200 Fred. Olsen Braemar Cruise Reviews

This was our sixteenth cruise and our first with Fred Olsen. What a brilliant find. We thought the whole experience was fantastic from the minute we saw the ship in Bridgetown to when we left Braemar in Dover. It was such a pleasure to ... Read More
This was our sixteenth cruise and our first with Fred Olsen. What a brilliant find. We thought the whole experience was fantastic from the minute we saw the ship in Bridgetown to when we left Braemar in Dover. It was such a pleasure to be on a small, VERY friendly ship, we have tired of the glitzy, enormous floating resorts and have now found a cruise line that treats you as an individual rather than a number. We booked last minute finding an absolute bargain in the national press. Fifteen nights cruise, free drinks package and tips plus £200 cash back. We usually book a balcony or outside cabin but this time decided to try an inside. This was perfectly adequate and was very spacious as it was designed to take 4 people, so loads of wardrobe space. What made the cruise special was the Crew, from Captain down to room steward nothing was too much trouble and you were always greeted with a smile. Food was excellent and the Palm Café was another brilliant find. Entertainment was very good and varied with some excellent guest performers. All in all a great 15 days and one we shall definitely repeat. Well done 'Fred' Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just back from this cruise - fantastic itinerary - 11 islands and only two sea days! Crew excellent, shows good but was disappointed with food having traveled once before with Fred and been much more impressed. My other 'gripe' ... Read More
Just back from this cruise - fantastic itinerary - 11 islands and only two sea days! Crew excellent, shows good but was disappointed with food having traveled once before with Fred and been much more impressed. My other 'gripe' was that the excellent port talks by Huw were only made available on cabin TVs at times the shore excursion teams wanted to sell tours! The talks were excellent and having booked a shore tour for each day in port I then wanted to watch the talk to glean info for the rest of my day and walks ashore. To no avail - talks were put on several days in advance - I was told 'to sell tours' not to inform us whilst in port. Come on Fred surely it's simple to provide a way of us accessing this valuable information? Itinerary made the holiday - did a ship tour every day in port and generally happy with each of them except any involving a beach stop - on two occasions shown to sunbeds on a very crowded section of the beach, given a ticket for a free drink and then left for an hour or so. Beaches were great but packaged like sardines! I was travelling alone so hadn't wanted to do a taxi trip to a beach alone but if I go again would certainly consider it. The whole travel experience was good - case not seen after gatwick till in cabin and same coming home. Organisation on ship always spot on. Like the changes made to Braemar - all positive. Had two visits to the spa which were excellent, massages, good value. Shows were very good except the lead female singer did begin to irritate by the end of the holiday. Band in Coral Club great too. Disappointed with cabin for what I paid for it but overall had a great holiday - made special by the lovely people I met and made friends with and the trips I did - have dozens of photos to reflect on in coming months! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
have just returned from panama and mayan temple cruise loved it.(6th cruise with FO) weather was fantastic. first time doing a warmer climate.crew as you come to expect with fred olsen were superb. Waiters in bar always knowing your ... Read More
have just returned from panama and mayan temple cruise loved it.(6th cruise with FO) weather was fantastic. first time doing a warmer climate.crew as you come to expect with fred olsen were superb. Waiters in bar always knowing your favorite tipple. The cabin although narrow was kept lovely and clean by the stewardess . The food was good and the two dedicated waiters in the grampian restaurant very attentive and friendly. The palms cafe a more informal buffet style restaurant was always busy but you could always go to one of the more formal restaurants for breakfast and lunch and have same food and would be a great deal quieter. Indian and Asian nights in palm café were fab. In all of the two weeks I never came across a member of staff who did not greet you with a friendly hello or good evening wherever you were on the ship. The entertainment from the braemar show company was brilliant and we loved to go to the coral club to watch the In Tune Band who were by far our favorite entertainment. I am afraid we found rest of the evening entertainment a bit jaded and same which I think now needs new ideas and new blood. Some same old daytime activities needs looking at. Some of the trips were not up to scratch, we had a refund of 40% on one to santa marta. Jamaica ,Aruba ,Carteghena ,Cozumel were all good ports of call. The boat trip down the panama canal although interesting dragged on a bit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Overall a good cruise, good ports of call. Not to many sea days. Excellent crew, very good choice of food. The minus points, the first two weeks no port talks, very few activities or lectures on sea days, the Neptune show lounge has too ... Read More
Overall a good cruise, good ports of call. Not to many sea days. Excellent crew, very good choice of food. The minus points, the first two weeks no port talks, very few activities or lectures on sea days, the Neptune show lounge has too many loose chairs placed in it, you are packed in the lounge unable to view the show because of peoples heads and pillar obstructions, to get better seats you have to go 45 minutes before the show starts!, People were holding seats (one person saving up to six seats) in The bar area in the Morning Light pub for the quiz at 10pm whilst those people were in the show. The ship was stretched a few years ago so all the public areas have more people than it was designed for. Cabins are small as the ship was designed for 5 to 7 day Cruise's, the ship is second hand to Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have travelled on three cruises with Braemar so we know the ship well. It is remarkable in the friendliness of the crew and excellent service both in the cabins, the restaurants and around the ship in the various lounges and services. ... Read More
We have travelled on three cruises with Braemar so we know the ship well. It is remarkable in the friendliness of the crew and excellent service both in the cabins, the restaurants and around the ship in the various lounges and services. The port and shore excursions are varied and the ship can get into smaller ports and avoid the need to tender passengers because it is comparatively small. The passenger capacity of about 900 means that the ship develops a community feel even when the cruise is comparatively short. We travel as two couples so that we are very self sufficient but it is noticeable that people on the cruise are friendly and those travelling alone do not stay on their own - they rapidly make friends because the crew organise events where singles are given the opportunity to get together besides sharing other passengers company on the trips. The cabin is impeccably serviced and we really appreciated the fun and kind attentiveness of our attendant Kitty. Dinning is for us a highlight of the holiday. We would describe all our meals as fine dining with varied menu and interesting dishes. The wines are good and excellent value whilst our waiters were all charming and very efficient meeting individual requests ( Ganesh and Aldrin). We were never delayed on embarkation and the cruise director (Alan Tait ) and his team give information clearly and in a very pleasant manner. The communications given over the ships tannoy system are all properly delivered. we appreciate the fact that they are kept to essential matters and they are only delivered in English. this means that you can relax on deck without noisey interruptions. The entertainment was superb. The Braemar show company gave 9 shows and the lead entertainers -Bruce Anderson ( Welsh tenor) Andy Rudge( Comedian) Dain Cordean(magician)provided entertainment that delighted us and everyone in the Neptune Lounge - receiving standing ovations and performing to full houses. We had two weeks of great pleasure and relaxation. Thank you to all the crew and staff of Braemar. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have just returned from our first ever cruise. We went to the Caribbean on the Braemar and I had no idea what to expect but I am very impressed with Fred.Olsen cruises and we had a great time. The cabin was small but well designed and ... Read More
We have just returned from our first ever cruise. We went to the Caribbean on the Braemar and I had no idea what to expect but I am very impressed with Fred.Olsen cruises and we had a great time. The cabin was small but well designed and the space was maximised. A lifeboat blocked the view from the picture window but I was advised about this prior to booking. The mattress was comfortable and the room was serviced twice a day and towels were changed twice daily. The room was surprisingly quiet at night and I was never disturbed by noise from the ship or neighbouring passengers. The service was outstanding, the staff without exception are helpful, polite and friendly and there was not a single instance in the two weeks on board when a member of staff was anything less than helpful. The food is also outstanding, along with the service in the restaurant with two dedicated waiters who knew our names serving us every night, I would describe the service as exceptional. We were served lobster, venison and Beef Wellington. The breakfasts were buffet style but also with a menu choice and champagne was served on formal days. Lunch was a choice of buffet or a four course meal from the menu. Against my expectations I loved the formal nights but if you do not wish to participate there is the option to dine in The Palms buffet. I enjoyed the entertainment too, the Braemar Show Company gave very good performances as did the singer, comedian and magician and the In Tune Band was good with a particularly good lead guitarist. The cruise line appears to attract a loyal clientele mainly aged 50 + who regularly cruise with Fred Olsen, though there are a few younger passengers. This might be why I did not find many of the day time activities on board of interest, but that did not matter as I like to leave the ship when in port and the itinerary was excellent. I have to say that fellow passengers were very pleasant and friendly, the whole cruise had a bit of a 'family feel' to it. There was a wide choice of day trips which in my opinion were reasonably priced and were in the main very good. Braemar is a medium sized flat bottomed cruise ship. This brings many benefits such as being able to access more ports (ie Havana), less people on board means easier embarkation/ disembarkation. It also makes the cruise a more friendly and personal experience. The one downside is that if like me you are prone to seasickness you feel the movement of the ship more when the sea is rough. However, I still think it I probably better than travelling on a huge cruise ship, that does not appeal to me at all. Overall we had a great time, the itinerary was fantastic and the staff, food and the service was exceptional and I would recommend Fred. Olsen cruises to any apprehensive first time cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
As a widow I find Braemar to be an exceptionally friendly ship for single people. I have made friends with people so easily and have always asked for a table of 6 or 8 in the Grampian dining room which is a good social mix. The cabins ... Read More
As a widow I find Braemar to be an exceptionally friendly ship for single people. I have made friends with people so easily and have always asked for a table of 6 or 8 in the Grampian dining room which is a good social mix. The cabins are small but the new ones mid section are better and have bigger wardrobes and more drawers. I certainly would not consider storage adequate for 2 people but for me it is fine. The ship is kept spotlessly clean and the crew are very helpful and friendly. Embarkation is incredible as once your cases are checked in at the UK airport, the next time you see them is outside your cabin door when on board. The same process applies for returning home as all luggage is placed in sealed containers to go straight to the plane and does not have to be "identified" as with so many cruise lines, particularly thinking of my USA experience with Celebrity and Princess! I have cruised with Celebrity, Princess and Cunard but none remotely come up to the satisfaction level of Fred Olsen as their ships are too big and single people cannot make friends so easily. The dance hosts are wonderful and it is such a treat to be able to enjoy the dancing with a partner. Having enjoyed 3 F.O. cruises so far, I have another Caribbean one booked for next January and will be hopefully cruising on the Boudicca in the Indian Ocean later next summer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Fred Olsen are having to advertise greatly. Are they losing customers for the way in which they treat customers sailing ' Anchor Fare ' ? Yes, the fares are a bit cheaper but you are treated as second class. As members of ... Read More
Fred Olsen are having to advertise greatly. Are they losing customers for the way in which they treat customers sailing ' Anchor Fare ' ? Yes, the fares are a bit cheaper but you are treated as second class. As members of Fred Olsens ' Gold Oceans Club ' ( which, in fact means nothing on anchor fares ) we were forced to pay £52 just to change our dining times from late evening to a civilised 6.15pm, even though I have a medical dietary problem which rules out late dining. The dining room at 6.15 was half empty and all it cost Fred Olsen for us to change times was a stroke on the computer by the Maitre D' Also, anchor fares cannot change cabins. We had a cabin no larger than a large cupboard, we did not even have room to hand our cruise clothing, including smart and formal wear. The staff at the customer relations desk took one look at our on board cards and turned their noses up as we were ' anchor fare ' Four complaints about the lack of television reception produced no solution. I had to fix it myself, it was a loose cable ! We had to pay outrageous costs for a simple bus shuttle. £10 for the two of us to travel a short distance and £15.000 for Madeira, for no more than a mile. We used to love Fred Olsen cruises and have been loyal to the brand but these anchor fares are making us rethink and perhaps we will take our custom to another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was my 2nd trip with F.O. first on Braemar. It was excellent !. My previous voyage on Boudicca. My wife's first cruise with Fred, not to sure what to expect. But she was pleasently surprised. Braemar was in very good condition ... Read More
This was my 2nd trip with F.O. first on Braemar. It was excellent !. My previous voyage on Boudicca. My wife's first cruise with Fred, not to sure what to expect. But she was pleasently surprised. Braemar was in very good condition and spotlessly clean throughout. Late deal on an Anchor fare which was excellent value. The food would be my highlight for the entire fortnight. Special mention to Christian, Senior/Head Chef Palms Cafe, Many Thanks. Cabin 3044 comfortable, with an excellent peaceful nights sleep on an excellent mattress. L shape configuration, giving plenty of space. Bars in particular, Morning light our favourite well run by Gerrard and his team, Cheers !. Entertainment budget needs attention, Brenda Collins and Anthony Stuart Lloyd performed with great flair, Bravo. Lounge act, In Tune Band also provided great entertainment. Met some great people on our table in the Thistle 2nd sitting. Many Thanks for making our cruise so memorable ! . Served impeccably by Philber and Ritish, Many Thanks. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The flight out was total chaos. We arrived at Manchester airport at 6.30am for our 9.30am flight with Condor (Thomas Cook group). Check in had commenced, yet we stood in the queue for an hour before we reached the check in desk and the ... Read More
The flight out was total chaos. We arrived at Manchester airport at 6.30am for our 9.30am flight with Condor (Thomas Cook group). Check in had commenced, yet we stood in the queue for an hour before we reached the check in desk and the queues got even longer during that time. Soon after we were through security the flight was soon showing as delayed for half an hour (10.00am). We were called to the gate 6 at 9.10 am yet boarding did not commence until 10.20am. We have flown from Manchester many times and have only ever seen a gate like that used when landing, not for starting a flight. There were not the usual rows of seats, but just a long corridor with a few seats here and there along the sides. Hence, most people had to stand for over an hour and the resulting queue stretched back to gate 4 so when announcements eventually started, they could not be heard at the end of the queue. However, there were no announcements during the first hour we were there. The plane eventually pushed back at 11.00am, one and a half hours late and almost two hours after we were called to the gate. The flight itself was OK and on arrival in Tenerife we went straight to the coaches as the luggage was to be taken straight to the ship. After the last person got on our coach we were then left sitting there for another 40 mins before the coach left the airport. There was absolutely no information as to why, until 10 mins before we left when someone came on the coach to say they did not want to take us to the port as there would then be big delays at check in. Yet we would have had access to drinks and toilets at the check in area in the port and people could still have waited on the coach there if they wished. We never wish to fly outbound with Fred again because of this treatment. The return flights were OK as check in was done on board and we were only called off the ship when the coaches were ready. We were on board the ship for 4 weeks as we did two back to back cruises starting on 12th November. Both cruises visited Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. Braemar is our favourite Fred Olsen ship and we were not disappointed this time. It is an extremely happy ship and all the staff are happy in their work and were very efficient and helpful at all times. I have to give particular mention to Eshel, who manages the Grampian restaurant impeccably and Ricky who was our waiter in The Grampian for the first cruise and who we often saw at lunch times in the Thistle during our second cruise. Chaider was in charge of the tea and coffee station outside main mealtimes for all 4 weeks and was both extremely hard working and friendly throughout that time. Kerry, the future cruise salesperson has a good knowledge of the fleet and is very helpful when making bookings. The only downfall we encountered was our first cabin 4108 as the air conditioning was not working properly, so it reached 26C at times during the night. After three failed attempts to repair it, we were moved to an obstructed view, outside cabin on deck 6 (6089) which was fine. We booked 4091 for the second cruise and that was fine apart from the shower, as a grab rail had been positioned in the only part large enough to stand and my arm was badly bruised as it was impossible not to knock it when using the shower – and that was in calm seas! We also needed a couple of visits by plumbers in 4091 as the shower thermostat was not working. It was replaced and worked fine after that. The bar service was good indoors, although the bar staff rarely walk around the sunbed area to offer drinks and were hardly ever seen on the upper deck. We did not take the AI as we are not big drinkers, and we prefer to drink what we want, rather than what is on the package. Hot drinks ordered in the bars do not even qualify for half price on the package. Food and the service in all restaurants was very good as always. The speakers we saw were OK when we saw them, but the subjects covered were not really of interest to us. The port talks were good. Some classical musicians and lounge entertainers were good, particularly the In Tune Band who played in The Coral. We did miss the Rosario Trio who are not on board at present and who may not return unless they are asked for by passengers. We think it is a great mistake to discontinue the quiet lounge music they provided and the Braemar lounge seems strange being so quiet. The show company were the worst we have ever seen so we tended to go into the Coral or another bar instead. The cabaret artists were generally good, but the “comedian” on the first cruise was in bad taste at times, (skitting at the locals in Cape Verde because it was a poor society is not humour in my opinion) and he was not particularly funny at other times. We do not take part in daytime entertainments. I am constantly bemused by people who complain about the very small charges made for shuttle buses and to choose dining time, if they book an Anchor (late booking) fare. These fares can be greatly discounted and Fred makes it quite clear what is, and what is not, covered by each fare type. Hence the choice is for each person to make. There is no hidden charge whatsoever. We did not book anchor fares on this occasion and had the choice of the Grampian restaurant, table for two and complimentary shuttle tickets in Agadir (one call) and Lanzarote (two calls) during our four week cruise. Lanzarote was walkable for active people and taxis could be picked up from near the ship at both of those ports. The ship and furnishings are in good condition and there is plenty of outside space on this ship. One thing we did not like was that there were very large chairs and settees, with cushions on them, taking up almost half of the sun deck. The settees were regularly occupied by people who were sprawled out with their feet on the cushions. Very rarely did people use towels so the cushions were also stained by sun tan lotion and sweat. Because of these chairs/settees there was not enough room for the sunbeds, which were placed so close together that it is not possibly to get onto them unless some are piled on top of each other. There were quite a lot of sunbeds on the upper deck, but that is often closed due to wind when sailing. There was some work taking place at the rear of the ship. The rails around the decks were being replaced with panes of glass. The work did not have a lot of impact on the cruise as the ship was not full, but we felt the work was a mistake as the glass got dirty and restricted the view from the decks. We had only one excursion booked and it was cancelled so we went ashore independently in all ports. The ports were all excellent, especially the Cape Verde ports. In fact we did a similar itinerary last year and we still found things to do on our 2nd and 3rd visit to those ports. In Mindelo we walked into the town last year, so on the first call this year we walked to the beach area and on the second we got a taxi up Monte Verde and to see the local highlights of the Island. In Praia we went into the town last year, so we got a taxi to Cidade Velha and the nearby fort on our first visit this year and got a taxi further afield to the mountainous centre of the Island and then back along the coast road, on our second visit. From Porto Novo, we had walked through the town to a hotel were we lingered for a couple of drinks last year, and for our only visit this year we shared a jeep with another couple and went over the spectacular mountainous inland road and back along the coast road, having had a lovely lunch at a seaside restaurant on the north coast of the island. We saw some wonderful scenery on all these unspoilt islands and stopped were we wanted. On all the taxi trips we tended to come across people who were on ship’s trips who had a set itinerary and were crowded into minibuses when travelling, so we are very glad we used taxis. There of course is always a risk that we may not have made it back to the ship, but we made sure we had a long time spare in case of problems to minimise that risk. Overall a good cruise and one we intend to repeat. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our first Fred Olsen Cruise although we have cruised previously with P&O. The food was excellent and superior to any we have had before from the point of view of variety, quality, temperature and service. Although ... Read More
This was our first Fred Olsen Cruise although we have cruised previously with P&O. The food was excellent and superior to any we have had before from the point of view of variety, quality, temperature and service. Although people's opinion of food can be rather subjective we could not fault it in any way. The waiters were efficient, cheerful and friendly as were the rest of the crew who almost invariably made a greeting when passing by. The ship appeared clean and well maintained. Our cabin on 3 deck was small but adequate however we did find it rather warm and stuffy. The portholes did not open of course so the only ventilation was a faint air flow through the one vent. Other passengers also commented on this and some complained to reception but it seemed to have no effect. The narrow single bunks are also a factor if one is used to sleeping together in a double bed. The cabin stewardess kept the cabin spotless. We were part of a walking group so often had two showers a day and the towels were then all changed twice daily even though we did not request it. On one occasion our cabin WC ceased to flush from the early hours of the morning until just after breakfast. I reported this to reception twice, once each by phone and by personal visit. On each occasion I was met with inscrutable politeness but little information. When I asked if any WCs were working I was directed forward to the Neptune Lounge when it turned out that they were working right there by reception! I served as a chief engineer at sea and I am well aware of the difficult and unpleasant nature of sewerage system faults but a little more information at the time would have helped. The Captain's subsequent announcement was rather after the event. The drinks prices were at the top end of reasonable. We did not have the drinks package at £10/person/day and overall our drinks bill worked out almost the same as if we had. This is obviously depends on one's consumption and some people on the package got their money's worth! We prefer to drink less but better quality wine and this started out at about £17/bottle upwards. The house wine was £3.95 for a 175 ml glass and was OK but the cost of nearly £8 for 2 glasses meant that when we fancied a glass each with lunch we often didn't bother. The entertainment in the Neptune Lounge was very good and we enjoyed the cabaret and the theatre company whose enthusiasm and professionalism was self evident. The lounge itself is not brilliant as the seating is cramped and there are pillars blocking some views of the stage but the staff worked hard to find everybody a seat. We only had 750 passengers and if the ship had been fully loaded I think it would have been very crowded. Our fellow passengers were nearly all affable and easy to get on with. We are in our sixties and were at the younger end of the age spectrum so at times it seemed a little like being in a care home but that was probably our problem. Watching the crew attempting to get some very frail and disabled passengers onto the shore tenders in a heavy swell was interesting. Overall would we go again? Yes but only if we upgraded to a better cabin. The Fred Olsen brand based on a providing for elderly UK passengers with friendly staff and high standards but a lack of pretentiousness works for us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We have cruised with FOCL many times, several times on Braemar. Thomas Cook chartered flight from Gatwick two hours late so not a great start! Embarkation fine though. Cabin OK, but don't expect the space or luxury of larger ships. ... Read More
We have cruised with FOCL many times, several times on Braemar. Thomas Cook chartered flight from Gatwick two hours late so not a great start! Embarkation fine though. Cabin OK, but don't expect the space or luxury of larger ships. Food in Thistle Restaurant was great, breakfast lunch and dinner. Far better than we have had on other cruise lines. P&O last year was awful! All staff, without exception, were brilliant. Friendly, helpful nothing too much trouble - even reception staff. All inclusive package worked well and very quick service which is just as well as drink prices are very expensive (£3.95 for a small glass of cheap wine). Ports were good, and where required free shuttles were included. Tender service at Porto Novo in Cape Verde was challenging due to very heavy swell! On Board activities were very poor, worse than any of our previous cruises on this ship. Sea days were pretty boring. Too few staff? Entertainers were very average and the Neptune Lounge is an awful venue, with little seat banking and difficult to get in/out. The In-Tune Band in the Coral Bar were fantastic, especially Steve the lead guitarist. Pity they have done away with the Marquee Bar at rear of ship as this used to be a lovely venue. Flight home poor as Thomas Cook apologised for giving us a small plane with little legroom, but reasonably on time. Our luggage was taken from our cabin and loaded directly on the plane, which was excellent. Let's be honest the passenger profile is mainly older and infirm people (no children!) so if you are a party animal go Thompson. If you want a relaxing cruise on a small ship with lovely food and staff Braemar gets our vote. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This our third time on this cruise ship and it gets better each time ,We have cruised many times with other companies is Thompson,P @ O Cunard,We like this ship because of its smaller size and find the clientele a little older as we are ... Read More
This our third time on this cruise ship and it gets better each time ,We have cruised many times with other companies is Thompson,P @ O Cunard,We like this ship because of its smaller size and find the clientele a little older as we are retired its nice to be with people of our age group.The service.food .and the care given by all members of staff on this ship we found to be first class the attention to detail on board is fantastic never have we seen so much help and attention given to senior passengers as on this vessel.E very where is kept spotlessly clean Any problems that may occurs are dealt with straight away The guest relations lady was absolutely fantastic with us when we had a small problem and dealt with it emediatley The entertainment on board was fantastic .There was something going on all day long if you wanted to be part of it is,pub quiz.deck quouts,lots of other deck games .we would definatley recommend this ship and will be going again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have just returned from a round britain cruise on Breamar. First the good points. The food in the thistle restaurant on most occasions was some of the best we have ever had on cruise lines. The staff were excellent and the ... Read More
We have just returned from a round britain cruise on Breamar. First the good points. The food in the thistle restaurant on most occasions was some of the best we have ever had on cruise lines. The staff were excellent and the balcony cabins large with good storage. Now the bad points. Breamar was a vast 800 person floating old peoples home. The cabin "bathrooms were so small and poorly designed that you could nor swing round let alone swing a cat as well. The gents public toilets had a dark and dingy appearance badly appointed and when I went to use them I was always treading in what I know was not water. The ship is small and bars are always full on quiz times (conducted by a screeching member of staff ). The theatre, is just a large airless room. and the "casino is two tables and no slotts at all again hosted by two members of staff with not the slightest bit of charisma at all. The ticket collection for shore excursions was a farce. no one was quite sure what they were doing. We will never go on a Fred Olsen cruise ever again and I hope anyone thinking of doing so to think hard to make sure this is a cruise for you Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Having travelled on over 40 different cruise ships since the 1980s and having been on two cruises this year already and not having tried Fred Olsen thought we would give it ago. First impressions were that the ship was very well ... Read More
Having travelled on over 40 different cruise ships since the 1980s and having been on two cruises this year already and not having tried Fred Olsen thought we would give it ago. First impressions were that the ship was very well maintained ,the crew were delightful and we liked the size of the deck 7 suite we had booked but were amazed that instead of a range of toiletries we were supposed to use shampoo etc from bottles screwed to the wall , very 2 star standard. However we did find that the food throughout was excellent and compared favourably with 5 star ships we regularly travel with Entertainment was not "our cup of tea" and the so called classic piano recital was "classics for the masses"and we missed a quiet corner to relax particularly when at sea all day and the lounges were all well occupied The only tour we booked on was spoilt by a thoughtless couple getting back late to the coach and so not giving us enough time at the next location Organisation throughout was flawless and the pre cruise literature was much more helpful than other cruise lines put out as they instead expect to read and print out online Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We were attracted to this most enjoyable cruise (our eighth - we have previously sailed only with Cunard and P & O) for three reasons: (1) the dates (working patterns only allow school holidays); (2) the destinations (we had never ... Read More
We were attracted to this most enjoyable cruise (our eighth - we have previously sailed only with Cunard and P & O) for three reasons: (1) the dates (working patterns only allow school holidays); (2) the destinations (we had never before explored our own islands); (3) the price (we secured an excellent late deal for an inside cabin, which more than met our own requirements since we were really only ever there to sleep). As a 60-something male and 50-something female, we had expected that we would most likely be at the lower-end of the age-spectrum amongst the passengers (the ship sailed full). This turned out to be correct, with the average age of passengers on this particular cruise estimated at between 70 and 75 - almost without exception being able-bodied (this is not a discriminatory comment; the reality is that being a small ship, there is only very limited availability of wheelchair-adapted cabins, so the recommendation is to book early and at full-cost if wheelchair-access is required). Although living near Southampton, somewhat ironically this cruise departed from Dover! My recommendation is to buy the slightly more expensive quayside car parking since it is only a short walk to the ship, which for us proved to be important as we met with some unexpected delays on the drive to Dover and were almost the last to board. 'Braemar' is a very nice ship with a friendly feel and an attentive crew. Its smaller size was very much to our liking, but it may be less attractive to younger travelers looking for more 'excitement' in the way of facilities and entertainment (no zip-wires and the like - thank goodness!). The whole cruise-experience was punctuated by the excellent dining, with dinner being the highlight. We were second-sitting diners (at 8.30), which is always our preference as it allows the opportunity for being ashore longer at the port-stops and pre-dinner usage of the newly-equipped gym (generally empty on this cruise, being a reflection of the age of the travellers) etc. It was really nice to again have 'fixed seating' at dinner (there has been too much of a move to 'open seating' - even for dinner - on other cruise lines) and with no entirely separate 'buffet restaurants', breakfast, lunch and tea were all very civilised affairs (to an 'open seating' basis) in the restaurants, where all tables were graced with linen tablecloths and nicely-laid cutlery at all times. In our assessment, the quality of the food was very high and anyone finding grounds for criticism would be being churlish in the extreme. There were two aspects of the cruise which - for us - carried elements of disappointment. Firstly, the cruise bore the descriptive-title 'Highland Games and Royal Military Tattoo', which set the expectations around likely highlights. In reality, tours for both were not necessarily freely-available, although we managed to secure trips to both (at rather inflated prices relative to the actual ticket-costs - but the convenience of the coach transfers etc. made the expense worthwhile). The Tattoo was wonderful, but the Highland Games (reached from Greenock) were singularly underwhelming (it would perhaps be unkind to say as much, but I have seen bigger village fetes!) and in our view this event had definitely been 'talked-up' too much by Fred Olsen in the brochure. We cut-short the excursion and made our own way back to the ship (obviously having firstly informed the organisers of our intentions). Secondly, the brochure description gave a lot of space to the day of 'scenic cruising' around the Western Isles. True, the sea was a little lumpy on the day, but it came as a surprise when the captain 'for reasons of safety' announced that he would be bypassing the scenic route which meant that we missed all of the wonderful views that we had been looking forward to seeing (despite rather damp and misty conditions). The narrowest passage - to me - looked wider than many Norwegian fjords which are regularly navigated by the cruise-liners, so this was a definite disappointment. Doubtless there is something in the brochure small-print which covers the captain's right to vary the cruise and safety is clearly paramount, but I believe that the brochure should have been heavily-asterisked around this particular part of the cruise-itinerary to the effect 'subject to prevailing conditions' in order that expectations should have been appropriately managed. Of the two other port-calls, the Orkney Islands were especially lovely and Dublin was a very pleasant surprise, being a compact and bustling city with many intersting discoveries. We had organised-tours at all stops, but also 'did our own thing' given the (pleasing) two-day stays at both Edinburgh and Dublin. Whilst this review has only concentrated on a few aspects of our cruise, in summary we have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Fred Olsen - and 'Braemar' in particlular - and we will undoubtedly sail with Fred again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Having worked for four years in P&Os iconic ss Canberra, including her farewell cruise in 1998 prior to her being decommissioned, I have always avoided the temptation of a cruise holiday; party because I had 'been there and done ... Read More
Having worked for four years in P&Os iconic ss Canberra, including her farewell cruise in 1998 prior to her being decommissioned, I have always avoided the temptation of a cruise holiday; party because I had 'been there and done that' albeit from a different perspective, and also because I feared I would spend too much time complaining that 'it isn't like it used to be...' However a partner keen to cruise, a twenty year time gap and a curiosity to see how things had changed, combined to weaken my resolve. What I thought they did well: Firstly, the crew. I know it's a cliché, but the mainly Indian, Filipino and Thai crew could not have worked harder or done more to make our cruise enjoyable. They were friendly, engaging, always appeared happy and managed to remember our names and our favourite drinks. I really could not fault them. Our cabin: we booked a modest deck 2 outside cabin, which was surprisingly spacious and well appointed, though slightly dated decor-wise. The cabin was clean and our cabin steward(ess) (Kitty) was a delight. Even a severe flood requiring a cabin change on the last night was well-handled, with housekeeping staff appointed to help us pack and move. A letter of apology and a £50 credit to our on-board account to apologise for the inconvenience was a nice way to defuse any irritation we may have felt. Food: I thought the food was absolutely first rate. Every day I ordered breakfast from the menu rather than the buffet, and I could not fault it if I tried. The galley even made a slight adjustment to their kedgeree recipe to suit my spicier palate. Lunch as usually taken in the buffet or shore-side when alongside. The buffet was good with plenty of choice. Afternoon Tea (only taken twice) was perhaps the weakest offer - sandwiches were tasty but a but clunky and unrefined, the cake selection was limited, the scones were not the best (a bit dry) and served with UHT whipped cream, which as a shame given we were in port six of ten days so obtaining fresh stores should not have been a problem. Dinner, however, was the highlight of the day; we were lucky to have 4 great table companions whose company we enjoyed and who each added a different perspective to the conversation. Our Head Waiter (Xavier) and the Commis Waiter (Ryan) were efficient, charming and friendly. Each night we had a five course menu, with three to six choices of each. In total we had ten meals on board and I don't think I once left the restaurant unhappy. Full marks and thank you to all concerned. Guest entertainers: we had some super guest entertainers, including Leo Shavers (musician) whose impromptu jazz session was superb. The classical pianist was good, though I would like to have heard more of him, as was the Welsh baritone singer - both of whose names have slipped my mind (sorry). I also greatly appreciated the bridge lessons, which has whetted my appetite for the game. The Braemar Orchestra and the cocktail pianist were also super. Disembarkation: this morning we woke at 7am, were showered and packed by 7.45am and we're in our car on the way home by 8.45am. It could not have gone better. What I didn't like: Having been effusive in my praise for what I felt was done well, I will be equally honest in highlighting what I didn't like. Braemar Show Company: in fairness, a few of them put their heart and soul into the shows, but generally I thought their productions were uninspiring and badly choreographed and the team were very young and lacked believe-ability. Sadly I felt most of them didn't really want to be there and made little effort to hide the fact. Reception (Purser's Desk): I had little dealing with the front desk, apart from towards the end of the cruise when I noticed a billing error. We had upgraded to the 'all inclusive' drinks package for an additional £10 per person per night, this allowed complimentary 'house' drinks and 50% discount on branded drinks, cocktails and wine. When I checked my account on day 8 I noticed they had charged for all drinks. I raised this with the front desk, and rather than apologising and promising to investigate the error, I was asked if I could 'prove' we had paid for the all-inclusive package. I informed the receptionist that I was able to do so as I had just checked my online bank statement and I could see the £200 additional payment leaving my account. Having insulted me once by asking me to prove my case, she then insulted me again by asking how I was able to access my account as the ship's satellite wasn't working (for the record I had international data roaming and was able to access via my Blackberry). Having convinced her I was telling the truth I was then told that they would have to re-enter all our purchases with the relevant discount and we shouldn't order any drinks until this was done. Given this was an error wholly of the company's making, to have a member of staff twice infer I was lying and then to cause me further inconvenience whilst they sorted out an error of their own making, was a poor show. I honestly do not think they could have handled the situation more badly than they did. Show timings: it was also a slightly irritating that passengers on second sitting (8.30pm) had to watch the cabaret at 7.30pm (before dinner) with first sitting passengers watching the cabaret at 8.30pm. Personally, I like to relax with a glass of champagne or a cocktail and chat with my partner/friends pre-dinner - which I couldn't do unless I missed the cabaret. Nor did I particularly want to watch a jazz show or a comedian at 7.30pm before eating. I understand second sitting passengers usually watch a later show and it had been changed for this cruise. If so, I don't think it worked very well. Visibility of Senior Officers; my final gripe was the total lack of visibility of the 4 stripe officers on board. This might be a throw-back to my P&O days, but I would have expected to see the ship's senior management out and about in public areas most evenings, even if only for an hour pre-dinner. Apart from the welcome aboard Cocktail Party I didn't see the Captain, First Officer or Purser once during the whole cruise, which I thought was surprising and disappointing. Overall, despite the above complaints we had a super time. Would I cruise again? Much to my surprise, the answer is yes. And I would also happily cruise with Fred. Olsen in Braemar again. However the bar tenders, the stewards and the waiters were far better ambassadors for the company than the ships' officers and deserve to be acknowledged as such. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
2nd cruise with F.O. Met our expectations. Dover embarkation good in all respects (disembarking was not so brilliant, with muddle around the luggage and coach/car/taxi pick-up points). Ship recently repainted and in good order ... Read More
2nd cruise with F.O. Met our expectations. Dover embarkation good in all respects (disembarking was not so brilliant, with muddle around the luggage and coach/car/taxi pick-up points). Ship recently repainted and in good order throughout. Captain friendly and available to be seen around the decks, a Finn. We booked early and were allocated to the much smaller Grampian restaurant on deck 8: superb sunsets and panoramic views. Other passengers hinted darkly that if you only book cheaper cabins down below, you don't get to the Grampian. Menus and presentation of food, quality and service we thought was pretty near perfect. Niggles with restaurants and catering in general: poor quality jelly-like conserves, bitter, weak coffee. Cafe and casual dining: we were impressed with the management of the Palms cafe and the setting and clearing away of the crisp table settings so many times a day. Hardly anyone seemed to turn up for the 11pm-midnight supper club. New coffee and chocolate shop: this did not seem to have caught on - perhaps F.O's age group are not really part of cafe society? You pay separately for these coffees of excellent quality and presentation, service was also first class. However, the coffee shop counter is merely inserted into an otherwise very conventional and comfortable lounge which on our visits contained a fair share of sleepers and cruisers determined to read their library books and looking for silence. Expensive place to read, or sleep, one could stay at home and do that! Some pretty heavy snoring too. F.O haven't quite got this right, yet we feel. Most of the mostly older/elderly guests seemed pretty dynamic and active though. Entertainment, we went along with the general flow and tried not to be picky or critical. Singer-actress: Helen Wilding was memorable and good value as was Enrique the sensitive pianist. The shows put on by the staff from Asia and the Pacific, performing in their own national style were actually very good. A Berlitz review of this ship said there were over a dozen pillars spoiling sight lines but that is not factually correct (only two pillars obstruct, if that is the word). We had a balcony cabin: the shower flow was a bit poor and the soft furnishings dated if not actually obviously worn. Yes, the safes are tiny but so what? Plenty of wardrobe space for a 14 day cruise we thought. Excellent room cleaning service from Dian. We bought the inclusive drinks package in advance and just about got our moneys-worth: watch out for bottled water requested in the cabin, you pay separately for that. The only issues we had with staff were getting reception desk staff to understand two account queries and a lost/found property matter - why put staff with not so brilliant command of English into such positions? It was a similar situation on the Balmoral last year, why? Shore tours seemed a bit pricey but we bought a fair selection covering five of the six ports. Being a small vessel, Fred.Olsen will keep reminding you (and remind you again!) that its four small ships can get right into the heart of each city visit. At each place you could simply walk off and visit the city as other tourists do. No need for tenders and queues! Tour guides rushed on ahead at some venues until they noticed my wife lagging behind with a bad knee. There were on-board sales of Russian craft items (we went to St Petersburg for 2 days): inevitable wooden dolls, amber, exquisite engraved jewellery boxes etc. Only reason to COMPLAIN: each hot and sunny afternoon a small gaggle of crew put all the sun beds, sofas, armchairs and cushions away at 5pm regardless of the paying customers enjoying the weather. Becomes a battle of wills with passengers giving up as all the furniture around them disappears and evil-smelling metal polish is wafted all over the place in a fairly useless exercise at cleaning already clean deck fittings. It was the same on Balmoral. Guests don't want to quit the sun deck three hours before second sitting! THe hotel cruise director interviewing the captain and chief engineer for an hour in the theatre-lounge sounded suspiciously like a put-up pr job. Actually, it was an honest attempt to get behind the obvious platitudes (about the small ships!) and describe some of the logistics issues aboard Braemar, safety at sea and the officers' career highlights. Well done. 8/10 On the other hand, we found the port briefing talks to be slow, thin, poorly presented sessions when so much information is out there on the internet, in books and even in the ship's library. Needs to be upgraded. 4/10. We booked another cruise while on board, well, 70 per cent of the passengers on board were repeat F.O. customers. Why? Friendliness, an honest attempt to run a good ship and I think, in the background, recognition the owners are a real family running maritime businesses, not a money-making international cruise organisation. Still need to leave the loungers out longer each afternoon though! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
First time with Fred Olsen.Embarkation at Dover was a shambles. Had to be there in a one hour window then waited ages to board in small groups . Announcements not at all clear. Once on board shown in direction of cabin. Cases were waiting ... Read More
First time with Fred Olsen.Embarkation at Dover was a shambles. Had to be there in a one hour window then waited ages to board in small groups . Announcements not at all clear. Once on board shown in direction of cabin. Cases were waiting -right across the cabin door! Once we shifted several cases ( not ours) we could enter the cabin. We had booked the cabin to be made up as Queen bed-not. Up to reception to get bed made up as requested. It was but not till the evening so we could not unpack. After that things improved. Food very good and service in Thistle efficient. We requested table for 8 and got what we requested. Got on well with our fellow dinners. Dinning at 6.15 is a bit early and 8.30 a bit late but you could always go free dinning in the Palm. Bars also good service- special recommendation to Michelle and Geraldine in observatory bar, Emma in Morning Star, Carlyn in Coral bar and Jemwin outside service deck 6/7. Only let down was Marquee bar where service was poor and erratic. Weather was very good so we did not take part in the many activities on offer. We watched some of the shows, not bad, have seen better on other ships. Enjoyed Enrique playing piano in the observatvatory. Chose this cruise for St Petersburg in particular, other ports were varied and interesting. Being small ship got right alongside, no tender anywhere. On the whole we enjoyed and would use Olsen again for the right itinerary. Particularly liked layout for this ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
First time with Fred Olsen and would definitely go with them again. Embarkation was drawn out especially as newcomers we had arrived early. Why, people are of the boat first thing in the morning don't they let people start ... Read More
First time with Fred Olsen and would definitely go with them again. Embarkation was drawn out especially as newcomers we had arrived early. Why, people are of the boat first thing in the morning don't they let people start boarding until 15.oo hrs or later. With Thomson we have often been on board by noon even if the cabins aren't ready until later. That said the cabin was as expected although we had to ask to have the cabin reset as a double and not an L Shape. (Requested twice through reception) Staff were excellent, difficult to choose individuals but special mention to: Michelle & Geraldine Observatory bar. (And Enrique the pianist) .Carlyle, Coral bar. Emma, Morning star bar. Jemwin, deck 6/7 waiter. ALso to our cabin housekeeper, whose name unfortunately we have mislaid -apologies. Due to the excellent weather we did not take part in any of the activities, preferring to enjoy the sun or the views in the observatory bar. Restaurants were excellent. For evening dining we were lucky to have a table for eight in the Thistle with superb views overlooking the stern. Given the size of the Braemar we were able to moor up right in the centre of the ports we visited Aalborg- delightful (check out the beer walk, online- 100 kroner pp) Copenhagen - 400 metres from the little mermaid. Helsinki - right on market square - book a harbour tour 24 euro. St. Petersburg - we did a private tour but we were right in the centre unlike the larger boats which were out of sight of the city. Be careful of pickpockets. Riga , five minutes stroll to town Travemunde -interesting German coastal resort. Check out the band at departure. Kiel canal - a river cruise with a difference. Disembarkation was organised of the ship but once ashore was slightly chaotic. People milling everywhere looking for coaches/taxis. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our second cruise with Fred. Olsen, our first was aboard Boudicca last year. Braemar's friendly staff and quality of cuisine lived up to the high standard we experienced on Boudicca. We chose the smaller Grampian Restaurant ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Fred. Olsen, our first was aboard Boudicca last year. Braemar's friendly staff and quality of cuisine lived up to the high standard we experienced on Boudicca. We chose the smaller Grampian Restaurant on Deck 8. With exemplary waiters and large areas of glass, it offered stunning evening sunsets that provided an unforgettable ambiance. There were a range of activities and entertainment to suit most people’s tastes. In the evenings, we alternated between The Observatory Lounge on Deck 8, with the very talented pianist Enrique Cabilina playing our choice of relaxing music, and the Morning Light Pub on Deck 5 with Kieron Cox providing a livelier selection of guitar music and song. Our only visit to the Neptune Show Lounge on Deck 5 was to Braemar’s Crew Show…and what a show the crew put on. The girls (all amateur) dancing dressed in their national costumes from the Philippines and Tailand were exquisite. They were followed by the lads, dressed in naval costumes…they had a ball; their versions of In the Navy, and YMCA, had us in tears. You could see on their faces how much they genuinely enjoyed entertaining us. Finally, tears of a different kind could easily be shed in Gerard’s moving sand animation using sand and music to illustrate a story on a projected screen that ended with the scheme of the crucifixion. A massive brownie point for the cruise was the beautiful city of Bordeaux. A number of regular Fred. Olsen cruisers told us the organised shore trips were a waste of time and money; it was far better to arrange something yourself…fine, if you were offered a free shuttle bus, otherwise try to share a taxi between four of you, and see how much money you’d save…how right they were! FortunatelyBordeaux made up for the disappointment we experienced in our two shore trips costing us £174.00. There was so much to enjoy here. A delightful city in daylight, with majestic fountains and immaculate gardens was transformed after sunset. A breathtaking panorama of coloured lights along four kilometres of waterfront led the eye to distant mystical lights along Napolean’s Pont de pierre bridge. It was lovely to see families sat in the park alongside Braemar giving us a wave as they enjoyed their picnics. We were tempted to join them. No wonder the city is described: Little Paris. Our first tour: The River Erdre – Gateway to the Loire Valley. We circumnavigated Nantes’ city centre on at least three occasions, past the fortress walls and Giggs Irish Pub, our ears being bombarded with a constant flow of uninteresting names and dates by our French tour guide. One early stop to take photographs was so uninspiring half the passengers stayed aboard the coach. The second at the Cathedral, I’ll agree was worthwhile, allowing us to light a couple of candles and offer a silent prayer then crane our necks to wonder at the height and majesty of the arched roof. After two hours on the coach, and a visit to the WC, we boarded our boat. The lower deck was full; the passengers on the upper deck with the odd vacant seat here and there were packed together like sardines on plastic garden chairs. I spent the whole of the cruise three rows behind my wife who was sitting alongside two stony faced women who ignored her for the whole cruise. We were later told that the second boat that followed us was only half full. Yes, the river was beautiful, but the tour brochure states: Several castles and elegant manors. There were several elegant manors...but I cannot remember any castles. When we commenced the cruise, we immediately passed a sign prohibiting creating waves and advising an 8 kph speed limit. Reaching the limit of the cruise the sign was a distant memory as the charge for home began with the second boat in hot pursuit. To me, the most memorable sight was the countless number of low flying cormorants that crisscrossed the boat or flew past on either side. I was surprised by the elegance of their flight and beautiful lines of their bodies. Returning to Braemar after another circuit of Nantes, we were forced to queue for over half an hour while the crew assisted a large number of elderly passengers aboard up a very steep ramp. Eventually, someone must have read my mind, when with about thirty or so passengers remaining, a second ramp was provided. I dread imagining the mood of the passengers if it had been raining. Surely, with a tide table to hand this problem could have been foreseen beforehand and a second ramp provided on arrival. With due respect to some lovely people we befriended – each with heart-rending problems – Braemar attracts a large number of infirm passengers, so be prepared for similar delays. Also I wouldn’t recommend it to families with young children. Our second tour: The ‘Must Do Green Venice Tour. This was equally disappointing. Yes, it was a tranquil experience, but the waterways passed uninteresting fields, the most notable event, one duck and a number of cattle; the only burst of colour: the flowers and shrubs in the gardens of an occasional fishermen’s cottage. Disembarking, the appalling WC facility was an experience! At least the coach journey to and from the main event was pleasurable passing fields of sunflowers and variety of other crops. Think very carefully before you book any tour. I’d advise you to consult seasoned passengers on board before you do so. I recall somewhere a mention that Braemar had a degree of refurbishment in 2014…this obviously didn’t include our cabin. The power sockets were archaic; I cannot remember when I last needed adaptors for our toothbrushes and hair styling equipment. Furthermore, there was some kind of junction box attached to the dressing table with a conglomeration of dangling cables that served the kettle and hair drier. Returning to our cabin after an enjoyable evening in the Observatory Lounge, I was annoyed to read the following note left on our bed: Dear Guest, As part of our commitment to improve the standard of our cabins onboard the MS Braemar, we courteously advise you that we will be changing the wash basin drain in your cabin tomorrow…between 1300h and 1600h. If you have any objections, please contact the Reception desk. Thank you in advance for your kind understanding… I rang early the following morning and refused them access. Later, I was told other passengers had had an identical request and had agreed for them to carry out the work. I accept access dealing with an emergency must be allowed… however, it appears that Fred. Olsen was (at the expense of their guest's comfort) adopting a regime to upgrade the vessel while at sea. We spent our last day at sea sunbathing with alfresco lunch and dolphins on our port side bidding us ‘‘au revoir.’’ Bliss... The on board All-Inclusive Drinks Package was a real value for money. Without overindulging yourself, it was very easy to overtake the £10.00 per day levy. With a total of 68 miles sailing along the uninspiring River Loire to and from Nantes, I feel the cruise would be greatly enhanced if this was removed from the itinerary and a third night spent in Bordeaux. I would be interested to learn comments from fellow passengers to this suggestion. Finally, Eavesway Travel’s coaches need special mention. The coaches were so comfortable, with unbelievable leg room, reclining leather seats and for anyone needing relief between comfort stops, an onboard WC. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
As many have stated the ship is small and this possibly encourages the mainly friendly atmosphere. The demographic is narrow with significant numbers of elderly people and few families. A small number of so called "Chavs" still ... Read More
As many have stated the ship is small and this possibly encourages the mainly friendly atmosphere. The demographic is narrow with significant numbers of elderly people and few families. A small number of so called "Chavs" still managed to feature on board and at times made a concerted effort to cause disruption. This was particularly bad one evening with one chap making a nuisance of himself in the corridor after his partner had locked him out of their cabin.. I was more surprised that it seemed there is no CCTV in the walkways that picked up on this. It will have been threatening for some of the older people already in their cabins in that vicinity as the volume was very high with threats being issued.. The staff were consistently good and well motivated, they were so pleasant to deal with. Cabins are outdated and noticeably small but very clean and well serviced. Food was generally speaking good with an odd blip and there was plenty of choice. We took one organised shore trip and opted out for independent travel after this. We visited Nantes by coach followed by a trip up river. The coach tour segment focused on redundant warehouses and old cranes which was bizarre with the guide literally forgetting the outstanding cathedral. Her commentary was dull and delivered in a monotone which rapidly became irritating. Some comments were inappropriate, for example she pointed out a nursery onboard a barge type of vessel for small children and said that when the Teachers became sick of the children they could throw them out into the river. With 250 people on board chances are someone has been involved in a tragedy with children or water, not good. The ensiung trip on the river boat proved suffocating due to the heat and despite being assured the the Shore Trip FO Rep that the windows opened, this was not the case. Oversold and under delivered never a good combination, so take care when choosing trips! The other downside of this ship is the flat bottom that allows access to the shallow water ways. We had two bouts of seas described as moderate swell by the Captain and this caused significant rolling. At one point all the children were washed out of the pool and then back into it, by the water sluicing from side to side where it was captured by the retaining wall built for this purpose. Would I cruise with FO again, possibly, but on a different ship mainly due to the effect of the seas on the quality of the journey. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was the second cruise on Braemar following 4 on the Black Watch. As on all 6 cruises, from embarkation, 5 from Dover and 1 from Southampton, everything was straightforward and very efficient. The same remark applies to disembarkation. ... Read More
This was the second cruise on Braemar following 4 on the Black Watch. As on all 6 cruises, from embarkation, 5 from Dover and 1 from Southampton, everything was straightforward and very efficient. The same remark applies to disembarkation. I make particular reference to the friendliness of the crew on both ships who could not be more helpful. The quality of the food was of a very high order as was the evening entertainment at all of the various venues throughout the ships. The cabins booked, 1 with balcony and 5 superior outside, were comfortable, clean and perfectly adequate. Over the 6 cruises we went on a number of excursions in Norway, Iceland and the Baltic. All well organised and we have been left with numerous happy memories of visits to interesting and beautiful locations, particularly in Norway. I am booked again on Braemar next year visiting Germany in April. I hope to continue my association with Fred Olsen for some years to come who, in my opinion, cannot be equaled in the service the company provides. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The ship was fantastic, small but very friendly as you got to know lots of people. The food the entertainment and all the staff were fantastic. This was my first cruise and I worried that there may not be enough to do.What a joke we ended ... Read More
The ship was fantastic, small but very friendly as you got to know lots of people. The food the entertainment and all the staff were fantastic. This was my first cruise and I worried that there may not be enough to do.What a joke we ended up running from deck to deck in order to do all the quizzes, table tennis and every thing else we wanted to do. The out door pool even though we were in the Arctic was 30 degrees so we swam nearly every day. The cabin was amazing but we did have a suite. Some of the information was incorrect. We were told we could get on the ship early due to our suite.We got to Dover early and that information is wrong you have to wait like every body else.We took priority disembarkation and this was excellent we got off the boat at least 2 hours before everybody else. The cruise was excellent except we never knew exactly where we were. The day sheet for all the on board entertainment was great but we needed one to tell us where we were passing and where we were. We took the drinks package. For me that was fine but for my sister it was a waste of money. Strongbow cider was included but Kopperberg cider which cost 5 pence more was excluded so she had to pay 50% of the price every time but she could drink rum and brandy until she fell over. Read the small print before you pay. DO NOT BOOK ANY TRIPS WITH THE CRUISE COMPANY. They are a total rip off. Example in Bergen a trip to the Funicular including price up and down £40. Distance from ship a slow 5 mins walk. Return trip £10 on the Funicular. Do the maths yourself. And this was a cheap trip most were at least £90 each and you did not get the right time off the ship and you had no time at the attraction. The Atlantic Road was fully booked up price £80 each. We got a taxi and did it alone for less than £50 for the 2 of us. The ship photos are good but expensive choose carefully but the video is great. All the services on the ship were amazing nothing was too much trouble. I would do another Fred Olsen Cruise but not book any trips. Research them before you go and do it yourself. Would recommend the Braemar to anyone it is a first class ship with a great crew and Captain. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We are very recently retired couple, and due to sensible investments we have acquired the funds we will need to ensure that our retirement is as enriching as our both extensive working lives have been. Our closest friends of the past ... Read More
We are very recently retired couple, and due to sensible investments we have acquired the funds we will need to ensure that our retirement is as enriching as our both extensive working lives have been. Our closest friends of the past 36 years 4 couples have insisted that we cruise with them on Fred Olsen Line! My wife and myself have cruised for the past 29 years and are very experience destination worldwide cruisers - and often we belong to the highest membership "tier" of several Cruiselines loyalty ( return cruisers club) We have never fancied Fred olsen before as we adore Silversea and crystal and celebrity and most of All Hal (Holland & America) However, our great friends wanted to cruise with us together as 3 coup,E'S! We thought this might be fun, - but we were still trepidation so regarding Fred Olsen!!!!??? The cabin was superb as was our cabin steward exceptional service ( suitably rewarded) The bar staff and Restaurant waiters and Maitre-D! Superb! We tried 5 excursions no problems even though other repeat cruisers told us that this was rare waitng for Northern lights! A particular nice touch was an official ( keepsake) certificate stating , the correct longitude and latitude crossing the "Artic Circle" However , and this MUST BE SAID !!!!!! the absolute HIGHLIGHT of this cruise was the visiting guest Cabaret act! First there was an old fashioned type comedian Barnaby - but then we were treated to the sublime talent's of the comedy impressionist CHRIS GEE! He was so brilliant my wife's ulcer kicked off as she was holding her stomach by laughing so much!!! And yet, not a bit of "smut" , The ENTIRE SHIP was talking about him- with the rather disappointing result that not enough people could get in for his second show!!! (which we were thrilled to witness was completely different to his initial show) Then the funniest spectacle on the entire cruise Chris Gee then did adaptive show with the executive chef " CAN'T COOK - WON'T COOK n what an amazing hysterical shambles!!!! Also, two of our ladies in our party were not able to dance as their husband's had recent knee surgeries etc, but this wonderful guy also turned out to be a very good (and keen) ballroom dancer so he danced with our gals. EVERY DAY ,which really added to the whole cruise experience. Suffice to say we are NOW!!! FRED OLSEN converts!!!! And are telling everyone at our cruise club! We are hoping to get a group booking as Chris Gee said he will be back next year with a wee bit of luck! Love the tea making facilities in the cabins too!!! Great, scenic cruising Can highly recommend!!!! Book it - we guarantee you WON'T regret it!!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Braemar Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.8

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