Braemar Cruise Review by stephenhad
- Sail Date: December 2014
- Destination: Canary Islands
- Cabin Type: Superior Balcony Suite
The initial itinerary was changed and the Gambia and Senegal were dropped from our original ports of call due to worries about the Ebola virus. This is quite understandable but the replacement ports of call, in particular Proto Novo in Cape Verde, were a great disappointment and beg the question as to why Fred Olsen thought anyone would want to visit there in the first place. The "town" was like something from the third world and the local shops didn't even accept euros, should you have ben fortunate to see anything you wished to buy.
We had paid £29.95 per person, per night for the all inclusive drinks package, However, it turned out to be anything but all inclusive, with many exceptions including tea and coffee at the pool deck and even bottled water in the cabin. In reality, what you got for nothing was half a glass of wine in most bars and local spirits, which with regard to the white rum, tasted nothing like Bacardi.
With the exception of the pool bar staff, whom I found to be surly and uncommunicative, the general standard of service was high and I must compliment our dinner waiter, Frederick, who treated us so well for the duration of our voyage. Likewise Lesley, the waiter in the oral Club, who also looked after us extremely well. The food on the ship, whilst not exceptional, was generally good and unlike some other cruise lines I have sailed with, was almost always served piping hot.
We had a balcony cabin on deck 7 which, whilst not as large as we would have hoped for, was adequate. The bathroom was huge with a separate toilet and I couldn't help but think that had it been a little smaller, the cabin could have been enlarged to accommodate more than the one tub chair provided. The balcony was adequate but I fail to understand why, in addition to two chairs and a table, FO cluttered it up with two sunbeds which we never used and continually had to move to get access to the sun. I found the position of the telephone, right next to the electric outlet for the kettle, particularly irritating and fails to see why the 'phone couldn't have been installed on one of the bedside tables.
The Braemar is a smallish (900 passengers) ship which is comfortable and unpretentious. The entertainment left a little to be desired and we found most of the lead female singers to have rather nasal whiny voices. We also got sick to death of hearing "The Rose" which seemed to be performed either vocally or instrumentally, every night, in one venue or the other.
Unfortunately, there was a virus outbreak on the ship, which both myself and my partner contracted and having been home now for five days, we are both still coughing! There is some speculation as to whether this started on the outbound flight to Tenerife or whether it lingered from the previous cruise. I visited the ship's doctor - £50 for two packs of Lemsip and a bottle of cough medicine - and was told that he was treating approximately 30 other passengers with the same symptoms.
We were very disappointed that the ship only stayed for four hours in La Palma. Our friends, who had never visited there before and whom we had hoped to take to lunch in Las Concajos, were also disappointed and mystified as to why one of the most pleasant ports of call during the whole cruise, was cut so short, especially after three days in Cape Verde where there was nothing to do and on the Sunday stop, very little open in the way of shops.
Would I cruise with FO again? It's doubtful. We paid a lot of money for this cruise and feel that we were short changed by a company who to me seem rather penny pinching. Additionally, our cruise director, an Australian whose name I forget (possibly Simon) was so appallingly insincere, I couldn't bear to look at him, let alone speak to him. He walked around with an permanent inane and disingenuous grin on his face saying "g'day" to any one unfortunate to catch his gaze and quite clearly demonstrated his indifference/lack of social and communication skills to anyone with the slightest intelligence or perception. I understand that cruise directors have to present a positive image but really Fred Olsen, do you honestly think that this buffoon impressed anyone? Everyone we spoke to was irritated by his presence and our two friends, having been unfortunate to get caught up in conversation with him, remarked that it was like talking to some kind of inane, pre-programmed robot.
Passenger mix mainly elderly - some of whom were very rude and whilst needing mobility assistance at the airport, turned into Olympic sprinters when food was served, walking straight through you if you dared get in their way. One woman actually elbowed her way in between my friend and I, to secure the last apricot flan, one lunch time!
Pleasant cruise, but over priced for what was offered and probably our only cruise with FO.
250,000+ people have entered their email