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Black Watch

2 of 5 Fred Olsen ships

A medium sized vessel of superior rating. Built in 1972 and refit in 2005. Carries a maximum of 900 passengers in 413 cabins, 328 of which have ocean views. 4 cabins are accessible to disabled passengers.

Cabins are small but most are outside cabins. Cabins are nicely equipped with Air conditioning, TV and storage space.

The ship has a show lounge, casino, cinema and a library.

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9 Reviews

Traveller Rating

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Review Overview

  • Cleanliness
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Service
Joe Devlin
a very tired ship
7 years 4 months ago
I sailed with Fred on the Black Watch on a Baltic cruise from Harwich. We were not sent any luggage labels after ringing them twice and at the port we spent time hunting for luggage labels.

We booked a superior outside cabin, it was noisy and very shabby with a lot of vibrations, the only superior thing about the cabin was the price. We then upgraded to a Junior suite at considerable cost which was a lot better but still it was still noisy I had to sleep with earplugs to deaden the noise.

The food was very good also the entertainment staff were excellent. The port talks were good but the onboard lectures were uninteresting. A big disappointment were the ports of call, St Petersburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm were very good but the rest were not, especially the three ports in Finland. The prices of the tours were expensive and not value for money. As a first time on a Fred Olsen ship I was disappointed with the ship. I would not sail on the Black Watch again, it is a 1980's style ship, it needs modernizing, but I will try another one of his ships in the future.
Tony Murphy
9 years 1 month ago
Crew,fellow passengers (Mainly retired) itinerary,food, service, in fact everything was really good for us except the ship itself. It,s old and needs to be replaced. The Fred Olson concept is just right for us but....
A, whilst performing a crew exercise with the lifeboat it could not be lifted out of the water as all the mechanisms broke down (Winch, derrick, supporting accessories)As the vessel could not sail without it , it had to be lifted by, I believe a boat crane and secured on the pool deck thus closing the pool. Jacuzzis, etc.
B, A major water leak above the restaurant caused the restaurant to be closed for one evening.
C. And to rub salt in the wound, I nearly fell off the toilet as the hinge was so rusted it broke!!
I,ll book with Fred Olson again but definitely not on the Black Watch

Travel operator: Gills Travel

10 years 11 months ago
We travelled on the Black Watch, on the Fjord Fantasy cruise, at the recommendation of my cousin and his wife, who have travelled on Fred Olsen ships a number of times.

This was our first cruise so I have nothing to compare it with, but we both really enjoyed our week.
The ship is getting on a bit now, but the decor is clean and well maintained. I couldn't fault the food, plenty of choices at meal times, well cooked and the service was impeccable, very well organised. The waiters never seem to stop to take a breath.

Although not really into cabaret style entertainment, the singers and dancers put on a very professional performance. You do have to remember that at certain times of the year, you will tend to get a lot of retired people on board, personally I find this preferable to having lots of children running around.
The entertainment reflects the age group, which can't really be a bad thing.

The only gripe I had, was the vibration from the engine which was noticeable when lying in bed. This may be a problem for light sleepers. We were upgraded from deck 3 to deck 5, a week before sailing, but those in decks above us, noticed the vibration as well.

That apart, I would thoroughly recommend a cruise on the Black Watch.
The Norwegian fjords are beautiful.


Travel operator: Fred Olsen

James William I
12 years ago
I have no complaints about the cruise at all it was perfect in every way,

Travel operator: Cruise Line

Brian Ingram
12 years 1 month ago
Fabulous value for money cruise.

Absolutely great food. I would return just for that.
Lots of choice both on the imaginative Menu and the buffet. Of course it was British food. With all the quality items one cant get these days in restaurants like Apple Crumble and Apple pie and Apple???... and great custard.There are Chefs just for Pastries, Soups etc etc. Our table of 8 all agreed on the fab food. The dining room layout and decor is bright and well run.

Fred Olsen is great for the over 50's, indeed over 70's (my mum is 83). It is a relatively small, friendly sociable easy to get around boat where you can meet and chat with the same people.. unlike the large 2-3000 passenger boats (like train stations). But of course there are less attractions on board.. if you need them.

Good entertainment. Single comedians, singers etc.

We are not surprised someone on a 18-30s cruise got fed up here. We have been on many cruises and would recommend a cruise in the Caribbean for singles...or indeed party people of any age! Royal Carribean, Carnival etc? make sure there is outside Dining and check the drink prices.

Our main deck outside cabins were well furnished. The Coaches from the boat and the land trips were well organised.

We did the Canaries.. next time the Fiords.

Travel operator: ?

Mini Cruise Aboard Black Watch
12 years 9 months ago
In all honesty I'm beginning to wonder whether I've cruised aboard the same ship as everyone else, because Black Watch is probably the only ship which could of possibly put me off of cruising the world altogether! I thought that the entertainment was appalling, I probably would of been entertained more by watching a corpse, the rotational chairs in the entertainment lounges were a nuisance, as they spin with the ocean turbulence. I found that the decor in a majority of the rooms was incredibly poor, and the ship itself is crying out for refurbishment.

The food in my opinion was similar to something I used to eat at school, therefore I did not approve of the standard and quality of the food I had to eat. Our cabin was rather run down, however was quite clean and comfortable. The ship itself was reasonably clean, however in comparison to other ships I have sailed on, cleanliness was low.

I had hoped to write a more satisfying review about Black Watch, however I can only be trueful. I am very disappointed with the ship, and in some ways the ships company. I have previously sailed aboard Braemar twice and Boudicca, and the standards aboard them are so much higher. Because Braemar and Boudicca were so lovely, we assumed that Black Watch would be similar, if not the same. If you decide to sail with Fred Olsen Cruises, I strongly advice that you sail aboard Boudicca or Braemar, or perhaps try P&O Cruises which is my favourite cruise line. I would never sail aboard this ship again, not even if I won a trip aboard it in a competition!

Travel operator: Fred Olsen Cruises

13 years 8 months ago
Baltic History cruise from Dover - St Petersberg via Kiel canal. Ports of call Oslo, Copenhagen, Gdansk, Tallinn, Rugen; St. Petersberg.

Bad start- our travelling companions had to cancel at 11th hour because of a serious accident but we were compensated by being seated with strangers who became friends and congenial dining companions.

Good start - we were upgraded from Junior Suite to Balcony Suite on Bridge Deck, No. 8019 - actually 4 berth accommodation which suited us perfectly. I had the teeny twin "bedroom", my husband (who snores!) had a single bed (sofa by day) in the very spacious living room. Adequate well equippedd shower room. Decor a little tired and in need of refurbishment but we only realised this when we visited ship-board friends in their Superior suite on the last night.
Our cabin/suite and all public areas were spotlessly clean. The food was so-so, never quite reaching the promise of the menu descriptions but cheerfully served by amazingly friendly hard working staff. Wine prices quite reasonable. A choice of formal restaurant or Bistro style available at all meals.
The ship's shop was excellent,selling anything you might have forgotten from toothpaste to tiara at competitive prices.
The on board lecturers were first class, absolutely excellent - you almost had to fight to get a seat.

The entertainment included a classical music element, which had attracted us, but was low-key and a bit disappointing. But it provided useful experience for the young musicians at the start of their professional careers.
The Showtime, not usually our scene,included a multi-talented comedian-mimic-tenor and was really very entertaining.
Shore excursions were reasonably good value for money and the local guides were very good indeed.They were not cheap and our dining companions seem to have a good time going ashore independently in several ports of call. Because Black Watch is a comparatively small vessel (though the biggest we have cruised on) it is able to berth right in the harbour of the places we visited and there were shuttle buses or local transport readily available close to the quay.

There was a programme of daily activities to suit almost any interest from water colour painting through golf to ballroom dancing - and everything in between.

The ship's staff were excellent and greeted regulars like long lost friends. The passengers were almost all of retirement age, many quite elderly, and some disabled who were well looked after by the staff.
We are 70ish but were dismayed by the company of a few whiners and grumpy old people who never stopped complaining, and by the boozing-all-day 50 year olds!

We would though have no hesitation in choosing Black Watch again.

Travel operator: Fred Olsen

14 years 9 months ago
The wife and my self have cruised to many parts of the world when she was alive and i told the family
that i would not be going away again because of.
I lived with the son at St Margarets Dover for a
year and August 2005 found myself embarked on a
twelve day cruise (12th---24th)the family finally
got their own way.The seating arangement was
excellent,8 singles we did not know each other but
i did unwind.The food was excellent well presented
by a dedicated staff.Cabins of the highest quality
Bridge Deck cabin 8025.Shore tours well organised
and visited many places i had been to before with
the wife.Entertainment was of the highest quality
and i congratulate FRED for running a tight ship.
The next time i cruise it will be from Southampton
as i am now residing in Hampshire not to far from
the terminal.Thanking you once again for a very nice
cruise A.Dixon (the cruise was BW562)

Travel operator: Thomson Dover

15 years 5 months ago
Travelled on a three night mini cruise from Southampton to Rouen to visit the Christmas market.Party was eight adults.Husband and me, my parents,our son and fiancee and her parents.Very enjoyable trip. We had an outside cabin with portholes.Plenty of space for storage. Cabins cleaned twice daily, plenty of towels, shower gel etc.Single beds quite comfortable. Food great, staff very attentive.Could do with more going on in the day time as it was too cold to be out on deck. Obviously this would not be so important if you were in a warmer climate like the Med.Would definately sail on this ship again if given the chance

Travel operator: fred olsen


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