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271 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

First time with Fred Olsen and got a great saver deal. Sailing from Dover was so easy with excellent parking arrangements at the port and easy embarkation. This smaller ship is has a very friendly crew and staff. Excellent shows and ... Read More
First time with Fred Olsen and got a great saver deal. Sailing from Dover was so easy with excellent parking arrangements at the port and easy embarkation. This smaller ship is has a very friendly crew and staff. Excellent shows and entertainers in the bars and loung areas. Drinks and spa treatments are a reasonable price - much better than any other cruise line I have been with. Five course evening meals were excellent and although the size of buffet seemed small at lunch and in the cafe - actually the range of food on offer was good and quality good. Shore excursions were reasonable and shuttle bus service cheaper than other cruises. Disappointed that only got one full day in each port in spite staying overnight but it was very pleasant gliding down the Seine and watching the world go by. As it was half term, there was a kids club on board. Really, really enjoyed the trip and would go with Fred Olsen again. Overall it was an excellent break. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Was hoping to see the Northern Lights and we weren't disappointed. The embarkation at Liverpool was seamless. Our cabin was ready for us and within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal to check in we were outside on the deck with a ... Read More
Was hoping to see the Northern Lights and we weren't disappointed. The embarkation at Liverpool was seamless. Our cabin was ready for us and within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal to check in we were outside on the deck with a gin and tonic in hand. The trips through the Scottish islands were a real bonus both ways - plenty to look at as we cruised. The northern Norwegian islands were really stunning. We benefited from unusually calm seas (apart from one force 10 which saw us the last couple standing (apart from the crew) in the Observatory lounge). Some of the sunsets were almost unbelievable due to the arctic light and crossing the arctic circle whilst swimming in the well-heated pool was a particular highlight. We mostly travelled independently in the ports and it was easy to do so. The highlight was our 'Chasing the Northern Lights' tour. It was a 90 minute drive to get to our 'favoured' viewing point but once we were there, the lights put on a fantastic display. They were right overhead, there had been a solar burst and the night was clear. These conditions gave what our guide said was one of the top five northern light experiences he had ever seen. Truly awesome and something I will never forget. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our 5 night cruise down the river Seine. Having cruised on the big ships of P&O, Princess, RC, NCL we were concerned that a smaller ship would not be as good - how wrong we were. The ship has a great ... Read More
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our 5 night cruise down the river Seine. Having cruised on the big ships of P&O, Princess, RC, NCL we were concerned that a smaller ship would not be as good - how wrong we were. The ship has a great layout with lovely pools and bars at the back of the ship plus other great places to sit and watch the world go by in comfort. We are in our early 40’s and were younger than most on board but everyone was so friendly and this made for a great atmosphere on board. There was good entertainment every night and the inclusive drinks package was a real bonus. Food was the best I have ever had on board any cruise and I loved having the choice of a la carte as well as buffet options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also loved the evening supper club buffet which had a different theme each night. We would love to sail again with Fred but it’s not a ship to take our children on as there’s not much for them to do compared to the big ships. If you are a couple who are looking for some much needed r and r - like us - then I thoroughly recommend Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Every thing was so easy. Arrived at Queen Elizabeth terminal and cases were collected from us and car taken to be parked. Walked straight into arrivals with no queue. Quick check in, told cabin was ready for us and lunch was been served in ... Read More
Every thing was so easy. Arrived at Queen Elizabeth terminal and cases were collected from us and car taken to be parked. Walked straight into arrivals with no queue. Quick check in, told cabin was ready for us and lunch was been served in Grampian restaurant. The food throughout the cruise was excellent. Portions are not huge in the restaurant but meal is 5 courses so you are never hungry. Buffet style restaurant also available and you can get as much as you like. The whole ship was so clean and all the staff were attentive and friendly. There was a range of onboard activities. The library was popular and had a good selection of books and board games. The age range of the cruisers varied. We are early 50’s and were certainly not the youngest. Yes there are some older people onboard but it was no means a care home. If you are looking for disco type entertainment and casino setting this isn’t the ship for you. If you want good food, good company, be able to relax read, have a glass or two of wine, chill and visit great ports (Braemar is able to get into smaller ports which means closer to centre of towns so no coach or tender needed which was so easy) then this is the ship for you. We travelled with our 13 year old son. There were 25 children on board who had designated staff to entertain them throughout the sea days. This was more for the younger children 4 to 10 years. If you are looking for crèche/children’s area this is not available on this ship but all the children appeared happy and our son said he would definitely cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Fred Olsen were recommended by family members. The fact that Balmoral sailed from Rosyth (near Edinburgh) was so handy for us and saved us a flight to Southampton. Our cruise to Norway far exceeded our expectations and the glorious ... Read More
Fred Olsen were recommended by family members. The fact that Balmoral sailed from Rosyth (near Edinburgh) was so handy for us and saved us a flight to Southampton. Our cruise to Norway far exceeded our expectations and the glorious weather was a huge added bonus! From the minute we arrived at the port terminal until the day of disembarkation, staff constantly went over and above to ensure everything was perfect. They were so friendly, attentive and generally interested in making sure everything was right and that you felt special. Our waiters in particular, Vilroy and Flacher, were simply excellent! The food was wonderful and the great choice of menu ensured there was always something for everyone. Afternoon tea is a lovely treat, especially if you have had a busy shore day. We also enjoyed the special Observatory Lounge Afternoon Tea on one occasion and would certainly do this again. The service, food and ambience was wonderful. Entertainment ranged from a very talented flautist and guitarist, to cabaret style shows. All shows were very entertaining and had full audiences. My only suggestion would be to make them slightly longer! Most were around 45 minutes - an hour. Our cruise itinerary was excellent. The port talks gave us a good insight of each place we were visiting and the captain kept us well informed. To see Norway with blue skies every day certainly allowed us to see it at its best. We didn't book any shore tours as we prefer to do our own thing, although did book the RIB trip from Hellesylt, which was very worth while. Bergen - We berthed very close to the town centre so walking around was easy. Loved the Bryggen area of old wooden houses and the fish market. The tourist information at the end of the harbour has a lot of great maps and information. We took the funicular up Mount Floyen and had great views over the city. There's a lovely walk from the top (about 20 minutes) to a small lake where they offer free canoe hire. Flam - We booked our own tickets for the Flam railway and were on the first train of the day. Tickets were sold out on the day so do book these in advance. What a beautiful journey through the mountains and past many waterfalls. There was only a 15 minute stop at the top and many people got off for tours. It meant we were able to have a carriage to ourselves on the way back down allowing us to take photos through an open window. The carriage had been reserved for a group of Japanese tourists so there was no English commentary in this carriage, but it's worth doing if you are keen to take photos. Would also recommend the Flam bakery for lunch or a snack. The aromas of freshly cooked cakes and breads are amazing! After lunch we walked to Flam village (about 1.5 hours round trip). This was a lovely way to see local life and to walk by the crystal clear river. Olden - we took the open top bus that was parked on the quayside. It was good to see the lakes and beautiful scenery, but I think if I were going back I'd take the Olden Adventures bus to the glacier as that had more options for walking. We did our own circular walk from the town centre to the beautiful red Olden Church, crossed the bridge and walked the far side of the water back to town (about an hour). This is a lovely peaceful low level walk with beautiful views. There's not much in Olden town centre so if you are not able to do local walks, then a shore tour would be worth doing. Hellesylt - beautiful place at the end of a stunning fjord. We walked up to the church, then crossed the bridge above it to come down the other side of the waterfall. You get great views here. Our RIB adventure was excellent. Our guide lived on a local farm and told us a lot about farming life and local folklore. Would thoroughly recommend doing this. It's a great way to see the Seven Sisters Waterfalls and the fjord from close proximity. We loved every minute of this cruise and would do it all again. Will maybe do the two week Norway cruise next time! Would certainly recommend Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose to sail from Rosyth which was completely hassle free, on a glorious summer's day. We were happy with our outside cabin and didn't miss having a balcony. Room of a good standard. Always plenty of hot water for showers. ... Read More
We chose to sail from Rosyth which was completely hassle free, on a glorious summer's day. We were happy with our outside cabin and didn't miss having a balcony. Room of a good standard. Always plenty of hot water for showers. All staff were very courteous and friendly. Food was good and I think we were very fortunate dining in the Spey restaurant as the picture windows gave us wonderful views as we travelled the fjords. Nothing anyone can do about the weather but we were so, so lucky.....clear blue skies and glorious sunshine! Evening entertainment was very enjoyable. We chose the drinks package which worked very well for us. Only used one official excursion to a glacier plus lake trip which we thoroughly enjoyed. Would we go again on this same trip? We wouldn't...as this one was so good it couldn't be bettered. What more can I say....we loved it!☺ Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I ... Read More
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I don't travel light. My husband had also requested a table for two and this was met. The Glentanar was a lovely, light, spacious Dining room, the breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent as was the waiter service dinner with excellent menu. We had lovely waiters but there were one or two who were not the friendliest. For our Anniversary Dinner we dined in the Black Watch Restaurant which again of high standard, my husband declared his steak one of the best ever. The ship was spotlessly clean in all areas, the Neptune Lounge especially pleasing.The Captain and Crew helped to make this a very special time for us. Flower Arrangement, bottle of Cava when we arrived and on the Day a lovely card, gift and Cava in Ice Bucket delivered to our suite along with our card from the Queen. In the evening we were presented with a lovely Happy Anniversary cake. These were all done in a very tasteful, no fuss way which we appreciated very much. My husband did have to visit the Cruise Doctor, again efficient attention.All in all this was a most memorable holiday, with wonderful scenery, off shore excursions and very relaxing on board atmosphere. Our first Fred Olsen Cruise but hopefully not our last.Thank you to everyone who helped in making this a very happy memorable occasion. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely ... Read More
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely fantastic quality with plenty of choice. The dining staff were also so attentive, friendly and professional. We requested a table for two for our evening meal and at breakfast we generally sat at a table for 2 or 4. At lunch time we sometimes were seated at a larger table and always enjoyed the company. We didn’t get involved in too many onboard activities but there are certainly plenty to choose from. I did a yoga class at the well equipped gym and had 2 treatments in the spa which were very relaxing. We attended the show each evening in the Neptune lounge and some were really good, 1 or 2 were a bit outdated. The destination lectures are well worth attending or watching on your cabin tv if you miss out. To break up the relaxing cruise we booked all active shore tours from Fred Olsen and can recommend them to anyone looking for a more active way to spend time ashore. Flåm railway with hiking was great. In Olden we took a lake cruise then got a bus to the sky lift. At the sky lift you have refreshments and free time to walk or admire the view before returning by bus to the port. We then had 2 hours left to wander around the most beautiful local area. I also paddled in the Fjord as the weather was hot. In Bergen we took a cycle tour in the morning which then allowed us the whole afternoon to visit the places we wanted to explore further. ( we walked up higher in the city and went running then visited the UNESCO area) in Lerwick we took a sea kayaking trip. We were picked up and driven to the bay and kitted out. A dad and daughter duo then helped us get comfortable with all the basics of kayaking before guiding us around the most breathtaking coastal wildlife areas for 3 hours. We were surrounded by seals, some moved away and other followed us around. Above us flew guillemots and gannets and some of us were very lucky to see a sea otter. There would just have been enough time to head to the town but we chose to go back aboard for the afternoon tea that day.. It’s worth mentioning that the scenery is fantastic along the way in Norway and with sunsets after 11pm in July there is plenty of time to enjoy and take photos. It would be very hard to fault anything on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a ... Read More
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a great experience departing from Liverpool. Easy to get to, drop the luggage, park the car and get on board. We arrived 1 hour before we were due on board but this was no problem and we got straight onto the ship. The ship is lovely and to a good standard. Small and very welcoming. We have a porthole cabin on deck 4 with 4 bunks and was fine for us. Very clean and the house keeper was amazing. She even knitted my daughter an outfit for her bear. Staff at the restaurants were all really good and made us feel really welcome. They got to know us so well that they always had 2 glasses of apple juice ready for our daughter and new to bring her loads of ketchup for her dinner! All the staff in general were great and very friendly. Entertainment was good and we went to the show after dinner every night and during the day there was a full itinerary of what was on offer. We stopped at Flåm, Olden and Bergen in Norway and Lerwick in Scotland. We had great weather at all the stops so we were lucky. Our favourite was olden as it’s such a lovely place. At Flåm you would really need to do an excursion as there is not a great deal to do there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I enjoyed my visit to Iceland first cruise with Fred Olsen Balmoral. The Balmoral is a nice country feel ship. I liked that it has just over 1000 passengers and not thousands and thousands of people. Saying this I may try the smaller ... Read More
I enjoyed my visit to Iceland first cruise with Fred Olsen Balmoral. The Balmoral is a nice country feel ship. I liked that it has just over 1000 passengers and not thousands and thousands of people. Saying this I may try the smaller Boudicca for my next cruise. Our cabin was 4041. I was quite happy with our twin cabin and liked having the picture window. I would not like a cabin with no window. The ship is kept clean and sanitised and hand sanitizer is used before going in the restaurants. This was my worry about cruising hygiene but I had no worries on board as everything was kept clean. I never once found the toilets dirty and staff were regularly checking and cleaning. Our cabin was cleaned daily too plenty clean towels. The food was very good we had alacarte each evening and the food was delicious. Our waiters were very attentive and friendly. Most of the staff on the ship are really hard working very good service from the staff. The tours were organised well no hassles. Everything was organised great on the ship. It was great on the deck too can always find a quiet spot. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Having just returned from our 5th Fred Olsen cruise, this time 11 nights from Rosyth to Iceland on the Balmoral, I can say without reservation the experience was excellent in all respects, having given some "room for improvement ... Read More
Having just returned from our 5th Fred Olsen cruise, this time 11 nights from Rosyth to Iceland on the Balmoral, I can say without reservation the experience was excellent in all respects, having given some "room for improvement suggestions on our last cruise on the Black Watch", I feel it is appropriate to compliment Fred Olsen on the Balmoral, overall food was excellent, and well presented, the authentic Indian lunch buffet was extremely good, the dinner menu in the Ballindaloch restaurant was varied and provided food of consistently high quality, service was impeccable. The cabin was of a decent size, comfortable, with the TV system working well, although I would suggest some sound insulation behind the TV would have been beneficial as the TV in the next cabin was also mounted on the wall and was a bit intrusive. Stewardess was very efficient and particular in cleaning, we had a picture window on deck 6. Entertainment was fine if not exceptional. Embarkation and Disembarkation were trouble free and fast, although it was a bit of a jumble trying to extricate the suitcases from the marquee. One thing noted was there was no bar drinks menu, so one could not peruse the offerings having to ask the waiters what was available, also prices were not on show, meaning unless the waiters were asked the price was only given when the receipt was supplied. Would certainly book with Fred Olsen again, on another ship? only if the reviews were as good as the Balmoral. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise as there was a good chance of seeing wildlife. We were not disappointed. They had a naturalist onboard who spent many hours on deck looking for whales etc and then got everyone interested in looking also. The ports ... Read More
We chose this cruise as there was a good chance of seeing wildlife. We were not disappointed. They had a naturalist onboard who spent many hours on deck looking for whales etc and then got everyone interested in looking also. The ports of call were just right especially as we stayed overnight on the ship in Reykjavik. The check in at Rosyth was so easy. Pulled up in our car and had the luggage taken away, all we then had to do was park the car and check in. Quick, easy and onboard in no time. The staff on The Balmoral were fantastic, very attentive but not intrusive. Superb food, especially in the Buffet restaurant. Nice size of ship, not too big. Our cabin was a picture window cabin on deck4, plenty of room and great storage. Good mix of entertainment and we particularly enjoyed the various talks. Very reasonable priced drinks and great to have access to tea and coffee 24/7. Thoroughly recommend Fred Olsen, this was our first time with them and we hope to use them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Sailed from Rosyth, local for Edinburgh Short cruise, just right for a first cruise, staff all charming and nothing was too much trouble. Food was great, ship was very clean, entertainment excellent.. Shore excursions were informative. ... Read More
Sailed from Rosyth, local for Edinburgh Short cruise, just right for a first cruise, staff all charming and nothing was too much trouble. Food was great, ship was very clean, entertainment excellent.. Shore excursions were informative. Sadly weather not great, a bit cold and grey, but the sun appeared at times. Strongly recommend dining in the 'grill' at least once. 6* dining experience. If I went on another cruise I would have an outside cabin, at least one with a porthole. The interior cabins can be a little disorientating (telling night from day). The ship was very clean, the gangway staff were very helpful when the ship could not get into the port. They helped with my wheelchair and were always smiling. The library was a bonus, as I forgot a book and the chocolate and coffee shop was delicious.The shop staff were very helpful. We met some lovely people and being a small world, we met a couple who knew my daughter's in laws and were from the same village! Amazing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this ... Read More
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this one on Boudicca I received a phone call advising that we had a complimentary upgrade to a 7th deck cabin with terrace and wet room. When we opened the cabin door, Wow!!! So much space - the wet room was brilliant as well. We have never been disappointed with the dining rooms on any of the ships - Braemar stands out a mile in particular at lunchtime, with different flavours of diet bread and butter puddings each day! Most excellent waiters and captain waiter. There have been many cruises with great entertainment each night - one in particular (which was not a Fred Olsen). So to this cruise on the Boudicca. We were amazed by the organisation of the timings of the secret garden being open. There were a few mornings when we were too late for the normal breakfasts, but were able to break our fasts there. One day however we arrived just in time for lunch! The variety of food was most welcoming particularly for two diabetics. Our water glasses were topped up frequently and Captain Waiter seemed to take extra care with us (my wife being in a wheelchair). A big thanks there. We were on ship for the majority of the time and had plenty of options to bide away the time in the way that we wanted. Dolphin racing, bingo, quizzes, relaxing and reading and of course eating and the shows. The comedian, whose name I have forgotten was brilliant. Clean and very funny. Hope Fred Olsen has him as a regular. Stress free is a simple way of saying how enjoyable this cruise was. The place we stayed the most was in our cabin. It was excellent. We are not drinkers or pub people, but we did have our diet lemonades to take back to the cabin, where we played Cribbage. THE WATERFALLS AT goodolfusen (can't spell it) were splendiferous. Well worth a visit. I have an old friend and acquaintance who regularly cruises across the Atlantic and back again, without getting off the ship. A bit surprised at this, but now with this latest experience I can well understand why. Sorry Braemar, but you have been knocked off no.1 spot as the best ever cruise. A big thanks for the crew of the Boudicca for helping to make this one the best ever. Thanks Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was ... Read More
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was adequate in size, pleasant decor, very comfortable bed, and efficient shower in the ensuite. The stewardess was very pleasant and efficient, like all the other staff and crew we encountered. There was a good choice of restaurants and bars, with a different ambience in each. The food was superb and the waiting staff very efficient, besides being the pleasantest and friendliest you will meet anywhere. There were plenty of different activities available, from watercolour painting to ballroom dancing, to ukulele playing and on to games like quoits and shuffleboard. Two excellent swimming pools, jacuzzis and a gymnasium catered for the more energetic - you could be as active or as laid-back as you liked. There was a good programme of lectures, plus bridge games, quizzes and even bingo if that is your fancy. There was a good choice of shore excursions, and we enjoyed all three that we chose. We went whale-watching in Akureyri, and were not disappointed. The only quibble I have about that excursion is that it was quite a long walk from the ship to the trip boat. My husband has a heart problem and had difficulty keeping up with the rest of the group, as did another man similarly affected. It would have been better to have a minibus available. The blue lagoon trip we did from Reykjavík was wonderful. We saw a lot of the countryside and had a wonderful soak in a beautiful hot thermal lagoon. In Orkney we visited Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar, passing by Maes Howe and the stones of Stenness, and getting an excellent trip through the surrounding countryside. This was well organised, and a pleasure to experience. We enjoyed this, our first cruise, so much that we have already booked to go to the Baltic with Fred Olsen next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We booked to go to the Fjords leaving Dover 09 June 2019. We made a little mistake when booking as we went via a Travel Agent. Firstly, the agent was poor but, more importantly, it placed an barrier between us and FO. Any queries we had we ... Read More
We booked to go to the Fjords leaving Dover 09 June 2019. We made a little mistake when booking as we went via a Travel Agent. Firstly, the agent was poor but, more importantly, it placed an barrier between us and FO. Any queries we had we were referred back to the agent. My advice - book direct. The boarding in Dover was seamless. We live near Dover so booked a taxi. Straight into the port up to terminal, bags taken from boot by porters, we were on-board within 15mins and our luggage arrived in our cabin 20mins after we did. Well done FO. A minus point for FO. As first time cruisers we booked the ship tour on our first day at sea. FO told us that all would be in our cabin when we got on-board... nothing. Never mind, we did our own tour... the lay out of the ship is quite easy and it was fun bumping into things ! Our cabin (7039 balcony with clear view. A must in the Fjords) was exactly as advertised. No issues with the cabin at all or our cabin steward (Moo) who worked her socks off to keep us happy (I did take a tip off YouTube and gave Moo a little bag of bits {no more than £6} on the first day which may have made a difference but maybe not !!!). The ship was a little tired in places altho' it was always well presented, clean and shining. Staff were excellent throughout the ship. Food was lovely (every day). We tried things we have never had before which is good for our betterment ! You must keep an eye out for the Gala Lunch (ours was on the last day at see) and take your camera ! The Formal nights were good with lots of bling altho' I did change after the meal into more casual wear. We paid for the drinks package @ £15 per day. I think this has gone up now to £19pd. You need to give this some thought. Me - I drink a lot of beer and a can Spitfire was £3.80 so I was happy with my lot. My wife tried their house wine and found it 'undrinkable'. The cocktails were very sweet. She then moved onto spirits and mixer. This she was happy with but sometimes the bar staff forgot to put the spirit in (pressure of work maybe !). To combat this we ordered the spirit and mixer as separate items. The drink came to about £6. Add these drinks to your wine at lunch and dinner and it may appeal to you. Beware that it is only for drinks from the bar. No cans of pop, no tea or coffee (posh type) and no bottled water. There is a filtered water machine and tea & coffee machine in a small drinks station. Normally this is quite clear but avoid end of meeting, talks or presentations as there is a queue before and after these sessions. Entertainment is on every night. The on-board crew do put a lot of effort into their shows and one of their shows was outstanding. There are guest entertainers: a duo who played many instruments (first time - good. Second time - not so good), a comedian - spent most of his time picking on members of the audience to the level of embarrassment - not good. In the main bar is a guitar duo who were very good and they went in turns with a pianist who is not very happy with his lot !!! There were talks given by an ex Bank Manager - Prison Guv'nor. His first talk was very good, cannot remember his second talk and his third talk was about Porridge and real prison life. I got the impression that this was pushed onto him and he knocked it together at short notice. There is quite a big gym on the top deck with a great view. I did not get there but it looked very good. There is a set 1 mile walk around the ship ( 5 x 1 mile). Did this prior to breakfast. There is an organised walk at about 0800 but the guy who runs it may have been trained to get 20 something's to walk fast rather than members of U3A ! We only did this walk once. We went solo after that. We did our own shore excursions. FO is very expensive. Most of our trips we booked from UK before we boarded and the others were taken from shore-side when we went alongside. For us, the best we did was the funicular railway in Bergen and a 5km walk around the top (huge queues at bottom but they do go down quite quickly) and we booked a Twizo electric car in Flam. Expensive but BRILL. We booked 2 hrs (11-1300). We got into Flam just before 1000. We went over to the car hire ( you will see it as you get off the tender) to show him our paper work prior to 1100. After a bit of a chat I asked if we could take it early (with a big smile). He agreed so we had 3 hrs for the price of 2 ! You have a choice where to go and we wanted the viewing platform at the top of the mountain. The SatNav looked after us and it was great fun. Top Tip, after the platform, go a little further were the SatNav will tell of a great viewing point. In short, book your own, its a lot cheaper. A fine example - there was a fishing trip that FO was charging £45. When we docked it was next door to the ship and was advertised at £30 (that's your £15 drinks package paid for on that day!!!). Disembarkation was as easy as getting on. We were called by deck and the bags were waiting for us in the departure lounge with many porters waiting to take you outside. Overall, we loved it. We would go again and yes, with FO. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords and only a small (ish) ship can get to all the best ones. We loved the size of this ship as you were no overwhelmed by the size and if you met someone you liked to talk to you would be sure to see them ... Read More
We wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords and only a small (ish) ship can get to all the best ones. We loved the size of this ship as you were no overwhelmed by the size and if you met someone you liked to talk to you would be sure to see them again, a real plus point. The only moan we had was the size of the cabin, we did have a balcony but the room was very narrow to what we are used to, but if you pick a small ship then you should expect that unless you upgrade. The service was brilliant, no faults there but we do wish the Fred would do away with service charges as we always tip well for good service, we removed the SC at the start of the trip. I hope that Fred follows P&O and pay their staff better and remove the SC. The pool was warm and underused which was great. The entertainment was first class, as good as any ship we have been on. Also and its only our view you cannot 'graze' all the time, which is a good thing. No eating between meals. Lats of all the drinks are very reasonable. Well done Fred Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Always wanted to see the Fjords and this ship seemed like a good size to experience this .We has a good midship cabin near to lifts etc . the dining onboard we could not fault exceptional . The shows were all very good the service of bar ... Read More
Always wanted to see the Fjords and this ship seemed like a good size to experience this .We has a good midship cabin near to lifts etc . the dining onboard we could not fault exceptional . The shows were all very good the service of bar staff and restaurant staff again excellent . The only complaint we had that our drinks package which we paid for did not include Sherry yet its cheaper to buy than Whisky Gin etc which was included . Maybe this could be reviewed before we book another cruise with this line . We were very happy with our ports and shore excursions all picture postcard and beautiful and the courier information very educational . There were lectures given in the Theatre also about the ports which helped people decide which they wanted to do . We will travel again .Hope she can get her Sherry . Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Isn't It Good? Day One, 18 May 2019. This cruise is to Norway, hence the cryptic title. Brilliant arrangements for boarding the Braemar. We arrived at noon, were met and greeted by the car parkers and porters, strolled straight ... Read More
Isn't It Good? Day One, 18 May 2019. This cruise is to Norway, hence the cryptic title. Brilliant arrangements for boarding the Braemar. We arrived at noon, were met and greeted by the car parkers and porters, strolled straight through check in and security, and were eating lunch by 12.15. Cabins were ready for 1 pm, luggage waiting outside. Don't you just hate airports? We spent a leisurely 20 minutes peering over the balcony watching ship's provisions coming off the back of vast lorry and being shuttled about by forklift. Also observing the arrival of passengers who had followed instructions not to get to port before 1.30. The Heavy Brigade were engaged in a valiant charge up the gangplank. Stormed at with shot and shell, boldly they strode and well. They boarded, but not, not the six hundred (Alfred Lord Thomason). One poor soul was borne away in an ambulance, accompanied by concerned companions. Better than cruising around the fjords in the ship's morgue. On Fred Olsen, dinner seating is fixed for the trip. We are on a table for six and if the company is dire, you have the option of taking another roll of the dice by changing restaurants. Fortunately, we deem this to be unnecessary. However, we will not know until tomorrow whether the other four decided that we are dire! Day Two Anthea does not get the cryptic title of this travelogue. Her soul must be made of rubber. Made it to the gym by seven this morning, despite the clocks going forward and a smidgeon of over indulgence on day one. They seem to have added more equipment or maybe my equipment has diminished. We do not arrive in port until tomorrow, so we could go line dancing, listen to a classical concert, or win a quiz. Instead, we opt for a general acclimatisation day, i.e. boozing, snoozing and shmoozing Tonight the dress code is formal in the main restaurant and the overwhelming majority of cruisers are happy to go along with that, leaving the tracksuit two club to order another ten rounds of Newcastle Brown. The Romanian captain quips his way merrily through his welcome cocktail party and introduces his executive team. In matters maritime, Croatia and Bulgaria rule the waves, leaving the Welsh and Scots to boss the galley slaves. I am happy to report that all our dining companions showed up, so we can't be that bad. Day Three Our first stop in Norway is the city of Kristiansand, on the Skagerrak Sea. Its most attractive feature is a 17th Century quarter called Kvadraturen. White clapperboard houses line the grid planned streets, the last survivors of city wide fires which eventually prompted the city authorities to require all new builds to be in brick. The clapperboard houses are roofed with orange tiles from the Netherlands, the trade exchange being one lobster for one tile. We then move on to the Vest Adger County Museum. Here they have re-assembled a 16th century farmstead, complete with turfed roofs. One of the grain stores has a removable section in the wall to enable the storage of bodies of those who died in winter when the ground was too hard to dig. The smoky dark interiors of the houses accommodated up to fifteen people in two rooms, but if you were young and healthy you slept with the pigs and cows. A woman's most attractive feature was considered to be weight lifter calves for lifting buckets. At first sight modern Norwegian living appears to be very functional and politically correct. The Greens call the shots, beer is £12 a pint, 58% of all new cars bought are electric, and income tax is over 50%. Suddenly, those smokey dark interiors with a wood fire and a bucket of mead don't seem so bad, especially with a flash of bulging calf! Day Four We rise early to watch our progress along the 100 kilometre Oslo Fjord, a route which takes us past the house of the Olsen family. Our boat is followed in by the larger Balmoral, the new rigid inflatable boats (RIBS) make up the rest of the flotilla and a special flag is run up in salute of the company founders when we pass the small village they came from in the 1840's. The scenery is very attractive on a sunny morning and crew bustle around with early morning tea, coffee, hot chocolate, Buck's Fizz, pastries and bacon, sausage and mushroom butties. Breakfast comes later. There are just 5.2 million Norwegians but civic pride looms large in the architecture and layout of Oslo. The decision to have a royal family was made by referendum in the early 20th century. A splendid avenue leads up to the palace, bordered by elegant anti terrorist devices consisting of large metal saucers full of flowers. Norway has the largest public reserves in the world derived from its oil revenues, and this is reflected in grand scale building projects such as the 'glacier styled' opera house. But the highlight of the trip so far is a visit to Vigiland Sculpture Park. Gustav Vigiland was commissioned by the city authorities in the late 19th century to produce statues for public spots. He somewhat over-delivered and there are now over 200 groups of these in a beautiful landscape. Made in iron, bronze and granite they are a exhilarating expression of the human form and experience from cradle to grave. Some are in simple repose, contrasting with others which are engaged in extreme contortions. High above the city is the Holmenkollen Ski Centre. A new ski jump and biathlon arena are under construction and testify to the obsession this country has with the sport. What an excellent obsession! The word 'ski' is Norwegian for flat plank. Ancient carvings depict folk on skis, presumably Nords winning the Bedrock Downhill. Day Five The approach to Arendal is reputed to be one of the most scenic in the world, and very pretty it is. We berth close to the town centre adjacent to a steep cliff with houses on top. A footpath zig zags to the top. Along this and in the garden of the house about three dozen school children perform a dance to a piece from 'Frozen'. This has not been announced on board but all the cruisers with starboard cabins or taking a deck stroll give an enthusiastic round of applause when the performance has finished. A great way of showing of the best side of ŷour culture. Norwegiansare still deeply wounded by the massacre of the children by the right wing nutcase in 2011. The guy responsible is never named and is referred to simply as 'the traitor'. We take a small boat ride around channels and skerries of the archipelago. The hills and coastline are covered with beautiful forests and white clapperboard houses. Apparently the place has won the European award for the best maintained properties. Almost every house has a boat and this is a very popular summer resort. Today, the misty waters are very calm and the gulls and cormorants have it to themselves - apart from us! We go along with the suggestion to dress up for British night. Escapist patriotism and mythical identities run riot in the sing song featuring national twaddle songs, and there is no hint of Xenophobia, even though folk are balling "Red, white and blue What does it mean to you Surely you're proud Shout it out loud." Harmless enough. Probably. Day Six Into the fjords proper this morning covering Maurangsfjord, Fureberg Waterfall and Hardangerfjord. Isn't it good, Norwegian Wood, hums Anthea, the Penny having dropped. All very epic. The minimisation of humans and the omnipresence of nature bring on a serious case of pseuds corner, an overload of awe and wonder, and a swelling of the numinous. It is rumoured that some passengers have had to retreat to their cabins and lie down until scenic sickness abates. Not this one. In the afternoon we get up close to the elements by boarding a RIB. We don bright yellow thermal floatation suits, goggles and gloves and wizz around Eijefjord at up to 40 knots. At one end of the water there is a hydro electric power station big enough to power the city of Bergen. Hardly any of it is visible, as the pipes and turbines have been inserted into the cliffs. On a plateau 400 meters high is an old farm, and in former times the children had to go up and down a footpath to school. "Late again Ibsen. What's the excuse this time?" Norway had universal literacy much earlier than the U.K. And it was one of the reasons why the small nation was economically successful even before the discovery of oil. Before we return to the ship our driver takes us close to the bottom of a tumbling waterfall, and we really feel we've earned a tumbler of Bailey's. Day Seven We go into the Lysefjord during the morning, regarded by those who are supposed to know these things to be the ultimate expression of fjord topography. Royal Caribbean would get wedged in the first bend! High vertical cliffs on port and starboard give way to stretches of open water with mountains receding in rows to a vanishing point. Don't try to paint the scene unless you have mastered perspective. We pass the famous Pulpit Rock and the world's longest wooden staircase (4,444 steps ) which has something to do with another hidden power station. It has become a tradition to bring over a Gang of Sherpas once a year to repair and maintain stone footpaths used by hikers. They have celebrity status, which probably means feature articles in 'Hikey Hikey Ho' magazine. The second and final formal night of the trip concludes with the ever popular crew show, which demonstrates that the workers have considerately more talent among them than we would ever guess over the breakfast table. As I have said in a previous report it is an ingenious way of stirring up the feel good factor all round. The status of the crew is elevated, while the guests feel they're making a small contribution to world social mobility. Indeed, during the final song, in the little bubble of suspended reality that is the Neptune Lounge , "We Are The World". Day Eight The day of the gala buffet. Being new to Olsen, our dining companions can't quite believe their taste buds as they range across sumptuous seafood, the finest cold meats and a giant cooked gammon in a shortcrust pastry, an overwhelming display of cakes and pastries, not to mention the chocolate fountain. "Oh the buzzing of the bees, in the cigarette trees...."etc. We have now left Norwegian waters and are churning our way through the North Sea back to Blighty, the land we love, but also the land of blubbing bungling ministers, broken promises, and Brexit Bollocks. That said, would you really want to live in a land of welfare economics, equality of opportunity way beyond the U.K. model, the highest Human Development Index in the world, the top spot in the World Happiness Report, the Better Life Index and the Index of Public Integrity and Democracy? Perhaps not. But we might like to take a closer look at it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We choose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding Anniversary and the special offer price was too attractive to turn down. We were let down by Guest Services in Suffolk regarding this but the staff on board more than made up it. Stephen ... Read More
We choose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding Anniversary and the special offer price was too attractive to turn down. We were let down by Guest Services in Suffolk regarding this but the staff on board more than made up it. Stephen and Gustie in the Thistle were great. The food was better than expected with lots of choice. Our Cabin stewardess Patti offered service above expected and James in the Observation Lounge remembered our cabin number after the second visit to the bar. Jeffery in guest services sorted out head offices issues! In my opinion the art works left a lot to be desired. The one in our cabin was awful. It would have been useful to know that all the museums but one were closed In Lisbon on a Monday and Cadiz was closed on Sunday (the days we visited). The drinks package was good for adults but for anyone aged between 12-17 years it was a waste of money unless you were prepared to rot your child's teeth with at least 9 fizzy drinks a day. Yet you had to pay adult prices for the children if you had anyone of this age in your cabin. Very unfair Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a Mystery Cruise the only clues we had were the vague descriptions of excursions in 4 ports one of which was overnight. The Captain gave us confusing descriptions each day from 28 Deg in our next Port to Heading for Florida, 12 or ... Read More
This was a Mystery Cruise the only clues we had were the vague descriptions of excursions in 4 ports one of which was overnight. The Captain gave us confusing descriptions each day from 28 Deg in our next Port to Heading for Florida, 12 or 18 knots overnight speed etc. Our electronics were no help. Everyone woke up one morning with a message on their Mobile giving the cost of calls from the USA ! The ShipMate App could not find us. We ended up visiting Oslo, Gothenburg, Copenhagen and overnight in Amsterdam. His weather button worked a treat we had excellent weather in each port and other than Gothenburg were able to walk into town (City). Neptune was sleeping so our time at sea was extremely smooth even though we were in the vicinity of the Viking Sky. Definitely a cruise for the "Older" cruiser, the entertainment was average but the intrigue was excellent throughout the ship. Some did not even realise we were in Amsterdam just as we were docking !. Our Cabin was one of the best we have had for the Class with the exception of the Showerhead. Chinese Water Punishment comes to mind. The staff were excellent and the new updated IT facilities made a big difference. The ship is 74 years old but has been well preserved. Nothing like a Mega ship but enough space to find your own comfort area when needed. Would we go again...Yes ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise, our first with 'Fred', entirely on price as ridiculously cheap at £45 per night.pp. We have visited all the destinations before which made it quite relaxing. For the price you really can't complain ... Read More
We chose this cruise, our first with 'Fred', entirely on price as ridiculously cheap at £45 per night.pp. We have visited all the destinations before which made it quite relaxing. For the price you really can't complain about anything. The staff are fantastic to a tee. Ever single one we met was polite,courteous, smiley and friendly. The food is superb, as good as any we have been on including Cunard and P and O. Exception being afternoon tea which we felt a little lacking. It irks a bit being asked to pay to change dinner sitting. Most other cruise lines are helpful and try to do this for free. Not a good first impression. We particularly liked the way the buffet restaurant opens out onto the open back decks allowing al fresco dining with great views. Many modern ships lack this with rear decks reserved for cabins. Entertainment in the theatre is absolutely superb, great acts all the way through, very polished and a great live orchestra for every show. The theatre seating though is awful. The mix of sofas and swivel chairs just doesn't work. The levels are all wrong and getting past is difficult. Many drinks spilt from silly table design. Replacing the swivel chairs with another row of sofas would be far better. And why oh why must they serve drinks during performances? It is bad enough with inconsiderate guests and unfortunately some staff members, (good to see the comedian laying into one of the repeat staff offenders!) getting up and moving around or talking during performances, with waiters taking orders too it is so disruptive. Surely people can survive for 45 minutes without ordering a drink and if one is that incontinent surely it is polite to sit at the back? Some polite reminders needed at the start of the show perhaps? Other bars were of mixed quality entertainment. The string quartet were superb, we felt they needed a 'quiet zone' so that they could be fully appreciated.. The ship itself is mixed. Inside areas: Some areas have been revamped and look great such as the observation and lido bars and the library/card room. We didn't use the spa/gym but this looked superb with the best views on the ship. Much of the ship though is dated and has a bit of a motorway service station come care home vibe. There is no 'wow factor', However it is all comfortable with plenty of lounge areas and does the job. Outside decks: We love the 'stacked' rear decks. Plenty of space and often sheltered on sea days. However, excepting the revamped lido lounge, it is all rather tired looking with rust stains around the pool etc. The sunbeds are ancient and well past their sell by date. There are plenty of them though. What really disgusted us was the way too many people lay with sweaty bare skin direct on the fabric with no towels. Yuk! There really need to be pool towels handed out on deck, not just in the cabin and some signage encouraging their use. Our man gripe would be cleanliness. We were pleased that there was enforcement of hand gel use at the entry to restaurants. There were however, too many sticky and smeary surfaces throughout the ship. It didn't gleam like other cruise lines we have been with. Chairs in the lounges with sticky wooden arms. When you pick up a chair in the restaurant your hand would stick to the back. Tables not wiped down when resetting in the buffet etc. This really needs attention. Getting on and off the ship was flawless and we liked the way that independent travel is not discouraged as with some other lines. Bus pick up points etc are advertised. All in all though fantastic value and a very frienldly down to earth ship. With the October refit hopefully addressing some of the issues and some attention to cleaning standards we would certainly use Fred Olsen again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We were very apprehensive With regards to the trans Atlantic part of this cruise as we thought we would be bored being st sea for so long but were extremely pleased with the amount of entertainment on board such as lectures, classes and ... Read More
We were very apprehensive With regards to the trans Atlantic part of this cruise as we thought we would be bored being st sea for so long but were extremely pleased with the amount of entertainment on board such as lectures, classes and facilities available that in the end there was not time to do everything. The quizzes were very good and my wife joined the choir run by Claire-Marie who was very professional finalising with a concert on the last Friday afternoon with the drama and ukulele groups which was well attended by the guests on board. An overall memorable cruise with special attention given on my birthday aboard the ship without needing to tell Fred Olsen anything. The entertainment team, lecturers and guest entertainers were excellent with a variety of entertainment from opera to song and dance, comedy, and the staff evening was excellent. We also were very impressed with all the musicians on board Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Bucket list cruise to see the Amazon River. The whole experience far exceeded all expectations. First time with Fred Olsen Right from the start everything was very well organised. The staff were all very attentive and it was service with ... Read More
Bucket list cruise to see the Amazon River. The whole experience far exceeded all expectations. First time with Fred Olsen Right from the start everything was very well organised. The staff were all very attentive and it was service with a smile through out the whole cruise. Nightmare journey home not good having to fly from Manaus to Barbados to chance crew and refuel as we couldn't get off plane and then more delays because of lack of paper work! I didn't consider this to be Fred Olens fault or even the airline! I felt the size of the ship was just perfect I have been on larger ships but much prefer the size of Braemar. One thing I particularly liked was that there were no problems on deck finding a sunbed especially on sea days it never felt crowded. Dining in the Grampian Restaurant was perfect, a great atmosphere and great service. Good choice of food perfectly cooked and presented. The pool restaurant was also a favourite for lunch time. We used all the restaurants and found them all equally as good. we did not use the grill, felt the extra charge was excessive when the other restaurants were so good. Entertainment was excellent, something for everyone. The ports of call were all very interesting and the tours we went on were all good value for money and exceptionally well organised. Presentations regarding ports of call prior to arriving were particularly good and very imformative. If you didn't get to see it live you could catch up on tv in cabin. A great cruise and would definately book with Fred Olsen again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My first ever cruise which was a trip with my parents and brother as a special family trip and despite my reservations I really enjoyed cruising. Infact I would go again. We had an inside cabin which was actually not too bad. I missed ... Read More
My first ever cruise which was a trip with my parents and brother as a special family trip and despite my reservations I really enjoyed cruising. Infact I would go again. We had an inside cabin which was actually not too bad. I missed having no natural light but storage was fine and beds very comfortable. The ship, crew and trips were all excellent and I found very little to criticise. The food was fabulous and so much of it you feel compelled to eat far too much. We were looked after extremely well by all the staff. There was a good choice of entertainment throughout the day and the Daily News was great as you could see in advance what was on and pick and choose your activities. The ship (Braemar)was great and the excursions was a real amazing experience. What we saw on the excursions was fabulous even though a few of the trips were perhaps a little contrived and too busy. Fred Olsen runs a very smooth operation and when the inbound flight from Manchester was delayed and we had an extra day on the ship (what a hardship for us) they handled it extremely well and we were all kept informed and able to enjoy the extra day in Manaus. The treatments in the spa were amazing. I even tried to learn bridge. The games room down below with no windows was not ideal though. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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