Top Fred. Olsen Ships
Expect a cosy, traditionally British cruising experience on a Fred. Olsen ship. The onboard currency is Pounds Sterling; interior decor is comfortable and attractive but not flashy, and evening entertainment is muted and fairly old fashioned (singing, dancing and cabaret).
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line's ships are relatively small, and they look like traditional cruise ships, rather than floating hotels. Drinks remain affordable; passengers still change for dinner (into black tie on formal nights) and the highlight of each evening is a five-course meal, which will be of decent quality and pleasantly served by friendly Filipino staff.
The atmosphere is friendly, the service is efficient but unobtrusive, and the decor is familiar and relaxing, with ample seating in the public rooms.
On sea days, passengers bask on deck and watch the world go by over a good book from the ship's library, or participate in a rather good Vistas special interest program, which offers classes in a range of subjects from gardening to wine appreciation, history to wildlife watching and painting classes.
In a nutshell, passengers in search of around the clock action need not apply. These ships will suit lovers of old-style cruising, who enjoy peace, quiet and the gentle art of conversation.
Fred. Olsen passengers are predominantly British and their average age is 67, though on some ships -- notably Braemar -- that drops in the summer months when children's activity programs are offered to please doting grandparents who want to spend some quality time with their loved ones.
During school holiday time, it's not unusual to find several generations of families all cruising together; groups of friends who first met on an Olsen cruise and make an annual date for a reunion are also a common sight.
The line has recently begun marketing some ships and some trips to North American passengers; Balmoral and Braemar, especially, have been tweaked to appeal to both sensibilities though the line has not lost its inherent Britishness in its effort to appeal more widely.