In a world where cruise ships seem to rival both in size and in an ever-growing range of dining options and facilities, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ smallest and oldest shipsOwned by the Norwegians and the British, it may seem like an outdated option.
However, if you hop aboard one of their little ships, you’ll likely find that at least half of your fellow travelers are repeat guests.
This may partly be for convenience, as ships often leave from regional British ports such as Liverpool, Newcastle and Rosyth, but even so, there is no doubt about it. The shipping company has its unconditional fans. On a new Fred Olsen cruise, I chat with a soon-to-be lady on her 100th cruise with the line.
If you’re curious as to what continues to attract so many repeat customers, here’s what to expect when you embark on Fred Olsen’s journey for the first time.
1. It’s a very British experience
With ports of departure almost always being in the UK, it is not surprising that the onboard experience is geared towards the British public. The currency on board is pounds sterling and beer is served in pints.
The daily program includes trivia and bingo, but it’s at dinner where the British experience really shines.
The roast meal tops the menu every day for lunch and dinner, while there will always be another traditional British dish on the menu. Fried breakfast is a popular choice first thing in the morning, served in the main restaurant or as a buffet.
2. The ships are younger and older than many lines
The three ships in Fred Olsen’s fleet have It can accommodate about 1,300 passengers, about a fifth of the capacity of newer megaships. But just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s narrow.
Cruise YouTuber Emma Lou Tess, who Emma CruzHe recently took a ride on the Fred Olsen Bullet. “Our cabin was very spacious with lots of storage space.”He said, adding that although it’s not a modern cabin, “nothing was broken, nothing was damaged and it just felt taken care of.”
The ships feature a traditional design, centered around comfortable lounges and dining spaces, rather than the flashy attractions available on newer resort ships. This will be more suitable for those who prefer to relax and meet their cruise mates than those seeking adrenaline pumping adventures.
3. Unique trails, particularly in Northern Europe
One of the biggest advantages of small ship sailing is the increase Flexibility and diversity of itineraries.
All three ships can sail where large cruise ships can’t. Balmoral is small enough to navigate some of Europe’s most interesting waterways, including the Kiel Canal and the River Seine.
Fred Olsen often wins awards for his itineraries, which can include smaller ports and themed itineraries like fall colors or Christmas markets.
It is one of the few shipping companies that operate regular winter voyages to northern Norway.while longer itineraries combine mainland Norwegian ports with visits to Svalbard, Iceland, and Greenland, which is great when you consider that these cruises start and end in Great Britain.
Although not for everyone, the “Mysterious Journey” by Fred Olsen It is a popular concept among regular cruisers. Guests know where they’re departing from and how long the cruise will take, but they have no idea what the destinations are, they just have a recommended packing list.
4. It is a good choice for traditional cruise passengers
Traditional cruises have fallen out of favor with many of the big lines, but Fred Olsen He keeps the nights formal with a strict dress codeSet meal times and focus on enrichment throughout the journey.
While the official nights may turn some people off, there are usually only two nights on a typical itinerary and they are not required. Those who do not want to dress up can eat in the buffet restaurant or order room service.
Le Teace agrees that the font is a good choice for a traditional cruiser: “There were fresh flowers everywhere, music was playing in the background, and everything looked very elegant.”
5. Passenger demographics are typically older
In the same vein as the Saga and P&O Cruises’ older ships, Fred Olsen usually appeals to the retired demographicAlthough this somewhat depends on the itinerary. The entertainment is also geared towards an older age group, with games such as bingo and trivia always well subscribed.
Although they are in the minority, it is not uncommon to find young couples between the ages of 30 and 40 on board.
There is also an active component to the typical itinerary. The daily program starts at 8 am with a quick ‘mile walk’ Around the promenade, regular dance sessions are held in the many bars, and at least one bar stays open late with karaoke and silent discos.
6. You have to pay for extras
Fred Olsen rates include meals and most entertainment, but many amenities and activities come at an additional, albeit reasonable, cost.
Although tea and coffee are provided free of charge in the buffet restaurant, Everything is served in the cafeteria for an additional cost. All alcoholic and soft drinks are charged, though the prices are reasonable compared to many other cruise lines.
Fred Olsen does offer a drinks package for £25 ($30) a day, but the package is very restrictive, especially for cocktails, as it only includes a daily special.
Some activities on the ship, such as games, watercolor painting lessons, and arts and crafts lessons, require an additional fee, but it is relatively small. However, fees can add up on longer cruises, so It’s worth checking your flight account daily on your TV to avoid a nasty surprise at the end of the flight.
7. It is a good choice for solo travelers
Cruise Critic editors rated Fred Olsen as a Best for Solo Travelers in 2022 Awards. There are plenty of single cabins across the fleet and regular deals for solo travelers that heavily discount the single complement.
On board, there is a welcoming reception for solo travelers, a designated table in the buffet restaurant for those who wish to keep company with meals, and a meeting point when the ship docks at ports.