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133 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

Chose cruise to visit cities not yet visited in Spain. Because three destinations were cancelled we still have not seen some of them. We were told of bad weather but did not experience much. Seemed premature to cancel two stops. Otherwise ... Read More
Chose cruise to visit cities not yet visited in Spain. Because three destinations were cancelled we still have not seen some of them. We were told of bad weather but did not experience much. Seemed premature to cancel two stops. Otherwise cruise was just as good as previously especially the food! Entertainment with a singer and comedian very good but ships company only average I would say. The breakfasts were good apart from the very well done streaky bacon which wouldn't stay on your fork. The waiters were very attentive. Lunch on the last day was very special with loads of seafood including lobsters and jumbo prawns.As last two stops were cancelled we had five continuous days at sea which got rather boring as the weather got colder as we got nearer home. I did have a good book thank goodness. Got fed up watching tv in cabin and saw some truly weird films! Only seven out of ten for this one Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Chose the cruise because it sailed from liverpool, paid for all inclusive then found out my drink was not on the list.now martini bianco is a cheap drink to buy so was amazed to find this out.so drank orange juice.no other cruise line I ... Read More
Chose the cruise because it sailed from liverpool, paid for all inclusive then found out my drink was not on the list.now martini bianco is a cheap drink to buy so was amazed to find this out.so drank orange juice.no other cruise line I have been on didnt not have this drink on it's all inclusive. Also bad weather spoiled this cruise for us.cabin stewardess was wonderful and looked after us brilliantly. The staff in Brigadoon were great,always smiling, and waiters in lounge areas were the same.I dont think we will sail with Fred Olsen again,not as good as cruise and maritime. Embarking was gteatand disembarking was great,couldn't wait to get home.met some nice people and enjoyed their company. Been to Lisbon before so knew our way around unfortunately my husband was in bed all day with sea sickness, so I had to go alone. Portimao was nice but didn't care for lexios. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have been to Greenland before and wanted to repeat the experience as the scenery was stunning, not so much ice this time but still overwhelming. Boudicca has been refitted and the ambience is bright and cheerful but only on the surface ... Read More
We have been to Greenland before and wanted to repeat the experience as the scenery was stunning, not so much ice this time but still overwhelming. Boudicca has been refitted and the ambience is bright and cheerful but only on the surface (more later on this) The restaurants were all very nice and the staff were excellent. We did use the new outside grill and this was well worth the extra charge. The entertainment was mostly good the on board show company was excellent, some of the other acts were pass there sell by date, the best comedian on board was the Captain. Captain's cocktail parties were hilarious. My Wife enjoyed the arts and crafts and I enjoyed the quizzes. Now to the downside Early this year we were on the ill fated Balmoral cruise to California and we said at this time Goodby Fred. The Boudicca cruise was already booked and paid for so rather than lose money we went. Our cabin initially looked good an adapted cabin on deck 7 (my wife is disabled) I went for a shower, the water flooded the whole bathroom, I put this down to the angle of the ship being still tied up, mopped it up and asked for more towels. Next day it flooded again the water would not drain quickly enough, so we sent for the plumber. Plumber cleaned the drains and left a note to say it was now fixed. The result of the supposed fix resulted in noxious smells in the bathroom which I quickly found could be minimised by placing towels over the drains. Needless to say we flooded again and again and again. Eventually it was admitted that the pipes were all wrong and needed major work. 4 days to the end of the cruise we were offered another cabin which seemed rather pointless at this stage. So we asked to be compensated for the aggregation. Innitially a future cruise voucher was offered, this we declined and eventually on board credit was arranged and my Wife went shopping, they also gave us the use of the other cabin on the same deck to shower in. Surprise surprise that bathroom flooded too. So why I ask are these cabins being sold as they are obviously not fit for purpose. We have 3 more cruises booked none with Fred Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Cruise L1917 Isles of Scotland 1.8.2019 This was our first ever cruise and we had expected much better considering the cost. The M.S. Balmoral had its last refit some 10/11 years ago and it is looking very tired. Our cabin was showing ... Read More
Cruise L1917 Isles of Scotland 1.8.2019 This was our first ever cruise and we had expected much better considering the cost. The M.S. Balmoral had its last refit some 10/11 years ago and it is looking very tired. Our cabin was showing the signs of wear and tear with the bathroom being particularly poor - cracked tiles in the shower and not very clean. Soundproofing between cabins was below acceptable levels. The food was of a good standard but nothing exceptional. Waiting staff were very efficient albeit there was a sense of being rushed. Entertainment was mediocre. I overheard two different people refer to the cruise as "Butlins at Sea". Considering the cost of the cruise it was disappointing to learn that one would have to pay an additional £26 per hour for internet access! We waited until we went ashore to catch up on emails etc! The last straw for us was the disembarkation which took 1.75 hours (and we weren't the last off!). Had we not been asked to vacate our cabins then we could have had some comfort before leaving. As it was the aisles and stairways were filled with people (many elderly) sitting on the floor. An appalling way to end the holiday. However to finish on a positive note, we were able to visit The Orkneys and Shetland which was a delight. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We live in Edinburgh, the sailing was from Rosyth, and the itinerary was very interesting. The check in went slowly but smoothly, parking procedure very good. The gangway was very steep, very narrow and entirely stepped, with wide flat ... Read More
We live in Edinburgh, the sailing was from Rosyth, and the itinerary was very interesting. The check in went slowly but smoothly, parking procedure very good. The gangway was very steep, very narrow and entirely stepped, with wide flat areas on either side. Many passengers were elderly, using sticks for support, and found it very difficult. These people make up a large part of Fred Olsen Cruises customer base, and I found this astonishing. We scanned our cards ourselves, with a crew member checking it- not a word, no eye contact from any member of the gangway crew, then, or at any time during the cruise. The ship is beautifully maintained, inside and out, with comfortable lounges and plenty of artwork and photographs. Dining in the Balindalloch restaurant was good, food excellent and waiters very smart in grey suits. The Palm cafe was lovely, with seating overlooking the pool. The food was fine, but coffee generally cold, with staff morale not too good. The cabin (3072) had been refurbished and was well equipped, with a proper full sized shower area. There was, however, no sound insulation at all. There was almost nothing in the way of engine rumble or other mechanical noises, but it was as though the occupants of the cabins on either side were in beside us! They were selfish idiots with no regard for anyone- we were also idiots for creeping about like church mice! Entertainment was pretty good- a singer/guitarist in the Morning Light lounge was very good, with a most pleasant manner. The Neptune show lounge was very smart, with a resident 6 piece band. The British song and dance group were good, as were comedy and speciality music acts. There were also 2 afternoon classical piano recitals which were wonderful. The dancing classed in the Neptune were very good, organised by a Scottish Husband and Wife team. Reception and shore excursion staff were very polite and helpful. The promenade deck had seating in several areas, but there was not enough depth to accommodate loungers. There were plenty of these round the pool, though, as well as on deck 11. Fred Olsen claim a 60% return rate, and I believe it. Many guests were treated like old friends by some crew members. We only did 1 shore trip- the Monet House and Gardens, which was excellent, but there were plenty choose from. Some people were disappointed to find the trip they wanted fully booked, so it's best to book in advance. The clientele was almost entirely Scottish, and we met some lovely people, but if you are looking for a more mixed crowd, Rosyth is probably not the best staring point. We enjoyed the cruise- the ship was very smooth and quiet, there are quiet areas to hide away in. There does seem to be a problem with staff morale- a lady at our table was actually shouted at by a waiter for not being able to understand his broken English! There were plenty of "suits" in evidence, so the problem has to be in management quality rather than quantity. We asked someone with a cabin on deck 6 about the noise from adjacent cabins, and it appeared to be no better than ours. That would probably prevent us from taking another cruise with Fred Olsen, which is a pity, as there is so much to like. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Chose this cruise because the itinery seemed to meet our rquirements. Unfortunately the captain took the decision not to go to Shetland due to bad weather. While we accept his decision we felt more could be done to make up for this. All ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the itinery seemed to meet our rquirements. Unfortunately the captain took the decision not to go to Shetland due to bad weather. While we accept his decision we felt more could be done to make up for this. All the people we spoke to said this was the port of call they were looking forward to the most. Instead we had 2 nights rather than one at Invergordon (NOT a holiday desination) Two buses were laid on at nearly £30 a time to go into Inverness (perhaps to offer this free would have been a nice gesture?) We took the local bus for about £11. Any other attraction was a long trip and expensive. Other things we were not happy with - Firstly , the car park in Liverpool was hard to find. Inadequate map and sat nav took you to a building site (not Fred Olson rsponsibility) - cabin noise (see below) Buffet area quite small, not always able to get a table at busy times - While the ship was well maintained there was no main staircase or reception area and the entertainment was mediocre . - many of the staff had a poor grasp of English which could be a problem, particularly at guest services - WiFi expensive - Timing given in port were misleading for example 'late p.m actually meant about 3.30 in the afternoon. - Tours were very expensive, there were 4 of us so it made more sense to book a private taxi to take us to the places we wanted to see, which worked out fine. - Passengers were mostly quite elderly and infirm so activities were geared up for this. I did sometimes feel I was sitting in the common room of an old peoples home rather than a cruise ship! - Finally the disembarkation process was not a happy experience, but mostly this was due to the facilites at Liverpool cruise terminal Good points, main dining room was nice and our waiters were freindly and helpful and there was a very good wine list at reasonable prices plus the food was excellent. Would not go with Fred Olson again Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this cruise because it went from the port of Southampton, I could get a cabin for single use and it went to the countries I wanted to see, which were all wonderful and very clean. Some difficulty getting off the ship if you could ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it went from the port of Southampton, I could get a cabin for single use and it went to the countries I wanted to see, which were all wonderful and very clean. Some difficulty getting off the ship if you could not walk too far, quite a walk to get out of the docks and onto coaches if you have booked trips. The drinks package I purchased worked out at £19 per day bought online at point of booking. One of my dining companions purchased a drinks package onboard and said she paid £29 per day. I have cruised before on other ships and the drinks package covered everywhere on the ship but not on the Braemar. I am sorry to say I found it to be a rip-off. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and all staff and crew at Fred Olsen were very helpful and professional. I had to use the outdated computer in the outdated library to send an urgent email, which costs £26 per hour. I was unable to get any reception on my mobile at the time. The computer was so slow and I had to send two emails that ending up costing me £52. Dining was okay, but the portions were really so small. Similar to the size of meal you would receive if you were in a care home. The crew were fantastic but everything else on board was poor. The entertainment was average and the activities were like those found in care and retirement homes. A kind of lets make do and mend mentality. I personally felt it was old fashioned and outdated. Every time the sea was a bit rough you were tossed around. I felt the ship was not that stable, specially if you were elderly and most people were using walkers, mobility scooters, sticks and wheelchairs. A few people suffered from sea sickness because of the movement of the ship. The Braemar was not the ship for me but I might enjoy it better if it is still sailing when I am in my eighties. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We booked this cruise at the last minute, we paid a lot for the trip. I was in a single room which was located on deck 2 at the front, the room was very nice being an inside cabin, well equiped and the bed was very comfortable, good shower ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute, we paid a lot for the trip. I was in a single room which was located on deck 2 at the front, the room was very nice being an inside cabin, well equiped and the bed was very comfortable, good shower and plenty of space with loads of storage for clothes. The dowside to this room and I express this to any one looking to travel on any Fred Olsen ship, the room is located above the bow thrusters which means during docking the rooms vibrates and the noise is undiscibable, I you have a heart proplem this is not the room to have. Fred Olsen should warm guests that this room has problems and at 1.00 in the morning being jolted out of a sleep is not good. The rest of the ship is OK for its size, comfotable but limeted. food very good with the down side of only being available at certain times during the day, as on other ships food is on tap 6.00 - 2.00. The entertainmant is OK very well put together. I would thing twice about going with Fred Olsen, you can get better for the same money on other cruise companys. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Been with Fred before and loved the friendliness of the staff, the food, the service and the Balmoral is not too massive and plenty of room to sit and relax. The excursions were very disappointing. This is not a cruise for wheel chair ... Read More
Been with Fred before and loved the friendliness of the staff, the food, the service and the Balmoral is not too massive and plenty of room to sit and relax. The excursions were very disappointing. This is not a cruise for wheel chair users. Malmo had many cobbled streets which make it very hard for the pusher and very uncomfortable for the sitter. It was a bank holiday so 90% of the shops were closed and the town is dull and uninteresting. Visby was even worse and almost impossible for wheelchair users to get around. Stockholm was OK and visits to the Abba museum and the Varsa museum well worth it. \but yet again, the city is nothing to write home about. We went on the evening city tour and the guide really struggled to tell us anything of interest and the cost 04 £48 per person was ridiculous for a 2 hour coach ride. And so to Gothenberg where all museums and the fish market close on Mondays. We took a hop on hop off bus ride around the city and stayed on the whole tour as there were absolutely no places of interest. So the itiniery was very poorly arranged given the closure of shops, museums etc. The staff on the Balmoral are just brilliant. They are mainly from the Phillipines, Thailand and India. They remember your names and what you normally drink, how you like it etc within a few hours. They are always smiling and so helpful. The embarkation was quick and efficient but the disembarkation was a shambles. There were a few good evening shows and some good entertainment in and around the bars. All in all, a disappointing experience not helped by awful weather but we will sail with Fred again Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I consider the price we paid for the itinerary, distance travelled, entertainment, drinks package and cabin comfort (superior interior) was far too much. The A/C in the cabin was rubbish we had the setting off the scale and still found it ... Read More
I consider the price we paid for the itinerary, distance travelled, entertainment, drinks package and cabin comfort (superior interior) was far too much. The A/C in the cabin was rubbish we had the setting off the scale and still found it stuffy and through the night it seemed to go off altogether, maybe to save money- so very poor sleep quality. Obviously we reported this and it was supposedly checked out twice and found to meet the required temperatures. It did not meet ours. We were offered another similar cabin which we examined and found to be no different as it was in same vacinity. We spoke to other people on the ship some found theirs too warm and others found theirs too cold. Never had this problem before and have cruised many times. For the price we paid I would have expected a decent pillow to rest my head on but they were obviously job lot and I I awoke every morning with a creek in my neck - there was no bounce back whatsoever. I ended up having to put towels underneath to get some sort of support. Please note you no longer get branded spirit in the basic drinks package so another cut back making FO even less value for money cruise line. Food in general was good and much better than it had been on our last Balmoral cruise, so you can't judge them all by one. Staff were excellent except for one group serving in Ballindalloch at lunch time to whom everything was a bother. Entertainment disappointing - was a bit on the scarce side and very mediocre. The places we visited were so so, except for Kiel canal which unfortunately we could not go through on the way there due to windy conditions. We found there were a lot more very elderly and infirm, disabled passengers on this occasion. Definitely the best part was meeting some very nice people and making friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We took this cruise as we were already booked on the previous cruise and it was reduced to a good price for Black Friday. The ports of Lisbon, Portimao and Leixoes (for Porto) also appealed. We upgraded our cabin on the first full day ... Read More
We took this cruise as we were already booked on the previous cruise and it was reduced to a good price for Black Friday. The ports of Lisbon, Portimao and Leixoes (for Porto) also appealed. We upgraded our cabin on the first full day of the cruise to a terrace balcony cabin, which we liked a lot, though sadly due to poor weather we could not use the balcony as much as we would have liked on the sea days. It was a good sized cabin with enough storage facilities and a sit was on Prom deck was one of the few balcony cabins on which Fred does not allow smoking - so no smells of smoke. Cabin Stewardess was good. The food and restaurant staff were excellent as always, and as I mentioned in my previous cruise, the self service restaurant was open until midday for breakfast, so no need to rush to breakfast before 10am. The entertainments were extremely poor on this cruise, especially considering that there was such a long time at sea during the nine days. The entertainments in the Lido lounge were definitely not up to Fred's standard. We are in our 60's but do like to hit the dance floor at times for disco type dancing and the entertainers were just not up to that, though Fred is still offering Ballroom dancing between shows in the Neptune - even though they often only had 3 or 4 passengers dancing there. It would have been far better if they had just run a disco sometimes, but the only disco was in the small hours (1am usually), when Fred passengers tend to want to sleep. It is about time Fred realised that the passengers who are still able to hit the dance floor (those less than 70 or so) are of an age when ballroom dancing was way outdated during their teens, so they did not partake of such dancing and provided entertainments accordingly. No Rosario Trio nowadays and the pianist in the observatory spent more time talking to passengers than playing the piano. Fred are also running 'cheese and wine' sessions now, as well as the afternoon teas that had started doing a few years ago, when they cordon off the whole of the front section of the observation lounge, even parts which are obviously not booked out and this is done a couple of hours before the events. We usually sit in the observation lounge for a few drinks as we do not generally go to the shows etc. This meant that we were left with nothing to do and nowhere to go a fair bit of the time on board - especially on the sea days as the seats at the side of the lounge soon got occupied and are nothing like a well placed. This was obviously done to increase revenue, but I wonder how much they lost by refusing others somewhere to sit there. Even the speakers were not of interest as the subjects were just not of interest. The Captain's welcome party and the one at the end of the cruise were very enjoyable as Captain Degelund is extremely funny and treats all his staff really well. We were also well supplied with drinks and canapes, unlike our other cruises in recent years, when there seemed to be a lot of cutbacks with those. Disembarkation was earlier than it usually had been in the past (we were called to disembark about 7.37am, which is ridiculous given that we had a 300 mile drive journey ahead of us. We did not leave immediately, but the ship was cleared whilst breakfast was still being served. The disembarkation details did not give these times clearly. We have travelled with Fred a lot in recent years, due to some unusual destinations, but we may well not continue to travel with them given the lack of good entertainments and bar areas to sit, which is a shame as we had enjoyed many Fred cruises in the past. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We thought it would be fun to cross the Atlantic and a 16 day Re-positioning Cruise offers quite good value for money, We flew to Barbados, visited Antigua, Tortola and St Kitts and, after 6 days at sea crossing the Atlantic, stopped at ... Read More
We thought it would be fun to cross the Atlantic and a 16 day Re-positioning Cruise offers quite good value for money, We flew to Barbados, visited Antigua, Tortola and St Kitts and, after 6 days at sea crossing the Atlantic, stopped at Ponta Delgada in the Azores and then called in at La Coruna before docking in Southampton. We had never traveled with Fred Olsen before but had heard good reports from others. We thought the Braemar, a small ship relatively speaking, with just 900 passengers and just for grown ups (i.e. no children) would suit us well. We had lovely weather, pretty calm seas and the staff were delightful and very attentive. Our cabin (an outside one with a picture window) was reasonably spacious and had all the facilities we would expect. Importantly, the beds were very comfortable! When at sea I enjoyed playing Bridge and we liked the Quizzes. Some of the talks were interesting but the selection of films in the cabin was not so good. I thought the extras were very expensive (drinks packages, WiFi and short excursions) and was disappointed with the standard of the entertainment and some of the food, though the Breakfasts and the Food Stations were good. The overall conclusion is, therefore, that we enjoyed ourselves but would not rave about it and would probably choose to go for another P & O cruise next time, as there is a wider age range. Most of those on board were quite a bit older than us (and we are in our early 70's!) and they were - for the large part - loyal Fred Olsen repeat travelers! Horses for Courses, as they say! ps. A note of caution when booking: While the actual cruise is excellent value for money, when you add on additional costs for insurance (more expensive in the Caribbean and USA), gratuities, on-board expenses for WiFi, bar bills and excursions, rail fares, taxis, overnight hotel stays and also - in our case - kennel costs, your outlay is doubled! It is still a lovely holiday but it is too easy to overlook these when making the decision to go! Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary and the fact it sails from Dover, close to where we live. We had never been to 4 of the ports, and so were looking for new experiences, we had visited 3 already, so knew what we wanted. We ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary and the fact it sails from Dover, close to where we live. We had never been to 4 of the ports, and so were looking for new experiences, we had visited 3 already, so knew what we wanted. We had cruised last year with FO to Norway...what a difference! Good bits....the restaurant staff were the usual helpful, attentive and able selves. Embarkation at Dover was simple and fuss free Some of the places we moored were excellent....Las Palmas, Funchal, Lisbon and Vigo...close to the town, and not too grotty. Of course FO need to moor where the port allocates them. One of the lecturers was very good...low key, but accurate and interesting. Adequate....food of a lower standard than the Norway cruise.....desserts at lunchtime very poor, better at dinner. Menu OK, but unimaginative...maybe suited the age and nationality profile of many of the passengers. House wine no better than adequate, at OK prices. Cabin fine, not too good in rough weather (force 9) but not a problem. Poor.....some meals were just bad, or weird. Schnitzel with peas and carrots? One day was awful: I complained, but got no real response. Customer service desk was hopeless....defensive and not given any updates on pool problems etc. Shore tours laughably overpriced. To ask for £10 per person for the shuttle from the ship to Arrecife (on a Sunday, when the town is closed) is taking the mickey...its buried in the T & Cs, apparently. Arrival at Vigo as Siesta time is starting and departing at 5 pm is incomprehensible. One lecturer was inaccurate, a little Englander and mumbled. No, we will not use FO again for a sea cruise Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. ... Read More
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. The food was okay (safe/boring) but the main dining room tried to mix buffet service with (if you were lucky) a menu service. The staff work hard but appear to be too few - there were many times that I was offered ground pepper or sauces when I'd practically finished my meal, and cheese would arrive long before the biscuits to put it on. The public rooms/bars are more like corridors and none of the seating is very comfortable. The entertainment was good, especially some of the guest entertainers, however the lack of a stage meant that you could not see the feet of the tap dancer. My cabin was perfectly okay and just as described (although I did wonder how some of the many larger guests managed in the small single beds). It is what it is ... a cruise for "old" people - not necessarily judged by years but by attitudes and the type of social activities offered. The saving graces were the few good films on offer in the cinema, some of the speakers, especially James Fraser who gave talks on photography and using your camera (and phone camera!) and the staff themselves who were generally very happy and friendly. For my next cruise i will hopefully return to Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Staff – some good some bad, certainly not at the level across the board of the more expensive cruise lines but a lot of the staff where great. Drinks – the drinks package includes so little variety I ended up always paying the top ... Read More
Staff – some good some bad, certainly not at the level across the board of the more expensive cruise lines but a lot of the staff where great. Drinks – the drinks package includes so little variety I ended up always paying the top up to have different drinks however it wasn’t very pricey to top up to nicer drinks. Swimming pools and recreation activities - They have very little and much of what they have is catered to their older clients. Knowing in advance this was a smaller ship with older patrons we took a PS3 with us, on day one the reception staff refused to set the TV up for us so we could plug it in (it needed a different controller to the one supplied as they have their own system that doesn’t allow other HDMI channels) however we asked different staff on day two and they sorted it for us. As this was a Christmas time cruise we avoided pools as did pretty much everyone else as it was to cold. Quizzes and shows – you could turn up pretty much as the shows were starting and still get a seat a big change on the larger ships however the shows were very low budget versions of what you get on larger cruise ships they were mildly entertaining at best. With the quizzes we were lucky if we found one per day so we spent quite a bit of time in our room with the entertainment we brought with us. Photo's & other items to purchase – we didn’t get any pictures done really so didn’t investigate this price. Bathrobes – not available to purchase ☹ Anything extra you may want to pay for was reasonably priced. Food - Breakfast Breakfast in room was ok, not much in the way of queues for the buffet and we didn’t try the sit down breakfast. Food - lunch, snacks and late night food. Buffet not too busy but variety was very low although quality was very good. Food - dinner Sit down meal was largely good quality but amount of food was limited and my husband who is a picky eater struggled to find food at dinner time. Food - room service Food was pretty good and was included in the price which is unusual and nice however it was very much snacks no meals available. Fred Olsen were a good low budget cruise line where the quality is good but variety is limited however the price of this trip was similar to we paid on P&O so I don’t feel the price reflected the fact they are a budget cruise line. Would happily sail with them again but I want the cost to be dramatically lower than the mid range cruise lines like P&O and Royal Caribbean Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first Fred Olsen cruise having previously sailed with Royal Caribbean and P&O. Not long after booking we got a call offering us a tour of the ship, I asked the lady to call back the next day as I needed to discuss with the ... Read More
This was our first Fred Olsen cruise having previously sailed with Royal Caribbean and P&O. Not long after booking we got a call offering us a tour of the ship, I asked the lady to call back the next day as I needed to discuss with the wife. No call back. Later we had a recorded message telling us that our dining room had been changed with no reason/explanation given. When we went to check in they couldn’t find our reservation eventually we were told that our cabin had been changed. I said that our luggage labels had the original allocated cabin and was told that this would be known and sorted. It wasn’t our cases were put outside the original cabin. We were not advised of our dining table number and had to wait on the first evening whilst this was found out for us. We had a nice large cabin but the ship was smaller than we are used to so we always knew we were at sea. The shower/bath towels were small and thin in fact the towels in the cabin for use when sunbathing were of better quality. The entertainment during the day was mixed, the entertainment staff were rather young and immature considering the age of the passengers. The evening entertainment was poor with only one show in fact the best show was the one put on by the crew rather than the on board “professional team”. The British Night was very good. On the plus side the food (particularly the evening menu) was excellent and the staff were very friendly and courteous speaking to us by name straight away. Having a buffet breakfast was disappointing having been used to a waiter service from P&O. Fred Olsen seem to have a very loyal customer base with most of the passengers we spoke with regular FO travellers. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have ... Read More
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have to pay extra. Fred Olsen want extra money all the time, 10 pounds each for shuttle bus in Lanzarote, 16 pounds for 5 cappuccinos. My husband had a fall & was helped by a member of the bar staff, an officer walked by & ignored us. Same happened to a very frail lady, the Hotel manager just walked past her. We had been to all the ports before so didn't take any trips, which like all cruises are hugely overpriced. cabin was very comfy, we paid extra for a window, & we were well looked after by our lovely stewardess. The sea water swimming pool was lovely, nice & warm, a bit deep at 7 ft 1 end & nearly 6 at shallow end. Arriving back in Liverpool, was great, we were home within 45 minutes, a big bonus. Overall a good cruise, the weather could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The reason for choosing this cruise were many One the embarkation and disembarkation port was only half hour from home so we did not have any extra travel to join the ship.TwoThe ship Balmoral, we have sailed on this ship in the past and ... Read More
The reason for choosing this cruise were many One the embarkation and disembarkation port was only half hour from home so we did not have any extra travel to join the ship.TwoThe ship Balmoral, we have sailed on this ship in the past and have had a wonderful time . The food,entertainment and ports of call had always been good. The size off the ship was also to our liking, friendly yet spacious but there was always things to keep you occupied whether it be energetic or a quiet spot to do a jigsaw or sit with coffee and loose your self in one of the many books in the very good library. The talks during the day also give a change of interest or where some of the guests took advantage and had a sleep. If you needed help there was always one of crew around willing to give you a hand. We did have a problem with the cabin on this cruise in the shower and the toilet, later we had debris blowing from the ventilation we where offered a change of accommodation but told no guarantee that the same thing would not happen, so we declined. All of the problems were attended to soon after they were reported. We now look forward to our next cruise with Fred Olsen Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our first cruise with Fred Olsen and we chose it because of the itinerary. Both embarkation and disembarkation were efficient and we were pleased with our cabin`s position and size. There were only 600 on board so the ship felt ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Fred Olsen and we chose it because of the itinerary. Both embarkation and disembarkation were efficient and we were pleased with our cabin`s position and size. There were only 600 on board so the ship felt very comfortable but might have felt cramped with another 200 guests. Our cabin was fine, with a large window and our stewardess was efficient and unobtrusive .It was very useful to have a laundry room with ironing boards, washers and dryers and a bag of washing could be laundered at a very reasonable £12. We started by having dinner at second sitting but, finishing our meal at about 10.30 made it late getting to the show and impossible to get to the quiz so we changed to first sitting on a table for two. Dinner at 6.15 is too early so we realise that, in future, we would find a cruise offering one or open sitting. The food was consistently good with an excellent breakfast and lunch buffet and a good choice at dinner although the food was sometimes of variable quality at dinner. Entertainment was good with a very hard-working team. The captain, Mikael Degerlund,is the star of the ship - very hands-on with excellent management skills and clearly appreciated by all staff. He hosted two cocktail parties and the crossing of the equator with considerable flair and humour. The staff worked hard to make everyone feel happy and, as there is quite an elderly clientele on board, they go out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable and looked after. On the minus side, certain areas of the ship looked very shabby - the pool area on deck 6 is in urgent need of re-grouting of tiles and varnishing of paintwork. Soot continually fell from the funnel and onto clothes, decks and seating - I had some clothing washed free of charge but this shouldn`t happen. There was also a continuous smell of fuel which made sitting on deck unpleasant at times. The drinks package did not include bottled water for trips nor even the cocktail of the day. The wine by the glass was of variable quality - I was told that there was no Sauvignon Blanc at all, despite it being listed, so changed to Chenin Blanc only to be told there was no more of that. When I complained at the information desk I received an apology and a box of chocolates and the wine reappeared. The cava was appalling and must have been the cheapest possible - many people were drinking it but it felt as though it was burning on my tongue! The choice of beer was also poor - in future, I would not buy the package and would choose my own drinks. The tours were VERY expensive. The ports in the Maldives were poor and gave little indication of how beautiful these islands really are. The trip to Moyenne Island in the Seychelles was overcrowded and, with only one zodiac to transfer 60 people to the island, some people were left waiting for almost an hour. Unfortunately, due to heavy seas, we couldn`t dock at Praslin where we had planned two days of snorkelling. We were also surprised that some exercise classes were charged for as these are usually included on other ships There was no zumba class and only two line dancing classes so, with several days at sea, there was not much in the way of exercise classes although there were plenty of craft and dancing classes. Would we go again with Fred Olsen? - there were people on board who had cruised with "Fred" multiple times but we would probably only go if we got a good deal as we were not happy to see our cruise advertised at a 40% reduction only 2 weeks before we embarked. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because the sailing date and the itinerary suited us. The cabin on deck 4 was very small but well designed and the large window was beneficial. The food was excellent and the service also very good. The drinks ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the sailing date and the itinerary suited us. The cabin on deck 4 was very small but well designed and the large window was beneficial. The food was excellent and the service also very good. The drinks package was ok but we were often charged on our account for drinks that we had not had. This did not matter materially as we were not paying but we did wonder what happened to all the drinks on our account which we had not consumed. 10 minutes with the Doctor on board resulted in a bill for £88 which was ridiculous, particularly as he then sold me a mouthwash for sore gums (which I did not have) which was marked at £3.20 yet charged at £5.80! It is good to have medical facilities on board but they should not be at exorbitant prices. Entertainment was generally very good. One superb comedian but he was replaced half way through with the most pathetic comic imaginable. The show company were excellent. However, the Neptune lounge was not fit for purpose. The seating was completely inadequate for the numbers attending. The port speaker's presentations were informative but also inhibited by the dreadful lounge and also by his tedious presentation and frequent errors. The Bridge room was too small, too deep within the ship and there were no adequate duplicate sessions due the room being used for other activities. We were never able to play more than 14 hands. This was our first cruise and we are currently undecided whether it should be our last. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We have travelled with Fred. Olsen several times before but never on this, their flagship. Chosen for the itinerary and because it was a special event with all 4 Fred.Olsen ships meeting in Cadiz, a good place to visit. That was a very ... Read More
We have travelled with Fred. Olsen several times before but never on this, their flagship. Chosen for the itinerary and because it was a special event with all 4 Fred.Olsen ships meeting in Cadiz, a good place to visit. That was a very good day if a bit overcrowded. Very nice ship which probably was not seen at the best time, as it was full and so you could not get into the various events and there was always a struggle to find a sunbed or even seat inside. The average service may also have been due to the fact that the ship was full and waiters particularly were very stretched. On late sitting we were often eating until 10.30pm -too late for most people. However even when it was quiet, the bar waiters were very slack and we often went to the bar ourselves after waiting 5-10 minutes to be served. However my main complaint was that as a gluten free passenger my food choices and places to eat were limited, and this appeared to be acceptable to the senior management to whom I complained. I was even told that it was just a fad introduced by the Americans. Would therefore not recommend it if you are gluten free, unless you want to lose weight! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I’ve always wanted to try a cruise so picked this one as I’ve always wanted to go to the Shetland Islands and it was short so gave us a chance to experience cruising. Arrived on the boat to our very expensive upgraded cabin. Very ... Read More
I’ve always wanted to try a cruise so picked this one as I’ve always wanted to go to the Shetland Islands and it was short so gave us a chance to experience cruising. Arrived on the boat to our very expensive upgraded cabin. Very disappointed. Only soap in a bottle supplied in the bathroom - just like a 3 star hotel. Very small towels. Thick rust round the taps and some black mould round bath. On the plus side, the beds were comfortable and we heard no noise at night. Food was excellent and nothing to complain about there. We didn’t go with the drinks package but the price of drinks was very reasonable and again nothing to complain about there either. Entertainment was aimed at an older generation, dance classes, tea dances and bingo etc. and nothing that I would participate in. In fact I question the amount of disabled people on board if there was an emergency. It would be interesting to see how quickly you were able to get to the lifeboats. There was nothing in terms of entertainment for children and yet there were quite a few on board. We participated in one very expensive shore excursion (£52 each) which was described as a walk through a forest to waterfalls and the description urged walking shoes and suitable clothing. In fact the walk was no more that 30 minutes in total and we spent a lot of that waiting for unfit people to catch up. I suppose the footwear of the guide gave it away really - fashion boots. We then visited a small town which was interesting but all of it could be seen in an hour or less. In Kirkwall we hired bikes for £20 and had a great day. In Lerwick we hired a car for £32 and saw all the area below Lerwick, which was fascinating. The day we were at sea all day was awful and we were bored stiff. We used the gym, which needs updating, for a couple of hours and then read for most of the day. The restaurant boasted a sea food lunch and certainly the display was wonderful but because the ship was busy there were queues for tables and we were shown to a table for 6. I really don’t want to eat with strangers, despite them being very pleasant. Overall I feel that this was very expensive for what you got, especially accommodation. Hopefully I have been fair in this review and maybe when I’m 80 and disabled I might choose to go on another one! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Although this ship was recently refurbished (newer furniture and carpeting) it lacks the excitement and character of other cruise lines we've been on (P&O, NCL, RCCL). The entertainment was so-so (think community college theater ... Read More
Although this ship was recently refurbished (newer furniture and carpeting) it lacks the excitement and character of other cruise lines we've been on (P&O, NCL, RCCL). The entertainment was so-so (think community college theater not Vegas-style), the comedian unfunny, and the average passenger age was over 60. We traveled with a well-behaved toddler. Even so most people were friendly (only had one "shushing" in the observatory lounge) and the crew was fantastic. We were bored on our day at sea. Even the older cruisers appeared bored as most just sat in the lounges reading books or iPads. The ports were excellent (Invergordon (Inverness), Kirkwall, and Lerwick) in Scotland but I highly recommend renting your own car and self-touring to save money. We overpaid significantly for a private guided tour from Invergordon. Rent a car and do it yourself (with a guidebook if you want)! You can see the standing stones of Stenness near Kirkwall by taking the public bus for less than 7 quid round-trip! We would only consider going on a Fred Olsen cruise in the future if it improved its on-board activities for families. To leave on a positive note, the drink and spa prices were very reasonable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Location - we wanted to travel to Greenland and this cruise left from Liverpool which was reasonably convenient. The itinerary (Iceland and Greenland with a short stop at Belfast at the end) was the decider. Plus points - ... Read More
Location - we wanted to travel to Greenland and this cruise left from Liverpool which was reasonably convenient. The itinerary (Iceland and Greenland with a short stop at Belfast at the end) was the decider. Plus points - Pleasant cabin Very efficient cabin steward Good food suitable for older conservative eaters (eating their body weight in smoked salmon) Observatory lounge very comfortable Excursions were interesting although they were keen to make sure that their elderly and very frail passengers didn’t struggle with the trips. Chris Bielby’s talks on the natural history of our itinerary were an absolute highlight. He was available to help with whale and bird watching and never endingly patient. Minus points Entertainment was embarrassingly old fashioned. The “black & white minstrel show” version of the Jackson Five was toe curling. The cinema was freezing cold and they had the nerve to show Mrs Doubtfire (made in 1993). The entertainment was overall more like a trip back into a Sunday evening television programme from the early 1960s. I wouldn’t travel on Black Watch or any other Fred Olsen ship unless it was for the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
A bit of a mixed bag. We had been on Balmoral before and it was not as good this time. Superficially the cabin appeared spotless but there was a large accumulation of dirt under the beds and it obviously had not been cleaned for a long ... Read More
A bit of a mixed bag. We had been on Balmoral before and it was not as good this time. Superficially the cabin appeared spotless but there was a large accumulation of dirt under the beds and it obviously had not been cleaned for a long time. The water in the bathroom was seldom more than lukewarm and ran very slowly. The shaver points were hanging off the wall. The toilet paper was thin and poor quality. The TV picture kept breaking up because of "incompatibilty with the onboard transmitting equipment". The beds and pillows were comfortable. We were booked on the 2030 dinner sitting by Fred, we didn't ask for it. This was far too late for us so we asked the maitre d' if we could change to 1830. He told us there were over 200 people wanting to change and he couldn't do anything for us. From an earlier review it seems that if money had changed hands a change would have been possible. As it was we had little choice but to eat in the self-service buffet every night, not exactly a prime dining experience. The food was generally quite good with a large choice. The coffee, however, was very poor indeed, almost totally lacking in flavour. Cups and glasses were often less than clean, with lipstick or stains on them. We found the waiters to be very offhand, bordering on surly, with a lack of manners in many cases. The waitresses, whom we encountered only in the Neptune Lounge, were better, with the odd exception. The Captain's cocktail party was a farce. It consisted of walking past the captain and officers at the entrance to the Neptune Lounge (a theatre), getting a free drink, the captain speaking for a couple of minutes, a few words from a sample of crew members, and that was it. Hardly a party. The entertainment was of mixed quality. The onboard company of singers and dancers worked hard and were very good across the piece. The "guest" classical pianist was excellent, the guitarists less so, often playing obscure material. The comedian was excellent. The pianist in the Observation Lounge seemed to simply tinkle away tunelessly in a totally disinterested manner on the occasions we went up there in the afternoons. The trio in the Bar were wasted; they were far far better than the inconsequential material they were required to play. The tours provide by Fred were, as always, grossly overpriced and exceptionally poor value for money. Doing-it-yourself, using local transport etc was far far cheaper and enabled close contact with local people, who were unfailingly helpful. The port call at Invergordon, a very small town, was clearly settled upon as a prime opportunity for Fred to sell his tours as there was very little to do there. On the way back to Newcastle (North Shields in reality) we left Lerwick in the Shetlands at 2300 on a Friday. We arrived at North Shields at 0600 on Sunday two days later, a journey of 31 hours doing approx 10 knots. It would surely have been possible to leave Lerwick earlier, call in at another port on the Saturday, perhaps Aberdeen, sailed a little faster than a crawl and still get into North Shields in time for a turnaround for the next departure. It felt very much like a wasted Saturday, and a missed opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
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