The line will include house wines and spirits, beers and soft drinks on four cruises to the Canary Islands, West Africa and the Cape Verde Islands in spring 2013 on the 929-passenger, 23,000-ton Braemar.
It is the first time Fred. Olsen has offered an all-inclusive product, and was prompted by what Sales and Marketing Director Nathan Philpot describes as “these difficult times”. The move follows that of Thomson's Island Escape, which will go all-inclusive from March 2013.
Philpot told Cruise Critic: “We are testing the concept with these four cruises and we can assess sales versus those cruises without all-inclusive as a free upgrade. If these cruises fill up quickly then the natural next step would be to extend across the entire fly-cruise programme.
“We believe that these cruises will attract both the budget conscious in these austere times but also tempt those who currently take traditional winter all-inclusive package holidays.”
He added: We have not ruled out offering all inclusive across our entire programme but we will need to assess the commercial and operational impact of our first season before making that decision.”
Guests who have already booked these cruises will be upgraded to the all-inclusive package, which does not include tips.
The line has also included 12 maiden ports of call in its 2013/14 brochure, which are:
• Haugesund, Norway
• Bronnovsund, Norway
• Yangon, former capital of Burma (now Myanmar)
• Osaka, Japan
• Hiroshima, Japan
• Nawiliwili, Hawaii
• Peurto Vallarta , Mexico
• Boulogne, France
• Vaasa, Sweden
• Húsavik, Iceland
• Townsville, Australia
• Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco
And its longest-ever world cruise, Black Watch's 114-night night Australia & South America World Cruise, departing from Southampton on 14th January 2014, and costing from £9,399 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin.
The line is also adding three new U.K. departure points for 2013: Harwich, Liverpool and Belfast, as previously reported, bringing the total number of U.K. ports from which it sails to nine.
The all-inclusive cruises are:
• Seven-night ‘Canary Islands Discovery' cruise, departing on 17th February 2013. This cruise includes stops in Tenerife, Lanzarote and La Gomera. Prices start from £799 per person.
• 11-night ‘African Beaches and Tropical Islands' cruise, departing 24th February 2013. Ports of call include Dakar (Senegal) and Banjul (The Gambia), as well as the Cape Verde Islands, with prices from £1,099 per person.
• 10-night ‘Morocco, Madeira and the Canaries' cruise, departing 7th March 2013. This calls at several islands in the Canaries and also Morocco, and is priced from £999 per person. • Eight-night ‘Lisbon and the Canary Islands', departing 17th March 2012, arriving into Dover.
This is Braemar's return voyage from Tenerife back to Dover. Guests fly out and join the ship in Tenerife, and visit Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and then Lisbon (Portugal), en route to Dover. Prices for this cruise start from £699 per person.
All the prices are based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘I'.
--by Adam Coulter, UK Editor