• Ahoy there! Why not join the UK’s largest cruising forum? The Cruise.co.uk forum is the perfect place to meet and interact with likeminded cruisers to have invaluable conversations. Whether you're a veteran cruiser or looking to set sail on the sea for the first time, everyone is welcome on our forum to participate in the hottest conversations in the cruising world. So, what are you waiting for? Join the forum today by clicking here to register!

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Fred Olsen's venture into river cruising

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Fred Olsen's venture into river cruising

    I have recently returned from a Rhine cruise on Fred's Brabant so thought I would share my views with you.

    A friend of mine wanted to do this cruise so I volunteered to go with her as I fancied to try Fred's new venture into river cruising. OH had the option to join us but as we have been to Germany twice during the past 18 months- once on a Steam train journey and the other time on a APT river cruise, he decided to sit this one out.

    Fred Olsen charted the Amadeus Princess last year for their first go at river cruising so are obviously still new to the game and have a way to go yet to be able to compete with the established river companies such as Viking, Ama, Emerald, APT etc.

    The cruise began by flying to Dusseldorf with BA, which was uneventful apart from the usual hassle at any airport, which I hate. The transfer from the airport to the ship (or is it boat?), only took 15 minutes, where we were met by a very welcoming crew. It was good to see a familiar face the from my many cruises on Boudicca, who is now the Cruise Services Manager n Brabant.

    We were were soon escorted to our cabins. My friend and I opted to pay the single supplement. I was on deck 2 and she on deck 3. They were identical in size - 161sq ft and both had a Juliette Balcony. I'm not sure why Deck 3 was more expensive because the only difference that we could find was that mine was near the restaurant and hers near the bar. Neither of us experienced any problems from engine noise, although we learned from passengers that opted for a deck 1 cabin most certainly did.

    IMG_20190622_091346.jpgDSCF9200.JPG


    Last edited by Smith7; 30th June 2019, 08:17 AM.
    Jill

    #2
    Interesting. Looking forward to the next instalment. We are new to Fred ocean cruising. Been on a few river cruise with other companies which have not been very successful

    Comment


      #3
      Look forward to hearing more. I've only been to Hamburg, and am really interested in seeing a bit more of Germany .................................................. Carol

      Comment


        #4
        Went on a 'river' cruise with Fred a couple of years ago. Elbe and Weser, and the Kiel canal. Braemar was small enough to get through. Hopefully they do their river cruises as well as they did this. We are watching the FO website for something similar

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Smith7 View Post
          I have recently returned from a Rhine cruise on Fred's Brabant so thought I would share my views with you.

          A friend of mine wanted to do this cruise so I volunteered to go with her as I fancied to try Fred's new venture into river cruising. OH had the option to join us but as we have been to Germany twice during the past 18 months- once on a Steam train journey and the other time on a APT river cruise, he decided to sit this one out.

          Fred Olsen charted the Amadeus Princess last year for their first go at river cruising so are obviously still new to the game and have a way to go yet to be able to compete with the established river companies such as Viking, Ama, Emerald, APT etc.

          The cruise began by flying to Dusseldorf with BA, which was uneventful apart from the usual hassle at any airport, which I hate. The transfer from the airport to the ship (or is it boat?), only took 15 minutes, where we were met by a very welcoming crew. It was good to see a familiar face the from my many cruises on Boudicca, who is now the Cruise Services Manager n Brabant.

          We were were soon escorted to our cabins. My friend and I opted to pay the single supplement. I was on deck 2 and she on deck 3. They were identical in size - 161sq ft and both had a Juliette Balcony. I'm not sure why Deck 3 was more expensive because the only difference that we could find was that mine was near the restaurant and hers near the bar. Neither of us experienced any problems from engine noise, although we learned from passengers that opted for a deck 1 cabin most certainly did.

          IMG_20190622_091346.jpgDSCF9200.JPG

          So let's begin with the positives.

          The crew were mostly from Russia and Eastern Europe. Without exception they were happy crew and couldn't do enough for us. They were all contracted to Amadeus because I was told that Fred can#t employ their own staff- It was something to do with Swiss contracts; I didn't delve any further than that.

          There were only 100 passengers on board which was because quite a few of the cabins were occupied by one person. There are no single cabins on Brabant so we who paid the single supplement, got a twin cabin. DSCF9208.JPGDSCF9209.JPG
          Jill

          Comment


            #6
            More of the positives.....

            I thought that the food was good on the whole and didn't have cause for complaint with any of my choices. However my friend is a bit fussy and was disappointed on a couple of occasions.

            One evening, the choices were not to her liking (Beef Cheek, Butterfish or the veggie option) so she opted for the 'always available' chicken breast, which took so long to arrive, the rest of us on the table had finished our main course. I was very embarrassed because I had told my friend how good the food is on Fred's ocean cruises and she was not impressed. I spoke to the Maitre D and will be writing to Fred about it.

            Another and probably the most important plus was the itinerary, which was first day Cologne and Konigswinter. That meant only a few hours in Cologne but as we had both been there before, it wasn't really a problem.
            On the second day we deviated from the Rhine to sail down the Moselle Valley in to Cochem, which it being Saturday was full of local people enjoying a day out. DSCF9198.JPG


            We departed from Cochem (pronounced Cockem) at 13.45 to head for Koblenz. As my friend had walked far enough that day, we stayed on board on the top deck. When we sailed, we saw all there was to see from the ship/boat.

            To be continued.....

            Jill

            Comment


              #7
              After Koblez, we rejoined the Rhine to experience some glorious chocolate box scenery. We were treated to a commentary by our Cruise Director Richard who gave us lots of interesting info on the places we passed, which made the day even more interesting. There are so many castles on a hill on that section of the Rhine. DSCF9206.JPG


              To be continued......
              Jill

              Comment


                #8
                At this stage, maybe I should explain that we were in the grips of the heat wave in central Europe that broke all records In that part of Germany. The temperatures were reaching 39-40c in the afternoons, which didn't make site/sightseeing at all easy so we had to pace ourselves and limit what we did.

                Unfortunately, there never seemed to be shuttle buses laid on to take us from our mooring to the centre of the towns we visited (with the exception of Strasbourg) so we opted to take a taxi when we arrived at Speyer our next stop.

                Speyer is a small town, the only thing worth seeing was the Cathedral. It was so hot that I couldn't be bothered to take photos. After walking down the main street, we found a cafe in the shade, had a cold drink and booked a taxi back to the Brabant.

                Next day was Strasbourg and here we had booked our first excursion through Fred. We opted for the Canal trip which we were told was just that and would not involve much walking.

                In the event, we were taken by bus at 1pm from the ship, dropped off in the centre of Strasbourg and then given a 20 minute guided tour in 39c scorching heat. Given that some who booked the canal trip took themselves into the city in the morning (there was a IMG_20190626_132924.jpg shuttle bus) so had already heard chapter and verse of the history of the buildings, blinded by dates that none of would remember and didn't want to do it all again. We were a disgruntled, overheated party by the time we reached the canal boat. Quite a few of us asked the guide to book us a cab to pick us up from the canal in order to avoid another trek back to the bus pick up point.

                Our final port of call was Breisach. It's a small place but an ideal stop to do a trip into the Black Forest, our second booked excursion with Fred. Our guide for the day was excellent and chatted to us during the coach journey, giving us some really interesting info without all the facts and figures.

                Despite the 40c heat, it was a most enjoyable day. Our first stop at a cuckoo clock manufacturer come tourist stop, where we enjoyed the best Black Forest Gateau I have ever eaten. We then drove further into the Forest for a stop at an open air museum of Medieval farm houses, forges etc.Included, was an hour long guided walk but as it was SO hot, most of us opted for shade, lunch and a cool bier or two.

                Jill

                Comment


                  #9

                  The other thing I forgot to mention was the dire Duo on board that tried to sing but failed abysmally to entertain us each evening. The only good entertainment was one evening when a local Oompah band came aboard to sing and play to us. They also manged to get a few of us up dancing.

                  Fortunately, some staff from Fred's office were on Board, one of them a ,manager so was a witness to all the negatives. He will back on board in September apparently. Quite a few passengers, me included expressed our concerns about how things were being run and his only excuse was that Fred were still trying to get things right as they had only been into river cruises with a chartered vessel for a year.

                  The Braemar does some river cruising and of course, the Fred Ethos is well established there.

                  The flight home the following day was from Basel was uneventful, although a couple of passengers were parted from their luggage between leaving the ship and arriving at the airport- I don't what happened there!


                  To summarise then, my friend and I enjoyed the cruise overall, However, I will not be doing another river cruise with Fred in the foreseeable future. They have some serious operational issues to address.

                  Jill

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the heads up, as Freds Rivers was one of the future options I was looking at.

                    I'll wait until a few more bridges have been past before I look any further..............Wilba
                    Wilba

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Wilba View Post
                      Thanks for the heads up, as Freds Rivers was one of the future options I was looking at.

                      I'll wait until a few more bridges have been past before I look any further..............Wilba
                      A wise decision Wilba.
                      Jill

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi Jill,

                        Thanks for the review. Sorry it was not top-notch.

                        I've been on two Amadeus cruises (reviews on my blog) and though the quality of food a service was very good.

                        Their older boats (like Amadeus Princess) are not quite as nice as the new ones and have slightly smaller cabins. This is the case with all new ships/boats.

                        I wonder how much Fred Olsen river cruises is an Amadeus product or not? I assume that the crew are mainly Amadeus, but maybe Olsen have reduced the food costs, for example?

                        Mediocre entrainment seems to be a major river cruise issue. Why do they all seen to assume that river passengers dont require good entertainment?

                        The fact that river cruising is rarely cheap, it sets the bar pretty high, so they need to raise their game.


                        (By the way, avoid CroisiEurope at all costs!)
                        Last edited by Malcolm, Essex; 30th June 2019, 11:51 AM.
                        See my cruise blog: HERE

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Malcolm, Essex View Post
                          Hi Jill, thanks for the review. Sorry it was not top-notch.

                          I've been on two Amadeus cruises (reviews on my blog) and though the quality of food a service was very good.

                          Their older boats (like Amadeus Princess) are not quite as nice as the new ones and have slightly smaller cabins.

                          I wonder how much Fred Olsen river cruises is an Amadeus product or not? I assume that the crew are mainly Amadeus, but maybe Olsen have reduced the food costs, for example?

                          Mediocre entrainment seems to be a river cruise issue. Why do they assume that river passengers dont require good entertainment?

                          The fact that river cruising is rarely cheap, it sets the bar pretty high, so they need to raise their game.


                          (By the way, avoid CroisiEurope at all costs!)
                          My first river cruise was more than 30 years ago. The assumption was that the passengers could organise the entertainment themselves most evenings probably because most days there was a very full schedule of excursions.

                          Re food - I recall there were 2 choices - take it or leave it

                          Annie

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks for a very interesting review, however, I’m disappointed to read about the operational issues.

                            I’m a great fan of Fred’s ships having sailed many times on all the ships in the fleet. I think I’ll wait until the glitches are resolved before I consider a trip on Brabant.

                            In spite of the extreme heat and the problems, I’m pleased you and your friend managed to enjoy the cruise. Jan

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Malcolm, Essex View Post
                              Hi Jill,

                              Thanks for the review. Sorry it was not top-notch.

                              I've been on two Amadeus cruises (reviews on my blog) and though the quality of food a service was very good.

                              Their older boats (like Amadeus Princess) are not quite as nice as the new ones and have slightly smaller cabins. This is the case with all new ships/boats.

                              I wonder how much Fred Olsen river cruises is an Amadeus product or not? I assume that the crew are mainly Amadeus, but maybe Olsen have reduced the food costs, for example?

                              Mediocre entrainment seems to be a major river cruise issue. Why do they all seen to assume that river passengers dont require good entertainment?

                              The fact that river cruising is rarely cheap, it sets the bar pretty high, so they need to raise their game.


                              (By the way, avoid CroisiEurope at all costs!)
                              Hi Malcolm. I was invited to have dinner with the cruise manager on the Captain's welcome night so I asked lots of questions.

                              The crew are all employed by Amadeus, including the Cruise Director. The cruise manager who once worked on Boudicca was the only person on board that was trying to put the Fred stamp on things. He openly admitted that they have a long way to go before they get it right.

                              I think you could be right about the food budget. When I spoke to the Maitre D on the night that Beef Cheek was on the menu, which apparently didn't appeal to quite a few people and not only my friend; he told me that Fred Olsen set the menus.

                              Jill

                              Comment


                              We use cookies to give you the
                              best experience possible.


                              By continuing to use our website you
                              agree to our cookie policy

                              Working...
                              X