The next five days we had a great time the food in all restaurants was excellent as were the waiting staff bar cabin stewards photographers, the exception was reception staff and the ships officers.
We have travelled with Fred Olsen six times in as many years in all cabin grades but this is the last time due to their lack of customer care which is a great shame as despite the problems we love small ships.
We were disappointed with the lack of late night disco and also the placement of the casino tables in the walkway and not in the coral bar.
I realise this sort of cruising is not for me, needing more time in each port, more open deck space, and a different kind of "entertainment". The time warp of the 50s was ludicrous.As I'm over 80, it was great to feel young and active amongst those less able who spent a lot of time sleeping, and eating.
Why do they go abroad when they're virtually in the UK all the time?
However, it was a taster, and I'm determined to take myself to Lisbon and Lanzarote and really explore them.
Fred Olsen ships are great and its possible to meet and get to know people ... as well as walk around the Promenade deck. All Larger ships are huge, anonymous and so crowded. If you or your friends are over 55 you will like Fred Olsen very much. Do tell them! (We went on Azamara recently, larger luxurious ships but same number of passengers. Yes, value for money for what you get and recommended but more expensive.)
Travel operator: TIS
All the staff were so friendly and even though there was some older people than ourselves we had an amazing time and would recommend this company and ship to everyone that wants to cruise as with this ship being smaller it got right into the fjords and made a more family atmosphere
Travel operator: First Choice
The ship cleanliness was superb - the staff did their very utmost to ensure that every aspect of the public rooms, doors, windows, etc., etc., were spotlessly clean. Often, when I used to walk round the deck at 7.00 a.m. (4 times round the deck equals a mile), they would be cleaning the lift doors, the handrails and anything that required cleaning. The public rooms, restaurants, shops, etc., were all very very clean. Clean linen was changed after the first-sitting lunch and dinner, the cutlery likewise was spotless.
Food on the Braemar was very well presented, plentiful (more than, to say the least), tasty, well-cooked and the waiters - both in the formal dining rooms and Palms cafe, were extremely eager to be of the utmost service. In fact there was so much to choose from, you were often stuck for choice as to what to have. Although the food in the Grampian (our allocated restaurant) was delicious, we preferred to eat in the Palms Cafe, where you could help youself and commence eating, without having to wait for any other people who might be sitting at your table in the restaurant. If you were still peckish at 11.00 p.m., there were numerous late-night snacks to be had!!! Honestly, you have got to see the amount of food on offer to believe it - no-one would go hungry.
The Philippino staff were absolutely delightful 24/7, very conscientious, hard-working, pleasant. Our cabin stewardess, Meah, was an absolute joy - she cleaned our cabin extremely well - in fact I think the same could be said for all the stewardesses. During the time on the Braemar I can't honestly remember a time when any of the staff were miserable or grumpy.
On-Board entertainment was plentiful - there was always something going on, to cater for all ages and tastes. The shows were especially enjoyable and the staff must have worked extremely hard to prepare such shows which can be compared to something one might see in the West End - probably even better than West End Shows.
I would recommend anyone who has never cruised with Fred. Olsen before, to do so and they will not be disappointed.
Finally I would like to add that David Urquhart offered us an excellent cabin with balcony for a very reasonable price. It was wonderful to have your own space.
Travel operator: David Urquhart Travel Ltd
The dancers and entertainers were all fantastic but the Neptune 'theatre' on a single deck was hopelessly too small; it had insufficient seating every night and squabbles regularly occurred due to the seating problems.
The stretching of this 20 year old tired-looking ship only seemed to cram more passengers on board resulting with the theatres being too small.
The tours were expensive and one had a guide who barely spoke English. However, the St.Petersburg guides were all excellent.
The age group was roughly >65 and there was not much going on after 11.30.
The ship was clean and the staff generally were pleasant and hard working. The tips should be shared out with all the staff, not just going to the waiters and chambermaids.
Having been on Cunard liners, the Braemar is in a totally different league in every way. So any future cruises with probably not be with Fred. Olsen.
Travel operator: Readers Offers Ltd
We were advised that the ship would be suitable for our age group (we are 45 and 46).This was our first cruise.
The ship throughout was absolutely spotless,the food was 5+ star rating,we could not find fault anywhere.
All the staff were brilliant,friendly,helpful and a credit to Fred Olsen cruise lines.
Unfortunately most of the entertainment was geared up for older people;the string quartet,the Irish singer.
The singer Jan Lesley had a good voice but on the 'Diva night' the most modern 'Diva' was Barbara Streisand so it really needed updating to accomodate the younger passengers.The comedian was really funny but the magician wasn't that good to be honest!
The Braemar show group were all young dancers and singers and were brilliant,and were all really lovely people aswell,although the shows could have done with updating!!
There was a late bar/nightclub for the younger people(there were teenagers on this cruise too)but even there, the music was from years ago so people stopped coming in.The ships entertainers were all in their 20's so the potential was there, but I think Fred Olsen like to keep their regular older clients happy so they keep coming back!!(We were told this on many occasions)
We did still have a great time and met some good friends.
The organisation of the trips,docking at the ports etc
were dealt with very efficiently and we couldn't find fault there.
Though only good comments can be made about the ships restaurants,and all the staff,unfortunately until it is brought upto date to cater for the needs of 30-50 year olds we would not travel on theis ship again.
One further point in their favour though;
On the day we were due to fly home the Iceland volcano erupted.There was no visible panic from the staff and we were informed we could stay on the ship another day.When the passengers due to join the ship for the next part of the cruise arrived in Barbados the next day, we were then taken to the airport to fly back on their plane.
On arrival at the airport, we were informed the flight was cancelled, and we were taken to a 4* all inclusive hotel on the beach in Barbados and were looked after brilliantly there for another 6 days at no extra charge!
The staff from Fred Olsen kept us informed,helped out with medications and generally looked after us exceptionally well and for that we are extremely grateful.
Travel operator: fred olsen
the itinerary was very good and we visited every island we went to ,we did not use the onboard trips but the local taxi services are very good
smokers do not need to beware as you can smoke at the back of the ship on the 5th+7th decks where there is outside entertainment so you dont need to be inside at all..book with fred and enjoy x
Travel operator: fred olsen
Travel operator: co-operitive
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