I recently visited visit Fred Olsen’s ship Boudicca in Liverpool, where she sets off on many of her summer voyages from this handy port - perfect for North West based cruise lovers, or a great place from which to give ocean cruising a try without the hassle of a long flight or drive.
Fred Olsen is a family owned cruise company with 4 ships that sail the world – Boudicca, Black Watch, Braemar and Balmoral. One of the main differences between Fred Olsen and other cruise companies is that their fleet is made up of small ships, which has the benefit of them being able to sail straight to the city centre of their ports of call (not having to transfer passengers from outside like the mega ships around today). For example with Fred Olsen you can sail along the Keil Canal as the ships can fit under the bridges, you can sail to the Seven Sisters Waterfall and enjoy scenic cruising in Norway, and you will dock in the centre of key ports of call like St Petersburg, Barcelona, Seville, where on larger ships you would have to get bussed in from outside the city.
On today's visit me and my fellow guests were greeted by a tea and biscuits served from silver trays by smiling waiters wearing white gloves, before taking a tour of the ship. We viewed various room types and I would recommend as a minimum to select a Superior Ocean view or upwards to get maximum light into your cabin with the larger windows. The Suites were lovely too - modern and spacious for a special treat. There are also several very spacious wheelchair adapted rooms available which was great to see.
As well as the usual cruise ship facilities – bars, spa, salon, pool - the ship also has a bridge room which is very popular with passengers and bridge clubs often join the cruise to make use of this, but everyone can join in. There is also a luxury chocolatier on board where you can choose just one special chocolate (for 65p) to satisfy your sweet tooth, or hand select a whole box!
Excursions are provided but optional and passengers are provided with independent guides in their cabins at each destination - so the choice is yours whether to go on a shore excursion or do your own thing, which lots of people prefer to do.
Before I disembarked I was delighted to be treated to the afternoon tea that is available to passengers on board for only £7.95 per person. I tried the China Rose Petal Leaf Tea which was delicious and a perfect accompaniment to all the tasty scones and cakes that were served.
On Fred Olsen cruises the all-inclusive drinks package is only £15 per person per night, and if you don’t want all-inclusive the drinks prices on board are the same or less than UK pub prices.
The ship I visited, Boudicca, currently sails out of Liverpool and she will soon be starting to sail from some more exotic locations. This winter she will be setting off from Liverpool on a cruise to Mauritius and the Indian Ocean – one of the most beautiful places on earth - and she has more exotic itineraries planned for the years ahead!
I would recommend Fred Olsen Cruises to travellers who like adventure and want easy access to ports of call, but with a traditional on-board cruise experience combined with the more intimate service levels you can expect from a smaller ship. I loved the fact that you could stand in the middle of the ship and see out of the windows on both sides – not something you can always do on a large ship unless you are on the top deck.
Fred Olsen also do lots of cruises to incorporate major worldwide events – have you ever wanted to go to the Monaco Grand Prix or the Rio Carnival? You can sail right into the heart of the action on a Fred Olsen cruise!
Groups are also welcome on Fred Olsen – if you’re part of U3A, WI, National Trust, a Choir, or any other social or special interest group, you can get together and share quality time and indulge your passion on a Fred Olsen cruise. And on the flip side there are often great deals for solo passengers too.
So do get in touch with me if you’d like more information about Fred Olsen Cruises.
More photos of the ship on my Facebook page - www.facebook.com/catherinemackeyTC