My wife and I have sailed many times with Fred Olsen but rarely since they ended their Flagship golf package. However, we chose to sail again with them due to the interesting ports of call on the way to Venice and back from Southampton.
The Good Points:
- Overall good food, excellent waiter service
- Superb singing and dancing from the entertainment team
- Excellent itinerary
- Comfortable balcony cabin
- A happy ship
- Excellent bridge teacher
- Well-informed port lecturer, good slides but marred somewhat by his needing to read his well-prepared script in a rather flat way.
The Bad Points:
- As keen bridge players we were appalled by the way this activity has been downgraded by Fred Olsen. We were forced to play in a totally inadequate, crowded inside room down in deck three, shared with table tennis players, ukulele players and with staff interrupting activities to collect or return trestle table in an alcove. Meanwhile the company has decided to create a large gymnasium area at the rear of the ship in a prime location on deck 7 which was largely unused. Given that the ship appears to cater for retirees, many of whom have mobility problems, this seems to be a very poor use of limited space resources.
- We, and many passengers we spoke to, felt that the music played in both the Neptune and Coral lounges was unnecessarily loud.
- The overall standard of visiting entertainers was variable. The comedian, introduced as "the Fred Olsen favourite", was appallingly bad. On the credit side, however, the history lecturer was excellent.
- It was surprising that no handouts were given to passengers giving a map and various informative details covering each port of call. This was a serious omission.
- The coffee served in the restaurants was pretty dire!
- As ever, shore excursions were substantially over-priced. In particular I would mention the apparently unexciting toy-train ride around Cartagena for £50 a head, which was just outrageous profiteering.
- Unacceptably high charging for Wifi
In summary, a very enjoyable cruise, particularly due to its excellent itinerary. However, as bridge players, we would not return to Braemar unless its bridge room and table tennis facilities were greatly improved. Notwithstanding that, an additional incentive could be the reintroduction of their previous flagship golf packages.
A spruce and well-maintained cabin with adequate storage facilities. We would have expected a good quality hair conditioner to be supplied - little things can mean a lot!
An attractive town to visitView All 52 Malaga City Tour Reviews
The best stop on the cruise - an extremely interesting small town without the crowds!
The Doges palace very interesting
Roman palace area the highlight
Not too exciting in the rain!
Interesting old town area, particularly with roman heritage and museums