After my recent weekend with Fred. Olsen on the Braemar, I have to say I am a bit smitten. The ship isn’t all singing and dancing with cookery schools or bionic bars, there is no flow rider or rock climbing walls, nowhere to roller skate or dodgem cars, no water slides or Pods in the sky but she does have a great ambiance and a very loyal client base which now includes me.
Fred. Olsen is one of those cruise companies that do not try to be something they are not. They are a modest cruise line with just four ships. The two smallest being the Black Watch and Boudicca. The Braemar taking 929 guests and then the slightly larger Balmoral. I shall be on the Balmoral later this year and am really looking forward to sailing with Fred Olsen again.
The Braemar was much more spacious than I expected, with some great public rooms. The food and service lived up to the great exceptions that I had, especially after so many comments from returning guests. The Food was simply delicious with such a great choice across the whole menu and if you still didn’t fancy one of the fantastic options available, they would be more than happy to rustle you up chicken and chips!!
The staff was courteous and very polite and typically of the waiting staff was always beaming from ear to ear and making the evening enjoyable and memorable.
This was a mini cruise to Amsterdam, so the variety of guests on board was very mixed from young couples in their very early twenties trying out their first cruise to the more mature couples whom are seasoned cruisers, all lady groups and all male groups, families with small children was also on board. There are no children clubs on board so a longer cruise may not suit but for a short cruise or up to 7 nights I can not see why a child would not enjoy their time on board.
I did hear a rumour that most was partying until very early hours of the morning and that was not the younger guests!!
I love that fact that Fred. Olsen have male and female dance hosts on board that are there to dance with single guests or those with partners that are not dancers. Each Evening before the main show in the Neptune lounge they have drinks and dancing and if you fancy having a turn around the dance floor there will always be someone to dance with.
The fleet have just had a few improvements made to them, not a full face lift or radical change, but just to enhance what they already have. I am hoping that some other areas of the ship will be updated too as I personally feel that the decor is slightly dated and in certain areas of the ship you could see some wear and tear on the carpet and the walls. But other than that I have no complaints.
For example, the Braemar has had the upper deck upgraded with new furniture making it a more relaxing space and now with the new Grills Restaurant and Cafe Venus another option to dine or have a drink. The grills costs an extra £20 per person per head to eat here and in the warmer climates this will be a stunning location to dine Al Fresco. The new Cafe Venus is offering a delight of different patisseries and coffees in a really relaxing space.
Black Watch and Boudicca have had the New Terrace Balcony Grade Cabins introduced, utilizing wasted space and creating more choices of cabins.
Being smaller ships, they offer the chance to visit locations that the bigger ships just cannot get too, including some river cruises through Europe.
With 253 ports in 84 countries including 23 maiden ports of calls, Fred Olsen for 2016/2017 are offering some fantastic itineraries including Fjords of Denmark, Lochs of Scotland and many more. With their themed cruises always being a success (my next one is a 70’s themed cruise with Fred.) they try and cater for all tastes in the market.
So if you are looking for an all singing all dancing robotic type cruise ship Fred. Olsen is not for you. If you are looking for a traditional cruise company with great itineraries, great staff, food and entertainment then if you haven’t already, give Fred. Olsen a try and you will not be disappointed.