Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines


Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeMidsize

Named after the heroic warrior queen of the ancient British Iceni tribe, the 800-passenger Boudicca is a regal ship with an unpretentious, multicultural blend of English and Norwegian styles, mostly Filipino staff, and Scandinavian officers. Comfortable and offering adequate food and facilities, the vessel has been refitted multiple times, but at over 30 years, it’s beginning to show signs of age and diminishing standards. Cutbacks in food variety, paper napkins, packaged condiments, crowded buffets, and overloaded boats are not royal by any means. If you can manage the creaking joints and churning engines, hop aboard to enjoy a traditional cruising experience—delightful lounges, teak promenade decks, and wheelchair-accessible cabins are a plus.Read More

Built for luxurious, long-distance cruises and refitted in 2006, Boudicca retains much of her grace and style. As on sister ship Black Watch, passengers have plenty of space on deck and inside, as well as two swimming pools, a large fitness center, and spa. Like her sister ship, she has an Observatory lounge high atop the ship to supplement the art deco Lido Lounge, a popular spot for leisurely drinks, conversation, and dancing. Budding artists enjoy the Crafts Room where hands-on activity sessions are held.

Spacious, yet intimate in scale, appropriate British historical themes are followed in each public room, lounge, and restaurant, which were designed to mimic the mood of fleetmate Black Watch. The overall feeling on Boudicca is one of comfort and tranquility; however, there is a well-equipped fitness center on board with everything from treadmills, rowing machines, and weights for energetic passengers to ballroom dancing lessons and aerobics classes, a golf net for swing practice, and a swimming pool featuring Swimex machines for swimming against the current.

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.

  • 8 passenger decks
  • 3 dining rooms
  • 2 buffets
  • Refrigerator (some)
  • DVD (some)
  • 2 pools
  • Fitness classes
  • gym
  • hot tubs
  • sauna
  • spa
  • steam room
  • 5 bars
  • casino
  • dance club
  • library
  • show room
  • Dry-cleaning
  • laundry facilities
  • laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • Wi-Fi
  • No-smoking cabins
  • Voltage on Boudicca is 110 volts (U.S.-style two-pin plugs) as well as 220 volts (requires a Continental-style two-pin plug).
  • Coffee and tea are always available in the Secret Garden Café, which is just aft of the main dining rooms.


A self-service laundry room (for an extra fee) is fully equipped
A well-stocked library offers a good selection of books, audio books, DVDs, and board games
Spacious teak promenade decks on starboard and port sides are good for strolling
Limited private balconies are available
At full capacity, the ship feels crowded
“old ship” noises, including rumbling pipes and humming engines, are not uncommon

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins


Boudicca‘s spacious cabins and suites are bigger than on many ships of this size. All have an interactive TV, telephone, a lockable drawer, and hair dryer. Suites have seating areas and most have balconies. Suites and junior suites have refrigerators, and the top two suite categories have minibars, and CD/DVD players, and receive welcome-aboard champagne, flowers, and a fruit basket. Numerous cabins are outfitted in a variety of categories for single occupancy, and some even have balconies. Cabins in three grades can be booked on a male or female share basis (twin-occupancy only). Sole occupancy of a cabin with two or more beds/berths is subject to availability at time of booking.

Many categories have a bathtub-shower combination, so ask about availability when you make your reservation. Toiletries are provided for all, and occupants of suites also are provided bathrobes for their use during the cruise.

The ship permits six wheelchairs onboard for any given cruise and has four cabins modified for wheelchair users.

Food & Drink


Breakfast and lunch in the three main dining rooms are generally open seating, although dinner is served in two assigned seatings. The Asian-decorated Secret Garden Café is a casual buffet option available for meals, late-night snacks, and occasional evening buffets. For casual snacks near the pools, there is the Poolside Buffet and Marquee Pool Bar. Light meals from room service are complimentary during limited hours.


Key cruising tips


Entered Service
Number of Cabins
Passenger Capacity
Crew Members
Passengers to Crew Ratio
Gross Tons
83 feet
674 feet

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