Black Watch

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Black Watch is set for a massive multi-million-pound refit next month which will include a ship-wide refurbishment, upgraded in-cabin technology, new restaurants, new decor and new designs for the pubs and bars onboard.

The 804-passenger ship will depart Tilbury on November 18th and enter dry dock at the Blohm + Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany on November 20 for a 26-day refit, which will also include engineering works. The 44-year-old ship will re-enter service on December 15, for a Christmas Markets Cruise from Tilbury.

Fred. Olsen also revealed a number of features of the refurb will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet "in coming years".

In July, fire broke out on the ship causing significant damage and causing the cruise to be curtailed, passengers flown home and the ship taken to Spain for repairs.

The refurbishment includes:

  • A new interactive in-cabin TV system, safes and mini-bars installed across all cabins;
  • Bathrooms will be refurbished;
  • Braemar Garden Café will be converted into a new 54-seat restaurant, Brigadoon, which will feature new décor and offer a stylish, intimate dining experience. It will continue to serve British and international cuisine.
  • The Braemar Courtyard will be converted into a separate specialty dining area, called The Black Watch Room. The 46-seat restaurant will offer steaks cooked to order, and a new dedicated Galley will be created to service it.
  • The existing Grill restaurant, situated on Lounge Deck 6 aft, by the main pool area, will be rebranded and redesigned, to offer a new Mediterranean-themed dining experience.
  • The main dining room, the 340-seat The Glentanar, will undergo extensive refurbishment, with a spacious new layout and new look, featuring new furniture, carpet and curtains.
  • Pubs and bars are also set for a considerable refit. The Observatory Lounge will get a refresh to the décor and fittings, and the Lido Lounge, will get new furniture, fabrics and carpets, as well as the installation of a full-width sliding door to the aft.
  • The Morning Light Pub will be moved to the area currently occupied by the Braemar Lounge and will replace the existing Pub next to the Neptune Show Lounge. As well as being bigger, it will have new furniture and fabrics and a new bar. The area vacated by the existing Morning Light Pub will be renamed the Neptune Bar. 
  • The Marina Cinema will be upgraded with the latest 3D technology.
  • The Guest Services area will also have a refresh. 

Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: "Black Watch is one of Fred. Olsen's most popular cruise ships, and it is important that she always looks her best. During her 26-day dry dock in Hamburg, as well as the usual maritime inspections and maintenance work, we will also be undertaking major upgrades to the cabins and public areas throughout the ship, to ensure that we continue to provide the best facilities possible to meet our guests' expectations."

--By Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor