We chose this cruise as it was sailing from Newcastle. This avoided the journey from Yorkshire to a South Coast port before and return after the cruise. The ports of call and the small number of days at sea also contributed to the decision. We have not travelled on this ship before and enjoyed our experience. The embarkation was excellent, although disembarkation was slightly slow. . The range of dining arrangements and entertainment was generally very good, with two sittings for dinner. We did get the impression that the later sitting was becoming less popular. We have travelled with Fred Olsen before and felt that the food and service standards on this cruise were generally not quite as good as on previous occasions. There were of course some individual exceptions to this. The selection of shore excursions were good and we took advantage of these at each port. Disembarkation arrangements for these were well organised. The "future cruise" booking desk was understaffed during the cruise causing frustrating delays and queues to see the member of staff involved. A large number of passengers were elderly and we were surprised over the selfish behaviour of a small number. The number of activities available each day catered well for most tastes, without any pressure to participate if you did not wish to. It did seem strange that the cruise actually visited ports on the west coast but passed Gothenberg to travel round the Southern tip of Sweden to Stockholm, before returning to visit Gothenberg halfway up the west coast prior to returning to the UK. Nevertheless we did enjoy the cruise overall.
The cabin was spacious and provided plenty of room, plus a large balcony. There was ample wardrobe space for our 11 night cruise. The bathroom included bath/shower and double washbasins, although (being picky), slightly more storage for toiletries etc could have been provided Two items (cupboard drawer and a light bulb) required attention during the cruise and these were resolved very quickly. Located on the same deck as our allocated restaurant and the fitness centre was also a bonus.
This was the embarkation and disembarkation port. I was surprised that Fred Olsen publicity advised that as a "Regional" Port, facilities at Newcastle may compare unfavourably with other Ports. In our opinion, facilities at the Port of Tyne, Northumbrian Quay Cruise Terminal are perfectly adequate for the short period spent in the terminal. Car parking is good, and passengers are taken by bus quite close to the ship.
We were only in Gothenberg for a half day after berthing at Arendel. We took a tour titled Panoramic Gothenberg and Canal Cruise. This tour was very good and provided a good insight into the city.