This was my first cruise alone, first cruise in an inside cabin and first time that I didn't actually know where I was going!
I travelled down to Dover with Eavesway and they were excellent as always. We had to wait about 40 minutes to embark but I didn't feel that was too bad.
Boudicca was just out of a refit and I have to say that the public areas and cabins are looking great with lovely furnishings and colour schemes but some of the outside areas do still need attention. Unfortunately all of the refit work hadn't been quite finished and the pool was out of bounds but Fred had given everyone a £50 on board credit so that was felt to be a good move all around. I believe that some cabins had an issue with their hot water but I had to say that I had no problems at all and had lashings of hot water for my shower.
So we set off on our five night mystery cruise which was to call at three ports. I had 'guessed' at four ports from the excursion descriptions and was pleased that I had guessed correctly. The ports were not confirmed to us until we actually arrived and everyone had lots of fun guessing where we were going.
First port was Ghent where we had a whole day - lovely city with beautiful medieval buildings and canals - and lots of chocolate! I had booked a walking tour excursion and this was good, although it would have been easy to do this independently had I known the destination. Boudicca was berthed 20/30 minutes drive from the city centre and there was a shuttle bus provided for passengers not booked on excursions.
On the second day we arrived in Amsterdam late morning and would stay until 8am the following day. It was an easy 15 minute walk from the berth into Amsterdam although there was a tram for people who didn't wish to walk. Unfortunately, being Easter Saturday, Amsterdam was too crowded for comfort - the streets were absolutely packed and you could only 'go with the flow' and there wasn't really a pleasant atmosphere. If only I had known, one of the pre-booked excursions was to the Kurkenhoff gardens and I think I would have enjoyed that. Fortunately I had booked a canal boat excursion at night and that was really lovely, well worth doing, and improved my impression of Amsterdam.
Easter Sunday was spent largely at sea until we arrived in Rotterdam at 6.30pm where we would stay until 6pm the next day. I have to say I didn't have great expectations for Rotterdam, knowing that it is a huge port but I was pleasantly surprised. The city itself has lots of interesting modern architecture and we were berthed right by the stunning Erasmus bridge. The Markt Hall is definitely worth a visit for an amazing selection of food - not that you need any extra food when you are travelling with Fred! I also did an excursion to Gouda which was a delightful town and a place I would be happy to return to. We sailed overnight to arrive back in Dover at 6am the next morning.
The passengers on Fred were a good mix with the usual large percentage of 'seniors' but all seemed to get around well and I wasn't aware of any problems - everyone was very friendly as I find is usually the case on Fred's ships and even though I was travelling alone I was never short of someone to chat with if I wished.
This was actually an extra cruise for me this year so I was trying to be frugal and so booked an inside cabin - 4128. I was actually very pleasantly surprised, it was clean, comfortable and well decorated. With being an inside cabin it was actually very dark at night and I slept really well - had to set the alarm on the cabin phone to ensure I didn't oversleep! My cabin girl, Donna, was lovely and looked after me very well. This cabin did not have other cabins at either side so there was very little noise.
The food on Fred was excellent as always - I think there really is something for everyone and the entertainment was good too.
With hindsight, for me personally, I don't think I would do a mystery cruise again as I am the sort of person that likes to plan what I am going to do in port, but having said that, this was a really good experience thanks to the great Fred staff and crew, interesting itinerary, good food and friendly fellow passengers. I look forward to travelling with Fred again later in the year.
This cabin was adequate for a single person. It was warm, clean and comfortable with a shower in the bathroom with lashings of hot water.
The cabin is located towards the back of deck 4 and doesn't have cabins on either side so no noise from fellow passengers. There is a housekeepers cupboard to one side so I did here cabin staff here in the morning, although they were quite quiet, and I think the other side may have had washing machine in but I only heard them one afternoon. I would stay in this cabin again or cabin 4123 which I think might be identical.
The walking tour was very informative, particularly regarding the age of the buildings and there was around an hour free time. It would be possible to do an independent walking tour of Ghent with a good map assuming a shuttle bus from port to city centre (about 20/30 minutes)View All 17 Walking Tour Reviews
About a 20 minute easy walk from port into Amsterdam city centre. However city centre was incredibly busy and it was difficult to get away from the crowds. All museum tickets seemed to be sold out so I think essential to book online in advance. Evening canal cruise was excellent with a great informative guide and this gave a good impression of Amsterdam.View All 11 Candlelight Cruise Reviews
Wasn't expecting much of Rotterdam as knew it was a large port but was pleasantly surprised. Some great architecture, ship docked by the stunning Erasmus Bridge. Markt Hall was worth a visit for an amazing selection of food. Excursion to Gouda was well worthwhile, lovely town with very friendly residents that I would like to revisit.View All 15 Gouda Walking Tour Reviews