£5.95 for 'enhanced afternoon tea'

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#1
133 Posts
Joined May 2004
From Fred Olsen's website - attention drawn by a poster elsewhere.

At Fred.Olsen we aim to blend the best of the traditional with the contemporary to create a unique experience. Our new traditional afternoon tea service – a further enhancement of the on board experience, offers just that. Passengers who attend this service will enjoy views from our stylish Observatory Lounge with musical accompaniment from our on board pianist and other classical musicians, while a selection of premium teas from Taylors of Harrogate will be offered, served in porcelain pots, along with elegant finger sandwiches, dainty pastries and warm scones with jam and cream.

Having been successfully trialled on Boudicca,the new afternoon tea service will be available across the fleet by late May. With the service proving popular already, guests are asked to pre-book once on board, by contacting Reception or the Observatory Lounge Manager. A civilised and enjoyable way to experience traditional afternoon tea, as it should be done.

Please note:This service incurs a nominal fee of £5.95 per person. This service supplements our existing tea service, which will continue as usual on all our ships.

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Comment: In my view this is a terrible idea. I see several problems. Firstly, offering 2 sorts of aternoon tea, in different places and one paid for will result in passengers being confused and unhappy onboard. Cue negative feedback.
Second, cue the conspiracy theory about 'dumbing down' the original offer to 'force you' into paying. There is nothing in this 'offer' that I wouldn't routinely expect in a 'normal' afternoon tea.
Thirdly, every other major line offers free afternoon tea of some kind without a charge. It will make Fred look 'poor value'.
Fourthly the idea of 'booking' afternoon tea - its all a bit too much like hard work.
#2
Kent
795 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
I think this is a retrograde step. On of the joys of cruising with Fred. Olsen is that you are not faced with a mulyitude of additional charges for on-board services. What will the next step be, charging to dine in the Spey or Avon restaurants on the "Balmoral"?
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Parsman
#3
London
612 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
And lets be fair. £5.95 is not a 'nominal' fee. Thats £12 a day which adds up very quickly. One of the wonderful things about cruising is that just about everything is included.
They will be charging to enter the quizzes next.
Fred - take some advice and stop this madness now.

I suppose they are thinking that tea in the Ritz is over £40 and is always packed and booked for months ahead.
#4
ayrshire scotland
190 Posts
Joined May 2010
I am going with fred on boudicca on 6th of june and this is a option i dont think i will use . If other people want use it that is there choice
this may cause some people to moan but if you dont want it dont buy it.
#5
West Sussex
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
We recently cruised on Blackwatch and experienced the £5.95 afternoon tea.
My wife and I both thought that it was very good value for money and a lovely way spend some time in the Observatory lounge. The quality of the tea, cakes, scones etc was superb and the white glove service made it a real occasion - and this is the key. Do not think of it as paying extra for what you can get free elsewhere on board, it is an added and enhanced service which should be enjoyed and savoured. It is a shame to hear people criticising it when they have not yet tried it. Reserve judgement until you try it, you will not be disappointed.
#6
UK
77 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Not disputing the quality of the experience, but I for one would prefer an 'inclusive' fare, rather than the trend towards charging for components of a cruise.
#8
123 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
We were on boudicca recently and saw the enhanced afternoon tea being set up in the observation lounge, I have to admit it looked very nice, white tableclothes, teapots the full works, sadly we didn't try it but was told by someone that did that it was very good with plenty of sandwiches and cakes.
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#9
oxfordshire
90 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
When its not very warm I spend a fair amount of time in the observation lounge reading a book, watching for whales etc.
Does this mean it will be closed whilst afternoon tea is set up, will I be thrown out if already in there, if so I am not very happy.
As stated by others the one good thing about FOCL is that there are not loads of extra's that need funding, think this is a backward step not that FOCL will take any notice

David
#10
Wirral, England
1,804 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I agree with the last poster - sounds like a good idea to stop people sitting in the observation lounge with a bar drink which we would much prefer - we only eat afternoon tea if we have missed lunch. I can't see how on earth people can eat so much.

I can see the appeal of a relaxing, upmarket, afternoon tea if the occasion is right, but why not use one of the restaurants as P&O do? At a push, I would prefer to pay a premium to sit in the observation lounge with a bar drink than to be distracted by serving of afternoon tea!!! I would need to be pushed though - and if we were to be charged for that then other things should be charged for as well - this is really opening a can of worms - isn't it!!!

Regarding paying to dine in the Spey and Avon - I could see the point of that, and everyone would get the chance to dine there, rather than just those who drew the long straw when booking.

How do you get a table allocated in the Spey or Avon incidentally?
#11
West Sussex
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
On the afternoon we had the "enhanced tea" less than half of the Observatory was reserved, the rest of the lounge was open as normal.
#12
Kent
795 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by tring
I agree with the last poster - sounds like a good idea to stop people sitting in the observation lounge with a bar drink which we would much prefer - we only eat afternoon tea if we have missed lunch. I can't see how on earth people can eat so much.

I can see the appeal of a relaxing, upmarket, afternoon tea if the occasion is right, but why not use one of the restaurants as P&O do? At a push, I would prefer to pay a premium to sit in the observation lounge with a bar drink than to be distracted by serving of afternoon tea!!! I would need to be pushed though - and if we were to be charged for that then other things should be charged for as well - this is really opening a can of worms - isn't it!!!

Regarding paying to dine in the Spey and Avon - I could see the point of that, and everyone would get the chance to dine there, rather than just those who drew the long straw when booking.

How do you get a table allocated in the Spey or Avon incidentally?
I you ask for the Spey or Avon restaurant when you book you may get a table there. However, remember that many Fred. Olsen "regulars" fook a year and more in advance so you just have to be lucky.
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Parsman
#13
Yorkshire
140 Posts
Joined May 2009
In reply to Trings comment regarding dining in the Avon and Spey restaurant on the Balmoral, we have just returned from the Norwegian Celebration cruise.
We were originally allocated the main restaurant, but we prefer the smaller Avon or Spey, so we met the Maitre D' and there was no problem changing venues.
The restaurant can also be requested on booking.
Some passengers are under the impression that these two restaurants are solely for the use of the higher grade suites and cabins, but they are available to all on request.
#14
UK
77 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
First time cruiser with Fred, have been allocated Avon restaurant and I'm booked in outside cabin on Coral, so seems to be no pattern to restaurant allocation?
#15
London
612 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
We are first time Freddy cruisers too (Balmoral sailing 2nd July) and we have been allocated the Spey 1st sitting. From what is being posted here it seems the general opinion that the 2 smaller restaurants are more sought after than the main one. Is this so ?? Why ?? I am intrigued now. And generally how many sit at each table - we are hoping for six happy people so lots of chatter and fun.
#16
Paris 17e, Gustavia & Megeve.
40 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
The Afternoon Tea on a recent Black Watch trip was only held on sea days (2 on my 8 night voyage).

I was sceptical, but for £6 I got the best afternoon tea at sea & some of the best service I have ever received on a ship, and that includes the small ship 3 "S's". Cunard's Queens Room afternoon tea pales in comparison & the experience even has the edge on the tea in the Queens Grill Lounge on QM2.

For £6 you get something very special & it's worth every centime

On Black Watch there were 6-8 tables reserved on the bar side of the Observatory keeping things, so my advice is get in there early!

M-A
#17
UK
77 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Sounds good, but Cunard's Queens Room service is nothing special. Queens Grill Lounge on QM2 didn't seem to be able to cope with numbers wanting the service on my Transatlantic journey.
#18
Liverpool, UK
99 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I would like to express the support for the enhanced afternoon tea. I thought I would try it on the first sea day of the W1003 Iberia cruise in April. I was very please and had two more.

There was only supposed to be one on the return trip, but due to a rejig of the itinerary and change of calls I also was able to have it leaving Vigo.

For those that are complaining it is excellent value for money and the Observatory is a fine place for it to be served.

Of course it does mean on busy days some of those not taking tea may be asked to move but then it shuffles people around. I must admit the Observatory is my favourite part of this ship and spend most of my time in there, unless I whiz up the stairs on top to photograph something.
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Cruises Completed:

BLACK PRINCE - BP819 - Round Britain - August 2008
THOMSON CELEBRATION - The Cruise To Nowhere - October 2008
BLACK WATCH - BW0902 - Celtic Spring - April 2009
BLACK PRINCE - BP0919- French Sojourn - August 2009
BLACK WATCH - W1003 - Iberia - April 2010
BLACK WATCH - W1012 - Iberia - August 2010
EDWARD ELGAR - Sharpness Canal Cruise - April 2011
BALMORAL - L1112 - Dublin and Around The UK - August 2011
BALMORAL - L1202 - Titanic Mini Cruise - April 2012
ATHENA - Gardens of Cornwall and Normandy - June 2012
EDWARD ELGAR - Sharpness Canal Cruise -July, 2012
BALMORAL - L1212 - Norway - Bergen & The Fjords - August 2012
BOUDICCA - D1319 - Cobh & Dublin Discovery - August 2013
#19
West Sussex
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
We were also on W1003 and sampled the Afternoon tea - excellent. The only problem was then building up an appetite for the evening meal!
#20
NH, USA
68 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Although I have not sailed on Fred Olsen, although I did sail on all of their ships in their prior lives and careers, I am certainly opposed to these additional charges for that which has traditionally been part of the cruise fare. This seems to be the beginning of "Easy Cruise" in Britain. Give me a line that includes the usual amentities, not a hotel chain which charges extra for everything and you are purchasing a bed only, which is one reason why I choose to cruise rather than going to a beach resort.