19 Fred. Olsen Braemar Cruise Reviews

We had really been looking forward to this cruise since we had booked it for a small fortune on a special loyalty members’ booking day almost two years earlier! Fred’s promo promised “some of the most unique and authentic sights ... Read More
We had really been looking forward to this cruise since we had booked it for a small fortune on a special loyalty members’ booking day almost two years earlier! Fred’s promo promised “some of the most unique and authentic sights and experiences Greece has to offer, this outstanding itinerary features an extensive array of highlights. Cultural gems, ancient archaeological treasures, postcard-perfect scenery and much more” including “fabulous food – all day, every day,” “dining with sophistication and style” on a ship where “timeless style flows throughout the interior,” a “tour to picturesque Alhambra Palace from Malaga” and lots, lots more! But Fred overpromised, overcharged and underdelivered. It was a real pity that our first experience on board this cruise was the poor service in the Thistle Restaurant for lunch. Although there weren’t many people seated and a large area of the restaurant was “mothballed”, there was just too few waiters. They just couldn’t cope with filling water glasses, clearing plates or laying tables. Sadly it was the same in every restaurant, every day at breakfast and lunch. The service at dinner was sometimes excruciatingly slow with second sitting queueing through the ship and up the stairs because restaurants just didn’t open on time. While the “Fred Olsen Difference” is supposed to be “service with a smile,” we saw one waiter running about serving dinner wiping the sweat from his brow on the sleeve of his jacket. The service in the bars was slow as well. The staff in the line-up at the captain’s farewell drinks looked frightened. The “tour to picturesque Alhambra Palace from Malaga” didn’t happen because we were late into Malaga. The excuse was ‘headwinds, currents, etc.” So many disappointed people! We were at first pleasantly impressed by the food offering and sirloin steak was really pretty good for mass catering on an Olsen ship but as the cruise went on, the food offering became pretty mundane. While there’s nothing wrong with bangers and mash, fishcakes, or “spag. boll” for a quick mid-week supper, it’s not what we had paid thousands and thousands of pounds for. We could have used the “speciality dining area” of the grill on the outside aft deck, at times when the weather wasn’t too cold, too windy, too wet or the sea was too rough but we couldn’t see why we should pay and extra £40 for something that’s included in the price of Fred’s competitors. The entertainment, including the show company, guest entertainers and lounge musicians was pretty good. Although, we did sit next to one chap who had seen a comedian so many times that he was able to tell his wife almost every single punch-line before the “comedian” was able to utter it. The real problem with entertainment is the lack of decent seating in the Neptune Lounge and in the Coral Club. Higher chairs are put in front of lower couches, and so many chairs have been crammed in that these areas have become painfully uncomfortable. The least movement is really difficult, sight-lines are seriously affected by pillars and despite having a thrust stage with the majority of the audience to the far left and far right the entertainers have to perform to a camera in the very front. We wouldn’t pay for uncomfortable seating, obstructed views and being seated almost behind performers in any venue on land. Excursions were often eye-wateringly expensive and sometimes the arrangements seemed to take us further and further away from the excursion bus. First it was a long walk along the length of the ship to pick up a sticker in the Neptune Lounge and then back again the length of the ship to the gangway and then back along the quay the length of the ship and… then a bit more to get to the bus. It seems so pointless to make passengers walk back and forward and back again when Fred’s competitors issue excursion passes at the top of the gangway and busses are often located at the foot of the same gangway. We’d paid a pretty high price for our cruise and for the same daily rate we could have booked into a decent country house and enjoyed far, far better accommodation, a fabulous dinner every night with a bottle of decent wine. In fact we could also have afforded theatre tickets for shows of the standard that Fred put on. On the other hand, we could also have travelled with one for Fred’s closest rivals in a far superior cabin, enjoyed immensely better food and been able to watch stunning shows in comfortable seats with unrestricted views in a proper theatre. Fred’s ticket price for this cruise was just the start. Hefty “Gratuities” are automatically added to cabin accounts... at the end of the first week about £280 was added to our bill and more was to come. WIFI would have cost another £300. On other ships ice-cream is included but Fred even changes extra for that. Spa treatments are in the region of £1 a minute. The drinks package offered onboard would have cost another £1,450. Fred’s “all inclusive” drinks package isn’t all-inclusive… I mean coffee is extra, branded spirits are extra, decent beers are extra, cocktails are extra, all bar one of the ciders are extra and even most of the modest wines on the list are all extra. A lasting memory of the Corinth Canal…. Being offered a couple glasses of champagne as we stepped back from the ship’s rail at the end of the transit. It was a very nice gesture we thought… but then, after we had sipped half of the bubbles, we were handed the bill. It was well over £20. Fred doesn’t miss a trick! Even my local posh gastro-pub doesn’t charge that much for proper champers! After having enjoyed so many cruises with Fred in years past, it is so, so sad and disappointing to now see that he’s charging so much more for so much less. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Out of Southampton near me. However on 12 day cruise there were only 4 port visits. The visit to Lisbon being only half day. The last 3 days at sea were purgatory. Although the weather was beyond Freds control entertaining their guests ... Read More
Out of Southampton near me. However on 12 day cruise there were only 4 port visits. The visit to Lisbon being only half day. The last 3 days at sea were purgatory. Although the weather was beyond Freds control entertaining their guests was not. All outside decks were locked. There were four entertainment staff apart from Braemar singers and dancers. They could and should have made more effort. A film could have been shown, indoor games organised. Additional karioke or mr mrs type games the list is endless yet we were left to the library or bars. Presumably Fred is cutting back, service very poor lack of waiters very apparent. Also lack of port calls. We were at times almost at standstill waiting for time slot to dock. Have done similar cruise on CMV where staff always going extra mile. Finally the quality of food in Thistle. Very poor, with evidence of lunch menu items appearing in the evening menu. No disguising the representation of dishes in different guise. I went with Fred on Boudicca last Xmas and loved everything. Unfortunately had already Booked Braemar for this Christmas before going on this one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We choose this cruise for the destination and size of ship, it was a very special occasion for our friends, their golden wedding anniversary we are all fast approaching 70, young at heart and outgoing but this was like a care home for the ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the destination and size of ship, it was a very special occasion for our friends, their golden wedding anniversary we are all fast approaching 70, young at heart and outgoing but this was like a care home for the eighties, and we were all treated likewise, in fact we felt like cargo. The ammount of maintenance work going on was unbelievable the continuous smell of paint was awful, we were woken before 8.00 one-morning to the sound of a drill above our cabins. The keys to our cabin door did not work and we had to change this 3 times, but couldn’t get anyone to come and look at the lock. Towards the end of holiday we were due to cruise through the Fjords but due to windy weather the previous day and not being able to get out of port we had to come straight back to Southampton, we didn’t get to see the scenery we really went for We would all agree that the food was very good, as were the staff in dinning room. We have been on many other cruise ships before and have never had to complain, this is the worst ever. We would not recommend Fred Olsen cruises to anyone unless of course you need a care home.. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The background for choosing this cruise, was a family bereavement. The purpose was to have a relaxing cruise to somewhere new. The Braemar cruise of "cruising the Seine" to Rouen then down to Honfluer, prior to return to ... Read More
The background for choosing this cruise, was a family bereavement. The purpose was to have a relaxing cruise to somewhere new. The Braemar cruise of "cruising the Seine" to Rouen then down to Honfluer, prior to return to Southampton, we thought would fit the bill. How wrong can you be. We booked via a travel agent, a suite on a guarantee bases at what we thought was a good price, then came the extras, 1st sitting and a drinks package. The requirement of a table for 2 we were told would have to arranged with the Maitre d' once on board. It was only after the booking was made I was informed we were on Anchor grade by Olsen. The luggage labels arrived 2 weeks prior to embarkation day, allocated 7008, port side near the bridge. Then 2 days before the cruise Olsen sent blank luggage labels, with no covering letter to explain why. On the booking in at Southampton we were told our cabin was one of several that were being refurbished in that area. Suite 7002 was our new suite allocation, which turned out to be a large sitting area with a small windowless bedroom. We were moved next door to a cabin with twin beds. But adjacent to the suites [including 7008] being refurbished. Dinner was the 1st sitting in the Grampian restaurant, and this started the nightmare. On entering the Grampian no Maitre d' to show us to a table, so we sat down at a table for 2 , only to be told you can't sit there. After handing my cabin card to the staff four times, I was told we were not on "the manifest". We were then put on a table for 6.The staff were not properly trained. When asked what was the fish of the day, he did not know and came back later to say it was Catfish. The house Pinot wine was corked, and declined and were informed it could not be, as it was a new bottle. After a plain uneaten main dish, we went to the rather nice bar for a nightcap, before we went back to the suite. The suite had a large bedroom come lounge area and what looked like a large balcony. I say looked because possibly of the adjacent refurbishing it was locked. The bathroom was tiny and for me, a 6 footer too small a toilet and shower. The shower was useless no pressure. The mattresses were hard and the pillows too soft, I like it the other was round. Sleep was not forthcoming the hardness of the mattress and poor air quality prevented a relaxed sleep. Next day we asked why we were treated so badly in the Grampian at diner. To be told that as we were on on Anchor fares we were not entitled to have pre-allocated table and that our table number would be in the cabin, but was not. No did we know beforehand this was the procedure. I explained that the reason we declined a large table was my partner did not want to have to go through the questioning of " how many children etc." The main dinning room had a table which we could have for diner for 2. This turned out to be by the entrance with the only outlook onto the table for disabled. Too depressing and declined. Diner for the next 4 nights was in the Palm canteen. At least we had a table for 2. The "Palm" had the worst food of the cruise. The only good point for me was the cheese. We also had to pay extra for a decent wine. The best meals were breakfast, good if you like bacon eggs and potatoes. Not good if you want anything but melon as a healthy start to the day, where was the Strawberries, Raspberries and blueberries etc? We never saw the usual cruise dishes of Lobster, Steak or fresh fish such as Salmon. To provide some interest we would dine in the ports for lunch, the L'Alcyone in Honfluer is worth a visit. To finish the cruise, the sea on way back to Southampton was a little rocky, but what kept us awake was the continual banging of the wardrobe doors swinging open and closing. I have gone into great detail on why it was a very disappointing.. Perhaps I was expecting more and was comparing to the 4,5 and 6* cruises we have enjoyed over the years., but I would grade the ship 2* max. Poor accommodation, uncomfortable bed, poor shower. Poor dinning, cheap and limited menus, making in my judgement a not successful cruise experience, and certainly not worth the over £360 per day for the suite. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We have just returned from a trip with Fred Olsen, I hesitate to call it a cruise because as far as we were concerned (and other passengers) this was not a cruise, we booked this quite late as we had some A/L to use up and this fitted the ... Read More
We have just returned from a trip with Fred Olsen, I hesitate to call it a cruise because as far as we were concerned (and other passengers) this was not a cruise, we booked this quite late as we had some A/L to use up and this fitted the dates, when I booked I was told that we would be getting the 'Anchor fare' and therefore we were getting it cheap, they went on to explain that because of that we could not choose our cabin, dinner sitting and we would be excluded from certain 'perks' to be honest it was only for 5 days so we said fine, I was once again told I was 'getting it cheap', after the 3rd time of being told this I finally managed to book it, all the info was emailed through telling us again that as this was an 'Anchor fare' and we were getting it cheaper we would be excluded from any offers, at this point I was getting a bit sick of hearing this!! Embarkation was smooth and efficient, we had a cabin on the 3rd deck, it was small but served its purpose, we were given first sitting at dinner, bit early for us but we were after all getting it cheap, we had to pay for the shuttle service, which was really required for both ports, a total of £30, we were not invited to meet the Captain, but again we were not to worried, it was rather strange when we were talking to some people about the price of the shuttle service we were told ( by a couple who were passengers) it was our own fault we should have paid full price like they had, anyway back to the 'Cruise' it was titled 'Cruising the Seine' or words to that effect, we left Southampton at 8pm so it was overnight crossing the channel, we arrived at Rouen at mid morning, so we saw very little of the Seine, that was on the Sunday, we left Rouen at 8pm on the Tuesday, and arrived at Honfluer early Wednesday morning, so the actual cruise was mainly in the dark at night, Fred Olsen's cruise Itineraries are very basic, they do not give you times of departure or arrivals it is just early/late am or early/late pm, we felt this trip was just to keep the ship moving and fill an empty time slot, there were no meet the crew or formal night, not port lectures no port maps, no guest speakers, no art/crafts, infact not a lot was going on, we have sailed with Fred Olsen on a few occasions in the past and had a great time, but this for us was our last trip with Fred Olsen, ourselves and other 'Anchor fare' passengers were made to feel like second class passengers, what is even worse we were not looking for a bargain, just a nice break from work. On a scale of 1 to 10 we would say a 4, this would be for the nice staff, nice food and very good couple of shows. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose it to see if the small ship experience was to our taste with Fred Olsen having sailed on many other small ship cruises and also for the Ports that we wished to visit. Apart from from the first day there was no afternoon tea and ... Read More
We chose it to see if the small ship experience was to our taste with Fred Olsen having sailed on many other small ship cruises and also for the Ports that we wished to visit. Apart from from the first day there was no afternoon tea and cakes etc unless you were prepared to pay for them, and in fact it felt as if you had to pay for everything including the water. The ship itself was in good condition for an aged vessel and as we did not wish to use the shore excursion facilities, perfering to travel on foot, I cannot comment on these. I felt the trip was more expensive than other liners and no doubt if the cabin had been satisfactory I would have been writing a good report, but as mentioned below that cabin should have come with a health warning as the bow thrust is normally used whenever berthing or undocking. This is why I have given it the rating of 2 stars. I'm not sure if I will travel on Braemar again, but might think about another vessel. However the staff, food and entertainment were excellent Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was ... Read More
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was excellent, Steve V King and Barnaby were fantastic. And then the negatives…I thought the class system was fading out but how wrong, we wished to change our dining time from the later to the earlier sitting which involved one click on the computer, we even had the same table. This we were charged £4 per day, considering there were tables that were not being used for the whole cruise on the first sitting, I found disgusting. It was at this point we discovered ANCHOR CLASS. We had booked the cruise, last minute, and paid £2700 for 11 days of Baltic cruise to be in the bowels of the ship, deck 2. The last cruise we went on we paid £1700 for 7 days in the Mediterranean inc flights on deck 10, so our expectations from Fred Olsen were high. Unfortunately we were wrong, The Braemar was in fact a floating care home for the elderly, which we were under no illusion about, some whose only purpose in life was the daily charge for the restaurant, sorry I was incorrect because when the opportunity arose after food, there was an even bigger the race for the best seats around the ship with the nicest views, which after securing, they promptly fell asleep depriving people the chance to take in the sights. If they want to sleep GO TO YOUR CABIN, selfish gits. So now deprived of the good seats we went for a stroll around the ship, if you like the smell of paint then this is the ship for you, remember despite the 2018 price you paid, this is an old ship (1993) and the rust is appearing all over the place. Back to Anchor class, you would be charged for shuttle buses whereas other floors were not. The subject of upgrades was broached onboard during Captains question time and it is not company policy, we were also told that other cruise lines don’t do this, well Fred Olsen is wrong, all the other cruise lines we have used, do free upgrades. When my other half booked this, she told me we would be going to Sweden, Denmark and Finland,..two out of three wasn’t bad. We went to an obscure little island that belonged to Finland, with two attractions, a museum and an old sailing ship. The ship was shut for renovations….need I say more. I have resisted reviewing the holiday for a while so hopefully I would forget some of the horror. Up until this trip I have thoroughly enjoyed the cruising experience, and recommended others to try, just not maybe with Fred Olsen. There are much better Cruise company’s and cruise ships out there, younger, cheaper and better. Even worse, we sent this review to Fred Olsen and they didn,t bother to respond. A simple apology would be a good start, so even customer services are poor as well. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were ... Read More
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were badly handled and information had to be submitted several times.I let that go as one of those things. Once on board , every time I bought anything whether in the restaurants , shops ,bars etc the bill presented left a line for adding a tip. This despite having prepaid gratuities as recommended by the cruise line. That is appalling. The cabin service by the stewardess was efficient. The room service orders arrived prompt ,served efficiently and by nice staff. The waiters allocated to our table were excellent ( so I tipped generously). Otherwise, things are not good. The food was indifferent, sometimes the portions were meagre . Classic dishes were often spoiled , being accompanied by a bit of boiled vegetables. Appetisers were particularly bad, better to have none at all. The buffets were of inferior cafeteria standard. The breakfast buffets were basic and tired , the bread available dreadful. As for the coffee throughout the ship (in the restaurants, the buffets, breakfast ,etc it was dire, dreadful, weak, thin . Similarly with tea , the water for which was never hot enough. So weak tea was served throughout. The only way to have decent tea or coffee was to buy and pay for it in a specialist coffee shop. The wine lists were absurd. At the beginning of the wine list 5 recommended fine wines were listed. When ordering one of these , after waiting 10 minutes, I was told they didn’t have it. So I chose an alternative, that was also not available and so on with 4 of their own recommended wines! The wine waiters didn’t know much about wine. So nothing on this ship for wine lovers. The entertainment on board was basic holiday camp fare, except for two excellent guitarists often playing some of the lounges. The activities available were standard fare. The gangways at most ports were badly arranged - given that they knew most passengers were elderly - steep stairs were in use. Bad enough for many to struggle descending , much worse when ascending on returning to the ship. Claims that they were restricted by the tides did not check out, as they could ramp or extend the steps to make them easier. Overall, the ship has a downmarket feel and the cruise line seem unmoved by making life better for its customers. I shall not be using it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The ship had been in dry dock prior to the cruise. The work had not been completed on time and the swimming pools were out of operation for most of the cruise. Lifts were not working for a large part of the cruise and areas were cordoned ... Read More
The ship had been in dry dock prior to the cruise. The work had not been completed on time and the swimming pools were out of operation for most of the cruise. Lifts were not working for a large part of the cruise and areas were cordoned off for maintenance and painting works. The cruise should have been cancelled and money returned. £75 compensation was a derisory amount. The food at evening meals was hit and miss. Some excellent meals and some very poor quality ones as well. Coral club staff were very poor and inattentive. The only saving grace of the cruise was the entertainment in the Neptune lounge. Having travelled with fred olsen many times this will be my last cruise with them. Toilet broke 18 times during the cruise another example of the ship being ill prepared for this cruise. I have been on many cruises and this was my worst experience Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We cruised in April in a 'Superior Outside Cabin' which was anything but. If you want to sleep at night on this ship, or at any other time come to that, do not book cabins 4141 or 4143 as the roaring from the deck above is ... Read More
We cruised in April in a 'Superior Outside Cabin' which was anything but. If you want to sleep at night on this ship, or at any other time come to that, do not book cabins 4141 or 4143 as the roaring from the deck above is unbearable. There may be other cabins that suffer from this noise nuisance and it would be worth your while to enquire when booking. We asked to be moved but, unfortunately, all other cabins were occupied as there had been a pipe fault on a lower deck, evidenced by a lack of water and toilet flushing in the cabins, and the occupants had to be moved to other cabins. We were told by Customer Services on the ship that they had heard this complaint about these particular cabins before. All they could suggest were ear plugs! When we arrived home we contacted Fred Olsen to let them know of our disappointment. They offered us approx. 10% of the money paid to be used on a future cruise. They also admitted that they had had this complaint before but had not told us of this nuisance when we booked. As we could have obtained a discount on board, added to our cruise club points, this was no discount at all and we had to book another cruise with Fred Olsen to use it! We have cruised exclusively with Fred Olsen for over 9 years but doubt that we will be sailing with them again. We had to spend the time snatching sleep in the public lounges which were quieter than the cabins. We are exceedingly disappointed that this noise nuisance is not pointed out to potential customers so that they are given the option of choosing another cabin. The staff, as usual, were first class. The cabin was spotless and the waiter service efficient and friendly. The excursions were, as usual, overpriced but enjoyable and Norway is a beautiful country. The captain pointed out several amazing sights over the loud speaker system. The photograph prices were extortionate and no discount was given, no matter how many photographs were purchased. This could have been a wonderful cruise if we had been able to get any sleep. As it was, it was ruined. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Once and Once Only My wife and I have over the years taken many cruises with many different lines, but had never been with Fred Olsen before and won’t be going again. We had heard mixed reviews about Fred, with some friends liking it ... Read More
Once and Once Only My wife and I have over the years taken many cruises with many different lines, but had never been with Fred Olsen before and won’t be going again. We had heard mixed reviews about Fred, with some friends liking it and others hating it. So we decided to try a short cruise to see for ourselves before booking anything longer. The conclusion was once and once only, there was something about this ship we did not like. Overall the crew did not come across as a happy one, they looked very tired, it was a lot of what I could call British Airways smiles. I know crews do not like short cruises as it means turn around days are close together. Embarkation and Disembarkation The check in went smoothly and by the time we got on board our luggage was already outside our cabin, disembarkation also went well, but these are about the only positives about this cruise. Shore Excursions We did not take any shore excursions, there were only two offered on the first day in port and none on the second day, thought this was rather poor. Our Cabin 7008 this is classed as a balcony suite, I would only class it as a mini suite, we had been informed that on average Fred's cabins were on the small side and we can confirm that appears to be correct. There was a settee and armchair, these were smaller than normal size and very low, it might be that these were purchased this size to make the cabin look bigger? The bathroom was very small, the only bathroom on a ship or boat that I can remember which was smaller than this one was thirty plus years ago on a Russian river cruiser. When having a shower the water temperature goes up and down, presumably because other passengers on the same water circuit are using theirs? The cabin was supplied with tea and coffee making facilities, unfortunately the kettle was fitted with an English type three pin plug but all the sockets were of the continental type. So we asked our stewardess how to plug the kettle in, and were informed that we had to go to reception and ask for an adaptor as she was not allowed to do that. So we went to reception and asked for an adaptor, the receptionist immediately gave a note to another member of staff and informed us that an adaptor would be delivered to our cabin straight away. About a hour and half later we returned to our cabin and guess what, no adaptor, so we telephoned reception and a few minutes later an adaptor actually arrived. The only plus points about this cabin is that it is located in a quiet position towards one end of a corridor and the balcony is a useful shape, fairly deep back to front. The Stewardess wanted to come early and do the turndown service before we went to diner each night as we were on the late sitting at 8.30, we said no as we both like to have a shower and change our clothes before diner. On all other ships, we have always left the makeup room card on the door when going to dinner and any turndown service happened whist we were out. Dining The main dining room was very noisy, didn't appear to be enough waiters, they have to almost run between tables to try and keep up, Fred Olsen expects too much of the staff, it makes the restaurant look and sound like a fast food place. One night I ordered a baked potato with my main course, but instead received a single boiled potato, obviously someone thought I should go on a diet. On the First night waiter came to take my order, but I hadn't had a menu yet, other tables had been laid out with menus, also when the main courses arrived my wife was still short of a fork. Thought the overall food choice was rather poor, on the gala night menu there was not the usual lobster or beef Wellington, but there was shepherd’s pie. Also I believe Fred should be awarded a prize for the worst beard rolls at sea. Wine Service Information in the cabin suggested it was best to preorder wine for dinner as things could get a little busy, so in the afternoon we did this by filling out one of the little order forms just outside the dining room and placed it in the box provided. This was a complete waste of time, when we went to diner we thought the wine would be brought to our table, not so, other tables who had not preordered were managing to get drinks or wine. When I finally managed to attract a waiters attention he knew nothing about preordered wine, but he did manage to retake our order and only half a hour after we had sat down it arrived. It appears that there are no actual wine waiters; it's the waiters who serve the wine. One of the onboard TV presentations re the 'suite dreams' package the presenter stated that you would receive a bottle of champagne in your cabin; this is not quite the case as it is actually sparkling wine. Onboard information stated we would receive a customer questionnaire at the end of the cruise but we never did, after we returned home we did receive an online questionnaire but this was only about what we thought about Rouen and if we had taken a shore excursion, nothing else. No questions regarding what we thought of the cruise. Certainly my wife and I will not be booking any future cruises with Fred; there are many far far better lines available. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
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
I have enjoyed very special times on the good ship that is the Braemar but my last cruise was such a big disappointment in so many ways, the company to me has changed so much and I have to say not for the better. The Fred Olsen policy to ... Read More
I have enjoyed very special times on the good ship that is the Braemar but my last cruise was such a big disappointment in so many ways, the company to me has changed so much and I have to say not for the better. The Fred Olsen policy to me now seems pack em' in and get as much money as possible from each and every one. The present management that has taken over has changed the Fred Olsen company to one that does not in anyway compare to the one I enjoyed when I started cruising. The whole staff ethics to me has changed and I will never travel with Fred Olsen cruise Line ever again. Yes the ship is smart most things were indeed ship shape, but seemed to me over crowded, the food was good in the Grampian restaurant but, the staff were so over worked the service they were giving was extremely poor which is such a shame as they have to work so very hard. The Braemar used to be for me so very special I will remember for ever the past happy times on board ......... but sadly no more. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Right from the start this inaugural river cruise was beset with problems. From the second day we had the Norovirus which wiped out a lot of on-board activities and amenities including any self-service restaurant meals and closed all the ... Read More
Right from the start this inaugural river cruise was beset with problems. From the second day we had the Norovirus which wiped out a lot of on-board activities and amenities including any self-service restaurant meals and closed all the public toilets, so there was a lot of toing and froing back to the cabin. Our cabin was on the No. 2 deck and was just on the water-line along with the cabins of some of the crew. Given a choice I would rather not take a cruise again at such a low level and would rather book another ship. The cabin itself was looking rather worse for wear and I do wonder if it is usually used by the crew. Also we found the cabin cold and could not warm it up with the heating control. The ports of call were also problematic with Nantes being the worst. Our pre-booked city tour on a road train was a disaster as the commentary was French! The coach to take us back to the ship was over half an hour late and then there was the delay in getting back on the ship as the tide affected the gang way and it had to be fixed to another deck. Because of the delays we missed the Readers Offers cocktail party that we had invitations to. La Pallice (for La Rochelle) was just an industrial port and some distance from La Rochelle which was somewhere we have been and enjoyed several times before. The only problem here was the same as Nante - the only view was of the concrete dock side - so we would have been better off with an inside cabin at a cheaper price. Beautiful Bordeaux was slightly better as we did start of with having a view out of the port holes, but later on we sank again below the parapet! Again our vineyard excursion was a disappointment with thimble size tastings and nowhere to sit which certainly did not provide value for money. We did receive some compensation for the road train commentary, but overall the whole cruise was very shambolic and poor value for money. Surely as an inaugural River Cruise, you would have thought that all elements would have been out to impress and that everything had been checked and double-checked thoroughly. My next problem is that we have already booked River Cruise No. 2 to Germany next June also on the Braemar. I do hope that lessons have been learned and that the Germans are far better prepared. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Our trip to Cape Verde, Gambia & Senegal...was not as warm and rougher seas than many on board had hoped for, still that's nature and it was a lot better than home!! We had a sleepless experience in cabin 7006 which ruined our ... Read More
Our trip to Cape Verde, Gambia & Senegal...was not as warm and rougher seas than many on board had hoped for, still that's nature and it was a lot better than home!! We had a sleepless experience in cabin 7006 which ruined our trip and a fellow passenger also experienced and was moved from 7020 with unacceptable noise, creaking and loo flushing. Pick pocketed in Dakar as were others, do not go ashore on your own, Banjul was as intimidating, organised security escorts are essential if visiting town. The ships shore tours were well organised and safe, general opinion was good, we really enjoyed our 'lazy day on the river' but rather rickety. It was always a rush for limited seating in the entertainment lounges, but the entertainment was very good and good fun. Dining in the restaurants, buffet and pool bar, was the highlight, with brilliant service and excellent food choices. Finally the staff were friendly, cheerful as were our fellow cruisers. But, our experience will leave 'BRAEMAR' Fred Olsen at the bottom of our recommendations and choice for another cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Having booked this cruise over a year ago at what we were told was a very advantageous price and then having been hit by a fuel surcharge we were not amused to see the cruise being heavily discounted to less than two thirds of what we ... Read More
Having booked this cruise over a year ago at what we were told was a very advantageous price and then having been hit by a fuel surcharge we were not amused to see the cruise being heavily discounted to less than two thirds of what we paid. When we complained they reluctantly gave us a free upgrade from an inside to an outside cabin with a porthole, others who didn't complain did not get any upgrade! It was very annoying to see other people getting superior cabins to us for far less than we had paid. The Thomson flights were good and it was great that the luggage was delivered straight to the cabin from the boat. However, the embarcation at Barbados was dreadful. We waited over two hours to get on the boat. Our cabin was very small, it could only really be described as just about adequate. Other cabins we saw were no larger. It was great to have a teatray in the cabin especially as both the tea and coffee on the boat were terrible - you couldn't really tell the difference between them. The waiting staff obviously couldn't either as on one occasion when I asked for a refill they poured coffee on top of my tea! Our cabin stewardess was excellent and very unobtrusive. Our room had always been done by the time we came back and it was kept very clean. I have to say that the standard of cleanliness and hygiene on the boat left something to be desired. There was no one to ensure that you sanitised your hands before going into the restaurant or getting back on the ship. The staff didn't manage the buffet either. On numerous occasions I saw guests picking up the food with their fingers and not using the tongs provided. I also didn't really see anyone cleaning the railings on the ship and on several occasions I noticed that the toilets were not clean and/or the automatic flushing system didn't work. The quantity and quality of food on offer was good and there was a good variety to choose from. The main dining room was however very noisy. Both the restaurant and bar service were a bit hit and miss, sometimes you were served well and sometimes you weren't. I have never experienced this on any other cruise line. Fred Olsen are obviously having difficulty in filling their ships and are having to cut prices to do so. It would then appear that they are cutting corners on service, cleaning etc. They appear to have a loyal following but in my opinion the service we received on this cruise was not up to the standard we have experienced on other lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
From a cruise we expect good quality food,hate buffets, good entertainment, good value for money. Friendly and helpful staff Sailed 5th Sept 09, Meditarian Western. Ship sailed approx 4 hours late, due to bad weather. Embarkation no one ... Read More
From a cruise we expect good quality food,hate buffets, good entertainment, good value for money. Friendly and helpful staff Sailed 5th Sept 09, Meditarian Western. Ship sailed approx 4 hours late, due to bad weather. Embarkation no one told us what the procedure was. 1st morning at breakfast the waiters didn't make any indication if waiter service, kept on pointing to the buffet. Noticed a menu so asked the waiter if we could order, he seemed put out, the food that eventually came was not edible. Same attitude for lunch the turkey that was presented was totally raw on the inside, so in the end we tried the buffet which was great if you like salads but the cooked food was very dry and tasteless. The evening meals were only ok some good and bad days. If you are vegetarian I am sorry but the menu is very limited even for meat eaters. Lots of fish some good and bad! If you like buffets then this could be your sort of cruise. The entertainment of a day was very limited, if you like a quiz or bridge, bingo, The entertainment of an evening was good but sometimes you could not get in the Coral Club as the ist sitting people would not move! I was worried about the health & Safety for the Neptune Lounge if the Breamar had a fire it would be very difficult to get out. They have added extra chairs which means you have difficulty in accessing the exits. Not sure why H & S have not picked up on this as there are many elderly people on this ship who have difficulty in walking. Staff some were excellent and some didn't give a dam, the waiter service standards were very poor compared to PO cruises. I think the reason for this is no one is checking what they do, also there is not enough staff now they have increased passenger numbers. Food is not replaced as quick from the buffet service. Also note ordering food from you cabin can take over 30 minutes and is not always what you have ordered. Also if you missed breakfast after 10 am then the only food you can get is biscuits and cake but are limited, once they have gone you will not get anything until the buffet at 12.00. The tea machine from the palms cafe kept on breaking down and running out of spoons.     Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
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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