We were on board Braemar from the 7th November until the 8th December 2016 on back to back cruises. Embarkation at Southampton was swift (we are gold members and had booked freedom fare, so had priority. Also the sea was kind to us throughout. We love Braemar and have travelled on her a lot over the last couple of years and on each occasion there were no problems with fumes. However, this time there was a lot of very problematic fumes around the ship. Parts of the ship, including our first cabin, (6071) became uninhabitable as the cruise progressed. We did inform the guest relations lady, Geraldine, when it became particularly bad, and she was very kindly able to transfer us to a cabin which was much better (6051). It was still obvious that the fumes were present in various parts of the ship though, including the corridor by our first cabin and some staff did say that it had got worse over the last few months. Fred has done a lot to improve the appearance of his ships over the last year or two, so we just do not understand why something like this is being ignored, when it should clearly be repaired. We had been given various excuses for the fumes by senior staff, including that the inlet for the mid ship air con is by the inlet for fuel when bunkering. If this was the case it should be moved, though we do not see this can be the problem as the fumes appeared at different times, even when at sea for a couple of days, so not just when bunkering. Also, we had been on the ship previously (23 nights late 2014, 28 nights late 2015 and 8 nights in May 2016) and it was not noticeable on any of those occasions. Regards the other aspects of the ship and the staff on board the cruise was a good as ever. Esel, Victor and Patrick were as usual very personable and highly efficient at managing their respective restaurants, indeed all restaurant staff were excellent. The food was also very good throughout the cruise, (though I do wonder if I should be complaining to the chef because of my weight gain). At this stage I cannot remember the names of our cabin stewards, but both were extremely pleasant and helpful as well as being highly efficient. Apart from the problem with fumes, both cabins we were in were very good with quite a decent view out of the “fully obstructed” windows as the cabins were by the end of the respective lifeboats, so there was diagonal view as well as over the top of the lifeboats. We do not go to the shows and other entertainment/activities often, though we were fairly happy with the ones we did attend. My main complaint regards entertainment is that there was a classical musician on board for much of the cruise, but he/she was always scheduled for very late afternoon. These performances are something I would have loved to attend, but as we were on first dinner, starting at 6.15pm it was never possible for me to do so. There were no musicians on in the show lounges at night, which was a great shame, as we have previously enjoyed musicians billed as cabaret artists, (flautists etc.). Sadly there is no longer a Rosario Trio on this ship, which left the Bookmark café area really quiet and almost eerie in the evenings. There was a pianist in the observation lounge who was OK, but the guitarist in the Morning Light Pub, Luke Palmer, was nothing short of appalling and we were not the only people to comment on that. Out of the Cabaret artists I would say that Geoff Taylor stood out as being much better than the others over both cruises. There was a speaker, David Parkin, who did some talks about birds and was very good, but sadly his number of talks were cut down, so he did not have time to give a double session talk on migration which he had planned and prepared. My husband was particularly annoyed about that and I would have liked to hear those talks as well. Not sure what replaced his missing lecture slot(s), but it was nothing that interested us. From our point of view, the best entertainers, on board were undoubtedly “The Revolverlites” who played in the Coral Club. They did a really good selection of more modern music and performed far better than we would normally expect on a cruise ship. They were also very pleasant people when seen around the ship. I took a particular liking to Natasha, who was the singer with that band. The ports were good, which is largely why we choose Fred Cruises at times and we were particularly pleased to be able to visit El Hierro this time. We hired a car there (from CICAR), which we booked on the internet before the cruise and the day went very well, despite the weather, which sadly was not the best on that day. The return flight to Manchester was badly delayed. We were kept on the ship longer to allow for part of that delay, but Fred got us to the airport far too late for the revised flight time, (I suspect they did not want to pay for coaches to wait a long time at the airport for the new arrivals). Hence we were being called to the gate as we cleared security, so there was no time to have a drink in an airport café as we were not sure when we would be called to board. However, there was quite a delay at the gate, which was fine for us as we just sat down. However, some people decided to stand in a queue at the gate, even before being called to board and chose to complain about having to stand later. There were plenty of empty seats to sit on by the gate so it was just silly to stand in a queue at that stage. The flight did take a long time to embark the people who needed assistance (not surprising considering Fred's age demographic), but once premium were called they boarded very quickly and likewise when the rest of the passengers were called. Unfortunately there was a further delay after we boarded for a technical reason, which meant we arrived in Manchester more than three hours late. This was the second time we have used Fred’s flights and the second time there had been problems, which is not a good track record. Overall, the cruise still had a number of plus points, but the fumes were such a bad problem to the extent that we feel it spoilt the whole cruise and would not book this ship again unless we understood the problem to have been fully repaired.

Canaries and Cape Verde

Braemar Cruise Review by tring

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2016
  • Destination: Canary Islands
  • Cabin Type: Superior Twin Outside
We were on board Braemar from the 7th November until the 8th December 2016 on back to back cruises. Embarkation at Southampton was swift (we are gold members and had booked freedom fare, so had priority. Also the sea was kind to us throughout. We love Braemar and have travelled on her a lot over the last couple of years and on each occasion there were no problems with fumes. However, this time there was a lot of very problematic fumes around the ship.

Parts of the ship, including our first cabin, (6071) became uninhabitable as the cruise progressed. We did inform the guest relations lady, Geraldine, when it became particularly bad, and she was very kindly able to transfer us to a cabin which was much better (6051). It was still obvious that the fumes were present in various parts of the ship though, including the corridor by our first cabin and some staff did say that it had got worse over the last few months. Fred has done a lot to improve the appearance of his ships over the last year or two, so we just do not understand why something like this is being ignored, when it should clearly be repaired. We had been given various excuses for the fumes by senior staff, including that the inlet for the mid ship air con is by the inlet for fuel when bunkering. If this was the case it should be moved, though we do not see this can be the problem as the fumes appeared at different times, even when at sea for a couple of days, so not just when bunkering. Also, we had been on the ship previously (23 nights late 2014, 28 nights late 2015 and 8 nights in May 2016) and it was not noticeable on any of those occasions.

Regards the other aspects of the ship and the staff on board the cruise was a good as ever. Esel, Victor and Patrick were as usual very personable and highly efficient at managing their respective restaurants, indeed all restaurant staff were excellent. The food was also very good throughout the cruise, (though I do wonder if I should be complaining to the chef because of my weight gain).

At this stage I cannot remember the names of our cabin stewards, but both were extremely pleasant and helpful as well as being highly efficient. Apart from the problem with fumes, both cabins we were in were very good with quite a decent view out of the “fully obstructed” windows as the cabins were by the end of the respective lifeboats, so there was diagonal view as well as over the top of the lifeboats.

We do not go to the shows and other entertainment/activities often, though we were fairly happy with the ones we did attend. My main complaint regards entertainment is that there was a classical musician on board for much of the cruise, but he/she was always scheduled for very late afternoon. These performances are something I would have loved to attend, but as we were on first dinner, starting at 6.15pm it was never possible for me to do so. There were no musicians on in the show lounges at night, which was a great shame, as we have previously enjoyed musicians billed as cabaret artists, (flautists etc.). Sadly there is no longer a Rosario Trio on this ship, which left the Bookmark café area really quiet and almost eerie in the evenings. There was a pianist in the observation lounge who was OK, but the guitarist in the Morning Light Pub, Luke Palmer, was nothing short of appalling and we were not the only people to comment on that. Out of the Cabaret artists I would say that Geoff Taylor stood out as being much better than the others over both cruises. There was a speaker, David Parkin, who did some talks about birds and was very good, but sadly his number of talks were cut down, so he did not have time to give a double session talk on migration which he had planned and prepared. My husband was particularly annoyed about that and I would have liked to hear those talks as well. Not sure what replaced his missing lecture slot(s), but it was nothing that interested us.

From our point of view, the best entertainers, on board were undoubtedly “The Revolverlites” who played in the Coral Club. They did a really good selection of more modern music and performed far better than we would normally expect on a cruise ship. They were also very pleasant people when seen around the ship. I took a particular liking to Natasha, who was the singer with that band.

The ports were good, which is largely why we choose Fred Cruises at times and we were particularly pleased to be able to visit El Hierro this time. We hired a car there (from CICAR), which we booked on the internet before the cruise and the day went very well, despite the weather, which sadly was not the best on that day.

The return flight to Manchester was badly delayed. We were kept on the ship longer to allow for part of that delay, but Fred got us to the airport far too late for the revised flight time, (I suspect they did not want to pay for coaches to wait a long time at the airport for the new arrivals). Hence we were being called to the gate as we cleared security, so there was no time to have a drink in an airport café as we were not sure when we would be called to board. However, there was quite a delay at the gate, which was fine for us as we just sat down. However, some people decided to stand in a queue at the gate, even before being called to board and chose to complain about having to stand later. There were plenty of empty seats to sit on by the gate so it was just silly to stand in a queue at that stage. The flight did take a long time to embark the people who needed assistance (not surprising considering Fred's age demographic), but once premium were called they boarded very quickly and likewise when the rest of the passengers were called. Unfortunately there was a further delay after we boarded for a technical reason, which meant we arrived in Manchester more than three hours late. This was the second time we have used Fred’s flights and the second time there had been problems, which is not a good track record.

Overall, the cruise still had a number of plus points, but the fumes were such a bad problem to the extent that we feel it spoilt the whole cruise and would not book this ship again unless we understood the problem to have been fully repaired.
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Cabin Review

Superior Twin Outside
Cabin B 6071+6051
Both cabins were very good with quite a decent view out of the “fully obstructed” windows as the cabins were by the end of the respective lifeboats, so there was diagonal view as well as over the top of the lifeboats. However 6071 had a lot of bad fumes coming from the air conditioning at times and became uninhabitable because of this as the cruise progressed. We moved to cabin 6051 because of this, which was better, though some fumes still came form the air conditioning at times.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • La Palma
    We love La Palma and have had a two week holiday here previously and know it well, so are very happy to go off by bus to other parts of the island. We also visited this port twice.

    The first time we got the bus to El Paso, which is in the mountains and went on a walk from there, which was suggested by the tourist information office and we also went into the silk museum, which was very interesting. The bus journey to El Paso also yields some good views. As we were in port late night, we returned to the ship and had a quick ploughman's platter each, by room service, then walked through the small town of Santa Cruz, where we stopped for a quick drink in the Plaza de Espania before returning, just in time for the ship to sail, allowing us to watch the lights this beautiful island disappear into the distance.

    On our second visit, we took the bus to Los Cancajos, which is a short distance along the coast and is where we had stayed for two weeks when we had a holiday to La Palma. This an extremely quiet resort, with a scenic coastal path along a rocky area, a couple of small black, volcanic beaches and about four bar/restaurants. We walked along the coastal path and had a drink before returning to the ship for our early departure.
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  • Lanzarote
    We just strolled around Arrecife as we had been previously. It is a pleasant town.
    View All 256 Lanzarote Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Las Palmas (Gran Canaria)
    We visited here twice. The first time we got the bus to the old town and went into Casa de Colon, which we found very interesting. Then we had lunch before strolling part way back and getting the bus the remainder of the way to the port.

    On our second visit, we got a bus to San Telmo bus Station, where we picked up a bus to Terror. This was a lovely town and the bus journey was very scenic as well. I recommend going here, but would suggest looking up the bus time tables on line before going, which we did. It made the day much easier, though we did check the times were correct when we were in the San Telmo bus station.
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  • Lisbon
    We took the train to Sintra, went to a couple of places there, using one of the circular buses and then returned by train about 6.30 pm, and strolled through the town, stopping to have a meal on the way.

    It was really good to have the long day because it was a change over day for some passengers, though when we got back to the port we found out that they had decided during the afternoon that the ship would sail earlier than had been planned when we left the ship. Hence we were hurried along the keyside, which curtailed our planned use of WiFi at the port.
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  • Madeira (Funchal)
    We had a half day here, followed by a full day. The first day we just went out later and strolled through the town that had lots of Christmas lights and decorations, whilst on the second day we took the local bus up to Monte. Again we had printed out the timetable from the net and had found out where the bus stops in Funchal before we left home, but checked those details when in Funchal before heading to Monte. Sadly it was very misty up in Monte and we could see nothing at all when we first got up there, but we went into the church and watched some of the sledges which start from there, by which time the mist had began to lift and we could see down to sea level at times. It must be a very good view on a clear day, but December is not the best time to go up to Monte. We are glad we went, but would like to return sometime when the weather is better. In fact we have a land holiday booked for Funchal next June, so will have much more time to explore, both the Funchal region and places that are not easy to get to during a cruise ship visit.
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  • Southampton
    We stayed at the Travelodge Southampton Central for one night pre cruise. It is a fairly new hotel and we found it very good. We had asked for a quiet room, so we were put in the quiet area, on the top floor at the back of the hotel and were not disturbed by any noise at all. The hotel is very well placed as it is just around the corner to High Street in the city centre.

    WE took the train to Southampton as we were flying back, so had a large case transported down by The Baggage Handling Company, which worked well.
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  • Tenerife
    We took the local bus to San Andres and Playa de Las Terresitas. We had a latish start, so got off the bus at San Andres, where we had a light lunch, before strolling along the adjacent beach of Las Terresitas. It was not a particularly warm day, so the beach was fairly quiet, which was very pleasant. This is mainly a locals beach, so just has a few beach shacks and a clear view of the surrounding mountains rather than lots of tourist buildings.

    We also had a day here before leaving the ship. On that occasion we stayed on the ship in the daytime and went into the town of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the evening after a quick meal. As it was early December by then, the town was well decorated with lots of Christmas lights, which was lovely.
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