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Posts posted by Leither

  1. On 5/8/2024 at 5:50 PM, jessybell said:

    Just done 124 days on Bolette. There are about 10 slot machines but no gaming tables. 

    I’m surprised; I don’t recall ever seeing slot machines on a FO ship, and we were on Bolette last year.

  2. On 5/3/2024 at 2:28 PM, Funboy said:

    Having never been on a Fred Olsen ship...does the Bolette have a casino. Some say no and cruise mapper says yes on deck 5.


    We’ve been on  quite a few FO cruises and never seen a casino as such but I think I recall seeing a rather lonely roulette wheel. Can’t recall if that was on Bolette or not.




    • Like 1
  3. 4 hours ago, cymrucat23 said:

    Hi again Leither , or anybody else that will have had experience of this- having now booked Dover to Iceland (a bit late booking this for July departure) A couple of the FOCL tours we would like are fully booked, so have now booked some independent tours! One is an 'anchor port' stop for Heimaey. I can't seem to find information on FOCL website - do you know the frequency of 'tenders' to the port when it's an anchor port? Is it just in the morning then pick up at the end of the day - or are tenders running throughout the day?  Thanks 🙂

    In my experience, tenders tend to go on throughout the day.

    • Like 2
  4. 20 minutes ago, cymrucat23 said:

    Have you ever had a missed port and claimed on insurance for the missed trip Leither? Genuinely interested as we claimed for our missed port which was fine, but of course as we had booked an excursion via FOCL it was automatically refunded by FOCL.  Thanks 🙂 

    Funnily enough, I hadn't thought about claiming for a missed port until I read your post. We do have cruise cover as an add-on & I checked, supposedly can claim £150. Last year our FO cruise couldn't call at Praia de Vitoria because of storms so I've submitted a claim this morning.

    • Like 1
  5. On 4/22/2024 at 3:25 PM, cymrucat23 said:

    Different cruise, but we went on the Northern Lights cruise in March, booked several trips through FOCL. As it turned out we could not dock in Bodo (sadly bad weather conditions) and as we had booked a tour to the Saltraumen maelstrom and sea eagles through FOCL we were immediately reimbursed. We also got insurance cover for missed ports so were compensated financially for this (though would still have far rather done the excursion).  With hindsight it's probably a bit risky booking independently (though it appears cheaper, which is very annoying). However, in Tromso, a couple we shared a dinner table with had booked Independently a cycling trip - this was successful for them.  FOCL never really seem to publish times in port (as you say a bit vague) and I would be nervous of booking something unless I was absolutely certain of the times.

    We’ve done lots of independent trips - including those in Iceland above - and never had any problems.

    • Like 1
  6. On 4/14/2024 at 5:41 PM, Karen13 said:

    Any recommendations please? We normally do a mixture of both, but FOCL seem to be very cagey about advertising arrival and departures times at each port! We did a Norway cruise with them last year and I’m sure these times were published.

    Any suggestions on what is a ‘must see’? 

    I replied to a similar question on the Roll Calls board -



  7. 5 hours ago, twotravellersLondon said:


    And what a cruise that was... do you remember the standing ovation that he received from the passenger 


    I don't remember that but I do remember his always amusing 12 noon announcements. And that he left the cruise early to return for the birth of one of his children. He was also the captain on our first cruise, to Norway.

  8. 2 hours ago, showingdiva said:

    The ship was finally handed over to her new owners this week.   Going to Belfast for a refit / re-brand / make over,    Her first cruise sets sail from Southampton 15th May.

    And interesting to see that the captain, Jozo Glavic, is going with her. He was the captain who took us through the Corinth Canal on Braemar a few years ago.

    • Like 1
  9. 8 hours ago, safarigal said:

    Do you need to add a tip to the bar and specialty restaurant bills? If so, what would be the usual amount?

    The details are here -




    We normally just go along with this but give the stewardess and the two waiters a little bit extra, ie maybe £5 or £10 each. Fred Olsen provide envelopes for this.





    • Like 1
  10. 32 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

    I keep getting confused about the names of the islands.  Sao Miguel is Ponta Delgada.  Praia da Vittoria is terceira.

    São Miguel and Terceira are the names of the islands, the other two names are the principal towns respectively.

  11. 18 hours ago, jeanlyon said:

    Eglesbrech, are you on this cruise.  Our trip in Praia is Amazing Tours.  Madeira is Madeira Airport transfers.

    We did the cruise last year to the Azores, Canaries & Madeira. Unfortunately the first stop, Terceira, was cancelled due to storms. On São Miguel we'd booked a private tour through https://www.brumasecenarios.com/en/ in Ponta Delgada. It was 50 years since we'd been to the island and knew exactly what we wanted to see/do and what we didn't. Our guide/driver Gabriel was really first class and delivered everything we wanted. Highly recommended.



    • Like 2
  12. On 11/29/2022 at 6:43 PM, richard_london said:

    I was so upset to read this.  I have been hanging on for the Braemar to return to service to try and undertake a cruise on her, which I was planning to do before the pandemic hit us.  It definitely won't happen now.  Really cross with Fred.


    Of all the publicity that Fred has had in the last few years the photos and footage of the Braemar squeezing through the Cornith Canal was the best the company has ever had.  It was such a good advert for their brand of small ships.  It was all over social media and in the cruise news.  Fred couldn't have wished for better positive news stories.  How badly now has it all ended.


    Just like every other cruise company Fred are following the bigger is best approach (to their bottom line, not their passengers).  It makes a complete mockery of the small ships ethos that the have flogged for so many years.  But it just doesn't hold now.  When they got rid of the Black Watch and Bouddica they immediately killed off all the Kiel Canal transits those ships frequently did with the new HAL ships too big for it. 


    Their statement that says the Bollete and Borealis still offer a small ship experience is ambiguous.  If I am being generous it is a spurious statement, but the way I am feeling right now it is akin to gaslighting.  They aren't small, and unforunately that aren't pretty.  Nor does the interior design gel with the traditional Fred fleet.  Adding their signature carpets doesn't distract from two ships with dated interiors, whereas the previous ships had been regularly refitted over the years.  They just don't appeal to me in the same way and I suspect this is part of the problem why Fred can't fill them.


    Fred love to tout their family-firm curated itineraries, visiting the smaller ports that big ships can't reach.  Well that's going to be impossible now.  With this decision, they are really restricting where they can go.


    I think this is the beginning of the end for Fred.  It is definitely the end of small ship cruising.  With their dynamic pricing they were already alienating many loyal customers.  Getting rid of the the Black Watch and Bouddica alientated the same and more.  Buying the HAL ships alientated even more and now this, is probably not the final nail in the coffin but one of the last.


    If the company is still in operation a year from now I will be surprised.  But the Fred product we all knew and loved has gone now.  Yes, they still have the Balmoral but I suspect they won't keep her for much longer.  If they can't fill the two HAL ships and are bleeding money, then more cuts will have to come along the way.


    What a sorry, sad state of affairs.  I'm feeling rather emotional and angry.






    We did the Cruise through the Corinth Canal on Braemar in 2019 and it was excellent. But this year we cruised on Bolette to the Canaries, Azores etc and were very happy with the ship. So much so, we booked to go to Norway on her sister ship next year.



    • Like 1
  13. Some years ago we sailed from Newcastle. We stayed at the Premier Inn the night before boarding and left the care in their car park for the duration.  We did check with them beforehand but there was no charge. I think we may have made a donation to their chosen charity.

    • Like 1
  14. 23 hours ago, tring said:

    It is the foam sanitisers which are anti viral ones, whilst the alcohol gels are not really anti virals.  Can get on the net, or search the net for places selling them.  We have got them in the past.  There have been lots of outbreaks on all cruise lines recently, as there always was pre-covid.  The ships always refer to norovirus like bugs, no assurance that is what the cause is of course, but if it was possible to prove it heralds from the kitchens of a ship, then they would clearly be implicated, hence the term norovirus like infection.


    May be a good idea to skip filter feeders anywhere, even when ashore.  I worked in a hospital lab for one of my research contracts and many of the staff would never touch filter feeders, though must say I love that sort of thing and never seem to have suffered after eating them.


    What’s a filter feeder?

  15. On 8/14/2023 at 2:46 PM, RC9786 said:

    My parents are going away this week with Fred Olsen on a cruise to Norway. They didn't get round to get a card that would allow them to make fee-free withdrawls while abroad/fee-free chip and pin transactions so they are mainly thinking about getting cash or cash loaded onto a pre-paid card. Basically, the question we want to know the answer to is, where would the best place be to get Norwegian Krone. We know that there is an onboard bureau de change service but the exchange rate you would get is not listed (just says that it is competitive). We have seen Eurochange doing a rate of 12.729 for Kroner but will it make much difference if they just buy some on board, I would have thought that it wouldn't be that competitive with it being a bit of a captive market. Has anyone sailed with them recently and could let us know what the exchange rates are like on board.


    P.S. Do they still have computer rooms on board?

    We went to Norway a few years ago with FO. At that time they had a special deal for specific currencies of which Norwegian Krone was one whereby they bought back any surplus currency at the same rate you bought it at.

    suggest you search to see if that’s still the case.

    • Like 1
  16. Interesting thread. We’ve done about six cruises with FO, only company we’ve gone with so haven’t compared competitor prices. I do get a 5% discount thanks to my old employer which helps. Only interested in no-fly cruises.

    We’ve recently done the Adriatic cruise on Bolette (initially called the Balkan cruise, name changed presumably for marketing reasons!). We enjoyed Bolette, first time we’ve had a so-called suite with balcony. Theatre was much better size than on the smaller ships. There were about 850 px on board cf capacity, I think, of 1,300. Same captain as the one we had on the Corinth Canal cruise, excellent guy (as mentioned above).

    Shore visits were slightly disappointing as some of them were little more than a half-day.  
    Food was up to the usual standard, some days better than others. We did have a huge benefit in a £200pp on board spend.

    Covid was a problem which I didn’t see mentioned above. Ship would only admit to 100 cases, but we suspect more. My wife was pinged, which meant she had to test daily before leaving the cabin. But this has put us off booking any cruises in the near future - the risk of being confined to your cabin for a prolonged period is just too great. Our final port was to have been Tangiers but they refused to let us dock because of the Covid situation on board.



  17. We just park in the street in a lovely suburb in the north of the City and then get a taxi to and fro the port and you can keep your keys :)


    Not very nice for the people who live where you've left your car. People have been causing problems by this practice near, I think, Luton airport with the result that some of the "parked" cars have been deliberatedly vandalised

  18. You were lucky then. We've only ever done two cruises, and both were with Olsen. We had a tender port in Norway last year which went smoothly but this one in Stockholm was a fiasco. To add insult to injury, there was no apology until the following day but there was never any explanation so consequently rumours abounded.


    It's time Olsen learnt that it's far better to come out with clear and honest explanations rather than allow all sorts of rumours to circulate.

  19. We've just got off the Olsen's Balmoral cruise to the Baltic - bit of a fiasco in terms of the virus on board and the dreadful tendering arrangements in Stockholm where we had to wait 2.5 hours to get off. This was only our second cruise and not hugely impressed. Olsen really seems to have a problem with communications.

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