(11.51 a.m. GMT) -- Three of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' ships will go into dry dock for a multi-million pound refurbishment programme ahead of the 2020/21 cruise season.
The programme started with the 929-passenger Braemar which went into dry dock yesterday. (November 14).
This will be followed by Balmoral and Black Watch, which will get cabin and public room upgrades, as well as various engineering works, general maintenance and renovation at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. A number of cabins on Black Watch will also be receiving new bathroom upgrades.
Following an extensive refurbishment in 2018, the fourth ship in the Fred. Olsen ocean fleet, the 880-passenger Boudicca, will undergo a further refit in autumn 2020.
Peter Deer, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: "We are very proud of our smaller, classic cruise ships and we recognise the importance of investing in ongoing upgrades to ensure that our guests can continue to enjoy them at their very best. Our refreshed and renewed fleet has been very well-received by both new and existing guests following the last round of improvements at Blohm+Voss in 2017 and 2018, and we are keen to showcase the latest enhancements to our guests before Christmas, the ideal surroundings in which to enjoy the festive season."
On Balmoral there will be a brand new Oriental Room serving exotic teas and Far Eastern-themed cocktails. A new photo gallery will also be added along with a flower shop where passengers can choose from a selection of seasonal bouquets and flower arrangements.
Braemar went into the shipyard yesterday ahead of sailing on a nine-night "French, Belgian & Spanish City Overnights" cruise from Southampton on November 24. The 1,350-passenger Balmoral will enter the yard on December 10, and will depart on a two-night "French Escape" round-trip Southampton taster cruise on December 20.
Black Watch, which carries 804 passengers, will go into dry dock December 11 and then host a one-night "Christmas Party Night" in Southampton on December 21.