Plan Your Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Vacation
With its Norwegian heritage of seamanship spanning over 150 years, family-owned Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has built a solid reputation of reliability and comfort for its UK-based fleet of smaller ships. Major refitting and refurbishment of old and recently acquired ships since
2008 have earned the company high industry accolades. Two sister ships from the defunct luxury Royal Viking Line, Royal Viking Star and Royal Viking Sky, have reunited under the Fred. Olsen house flag and now sail as Black Watch and Boudicca. The Balmoral and Braemar complete the four-vessel fleet.
Shipboard ambience is friendly, relaxed, and unabashedly British. As Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines expands, the line takes pride in maintaining the consistency their passengers prefer and expect, both on board—in the self-described "British country house" atmosphere—and ashore. Activities and entertainment are traditional cruise-ship fare with a laid-back tempo, albeit on a much smaller scale compared to a typical American megaship. Lectures and the Arts Club special-interest program are popular, with classes in subjects ranging from gardening to painting, history to wine appreciation, and even bird- and wildlife-spotting.
Ballroom dancers outnumber the late-night disco set, and evening entertainment is more cabaret than Vegas. Particular favorites with most passengers are theme nights and the crew show. Cruises range from four-night "mini-breaks" to lengthier 7- to 78-night sailings. British pounds are used for all transactions on board. Although the line is destination-focused—itineraries are seldom repeated within any cruise season—itinerary planning is versatile.
Key Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Tips
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Top Reasons To Cruise
- UK Embarkation Ports All Fred. Olsen cruises depart from British ports.
- Small Ships Classic, intimate ships have a “British country manor” atmosphere.
- Older Clientele Passengers are mostly British with an average age of 60+ years.
- Service Service is friendly and attentive, and always delivered with a smile.
- Good Enrichment Programs The line operates well-regarded adult education enrichment programs.
Is This Line Right For You?
Choose This Line If
- You are partial to British traditions and food and especially like a proper afternoon tea service.
- You don't like cigarette smoke. Smoking is strictly limited to outside decks on all ships and banned in cabins.
- You don't like taxis. The cruise line provides a shuttle (small fee) to beaches and town centers more than 15 minutes away by foot.
Don't Choose This Line If
- You want to drink your own duty-free liquor aboard. Everything is collected as you board and returned at the end of the cruise.
- You like extravagant entertainment. Compact show rooms stage only small reviews and stand-up comedians.
- You must have instant access to your email. Computer rooms are small, and Wi-Fi is limited to public rooms.
What To Expect On Board
Attractively presented and above-average in quality, food in Fred. Olsen dining rooms and buffets is plentiful, though generally prepared to the tastes of older British travelers. Vegetarian selections are always available, and other special dietary considerations can be fulfilled
with three to four weeks' advance notice. The line's Norwegian ownership is evident in the high quality of seafood and fish dishes offered. A fairly extensive and quite affordable wine list enhances the cuisine.
Unfortunately, there are no alternative-dining restaurants on board. While tea service is available to all, a more formal afternoon tea—served by white-gloved waiters on fine bone china with an assortment of sandwiches and sweets—is provided for an additional charge of £6.95 per person.
The “Music and Laughter at Sea” program with jazz, rock, opera, and other musical styles aims to please all tastes. The Mediterranean cruise offers a gardening theme with free workshops as part of the Arts Club enrichment lectures. At night, a variety of artists and bands
include a Rat Pack tribute band, the Honey B’s, and Opera Interludes (who have performed for the royal family). Guest speakers have included the crime writer D. I. Clifford Wrate. To complement the number of single-occupancy cabins, gentlemen hosts are on hand as dance partners or card game opponents for unaccompanied ladies.
Fitness and Recreation
Spas, beauty salons, and fitness centers are featured throughout the fleet. Spas and salons offer a full menu of services, including some spa treatments clearly designed for older passengers, such as an Arthritic Body & Retention Fluid procedure. There is no fee to use
fitness equipment in the gyms, but there is a charge for some specialized exercise classes, like yoga, Pilates, and kickboxing. Golfers can sign up for tee times for rounds ashore with the resident PGA pro, who freely offers tips and advice during play.