we were intending to visit Spain this month and when this last minute fly cruise to Spain and Portugal came up we jumped at it. I was a little nervous as Fred. Olsen has a bit of a fuddy duddy image and some reviewers have been positively unkind about the older cruisers it attracts. Its true the clientele are mostly middle aged to senior but they were the sprightly kind, who scrub up well and a pleasant, active bunch. There were some smart people on board. After my experience on Brittania last year the complete absence of children was welcome. There wasn't anyone who was too elderly and/or infirm to enjoy the cruise on the ship. We had dreadful weather and were unable to visit 2 of the scheduled ports which was unfortunate but not Fred. Olsens' fault. The Captain explained the situation very clearly during the first Cocktail Party and the ship handled the rough seas well. Boudicca is a smallish ship and its very easy to orientate yourself. It is not glamorous but is extremely comfortable, pleasant and well kept. Cleanliness is an absolute priority and the anti-norovirus procedures are stringent - they do everything they possibly can to prevent an outbreak. The food was outstanding, we had some delicious meals, roast duck, filet mignon, steak bernaise, dover sole and some excellent puddings, including crepe suzette and creme brulee. Drink prices are about the same as in a good pub or restaurant on shore and hairdressing, beauty treatments etc are not expensive. I enjoyed the 2 cocktail parties - the Captain was very entertaining in his dry way and we all felt he was a consummate professional. The ship was pleasantly warm inside. The swimming pool and jacuzzis on deck are kept well heated and people were using them even in the chillier weather. The gym is well equipped with great views as it is right at the top. There were talks, crafting, bridge and dancing lessons to keep you occupied. The dance hosts were very pleasant, mostly a bit older and genuinely interested in helping anyone who wanted to learn a dance or improve their skills. I thought the live music onboard was good and the shows were excellent, songs from the current musicals in London etc. and well known, lively favourites. There is a late night buffet and dance scene later on for those interested - didn't experience it but saw the ice sculptures etc. being wheeled up on the last night. We really enjoyed our holiday and are Fred. Olsen converts.
Boudicca is getting on a bit and the cabins in these older ships are often good-sized and equipped with a bath in the bathroom which to me is a real plus. There was plenty of hanging space and the empty suitcases fitted nicely under the beds. The hospitality tray was very welcome and always kept well stocked and being able to control the temperature was great - we were nice and warm when dressing etc. and were able to turn it down at night as we like to sleep in a fairly cool room. The cabin was homely (in a good way), comfortable and immaculately clean. The TV worked well and there was a good choice of movies as well as Sky, BBC News and Sport. Our chambermaid, like all the crew was polite, cheerful, unobtrusive and efficient.
Malaga is a pleasant city with interesting castles and cathedral and an agreeable promenade, port area and beach.
Lisbon is a great port stop as its walkable. There's plenty to see and its particularly good for souvenirs.