We have completed this second cruise on Borealis, so am writing this with some further thoughts. The embarkation was a bad experience since the arrival place had been changed from the exhibition centre to an entrance between the Arena and the Convention centre, but we were not told in advance. We embarked on a day when there were some extremely heavy showers, but needed to leave our hotel during one of those as we are now expected to arrive within a short window of time. When we arrived at the Exhibition Centre we were then told to go to the other location, which was right opposite the hotel where we had stayed. Hence, we finally arrived totally drenched and not best pleased. On entering the building we were then told we needed to use the toilet then, as we would not be able to access one again until just before we went on the ship! I really would not have drank that coffee shortly before leaving our hotel if I had known that had changed - we had good access to toilets during the embarkation procedures for our July cruise and the system worked well. We were told this change was because there was an event in the exhibition centre that day. I am not sure if this is just a temporary change, but this is a link showing events in the ACC exhibition centre :- https://www.exhibitioncentreliverpool.com/whats-on/
Once on the ship, the whole atmosphere was totally different to our previous experience and the original, happy, friendly environment of Fred ships had returned. This was also helped by the fact we had been allocated a table for two in the MDR, so the evenings were more relaxed. We again had an inside cabin, which was very large and the bed was very comfortable. The food was excellent this time and well up to the previous Fred standard, which has always been very good. In the self-service restaurant, the smaller containers of salad items (which the staff had been using to serve from) had been replaced with far larger ones as used in the past. Also, those tiny blue containers used for some fruits had more fruit placed in them (e.g. two or more segments of grapefruit per container, rather than a single segment). The “self-service” system in place was working very well and queues did not build up, which I think is largely because some items were placed on small plates/dishes which passengers could just pick from the servery themselves, as well as other things being served by the kitchen staff. The sous chef, Sandrine, was present on the servery at lunchtimes when we went there and she kept a watchful eye on how the system was progressing, as well as working hard herself. We always thought that is a very good strength on Fred’s ships in that all managers help as required, rather than just stand around telling others what to do. We went to both speciality restaurants, which we enjoyed. On each occasion the chef from the restaurants had come to speak with diners at the end of the evening asking for feedback. They were both very keen to get detailed, truthful feedback on their recipes, which we felt was very good and will help the development of the menus used. We had excellent service in all restaurants, including the MDR as well as in our cabin, which was serviced in the evenings as well as during the day.
Musical entertainment varied around the ship, with much of our time being spent listening to the very talented Funky Blue, who normally played in the Crow’s nest. We did this time watch one show, which was an 80’s theme and that was excellent. Bar service in the Crows nest was very good, though we did find it was much less so in The Morning Light Pub if we sat there as staff were rarely around.
This deck three cabin (3406) was large, with a settee and shower room and a very comfortable bed. The location on deck three was very good when scenic cruising as it was very easy to just pop in and out of the cabin as we wished. We had some noise from the thrusters when the ship was manoevering, especially when entering ports, but it was not particularly loud and I slept through it on one occasion, yet I am a light sleeper.
Was a good embarkation location for those of us who live in the North. The itinerary was changed so we did not go to Norway.