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46 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

Restaurant and staff in outside bar are offish and service for drinks slow Restaurant staff. You catch their eye and they immediately walk away Yet rush you when eating to Move you on as quickly as they can Food School ... Read More
Restaurant and staff in outside bar are offish and service for drinks slow Restaurant staff. You catch their eye and they immediately walk away Yet rush you when eating to Move you on as quickly as they can Food School dinners from the 50’s only worse We are in Orkney and Shetlands the ultimate fishing area in U K yet a huge bowl of crab sticks on buffet Kipper for breakfast. Boil in the bag with raw onion on top Milk not fresh UHT Sunday lunch. Roast pork yet not a pig in sight. We are in the land of some of the best beef and lamb in the world We paid 3k for 5 days The cabin and cabin staff perfect. Such a shame that the food and service in restaurants did not match The restaurant staff and bar staff in the outside bar was slow if you ordered drinks Food in restaurants with additional costs was acceptable but same menu every night Balcony filthy. Old ash tray on balcony from last visitors Recliners dirty We have been on 9 cruises Queen Mary. Star Clippers. Windstar Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Just back from 28 day cruise on Olsen’s Black Watch. We are in our early 60 s and very active, most on the cruise are in their eighties plus, low mobility and not active. Great for them to get a cruise holiday but frustrating if you want ... Read More
Just back from 28 day cruise on Olsen’s Black Watch. We are in our early 60 s and very active, most on the cruise are in their eighties plus, low mobility and not active. Great for them to get a cruise holiday but frustrating if you want plenty of activity. Golf putting, carpet bowls in the corridor, whist, bingo, British singalong dress nights did not appeal. Ship was being constantly worked on so noise all over including windows being replaced on upper decks, toilets not working, information about destinations not great or non existent. The entertainment ranges from amateurish to good, the crew provide a lot of input. It is an old creaky ship which during storms bounced around. Disembarkation was appalling with low mobility people having and causing problems. A double decker bus shuttled people to trains with lower deck for suitcases including zimmer framed etc. and upper deck for passengers. The late arrival and departure of these ‘coaches’ caused many of us to miss our connections. Food is okay, staff ok, gym a bit limited, all areas busy and yapping all the time. All in all a great cruise for those who have low mobility but a snooze fest for others Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The Fred Olsen product is dire! We will NEVER book another cruise with them. When we got home we complained, and ended up being told that we were clearly "not the type of passengers suitable for a cruise with Fred Olsen!" Such ... Read More
The Fred Olsen product is dire! We will NEVER book another cruise with them. When we got home we complained, and ended up being told that we were clearly "not the type of passengers suitable for a cruise with Fred Olsen!" Such wonderful customer service! We're experienced cruisers, but this short Valentine cruise, our first time on Fred, was truly awful. We paid £240 per person, per night, for what was described as a Superior Suite, with the All-Inclusive drinks package. What a complete rip-off! Embarkation was painful. Although we turned up on time we had to sit and wait until called. Not the "priority boarding experience" we'd expected from their "Suite Dreams" package!. It was disorganised, with no-one to meet and greet, and the general first impression was that they just don't give a toss about their customers. Our cabin was a 1/10. We've written a separate review of this. We did explain our cabin issues to a lady at Reception for whom English was still not quite yet a second language! Although we were assured that action would be taken, nothing happened, and we never saw our cabin steward even once! The "Suite Dreams" package gives you a free bottle of fizz (worth about €1,00 at most), a bowl of hard and inedible unripe fruit (green bananas even!), and unlimited free bottled water in the cabin. Be warned though that getting the small water bottle replaced is a complete pain in the butt - you have to fill out the form on the neck label EACH TIME! Never had that one before! Our dining experience was unacceptable. Think Butlins rather than Michelin! They serve the same limited choice of food in each of their restaurants. Service is of the "bored" variety, with the wait staff definitely wanting you to think that they're doing you a favour deigning to acknowledge your presence. Both the large restaurants are very noisy, and we had a couple of tables of drunken chavs close by, each of whom had already had enough booze to sink their ship, and who only seemed to talk at full shout. After two nights we gave up and ate in the buffet. Its quieter, and the food is just as awful as elsewhere. We'd describe the whole food choices as "done to a budget" - the lowest one possible! We also came home with gastroenteritis. Not fun! The "All-Inclusive Drinks Package" is a massive con. The bar drinks menu has eight pages or so; the "All-Inclusive" list is the back half page. There's a limited choice of beer and wine, and some soft drinks. No cocktails. Nothing at all! You even have to pay for tea and coffee UNLESS you want to trek to the grotty Nescafe machine in the Iceni room. To be fair to Fred, we can see that this short four day cruise possibly attracted the wrong crowd. There were a large number of noisy drunks on board shouting at each other every evening, and our escape was to the Observatory Bar near our cabin! It possible that there was a significant number of cruise first-timers onboard who perhaps weren't that careful about hand hygiene, so its easy to see how you can pick up a mild gastroenteritis bug. The key issue we have with Fred is the poor value for money. They're charging a 5* price, and delivering at best a 3* product. The customer services lady who called us to follow up on our complaint was a complete time waster who aggressively rejected all our fair and reasonable points before telling us that we were "not the type of passengers suitable for Fred Olsen". In summary, don't bother with Fred Olsen. For around the same price you can go on Azamara or Oceania, get a decent clean cabin where the bed sheets and towels actually get changed, reasonable food and a good all-inclusive drinks package. Both cruise lines offer lovely "R" class ships that have roughly the same size and passenger numbers as Fred. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have always wanted to spend Christmas cruising the Caribbean and decided to go with Fred Olsen on the Braemar on the 20th December 2018. This was the biggest mistake we have ever made. The cruise started badly due to the drone fiasco at ... Read More
We have always wanted to spend Christmas cruising the Caribbean and decided to go with Fred Olsen on the Braemar on the 20th December 2018. This was the biggest mistake we have ever made. The cruise started badly due to the drone fiasco at Gatwick. It took two days to get to Barbados where we were due to board the ship. We were all day at Gatwick and then was forced to travel to Manchester by coach, which took five hours, where we were supposed to catch a plane to Barbados. When we arrived at Manchester there was no pilot to fly the plane which was loaded with our luggage. We were force to retrieve our luggage because we would not be flying that evening. We underwent the worst treatment imaginable from the security staff at Manchester airport who showed no empathy and treated us like criminals. We had to pass through security a total of three times being searched every time. We were given a cheap hotel to spend the night and no food was provided. We did not arrive on the Braemar until the evening of the following day. Thereby we lost two days of our cruise. Most of this was not Fred Olsen’s fault but it laid the foundation of what I can only describe as a nightmare beginning. The ventilation in the cabins was appalling. You were either too hot or too cold. A cheap duvet to cover you. The food started out good and then deteriorated rapidly. It was either too salty or overcooked. There was an outbreak of the coughing virus and they tried to cover it up. I was ill for the last week of the cruise. Wherever you sat someone was either coughing, sneezing or spluttering. The entertainment was recycled. They had three main artist, a comedian, a singer and a violinist. They used the three of them regularly throughout the cruise. We were supposed to go to The Grand Turk but the captain claimed that due to poor weather it was not safe to go there. He then announced that we would be going to Santo Domingo the capital of Dominica Republic instead. At the same time it was rumoured that one of the senior manager’s wife had recently given birth to a baby and lives with her other children in Santo Domingo. It was rumoured that he had not seen his new baby. When we arrived at Santo Domingo the wife and their new baby plus their other children came aboard and the children were seen playing in the ship’s swimming pool. Make of this what you will. Many guests commented on this and like me felt we had been deceived. We were so looking forward to snorkeling in the Grand Turk and a three hour tour of Santo Domingo which in my opinion is a hovel, was a poor substitute. I did not spend a fortune to eat poor food, pay a fortune for intermittent WiFi at a cost of £26 an hour, use a small swimming pool filled with sea water, have elderly people who are obviously unable to care for themselves being let lose on excursions which were totally unsuitable for them ( Hato Caves ) just to get their money and to go down with a severe viral cough. When I got home I saw a medic and the viral cough had developed into a chest infection. I am now very poorly and on antibiotics. This is the first time I have been on a Fred Olsen cruise and it will be my last. If you have high standards steer clear of this second rate cruise company whose apparent aim is to save money wherever they can by cutting standards. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My wife and I recently took our first cruise. We travelled on Deck 5 in an outer, windowed cabin, on Fred Olsen's Balmoral to the North German ports of Bremen, Hamburg and Kiel dep Newcastle 19 November. To say it was grossly ... Read More
My wife and I recently took our first cruise. We travelled on Deck 5 in an outer, windowed cabin, on Fred Olsen's Balmoral to the North German ports of Bremen, Hamburg and Kiel dep Newcastle 19 November. To say it was grossly disappointing would be to ignore the few highlights, but even they are too few to persuade us to repeat the experience. The worst aspect was the selfish and uncouth behaviour of most of the passengers. Billed as 'adults-only' this should have been subtitled, 'ideal for greedy, self-centred and rude elderly people'. The experience began as soon as we got on board where we discovered what the 'Olsen Regulars' already knew - that the light afternoon tea of finger sandwiches and cakes were laid out self-service style. Because the staff made no attempt to serve the passengers, the Olsen Regulars who charged on board at the first opportunity had emptied the single tray of roast beef sandwiches leaving just the egg mayonnaise and other lesser fillings for the others. Mind, that didn't stop the Olsen Regulars pushing, (actually 'forcing' would be more accurate), their ways past those who boarded later to wreck and largely waste the cake display. So greedy were these people they misused the serving tools and instead of serving themselves a single portion of cake they destroyed one or two others which they left for the lesser mortals behind them and helped themselves to a third or even fourth undamaged cake. I'm told by more experienced travellers that this is normal behaviour on cruise ships, especially Olsen. If so the solution is within the cruise lines' control, ie serve these teas so all passengers get a fair share. Hardly rocket science. It was a coincidence that one of the films showing in the cabins was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - not only an excellent film but also very apposite. In the open sequences the character played by Dame Maggie Smith explains to an American hotel employee who's just served her a mug with a tea bag and a flask of warm water that 'tea is a dried herb that's brought back to life by infusion in boiling water, not the lukewarm piss you've served'. That's exactly what every cup of tea served on Balmoral tasted like, grey, tepid urine. And the coffee's not much better unless you pay extra for it when they actually use real coffee. Again the solution is within Olsen's control, either teach your staff how to make tea and coffee or subcontract to Costa or Café Nero. Like un-monitored pre-school children, guests were allowed to behave as they wished regardless of the inconvenience they caused other passengers. For instance couples spread themselves and their knitting and newspapers right across a four-seat settee and refused to make space for other passengers wanting to sit down and buy a coffee. Far too many passengers using their own powered wheelchairs used the public areas like raceways to the detriment of everyone else. As we were disembarking at Newcastle the queue refused to budge for one elderly man trying to back out of a lift pulling his wife in a wheelchair, while at the same time another, obese man using a walking stick was trying to force his way into the same lift and complaining volubly because the wheelchair was in his way. God knows how many would have died due the selfish attitudes of passengers towards others if the ship had sunk. Now for some due praise. The cabin service was excellent, flawless. The girls deserve a raise for if anyone comes back it will be in large part due to them. True, the corners of the bathroom could do with steam cleaning with an industrial machine but that's a small point. The serving staff in the Ballindalloch restaurant were also generally excellent and are due similar praise though a little more attention to the cleanliness of glassware wouldn't go amiss. Sadly the quality of the staff didn't extend to the so-called premier restaurants, Spey and Avon. On two days my wife and I took lunch in these restaurants. On the first day we chose self-service, on the second we selected from the menu. That day we shared our table with a courteous and polite solo passenger. After our meal we were offered coffee and all of us accepted. The waiter brought two coffee cups, one saucer and a pot containing half a cup of lukewarm coffee. When we pointed out his omissions the waiter shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Other deficiencies we noticed in these restaurants were that waiters removed plates before diners had fully digested their last mouthful and plates were removed from one diner in a party who had finished eating before the others had completed their meal. There is little point in having an industrial toaster if the waiter operating it pre-toasts the bread and places this hot toast on a plate (albeit inside a napkin) so it's ready cooled for the next customer. This is idiocy. In general the food was adequate though occasionally tastes and flavours were rather too subtle and indiscernible. This comment applies especially to desserts, for instance lime and lemon cream item that's bright coloured but almost flavourless. My wife and I took the speciality Indian meal. We assumed that the kitchen does not include a tandoor oven but that really was no excuse for naan bread tasting more like cake. The spice in the curries was very muted and completely unrepresentative of Indian food that most passengers would know. A very poor extra. We purchased the All-in bar supplement but frankly this was not a good idea. Bar staff served erratic measures and didn't always get the right drink e.g. gin and vodka were often confused. Furthermore they constantly urged passengers to order doubles which obviously saved them work but was in contrast to the rigidly-enforced rule that passengers mustn't be served a second drink was the first is on the table. The maitre d' and the charming couple running the bridge sessions need to get some balls. In the case of the maitre d' it is not acceptable when the majority of passengers have observed the dress code for the two formal nights to have to suffer passengers seated on the same or nearby tables who have refused to conform for their own personal reasons. The code is well published and if any diner doesn't wish to observe it they should be obliged to eat elsewhere. Frankly the dress code is unimportant to the men but a courtesy to the ladies who can choose to dress up a bit if they wish. The same criticism must be levelled at the couple who run the bridge sessions. My wife and I were looking forward to learning to play bridge but our experience was completely spoiled by another couple who turned up at the beginners session despite being very experienced players. Their objective was simply to impress us with their expertise (and conversely our mediocrity) and furthermore to criticise the explanation and teaching being given by the experts. In contrast, although my wife and I were only observers, the dance tutors and hosts performed in an absolutely exemplary manner. They were not only skilled but courteous and polite and frankly a credit to whoever employs them. There is an air of parsimony in many cases throughout the ship. For example, doctors regularly recommend the elderly to drink a litre of water per day. For Olsen to charge £1.50 for a bottle in the cabin shows the company in a very poor light The entertainment offered on-board varied from first-class to puerile. The three headline acts, Geoff Taylor, Andy Eastwood and Paul Broadwood were excellent. The second level entertainers were adequate and Howard Johnson deserves special mention. Adam Reece on the other hand needed to practice. Having said that, playing music for others to talk through is a thankless task. However there is no excuse for the frankly paltry concert party. It was amateur, the singers were often out of tune and frankly Bolton amateur operatic society (with which I have no connection) would have done a better job. A number of guests who had sailed on Balmoral earlier in the season told us they had already seen the concert party performances and they were no better even after practice. If shows are contracted over a season and customers are likely to find themselves seeing the same shows twice or more they should at least be warned. For readers with young children around them the leader was reminiscent of the very talented Mr Tumble - though completely devoid of talent, charm, stagecraft or ability. He couldn't sing either. Although only six piece, the house band in the Neptune lounge was terrific. The same cannot be said of the Lido quartet who needed a considerably wider repertoire. Despite the description printed regularly in the ship's newspaper, Amy Winehouse is not representative of music of the 60s 70s or 80s. The music that was performed was too often music to slit your throat to. Even worse was the indulgence by the Olsen company of the leader of the concert party with a solo performance one evening the purpose of which he was quite open about was to provide him with a video for his CV. Again his comments revealed that his parents and possibly his grandmother were also on board and a number of people sitting near us wondered aloud how much discount they'd received. Of course staff discounts may be extended to their family but I suggest Olsen reviews the publicity staff are allowed to give this perk and treat them in the same way as British Airways staff are required to do, ie don't draw attention to your family. Of course cruise passengers realise that itineraries may have to be varied according to the vagaries of the weather. In our case it required us to remain a second day in Hamburg and all passengers were impressed by the announcement that tickets on the shuttle buses on the second day would be free in contrast to the £5 round-trip ticket charge the day before. The gesture was, of course, completely hollow since the queue to get on a bus into the city involved a 90 minute wait in line on the dockside and a 60 minute wait in the Hamburg street for the return journey. Bearing in mind how many passengers needed walking sticks and other aids the parsimony was a disgrace. You urgently need a competent cruise director who knows that his job is organising things like adequate numbers of buses and not replacing the compere at the Palladium. He needs also to be taught to speak clearly not gabble. Clearly Olsen is terrified of Norovirus. I have no experience of it but I do know that the way you handle the refusal of the captain and his crew to touch passengers even at a formal reception needs a serious review. By all means replace the receiving line with a pleasant, personal welcome and presentation but to word it in the way it was unnecessarily proscriptive. Additionally, on that subject, all the chairs in the dining rooms need a serious cleaning – the wooden arms and lower frames of most chairs were sticky. Again, most of the Dyson hand dryers in the men's toilets need urgent servicing. They only dry the backs of the hands - almost no air comes out of the palm elements. A final note of praise: the selection of films available on the televisions in the cabins was varied and should have appealed to most tastes. Overall, I would define our experience with Fred Olsen lines and Balmoral as a better-than-average holiday camp afloat. It had all the disadvantages of an all-inclusive hotel holiday without the single benefit that you can always walk out the door and into town. On the evidence of this cruise, once you've seen one German port you've seen the lot. We took advantage of the two days in Bremen to take a train to Lübeck and spend a delightful and informative – if a little wet – day in a fascinating city, but this was an exception. Our experience with Fred Olsen has ensured that we shall not be cruising again nor going to the pantomime in Billingham on Teesside where the majority of the concert party have apparently been hired to perform. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose Fred Olsen which seemed a quality operator we were sadly proved wrong we were on for a week and two ports in northern Spain were not visited Workmen were carrying refurbishment from day one and our cruise resembled a building site ... Read More
Chose Fred Olsen which seemed a quality operator we were sadly proved wrong we were on for a week and two ports in northern Spain were not visited Workmen were carrying refurbishment from day one and our cruise resembled a building site dust and workmen in all our areas making our holiday miserable pool empty and the ship very tired and rundown we were the youngest guests most over 75 so the entertainment aimed at them not us This was our first cruse and turned out like a living nightmare We found out onboard that the ship was going for a refit on return to Southampton but FL started while we were on the cruise this is totally unacceptable The workmen were wearing masks WHERE WERE OURS THIS HAS PUT US OFF CRUISES FOR LIFE Don’t go with FL they do not care for there guests and do not deliver Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
'Essential ' maintenance was carried out. Now we'd all agree the maintenance to lifeboats is essential. However, Fred insisted on chipping off the paint on the upper decks of Boudicca during the very brief time that the sun ... Read More
'Essential ' maintenance was carried out. Now we'd all agree the maintenance to lifeboats is essential. However, Fred insisted on chipping off the paint on the upper decks of Boudicca during the very brief time that the sun came out when we were trying to relax in the sun. The noise was unbearable. Unbelievable given that the ship was about to go into dry dock for a refit the week after! The weather was against us (no fault of Fred) and so the captain decided that we should miss out 2 stops. Quite understandable from a safety of life view, but the holiday was ruined. The prospect of spending three nights and two days at sea in the forecasted storms made us jump ship, stayed in an hotel overnight in Lisbon and flew home early., at quite a price. We would welcome the views of other passengers. The other comment is that the entertainmment (with the exception of the comedien, who was hillarious), seemed to be aimed at a much younger audience, for instance, 'Get off your feet and dance' shouted over and over again, didn't seem to suit the average age of about 68.. This is the last cruise we shall be booking. Nick Lodge. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
For a winter break but never again. Four days in I contracted noro virus. Medical centre nurse attended and told me not to consume alcohol. No time scale given. However after being released from 21 hours isolation following last symptom ... Read More
For a winter break but never again. Four days in I contracted noro virus. Medical centre nurse attended and told me not to consume alcohol. No time scale given. However after being released from 21 hours isolation following last symptom I had not recovered enough to even think about consuming alcohol. A male passenger soiled himself on deck 7 in a public area and staff rushed to clear up mess without wearing gloves. One of our dinner companions stopped them and advised them to don gloves. Two female passengers projectile vomited in public areas. Fred Olson kept these details quiet. We had £320 left in credit at end of cruise due to being unwell. One would think we would have been offered a refund. Unfortunately this was not the case. After considerable correspondence they eventually sent a cheque for £120 which I found quite insulting. On top of that the restrictions on the AIDP are ridiculous. One cannot order a bottle of wine at anytime. Choice is limited to two house wines of rose, white and red and other drinks are sadly limited. Cocktails are allowed a 50% discount. Why are they not included in the drinks package? Waiters were also topping up half empty wine glasses resulting in passengers being charged for 2.instead of 1 and a half which had been consumed. So beware. Have sailed up the Amazon, through Panama Canal and experienced a typhoon in the South China Seas but after experience on board Balmoral will not cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose cruise as had been on the two previous Christmas cruise. This year 2017 lacked any atmosphere. Everything had been cut back, no sailaways. No chefs parade. Felt cheated. Very poor. Awful. Seats in the Observatory lounge. Whoever ... Read More
Chose cruise as had been on the two previous Christmas cruise. This year 2017 lacked any atmosphere. Everything had been cut back, no sailaways. No chefs parade. Felt cheated. Very poor. Awful. Seats in the Observatory lounge. Whoever chose them obviously has not tried sitting in them to read. They are hard and uncomfortable. Look nice but that is all. Then the flu bug hit us it was like being in a sanitarium. Hygiene very poor from staff and passengers. Will not do this cruise again. Cabin beds uncomfotable and whole cabin needs refurbishing. Embarkation was terrible never known it so bad before. Food excellent but began to go downhill on the last week. Captain Victor Stoica was excellent and made the right choice to leave Lisbon a day early to avoid rough storms. Felt safe knowing he was at the helm. Shame didn’t feel we had had Christmae at all Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The cruise was to take my wife to the Xmas markets in Hamburg and Germany. I had lived in Germany for many years and speak the language fluently but she did not fancy the drive ( my chosen option). The boarding at Tilbury was a ... Read More
The cruise was to take my wife to the Xmas markets in Hamburg and Germany. I had lived in Germany for many years and speak the language fluently but she did not fancy the drive ( my chosen option). The boarding at Tilbury was a disgrace. car parking cost £9 per day to dump your car in a disused sand dump 4 miles away from the ship. the cabin was a good size and well designed, much better than the Britannia cabin we had last summer. The air con in the cabin cannot be shut off and the fan noise is very obtrusive and kept me awake. The food in the restaurant was ok better at dinner than the other two meals. wine and drinks expensive and not very good. a wine which costs £6 in Tesco, costs you £18 on board The entertainment was pretty dire. it made up for lack of talent by plenty of volume. The best lounge was the Observatory but even this was spoiled by the shouts and screams of the carpet bowling. The dis-embarkation at Tilbury was an absolute chaotic situation. Yiou are just dumped in the terminal no FO staff in sight. This was in stark contrast to the Magellan passengers who docked at the same time and were ushered to waiting coaches and taxis whilst we were stood in the pouring rain like poor relations until a clapped out old bus arrived for its first of many round trips. all in all never again Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My wife wanted to see the xmas markets in Hamburg and Bremen. the departure port of Tilbury is really only suited for containers. Containers don't mind being dumped on the dockside and they don't have to pay an extortion fee to ... Read More
My wife wanted to see the xmas markets in Hamburg and Bremen. the departure port of Tilbury is really only suited for containers. Containers don't mind being dumped on the dockside and they don't have to pay an extortion fee to stay there. The car park is 3 miles away from the port Buildings ( I am being kind at this instance) the method of transport is an ancient clapped out Double Decker bus. It is best described as a cattle truck with seats. Check in is in a dilapidated out shed of a building and then a short walk to the ship.# On board welcome was good and most of the staff on board were brilliant. The cruise dirctor was a bit of a joke and any information given during the voyage was ambiguous. Noy very professional until it came time to disembark when it appeared that they could not get you off the ship fast enough. More at this later On board service was good. Our cabin on Deck 5 had air conditioning which was so loud it was like working in a jet air-plane hangar. I still have tinnitus from it. The food sitting; there re two it is better to take the later one. the food is ok just the meat comes in two conditions, over cooked and cremated. apparently an EU directive which must only apply to cruise ships as I can order a very rare steak in a restaurant but not on board. the water on board taste like it came from a swimming pool so coffee and tea are undrinkable The on board lectures on German towns and site were factually inaccurate and the speakers could not even pronounce the names correctly ( I am fluent German speaker) The observation lounge is the best place to sit and enjoy a drink and the piano only spoiled by the constants whoops and screams of the carpet bowls players directly outside. The disembarkation is a complete farce involving seeing your luggage being thrown around by 3 yobos with a van totally unsuitable for the purposed then being crammed onto an old ex airport coach for the return trip to the car. Fred Olsen want you off the ship and then abandon you. Unlike the Magellan passenger who docked alondside at the same time. They were all dispersed and directed by Uniformed M & V staff and had gone whilst we were still stood in the piss*** down rain. At a cost of £1700 for the 2 of us plus £90 car parking plus the cost of wine at an Extortionate £20 per bottle \i can make the same trip by air and stay in a very good 4/5 star hotel for 4 days for £700 including all fees. That leaves about £1300 for some really good dinners. If you want an old folks rest home on the sea, this is the one for you Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was without doubt the worst "Holiday" I have ever had - sadly it was my first cruise. We were kept hanging about at Southampton until 4pm (no reason of the delay given). Straight to Cabin and to use the Loo - NOT ... Read More
This was without doubt the worst "Holiday" I have ever had - sadly it was my first cruise. We were kept hanging about at Southampton until 4pm (no reason of the delay given). Straight to Cabin and to use the Loo - NOT WORKING! This was just the very start of all the problems this "CRUISE SHIP" was having... Lifts were out of order or being used by workmen and all their Clobber. Walk and Gangways blocked again by workmen ,ladders, paint, tools ,cables and the most disgusting smell of CELLULOSE THINNERS everywhere, inside outside where ever you went. Awful smells of Diesel on some decks and toilet smells on others. Complaints made to onboard customer services were met with "WE will inform maintenance". Wifi and some television packages not working. Deck 8 out of action as it was filled with Boxes and Packaging plus NO POOL FACILITIES. Tried to get to the Observatory but NO - workmen were taking Sun beds from the deck and stacking them in the numerous empty cabins on Deck 8 - they were blocking/cluttering the walk ways and exits (fire Hazard) We are given a £75 on board credit re loss of pool on a use it or lose it basic - this i feel was totally immoral we paid cash for our holidays and therefore it should have been re credited to our accounts. These points were put to Fred Olsen's On Board Customer Complaints - she assured all would be well when we got to Madeira....Well absolutely nothing changed - even the Comedians were making jokes about the toilets smells etc etc . We now have one pool in action - Great but who wants to sunbath/swim with all these workmen plodding about with Tiles, Cement, noise of tile cutters cables cellulose thinners paint - How in heavens name can you relax with all that going on around you??? By the end of this "Cruise "many people were ill with sore throats, chesty coughs etc. - I wonder why??? Final day whilst waiting to be transported to the airport we were on Deck 8 with people who were continuing the Cruise Sunbathing and swimming- STILL many workmen there including one using an OXY ACETYLENE TORCH -THIS SURELY HAD TO BE A BREACH OF HEALTH AND SAFETY??? This ship should never have left Dry Dock. We the passengers ( or perhaps we were just Cargo??) should have been refunded our money or the cruise re scheduled - the £75 was an INSULT FOR WHAT WE HAD TO PUT UP WITH ON THIS MOCKERY OF A CRUISE!! Yes I and many others have complained to Fred Olsen. But I have been told Good Luck - they are really not interested in complaints - they are a law unto themselves!! The flight back to Gatwick was like a sick bay with a great quantity of people coughing sneezing and snivelling after their so called "Healthy Holiday" Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I had the misfortune to sail to the Caribbean on Braemar just before Christmas. The ship had been in dry dock and was clearly not fit for guests. There were constant problems with the water and sanitary systems, both swimming pools and ... Read More
I had the misfortune to sail to the Caribbean on Braemar just before Christmas. The ship had been in dry dock and was clearly not fit for guests. There were constant problems with the water and sanitary systems, both swimming pools and the jacuzzis weren't working, the TV system was out of order etc. Workmen were on deck every day painting, tiling and using strong smelling solvents so when we were at sea for 10 of the 16 day's it was hardly relaxing. Decks were dirty and often roped off. Like other commentators, there has been little sympathy shown by Fred Olsen staff and poor recompense for a holiday spoiled. All they are offering is a voucher against a future cruise, so if you don't want to use them again tough luck! Many people were ill on the ship, including myself. Not a good experience and one I don't want to repeat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Been on a couple of Fred Olsen cruises before on the Balmoral & was expecting the same kind of treatment ,sadly I couldn't have been more wrong !. the ship looked shabby & dated .The ship is not disabled friendly . there ... Read More
Been on a couple of Fred Olsen cruises before on the Balmoral & was expecting the same kind of treatment ,sadly I couldn't have been more wrong !. the ship looked shabby & dated .The ship is not disabled friendly . there are only two sets of lifts which are small & you have to walk down very long corridors to get to cabins which are cramped and not well fitted. There were only two smoking areas on board which can only be accessed by climbing stairs ,when I asked they had failed to offer a smoking area with level access I was quite rudely told that this was the wish of the owners & basically told hard luck . the entertainment is abysmal !.the excursions are an overpriced rip-off and they do not provide provide free shuttles out of the ports they charge you five pounds per day . Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We had travelled on Balmoral and thought this was a good cruise company and we needed a break. The cabin was adequate but very tired. The bathroom facilities very basic, and this was a Superior Suite, £5k plus!!.. The food on board was ... Read More
We had travelled on Balmoral and thought this was a good cruise company and we needed a break. The cabin was adequate but very tired. The bathroom facilities very basic, and this was a Superior Suite, £5k plus!!.. The food on board was adequate, buffets were varied but nothing out of the ordinary offered. Very little fresh fruit, lots of tinned, and very few vegetables with plated meals. The restaurant staff and service were good good. It was a scramble to get seats in the Neptune lounge for evening entertainment. The floors in the toilets next to the Neptune Lounge were filthy. The announcements were often inaccurate. The ports visited were, on 3 out of 4 visits, building sites which needed to be negotiated on leaving the ship. The Observatory during this trip, was used as a napping area, with no atmosphere, nowhere to sit because of the sleepers. We are regular cruisers with several companies and this was the worst...ever. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was a really disappointing cruise. From a 7 hour delay in departure, 4 missed ports, 3 Captains and an ignominious homecoming with one of the lifeboats strapped to the bow deck like a bathtime duck, this was definitely not Fred ... Read More
This was a really disappointing cruise. From a 7 hour delay in departure, 4 missed ports, 3 Captains and an ignominious homecoming with one of the lifeboats strapped to the bow deck like a bathtime duck, this was definitely not Fred Olsen’s finest hour. Storms in the North Sea resulted in the ship docking very late at Southampton with many passengers having several hours wait in the terminal. Storms in the Atlantic then caused us to make an unscheduled stop in northern Spain and we were told that we couldn’t possibly make up the time and would have to miss 2 out of our 5 scheduled Caribbean ports. We started to wonder if there was something wrong with the ship (remembering that it totally broke down last year and all the passengers had to be flown home) as, in all our years of cruising and crossing the Atlantic at this time of the year, we have never been on a ship that simply couldn’t cope with storms. We missed our stop in Hondurus due to strong currents making it impossible for the tenders to get ashore and the fourth missed port was Key West where the winds were too strong to allow us to dock. The Captain told us we’d get to Miami early and have an evening and overnight as well as the scheduled day in port. Wrong! Miami was not able to provide the personnel on a Sunday evening to allow us to disembark. That Captain left at Bermuda, on planned leave we were told, (I bet he was very grateful to get off) and another joined the ship only to leave in the Azores due to a crisis at home so the First Officer ended up sailing the ship back to Southampton but not until after our departure had been delayed by 3 hrs due to a winching gear error which meant that a lifeboat had to be craned back on board. You couldn’t make it up! We also had issues on this ship with the food at dinner in the main downstairs restaurant arriving at the table lukewarm and our waiters being far from efficient – items missing from the table, the wrong dishes being given to the wrong people, plates being cleared whilst others at the table were still eating – it was pretty awful. We also found some waiters in the self-service restaurants to be surly, unco-operative and unhelpful. We got the distinct impression that several of them weren’t at all happy and wondered if there had been some cutbacks or reorganization that had affected them. Supervisory staff also seemed to be thinner on the ground than usual. Likewise, we wondered if economy measures had something to do with the fact that we had to miss 2 ports in the Caribbean. We puttered along for the whole cruise at speeds between 14 and 15 knots in a ship that is capable of 18.5. This was, presumably, to keep fuel consumption down. The only time the engines were up to 17.5 knots was when we were coming home from the Azores so we didn’t have to have another late arrival at Southampton. Unforeseen circumstances can always arise on any holiday. It’s how they’re dealt with that’s important. This cruise of 46 nights was a big investment in both time and money and just didn’t deliver Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I was brought up to say nothing, if I couldn't say something good about someone or something. So I will not have much to say about this ship. Built 28 years ago by the German builders Meyer Werft as one of the most luxurious ships of ... Read More
I was brought up to say nothing, if I couldn't say something good about someone or something. So I will not have much to say about this ship. Built 28 years ago by the German builders Meyer Werft as one of the most luxurious ships of its day. It certainly is not that now.. It was very early in the year to travel north. Too early. The daylight hours are very limited. The weather is often very poor. As indeed it was. That does make a difference. We had chosen a Junior Suite. A rather too grand description for a standard balcony cabin. Pleasant enough. Except the bathroom. No soap. Just two bottles with plungers which sent out a thin stream of coloured fluid. The bath would have disgraced the average budget hotel. The bathtaps were bent so that water sprayed onto the floor. The mirrored cabinets doors showed rust and opened when the ship rolled. Which it did. The most irritating: a notice on the swimming pool towels, that they were to be returned, used, to the cabin. If not, a £10 charge added to your account. The room was looked after adequately by the stewardess whom, after the first day, I never saw again. She may have been overworked. The ship's public rooms are quite without any character. On one deck, they stretch between the buffet restaurant and the showlounge, itself plain, with shallowly tiered seating, with higher buckets seats placed in front of the bench seats. The entertainment in this undistinguished room was unremarkable. A comedian. A singer. A dance duo. In between these, the ship's singer/dancer group. They certainly worted hard. But nothing new. Nothing innovative. There were three speakers, who gave talks. One of them, splattered with little jokes. Not good. Certainly not enlightening. The dining. We asked through our agents, for a table for six or eight. We were assigned a table for four. Our fellow diners, committed Fred Olsen cruisers. They explained at length how pleased they were that a steward had recognised them and was to show them his personal pictures. We were pleased for them. The assigned restaurant, set on one side of the ship, was very noisy. One of the two redeeming features of this otherwise less than run of the mill voyage: the buffet. On the whole good food and good service. In the restaurants service we found patchy sometimes downright bad. But the buffet seemed to have an entity nof its own. Pleasant, never too crowded, cheerful staff. The best of this ship. Outside was a good teak deck. But it was cluttered with stored chairs, so walking was often single file. Perhaps there was nowhere else to put them. Perhaps that was why the unbendable lounger on our balcony could not be removed - it blocked half of it. It was a nuisance. Shore excursions were expensive. But we found them well organised by the tour operators. Fred Olsen prides itself on having a very high repeat booking level. I cannot understand why. This is a tired old ship with less than good service. I was told by a guest relations manager that it is due for a £50 million refit later this year. Not much of a compensation for those of us travelling on it until then. The other good thing: the captain. The weather was bad sometimes very bad. We had Force 11 winds. On the way back from Bergen he reduced speed to 5 knots which made us eight hours late into Southampton. That takes courage I think. Would we travel on a Fred Olsen ship again? No. The worst thing for me: my wife feels that it was a waste of money. I feel very bad about that. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Calling this cruise Irish Markets was a joke. First stop Falmouth which I must admit I enjoyed very much lovely day & very quaint shops. Next stop Dublin not a Christmas stall in sight oh yes one. Our last stop Cobh for Cork very ... Read More
Calling this cruise Irish Markets was a joke. First stop Falmouth which I must admit I enjoyed very much lovely day & very quaint shops. Next stop Dublin not a Christmas stall in sight oh yes one. Our last stop Cobh for Cork very disappointing Christmas market consisted of fruit & veg & meat stalls oh yes & one chocolate stall so how they can call this Irish Christmas market cruise beggars believe. My cabin steward was one of the most unfriendly one's I have ever come across I have been on quite a few cruises & normally they are lovely friendly & cannot do enough for you. My friend & I were on a table with 5 other super friendly ladies our waiter was the worse I have ever come across everything we asked for took for ever to come at one point we got up & got our own wine as we had waited 25 mins for a refill but to flip the coin he had far to many tables to wait on. I would definitely have second thoughts about sailing with Fred Olsen again Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
There was much that was good about this cruise, in particular the staff, entertainment and food. However from day 2 passengers were falling ill with gastrointestinal outbreaks. This affected the facilities available, for example closure ... Read More
There was much that was good about this cruise, in particular the staff, entertainment and food. However from day 2 passengers were falling ill with gastrointestinal outbreaks. This affected the facilities available, for example closure of the jacuzzis, closure of the gaming tables, some of the toilets around the ship, no table top sales, temporary closure of the gym, no self service buffets, constant hand washing and teams of specialist cleaners washing down surfaces constantly. Etc. All of this meant that the cruise we paid for was not as expected. Fred Olsen customer services have offered platitudes and apology but accompanied by a point blank refusal to offer any compensation. Whilst we did not expect anything other than a discount off a future cruise it is very disappointing that the company consider they do not have any moral responsibility to their customers feeling satisfied. Needless to say our party of 6 will NOT be cruising with Fred again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The worst cruise of our lives. I became sick on the second night and was confined to cabin with my husband for 48 hours, it would seem that we came off lightly, some people had longer confinement, o e lady told us it was 4 days. the ... Read More
The worst cruise of our lives. I became sick on the second night and was confined to cabin with my husband for 48 hours, it would seem that we came off lightly, some people had longer confinement, o e lady told us it was 4 days. the cabin was nice but the floor was never hoovered ,there was dirt on the inside of the wardrobe doors, there ware no handles just a groove to open the door. The toilet had a flushing system of its own, you pressed the flush button left the bathroom got out a book and oh, it suddenly flushed. One morning most of the toilets didn't flush for about three hours Twice a day captain was banging on about washing hands In hit water for at least 20 seconds, good idea, it took 45 seconds for the water to rungot in our cabin and in the public toilets it was almost impossible to get hot water unless you used it immediately after someone else, I wrote and told the captain, and someone came while we were out to fix the water, it still took 45 seconds toget hot Laundry,gym,jacuzzi, library, all closed, they were not getting to grips with the sickness and dhiorhea at all. We were woken by a fire announcement, the ta boys stopped working in our cabin. Essential work on the water supply woke us at 2 a, sounded like someone drilling in our bathroom, and no water.must have been please t for the vomiting people We were offered money off another cruise, no chance, I could bang on a lot more but to be honest it's an experience I would rather forget Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Chosen fro nights at sea and atlantic crossing. We had a major fire on board we were without water, sanitation, lights and power for many hours and adrift without engines or steering for 10 hours in the atlantic ocean. The crew saved ... Read More
Chosen fro nights at sea and atlantic crossing. We had a major fire on board we were without water, sanitation, lights and power for many hours and adrift without engines or steering for 10 hours in the atlantic ocean. The crew saved us but the management were dreadful. There were no contingency plans on board, No proper torches only key ring, no hot food for 3 days, having said that the food was not hot before the fire. After 1 day they could cook it but it was congealed cold eggs, cold bacon, cold beans etc actually served on the table. No bars open after dark we were told to go to bed. Even when arrived port on Saturday no help was given, no entertainment, no ice for cold drinks, hot tea and coffee turned off by 10.30 no alcohol available. We had to leave ship on Sunday to get food and drink which we had to pay for we also had to find places to charge our phones etc. We had not been allowed to contact the outside world. We were treated like moaning school children by reception staff who seemed to think giving information was beneath them. We asked many times how and when to pack and was told we would be informed however they finally told us at 8.45pm that we had to pack 1 case only and leave it outside cabin by 12 midnight. It had to be done in the dark and 1 broken torch was initially offered. We were finally dumped in Dover at 10pm with no means of getting home after 18 hours travelling and no hotels available. We are all physically and mentally traumatised and Olsen has even had the nerve to deduct the 3 days all inclusive charge for the days that we had nothing. They have offered a refund as the law reuires as they did not fulfill their contract but so far no compensation for all these out of pocket expenses and our severe distress Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Although the ship was old and visibly in need of urgent repairs (some of these repairs were even carried out during the cruise and caused a kind of petrol smell in our room) and according to the Captain did not meet present environmental ... Read More
Although the ship was old and visibly in need of urgent repairs (some of these repairs were even carried out during the cruise and caused a kind of petrol smell in our room) and according to the Captain did not meet present environmental standards, we very much enjoyed the beautiful nature of Norway and were impressed by the good service. We felt less impressed by the fact that the shipping line extorted from us an amount of fifty pounds for an unavoidable name change (my original guest not being able to join) and the negative reaction I received from the unsmiling staff at the guest services desk, when I requested a refund of these fifty pounds. The lady at this desk even told me that she did not believe that Royal Caribbean never charges me for name changes!!! This in combination with the fact that I was charged an amount of £ 1,32 for being served a glass of port wine rather than a glass of red wine was a real shock. The port wine costs per glass £1,10 less than the house wine, so one would expect a refund rather than an additional charge. The lady at the guest services desk was unrelenting in her successful efforts to maintain this charge on the bill, so that the final result was that in addition to the £ 9000 charged for the cruise, an additional amount of £ 51,32 pounds was lost, of which £ 50 even before the cruise started! The episode with the £50 was so unpleasant because of the utter greed it reflected. How can a name change cost the shipping line more than 50 pence and how is it possible that such a trivial work cannot be financed out if the sum of £9000 paid for the cruise? On ground of this episode I decided that this would be my first and my last cruise with Fred Olsen. On the subject if the wine I would like to elaborate a bit more. The only red wine included in our drinking package was a wine of a poor quality. I feel sure Fred Olsen himself has not tasted this wine: he would have replaced it immediately by another wine. Guests can easily get confused by the complicated rules of your “ included drinks” package. After I was presented with the extra charge of £1,32 I devoted 15 minutes of study to the fine print of your package which brought me into a state of confusion. My proposal to Fred Olsen is to replace these rules by a more simple concept, including cheaper but better drinks for the package which will make it more acceptable to the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We wanted to see fjords. Do not go on this ship if you are under 70 as you will feel you are in a nursing home no disrespect meant as I admire some of the older clients for attempting the trip one lady was 101 . We had to avoid ... Read More
We wanted to see fjords. Do not go on this ship if you are under 70 as you will feel you are in a nursing home no disrespect meant as I admire some of the older clients for attempting the trip one lady was 101 . We had to avoid morbility scooters even in the restaurant Frames and zimmers also. The ship was very dated old and worn and repairs welding and grinding were going on aft swimming pool steps whilst people were in pool and on loungers . Our first cabin was inside on 5 it was very depressing we did update to 8 outside which was better. At our cost, The dinning was very busy and we felt rushed and had to sit with other clients often. We have had better food in hotels We always had to que ,The 2nd sitting was too late in restaurant and portions small , The service was OK the drink waiters worked well but we did have to wait sometimes The shore excursions were like cattle markets especially when 2ships arrived together and the little places we visited were ruined by hundreds of people. Embankment was ok but we waited a long time to disembark We would certainly not cruise with Fred Olson ships again Very boring ,we would have taken the 48hr return home deal but thought it might get better it didn't . I really wish I had read some of the reviews I have reported this to hays travel with whom I booked .we did try to get a flight home on the Wednesday but nothing available from Oslo Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have always wanted to cruise the fjords and have been looking forward to this holiday for several months. My partner has problems with his breathing and cannot walk long distances, for this reason we chose Fred Olsen because the ships ... Read More
We have always wanted to cruise the fjords and have been looking forward to this holiday for several months. My partner has problems with his breathing and cannot walk long distances, for this reason we chose Fred Olsen because the ships are smaller than many of the other cruise lines. Embarkation at Newcastle proved to be a nightmare, we asked whether it would be far to walk and were told that very little walking was involved and that the shuttle bus would talk us straight to the ship. In reality we were faced with approximately a 300-350 metre walk, then a steep gangway. My partner had to stop several times and lean on the rails, there were no seats to take a rest. Had we been told this we would have asked for assistance (which we did for disembarkation). The ship itself was fine, pretty much as expected. We had booked a superior outside cabin on deck 6 close to the restaurant. The cabin and its location on the ship was fine, however as we were unpacking there were very loud banging noises. We assumed that the maintenance was just because the ship was in port, but no, it continued on and off for the entire duration of the cruise. The cabin had a large window and it would have been great to sit and relax watching the world (well the fjords) go by. Unfortunately this wasn't always possible due to the noise! Very disappointing. Food was generally disappointing. Often cold and tasteless. One or two meals were OK, but on the whole not as we expected. Service was ok, nothing over and above what you would expect for the price we paid. The entertainment was good, we particularly liked the duo 'Amethist' who played in the pub every evening. We had taken advantage of the 'All Inclusive' offer, which was tremendous value for money. The drinks service was very good and the staff friendly. We had only 2 ports of call - Bergen and Eidfjord. We didn't book any excursions because we were unsure of whether they would suit my partner. There was a walk from the ship to the port gates in Bergen but with seating along the way for my partner to rest. We then picked up the 'hop on, hop off' tourist bus tour at the port gates. This worked well and we had a pleasant time. The ship docked very close in Eidfjord and we took the Troll Toll - a tourist train which was excellent .... Some amazingly beautiful scenery and photo stops. The fjords are beautiful and we enjoyed the scenic cruising - the sail away from Bergen was one of the best I have experienced. To sum up, although we enjoyed our holiday and the beauty of Norway, we feel that Fred Olsen do not provide value for money on this occasion. This cruise cost around £900 per person for 5 nights - premium price for less than premium service. Disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Never again. The so called "Superior Balcony Cabin" was filthy. Furniture drawers had not been cleaned out for months with residual filth including a drawer which refused to close because of soiled underwear left behind. ... Read More
Never again. The so called "Superior Balcony Cabin" was filthy. Furniture drawers had not been cleaned out for months with residual filth including a drawer which refused to close because of soiled underwear left behind. Response to complaint poor - was offered a move to a state cabin but it was little better in terms of cleanliness. Our cabin was never hoovered during the entire trip. Restaurant staff were very good but meals served were mediocre. Facilities on board limited but generally all main areas reasonably maintained. Entertainment on board not particularly of good standard. Spoilt further by majority of fellow passengers not understanding the meaning of "Black tie dining" - Tee shirts with ties and trainers seemed to be acceptable!! Luggage covers on suitcases badly damaged without any acceptance or responsibility let alone apology offered. Have written to Fred Olsen - waited over 1 month for a response to the complaint which was not satisfactory to encourage a return to cruising with this company. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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