This was our first cruise with Fred Olsen. Previously we've been on two cruises with P&O. Overall, it was friendlier and more laid back than P&O, more helpful staff and much better food. However, a major drawback is lack of availability of active onboard activities. Also, expect a less comfortable ride.
One might have thought that the embarkation process would be smoother on a smaller ship, but in fact the opposite was the case. We stood in line at the airport for an hour or so as we waited while a limited number of buses went back and forth from the airport to the cruise ship, a journey of around 20 minutes in each direction. Thankfully we were not at the back of the plane else we might have been waiting an hour or two longer.
The Braemar has a friendlier ambience than the Azura or Ventura. As with P&O, fellow passengers are almost exclusively Brits. With a smaller number of passengers on board, it seems other people tend to be friendlier, and it is more likely you will bump into the same people again. Also, it felt much less crowded as people seemed to disperse more evenly around the ship. On the bigger P&O ships, at certain times such as breakfast, there is a mad rush with too many people trying to sit at not enough tables, and other passengers are viewed by many as an inconvenience. On the Braemar, most of the other passengers were friendly, and overcrowding was never a problem.