2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a ... Read More
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a great experience departing from Liverpool. Easy to get to, drop the luggage, park the car and get on board. We arrived 1 hour before we were due on board but this was no problem and we got straight onto the ship. The ship is lovely and to a good standard. Small and very welcoming. We have a porthole cabin on deck 4 with 4 bunks and was fine for us. Very clean and the house keeper was amazing. She even knitted my daughter an outfit for her bear. Staff at the restaurants were all really good and made us feel really welcome. They got to know us so well that they always had 2 glasses of apple juice ready for our daughter and new to bring her loads of ketchup for her dinner! All the staff in general were great and very friendly. Entertainment was good and we went to the show after dinner every night and during the day there was a full itinerary of what was on offer. We stopped at Flåm, Olden and Bergen in Norway and Lerwick in Scotland. We had great weather at all the stops so we were lucky. Our favourite was olden as it’s such a lovely place. At Flåm you would really need to do an excursion as there is not a great deal to do there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I ... Read More
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I don't travel light. My husband had also requested a table for two and this was met. The Glentanar was a lovely, light, spacious Dining room, the breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent as was the waiter service dinner with excellent menu. We had lovely waiters but there were one or two who were not the friendliest. For our Anniversary Dinner we dined in the Black Watch Restaurant which again of high standard, my husband declared his steak one of the best ever. The ship was spotlessly clean in all areas, the Neptune Lounge especially pleasing.The Captain and Crew helped to make this a very special time for us. Flower Arrangement, bottle of Cava when we arrived and on the Day a lovely card, gift and Cava in Ice Bucket delivered to our suite along with our card from the Queen. In the evening we were presented with a lovely Happy Anniversary cake. These were all done in a very tasteful, no fuss way which we appreciated very much. My husband did have to visit the Cruise Doctor, again efficient attention.All in all this was a most memorable holiday, with wonderful scenery, off shore excursions and very relaxing on board atmosphere. Our first Fred Olsen Cruise but hopefully not our last.Thank you to everyone who helped in making this a very happy memorable occasion. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely ... Read More
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely fantastic quality with plenty of choice. The dining staff were also so attentive, friendly and professional. We requested a table for two for our evening meal and at breakfast we generally sat at a table for 2 or 4. At lunch time we sometimes were seated at a larger table and always enjoyed the company. We didn’t get involved in too many onboard activities but there are certainly plenty to choose from. I did a yoga class at the well equipped gym and had 2 treatments in the spa which were very relaxing. We attended the show each evening in the Neptune lounge and some were really good, 1 or 2 were a bit outdated. The destination lectures are well worth attending or watching on your cabin tv if you miss out. To break up the relaxing cruise we booked all active shore tours from Fred Olsen and can recommend them to anyone looking for a more active way to spend time ashore. Flåm railway with hiking was great. In Olden we took a lake cruise then got a bus to the sky lift. At the sky lift you have refreshments and free time to walk or admire the view before returning by bus to the port. We then had 2 hours left to wander around the most beautiful local area. I also paddled in the Fjord as the weather was hot. In Bergen we took a cycle tour in the morning which then allowed us the whole afternoon to visit the places we wanted to explore further. ( we walked up higher in the city and went running then visited the UNESCO area) in Lerwick we took a sea kayaking trip. We were picked up and driven to the bay and kitted out. A dad and daughter duo then helped us get comfortable with all the basics of kayaking before guiding us around the most breathtaking coastal wildlife areas for 3 hours. We were surrounded by seals, some moved away and other followed us around. Above us flew guillemots and gannets and some of us were very lucky to see a sea otter. There would just have been enough time to head to the town but we chose to go back aboard for the afternoon tea that day.. It’s worth mentioning that the scenery is fantastic along the way in Norway and with sunsets after 11pm in July there is plenty of time to enjoy and take photos. It would be very hard to fault anything on this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary . The fact that it sailed from Liverpool was an added bonus as we have always wanted to visit the city. We were not disappointed with our three night stay before boarding. Embarkation at the ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary . The fact that it sailed from Liverpool was an added bonus as we have always wanted to visit the city. We were not disappointed with our three night stay before boarding. Embarkation at the cruise terminal was efficient and speedy. The car parking arrangements worked well. We had a balcony suite cabin and were very pleased with its size and the facilities. This cruise sailed within sight of land most of the time and the fact that we were in the land of the midnight sun meant we could enjoy many hours of sightseeing from the comfort of our balcony. The ship itself is small by today’s standards but we don’t need shopping malls or climbing walls. There were lots of shore days so there were plenty of opportunities to get off the ship and walk in the lovely Norwegian countryside. We were very impressed by the standard of food offered at all meals. The menus were varied and the food tasty and hot. The service was impeccable. The wines on offer were very well chosen and priced competitively. The entertainment was standard fare for cruise ships. The young entertainment team provided some jolly themed Beatles and Brit pop shows. My husband particularly enjoyed the ukulele lessons with Ivy on sea days. We have sailed with several of the leading cruise companies and we felt that our experience on Black Watch surpassed them in the quality of the food and fairness of price for wine and gratuities. We shared a table for 6 and our dining companions were great fun. All the staff we came in contact with spoke excellent English and indeed could share a joke with the passengers. We did not go on any of the ships tours preferring to use local buses and do our own thing for the most part. Very easy to do as Norwegians speak excellent English and were very helpful. We did use a local tour group called Blue Puffin to visit the North Cape and they were excellent. We enjoyed all the ports of call. Trondheim has an interesting folk museum just a short bus ride out of town. We enjoyed the cable car ride in Tromsø with spectacular views from the top. Leknes was pleasant but very small however the Viking museum at Borg was a taxi ride from the port and well worth a visit - with a lovely walk down to see the Viking long ship. The North Cape visitor centre was well done. The Alta museum with its World Heritage rock art centre has spectacular view from well laid out paths. Go early and catch the local bus which runs regularly and miss the crowds. Kristiansund was a bit disappointing . Very picturesque but not much of interest locally. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose this cruise because the itinery seemed to meet our rquirements. Unfortunately the captain took the decision not to go to Shetland due to bad weather. While we accept his decision we felt more could be done to make up for this. All ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the itinery seemed to meet our rquirements. Unfortunately the captain took the decision not to go to Shetland due to bad weather. While we accept his decision we felt more could be done to make up for this. All the people we spoke to said this was the port of call they were looking forward to the most. Instead we had 2 nights rather than one at Invergordon (NOT a holiday desination) Two buses were laid on at nearly £30 a time to go into Inverness (perhaps to offer this free would have been a nice gesture?) We took the local bus for about £11. Any other attraction was a long trip and expensive. Other things we were not happy with - Firstly , the car park in Liverpool was hard to find. Inadequate map and sat nav took you to a building site (not Fred Olson rsponsibility) - cabin noise (see below) Buffet area quite small, not always able to get a table at busy times - While the ship was well maintained there was no main staircase or reception area and the entertainment was mediocre . - many of the staff had a poor grasp of English which could be a problem, particularly at guest services - WiFi expensive - Timing given in port were misleading for example 'late p.m actually meant about 3.30 in the afternoon. - Tours were very expensive, there were 4 of us so it made more sense to book a private taxi to take us to the places we wanted to see, which worked out fine. - Passengers were mostly quite elderly and infirm so activities were geared up for this. I did sometimes feel I was sitting in the common room of an old peoples home rather than a cruise ship! - Finally the disembarkation process was not a happy experience, but mostly this was due to the facilites at Liverpool cruise terminal Good points, main dining room was nice and our waiters were freindly and helpful and there was a very good wine list at reasonable prices plus the food was excellent. Would not go with Fred Olson again Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
A first experience: both of Fred Olsen and departing from Liverpool. Overall a good experience. Everything very efficiently dealt with and we were put at ease by the professionalism of the staff. The food was very good and plentiful. Our ... Read More
A first experience: both of Fred Olsen and departing from Liverpool. Overall a good experience. Everything very efficiently dealt with and we were put at ease by the professionalism of the staff. The food was very good and plentiful. Our selected dining option was much appreciated. The bar staff were helpful and efficient. The entertainment was different each evening and very professional. The excursions we went on (Tobermory and Kirkwall) were very good - with knowledgeable guides. A comfortable cabin: not large but sufficient for our needs. We had a problem with a very noisy ventilation in our bathroom, which took two complaints (to the cabin staff and then the guest office) to get an engineer tp sort it out. The ship is also quite old and creaks a lot. Our cabin had a perpetual squeak from the door hinges when we were at sea. We also had an initial difficulty with the bar staff at sail-away time. They failed to deliver a drinks order, which necessitated three visits to the bar to chase it up: then when it arrived it was the wrong drinks. Then at our first breakfast, we made an order off the menu (rather than choosing the buffet) and it failed to materialise. After 30 minutes, one order arrived, then after I had finished, the other order appeared. We did complain and after that, we had no further problems. They blamed a "busy kitchen" - but others around us received their orders and had left before our food arrived. But overall the food and the service we received in all the eateries was first class. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just back from 28 day cruise on Olsen’s Black Watch. We are in our early 60 s and very active, most on the cruise are in their eighties plus, low mobility and not active. Great for them to get a cruise holiday but frustrating if you want ... Read More
Just back from 28 day cruise on Olsen’s Black Watch. We are in our early 60 s and very active, most on the cruise are in their eighties plus, low mobility and not active. Great for them to get a cruise holiday but frustrating if you want plenty of activity. Golf putting, carpet bowls in the corridor, whist, bingo, British singalong dress nights did not appeal. Ship was being constantly worked on so noise all over including windows being replaced on upper decks, toilets not working, information about destinations not great or non existent. The entertainment ranges from amateurish to good, the crew provide a lot of input. It is an old creaky ship which during storms bounced around. Disembarkation was appalling with low mobility people having and causing problems. A double decker bus shuttled people to trains with lower deck for suitcases including zimmer framed etc. and upper deck for passengers. The late arrival and departure of these ‘coaches’ caused many of us to miss our connections. Food is okay, staff ok, gym a bit limited, all areas busy and yapping all the time. All in all a great cruise for those who have low mobility but a snooze fest for others Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Local departure Liverpool Ships staff very friendly and well trained in serving guests. Some of the ship has been refurbished in a very modern and pleasing way other parts are rather lacking in style and colour and need bringing up to ... Read More
Local departure Liverpool Ships staff very friendly and well trained in serving guests. Some of the ship has been refurbished in a very modern and pleasing way other parts are rather lacking in style and colour and need bringing up to date. I had cabin 7041 which was quite spacious with a terrace balcony, the bathroom was dated although well maintained and clean bed quite comfy and linen of good quality pillows not the my liking next time I will take my own. The ports of call were all very interesting many of attraction were within walking distance of the ship. The food on board was excellent the executive chief was very visible and asking her guest how they enjoyed the food. Enjoyed most of the entertainment by the show group. There is a cinema room onboard and as we had a number of rather rough days at sea it would have been nice to watch a film in the afternoon but they were only screen in the evening overall I like the ship and the staff are very pleasant and professional Fred just needs to up his game a bit by bring his ships up to date. Still I've booked another cruise for next year on the same ship from same departure point in the same cabin so I must like it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
the time was right and some good places to visit and trip was good and food and service excellent good value for money. the cruise director had a snuffly cold and was announcing things over the tannoy and you could hear her sniffles ... Read More
the time was right and some good places to visit and trip was good and food and service excellent good value for money. the cruise director had a snuffly cold and was announcing things over the tannoy and you could hear her sniffles (not a good impression ) the toilets had no hot water in them and when we told the desk they said they would look into it. needless to say it was not fixed and as everywhere notices were posted about washing your hands to avoid the novo virus this should have been rectified. overall the ship was neat and catered for disabled guests the food excellent and the staff were very helpful and were quick to remember what you had ordered before so proving how attentive they were there was a change of ports due to the yellow jackets being in Bordeaux so we missed them but this did not affect us and it was done with safety in mind Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We knew we had made an expensive mistake with this cruise when we saw the other passengers at Southampton - we are in our late sixties/early seventies but we felt like teenagers compared with the rest of the passengers. During the course ... Read More
We knew we had made an expensive mistake with this cruise when we saw the other passengers at Southampton - we are in our late sixties/early seventies but we felt like teenagers compared with the rest of the passengers. During the course of the voyage we saw a few passengers younger than us - but that was it - a few! Embarkation and disembarkation was extremely efficient and we cannot fault anybody for that. The crew were fantastic and really helpful and we both really enjoyed the food. However, there were a lot of sea days and there was nothing to do. There was an ex BBC producer who gave some very good talks but after that it was all extremely boring if you didn't play bridge. The entertainment was amateur - there was one guest male singer who was very good and we enjoyed the crew show but otherwise we were very unimpressed. We went often in case it improved but we sat at the back so we could get out when we had had enough - we generally didn't last long. There were a couple of good pianists in the bars though. What really finished us off was not having enough time in port - particularly Lisbon. The itinerary said we would leave 'late pm' and we were looking forward to having a whole day there. However we had to be back on board by 15:30 - on what planet does half past 3 in the afternoon equate to 'late pm'? We were really disappointed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Care of the customer seems to have become secondary to profit. A92 yr old pensioner had to be admitted to hospital in Cherbourg but was released as fit a few hours later. We saw him at 1pm sitting in the drafty embarkation shed having been ... Read More
Care of the customer seems to have become secondary to profit. A92 yr old pensioner had to be admitted to hospital in Cherbourg but was released as fit a few hours later. We saw him at 1pm sitting in the drafty embarkation shed having been refused entry to the ship despite the fact the hospital had discharged him as fit to travel, he was 50 meters from the ship,and the ship was not due to sail until 7.30pm. Having made a noisy protest at customer services whose only response was 'we cannot tell you anything' he and partner were finally allowed back on board. All we could do was to mention the Press and hope for the best. They were 12 hrs from Southampton but were expected to get a taxi and three trains to get to the port in the UK to get their luggage which was still on the ship. A truly disgraceful way to treat anyone. Ports and excursions left a lot to be desired. We apparently did not always get our normal births so shuttle buses were used, these dropped you off where they felt like rather the centre of towns, lots of walking on rough pavements. Lisbon was cancelled due to the weather, whose bright idea was Cherburg as a replacement? Entertainment was very good, the new dancing troupe were excellent. Food was adequate but small portions and not as good as before. Restaurants appear to be understaffed. My wife was confined to the cabin for over 30 hours following something she ate, and received a letter saying how grateful they were that she obeyed the guidelines, and as a reward she was offered £71 - off the next cruise booking within the next 12 months. We are speechless. Needless to say, we will not be using their offer. Our disappointment at the whole episode, which should have been a happy break, is now a very miserable experience, not to be repeated. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I wish I’d seen several of the recent comments before I booked on Black Watch. There is so little to merit this ship apart from a very loyal and overworked crew. I have no idea why it has such an apparently loyal following from ... Read More
I wish I’d seen several of the recent comments before I booked on Black Watch. There is so little to merit this ship apart from a very loyal and overworked crew. I have no idea why it has such an apparently loyal following from passengers, although maybe I will when I’m in my 80s which seemed to be the average age on board! The itinerary seemed good when I booked but we spent the minimum amount of time in several ports which seemed to be to save money rather than give passengers a real chance of seeing anywhere. They then sailed slowly to the next port to save money on fuel I guess? I wasn’t the only one who felt this! The food is only just above average unless you like traditional bland food. The fixed dining is out of date – we were allocated the 8.30 sitting which is far too late and the earlier sitting would have been too early! Thankfully they do have a café style restaurant Brigadoon which was generally very good and rarely crowded in the evening. It was packed by day especially as this is the only place to get afternoon tea! The coffee on board is terrible unless you pay for a coffee in one of the numerous bars. We chose the wrong fare so paid an exorbitant amount but even on one of the ‘drinks included’ packages, we were told by fellow passengers that it doesn’t include coffees! Come on, there is no reason not to have a decent coffee machine using actual coffee beans as all catering companies and other cruise lines such as P & O do! I also felt Fred were encouraging people to drink far too much alcohol especially spirits as well as wine and beer with all meals which is contrary to modern advice about drinking. I didn’t purchase a drinks package because of this and found their Freedom fare is no such thing, especially if you book late because it doesn’t even include the gratuities! The entertainment was very predictable and repetitive. The speakers were knowledgeable but their delivery was very poor. The only good classical concerts (of which there were only 2 in 14 days) were from a privately booked group. Many activities such as craft and some fitness classes have a supplementary payment which seems outrageous given the high prices. I have never known this on other cruise ships. The air conditioning was terrible in our very noisy cabin. I guess it is set high for an old people’s home which is what it felt like. The only cool place on the ship (apart from outside) was the Observatory so we spent lots of time there. To be fair, they do have lots of lounge space unlike many other boats but some areas especially near the theatre are very dated and gloomy especially at night. I am used to being able to walk around Promenade decks but don’t try this on any day with a glimpse of sunshine because you cant walk round the back of the ship without negotiating those in a bar who move their chairs to block the route! It seems the only way to get value from a Fred cruise if you can stand their very old fashioned approach is to book one of there 3 for 2 cruises packages but as I never want to go on one of their boats ever again, I have to live with very poor value! I very much agree with the comment about charging a 5* price, and delivering at best a 3* product, in fact it was more like 2*! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. ... Read More
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. The food was okay (safe/boring) but the main dining room tried to mix buffet service with (if you were lucky) a menu service. The staff work hard but appear to be too few - there were many times that I was offered ground pepper or sauces when I'd practically finished my meal, and cheese would arrive long before the biscuits to put it on. The public rooms/bars are more like corridors and none of the seating is very comfortable. The entertainment was good, especially some of the guest entertainers, however the lack of a stage meant that you could not see the feet of the tap dancer. My cabin was perfectly okay and just as described (although I did wonder how some of the many larger guests managed in the small single beds). It is what it is ... a cruise for "old" people - not necessarily judged by years but by attitudes and the type of social activities offered. The saving graces were the few good films on offer in the cinema, some of the speakers, especially James Fraser who gave talks on photography and using your camera (and phone camera!) and the staff themselves who were generally very happy and friendly. For my next cruise i will hopefully return to Celebrity Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise to see the South Pacific and avoid much of the English winter. We have cruised a lot, including with Fred, so knew the pitfalls, which were mainly that this is an old ship with the sort of problems it may throw up. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the South Pacific and avoid much of the English winter. We have cruised a lot, including with Fred, so knew the pitfalls, which were mainly that this is an old ship with the sort of problems it may throw up. In the event, we got away with one episode of arcon failure, when some of us slept on deck, but were rewarded with a £75 sweetener. On the plus side, this was about as cheaply as we would be able to visit the remote islands of the South Pacific. Lectures were excellent, we played bridge on sea days and the ship was well run. Our biggest grumble - and this is a recurring theme with Fred - is their refusal to bring in what is now the industry standard of open seating for dinner. To stick with the old system of two sittings, in this case 6.15 or 8,30, is absurd, in fact the maitre d' admitted his job would be easier if they had open seating, as almost all other cruise lines do. If there is a sudden rush,just give people a pager and ask them to sit down for a few minutes, works a treat and we've never had to wait long. Apart from having to eat either too early or too late, the other big disadvantage with set seating is that you are stuck with the same table companions for the duration; if you want to do so,that's fine, but many of us like to meet a variety of guests. So come on Fred, join the rest of the world! In spite of the above grumbles, we had a great cruise and saw lots of interesting places in generally good weather. If you want a completely trouble-free cruise, go up-market - and pay the price! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Saw this advertised on our first ever cruise last April, and we were not disappointed. The Panama canal was awesome, and the South Pacific a lifetime experience. The lectures especially Peter on port excursions was funny and to the ... Read More
Saw this advertised on our first ever cruise last April, and we were not disappointed. The Panama canal was awesome, and the South Pacific a lifetime experience. The lectures especially Peter on port excursions was funny and to the point. James Fraser and the photography lectures were excellent my husband and I learnt such a lot, now I know how to use my camera on the phone, tablet and hand held camera. Please can he join our next cruise in July. We enjoyed the trip dispite the noisy neighbours in the next cabin so much that we rejoined the ship in Dubai 3 weeks after leaving in Brisbane, Australia. So we travelled section 2 and 4 of the world cruise. The other guests were delightful especially on our dinner table for both segments. The stewardess for cabins, bar and restaurant were helpful and friendly. A huge Thank you to the chaplain rev Richard frost and Jill his wife, the morning service on cruise days were always thoughtful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have ... Read More
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have to pay extra. Fred Olsen want extra money all the time, 10 pounds each for shuttle bus in Lanzarote, 16 pounds for 5 cappuccinos. My husband had a fall & was helped by a member of the bar staff, an officer walked by & ignored us. Same happened to a very frail lady, the Hotel manager just walked past her. We had been to all the ports before so didn't take any trips, which like all cruises are hugely overpriced. cabin was very comfy, we paid extra for a window, & we were well looked after by our lovely stewardess. The sea water swimming pool was lovely, nice & warm, a bit deep at 7 ft 1 end & nearly 6 at shallow end. Arriving back in Liverpool, was great, we were home within 45 minutes, a big bonus. Overall a good cruise, the weather could have been better. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because it sailed from Liverpool. Fed up of travelling from the north to Southampton. Food was generally good and as a vegetarian I had a good choice. Cabins were fresh and clean. beds and bedding were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it sailed from Liverpool. Fed up of travelling from the north to Southampton. Food was generally good and as a vegetarian I had a good choice. Cabins were fresh and clean. beds and bedding were very good. Entertainment was mediocre and so we didn’t go to the Neptune each night. Some of the entertainers had been on previous cruises. Ports of call In Canada were interesting but tours expensive. One walking tour cost £80. We had to be in The Neptune st 11.15 so we missed lunch. We were told we would be given a snack. This turned out to be a cereal bar and a bottle of water. There was nowhere on the walk to buy a sandwich. We returned to the ship around 5.30. Most people on the 11km walk were not pleased. After so many complaints we were given a 50% refund. Well done Fred. Unfortunately half way round our trip (26 days) we had a serious outbreak of Noro virus. This lasted until our return to Liverpool. We couldn’t use the pools, jacuzzis. Launderette etc. Salt and pepper was taken off the tables and food in the buffet had to be served by staff. We were constantly having our hands sanitized. The black watch is an old ship and there is constant noise of chip chip, grind grind, bang bang, drill drill. This reverberates into the cabin and is very annoying. Major rewiring was taking place during our cruise so ceiling panels were removed. The cabins are very creaky and I would advise taking ear plugs if you want a good nights sleep. Staff were very pleasant and friendly but I wouldn’t go on this ship again due to its age and the need for constant serious maintenance. 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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Interesting itinerary, including Norway, Svalbard and the Faroes. Black Watch is an old boat, but is comfortable. Other clients are self evidently fairly old, and mainly British. Being smaller, embarkation and disembarkation is ... Read More
Interesting itinerary, including Norway, Svalbard and the Faroes. Black Watch is an old boat, but is comfortable. Other clients are self evidently fairly old, and mainly British. Being smaller, embarkation and disembarkation is quick and efficient. We were impressed with the attention given to sanitation/handwashing, with regular reminders and lots of antiseptic liquid available. We enjoyed the varied, well prepared food. The ship has a number of black tie dinners, but didn't really differentiate the dining experiences on these nights, so I'm not really sure why they bother (and many guests weren't compliant with the dress code anyway). The entertainment was very good, especially the main dance troupe. The crew are exceptionally friendly, and service was always excellent. We travelled with a walking group so did not go on any FO excursions - however these looked interesting and at a reasonable price. The reason why we have downrated this cruise is solely because of our neighbours smoking on the balcony adjacent to us (see below). Unfortunately, this means we will not book with Fred Olsen again until they change their smoking policy. 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Itinary was the main reason for this trip. The outside cabin on the 4th deck was very good,comfy bed and kept perfectly clean by the housekeeper,there was "noise" but the ship is old and there were some rough seas to and from ... Read More
Itinary was the main reason for this trip. The outside cabin on the 4th deck was very good,comfy bed and kept perfectly clean by the housekeeper,there was "noise" but the ship is old and there were some rough seas to and from Iceland so it was noisy groaning and creaking also engine noise. The main dining room food was very good,service very slow but with good company on a 9 seater table just about exceptable,buffet area small and crowded,especally as the guest's were very old and slow,it did feel as if we were in an old people home most times. Entertainment was very good and well presented. The Black Watch is a small ship which might appeal to certain people,but not me,in rough seas it was like a cork in a bottle,did'nt suit me but there was a lot going for it other than that. Crew were excellent ,very helpfull. All inclusive drinks programme was very poor,only 4-5 spirits and a few beers, no cocktails at all even non alcohol ones ,coffee poor,better if you payed !!!!!!. Liverpool cruise terminal was a shambles,especialy with so many very elderly guests ,staff tried their best but to small for that many people,won'tbe keento go from there again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Wanted a short Cruise around North Scotland. House not far from Liverpool to pick the Ship up. 6 days before the Cruise Fred Olsen informed us that we would be bussed up to Rosyth from Liverpool staying overnight in Rosyth .(Due to a ... Read More
Wanted a short Cruise around North Scotland. House not far from Liverpool to pick the Ship up. 6 days before the Cruise Fred Olsen informed us that we would be bussed up to Rosyth from Liverpool staying overnight in Rosyth .(Due to a mechanical fault). The original itinerary was Liverpool>Fort William>Stornaway>Orkney Islands>Invergorgen>Liverpool. The change now was Rosyth>Invorgorden>Orkney Islands>Stornaway>Fort William>Liverpool. In Invergorden because of bad weather we stayed overnight in anchorage in the MurrayFirth and we had another itinerary change, this time going to Dundee>Shetland Islands>Stornaway>Fort William>Liverpool. Then we had another Itinerary change Dundee>Orkney Islands>Liverpool. So as you can see it was a Mystery 7 night Cruise? The Cabin Stewardess was excellent. The Food was Excellent. The Entertainment was very good especially the Cruise singers & dancers called Musicality & from the off board Scottish Highland dancers. The show featuring members of the Crew was exceptional,especially a middle aged man that worked in the Kitchen (his range of voice was exceptional. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I was about 8 years old when 'Black Watch' was launched under its original name, 'Royal Viking Star.' I remember seeing advertisements for it in my aunt's copies of Travel & Leisure magazine. Something about ... Read More
I was about 8 years old when 'Black Watch' was launched under its original name, 'Royal Viking Star.' I remember seeing advertisements for it in my aunt's copies of Travel & Leisure magazine. Something about the bow and funnel made it seem so elegant. I was marketed to world travelers, and offered six-star service. I dreamed that someday I might cruise on such a classically designed ship. Cut to more recent times when, thanks to the internet, I discovered that the ship was still in service with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, and had been refitted in 2016. I booked an 8-night cruise to Norway more than a year in advance, and waited with great anticipation for my departure. I will say that booking a Fred. Olsen cruise from the U.S. wasn't as convenient as I might have wished, but once it was done, it was "smooth sailing," as they say. I arrived in Liverpool the day prior to departure, and stayed in a hotel that overlooks the port. I awoke in the morning and went straight to the widow. There she was! After 46 years of waiting, I finally laid eyes on a ship I have admired since childhood! What an amazing feeling! Arriving at the port, my bags were immediately whisked-off, and I was welcomed into the well-organized and uncrowded terminal area. Unlike many of today's "mega-ships," where THOUSANDS of people are waiting to be "processed," check-in and embarkation for 'Black Watch' was a breeze. When I arrived in my cabin my bags were already there, and I was able to unpack and get organized before heading-off to explore the ship. The next 8 days were simply terrific! While the ship is 46 years old, FOCL has done a very commendable job of keeping her in great condition. If you're looking for all the latest advances in cruise ships, 'Black Watch' can't compete. But it doesn't need to. It is a classic, and offers an experience that is increasingly hard to find in today's world. Its size is perfect. Easy to navigate, and with around 800 passengers, it never felt crowded. Deck chairs and seats in the various lounges and bars were always available, and an air of quiet, comfortable ambiance prevailed. Viewing the spectacular fjords of Norway from the Lido Deck (cocktail in hand) was delightful. Evenings in the Observatory Lounge or Morning Light Pub were totally relaxing and enjoyable. Entertainment in the Neptune Lounge was fun and engaging. I especially enjoyed the productions by the "Black Watch Show Company." Made-up of about seven performers, each show was full of energy and real talent. The two male singers, Luke Suri and Tom Watson, were true stand-outs. If I had any disappointment on this cruise it is that we weren't treated to just one more show from them. Dining aboard 'Black Watch' was also quite enjoyable. Meals never felt rushed, and the service in all of the venues was attentive and professional. The Executive Chef was frequently in the dining room conversing with passengers, and she seemed to take a genuine interest in speaking with them. Choices were abundant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My cabin was spotlessly clean when when I boarded the ship, and remained that way throughout the cruise, thanks to my nearly invisible stewardess, Lang. The bed was comfortable, and the bathroom seemed gigantic compared to those found on some newer ships. In fact, my accommodations were among the largest I have seen among standard cabins on any ship. I visited the on-board Atlantic Spa on two occasions. While the space is not particularly glamorous, the staff was very friendly, and both treatments were quite rejuvenating. Well worth the money for a bit of pampering! All of the shore excursions I booked (Lerwick, Bergen, Flam, Olden) were well-organized, informative and fun. The local guides were excellent, and the coaches used for transport were very modern and comfortable. Prior to departure we were advised that our cruise would end in Rosyth, Scotland instead of Liverpool. This turned-out to be a bit of a treat, as it allowed for a visit to Edinburgh, which I would not have experienced otherwise. Overall, my experience on 'Black Watch,' and my first Fred. Olsen cruise, met and exceeded my expectations. Beautiful ship, wonderful crew, great itinerary! A trip I will always remember. I very much look forward to another opportunity to cruise with FOCL. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose the cruise because of the ports it was visiting, we have sailed on all of the other Fred Olsen ships in the last few years. This was our first and and is definitely our last cruise on Black Watch, she is a tired old ship from a ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the ports it was visiting, we have sailed on all of the other Fred Olsen ships in the last few years. This was our first and and is definitely our last cruise on Black Watch, she is a tired old ship from a bygone era and it shows, they really are papering over the cracks with this ship, she is a tired old lady who should be put out to grass or advertised as a ship for the over 70's and especially single older ladies. We don't wish to be rude to any one but, just pass by the Library at any time and you will see what we mean, we nicknamed it the dormitory, it was full of old people fast asleep. We like traditional cruising and enjoy formal nights and all of the other things that go with it and we like smaller ships, we don't want to go rock climbing and surfing on board or wish for a 6000 passenger super ship but, Black Watch is past it. The specialty restaurant was dark and uninviting with people queuing outside for the main restaurant staring through the lattice grill whilst you ate, not a good option. The self service restaurant is tiny and full of staff members so we could never get in. The saving grace was the crew, they are very good and try hard to get things just right for you. The Observatory Bar Staff in particular were excellent. We chose the all inclusive drinks package, it wasn't worth it, the longer the cruise went on the less wine refills seemed to be available in the restaurant, the spirits are short measures and mixers from the pump so very sweet in taste and not much flavour. Beware when in the outside spaces as great chunks of oily soot from the funnel make an all too regular appearance on you clothes, in your drinks and in the swimming pool! I am sure some people reading this review love Black Watch and will howl in protest at its content but, we are in our early 60's so not 30 year old's wanting a "Night Club" ship, and this ship in our view is not up to standard for the 21st century. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this ship due to its size, having never cruised before we did not want to be on a ship with thousands of people. Apart from the fact that the boat is now very old and it did show in places, it was immaculately clean and the ... Read More
We chose this ship due to its size, having never cruised before we did not want to be on a ship with thousands of people. Apart from the fact that the boat is now very old and it did show in places, it was immaculately clean and the facilities were very good. The pools are showing their age and did not look too appealing although if the weather had been better we probably would have had a different outlook. We did try the jacuzzis which were good. The marquee deck had new very comfortable tables and chairs etc which were very nice and were not very crowded on our trip, probably again due to the climate. Our balcony room was very nice and again immaculately clean, towels refreshed twice a day and the fresh fruit and canapés each day were very nice. The food was very good, the staff in the restaurants were exceptional and the evening entertainment was also first class. The sights on this trip were amazing and cruising in the Fjords was just breathtaking. We enjoyed the ports of call and would recommend this trip highly. The one thing I did like on the Black Watch was that there was no hard sell in respect of additional dining, shore tours and future cruises etc. We were all inclusive and if on the occasion we did want premium brand drinks they were always consulting us to see if we wanted to pay the upgrade and did not try to sell us these at all. The wifi was very expensive at £63 for 7 days and I felt this was a bit steep. The embarkation and disembarkation was very efficient although getting back off at 8.00 a.m in Liverpool was something of a shock. Before we went on this trip people said ooh Fred Olsen, full of old people. As a young just 60 yr old I would say the average age on board was 70 but there were also lots of younger people and it did not by any means feel like an old peoples home as others had led us to believe. It has now given us an insight into cruising and for our first experience it was very good, most people were very friendly and we would probably book again, but maybe somewhere warmer next time. Read Less
Black Watch Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.4
Family 2.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 4.4

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