Fred Olsen have announced that their most popular ship, Black Watch, will undertake a multi-million dollar refit for the enjoyment of their guests in preparation for the forthcoming 2017/2018 cruise season.
It will undergo various engineering, general maintenance and refurbishment during a drydock at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg in November this year, which will also add several new public areas and guest facilities.
The line’s Managing Director, Mike Rodwell, said: ‘During Black Watch’s 26-day dry dock in Hamburg, as well as the ultimate maritime inspections and maintenance work, we will also be undertaking major upgrades to the cabins and public areas throughout the ship, to ensure that we continue to provide the best facilities possible to meet our guests’ expectations’.
The key focuses of the ship’s refurb will be the 423 cabins, on Marquee Deck 9, Bridge Deck 8, Lido Deck 7, Main Deck 5, Atlantic Deck 4, and Marina Deck 3.
Every cabin across the ship will be installed with a new interactive in-cabin TV system and all will be equipped with all the latest features and connectivity. All of the bathrooms will be refurbished and all cabins will feature safes and mini-bars, as standard.
During the dry dock, Braemar Courtyard will be converted into a speciality dining area called The Black Watch room, offering a la carte experience and expertly-prepared steaks cooked to order. The existing Grill restaurant beside the main pool will be rebranded and redesigned to offer a new Mediterranean-themed dining experience.
Black Watch’s main 340-guest restaurant, The Glentanar, will undergo extensive refurbishment with a spacious new layout and look, featuring new furniture carpet and curtains. Whilst the ship’s Braemar Garden Café will be converted into a new restaurant to be called Brigadoon.
Fred Olsen’s Managing Director continues: ‘Black Watch is one of Fred Olsen’s most popular cruise ships, and it is important that she always looks her best. Our significant investment in refurbishing and upgrading her will ensure our guests will be able to enjoy her classic looks and unique, intimate ambience for many years to come’.
To further enhance the onboard experience for guests, the Marina cinema will be upgraded with the latest ‘3D’ technology and considerable attention will be given to the bar areas onboard; they will receive a refresh to the décor, furniture and carpets with the installation of a full-width sliding door to the aft from the Lido lounge.
In more recent announcements, it has been revealed that Fred Olsen’s decision to replace the ship’s buffet restaurant, Braemar Garden Cafe, with a brand new restaurant called Brigadoon is actually a reference to the line’s Scottish connections. The new eatery will seat up to 54 passengers and feature new decor, serving a mix of British and international dishes.
Additionally, the ship’s bars and lounges will receive an update; their fleet-wide Morning Light pub will be moving to the former Braemer lounge on deck 6 which will ensure a more spacious area with new furniture, upholstery and bar. This will make way for the brand’s new Neptune Bar in the former Morning Light pub space, whereas the Lido Bar and the Observatory will also benefit from new furniture , fittings and carpets throughout.
It has been an eventful year for the 44-year-old Black Watch after an engine room fire broke out while the ship was docked in Madiera in July where the line had to organise early flights home for passengers as the ship was sent in for repairs. Despite complications, Black Watch was back in action later that month.
Following on from Black Watch’s dry dock, the ship will recommence her cruise season with a seven-night ‘German & Danish Christmas Markets’ cruise, departing the 15th December 2016 whilst similar refurbishments and upgrades are expected for Balmoral, Boudicca and the rest of the Fred Olsen fleet in the coming years.
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