1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
  4. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
See Reviews For
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
As a widow I find Braemar to be an exceptionally friendly ship for single people. I have made friends with people so easily and have always asked for a table of 6 or 8 in the Grampian dining room which is a good social mix. The cabins ... Read More
As a widow I find Braemar to be an exceptionally friendly ship for single people. I have made friends with people so easily and have always asked for a table of 6 or 8 in the Grampian dining room which is a good social mix. The cabins are small but the new ones mid section are better and have bigger wardrobes and more drawers. I certainly would not consider storage adequate for 2 people but for me it is fine. The ship is kept spotlessly clean and the crew are very helpful and friendly. Embarkation is incredible as once your cases are checked in at the UK airport, the next time you see them is outside your cabin door when on board. The same process applies for returning home as all luggage is placed in sealed containers to go straight to the plane and does not have to be "identified" as with so many cruise lines, particularly thinking of my USA experience with Celebrity and Princess! I have cruised with Celebrity, Princess and Cunard but none remotely come up to the satisfaction level of Fred Olsen as their ships are too big and single people cannot make friends so easily. The dance hosts are wonderful and it is such a treat to be able to enjoy the dancing with a partner. Having enjoyed 3 F.O. cruises so far, I have another Caribbean one booked for next January and will be hopefully cruising on the Boudicca in the Indian Ocean later next summer. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
My wife and I have cruised with a number of different companies before and had decided to try a cruise with Fred. Olsen lines - what a mistake!! Never again!! Nearly 4,000 pounds wasted in my opinion in hindsight !!! From start to finish ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised with a number of different companies before and had decided to try a cruise with Fred. Olsen lines - what a mistake!! Never again!! Nearly 4,000 pounds wasted in my opinion in hindsight !!! From start to finish we encountered both good and extremely poor treatment whilst cruising on the Braemar during our last trip just finished. First off we turned up at Manchester Airport in plenty of time for our scheduled departure on Monarch Airlines. Now when your handed a letter from Monarch whilst waiting to book in doesn't exactly bode well for the start of your cruise experience. The letter stated that the original plane had developed a technical fault but that another airplane had been found and that our 11.00 am boarding time would still be going ahead - great. However at the appointed departure time we were still waiting o board the aircraft. No announcements were made to tell us why and eventually, when we did board the aircraft, we found ourselves on a Hi-Fly ? chartered plane with a mixed origin crew who looked anything like professionals. What followed then beggared belief as we were then subjected to a wait of over two and a half hours delay on the ground whilst they sorted out provisioning the plane with food and drink. Why they didn't do this when they already knew they had to change planes three hours previously at check in, I don't know. They shouldn't have bothered!!! Not only were rationed to what food we got (some people had ordered vegetarian food and were told " no we don't have anything over than chicken - take it or leave it" ) but also we were only given a quarter of a cup of wine (a third of a small bottle) to boot with the first of two meal breaks. Then to top it all they ran out of food and drink during the second meal serving - and my wife and I and others in our immediate seating area suffered the same fate - absolutely amazing!! Still things had to improve surely to goodness!! Then just when we thought things couldn't get any worse - they did!! When we did eventually touch down in Barbados - now nearly 3 hours behind schedule and a might puckish and thirsty, we were told to wait on the apron - not the arrivals lounge as we thought safest - till transport arrived. This did not happen till nearly 50 mins after disembarking from the aircraft and we were shuffled around from place to place whilst avoiding airport ground vehicles, until eventually some small 18 seater coaches did arrive. Now considering there were over 300 passengers to transport from the airport to the port, this did seem to me to smack of a bit of a logistical cockup. Whilst waiting patiently to get from airport to port we were offered nothing in the way of water and were told that we would not be allowed to visit the toilets in the main arrivals lounge - the excuse being "your transport will be here directly and we don't want you to delay the other passengers now do we". Yes folks the story does get worse when the small bus we were on developed a puncture - and more delays ensued whilst another coach was sourced. Needless to say that when we did arrive at the ship we not in the best of moods only to then find out that the scheduled departure drinks had been cancelled and that we also had run out of any time to see Barbados as the ship was now departing for its next port of call. Now you could say that some delays are inevitable, but when they happen to you, that there has been little or no apologies given as to why you've been delayed, that clearly some people were distressed and inconvenienced and prevented from visiting the toilets, that you've been left standing on the runway aprons for almost an hour without any water in the heat, and then subjected to transport on unsuitable vehicles for the size of the party - well that to me smacks of unprofessionalism on the part of Fred.Olsen to ensure any delays are minimized and that people caught up in these are looked after during them. When we did eventually arrive at our cabin - which we had paid to have upgraded, we found that the cabin was both very cramped and that there were two single beds made up rather than the double we'd requested. I know that the ship was not the largest afloat but this cabin was the smallest we've ever had the pleasure of sleeping in. To be fair the rest of the cruise went off without too many other hitches that certainly are not worth mentioning here. Suffice to say that we had taken the opportunity to avail ourselves of the 10 pound a day drinks package before the start of the cruise, knowing how expensive some refreshments can be during the hot weather, and can recommend this action to anyone not wanting a mega bill at the end of the cruise. Most drinks seemed okay. the limited choice of drinks (beers ? wines / spirits etc.) wasn't a problem and we managed to get our money worth - just. As for the rest of the ship - and the Braemar is a small cruise ship - make no mistake - the décor looked faded, the on board entertainment was so so, the acts a bit dated and the two "pools" (and I use that term lightly) - small and dingy. The ship is extremely noisy when arriving at its ports of call and due to its small size any movement of the ship is greatly amplified. All in all - the ships company were pleasant enough, the serving attendants were somewhat efficient, the cruise locations were reasonable - albeit the stays a little too short for my liking - however I would not travel on this ship again. After note - having written to Fred. Olsen lines on our return to complain about the delays / changes in a positive manner - we received a nice apologetic letter basically telling us how good their transport arrangements / companies normally are and oh yes tough titty, no we don't see any reason to give you anything in the way of something more for your trouble. THANKS FRED !! Guess we will vote with our feet and spend our money with someone else next time!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
As a birthday present to ourselves, my husband and I booked our very first cruise experience with Fred.OLSEN departing on 23 February for 16 nights. The voyage was a plane journey from London Gatwick to Bridgetown Barbados where we joined ... Read More
As a birthday present to ourselves, my husband and I booked our very first cruise experience with Fred.OLSEN departing on 23 February for 16 nights. The voyage was a plane journey from London Gatwick to Bridgetown Barbados where we joined the MS Braemar. After visiting St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and St Maarten, followed by six days cruising, we'd arrive in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal before heading home for the port of Dover. With a full daily programme whilst at sea, from the minute we rose till going to bed time, there was little opportunity of being bored. I indulged in beginners' dance classes with Mike & Jan, read numerous books, either brought on board, or borrowed from the Braemar library. This holiday, was after all, an occasion of not only celebration of a significant life landmark, but also a chance to wind down and recharge our batteries. Learning seafaring terminology ie aft, stern, port and starboard, monkey fists, and enjoying the ship's captain's daily bulletin over the tannoy at 12.00 noon, became part and parcel of our daily conversations, as my husband has sailed for many years, and shared this part of his hobby with me. Our fears of being seated with fellow passengers at dinner with whom we had nothing in common were totally unfounded - we enjoyed tales of previous cruises taken by our fellow diners, and a whole host of amusing life tales. True, we were a motley 'crew' but diversity of lives contributed to a 'festival' of true stories in glorious technicolor. The Braemar's chef produced a feast for the eyes, with daily lunch time salad buffets and hot meals (including fish, meat, pasta choices and roast), as well as afternoon tea, and late night suppers - too much for us to manage, but which other fellow passengers eagerly feasted upon. All were supervised and served by friendly Thai and Philippine crew, who also turned their hands to a joyful rendition of 'Happy Birthday to You' or 'Congratulations' when the occasion demanded! Our visits ashore offered a taster of the particular island when we arrived in port - my particular favourites were St Maarten and Sao Miguel - whether I'll return at some future point is unclear - but a sense of their past, culture, beauty and people will abide with me for ever. On board the beauty salon offered daily 'specials' and I must admit, my first ever reflexology session was a revelation. Deck games, art and craft lessons, napkin folding, an impressive fitness room which my husband visited daily, lectures and of course, chats with fellow passengers made our 16 nights on MS Braemar a holiday to remember. As 'first-timers' our experience was surpassed by the many people we met who were cruising for the umpteenth time. Janet was about to complete her 24th! One of my fears had been crossing the Atlantic, but as it happened, we had a superb crossing, with a force 3-5 on most days. I didn't even have to reach for sea/motion sickness tablets once. We cruised an average 15 knots per hour, but made such good progress that our speed slowed down in the English Channel so we wouldn't arrive too early in Dover. Will we cruise again? Yes, most probably, and almost certainly with Fred.Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I booked this cruise almost a year ago to be away for my husband's 80th birthday. We took family members with us making a party of 8. We took the upgrade offered us to the owners suite. We sailed from Tenerife with Monarch. I know now ... Read More
I booked this cruise almost a year ago to be away for my husband's 80th birthday. We took family members with us making a party of 8. We took the upgrade offered us to the owners suite. We sailed from Tenerife with Monarch. I know now how sardines feel as we were packed in very tightly not allowing room for my table to be used. Food was an extra. When we arrived we were taken by bus to the Port and soon shown on board. Our cabin was superb, decorated for Christmas that included a Christmas tree. I had forgotten how attentive all the staff were. Our last cruise on the QM2 was not in the same category for service and food. On the Braemar beautifully laundered table cloths and napkins in all the restaurants as opposed to a Motorway style café on QM2. Far superior quality of food with excellent waiter service at all times. My son-in -law who suffers from Crones was met by the Head Chef given menus in advance and had meals specially cooked for him. Service far above expectations. On the day of our Birthday party the Maître D gave us 2 bottles of Champagne for breakfast and our table was decorated with balloons and a banner. The waiters joined in our celebrations. This is a very happy ship with all the staff very courteous and friendly. P & O and Cunard could learn a lot and improve their image. The prices on board were a fraction of those paid on other ships. Cunard's wine list started at $45. We paid an average of £18.00 for a decent bottle. The Spa charges were less than a third of Cunard and P & O. I know the American's are prepared to pay these ridiculous charges and it is not as though they are any better. I know that we will not again use Cunard or P & O - lovely ships - but 'rip off' prices and 2nd class service. Thank you Fred Olsen for a great cruise with excellent service and food. Thoroughly good value. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
Went with Fred Olson's Balmoral in November 2013 and was very disappointed - not with the Caribbean but with the ship itself. We were allocated 2nd seating for evening meal and as my husband has IBS it was too late to eat, when we ... Read More
Went with Fred Olson's Balmoral in November 2013 and was very disappointed - not with the Caribbean but with the ship itself. We were allocated 2nd seating for evening meal and as my husband has IBS it was too late to eat, when we asked to change to 1st sitting we could only if we paid £4 per night WHY!!!! Overall the food was good - but beware of themed nights - Chinese, indian or thai - if you plan to use Palms buffet restaurant as there is no alternative if you don't like that particular theme. The daytime activities weren't particulary exciting - lectures on wildlife, royalty through the ages, plenty of bridge !!!! Line/sequence dancing classes also craft and painting classes. Nightime entertainment was pretty mediocre too. There were a couple of quizzes during the day but the entertainment crew just raced through them as if they were on a strict time-table even when they were late in starting - this also applied to the bingo. We found that although we're both in our 60s nothing was very stimulating - Fred Olson must think that 60yr olds are all past having fun of any sort. Overall as far as sea days were concerned they were boring !!!! We have done other cruises and understand that maintainence is a continual occurrence - however on Balmoral the crew actually did structural work during the day putting 3 new sets of doors in on the Marquee deck (11 where the swimming pool and sunbeds were), this lasted at least a fortnight. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Just returned from 32 day Caribbean cruise on Balmoral. Absolutely fabulous except for the All-inclusive guests (the most of them) Drinking seems to be a way of life for many, so good luck to the and their livers. However when it seriously ... Read More
Just returned from 32 day Caribbean cruise on Balmoral. Absolutely fabulous except for the All-inclusive guests (the most of them) Drinking seems to be a way of life for many, so good luck to the and their livers. However when it seriously intrudes on the enjoyment of other guests, I draw the line. The usual range of middle-aged men prop up the bar from coffee time to dinner on sea days. They sit there getting louder and louder (and uncouth) Spoiling other people's relaxation in the Morning Light pub, and the musicians when they are playing. In the lounges in the evening others are at massive consumption in a small time, so performers are drowned out by raucous talking/ laughter. which again spoils the majority enjoyment. It goes on over dinner too in the Ballindoloch restaurant the noise was incredible, to the point that people opted for peace in the palms café, where drinks were harder to order! Some were openly bragging on just how much they had "run-up" on their cabin accounts, and many just felt non-inclusive guests were subsidising these people. Many guests thought Fred should review this new policy, as we won't be going with them again until it is stopped, or we find the few cruises that are not all-inclusive. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My wife and I are both retired. I was a wine consultant and my wife a medical professional. We both enjoy the sun and we both enjoy Cruising. Because of when we had to book in at Gatwick, we stayed overnight at the Gatwick Worth Hotel and ... Read More
My wife and I are both retired. I was a wine consultant and my wife a medical professional. We both enjoy the sun and we both enjoy Cruising. Because of when we had to book in at Gatwick, we stayed overnight at the Gatwick Worth Hotel and left our car at Gatwick. We flew from Gatwick to Montego Bay to join our ship Fred Olsen's Braemar. This was to be our third cruise on this ship and our second aboard Braemar. The ship was "stretched" a few years ago, with a new piece inserted in the middle. This on deck 5 is where the library is found easily by the sound of snoring. There are 7 or 8 bars around the ship from pool bars to quiet club bars. Also 3 Restaurants, one of which is buffet style. Wherever you eat the food is superb. Michelin style.The waiting staff were excellent, attentive and friendly. There was an excellent wine list, reasonably priced.There are two entertainment areas so there could be two different shows on at the same time.The shows were excellent, West End standard. Other features are 2 pools, 2 jacuzies a golf driving range and other sporting activities including carpet bowls, shuffleboard and putting. a fully equipped fitness centre and beauty salon. Plenty of shops with reasonably price goods. There is an internet room, and other activities such as Quizzes, Lectures and special interest subjects plus talks on ports of call. Like all cruise lines their excursions are expensive. We did 2. In Cozumel I visited Mayan Ruins while my wife took the scenic tour. In Cuba we toured panoramic Havana taking in a rum factory.At every port we could get off ship and do our own thing. We did this a lot with other passengers hiring mini-bus taxis. By doing this we could go and stop where we wanted. We did this in Tortola, Martinique and Bermuda. Other ports we just wandered around the local area. The cruise finished in Bermuda where we disembarked. This was done very efficiently by deck. We then were taken to the airport to fly home.This was a super cruise on a super ship that I would recommend to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2010
Having only been on far larger ships with Cunard and Celebrity, my wife and I booked Fred Olsen after research and finding mostly good reviews. Embarkation for our 28 day Caribbean cruise was straight forward and well organised. ... Read More
Having only been on far larger ships with Cunard and Celebrity, my wife and I booked Fred Olsen after research and finding mostly good reviews. Embarkation for our 28 day Caribbean cruise was straight forward and well organised. Cabin Ours was an outside 2 port hole cabin on the 4th deck, clean, tidy, and a good size, a little near the bow but expected with such a late booking. Our cabin stewardess was absolutely wonderful! Black Watch Ship Smaller than many new cruise ships, which gave it a much more interesting and intimate feel. You get to know fellow passengers on a daily basis rather than passing them once. Fred Olsen passengers on the whole are retired, interesting and friendly folk. The ship was refitted December 2009 and public areas are of a good comfortable standard with many where you can simply sit and read a book if that is your thing. Otherwise there is a full itinerary of activities and quizzes to keep your body and brain active and we met new friends this way. Food and Service The main restaurant was an absolute delight, food was of an excellent standard and quality, and typical daily dinner menu might include lamb shank, duck, steak, curries and various tasty vegetarian options. There was also a deck buffet for lunchtime diners and tasty fish and chips or burgers could be got from the upper decks weather permitting. There is also a supper club where diners can eat a hot or cold meal between 11-12pm. We also ordered complimentary room service from our cabin, snacks were excellent this way! Service from restaurant staff and on the ship as a whole was generally of the highest standard, the overriding impression was that Fred Olsen staff really did care about you, many of who took the trouble to always remember your name, a really nice Fred Olsen personal touch. Facilities The wood panelled Library was well stocked with comfortable seating, all areas including the bars on the ship generally had a comfy feel to them. The gym was well equipped with modern weights and cardiovascular equipment. There was also a well equipped laundry with washing machines and dryers and a dry cleaning service available. Overall Impression We were both impressed with the Fred Olsen experience and can understand why the majority of Fred Olsen ships have repeat passengers on board. In fact, as soon as we got off the ship we booked the 77 day Black Watch South American cruise leaving on 5th January 2011 in a few weeks. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2008
I have been on 20 plus cruises on Celebrity, Royal Cruise Line, Princess, First European, Fred Olsen and NCL. This by far was my best cruise. I sailed on the Balmoral 12 times when she was the Crown Odyssey built in 1988 for Royal Cruise ... Read More
I have been on 20 plus cruises on Celebrity, Royal Cruise Line, Princess, First European, Fred Olsen and NCL. This by far was my best cruise. I sailed on the Balmoral 12 times when she was the Crown Odyssey built in 1988 for Royal Cruise Line. She was never a 20 year old ferry as one reviewer described her. She was one of the most innovated and modern ships of her time. I am happy to say that her rescue from NCL by Fred Olsen was a miracle. We flew from Minneapolis to Miami and were on the ship in 5 minutes after reaching port. At first I was worried what I might see. Upon boarding I was delighted to see her lobby and atrium in the pristine condition I remembered from my first cruise. Bright and shiny looking like new. I felt like I was home again. I was led to my cabin on the same deck ( 6 ) which was in the newer part of the ship that had been lengthened. Large, comfortable and a ton of closet space. I immediately took a tour of the ship. Not much had changed outside of the new section. All new carpeting and furnishings through out the ship. The new Library and internet cafe were fabulous. The new restaurant, Avon and Spey were very nicely appointed. I had late seating in the Avon. I was a little worried about the food being a British ship but found it to be some of the best I have had on a cruise. I'm pretty much a meat and potatoes guy and I decided to eat at the buffet one night since there was no beef item on the menu that night in the main dining room. They had a fantastic beef stew. When the waiter asked the rest of my friends why I wasn't at dinner they explained I only wanted beef for dinner and it wasn't on the menu. He got the Maitre De ( I don't know how to spell it ) who contacted me and assured me I would have steak every night if I wanted. From that night on I had steak! Talk about service! My girlfriend wanted unsweetened ice tea which wasn't available. 2 days later they had it every day in the Palms Cafe. I've read that people couldn't find enough deck chairs. Somewhat true but you can't have 1300 chairs for 1300 passengers. On deck 11 where the new pool is located the available space for lounging and sunning in at least a third of what the ship had before. I never had a problem finding a place to sit or relax. The bar staff was the best I have ever experienced on a ship. Cocktails were never forced on you but you never had to wait if you wanted a drink. Tipping was almost a chore! Nothing was ever put on your account and no tips were added to your drink tab. I had to go to the pursers desk to get envelopes for the tips for my waiter and cabin attendant. I also gave $20 each to the three bartenders who worked the Lido Bar where we spent some time. Again the best service I have ever received on a cruise. I still can't believe many passengers said they weren't going to tip since it wasn't added to their bill. These were mostly Brits. And they call us the ugly Americans. From my friends alone each bartender made over $100 for the 10 day cruise. Entertainment was terrific from The Music Of Your Life's Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Buddy Morrow to all the other singers and the great Staff Show. We missed one port which I will go to in at a later date but added a port which hadn't been scheduled. All in all I couldn't have asked for a better cruise. If you want great service and food on a smaller ship make it a cruise on Fred Olsen. Disembarkation was a pain in the backside but that's US Customs not Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
This was our second Fred. Olsen (FO) cruise in six months (first was Black Watch to Arctic in June), and the first on the Braemar. Being an FO fly-cruise, the 2 Monarch flights from the UK were exclusively for FO passengers, which made for ... Read More
This was our second Fred. Olsen (FO) cruise in six months (first was Black Watch to Arctic in June), and the first on the Braemar. Being an FO fly-cruise, the 2 Monarch flights from the UK were exclusively for FO passengers, which made for a good atmosphere (where the free drinks helped to compensate for the cramped conditions). A major FO plus is that you check your bags at, say, Gatwick and the next time you see them they're in your cabin. All customs/immigration matters are also dealt with for you making for a very smooth embarkation (other cruise lines take note). Braemar is a good size (700-odd pax) but FO is about to rebuild it to 1000+ therefore we won't be repeating this experience (we don't fancy anything with more pax). Smallish size makes for a more interesting itinerary (eg. Port Antonio, Jamaica; Bequia etc) but you still get parked up next to megaships who double a Caribbean island's population at a stroke. Layout was not as good as Black Watch (which has a great Observation lounge above the bridge, and a better wraparound deck); the Braemar's promenade deck has many narrow sections, meaning you have to walk in single file, especially if plenty of people are walking off those calories. The food was OK but disappointing given it was Christmas. We ate mostly in the Thistle (a la carte) restaurant, 2nd sitting (you'd be mad to go first) on a table for 6 (we were not optimally matched). We can recommend special buffet dinners (eg. Indian/Chinese) in the Palms Cafe. Food service was OK, whereas the winelist was praiseworthy for both its breadth and good value (but too few winewaiters to deal with the demand). Our cabin was quite good, but we'd traded up to restricted-view on top deck (7) which meant we were ideally located. The age range WAY older than we had expected for the Caribbean at Christmas, but most people we chatted to were interesting/GSOH. Entertainment was not our scene but if you're an ITV viewer/Sun reader rather than a BBC viewer/Times reader you'll probably enjoy it. This cruise was more suited to children than most, but the FO experience is not particularly one for kids (unless perhaps there are lots of them and they're travelling with much loved grandparents). FO is definitely a cruise line to choose if you fancy getting your best duds on, but don't necessarily fancy Cunard, P&O etc. FO excursions were WAY too expensive, given you could replicate most of them by grabbing a taxi for 25% of FO's prices. The only day we tendered ashore showed up the fact the FO is no good at this (our only other experience was on the Royal Clipper, which was exemplary); having to sit in the gloom of the Neptune lounge for over half an hour waiting to be given a tender ticket by some administratively ineffective girl while the Caribbean sun was beating down outside was not a highlight of this holiday. Disembarkation at Barbados was always going to be a nightmare but this was eased by immigration being processed onboard at breakfast time, in the same way as the outbound was taken care of (again, other cruise lines take note). In summary, not a cheap holiday but enjoyable and we would certainly undertake a Caribbean cruise again if we could find the right combination of interesting itinerary, smallish ship and good onboard experience. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
As an alternative to the larger mega ships in the Caribbean, the Braemar is a wonderful surprise. At 19,000 tons, she is small enough to slip into more secluded Caribbean ports such as St. Barts and Virgin Gorda, yet ample sized enough to ... Read More
As an alternative to the larger mega ships in the Caribbean, the Braemar is a wonderful surprise. At 19,000 tons, she is small enough to slip into more secluded Caribbean ports such as St. Barts and Virgin Gorda, yet ample sized enough to supply all the creature comforts any cruise passenger could possibly want. If you want large, roomy cabins, this possibly isn't your ship. Standard insides and outsides come in at around 140 sq. ft., but they are ingeniously thought through, comfortable and immaculate. Yes, you'll dance with the shower curtain, but the shower itself is great. Storage space is a little tight for two but, as you're in the Caribbean, informal is largely the order of the day in any event. Suites with balconies -- twelve of them -- range from 220-300 sq. ft, but even these are shower only. Good balconies, though. Public rooms are mainly on five deck. From fore to aft, the Neptune Lounge has poor sight lines from behind some columns, and has seating at a right angle to the bow. Next on, the gorgeous Braemar Lounge is kitted out in soft butterscotch, with obvious, but not overwhelming, Scottish touches. This is the piano lounge and the pianist, Glen, is superb. Lovely for pre dinner cocktails. Walking aft, you pass the shops, hotel and shore excursions desk and enter the Coral Club, a lounge hosting live bands and entertainment. This is at the crossroads of an almost unique, five story glass walled atrium and brass accented staircase. Offset by a huge floor to ceiling mural, this part of the ship is simply stunning without being glitzy. It fills the ship with light. One deck down, the Thistle Restaurant has windows on three sides, fine personalised service and food which is definitely above the ship's four star rating. In seven cruises, I have never eaten an indifferent meal there. One level above Coral, the Palms Cafe offers Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner buffets tailored to Olsen's British clientele. They can be predictable, but the quality is again higher than you might expect. Top deck, the Skylark Disco will play until you drop, but don't expect late night partying on this ship. The average passenger is older, and hardly likely to be doing the Hustle at three in the morning. At the stern, a series of terraced lido decks, beautifully laid with blue cushioned wooden tables and chairs cascade right down to the flagstaff. I have yet to discover a more idyllic lounging spot afloat, that after sixty-six cruises. At night, with some wine, a few friends and a canopy of stars, it is simply magical. The blue matted pool deck comes with a small plunge pool and a pair of bubbling hot tubs. Sun loungers, tables and chairs flank the edges, the whole served by the Marquee Bar under its shade. Some lunchtimes, a band will play for an hour or so to get people in the mood. The gym, while light and airy is small, but adequate for the number of avowed fitness fanatics on each trip. Entertainment -- geared to the older English crowd, so expect end-of-the-pier production shows, though the singers and dancers work their hearts out. Musicians and some of the comedians are generally superb, and the line provides excellent on board lecture programmes. Braemar's strong point is undoubtedly her crew. Pleasant, efficient and hard working to a fault, they are quite simply a delight to travel with and always remember returning guests. This is all the more amazing when one sees how crabby, condescending and downright petulant some of the older passengers can be. Again, they are a small minority, no more or less than on any other ship. This ship will surprise and delight you in many ways, large and small. Overnight stays in Barbados each cruise are a real bonus, and the charter flight arrangements, out and back, are seamless, with check in for the return flight done aboard ship on the last day. If you sail on this ship once, the odds are, you will want to do so again. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise