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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Very interesting cruise -AUTHENTIC India - so good variety of destinations. Some passengers were not as happy visiting Porbandor, the birthplace of Gandhi, which was very poor, but was made interesting by excellent shore tour guide. ... Read More
Very interesting cruise -AUTHENTIC India - so good variety of destinations. Some passengers were not as happy visiting Porbandor, the birthplace of Gandhi, which was very poor, but was made interesting by excellent shore tour guide. Authentic India means visiting real India - in a safe manner. Shore excursions were all excellent - brilliant variety & choice. Excellent guides- very professional. Extra trip to Taj Mahal was highpoint of trip. well planned, excellent hotel in Delhi, and excellent guides & representatives at every point. Only niggle - definitive info not available until just before we went so missed out on trip to Goa, because didn't know exactly when we were leaving. Trip was expensive, but think everyone realised where money had been spent. Ship, as always, very comfortable. Staff absolutely excellent. Food always fantastic and variety of entertainment to suit all tastes. Good choice of daytime activities. Love Fred Olsen small ships & fact you can walk around the decks. Will definitely be cruising with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
We embarked in Brisbane instead of Sydney as it was more convenient for us to do so. Embarking the ship was very straight forward, easy and professional and all our details and cards were waiting for us. Yes this ship is an old girl, 42 ... Read More
We embarked in Brisbane instead of Sydney as it was more convenient for us to do so. Embarking the ship was very straight forward, easy and professional and all our details and cards were waiting for us. Yes this ship is an old girl, 42 years! we knew this when we booked so didn't expect a brand new sparkling ship, the price decided it for us. With this in mind it was still in good condition for the age, rust here and there but the crew were always trying to keep the paint up to it. This did not worry us though. The inside of the ship was kept spotless. The Food in the main restaurant was great, the service was efficient, our two waiters could not do any more for us, don't think we had the same meal served twice in 18 days. We ordered wine and never had to ask for our glass to be filled. We were on the second sitting 8.30pm this was quite late and the show for us was at 10.30pm so it did make it a late night but on the plus side a lot of times when leaving ports we were able to see the sunset and enjoy the sail away party, if you were on the early sitting you missed out. Think it would be better if the meal times were changed, second sitting was say about 8pm and the show at 10pm this would make it a better time, think it would have suited a lot of the older generation to eat at 5.30pm and their show at 7.30pm. We loved having breakfast in the garden cafe each morning as it was very relaxing, no queuing up for food, no crowds of people. One thing I did notice on this cruise was that for some reason there was an absence of coughing and people with colds. This would have been one of the first cruises I have been on that I did not catch some sort of cough or cold. They were very strict with the use of the hand wash and you were not allowed in the restaurant without using it. I did not see anybody refusing to use it as I have on other ships! So good on you Fred Olsen. Our cabin was quite low in the ship, also a bit noisy! think we were near the engines!! It did have two portholes, having single beds did make the room seem larger, you could not join the beds together, not sure but think most cabins only had single beds. The room was cleaned twice a day and our cabin steward was very friendly. No complaints. I found the doona on the bed a bit too warm at night, I suppose I could have asked for a blanket but we just turned down the air conditioner to the lowest and then it was alright. There were no children on board or even teenagers, probably as it was a world cruise. I did not see anywhere were they would have entertained children or teenagers even if they were on board. I don't think this cruise would have suited people in their 20's to 40's as it did cater for an older generation, we are both in our early 60's but didn't mind it a bit. We wanted a relaxing cruise and that is what we got. We still had fun, loved the shows at night especially the Fred Olsen Dancers, they were not only dancers but could sing really well too. Did not miss one show! not too keen on some of the other entertainers they had. There are no poker machines on board, not a poker machine player so didn't effect us. The stand out in the lectures was the man from Customs who gave us some great stories, enjoyed them all. We had been on the Balmoral the year before and personally I prefer the Black Watch, it's a smaller ship than some of the other big cruise lines but because of that it had a really nice feel and atmosphere to it. The majority of the passengers on this cruise were English having embarked in Southampton or Sydney and we found them to be very friendly and interesting, made some great friends on our table. They were also very interested in finding out all about Australia. All in all we enjoyed our cruise and would certainly do another Black Watch cruise if it came to Australia. We knew it was an old ship so yes a few things needs fixing up but it didn't deter from the overall look and feel of the ship. We got value for money and had a great time. Would love to try the other Fred Olsen ships as well. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
This cruise was the Singapore / Vancouver sectors of the "Balmoral's"2009 world cruise. It was very much a destination orientated cruise. The flights to Singapore and from Vancouver were Fred. Olsen exclusive charters ... Read More
This cruise was the Singapore / Vancouver sectors of the "Balmoral's"2009 world cruise. It was very much a destination orientated cruise. The flights to Singapore and from Vancouver were Fred. Olsen exclusive charters operated by Thomsonfly. Apart from a hiccup and a slight delay in Vancouver when the cabin crew discovered that the company in Gatwick had forgotten to load food for the return flight into the hold the flights were good. As a regular on Fred. Olsen and on my second cruise on this ship I am still not completely sold on it and still prefer the "Black Watch" or the "Boudicca". It is a rather anonymous ship mainly because of its larger number of passengers.There is also an amount of wasted space on the ship especially on the Main and Lido decks. Internally the decor on the ship was pretty good but externally it was looking a little "tired" after two months of cruising the world. I had a double cabin on a single occupancy basis and it was more than satisfactory. There was ample storage space. As ever the service in the restaurants, bars and cabins was excellent with most friendly staff. The same cannot be said of the reception desk staff who give the impression that dealing with passengers is upsetting their routine. The food was of high quality. The daytime lecturers were good but it was pity that Edwina Currie gave virtually the same lectures on my last cruise. The cabaret acts varied from first class to dire but were certainly much better than in the recent past. The Captain certainly led the way with his enthusiasm for the ports of call. He is a most approachable and sociable person epitomized by the fact that he was on the gangway at Vancouver to shake hands with all 600 passengers who were disembarking. We had the remarkable event on board in that as we crossed the International Date Line in that we gained an extra day so celebrated two Easters! The destinations were superb; Chan May in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tianjin in China, Incheon in Korea, Kagoshima and Yokohama in Japan, Kodiak, Seward, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska. The shore tours were very good indeed especially the 3-day overland tour in China. We were fortunate in Alaska for we were the first cruise ship of the season so we could visit the ports in peace and quiet which is unknown when the monster cruise ships call in the Summer. In Alaska we were we were very fortunate with the weather as apart from a wet visit to Kodiak island we had virtual wall to wall sunshine albeit quite chilly at times. It wa a most enjoyable cruise to lovely destinations. Read Less
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