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The Boat That " Rocked"

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    The Boat That " Rocked"

    Well I will begin by stating that this was probably the Best £299 I have ever spent on a Cruise.. It was a 4 day,3 night, 60s Cruise to Antwerp on FOs "Balmoral" with our featured band " The Searchers".. Any fears I had about cruising with FO were soon allayed as we assembled in the City Terminal, Southampton, some 1000 passengers twixt 50 & 70yrs, plus 1 or 2 either side of this age group, all of whom were ready to "PARTY" & PARTY we did. I had picked up the cruise from a local TA last minute & apart from a "Blip", well this is Rustynails something had to go amiss !! ( More about that later) I boarded the Ship at 2pm to be met by a plethora of Staff directing Passengers to lifts/Stairways & onwards to our Cabin.. Mine was in the basement, Deck 4, inside, more than adequate for me with loads of storage space, a TV with a Supersensitive " TV Zapper" which made finding a TV Chanel a challenge, A Super power Shower complete with an attacking Plastic Shower Curtain, a Free safe & hidden away in a draw, I found on the last day a Tray with Tea/Coffee making equipment .. being mid afternoon the " Palms" Café was open for Hot & Cold snacks & I enjoyed a very small ( Small being my Choice, I did not want to spoil my expected 5 Course evening meal) Pasta Bake which was excellent.. Onwards to explore the Ship & it was really noticeable that everything was open, Ships Artists were playing in the various venues & it gave a good feeling that the Ship was ready for business.. Unfortunately the rain forced the Sail away Party to be held in the Lido Lounge with the young resident Band, 4th Dimension" doing their best to get things up & running with a 60s Music set, doing their best being the operative words here, Wilba, you & I could have done better, but the assembled crowd, now a Pint or 2 to the good, sang along & put right the Bands misgivings..
    Now for the " Blip" my joining instructions stated I was on 1st sitting Dining in the Avon restaurant, Table to be confirmed, so I headed to Customer Services to get my table number, after ploughing thro lists & making numerous phone call I was advised that they could not find me on the lists & suggested I just went to the Restaurant & spoke with the Restaurant Manager, not a problem, or so I thought.. You know whats coming don't you ??.. The Manager took my Cruise Card & after sifting again thro the lists & making phone calls it became apparent, I was not booked in any Dining room for any food !! by this time food was being served & the nearest I got to a Prawn Cocktail was watching it go past me on Trays & being delivered to other people, after what seemed an eternity I was directed to the Spey Dining room, table 307, even here I was advised to use this Table " For the moment", suffice to say that "For the moment" became fixed for the cruise & much hilarity ensued with my 5 other table mates & I finally got my Prawn cocktail, at this point I will state the food was superb & The Staff very accommodating as we mixed & matched various combinations of Courses over the 3 nights.
    The opening Show in the Neptune Lounge featured a Band " Class of 58", A Rock n Roll Band from Wales complete with "Slap" Bass, who had everyone "Bopping" but not " Hopping" as H & S ruled it to dangerous to Dance in case we fell off the Stage, I kid you not.. The superb 1 hour set went to quickly, then it was off to the Observation Lounge for the 60s quiz !! I was invited by 2 Table mates to form a Team & some 200 people packed the lounge in anticipation, I don't know where they got the questions from, but the winning Team scored 3, some Teams scored 1 & my Team " Null Point" along with 80% of the other Teams, must do better on the next quiz.. The evening was rounded off with a Comedian " Barnaby", not my cup of Tea, so after another Brandy & Coke I headed for bed just after midnight.
    The following morning after a pleasant Breakfast in the Avon Restaurant I watched with interest our progress up the River Scheldt to Antwerp where we docked in the Cruise Terminal in the Centre of Antwerp.. I had not been to Antwerp before & a stroll ashore, despite the rain, was interesting for its Architecture, the Xmas Market & a Glass or two of gluwine in a café. Returning to the Ship I decided a Siesta was in order ready for tonight's proceedings. It was formal night tonight & I give full marks to FO for the way its operated, Formal Night is optional, for those who wish to dress up the MDRs are open, for those who don't you are requested to dine in the Palms Café, I am not for dressing up but I enjoyed a superb Chicken Curry in the Palms Café. Tonights entertainment featured another comedian " Bobby Sands" in the Neptune Lounge, again not for me, so I headed to the Observation lounge for Tonights " Name that 60s Tune" Quiz,, , now as most will know, the idea of a quiz is the quizmaster asks the question & you write the answer down, In this instance the opening Bars of a 60s hit were played & the congregated audience ended up singing the next 2 Bars !!! Which resulted in the quizmaster having to re explain the Rules, by the time we got to song 3 we had the hang of it & everyone had the 1st 2 songs correct.. My Team scored 19 which gave us an equal 3rd place, much better than last night.. A few more Brandy & Cokes listening to the Pianist playing 60s songs & it was time for bed.
    Thursday morning gave a quick couple of hours ashore before our departure back to Southampton & Tonight in the Neptune Lounge " The Searchers" & Boy did they deliver, all the Hits plus a few songs of their choice, some Great anecdotes & a standing ovation & encore.. I must mention that some people came dressed in 60s Carnaby street gear & a certain youngish Lady dressed in a rather large Belt or very, very short miniskirt turned heads wherever she went !! nuff said..
    It all came to an end to quickly & we disembarked in Southampton & I headed home were I have slept most of the weekend..
    1 serious note.. Where were the Border Agency when we docked in Southampton, 1000px walked off the Ship, no Passport Control, no Baggage Check, in light of the current terrorist situation I would have expected checks to have been at their peak..

    #2
    sounded a great trip, glad to see you had a good time.

    Comment


      #3
      Sounds like a fab few days away just before Xmas 😀........................................Carol

      Comment


        #4
        I'm wishing I had gone on that cruise after reading that..............Wilba
        Wilba

        Comment


          #5
          Well that puts to bed the idea that FO is full of elderly passengers in bed by 10!

          Sounds as though you thoroughly enjoyed your trip and it was a lot of fun...Carol

          Comment


            #6
            What a great start to your Christmas, sounded so much fun!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Rustynails, Wimborne View Post
              Well I will begin by stating that this was probably the Best £299 I have ever spent on a Cruise.. It was a 4 day,3 night, 60s Cruise to Antwerp on FOs "Balmoral" with our featured band " The Searchers".. Any fears I had about cruising with FO were soon allayed as we assembled in the City Terminal, Southampton, some 1000 passengers twixt 50 & 70yrs, plus 1 or 2 either side of this age group, all of whom were ready to "PARTY" & PARTY we did. I had picked up the cruise from a local TA last minute & apart from a "Blip", well this is Rustynails something had to go amiss !! ( More about that later) I boarded the Ship at 2pm to be met by a plethora of Staff directing Passengers to lifts/Stairways & onwards to our Cabin.. Mine was in the basement, Deck 4, inside, more than adequate for me with loads of storage space, a TV with a Supersensitive " TV Zapper" which made finding a TV Chanel a challenge, A Super power Shower complete with an attacking Plastic Shower Curtain, a Free safe & hidden away in a draw, I found on the last day a Tray with Tea/Coffee making equipment .. being mid afternoon the " Palms" Café was open for Hot & Cold snacks & I enjoyed a very small ( Small being my Choice, I did not want to spoil my expected 5 Course evening meal) Pasta Bake which was excellent.. Onwards to explore the Ship & it was really noticeable that everything was open, Ships Artists were playing in the various venues & it gave a good feeling that the Ship was ready for business.. Unfortunately the rain forced the Sail away Party to be held in the Lido Lounge with the young resident Band, 4th Dimension" doing their best to get things up & running with a 60s Music set, doing their best being the operative words here, Wilba, you & I could have done better, but the assembled crowd, now a Pint or 2 to the good, sang along & put right the Bands misgivings..
              Now for the " Blip" my joining instructions stated I was on 1st sitting Dining in the Avon restaurant, Table to be confirmed, so I headed to Customer Services to get my table number, after ploughing thro lists & making numerous phone call I was advised that they could not find me on the lists & suggested I just went to the Restaurant & spoke with the Restaurant Manager, not a problem, or so I thought.. You know whats coming don't you ??.. The Manager took my Cruise Card & after sifting again thro the lists & making phone calls it became apparent, I was not booked in any Dining room for any food !! by this time food was being served & the nearest I got to a Prawn Cocktail was watching it go past me on Trays & being delivered to other people, after what seemed an eternity I was directed to the Spey Dining room, table 307, even here I was advised to use this Table " For the moment", suffice to say that "For the moment" became fixed for the cruise & much hilarity ensued with my 5 other table mates & I finally got my Prawn cocktail, at this point I will state the food was superb & The Staff very accommodating as we mixed & matched various combinations of Courses over the 3 nights.
              The opening Show in the Neptune Lounge featured a Band " Class of 58", A Rock n Roll Band from Wales complete with "Slap" Bass, who had everyone "Bopping" but not " Hopping" as H & S ruled it to dangerous to Dance in case we fell off the Stage, I kid you not.. The superb 1 hour set went to quickly, then it was off to the Observation Lounge for the 60s quiz !! I was invited by 2 Table mates to form a Team & some 200 people packed the lounge in anticipation, I don't know where they got the questions from, but the winning Team scored 3, some Teams scored 1 & my Team " Null Point" along with 80% of the other Teams, must do better on the next quiz.. The evening was rounded off with a Comedian " Barnaby", not my cup of Tea, so after another Brandy & Coke I headed for bed just after midnight.
              The following morning after a pleasant Breakfast in the Avon Restaurant I watched with interest our progress up the River Scheldt to Antwerp where we docked in the Cruise Terminal in the Centre of Antwerp.. I had not been to Antwerp before & a stroll ashore, despite the rain, was interesting for its Architecture, the Xmas Market & a Glass or two of gluwine in a café. Returning to the Ship I decided a Siesta was in order ready for tonight's proceedings. It was formal night tonight & I give full marks to FO for the way its operated, Formal Night is optional, for those who wish to dress up the MDRs are open, for those who don't you are requested to dine in the Palms Café, I am not for dressing up but I enjoyed a superb Chicken Curry in the Palms Café. Tonights entertainment featured another comedian " Bobby Sands" in the Neptune Lounge, again not for me, so I headed to the Observation lounge for Tonights " Name that 60s Tune" Quiz,, , now as most will know, the idea of a quiz is the quizmaster asks the question & you write the answer down, In this instance the opening Bars of a 60s hit were played & the congregated audience ended up singing the next 2 Bars !!! Which resulted in the quizmaster having to re explain the Rules, by the time we got to song 3 we had the hang of it & everyone had the 1st 2 songs correct.. My Team scored 19 which gave us an equal 3rd place, much better than last night.. A few more Brandy & Cokes listening to the Pianist playing 60s songs & it was time for bed.
              Thursday morning gave a quick couple of hours ashore before our departure back to Southampton & Tonight in the Neptune Lounge " The Searchers" & Boy did they deliver, all the Hits plus a few songs of their choice, some Great anecdotes & a standing ovation & encore.. I must mention that some people came dressed in 60s Carnaby street gear & a certain youngish Lady dressed in a rather large Belt or very, very short miniskirt turned heads wherever she went !! nuff said..
              It all came to an end to quickly & we disembarked in Southampton & I headed home were I have slept most of the weekend..
              1 serious note.. Where were the Border Agency when we docked in Southampton, 1000px walked off the Ship, no Passport Control, no Baggage Check, in light of the current terrorist situation I would have expected checks to have been at their peak..

              The 1000 px walking off the ship with their cruise card would be the same 1000px that joined the ship in Southampton with their cruise card. Whats is the point of wasting the Boarders Police on that cruise ? The Boarders agency does not need a visible presence in some cases to do their job !
              Last edited by pennbank, UK; 21st December 2015, 12:44 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Sounds great loved the review very amusing ,

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by pennbank, UK View Post
                  The 1000 px walking off the ship with their cruise card would be the same 1000px that joined the ship in Southampton with their cruise card. Whats is the point of wasting the Boarders Police on that cruise ? The Boarders agency does not need a visible presence in some cases to do their job !
                  Do not Agree.. New people joined the Cruise in Antwerp, possibly crew, I do not know & Belgium is a well know Country for buying Fire Arms off the Street, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    A couple of points of interest Re FO
                    The Dress Code is as mentioned.. Formal ( Optional) & Casual
                    Service Charges.. No Service charge on the Drinks, whats advertised is what you pay, eg. A Pint of Beer £3.25
                    Gratuities.. The recommended Daily rate is £4 pppd with a no quibble cancellation if you wish
                    There is no 24/7 Buffet
                    There is no Casino as such, just a Roulette & Blackjack Table

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Sounds like a great trip.

                      We tried FO for the first time earlier in the year and were rather impressed.

                      Happy Christmas.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Nice review Rusty .Glad you enjoyed the cruise albeit a short one ,
                        Never been on FO but will see if any starting from Liverpool fit the bill...Taffy
                        ​Taffy

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself rusty.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hi Rusty.
                            Glad you had a good cruise,I think I would have enjoyed it too.
                            I may have been a bit disappointed it was billed as a 60's revival cruise,I would have expected at least one other 60's band.
                            We regularly have 60's revival nights in our WMC.
                            Seen the Searchers,Kinks,Fortunes,Union Gap,SBJ and lots more still going strong,,,some still good,some living on reputation,,,
                            The best by far.....The Ivy League,,with Dave the mad drummer,,,,remember them?

                            Funny how everyone gets up dancing when 60's stuff played,,,can you imagine that with Rap in 30yrs time.

                            I have been to Pontins at Southport for 60's weekends,brilliant,,,all those Liverpool bands reincarnated!!!!

                            Fred Olsen was in Liverpool last week,Black Watch did a 2nt to Dublin.
                            They also did a special on Thursday night,,,,Dinner and entertainment for £79,,,or you could stay overnight in a cabin and have breakfast next day for £119.

                            I'll keep my eye open for one of those 60's mini cruises,,,,it would have to be from the North though.
                            JC
                            C P Scott,,,,,"Comment is Free,,but Facts are Sacred"
                            "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Sixties best era of music.

                              Comment


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