3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The itinerary sounded interesting. Sadly, Norway was closed between Christmas and New Years! So nothing to see unless you bought a lot of tours. This was not mentioned when we signed up. The food and service were great. The ... Read More
The itinerary sounded interesting. Sadly, Norway was closed between Christmas and New Years! So nothing to see unless you bought a lot of tours. This was not mentioned when we signed up. The food and service were great. The entertainment was mediocre, usually provided by members of the ship's company. There was a very interesting lecturer from the air safety board but he was the only bright spot. The ship supposedly had recently had a major refit. However, many public areas were very cold and our suite was either too hot or too cold. There were very few public toilets (a distinct problem for the large number of older cruisers aboard). There was sometimes rusty water in the bathroom and the overhead lights flickered on and off. During a rainy spell many tables in the diningroom (including ours) had to be roped off for several days as the ceiling was leaking. We certainly were not expecting a Cunard experience, but given what we paid we were disappointed and will not be cruising Fred Olsen again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted to get away over Christmas and New Year. This cruise was ideal but the only one we could find. We had extreme trouble in the port on the embarkation day. The Port Authority could not cope with the volume of passengers. We sat ... Read More
We wanted to get away over Christmas and New Year. This cruise was ideal but the only one we could find. We had extreme trouble in the port on the embarkation day. The Port Authority could not cope with the volume of passengers. We sat in a non moving queue watching the taxi meter go from £13 to £20 finally getting out and carrying our luggage 100 metres to baggage check in. The cruise itself was great although we were struck down with a "Virus" for the last 5 of the 15 days. We didn't leave the cabin. Luckily this virus was in the form of a hacking cough and not stomach related. Many passengers were affected. Everything on board was good, food, service, cabin and most of the entertainment although we did have a guy called Christopher Gee who had, quite frankly, seen better days, dreadful. We did have issues with a couple of the port tours. We were disappointed that the catamaran used to take us Whale Watching was so large ( about 200 passengers) BUT we did see Whales so all good really. The other disappointing tour was Reindeer Sledding. Got to do it when you go to Norway. We arrived at the Sami Village and had a drink and traditional cake along with a talk about Sami Life, all very interesting. We were then divided into groups to go down to the reindeer. Bear in mind it was dark. We were led outside and a guy on a snow mobile helped a disabled person to get down to the lower level. He shot off with her on the machine and left the rest of us floundering around not knowing where to go. The Path was unmarked and unlit. We finally made it. They were having trouble controlling the reindeer! We were in a line of about 6 sleds, we were 2nd to last with a young reindeer behind us, well, we thought it was going to get into the sled with us and it was only my hand pushing it away which stopped by wife being injured. She was petrified and the trip was totally spoilt. I did complain at the time to the handler he admitted the problem. I complained again when back on board. I was given a 33% refund as a "Good Will Gesture" but I'm not happy. When taking these shore tours it's important to feel safe and that someone from the ship is keeping a lookout for you. Well this certainly wasn't the case. Definitely no Health and Safety procedures here. Other shore tours were good if a little more expensive than usual. Brilliant Northern Lights experience and an Igloo Hotel. This is my 2nd time to Norway so not sure would go back again but the scenery is amazing. My wife absolutely loved it. Seeing snow at Christmas really made the experience truly great. We've been travelling with P & O for our last few cruises on their smaller ships and I don't think there is much to choose between them. Hope this is helpful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We are booked on a longish cruise on Balmoral in 2019 and wanted to refresh our Fred Olsen experience and keep our loyalty level current. So a one-night repositioning cruise was not quite as silly as it sounds. Some 200 other people ... Read More
We are booked on a longish cruise on Balmoral in 2019 and wanted to refresh our Fred Olsen experience and keep our loyalty level current. So a one-night repositioning cruise was not quite as silly as it sounds. Some 200 other people obviously agreed with us although many were travel agent staff on what is euphemistically called a familiarisation trip. Ticketing was bit haphazard as the information was an adaption of that for a usual cruise. You could interpret it that we could expect both a Welcome Aboard and a Farewell cocktail party - presumably back to back! The terminal at Tilbury was dreadful. Admittedly it was not the main London Cruise Terminal of 'Empire Windrush' fame. But check-in was rapid and efficient, we showed our free bus passes, were quickly directed to our cabin by the ever-friendly Fred Olsen crew and there was a good selection of hot and cold food available in the Glentanar restaurant. The main thing that impressed us was the quality of the refit that had taken place in the last year. A lot of money had obviously been spent bringing Black Watch as close to modern standards as is possible in an elderly lady. The decor and facilities in our cabin were very good. We were getting angry that the usual lockable drawer for valuables had no key - and then found a lovely new safe! The bathroom was spotless and storage had been very much improved. It was the same throughout the ship and the new facilities that have been shoe-horned into the ship over the years have not detracted from the sense of space. The new balconies on 7 deck (the Promenade deck) still seem a bit odd but we didn't have one, nor did we use the Prom deck much on a very cold night. There was one sitting for dinner, at 7pm, and a creditable impressionist did his job keeping everyone awake afterwards. You can't expect too much for £80 plus optional £20 return coach fare! This wasn't a busy, noisy party cruise, nor anything like a 'normal' cruise, but for 24 hours we got all the essentials and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Well done Fred Olsen - a great idea and a very nice updated ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
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 stay there. ... 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Cabin , spacious, newly refurbed and very pleasant except for when at sea . Very loud intermittent banging, rattling noise. I have cruised several times and accept that when at sea there is always a certain degree of noise from engines, ... Read More
Cabin , spacious, newly refurbed and very pleasant except for when at sea . Very loud intermittent banging, rattling noise. I have cruised several times and accept that when at sea there is always a certain degree of noise from engines, machinery, air con but this was exceptional and unacceptable. Some service especially in the dining rooms was spa radio and at times chaotic. In the Observatory on Sunday Lunchtime, there were three waiters, one setting out tables for Afternoon tea yet some people waited for service and then walked out after being ignored. You have to ask for tea and coffee instead of waiters approaching tables . A value for money cruise but it shows on the quality of food . Avoid cabin 3106 very noisy Would I use FreD Olsen again ? Only if no one else was offering the same itinerary and I would upgrade cabins , but that would negate the advantage of being value for money. A more expensive cabin still means you would still have the Medicare food and sporadic service Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Chose this cruise as it sailed from Rosyth and expected to see Paris. First, £95 to park on wasteland, extortionate. No complaints about the ship. Dining and service in restaurant excellent. However, refused entry to restaurant on 2 ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it sailed from Rosyth and expected to see Paris. First, £95 to park on wasteland, extortionate. No complaints about the ship. Dining and service in restaurant excellent. However, refused entry to restaurant on 2 formal evenings as not wearing jacket and tie and had to queue for 15 minutes to get a seat in the buffet. Our cruise was ruined due to the continuous loud noises of welding, grinding and hammering coming from below our cabin. Had to complain twice before we were offered a SINGLE cabin where we could go to escape the noise and read, watch tv or have a nap. Unfortunately it was next to a staff only door, with staff constantly in and out banging door. Also offered £400 compensation and asked not to tell anyone. Docked in Guernsey on a Sunday, everything closed, no chance of "stocking up on duty free or low tax goods". Bus to La Rochele, Fred Olsen £20, local bus from dock gates e1.30. Lorient, booked excursion "scenic tour of Brittainy", £48 each, 4 hour "rip off" trip, spent 2h 10ms on the bus, first stop for 20 mins to see an island which most of the elderly passengers hadn't even the time to cross the small bridge, next stop was to stand for 20 mins looking at standing stones. Last stop to quaint village with streets too steep, which meant bus late in leaving. Only chance of seeing Paris if went on £220 a head excursion. Even after we got home money taken out of bank account for Premium drinks that we did not have. Still await refund and apology. A cruise that catered more for the elderly, included Saga passengers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose to cruise with Fred Olsen primarily because of the close proximity of Edinburgh to their Rosyth embarkation port. Also, we had cruised with Fred Olsen twice previously and knew them to be a solid, reliable operation giving ... Read More
We chose to cruise with Fred Olsen primarily because of the close proximity of Edinburgh to their Rosyth embarkation port. Also, we had cruised with Fred Olsen twice previously and knew them to be a solid, reliable operation giving value for money with the staff impeccable in every sense. Seven days was an ideal duration for us, too. in current circumstances. Another stop (we went to Heligoland, Hamburg and Bremen) would have been welcome but there was more than enough to occupy us on board. A typical day comprised sightseeing or Scrabble, cinema, gym., drinks, dinner and a show. Perfect. Worth mentioning in addition was the fact the Black Watch is small enough to ensure clients are more than "ships that pass in the night" and over the week we enjoyed re-engaging with various fellow travellers something that would not have been as likely on a vastly bigger vessel. Nothing is ever 100 per cent, however, and the coffee/tea served in the dining room was lacking although in the specialised coffee areas normal high standards prevailed at reasonable prices. Roll on our next Fred Olsen cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Plenty to do on the Black Watch, throughout the day and plenty excursions to enjoy when in port whether you choose to do it yourself or through one of the organised activities. The ship was very clean considering her age and constant ... Read More
Plenty to do on the Black Watch, throughout the day and plenty excursions to enjoy when in port whether you choose to do it yourself or through one of the organised activities. The ship was very clean considering her age and constant maintenance takes place to ensure this. Our cabin 8005 with balcony was adequate for our week's holiday and it was cleaned and maintained daily by our wonderful young lady who looked after us for that week. Dining was excellent, we requested first sitting and had a table for two, although we were in close proximity of 4 other people whom we struck up good conversation with. The waiters could not do enough to please you, along with bar staff in all the bars. Evening show was well presented and varied with some talented artists. Although there were a high percentage of elderly people on board that did not make the experience less enjoyable, in fact it was nice to see older people enjoying themselves. Trip was so good, we booked for another one next year to the fjords and the port being 5 minutes from our door. Couldn't ask for more. Read Less
Black Watch Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.5
Family 2.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.4

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