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8 Fred. Olsen River Cruises Cruise Reviews

We have been on previous river cruises, but always with Avalon Cruises, we thought that with a reputation like Fred Olsen this cruise would be of the same standard, Oh how wrong we were. The only thing that matched Avalon was the food. ... Read More
We have been on previous river cruises, but always with Avalon Cruises, we thought that with a reputation like Fred Olsen this cruise would be of the same standard, Oh how wrong we were. The only thing that matched Avalon was the food. Everything else was poor, it was not even a Fred Olsen cruise, but a Luftner Cruise and only one person on the whole boat actually worked for Olsen, the hygiene standards where not good, it was possible to come down the steps of the sun deck, straight into the bar area where the light lunch was served daily without even passing a hand sanitiser, not once did we see any hand rails cleaned, this is normally carried out daily on most cruises. On booking we were not told that due to one river having numerous low bridges the sun deck would be closed for three days, we were not told that on the same river we would have to pass through 34 locks. The entertainment was poor, with the vocalist being unable to sing in the same key as the piano quite often, some nights she almost emptied the bar in minutes. One very hot day, moored next to an Avalon boat, the sun deck was roped off and no chairs or sunshades were erected, people in their 70’s and 80’s were left to either climb over the rope and grab a chair or just stand, while some of the lazy crew watched from the back of the boat, where they had erected something for themselves, while others stood on the dock smoking. By contrast, the Avalon crew had put out sunshades and sun beds for their guests. I have photos of this. I spoke to Richard, cannot remember his job title as he came back on board with the only Fred Olsen employee, Jess, who shot off quickly before I could speak to her, I think he did try to help, but he had no authority and we were just left to stand there. I have never in 40 years of holidays heard so many guests moaning about so many things, I could site numerous other failings, but I am sure they will be covered by other guests. The only praise that I can credit them with is the standard of the food and the willingness of the waiting staff, who were very good, but even their, although the food came out hot at breakfast, their was totally inadequate facilities to keep it hot, the person in charge of service was aware of this, but again did nothing to rectify it, just total lack of competent management from start to finish. To be fair to Fred Olsen, they are relatively new to these type of cruises and I have been told that their sea cruises are much better, the only advice I can give them, is to book themselves onto an Avalon Cruise, observe, record, go back to Brabant and implement. They are doing their hard earned good reputation not good by carrying on with cruises of this standard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Done a lot of Ocean Cruising but never a River Cruise. This one coincided with our timetable. The Itinerary - Rhine and Moselle attracted us and the reality met our hopes. The stops chosen were good. Perhaps a little longer in one or two ... Read More
Done a lot of Ocean Cruising but never a River Cruise. This one coincided with our timetable. The Itinerary - Rhine and Moselle attracted us and the reality met our hopes. The stops chosen were good. Perhaps a little longer in one or two of them would have been nice. Obviously smaller than a Cruise ship but for its size was spacious and well laid out with nice lounges. Our Cabin was on the second floor and of a decent size with a french window. Very good wardrobe space considering. Good size bathroom/shower room. Nice dining room. Particularly liked the sit anywhere policy. We like the varied menu and the food was very good at all meals. Bar area and lounge was large with good all round vision. Unfortunately the weather didn't let us use the sundeck as much as we would have liked. Lovely smaller lounge at the rear of the boat with all day hot drinks and cookies available. After experiencing Cruise ships didn't expect too much in the way of entertainment. Very pleasantly surprised. Definitely knew the audience they were aiming at. The overall service in all areas of the boat gets full marks from us. We only did a couple of city tours and both of the were good. Would definitely consider another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The whole experience from booking to returning to Heathrow afterwards was really well organised and enjoyable. The cabin was spacious enough for two, with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors. Fine for watching the scenery slip by when ... Read More
The whole experience from booking to returning to Heathrow afterwards was really well organised and enjoyable. The cabin was spacious enough for two, with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors. Fine for watching the scenery slip by when the Sun Deck got too hot. The shower provided plenty of hot water, a definite plus. The food was of premium quality and the staff all friendly and helpful. Maps were provided of each destination town/city and the crew were knowledgeable about each one. The itinerary was interesting with plenty to see, although we did not book any shore tours. In Strasbourg, where the boat docked a little way from the cathedral and other points of interest, a shuttle bus was provided. We booked late and the cabin was at the rear and, although on the top accommodation deck, was a little noisy from the engines, when we sailed during the night. However, we got used to this after a couple of nights. We would definitely recommend a Fred Olsen river cruise as we thought it excellent value for money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I chose this cruise on the recommendation of my travel partners who had travelled with the company on sea cruises. Ship rather tired needs maintenance , balcony door did not open and cabin door flew open during the night would not lock ... Read More
I chose this cruise on the recommendation of my travel partners who had travelled with the company on sea cruises. Ship rather tired needs maintenance , balcony door did not open and cabin door flew open during the night would not lock from inside. Expectations were high and not met the cabins fine and housekeeping staff worked hard under great pressure. Food not bad lack of fruit had to ask for bananas but did not receive any on the whole trip. Service in dining room chaotic staff did their best but lack of leadership from restaurant manager. One other gripe was the sum asked for gratuities ! Ports fine and excursions good if a little rushed and when not cancelled. Fortunately as I had experienced river cruising with a rival company I know that I shall not be put off but cannot think that my three friends will repeat travel with Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I have never been on a river cruise before, but after a very fast embarkation , we were settled into our cabin, not large, but comfortable and always plenty of hot water & very efficient toilet. Dinner the first evening was okay, but ... Read More
I have never been on a river cruise before, but after a very fast embarkation , we were settled into our cabin, not large, but comfortable and always plenty of hot water & very efficient toilet. Dinner the first evening was okay, but pleased to say food improved considerably over the week and they were very good with my lactose intolerance and I was able to choose for the day at breakfast, from the menus and the chef would adjust, had some lovely sorbets for dessert. The places we stopped at were interesting and although we didn’t do any of the tours, but were happy to do our own thing and also used the cititrains in some of the towns, they took you all around the sites and told you about the history. The scenery was beautiful with castles and little villages and towns, the houses have interesting architecture, but I think I have seen enough vineyards to last a lifetime. People on board were friendly and we changed tables every night. The weather was perfect everyday until the day we arrived in Düsseldorf ,when the temperature dropped & the sky turned grey, but luckily , no rain during the day! Disembarkation was easy, journey home short and uneventful. We had a lovely holiday and would definitely do another river cruise, rather than an ocean cruise, no movement, very smooth, no waves........lovely! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We did this cruise starting at Basel and finishing in Dusseldorf. If I did it again I would do it in the other direction. This is becuase some of the quaint places that the ship docks at in the Basel-Dusseldorf direction are only stopped ... Read More
We did this cruise starting at Basel and finishing in Dusseldorf. If I did it again I would do it in the other direction. This is becuase some of the quaint places that the ship docks at in the Basel-Dusseldorf direction are only stopped at for a few hours - such as Cochem - and we would have preferred longer. In the opposite direction you get longer there and not so long in the other places. Overall however the itinerary was good and we stopped at some interesting places. One thing to note is that wherever you stop on a Sunday there are virtually no shops open - except for restaurants and the like. We stopped in Manheim on Sunday - nothing open. The food onboard was generally good. No real complaints as such - more just "observations". The food was a bit too fussy for my liking. It was sometimes difficult to find something "plain" on the menu. Having said that the wait staff in the restaurant were brilliant at accommodating my needs in this regard! Special menton to Vlad and Vitria. Our cabin was a usual size for a river cabin - not big - but big enough. No tea and coffee making facilities within the cabin - although I understand from next year there will be. To get tea and coffee at the moment you have to go to the rear of the ship to the tea and coffee station - which is fine if you are on that deck - but not if you are on any other deck - It's a bit of a trek as there is no staircase at the aft of the ship. Drinks on board are reasonable prices and priced in pounds. When you pay for drinks you have to sign a bill that you get a copy of. After a week you have lots of bits of paper. If Fred wants to make it more akin to ocean cruising with the same standards etc I suggest using the credit card style key for room entry and making that your form of payment that you can then check on your on board account in your room. The £8 automatic gratuity charge per person per day is a bit steep. That is more than one expect to pay on an ocean cruise. On an ocean cruise you have to put your main luggage outside your door the night before on river cruises you don't as it's a much smaller operation. This is good for passengers - much less hassle. Overall we had a super time. There are just a few changes here and there that I would make. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
First for the postives, we travelled for less than £1000 each and the scenery was absolutely beautiful - particularly the Moselle River! We had not been to Germany before and the castles, vineyards and pretty villages were lovely. A ... Read More
First for the postives, we travelled for less than £1000 each and the scenery was absolutely beautiful - particularly the Moselle River! We had not been to Germany before and the castles, vineyards and pretty villages were lovely. A river cruise is a slow and relaxing way to enjoy rural parts of Germany that we otherwise may not have been able to enjoy. In terms of our experience of the Fred Olsen river cruise, we believe that there are a number of considerations for future travellers: The ship and staff are not Fred Olsen and may not be consistent with your previous experience. We didn’t have any problems with service but we noted that some other passengers were disappointed. This is an older boat and it has not been renovated recently. It is clean but there are obvious signs of wear and tear, seems quite dark and the bathrooms needed updating. If boat appearance and facilities are important to you, this is not the boat for you. The average age was around 70. If you are in that category, all is good but we weren’t and did feel a bit like an outsider but we did meet some lovely people. There are 2 reasons were will not sail with Fred Olsen again: The cruise was rough around the edges. The communication was amateurish and the ‘daily news’ was a wasted opportunity. The tours were predictable and probably ok if they had been free. The entertainment was basic, the onboard singers were fine but the ‘special German entertainment’ was not good. We had a special buffet which was organised chaos and if that had been the first time they did this then we could understand but it is probable that this was repeated every week. It is disappointing that Fred Olsen are not using this as an opportunity to be distinctive as opposed to providing what felt like a simple and cheap offering. Finally, we feel that Fred Olsen did not adequately deal with situations when things went wrong. Unfortunately the cruise could not finish in Basel due to low water levels. This was totally outside of Fred Olsen control but what was disappointing was how they decided to manage the situation. We had an early connection on the last morning of the cruise and the Fred Olsen organised bus was not suitable. We spoke to the Fred Olsen representative on board (who was very polite and visible on the boat) and he said the company were not planning on offering any alternative and the best they could do was write a letter to our insurance company. In addition we were told that they weren’t even sure where we would end up. This uncertainty and what felt like a lack of support from day 1 really tarnished our experience. As young(ish) people we were able to reorganise things but I could in no way recommend this company to my parents or elderly relatives....not knowing where they are going to end up and having to organise and finance their own arrangements. We have decided not to travel with Fred Olsen again and I trust this review will help others decide if it is for them. We did note that many of the other passengers were loyal Fred Olsen customers and they had already booked future ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The room was nice and clean. On the first night I had fish which was translucent in the middle and not too nice so I left it. It lay heavy and around midnight I was violently sick and had diarrhoea. I took medicine but ate little for 5 ... Read More
The room was nice and clean. On the first night I had fish which was translucent in the middle and not too nice so I left it. It lay heavy and around midnight I was violently sick and had diarrhoea. I took medicine but ate little for 5 days. With temperatures in the mid 30 it was bad. The coffee station cups were rinsed in the sink, not washed and one waiter put 3 handfulls of ice cubes into the drinking water jug. One night the wine glass had lipstick on it. I also had a couple of dirty forks. I left a list of concerns when I left. We were supposed to receive a form asking for feedback but it never came so I wrote to Fred Osen when I got back but they never even bothered to respond. Very unhappy. The housekeeping side was excellent but the wine waiter came after the main course had arrived and been eaten. As we were on a drinks with meals inclusive package we tried to get a bottle of mineral water but I was told I could only have a glass and only at lunch and dinner even though I was not having wine etc. because I was sick which seems to be extremely tight, especially as it was their fish that made me sick in the first place so they did well out of that. A couple of the waiting staff were excellent, some could not care less. It could be a good ship but they badly need health and safety training. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
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