We have always wanted to spend Christmas cruising the Caribbean and decided to go with Fred Olsen on the Braemar, on the 20th December 2018. That was a big mistake. The cruise started badly due to the drone fiasco at Gatwick. It took two days to board the Braemar at Barbados due to long delays at Gatwick, then having to face a five hour coach trip to Manchester airport. We were treated like criminals by the security staff there, everyone repeatedly searched as we were forced to pass through security three times. Then we had to endure an overnight stay in a second rate hotel in Manchester without any food, before boarding the plane to Barbados. We finally joined the Braemar late in the evening having lost two days of the cruise. The cruise itself was such a disappointment. The ventilation in the cabins was appalling. It was either too hot or too cold. You either woke up shivering or sweating. The bedding was a cheap duvet. The food started out good but deteriorated rapidly. It was either too salty or overcooked. There was an outbreak of the cough virus on the ship, which the staff tried to cover up. Wherever you sat there was someone either coughing, sneezing or spluttering. I caught the cough virus and was ill for the last week of the cruise. The entertainment was recycled. They had three main entertainers. A comedian, a male singer and a female violinist. They used the three of them regularly throughout the cruise. I did not pay a lot of money to go on a Caribbean cruise to eat poor food, pay a fortune for intermittent WIFI at a cost of 26 for 60 minutes, use a small pool filled with sea water and then go down with a severe viral cough. Allowing elderly guests who have poor mobility or are so unsteady on their feet, to go on the cruise knowing they are a danger to themselves and others. They seem to let anyone on the cruise providing you can pay. Highly irresponsible. We were supposed to go to the Grand Turk but this was cancelled. According to the captain the weather was too bad to go to the Grand Turk and the ship instead was diverted to Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominica Republic. At the same time it was rumoured that one of the senior managers wife who is from Santo Domingo, had just given birth and he had not yet seen their new baby. When we docked at Santo Domingo his wife and their baby plus their other children all came aboard. The children were seen playing in the swimming pool. Make of this what you will. Many of the guests commented on this and like me felt we had been deceived, especially as there were no reports of bad weather. We were so looking forward to snorkeling in the Grand Turk and a three hour coach tour of Santo Domingo which in my opinion is a hovel, was a poor substitute. When I got home I had to see a medic because my cough had got worse. I am now very poorly as the cough developed into a chest infection and I am on antibiotics. This is the first time I have been on a Fred Olsen cruise and it will be my last. If you have high standards steer clear of the second rate service they provide. It appears that their main aim is to save money. Never again.
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