to help in any way at all times. Cabin was excellent with loads of storage room.Boarding and disembarkation was very efficient. Information, by phone and website, before cruise was also excellent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Been on Balmoral numerous times and always enjoyed it, This time was no different. The itinerary was great. Sweden is a beautiful country and the ports of call were good, especially Visby and Stockholm. The ships crew are wonderful, ... Read More
Been on Balmoral numerous times and always enjoyed it, This time was no different. The itinerary was great. Sweden is a beautiful country and the ports of call were good, especially Visby and Stockholm. The ships crew are wonderful, very friendly and helpful. They really go that extra mile to make sure everthing is OK for you The entertainment was mixed. The visiting acts were run of the mill, the shows put on by the dancers were good,but I miss the theme nights.Our cabin was very comfortable and the beds and pillows made for a good nights sleep. The food was varied, always hot and tasty and because of dietary requirements the chef went out of his way to provide me with food I could eat. I enjoy dancing and there is always some dancing before and during the evening entertainment. Dance hosts are there as partners for solo travellers.The fully equipped gym is very good and classes are held for various activities although most incur an extra charge. Quizzes go on throughout the day and Howard in the light morning lounge provides very enjoyable easy listening. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
For the itinerary and time of going. The entertainment in the Observatory lounge was excellent, Adam Reece who even played requests, did a great job despite people talking over his music which is very rude. The other musicians around the ... Read More
For the itinerary and time of going. The entertainment in the Observatory lounge was excellent, Adam Reece who even played requests, did a great job despite people talking over his music which is very rude. The other musicians around the ship were equally as good. The staff in the Lido lounge were very pleasant and friendly, nothing was too much trouble for them. Also the girls in the Casino who were very good and friendly. On going down to the tender to get off was easy as the crew helped my partner and i took my time walking down the steps and collecting my scooter. We only went on one trip which was well organised . In the future we wont be sailing with Fred Olsens, at the age of 60 and 61 respectively we found the other passengers alot older than us. For instance when i was reading a book i looked up and they were all asleep in the reading areas so i crept out and left them to it. Freds should advertise that their cruises are not really for anyone under the age of 60. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Chose this cruise because I wanted to see Norwegian Fiords. Everything about the cruise was first class from embarkation to disembarkation. The Fred Olsen tours were extremely good and well organised, the crew were so helpful and the food ... Read More
Chose this cruise because I wanted to see Norwegian Fiords. Everything about the cruise was first class from embarkation to disembarkation. The Fred Olsen tours were extremely good and well organised, the crew were so helpful and the food amazing. I only have one complaint about the whole cruise, the coffee everywhere on board was awful, quite tasteless, apart from that the whole cruise was faultless and I shall go on another Fred Olsen cruise. We were very lucky to have very good weather and were able to use the pool and whirlpools which were very clean and well maintained. It was lovely to sit on the sun deck and no shortage of crew to bring drinks. The crew were a,ways smiling and nothing was too much trouble. The dining room was well organised and service was promt, the formal evenings were especially good, who doesn’t enjoy getting dressed up. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I fancied a short cruise with some formal nights included, so this 8 night cruise ticked that box! As I stay on the ship the ships life, crew, staff, food, gym, restaurants and entertainment are important to me..and I was not ... Read More
I fancied a short cruise with some formal nights included, so this 8 night cruise ticked that box! As I stay on the ship the ships life, crew, staff, food, gym, restaurants and entertainment are important to me..and I was not disappointed. All were brilliant for me so my rating is 15 out of 10! The older ship has a lot of character for me, views of the seascape almost everywhere.. The cabin was fine with the welcome addition of a fridge.. The TV has been upgraded since i was last on board much better.. Room service was very good too.. Absolutely loved dining in the Thistle restaurant.. Entertainment suited me and followed on from second sitting in the restaurant.. A general spread of various activities, not my bag though..this was a "spa break" for me..so enjoyed the gym and sauna most mornings.. I found the service excellent..:-) I stay on board so cannot comment on the shore excursions.. I will book on Braemar again soon..the small ship really suits my condition...embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze! Enjoy :-) BFN "Grumpy!..." Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
From the moment we arrived at Southampton arrived bang on time 1 o’clock like ticket said staff could not be more helpful cases gone in a blink of an eye , no que in the terminal got the cruise card and straight through customs on to the ... Read More
From the moment we arrived at Southampton arrived bang on time 1 o’clock like ticket said staff could not be more helpful cases gone in a blink of an eye , no que in the terminal got the cruise card and straight through customs on to the ship in less then 20 mins and can I just say she is a lovely ship . we didn’t go for lunch instead we headed for the morning light pub to have a pint of Stella and a whiskey and coke they don’t sell Stella here but the staff are more than willing to go and get one from the neptune bar like always can’t do enough for you . cabin ready 2.30 pm couldn’t wait to unpack and start my holiday the cabin no 8004 what can I say, really nice size ,very clean , nice size bathroom with bath plenty of storage space .the balcony is to die for , nothing above apart from blue sky, I worked it out , it is 67 steps from balcony to the observatory bar , no draft but cocktails and cans of largar , the food in the Thistle restaurant was very good as too was the palms cafe , as for the service nothing too much . entertainment was good can’t praise all the staff enough . all of the ship was clean and tidy all of the time , sea days , plenty to do . if you wanted or just lounge about like we did the weather was great , unexpected for that time of year in northern Spain . Passengers mixed ages all up for a laugh . getting on and off the ship at ports was effort less thanks to the stafff.didn’t what to leave but had to ,just like to say ,£15 a day drinks package no brainier thank you Fred Olsen see you soon Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise to explore Norway and were not disappointed. The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful, the entertainment excellent especially the Boudicca show company. There are plenty of activities onboard for the days you ... Read More
We chose this cruise to explore Norway and were not disappointed. The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful, the entertainment excellent especially the Boudicca show company. There are plenty of activities onboard for the days you are at sea. Once in port I did find that it may be better to arrange your own excursions so you can work to your own timetable. It would have been nice to spend a little longer in some ports such as Bergen in order to explore further. Food was for the most part good and plentiful with plenty of choice. However I would suggest looking at the all inclusive option as my bill was over £700 although that did include some spa treatments and purchases from the shop. We were lucky enough to be invited to dine with the Captain and one of the singers from the show company, Sasha, a very pleasant experience. Disembarking was quite easy and quick. I would definitely recommend Fred Olsen, smaller ships do seem to have advantages. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this ship because it was smaller than most circa 800 guests and around 300 crew. As it transpired we felt the decision was justified as the service was first class in both the housekeeping and hotel services on board. Food was of ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was smaller than most circa 800 guests and around 300 crew. As it transpired we felt the decision was justified as the service was first class in both the housekeeping and hotel services on board. Food was of an exceptional standard and plenty of it. Bar prices were very reasonable and the same in any of the bars and restaurants. Entertainment was very professional and would stand up to comparison with any live show on shore, this is inclusive of the singing and dancing, musicians and comedians. The various crew departments had a show night which although was an amateur night it was nonetheless extremely entertaining. All in all on board ambiance was terrific and the scenery in the Norwegian fjords was second only to Highland Scotland. There was an abundance of shore excursions should you wish to partake in or the ports visited were close enough to walk to the centres. I should add all furnishings re seating etc in the lounges were of a very high standard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this ship due to its size, having never cruised before we did not want to be on a ship with thousands of people. Apart from the fact that the boat is now very old and it did show in places, it was immaculately clean and the ... Read More
We chose this ship due to its size, having never cruised before we did not want to be on a ship with thousands of people. Apart from the fact that the boat is now very old and it did show in places, it was immaculately clean and the facilities were very good. The pools are showing their age and did not look too appealing although if the weather had been better we probably would have had a different outlook. We did try the jacuzzis which were good. The marquee deck had new very comfortable tables and chairs etc which were very nice and were not very crowded on our trip, probably again due to the climate. Our balcony room was very nice and again immaculately clean, towels refreshed twice a day and the fresh fruit and canapés each day were very nice. The food was very good, the staff in the restaurants were exceptional and the evening entertainment was also first class. The sights on this trip were amazing and cruising in the Fjords was just breathtaking. We enjoyed the ports of call and would recommend this trip highly. The one thing I did like on the Black Watch was that there was no hard sell in respect of additional dining, shore tours and future cruises etc. We were all inclusive and if on the occasion we did want premium brand drinks they were always consulting us to see if we wanted to pay the upgrade and did not try to sell us these at all. The wifi was very expensive at £63 for 7 days and I felt this was a bit steep. The embarkation and disembarkation was very efficient although getting back off at 8.00 a.m in Liverpool was something of a shock. Before we went on this trip people said ooh Fred Olsen, full of old people. As a young just 60 yr old I would say the average age on board was 70 but there were also lots of younger people and it did not by any means feel like an old peoples home as others had led us to believe. It has now given us an insight into cruising and for our first experience it was very good, most people were very friendly and we would probably book again, but maybe somewhere warmer next time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen Cruises, we have been on five different cruise lines, and would say they are all pretty good. We like Fred because it probably has the the most friendly crew, smaller ship catering mainly for a ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen Cruises, we have been on five different cruise lines, and would say they are all pretty good. We like Fred because it probably has the the most friendly crew, smaller ship catering mainly for a British passenger, entertainment was excellent in the Neptune show theatre, a little disappointed with the bar entertainment, although they were generally alright, we felt they could be more entertaining and involve the audience more. Bars were very pleasant, we also loved the fact that there are quiet areas on the ship, unlike some of the other lines where music would be playing everywhere. Crew is particularly friendly and efficient and help to make Fred cruise so good. We had to ask for a change of cabin because our first cabin on deck four was very noisy, no problem, within a couple of hours they moved us to deck five, great, they even sent a member of the crew to help. Food in general is very good, if not excellent most of the time, waiters very pleasant and efficient , you can enjoy a bit of banter with them. We did have on this occasion a couple of dishes that were not up to Fred’s standard, mash potato was lumpy and a braised lamb and also a braised beef dish a little tough, maybe just need more time in the oven. Don’t get me wrong the food is generally of a very good standard, just wanted to mention the fact. Cabin was of a decent size, particularly enjoy have tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin. Big plus for us was the ship was leaving from our local port, so we can be in our cabin within an hour of leaving home, no flights to bother with. We will definitely be cruising with Fred again. Passenger age group would be fifty plus, although there was some younger people on board, not many children. Because of the smaller ship you can enjoy some ports of call unlike the larger ships. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise because it was easy to get to the port from Scotland. The itinerary was good as we had never been to Bremen, Kiel or sailed the canal. The late embarkation didn't suit everybody and the first evening was a free ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was easy to get to the port from Scotland. The itinerary was good as we had never been to Bremen, Kiel or sailed the canal. The late embarkation didn't suit everybody and the first evening was a free for all. The cruise settled down and we quickly found our sea legs. After a day at sea we got to Bremen. Deciding not to take a ship tour we made our way through a huge shopping Mall to the tram stop just beyond the mall. 2.60 Euros each way into the city centre. It was easy to buy your ticket on the tram. Take some small Euros. Bremen is a quaint German town with decent sights and a vibrant waterfront market. Next day through the canal. It was a very pleasant journey. It is an amazing feat of engineering. Then onto Warnemunde another pleasant port of call. just wandered the local streets and stopped for a beer when the rain came down. We then continued back to the ship. The Captain announced that due to impending bad weather we may not go back to Kiel and the canal but instead head for Copenhagen and home via the North of Denmark. For guests who have never been to Copenhagen it may have been a better visit than Kiel. As we had been there last September for a number of days so we just took the hop-on-hop-off bus which picked us up ate the ship. Good value for those who don't want to walk for miles. Back to Newcastle where our cruise disembarked, although we decided to do back to back with the Norwegian Fjords. We went on the anchor fare for outside cabins and were given 5052 on the port side forward. It was close to lifts and stairs. The room had ample storage and plenty of room to move about. I would also like to thank the bridge class organisers for their patience and advice when we played on sea days. We paid the £2 a night to change to the first sitting for the evening meals. The service in the Ballendalloch room was excellent. The food was always good without being oversold. Here comes the complaint, the service in the Morning Lite Pub went from excellent to really poor. I didn't get the waiters name but he was very jovial and loved his work. Unfortunately the other waitresses did about a quarter of the work of the waiter mentioned and on one evening we waited 30 minutes to be served. Very poor Fred. Your sales receipts will show who was working and who spent their time trying not to work. The Lido lounge service was poor as people would go to the bar and get served by the waiters as the barmen would not take orders. This meant the waiters never really got a chance to go to tables. The all inclusive was good value. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Like many contributers to these forums, my wife and I discovered "Cruising" over 30 years ago and embarked ( sorry for the Pun ) on an adventure which included 1,2 and even 3 cruises a year, trying every different cruise line we ... Read More
Like many contributers to these forums, my wife and I discovered "Cruising" over 30 years ago and embarked ( sorry for the Pun ) on an adventure which included 1,2 and even 3 cruises a year, trying every different cruise line we could find offering the most exciting destinations available. Then again with "time" we started to "hone" our requirements for a holiday avoiding "Long Haul Flights", the new exciting massive Liners with over 4000 + passengers, neither did we want to tackle the "Wall of Death", "Tower of Doom" or slide down a tube full of water from one end of the Ship to the other !!! So we started to look for smaller ships more in keeping with the pair of "Old Farts" we were turning into. That's when we discovered Fred Olsen some 6 years ago and proceded to have some wonderful holidays on the Balmoral ( 1350 cruisers ) and couldn't find fault with anything on board, although I did have to give up the"Bingo" as I found it too exciting especially with my "Dickie Ticker". Then "illness" set in and I had over 2 years of vascular disease in both legs, and some 5 Operation later our wonderful National Health got my as fit as they could and with much reduced "mobility" I was ready to return to cruising last August ' 17., and chose the smaller "Braemar" ( now repostioned to Southampton ) on a 9 day French River trip to get us back in the swing of things. Now I fully appreciate "cruisers" are fiercely loyal to their choice of cruise line/ship and Fred O is no different, so you may understand I was gob-smacked when I discovered the enormous lowering of quality on the Braemar with regards to Food and Drink on offer. This is something I had read about which other Cruisers had indicated from their observations that "Cut-backs" were apparent across the entire Industry. So, there was the wife and I thinking our cruising days were numbered when i saw our favourite Balmoral was back for 5 day trip to Belgium and Holland ( Tulips & Chocolate ). and with 2 friends we embarked. I have to say that whils't there were signs of the dreaded cuts in Staff ( you could easily wait 45 mins for a drink to be served in the Lounges ) my other fears were allayed and the Food and Drink were O.K. With such a short trip there's not too much I can say except when we did the Keukenhof Tulip Festival in Amsterdam with Fred O., we didn't know that the festival is only open for some 6 weeks and we went on a Sunday the first day it was open !. When we arrived their must have been 600 Coaches a !000 Cars and 500 Camper vans already on site, and we parked a good 1 1/2 miles from the gates..... how I walked it was a miracle !!, we later found out their was over 6000 in the park including half the Japanese Nation. Us Men shared a taxi in Antwerp round the Town and ended up in a local bar, whils't the Ladies went to the Chocolate Shop/ Factorytrip, then got caught up in a 2 hour traffic jam getting back to the Ship...........my mate and I were devistated without them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Its small just over 24000 tons but has 900 plus passengers, still tidy and well laid out, it was a “cut & shut” which makes it quite long (4 times around prom deck to a mile) but only 8 decks high. Our cabin on deck 3 with double ... Read More
Its small just over 24000 tons but has 900 plus passengers, still tidy and well laid out, it was a “cut & shut” which makes it quite long (4 times around prom deck to a mile) but only 8 decks high. Our cabin on deck 3 with double port holes, it was a bit smallish, especially the shower but comfortable enough,toilet paper a bit thin though, however we had tea & coffee but no biscuits! One very good point for the cabin - Interactive TV with Sky TV channels, bow camera, weather forecast, onboard a/c and a good selection of films, we watched 2 on days that were to cold for going outside. The corridors are quite narrow and Prom deck has a one way system for walking round but difficult to pass anyone at some points. Braemar was built in 1994, refurbished in 2008 and probably had a tidy up in the last year or so. But she does vibrate a fair bit especially when your in the restaurant at the back of the ship, although we couldn’t hear it in other parts of the ship. The outside areas at the back of the ship with tables and chairs are well laid out we even had lunch outside whilst sailing down the Seine, it wasn’t that warm but at least it wasn’t raining that day. Unfortunately you do get the black soot floating around same as P&O's Aurora & Oriana - ships of a certain age! We didn’t sit on the sun deck for obvious reasons but there looked to be plenty of space, loungers and a reasonable pool. The observatory at the from of deck 8 is a smaller version of the P&O's crows nest but quite comfortable, but it gets full of people of a certain age! All the officers were Croatian apart from the doctor who was a Rumanian & the head chef who was a Brit. In fact a lot of the crew were eastern european I was expecting to see Slaven Bilic at any time( West ham joke if you don’t follow football). The Captain gave a regular lunchtime update although with long pauses but had a good sense of humour. Entertainment There wasn’t any shuffleboard or deckquoits but there was Hop-la & Dolphin Racing (a excuse to bet on a roll of the dice)maybe put on as this cruise was still in the children holidays and there were 24 kids onboard but they were well behaved. We did quite a few quizzes, not that hard but most teams had 6 and we were "billy no mates", came close to winning the Name that tune a few times. The Braemar orchestra held a resemblance to P&O's Caravan especially the brass section, the show singers 2 guys & 2 girls all had good voices and did 4 shows plus 2 appearances at welcome and farewell parties as well as helping out with distribution of tickets, holding some quizzes etc. There were 4 girl dancers that made up the troop with the singers. They did shows in either the Neptune lounge ( with the band backing) or in the Coral club bar and lounge. Two guest entertainers, Taffy Spencer magician & Stevie Jo Salter a comedian from Bethnal Green he was OK, but he did a great talk on his time working in the Met murder squad. The port lecturer was fairly poor just read from a laptop to slides but some useful information, the guest speaker was Robert Ash a gourmet chef who did 2 talks one on Monet and one on Chefs famous dishes - actually both good. Food Everyone says the food is good on Fred Olsens and we agree. There is more choice than on P&O especially in the self service Palm Cafe where we eat both breakfast and lunch. One plus point is that you are not let in to the PalmCafe unless a table is free, so its not such a bun fight as P&O, and we did try the cava at breakfast a couple of mornings! The thistle restaurant in the evening has 2 sittings (no freedom dining) we had 2nd sitting which wasn’t full our table of 6 only had 4 on it including us. The menu has a choice of 2 starters, 3 soups, 2 salads, 3 main course and 3 sweets plus cheese and the normal chicken, fish & pasta on all the time, not large portions but if you’ve had breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea you don’t want a big dinner. On one day Afternoon tea was served in the Neptune lounge as a “Tea dance” we didn’t dance but we gave the cakes a good bashing chocolate fountain with fruit, amaretto cake & Lemon meringue tart to name 3( carol had 2 tarts so it shows how good they were) but we left the doughnuts and cream cakes alone. We did have a giggle because there were 2 Dance Hosts, elderly gentlemen to dance with the ladies, we don’t think they provided any other services & you certainly wouldn’t call them Gigolos. Parties there was welcome aboard and a farewell party, you had to go in the lounge and sit down before they would serve you a drink, choice of red/white wine, sherry , G&T and Cava. We managed 2 drinks first time and 3 second time. The captain gave a speech which was quite entertaining and then introduced the senior crew members no opportunity to talk to any of them or any any other more junior officers. Crew As stated the officers are mainly all croatian but the waiters are mainly Indian, Thai, malaysian etc. we didn’t find our lead restaurant waiter that friendly he belittled his number 2 which we didn’t like, but those we came across in the Cafe, drinks waiters & cabin stewardesses were all friendly enough. we didn’t feel the entertainments team treated you like school children at least they were Brits apart from the cruise director who surprisingly enough was a Croatian lady. Weather & Tours Obviously the weather was not great as we said we did have a good day cruising along the Seine from Rouen to Hornfleur (about 6 hours) but we got soaked in a thunderstorm on the evening in Bordeaux and the only other good day was the last afternoon sailing up the English Channel, we’ve never known it so flat and the strongest wind we had was force 4. so we can’t really say how Braemar performs in bad weather, our guess is not great. We were not impressed with the tours we did a wine tour in the evening in Bordeaux a walk from the ship to a wine cellar, expensive and not much wine. We also did a tour from Lorient because there’s nothing at Lorient apart from a exGerman submarine base which is now a museum. We went too Josselin Castle by coach, the driver got lost trying to get into the village, we toured Leclerc supermarket car park and did 4 laps of the same roundabout, when we got into the village all the roads near the castle were being relaid with block paving so we had a to walk over mudyy unmade roads to get to the castle. We told the tours lady ( who was another Croatian) that if we did a Fred's cruise again we probably wouldn’t do any tours! A couple of final plus points, the Daily News sheet with whats on, has a tear off strip with times of events, useful to tear off and put in your pocket. Disembarkation is done by deck number starting at deck 8 and working down but it was all over in less than an hour and you don’t have to put your luggage outside your cabin until after 22:00 and before 02:00 - take note P&O! In summary we enjoyed the experience, we may consider Fred again but certainly not on anything longer than 10-15 days. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The food was excellent, the staff were friendly and helpful (as well as efficient) - but why is Wi-Fi so horribly expensive? and £50 each for a coach excursion is exorbitant ... On the other hand, embarkation and disembarkation were ... Read More
The food was excellent, the staff were friendly and helpful (as well as efficient) - but why is Wi-Fi so horribly expensive? and £50 each for a coach excursion is exorbitant ... On the other hand, embarkation and disembarkation were faultless ... There was very little 'mental stimulation' available - Quizzes and Bingo do not really take the place of a good talk by an enthusiastic expert - and the Port Talks were dire; reading text from a Wikipedia article is not what is needed. [Very personal opinion] Avoid (if you can) being seated at the rear of the Thistle Restaurant - the vibration when the ship switched to operating on two props (rather than the usual four) shook the cutlery off the tables, and made conversation almost impossible. I think we should have been informed that the email service via AOL is frequently not available - if you're normally an AOL user, make sure before you go that you have email access via another provider Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Wanted to see the Hanseatic cities so this fitted the bill. Positives:- Good itinerary, but we did our own thing in ports, usually using the excellent public transport. I'm fluent in German, which helps. Food very good. Cabin ... Read More
Wanted to see the Hanseatic cities so this fitted the bill. Positives:- Good itinerary, but we did our own thing in ports, usually using the excellent public transport. I'm fluent in German, which helps. Food very good. Cabin nice. I can't comment on the entertainment, as we didn't bother with any of it; it's just not our thing. Nice to have Bridge lessons on sea days. Plenty of activities; unlike many cruise lines these did not just involve trying to get you to spend more money on rubbish. (Usually.) Plenty of space to sit and read quietly, even though, being April, it was too cold much of the time to sit outside when under way. Drink Prices very reasonable, unlike a certain large USA-based group. Ship fully refitted a few years ago, but it looked all very new. Carpets just fitted I think. Against: We had Junior Suite 5005. Every night there was noise from above. Quite intrusive, though I usually slept through some of it. It sounded like some large wheeled objects were being wheeled around; a rumbling like distant thunder. Hopeless if you are a light sleeper. I think it must be the galley. Our neighbours in 5003 said they didn't have a problem, which seemed odd, but there you are. We preferred dining in the cafe as it just took so long in the restaurant, though that is our preference, rather than a criticism. Almost all cruise ships have to do some maintenance as they go along and this was no exception but the smell of the paint was pretty horrible tbh. Embarkation pretty smooth and disembarkation VERY quick and efficient as we took our own stuff off and Dover Port Parking were excellent. Yes- lots of very old people on there; if you don't like us oldies then please stay away! So, happy to use Fred Olsen again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It fitted in with our busy schedule as we needed a much earned break and we received a good deal with all inclusive drinks. The ship was supposed to have had a refit but we couldn't see much that was new, carpets were still being ... Read More
It fitted in with our busy schedule as we needed a much earned break and we received a good deal with all inclusive drinks. The ship was supposed to have had a refit but we couldn't see much that was new, carpets were still being fitted, there were rolls of it everywhere, there was a smell of paint on several occasions but there were still areas that needed doing up, made it look untidy. Food and service was excellent. Husband was disappointed that he could not take his fold up bike as he is disabled and unable to walk very far, when we got on board several people had mobility scooters and someone even had a fold up bike! Would have made it much easier to get around as we had to make our own way because the tours were expensive, not really what we wanted to see and do and most of them involved a lot of walking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We travelled by Evesway coach from Chester. Although we had 2 coach changes everything went smoothly. Embarkation went well and we boarded quickly, greeted by friendly staff and the usual photographer who took our photos as we boarded. The ... Read More
We travelled by Evesway coach from Chester. Although we had 2 coach changes everything went smoothly. Embarkation went well and we boarded quickly, greeted by friendly staff and the usual photographer who took our photos as we boarded. The ship a traditional older style suited myself and my husband and we enjoyed the freedom of moving from deck to deck outside. We had cabin 5019 junior suite. This is the third time we have travelled o and Boudicca. We have always been on deck 5 and find it an ideal deck location for the main activities and restaurants. The entertainment was good we enjoyed a new Boudicca Show Company, although the singer was a little dated for my liking. Other entertainers and dancing hosts were very good. We also enjoyed the lectures. Cabin very comfort and our hostess looked after us very well. We went on several tours, although not included in the initial cruise price, such tours I consider excellent as you travel in a group and you are likely to visit places you wouldn't do on your own. We went as a personal choice to see Bergen Belsen, Berlin, Lubeck, and superb Brenem. We had an excellent guide in Brenem. A special thank you to the waiters. I fact the waiter David also waited on us on the ship 3 years ago when we went to see the Solar Eclipse. One point it does seem a same that when you are asked to complete a form a couple of days into the cruise Fred Olsen will donate a 1p,yes 1p to the RNLI!!!! Why so little Fred? I would certainly recommend Fred Olsen. Although I was probably in the youngest 10%on board the ship suited me and being a smaller ship ideal for River Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Small ship. Less 1000 passengers. Very well recommended. Cabin 7016 excellent, comfortable spotlessly clean. Lovely stewerdess. Dining, first class service, food hot, good selection, staff and service excellent. Entertainment brilliant and ... Read More
Small ship. Less 1000 passengers. Very well recommended. Cabin 7016 excellent, comfortable spotlessly clean. Lovely stewerdess. Dining, first class service, food hot, good selection, staff and service excellent. Entertainment brilliant and very professional. Bars, lounge's, library again very efficient excellent service. Ship generally is very comfortable softly furnished with very little glitz. We never queued once either embarkation, disembarkation, dinning rooms etc.in all Fred Olsen Bramar is an excellent comfortable cruise ship. A real pleasure to sail on her and will Do again along with the other three ships. One comment is the cruise is really for 50 plus as the amenities are not so extensive as on the large glitzy ships. Well done Fred Olsen staff and crews.The smaller ships allow access to ports and places that the larger ships cannot access. We would recommend cruising on this comfortable ship and hope when we cruise on the other three it will be equally enjoyable Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was my first cruise alone, first cruise in an inside cabin and first time that I didn't actually know where I was going! I travelled down to Dover with Eavesway and they were excellent as always. We had to wait about 40 ... Read More
This was my first cruise alone, first cruise in an inside cabin and first time that I didn't actually know where I was going! I travelled down to Dover with Eavesway and they were excellent as always. We had to wait about 40 minutes to embark but I didn't feel that was too bad. Boudicca was just out of a refit and I have to say that the public areas and cabins are looking great with lovely furnishings and colour schemes but some of the outside areas do still need attention. Unfortunately all of the refit work hadn't been quite finished and the pool was out of bounds but Fred had given everyone a £50 on board credit so that was felt to be a good move all around. I believe that some cabins had an issue with their hot water but I had to say that I had no problems at all and had lashings of hot water for my shower. So we set off on our five night mystery cruise which was to call at three ports. I had 'guessed' at four ports from the excursion descriptions and was pleased that I had guessed correctly. The ports were not confirmed to us until we actually arrived and everyone had lots of fun guessing where we were going. First port was Ghent where we had a whole day - lovely city with beautiful medieval buildings and canals - and lots of chocolate! I had booked a walking tour excursion and this was good, although it would have been easy to do this independently had I known the destination. Boudicca was berthed 20/30 minutes drive from the city centre and there was a shuttle bus provided for passengers not booked on excursions. On the second day we arrived in Amsterdam late morning and would stay until 8am the following day. It was an easy 15 minute walk from the berth into Amsterdam although there was a tram for people who didn't wish to walk. Unfortunately, being Easter Saturday, Amsterdam was too crowded for comfort - the streets were absolutely packed and you could only 'go with the flow' and there wasn't really a pleasant atmosphere. If only I had known, one of the pre-booked excursions was to the Kurkenhoff gardens and I think I would have enjoyed that. Fortunately I had booked a canal boat excursion at night and that was really lovely, well worth doing, and improved my impression of Amsterdam. Easter Sunday was spent largely at sea until we arrived in Rotterdam at 6.30pm where we would stay until 6pm the next day. I have to say I didn't have great expectations for Rotterdam, knowing that it is a huge port but I was pleasantly surprised. The city itself has lots of interesting modern architecture and we were berthed right by the stunning Erasmus bridge. The Markt Hall is definitely worth a visit for an amazing selection of food - not that you need any extra food when you are travelling with Fred! I also did an excursion to Gouda which was a delightful town and a place I would be happy to return to. We sailed overnight to arrive back in Dover at 6am the next morning. The passengers on Fred were a good mix with the usual large percentage of 'seniors' but all seemed to get around well and I wasn't aware of any problems - everyone was very friendly as I find is usually the case on Fred's ships and even though I was travelling alone I was never short of someone to chat with if I wished. This was actually an extra cruise for me this year so I was trying to be frugal and so booked an inside cabin - 4128. I was actually very pleasantly surprised, it was clean, comfortable and well decorated. With being an inside cabin it was actually very dark at night and I slept really well - had to set the alarm on the cabin phone to ensure I didn't oversleep! My cabin girl, Donna, was lovely and looked after me very well. This cabin did not have other cabins at either side so there was very little noise. The food on Fred was excellent as always - I think there really is something for everyone and the entertainment was good too. With hindsight, for me personally, I don't think I would do a mystery cruise again as I am the sort of person that likes to plan what I am going to do in port, but having said that, this was a really good experience thanks to the great Fred staff and crew, interesting itinerary, good food and friendly fellow passengers. I look forward to travelling with Fred again later in the year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
During the bleak November short evenings an e mail arrived in my inbox from Fred Olsen advertising a mystery cruise for 5 days over Easter. Where were we going ? Don't know! So of course we booked on! Driving down to Dover from ... Read More
During the bleak November short evenings an e mail arrived in my inbox from Fred Olsen advertising a mystery cruise for 5 days over Easter. Where were we going ? Don't know! So of course we booked on! Driving down to Dover from the Midlands is always fraught with delay so we went down the day before and stayed at the Best Western Hotel on the seafront. Nice hotel and a good bar meal. Taking a walk I looked over to the port and there was the Boudicca, tied up in the docks. Over breakfast we could see the steady arrival of lorries replenishing the ship which had been undergoing a refit for the previous two weeks. We boarded at 2:30 pm after a trouble free check in. We had a wheelchair and were taken on to the ship with as much help as we needed. A quick visit to the Secret Garden on deck 6 supplied the first of our tea and cake stops. There were sandwiches for those who were more hungry. The lifeboat drill was our first event and it passed the time until dinner. I was getting a little worried as the ship was getting underway and our bags were not in the cabin. However I need not have worried as they turned up shortly afterwards. Our first port if call was Ghent in Belgium which is a pretty town and accessible for visitors. There is a chocolate shop there where you can see chocolates being made and they are the best in Belgium. There was a shuttle bus from the port and our driver was a star getting the large coach through the narrow turnings and obstacles. The second port was Amsterdam which we accessed by a taxi. It was really busy and a frightening experience, but we are glad we went as we have never seen so many bikes. To be honest I never want to see that many again. Rotterdam was accessed by the port shuttle bus and was quite nice with an outdoor market and an indoor food hall but I think quite a lot of the town was shut as it was a Bank holiday. However we came back laden with cheese. We booked two outside cabins on deck 3 with port holes. We like deck 3 as it is the evenest place to be on the ship when the weather is bad. It is also good when the boarding is at deck 3. Boudicca is a small ship which means that you can find anything you want and you don't lose your family or friends for too long! We tend to hang around the same areas such as the library so we can find each other. The ship has had some changes since we were on her in August. Most noticeable is the Indian Ocean Restaurant which is now a light and airy place to eat and the oriental tea room on the way to the Neptune lounge. Again this is light and airy. There is a new TV system which seemed to work and had some reasonably new films on it. There did not seem to be the controlled chaos which followed the first trip on Black Watch after the refit . ( We were on that too) There is no 24 hour dining on Fred Olsen ships but I can't think why people want it anyway. Breakfast is available in either the main restaurants or the Secret garden at the times displayed in the Daily Times. There is probably everything to eat that you have at home and everything that you could wish for, from cold meat, cereals and porridge through to the full English. Lunch is a choice, you can go to the buffet and choose what you wish yourself or the waiters will serve you. We tend to do a mixture of both as my husband is very keen on the soup which is waiter service only. Afternoon tea is served in the Secret Garden which is the self service restaurant and is available without booking. There are a selection of sandwiches and cakes for those who have an appetite. Following this there is dinner which can be a 5 course extravaganza if that's what you fancy. There are limited options to choose from but the food is usually good or excellent and I have yet to find an equal at home. There is a supper club but I am usually tucked up in bed by then. Service is good in the restaurant and the bars and I noted that there were staff taken on to provide some activities for children. Would we go again? You bet! Would we go on a mystery cruise? Yes! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. Fred Olson passengers must be some of the most loyal and supportive of any customers in any business in the world. I never heard any compaints at all. My compaints cover penny pinching:- 1. I am diabetic so upon boarding the ship i needed a sandwich at around 4 pm to last me to 8-30 dinning. I was sent to Palm cafe and was given the most disgusting cheese and ham sandwiches. both the cheese and ham were cut so thi that you could not tast them. 2. Both my wife and I paid £150 each for the drinks package. I am diabetic so drink diabetic drinks such as Diat pepsi or diet lemonadw. the first time I asked for a pint of diet Pepsi. Answer came back you can have pints of beer or larger but only halves of diet drinks. Ok I said I will have 2 halve. No was the answer you must drink one then ask for another. . It is in the small print rules. I would have been happy to drink just the diet drinks on the full cruise but to get my own back ordered enough wine each evening to use a full bottle each night. 3. I am an International Director of Operations and use a vodafone IPAD whenever I am overseas. I paid £50 for 5 nights up front. For 2 nights I could not send emails and on the third Fred Olson lady linked me to Google to send messages. My advce to people would be purchase 1 days WIFI and check first. My advice to Fred Olsen would be to do the same as most hotels these days and give free access to WIFI on board your ships. I started my working life as an Accountant with Glaxo, British Oxygen working my way to Finance director. I then became MD and CEO of an Anglo/American company. The reason I mention this is that I started off looking for pennies to turn into pounds of saving but as an MD I learnt to make judgements on how to make savings that were not petty and would harm the company reputation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were ... Read More
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were badly handled and information had to be submitted several times.I let that go as one of those things. Once on board , every time I bought anything whether in the restaurants , shops ,bars etc the bill presented left a line for adding a tip. This despite having prepaid gratuities as recommended by the cruise line. That is appalling. The cabin service by the stewardess was efficient. The room service orders arrived prompt ,served efficiently and by nice staff. The waiters allocated to our table were excellent ( so I tipped generously). Otherwise, things are not good. The food was indifferent, sometimes the portions were meagre . Classic dishes were often spoiled , being accompanied by a bit of boiled vegetables. Appetisers were particularly bad, better to have none at all. The buffets were of inferior cafeteria standard. The breakfast buffets were basic and tired , the bread available dreadful. As for the coffee throughout the ship (in the restaurants, the buffets, breakfast ,etc it was dire, dreadful, weak, thin . Similarly with tea , the water for which was never hot enough. So weak tea was served throughout. The only way to have decent tea or coffee was to buy and pay for it in a specialist coffee shop. The wine lists were absurd. At the beginning of the wine list 5 recommended fine wines were listed. When ordering one of these , after waiting 10 minutes, I was told they didn’t have it. So I chose an alternative, that was also not available and so on with 4 of their own recommended wines! The wine waiters didn’t know much about wine. So nothing on this ship for wine lovers. The entertainment on board was basic holiday camp fare, except for two excellent guitarists often playing some of the lounges. The activities available were standard fare. The gangways at most ports were badly arranged - given that they knew most passengers were elderly - steep stairs were in use. Bad enough for many to struggle descending , much worse when ascending on returning to the ship. Claims that they were restricted by the tides did not check out, as they could ramp or extend the steps to make them easier. Overall, the ship has a downmarket feel and the cruise line seem unmoved by making life better for its customers. I shall not be using it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The prospect of seeing the Northern Lights was the main reason for choosing this cruise and, to be fair, we did see them. Unfortunately the experience was spoilt by poor itinerary planning (e.g. an afternoon call into Trondheim, where ... Read More
The prospect of seeing the Northern Lights was the main reason for choosing this cruise and, to be fair, we did see them. Unfortunately the experience was spoilt by poor itinerary planning (e.g. an afternoon call into Trondheim, where attractions are only open in the morning) and a general sense that Fred. is nowadays only out to extract as much money as possible from you. The tours were grossly overpriced (unacceptable margins over DIY for the same experience) and all over the ship there are now too many premium services. I would not recommend this trip to anyone who has more sense than money. The dinner menu had too much repetition. Over the years, a number of the little extras have been gradually phased out - the latest casualties being the Gala Buffet (now reduced to a shadow of its former self) and the drinks at the 'cocktail' parties, which now include no actual cocktails. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We were on our 4th attempt to see the northern lights and we finally did it and it was worth the perseverance, 2 nights in succession they danced for us. Because of this alone we have given 5 stars. The ship and crew were as usual ... Read More
We were on our 4th attempt to see the northern lights and we finally did it and it was worth the perseverance, 2 nights in succession they danced for us. Because of this alone we have given 5 stars. The ship and crew were as usual first class and everything was up to Fred's usual standard, food was good, entertainment was good, cruise director was exceptional. The only note of caution was the new grill restaurant,we tried it and found it lacking , other people said they enjoyed it so perhaps it was us. The weather was very kind and the days we were scienic cruising could not have been better, it was very good itinerary. We didn't use Fred's excursions we did our own with local taxis and buses and saved a fortune. We got to the ice hotel just as the tour buses were leaving and had it to ourselves and saved approximately half of ships price( there were 4 of us). All in all a very successful trip. Even disembarkation was a doddle PS. It rained in Bergen as usual Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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