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Sail Date: August 2019
We boarded Boudicca at the beginning of August in Dover for her Fjords of Greenland cruise. We had booked a superior outside cabin but were upgraded to a junior suite some weeks before departure. This cabin, 5009, was at the front of the ... Read More
We boarded Boudicca at the beginning of August in Dover for her Fjords of Greenland cruise. We had booked a superior outside cabin but were upgraded to a junior suite some weeks before departure. This cabin, 5009, was at the front of the ship and was large, warm and very comfortable. The only noise to be heard was as the ship dropped anchor or used its bow thrusters. We were due to go north to Reykjavik up the west coast of Ireland but because of a severe storm in the Atlantic Captain Degerlund opted to sail the calmer waters of the North Sea. The overnight stay in Reykjavik was pleasant and having been before we chose to wander from the shuttle bus into town to visit the sights on both days. The ship sailed onto Greenland passing through the magnificent Prins Christiansund and Terssukatok to the first of three tiny ports, Qaqortoq. Here we tendered in to a small town for a wander. The following day we docked in Narsarsuag and took an excursion across the stunning bay to visit Erik the Red’s Viking ruins. Our final stop was Nanortalik, another tender port where the hospitable locals had laid on a choir in the impressive church, a kayak display and access to museum housed across many buildings. All the time icebergs floated by and the ship paused at massive glaciers en route. After returning through Prins Christiansund the final port of call was Kirwall in the Orkneys. Here we took an excursion with splendid guide, Kathleen, to Skara Brae, Skaill House and the Ring of Brodgar passing the impressive expanse of Scapa Flow on the way. Unfortunately we had no time to explore Kirwall itself as the ship was scheduled to arrive late and depart early. As is the case for out of the ordinary destinations, Fred laid on a wide range of lectures and there were the usual sea day activities. We did have one complaint: many of the public rooms were very cold, not ideal in a cold climate. However Boudicca looks good after her recent refurbishment and her crew provided excellent friendly service as always. We continue to feel that Fred’s Guest Services are the best in the business. Cruise Director Tim Spicer provided a breath of fresh air and as with the Captain was most approachable. One final point, the weather was good in all ports of call, particularly in Greenland where we able to take some stunning images. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Restaurant and staff in outside bar are offish and service for drinks slow Restaurant staff. You catch their eye and they immediately walk away Yet rush you when eating to Move you on as quickly as they can Food School ... Read More
Restaurant and staff in outside bar are offish and service for drinks slow Restaurant staff. You catch their eye and they immediately walk away Yet rush you when eating to Move you on as quickly as they can Food School dinners from the 50’s only worse We are in Orkney and Shetlands the ultimate fishing area in U K yet a huge bowl of crab sticks on buffet Kipper for breakfast. Boil in the bag with raw onion on top Milk not fresh UHT Sunday lunch. Roast pork yet not a pig in sight. We are in the land of some of the best beef and lamb in the world We paid 3k for 5 days The cabin and cabin staff perfect. Such a shame that the food and service in restaurants did not match The restaurant staff and bar staff in the outside bar was slow if you ordered drinks Food in restaurants with additional costs was acceptable but same menu every night Balcony filthy. Old ash tray on balcony from last visitors Recliners dirty We have been on 9 cruises Queen Mary. Star Clippers. Windstar Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Having just returned from our 5th Fred Olsen cruise, this time 11 nights from Rosyth to Iceland on the Balmoral, I can say without reservation the experience was excellent in all respects, having given some "room for improvement ... Read More
Having just returned from our 5th Fred Olsen cruise, this time 11 nights from Rosyth to Iceland on the Balmoral, I can say without reservation the experience was excellent in all respects, having given some "room for improvement suggestions on our last cruise on the Black Watch", I feel it is appropriate to compliment Fred Olsen on the Balmoral, overall food was excellent, and well presented, the authentic Indian lunch buffet was extremely good, the dinner menu in the Ballindaloch restaurant was varied and provided food of consistently high quality, service was impeccable. The cabin was of a decent size, comfortable, with the TV system working well, although I would suggest some sound insulation behind the TV would have been beneficial as the TV in the next cabin was also mounted on the wall and was a bit intrusive. Stewardess was very efficient and particular in cleaning, we had a picture window on deck 6. Entertainment was fine if not exceptional. Embarkation and Disembarkation were trouble free and fast, although it was a bit of a jumble trying to extricate the suitcases from the marquee. One thing noted was there was no bar drinks menu, so one could not peruse the offerings having to ask the waiters what was available, also prices were not on show, meaning unless the waiters were asked the price was only given when the receipt was supplied. Would certainly book with Fred Olsen again, on another ship? only if the reviews were as good as the Balmoral. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise as there was a good chance of seeing wildlife. We were not disappointed. They had a naturalist onboard who spent many hours on deck looking for whales etc and then got everyone interested in looking also. The ports ... Read More
We chose this cruise as there was a good chance of seeing wildlife. We were not disappointed. They had a naturalist onboard who spent many hours on deck looking for whales etc and then got everyone interested in looking also. The ports of call were just right especially as we stayed overnight on the ship in Reykjavik. The check in at Rosyth was so easy. Pulled up in our car and had the luggage taken away, all we then had to do was park the car and check in. Quick, easy and onboard in no time. The staff on The Balmoral were fantastic, very attentive but not intrusive. Superb food, especially in the Buffet restaurant. Nice size of ship, not too big. Our cabin was a picture window cabin on deck4, plenty of room and great storage. Good mix of entertainment and we particularly enjoyed the various talks. Very reasonable priced drinks and great to have access to tea and coffee 24/7. Thoroughly recommend Fred Olsen, this was our first time with them and we hope to use them again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this ... Read More
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this one on Boudicca I received a phone call advising that we had a complimentary upgrade to a 7th deck cabin with terrace and wet room. When we opened the cabin door, Wow!!! So much space - the wet room was brilliant as well. We have never been disappointed with the dining rooms on any of the ships - Braemar stands out a mile in particular at lunchtime, with different flavours of diet bread and butter puddings each day! Most excellent waiters and captain waiter. There have been many cruises with great entertainment each night - one in particular (which was not a Fred Olsen). So to this cruise on the Boudicca. We were amazed by the organisation of the timings of the secret garden being open. There were a few mornings when we were too late for the normal breakfasts, but were able to break our fasts there. One day however we arrived just in time for lunch! The variety of food was most welcoming particularly for two diabetics. Our water glasses were topped up frequently and Captain Waiter seemed to take extra care with us (my wife being in a wheelchair). A big thanks there. We were on ship for the majority of the time and had plenty of options to bide away the time in the way that we wanted. Dolphin racing, bingo, quizzes, relaxing and reading and of course eating and the shows. The comedian, whose name I have forgotten was brilliant. Clean and very funny. Hope Fred Olsen has him as a regular. Stress free is a simple way of saying how enjoyable this cruise was. The place we stayed the most was in our cabin. It was excellent. We are not drinkers or pub people, but we did have our diet lemonades to take back to the cabin, where we played Cribbage. THE WATERFALLS AT goodolfusen (can't spell it) were splendiferous. Well worth a visit. I have an old friend and acquaintance who regularly cruises across the Atlantic and back again, without getting off the ship. A bit surprised at this, but now with this latest experience I can well understand why. Sorry Braemar, but you have been knocked off no.1 spot as the best ever cruise. A big thanks for the crew of the Boudicca for helping to make this one the best ever. Thanks Fred Olsen. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was ... Read More
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was adequate in size, pleasant decor, very comfortable bed, and efficient shower in the ensuite. The stewardess was very pleasant and efficient, like all the other staff and crew we encountered. There was a good choice of restaurants and bars, with a different ambience in each. The food was superb and the waiting staff very efficient, besides being the pleasantest and friendliest you will meet anywhere. There were plenty of different activities available, from watercolour painting to ballroom dancing, to ukulele playing and on to games like quoits and shuffleboard. Two excellent swimming pools, jacuzzis and a gymnasium catered for the more energetic - you could be as active or as laid-back as you liked. There was a good programme of lectures, plus bridge games, quizzes and even bingo if that is your fancy. There was a good choice of shore excursions, and we enjoyed all three that we chose. We went whale-watching in Akureyri, and were not disappointed. The only quibble I have about that excursion is that it was quite a long walk from the ship to the trip boat. My husband has a heart problem and had difficulty keeping up with the rest of the group, as did another man similarly affected. It would have been better to have a minibus available. The blue lagoon trip we did from Reykjavík was wonderful. We saw a lot of the countryside and had a wonderful soak in a beautiful hot thermal lagoon. In Orkney we visited Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar, passing by Maes Howe and the stones of Stenness, and getting an excellent trip through the surrounding countryside. This was well organised, and a pleasure to experience. We enjoyed this, our first cruise, so much that we have already booked to go to the Baltic with Fred Olsen next year. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Been with Fred before and loved the friendliness of the staff, the food, the service and the Balmoral is not too massive and plenty of room to sit and relax. The excursions were very disappointing. This is not a cruise for wheel chair ... Read More
Been with Fred before and loved the friendliness of the staff, the food, the service and the Balmoral is not too massive and plenty of room to sit and relax. The excursions were very disappointing. This is not a cruise for wheel chair users. Malmo had many cobbled streets which make it very hard for the pusher and very uncomfortable for the sitter. It was a bank holiday so 90% of the shops were closed and the town is dull and uninteresting. Visby was even worse and almost impossible for wheelchair users to get around. Stockholm was OK and visits to the Abba museum and the Varsa museum well worth it. \but yet again, the city is nothing to write home about. We went on the evening city tour and the guide really struggled to tell us anything of interest and the cost 04 £48 per person was ridiculous for a 2 hour coach ride. And so to Gothenberg where all museums and the fish market close on Mondays. We took a hop on hop off bus ride around the city and stayed on the whole tour as there were absolutely no places of interest. So the itiniery was very poorly arranged given the closure of shops, museums etc. The staff on the Balmoral are just brilliant. They are mainly from the Phillipines, Thailand and India. They remember your names and what you normally drink, how you like it etc within a few hours. They are always smiling and so helpful. The embarkation was quick and efficient but the disembarkation was a shambles. There were a few good evening shows and some good entertainment in and around the bars. All in all, a disappointing experience not helped by awful weather but we will sail with Fred again Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Mainly itinerary and the time of year, less crowded places. Embarkation swift and efficient at the Port of Tyne. Very lucky with the weather for the time of year apart from Gothenburg and Helsinki. The food was of good quality and ... Read More
Mainly itinerary and the time of year, less crowded places. Embarkation swift and efficient at the Port of Tyne. Very lucky with the weather for the time of year apart from Gothenburg and Helsinki. The food was of good quality and varied, breakfast lunch and dinner. Service in the bars and restaurants was excellent although a little slow in the self service cafe. The crew and staff always seemed happy and smiling, friendly and efficient. Cabin although on deck 3 was adequate with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, comfortable beds and a good shower. The two shore excursions we took in St. Petersburg were excellent with very knowledgeable guides. All other ports we explored by ourselves and found that easy using the maps provided. We only experienced two shows , one of which was the crew show, very enjoyable. We really loved the whole experience and booked while on board for next year. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Its been 14 years since we did a Fred Olsen Cruise as we have mainly sailed with 5 Star Cruise Lines, but this cruise was from the Tyne and a short 15 minute taxi ride from our home and visiting some ports we had not visited before. So we ... Read More
Its been 14 years since we did a Fred Olsen Cruise as we have mainly sailed with 5 Star Cruise Lines, but this cruise was from the Tyne and a short 15 minute taxi ride from our home and visiting some ports we had not visited before. So we thought we would give them a try. So glad we did! Balmoral although an older ship is remarkably well maintained, far better than some lot newer ship we have travelled on. Staff service and friendliness leaves most other lines trailing in thier wake, Good food particulary in the Avon Restaurant and Made and Mark our waiters made this cruise. Weather was very good with only lght rain in Gothenburg and low lying mist in Helsinki all other ports fine a sunny and autuum colours in trees especially in St. Petersburg a real treat. We did our own thing in most ports but in Copenhagen and on the Evening in St.Petersburg we did Fred Olsen Tours, during the 2 days in St.Peterburg we did a independent small group tour with Cruising Excursions all tours were very good. Will we sail with Fred Olsen again ? YES and we will not be waiting another 14 years. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Location - we wanted to travel to Greenland and this cruise left from Liverpool which was reasonably convenient. The itinerary (Iceland and Greenland with a short stop at Belfast at the end) was the decider. Plus points - ... Read More
Location - we wanted to travel to Greenland and this cruise left from Liverpool which was reasonably convenient. The itinerary (Iceland and Greenland with a short stop at Belfast at the end) was the decider. Plus points - Pleasant cabin Very efficient cabin steward Good food suitable for older conservative eaters (eating their body weight in smoked salmon) Observatory lounge very comfortable Excursions were interesting although they were keen to make sure that their elderly and very frail passengers didn’t struggle with the trips. Chris Bielby’s talks on the natural history of our itinerary were an absolute highlight. He was available to help with whale and bird watching and never endingly patient. Minus points Entertainment was embarrassingly old fashioned. The “black & white minstrel show” version of the Jackson Five was toe curling. The cinema was freezing cold and they had the nerve to show Mrs Doubtfire (made in 1993). The entertainment was overall more like a trip back into a Sunday evening television programme from the early 1960s. I wouldn’t travel on Black Watch or any other Fred Olsen ship unless it was for the itinerary. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was ... Read More
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was excellent, Steve V King and Barnaby were fantastic. And then the negatives…I thought the class system was fading out but how wrong, we wished to change our dining time from the later to the earlier sitting which involved one click on the computer, we even had the same table. This we were charged £4 per day, considering there were tables that were not being used for the whole cruise on the first sitting, I found disgusting. It was at this point we discovered ANCHOR CLASS. We had booked the cruise, last minute, and paid £2700 for 11 days of Baltic cruise to be in the bowels of the ship, deck 2. The last cruise we went on we paid £1700 for 7 days in the Mediterranean inc flights on deck 10, so our expectations from Fred Olsen were high. Unfortunately we were wrong, The Braemar was in fact a floating care home for the elderly, which we were under no illusion about, some whose only purpose in life was the daily charge for the restaurant, sorry I was incorrect because when the opportunity arose after food, there was an even bigger the race for the best seats around the ship with the nicest views, which after securing, they promptly fell asleep depriving people the chance to take in the sights. If they want to sleep GO TO YOUR CABIN, selfish gits. So now deprived of the good seats we went for a stroll around the ship, if you like the smell of paint then this is the ship for you, remember despite the 2018 price you paid, this is an old ship (1993) and the rust is appearing all over the place. Back to Anchor class, you would be charged for shuttle buses whereas other floors were not. The subject of upgrades was broached onboard during Captains question time and it is not company policy, we were also told that other cruise lines don’t do this, well Fred Olsen is wrong, all the other cruise lines we have used, do free upgrades. When my other half booked this, she told me we would be going to Sweden, Denmark and Finland,..two out of three wasn’t bad. We went to an obscure little island that belonged to Finland, with two attractions, a museum and an old sailing ship. The ship was shut for renovations….need I say more. I have resisted reviewing the holiday for a while so hopefully I would forget some of the horror. Up until this trip I have thoroughly enjoyed the cruising experience, and recommended others to try, just not maybe with Fred Olsen. There are much better Cruise company’s and cruise ships out there, younger, cheaper and better. Even worse, we sent this review to Fred Olsen and they didn,t bother to respond. A simple apology would be a good start, so even customer services are poor as well. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Picked this cruise as it was our three special birthdays the staff on the embarkation car parking were fantastic.We were embarked quickly and smoothly,the staff in all departments were fantastic,food was always well presented and tasty.The ... Read More
Picked this cruise as it was our three special birthdays the staff on the embarkation car parking were fantastic.We were embarked quickly and smoothly,the staff in all departments were fantastic,food was always well presented and tasty.The ship was always clean,our room was spotless.Only downside was we had to get a triple room as the single supplement was not good,it was a pull down bed with a very bad ladder which my daughter had trouble getting up so decided to put the mattress on the floor.But as i have said the service in the restaurant was first class the staff were very attentive nothing was any trouble,some times the staff on the observation deck were hit and miss if you sat away from the bar area they would come round and ask if you wanted a drink and then after being served didn’t come round for a while,the other bars kept coming round. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We always go from Port of Tyne as it makes such an easy start to the holiday. I am slightly disabled and we have two autistic grandchildren and the crew and staff on Balmoral do everything the can to make the cruise perfect. We have been ... Read More
We always go from Port of Tyne as it makes such an easy start to the holiday. I am slightly disabled and we have two autistic grandchildren and the crew and staff on Balmoral do everything the can to make the cruise perfect. We have been on three cruises and each one has been wonderful. The food is great, the entertainment first class and our rooms are so comfortable. There is plenty to do for the children, who love the quizzes and shows in the evening. My only complaint is that although we have an allocated table in the evening breakfast and lunch is a bit of a free for all, and our allocated restaurant became a bit of a nightmare for the children, who find crowds and noise quite difficult to cope with. Apart from this, I cannot fault Fred Olsen and compliment him on a really well run organisation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation procedure was smooth as usual and we received our luggage promptly. Our cabins were fairly good, though we disliked the way that the porthole covers stuck out into the room as we liked to have the portholes uncovered on evenings when we had a sea day the following day. In one cabin we were unable to adjust the temperature as the cabin had a double bed and then two fold down beds which were against the wall and stopped us from being able to adjust the temperature to suit ourselves. We got in touch with guest services who came and changed it for us but that wasn't the point - we couldn't do that each time we wanted to change it! The staff in the Four Seasons restaurant couldn't have been more helpful. We had requested a window table but weren't given one, however we mentioned it and were changed to a window table from the next evening. The maitre d'hotel was the perfect mix of professional and friendly and so were the two waiters who served us. The only issue we noticed with the dining was that butterfish was on the menu, this surprised us as it's notorious for causing stomach upsets and so could easily ruin somebodies cruise. We generally didn't take part in the evening entertainment but the British evening was good, very professional. One of the entertainers in particular had an amazing singing voice, he could have been in the West End as he was that good. We enjoyed the talks from the Scottish gentleman who spoke about Iceland, Greenland and (of course) Scotland and were pleased to note that his talks about Iceland and Scotland didn't focus heavily on shopping (obviously they couldn't for Greenland!) but on providing some great local information. Fred Olsen had also arranged for an expert from the University of Cambridge to talk about the geology and culture of the areas that we were visiting, her talks were second to none. Both her and the Scottish gentleman were on deck and would chat to passengers and give out more information at will. When were travelling through the amazing Prins Christian Sund they both spent time on deck and on the bridge giving out some interesting information which enhanced the holiday. Our only disappointment was that Fred Olsen did not arrange an excursion to the ice cap in Greenland. We noticed that there was one from the port we called at but it got back only just before the ship departed and so it wasn't worth the risk of using a third party company as Greenland isn't the easiest of places to arrange a sudden flight from to meet the ship at the next port after all. There were plenty of activities for teenagers and all of the teenagers were pleasant and extremely well behaved as you'd expect on a trip to Greenland. There were four younger children, two were very pleasant whenever we saw them but two were a nuisance, mainly because they were unsupervised by their parents even when in the swimming pool when the younger one was unable to swim. This was the fault of the parents and not the children of course. Embarkation was poor, we sat on the coach for over an hour because the cruise company took all that time to help two guests who needed extra assistance and also managed to misplace their luggage. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have cruised for many years but not with this line. I have to say this cruise was amazing from check in to check out. The staff could not have been more helpful, pleasant and funny. Our cabin 5141 was a little outdated, but was kept ... Read More
We have cruised for many years but not with this line. I have to say this cruise was amazing from check in to check out. The staff could not have been more helpful, pleasant and funny. Our cabin 5141 was a little outdated, but was kept immaculate. We ate in the Palm Café (self service) the food was lovely and there was always a good selection. The entertainment team were amazing (Mike is a dark horse) and the comedian that came on board Brenda hilarious. I cannot say enough about the shore excursions as they were wonderful and the staff from the ship so helpful if required. We didn't do many of the activities but what we did was good fun. The crew were great and nothing was too much trouble. Would I travel with Fred again, Absolutely we've been with P and O and all the rest, but Fred Olsens is personal with very little technology and plenty of smoking areas , a ship line that doesn't make a smoker feel guilty at wanting a cigarette on holiday. Well done Fred Olsens. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have traveled with a number of cruise lines over 20 years but, Fred Olsen keep on giving the very best in all areas. The ships, food and most important the staff. Wonderful destinations too. We traveled with two children 11 and 13 ... Read More
We have traveled with a number of cruise lines over 20 years but, Fred Olsen keep on giving the very best in all areas. The ships, food and most important the staff. Wonderful destinations too. We traveled with two children 11 and 13 years and they were also looked after so well by the two children's skipper staff. We are going to be back again next year.Thank you Fred Olsen for making us feel so valued as passengers. The last lunch onboard was fantastic all you could ever want. We did talk to a number of passenger that made comment about Fred Olsen after travelling with the big cruise lines. All agreed Fred Olsen was by far the best. Particularly the staff and food. The only thing we did not like is having to get off. The cruise we did was 8 nights which was fantastic but, would like to do longer next time. The only was to see Norway as we did this time is with Fred Olsen. A very easy check in at Southampton and boarded the ship directly which was nice. No waiting around. One onboard we tool a look at our cabin 3033 to find a very warm welcome from our cabin stewardess. Bags had arrived too and were placed on the two lower berths. We then went to the Palms cafe for lunch. A very nice choice of food. Not had a choice before of a hot meal so early upon boarding. In the past it has been a light lunch so this was very enjoyable with two hungry children with us. This ship is so easy to find your way around and if you do have a problem very clear deck plans around the ship. Staff too are never far away. Entertainment across the ship was great. Sail away party as we left Southampton added to the overall enjoyment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My wife and I chose Fred Olsen, our first time on this line, because it left and returned from England sailing to Iceland at the time we wanted to travel within these locations. The service personnel, maintenance of the ship and quality of ... Read More
My wife and I chose Fred Olsen, our first time on this line, because it left and returned from England sailing to Iceland at the time we wanted to travel within these locations. The service personnel, maintenance of the ship and quality of the food were excellent. Even the song and dance shows were better than expected for a small ship of only 925 passengers. Only one aspect of Fred Olsen's business model holds me back from giving this cruise a high review, and that is, Fred Olsen's policy of withholding the exact arrival and departure times from the ports of call. My wife and I, seasoned cruise travelers by now, usually book small-group shore excursions from local providers when we can. But that can't be done unless the tour companies know the exact cruise ship arrival and departures times for pick up and drop off. Fred Olsen lists only the time of day, as in "early morning" or "late afternoon" in their public itinerary. But we know the company knows the specific times because: (1) docking space must be prescheduled with the ports, and (2), having asked seven customer agents about the docking schedule, two Fred Olsen representatives gave me the exact arrival/departure times they read off their computer screens and five told me they didn't know exact the times, only the approximate part of day. Granted, the cruise route was changed six weeks before we sailed and one arrival time was earlier than I was told, but for all the other ports of call, the exact times in port were the same as I was given by the the two open-information Fred Olsen customer reps. I can only surmise that Fred Olsen wants to discourage passengers from booking independent shore excursions. It took a lot of effort to do that. Most people would give up after the first query. So how were the two Fred Olsen excursions we did book? As expected for large-group, big-bus trips -- okay but nothing memorable or personal. I would recommend Fred Olsen tours for those who don't want surprises within a traditional cruise experience and few children or younger people milling around the ship. Although Fred Olsen promotes itself as a "value" cruise experience, choosing a balcony room with a view make the cruise more expensive than those on larger cruise ships of 2000 passengers or more. PS: My wife said the yoga and exercise sessions were great. And so was the crew. We loved the captain and had two conversations with him. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen absolutely fantastic Staff are brilliant food etc is 5 star plus Staff are always pleasant professional and always willing to help. Food is amazing in all the restaurants there is so much ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen absolutely fantastic Staff are brilliant food etc is 5 star plus Staff are always pleasant professional and always willing to help. Food is amazing in all the restaurants there is so much choice and always available We had the all inclusive the choice of drinks were amazing The bar staff would know what you liked and were on hand at all times. I was impressed that one of the bar staff knew my name from our first cruise which was 2 years ago. The cabin was spotless and the maid was so pleasant The entertainment was very good and also were the guest speakers The ship was immaculate and the crew were always cleaning the decks All the staff on the ship were so hard and always smile. It's a pleasure to sail with Fred Olsen and we will be sailing with them again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The ship was great the embarkation was good and the disembarkation was a very smooth operation and crew could not do enough for us. I could not fault the quality or quantity of food on board and the entertainment was really good. There was ... Read More
The ship was great the embarkation was good and the disembarkation was a very smooth operation and crew could not do enough for us. I could not fault the quality or quantity of food on board and the entertainment was really good. There was also a well equipped gym and many treatment rooms. There was plenty of information in the cabin and the Daily Times news letter was very helpful. The Cabin was clean and comfortable with more than enough storage for the two of us the. Great cruise only let down by what I would call the incompetence of the shore tour people, it seems the lack of communication between ship and shore made us nearly miss the transfer bus to the helicopter flight (it was driving off as we got to the gate) and at £250 each for my nephew and myself would have been very disappointing to say the least. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Wonderful holiday. Small ship compared to some but lovely. Spotlessly clean. Food amazing and Norway is just fantastic. The service for drinks and at dinner was slow and that's only criticism. I particularly enjoyed the ballroom ... Read More
Wonderful holiday. Small ship compared to some but lovely. Spotlessly clean. Food amazing and Norway is just fantastic. The service for drinks and at dinner was slow and that's only criticism. I particularly enjoyed the ballroom dancing and attended a ballroom class. Unfortunately missed one due to illness. Nigel in particular was so kind, professional and patient. Some of the roads when out on tours are scary but so glad I did them. Have never seen such beautiful scenery. I was amazed how many older people with walking problems were on this cruise as soon of the gangways were tricky. It's not all older people as we were told but to be fair there were a few. Weather was great. My favourite place was Olden. Entertainment was good. The crew did a show at short notice as one of entertainment team had been injured. It was so good they got a standing ovation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first cruise experience and without any doubt it exceeded our expectations. Embarkation was very smooth and well organised. The staff showed great courtesy to all especially with guests with mobility problems. We had a junior ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience and without any doubt it exceeded our expectations. Embarkation was very smooth and well organised. The staff showed great courtesy to all especially with guests with mobility problems. We had a junior suite cabin with balcony and was impressed with the size and furniture. It was well decorated and felt warm and welcoming. Dining was excellent with dedicated servants to our table made it sure the we enjoy our dining experience. The after dinner entertaiment was very good with different shows every evening. For us the size of the ship was perfect were the restaurants and cafes are not over crowded. We were not just a number, but the staff knew us by name giving and feeling that personalised service. The ports of call are well chosen. Lots of intesting things to do and see. Had such a wonderfull experience that we are finding it hard to cruise with another line. In fact we booked our next criuse with Fred Olsen. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Booked mainly as it left from Dover, It could not have been easier to embark, cabin all ready and staff lovely. Nothing was too much trouble from any member of staff, and although our itinerary was unavoidably changed everything was done ... Read More
Booked mainly as it left from Dover, It could not have been easier to embark, cabin all ready and staff lovely. Nothing was too much trouble from any member of staff, and although our itinerary was unavoidably changed everything was done to make our cruise memorable. Shore tours were, in the main, excellent and just around the right length and certainly just as described. Dining was a pleasure with tables not too close, staff attentive and the evening menu varied. The Breakfast & Lunch buffet was very good plus there was an a la carte choice as well. Only downfall [for me] was the evening entertainment, it lacked a lot, but the evening of entertainment from the crew - excellent. Throughout the cruise we were always kept well informed of the days itinerary and shore visits very well organised. Have already booked two more cruises - from Dover of course with very helpful booking from the staff at Fred Olsen offices. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Sailed with Fred Olsen several times..this was not what I expected after paying top rates for a luxury cruise. Not a sparkling ship, the windows were filthy, sticky chair arms and backs of chairs. Smears on tables, even the black pianos ... Read More
Sailed with Fred Olsen several times..this was not what I expected after paying top rates for a luxury cruise. Not a sparkling ship, the windows were filthy, sticky chair arms and backs of chairs. Smears on tables, even the black pianos were clearly unpolished. Double glazed windows had water inside and during the heavy seas the blinds could be heard rattling all over the lounge bars. The al la carte restaurant was excellent but highlighted how basic the rest of the food was. Due to be understaffed - according to a staff member - a two course evening meal could take between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Paper? covering the safety rails on the stairways was pealing. Several drinking glasses had to be replaced, smelly and dirty. Inclusive canapes were dry bread and inedible. I have never had such a claustrophobic cabin. We had to sit on the toilet in order to close the door, it was so tiny. The noise from fixtures and fittings made sleep impossible during high seas. For the third time we booked this cruise to celebrate an anniversary, our 40th. On a last minute decision we booked a tour on the actual day. £216 to see the Glacier fjords and Hesteyri boat trip. The Glacier was a background view through a split in the mountains about 2 mile away, nearly missed because no one mentioned it. As for the scenery not what I would call spectacular. When it came to disembarking the boat was moored at sea, offshore, so it entailed climbing over the back rails and dropping 2 feet to a ladder and then sitting on the edge of a rubber inflatable. The first 10 to go had a 15 minutes wait on shore in the biting cold for the rest of the passengers. The highlight, a cemetery and deserted herring factory? Elderly people do not like to be seen as unable to do things but an awful lot were decidedly green around the gills. I refused to go because amongst other things I suffer from severe sciatica but in the UK health and safety would have been appalled. The entertainment was excellent, activities were rather short and sweet. When a deserted village or one with 2 shops and a small supermarket are included in the stops there is not a lot one can say. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Our dinner sitting was 6.15pm. My husband's parents were also on the same cruise but had an 8.30pm sitting. We were advised to ask at the restaurant if they could change to earlier so we could dine together. The 1st and 2nd night the ... Read More
Our dinner sitting was 6.15pm. My husband's parents were also on the same cruise but had an 8.30pm sitting. We were advised to ask at the restaurant if they could change to earlier so we could dine together. The 1st and 2nd night the matre dee said no but when we offered him a £20 note on the 3rd evening suddenly a table was available and according to the other 2 people already at the table these seats had been empty both previous nights that we'd asked. Amazing what a tip can do!! Entertainment was dire. Pretty much like a seaside resort with average dancers, singers, comedians etc. Thouroughly enjoyed the food and choice of restaurants. Cabin was good sized and clean but disappointed that we only saw our cabin steward once on the day we arrived and not at all the rest of the cruise. Plenty of sunbeds and seating round the outside deck areas. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Having had to postpone a river trip in France owing to the current strikes we chose this cruise as we have always wanted to see the remoter parts of the UK by sea. Embarkation was, before time, slick and rapid and we didn't have ... Read More
Having had to postpone a river trip in France owing to the current strikes we chose this cruise as we have always wanted to see the remoter parts of the UK by sea. Embarkation was, before time, slick and rapid and we didn't have to wait long for our luggage to be delivered. We have to recommend Relyon parking in Dover who run a cost effective, cheerful, and efficient service. They are not as convenient as the Port of Dover but the latter's open air car parks are quite vulnerable to any passing storm - but the seagulls do not discriminate between either of them! A bit of confusion about availability of refreshments at boarding. FO said nothing would be available until dinner but in fact there was a good spread available in the Secret Garden Café when we got aboard. The first sea day was inevitably busy as all the port talks had to be covered but as it wasn't a nice day outside that wasn't a problem. Fred's bringing a Scots presenter aboard who was also a qualified lecturer on malt whiskies was also a bonus. Invergordon is rather remote from the sights and is a rather sad town but we learnt that it is the only deep water port for the North West of Scotland north of Edinburgh. Big ships were scheduled all week, and it has been a Royal Navy base in the past, so there is no real alternative. We did an excellent tour encompassing the beautiful house and gardens of Cawdor Castle and the Culloden battlefield. A bonus was that our guide used to be at managed at the latter. Some people felt it was a bit rushed but, if it had been two half day tours maybe they may not have been enough to run either - and of course extending it to a day tour would have increased the cost substantially. Catch 22. Lerwick in Orkney provided an efficient shuttle service for the 2 mile trip to town and the local sights were all accessible by public transport. Lerwick in Shetland is an interesting and busy fishing port and although the berth was two miles from the town a limited shuttle was available. We did a wildlife boat trip to Mousa island which was really interesting with many rare sights. Stornoway in Harris/Lewis is a pleasant town and, as the weather was not only as calm as usual but a lot warmer, our trip to 'The Far North' was well organised and interesting - lots of wildlife and impressive coastal scenery beyond the peat bogs! Tobermory on Mull was a beautiful little tender port. We chose to visit the Abbey on Iona. Apart from an 0630 start, it proved a fascinating day. the 53 mile coach trip over largely single track roads was very well commentated by our guide and the two hours we spent on Iona (after a ferry trip) were very interesting. Tiring but another place off the bucket list. The last port, Dublin, was shared with three other ships so was very busy. The traffic upset many passengers as it caused problems for several tours but we managed a few sites by walking the city centre and found the place enchanting and very friendly. Another hot and sunny day. The last day was a sea day and allowed some relaxation but all in all I don't think you'd do this sort of cruise to have a rest. The passengers were generally elderly but ready for the challenges and we made some good friends. The Captain (Mikael Degerlund) was very hands on and engaging and the two parties he hosted were very amusing and entertaining. He is obviously well liked and at ease with his officers and crew. Boudicca has had a very successful refit and has been nicely modernised. She still rattles a bit as befits her age but everything (other than the new TV system which was very disappointing in its reliability) worked well. We felt uneasy with the arrangements for breakfast and dinner where the default situation was self-service - the waiters would serve you but we wee left with the feeling that they preferred self service. As P&O cruisers we much prefer waiter service but that is simply a matter of taste. We didn't buy the drinks package as we wanted to see if our drinking habits made this an advantage or not from both financial and choice points of view. We actually found DIY cheaper and, as our Ocean's discount didn't apply to the package, distinctly so. We also much preferred to have the choice of anything on the drinks/wine menus. Maybe heavy drinkers may not find it so but to us it appeared that most people were on the package. Our table mates were on it and had to occasionally wait for the waiter to top them up at dinner. However, we really enjoyed the cruise and found the friendliness of the Fred Olsen officers and staff very refreshing. Maybe Fred Olsen overplays the small ship advantages as there is not the choice of facilities available on bigger ships and we have found that small ships are often given the less attractive berths in big-ship ports. We have been on even smaller ships than Fred's and they have had really imaginative itineraries including ports such as the island of Monserrat and Cuba. But Fred is unbeatable in Norwegian 'inner passage', Kiel Canal and river ports (Braemar) itineraries. Read Less
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