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Do not go - your TEENAGERS will hate it. Choose Royal Carribean or anything else (P&O)- its simply not fair on the young people or indeed yourselves (as you cant be that old). Fred Olsen has 'older' clientel' who dislike children and make it plain that they should not be on THEIR ship. Hence there are really no facilities for children FAR LESS TEENAGERS WHO ARE A DIFFERENT BREED ALTOGETHER! Hang the cancellation cost - change ships for all your sakes.
Fred Olsen are known for catering for the 'more mature' cruiser & apart from the children's pool on top deck there is nothing shown on the deck plan that is designed to facilitate the under thirties. I share your concern......Regards Wilba.
One of the reasons we've chosen the Braemar several times in the past is that there are generally so few children on board! The children's hosts do an excellent job of keeping them occupied and 'out of the way' though, which pleases the more mature cruisers. As Wilba points out, there are no real facilities for children and they seem to spend most of their time playing in the Starlight Club lounge. If your children are used to resort ships I can't imagine they'll enjoy the Fred Olsen experience...
We have been with FO. 3 times. Not been on Braemar so in fairness cannot comment. We are in our fifties and Fo gives us a good old fashioned cruise, on old refurbished ships. Excellant food, good accomodation, great destinations. But at a price! In answer to your question about your children, there are far better cruise ships out there who will cater for them . Look again !
Fred Olsen cruises. The name does not conjure up any form of comfort or luxury - it may have done in the past but after spending two weeks in August board one of their boats it merely invokes a terrible memory.
I booked the Western Mediterranean Cruise after quite some effort. It took three telephone calls and five e-mails to simply confirm details and pay the fees. On reflection, the staff who took these details should perhaps have looked at the dates of birth of both myself and my partner and realised that the Fred Olsen cruise would not be suitable for us for at least another thirty years. Also whilst booking the cruise I did mention that I was pregnant. This may, you would have thought, have been a slight giveaway as to our ages being nowhere near that of ninety percent of the other passengers onboard this floating Old Aged People’s (OAP) hotel.
Nowhere on their website does it state that this cruise is planned and designed for the older passenger. If we had known that we were about to join the wheelchair, hip replacement and Zimmer brigade for two weeks then there would have been absolutely no possibility that we would have booked, let alone wasted almost £2000 on what can only be described as the holiday from hell.
Let me enlighten you some more on why I consider this to be an absolute disgrace in failing to provide the full facts about the average client age aboard. The whole of the “Entertainment Programme”, I use this term loosely as most days it was never entertaining. The artiste Rusty Gordon should really consider retirement as his act was tedious, boring and basically the same on all of the four nights that he appeared.
The Fred Olsen Dance troop were good but their routines were devised for the more mature clientele who knew the pre 1950s songs. Similarly, the band was excellent, but again played nothing that dated after the 1970s. The one and only saving grace of the thirteen nights of “entertainment” was the comedian Bobby Kaye. He was a complete all-round performer who was actually funny, but even his jokes were based on being in your seventies!
The Fred Olsen cruise is advertised as having 3 lounges. This was somewhat misleading as two of the lounges were, in-effect one room. One being upstairs, the other downstairs. The upstairs bar was split in half and designated smoking and non smoking. Sadly nobody told the smoke, rendering both floors one large smoking area. Hardly a pleasant environment for a pregnant non-smoker.
The Neptune Lounge was where the end of evening disco took place each night. The same twenty six songs were played over and over and not one of them was newer than 1986. The whole situation was like being at a Golden Wedding anniversary party just after the younger members of the family had “escaped” and the “oldies” were left to disco dance. Unfortunately there was no escape for us.
The daytime activities were mostly relics from times gone by. The traditional bingo, bridge, origami lessons, guest lectures and deck quoits were held at the same time, same place everyday. Similarly, the ball-room dancing lessons were aimed at a much older audience. Also the small room filled with dog-eared board games and jigsaws hardly constituted a valid alternative to the aforementioned activities on offer. The dearth of things to do onboard meant that after the first three days afloat I had managed to read both the books that I had brought with me. I attempted to remedy this with a trip to the “library”. I wasn’t really surprised to find that the library was stocked with large print books of the variety designed to keep the older generation occupied. (Westerns/war books etc). The lack of suitable activities, especially as we were at sea for the first four days was very frustrating.
We were also unable to take full advantage of the Spa treatments on offer as fortunately, neither of us suffer from rheumatic pain, swollen joints, arthritis or the desire yet to (and I quote…) “Live to be 100 and yet look only 50”.
In an attempt to avoid the monotony of the cabaret act on offer we decided to spend some time in the casino. I didn’t expect Las Vegas but one roulette table and a Blackjack table (with only one croupier between the two) didn’t keep us occupied for long.
To relieve the boredom and dullness of the cruise there is of course the advertised multi channel television. Here again I think that the author of that phrase was slightly generous in their description. An old portable glued to the worktop which could only be seen from a standing position next to the wardrobe, showing a PowerPoint presentation running on a loop, or BBC News and BBC Prime, hardly constitutes a multi channel televisual experience. There were also the four films to be shown each day. However, whenever they switched from using video to DVD on the Fred Olsen cruise, they obviously failed to inform the operator that unlike a video, a DVD requires the viewer to select the play function. I did mention this to reception on a few occasions that only the DVD options menu was displayed.
After a long term of teaching and being unable to fly due to my pregnancy we were both looking forward to a relaxing, enjoyable break as first time cruisers. However this experience on the Fred Olsen cruise has left us very disappointed, disillusioned and wholly dissatisfied.
My advice would be to book something else, avoid Fred Olsen like the plague!
We agree with your comment. Fred Olsen are for the more elderly. We have enjoyed our cruises with them, but for the young there are better cruise ships out there. However, still feel young at heart, although the body(And I hate to say it is not was it used to be) I had a swelling in my left wrist, getting worse now. But you are right, the younger ones would be better off not going with Fred Olsen. But God willing, body parts failing we will all be able to cruise. Although not with Fred Olsen. Wish you many, many happy years cruising and a wonderful life.
Hopefully they will live long enough to reach a ripe old age and all the problems associated with age. But you are right, Fred Olsen DO cater for the more elderly and another cruise ship would be more suitable.
What a lengthy and frequently unpleasant rant. Of course all you're really doing is highlighting the difference between the more mature people who knew exactly what to expect, and you - who spent £2000 on a "...holiday from hell." Don't blame Fred Olsen and don't take your frustration out on older or disabled people; blame yourself for not doing some simple research. And aren't you being a little naive to expect FO to promote their cruises as being especially geared for older people? Do resort ship cruise lines' brochures include photographs of hoards of screaming children running wild, or of people in beer-stained vests propping up the bar? Okay, I'm going a bit OTT, but surely you understand the point I'm making. (Or perhaps not... ;-).
We too thought we were invincible. But age creeps up on you far to quickly. They should have researched as you say. Fred Olsen does cater for the older people and there are far more ships that can look after the younger, fitter folks. We hope we can go on some of these cruise lines, where there is a bit of life. Not so sure about some of those but there is life in the Old Dogs yet! Dont write all of us off yet Samson. You will be there one day!
Maybe you should have done some research. I am a senior and have just had a marvellous holiday on the Braemar. Took my daughter (38) and grandson (13) on another Braemar cruise and they both enjoyed it. I will use Fred Olsen rather than the bigger ships for a variety of reasons and sorry you have been so disappointed. Guess it's "horses for courses".