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Our Recent Cruise and Some Other Information


tring
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I have eventually done a review (which is awaiting publication), of our recent cruise, which we did enjoy a lot because of the itinerary, though there were things that were not so good with that ship/cruise on that occasion.  We have used a number of cruise lines though and the onboard experience is not often our priority (I am thinking of a great itinerary we once did on The Costa Allegra in the South China Sea and a round Cuba cruise, with a number of ports there on the Celestyal Crystal – both memorable cruises).

 

I said I would do a bit of digging, though as we did not spend much time on the ship and as there was a lack of senior officers around, it was not too easy.  I did speak briefly with one of the future cruise sales people, who I found to be pretty off hand TBH.  He did mention though that there were some single offers on some cruises for 2023 and gave me a sheet listing those.  They were all offers specifically on the CO grade cabins, which are obstructed view outside cabins, so as they are not the cheapest of cabins to begin with, they may not be of any interest to anyone.  There are 14 of those CO grade offers and the sheet has very small writing, so not easy for me to list them all, but may be worth looking at that grade if you have an interest in a particular cruise, or I could look a cruise up, if requested.  I am not sure if they were just temporary offers or long term ones.  He also mentioned single offers on cruises which now have saver fares on, which currently only go as far ahead as May, but again I have gathered previously they have not been enticing for single prices.  There are some extra discount codes currently coming up in the booking system which expire tomorrow, so I would not be surprised if another offer comes on mid-week for perusal over the Easter holiday, but that is now Fred as we all know.  I am not convinced any of those offers will be of interest to any singles, but thought I would mention it anyway – sorry I am a bit late reporting back.

 

One other thing we did notice on the ship is that the bar prices have risen a fair bit since we were last on a Fred ship in December, though they are still less than other cruise lines seem to charge.  The prices seem to have risen about 20% overall, making a glass of wine about £5.35, most cocktails are now £6.15 and a pint of beer/larger nearer to, but still less than £5 (£4.60 for Spitfire, I think).  The new price list can be found on a link on Fred's website and I have put it here as well:-

 

https://www.flipsnack.com/fredolsencruiselines/fred-olsen-bar-menu/full-view.html

 

The all-inclusive drinks package is still the same price at £19 though AFAIK, so is looking pretty good value for anyone who likes a few drinks and has a cruise booked, though restricted drinks of course.  The list of what is included in the drinks package is listed at the back of the bar price list which I have posted above, if anyone wants to see that, though availability of beers, for instance do vary according to which bar you are in, due to what they stock.

 

We had not booked any Fred cruises ahead, but have decided to book a Balmoral cruise to The Baltic, for next month at a saver fare (to replace a vastly changed Aurora Itinerary), so will be interesting to see how Balmoral will be then, though as only the second cruise scheduled post covid, we are feeling a little wary.  As always though, the itinerary is mainly the reason why we have booked the cruise. 

 

Hopefully summer is around the corner, although still some pretty cold breezes up here at present, so hope everyone enjoys the summer,

 

Barbara

   

Edited by tring
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Thank you Barbara.We are sailing on Borealis from Liverpool on thursday for 5 nights Scenic Ireland)Looking forward to trying a new FO ship.

Ann

Sorry to hear you have both had covid.Hope you are fully recovered now

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54 minutes ago, ann141 said:

Thank you Barbara.We are sailing on Borealis from Liverpool on thursday for 5 nights Scenic Ireland)Looking forward to trying a new FO ship.

Ann

Sorry to hear you have both had covid.Hope you are fully recovered now

 

Hi, good to hear from you, yes fine now, but I did not test negative until day 9 and took a bit longer to get my full strength back.  Allan recovered more quickly though. 

 

Must admit I think my review will sound quite umpty about certain things, but I also know other people have been much happier with Bolette.  It is often just down to personal preferences.  We have always preferred borealis and have been on there three times, so hopefully all will be well for your cruise.  We greatly enjoyed an around Ireland cruise a few years back, though we did have seven days for that one.  The convenience of a local departure is a great advantage and will presumably be so for you, considering you have relatives nearby.  

 

Hope you have a great cruise,

 

Barbara

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I have now seen mentioned elsewhere that Fred's AI is now going to cost £24.99 from 27th April, though anyone with a cruise booked before that can still book it prior to that (up to 26th April) at the current price of £19 pppn.  As I mentioned at the top of this thread drinks prices on the ship gone up by about 20%, so not surprising the AI is going up as well.  

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With the forthcoming increase in drinks prices and packages I hope that the quality of the drinks is going to improve as well, I remember that on our previous Fred Olsen Cruise the spirits were extremely poor quality, not even branded from what I remember. We have just returned from a month on Regent Explorer so it will be an interesting comparison for our Cruise with Fred in a couple of weeks.

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On 4/13/2022 at 12:23 PM, Coravel said:

Personally I cannot see the new tariff as a bargain as we could not drink £50 a day between us.  Many thanks for the bar menu which is very useful.  

You probably wouldn't want a drinks package on P&O then considering theirs is £39.95 pppd...😁

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On 4/17/2022 at 1:50 PM, ARDXXX said:

With the forthcoming increase in drinks prices and packages I hope that the quality of the drinks is going to improve as well, I remember that on our previous Fred Olsen Cruise the spirits were extremely poor quality, not even branded from what I remember. We have just returned from a month on Regent Explorer so it will be an interesting comparison for our Cruise with Fred in a couple of weeks.

 

Interesting comparison of Regent to Fred I am sure, we went to one of their presentations in a local 5 * hotel about three years back and remember how they were saying if you want to drink champagne, you will be able to do so on Regent in the included price.  Fine, if that is what you want, but at something like £500 pppn we would not be traveling with them to fund other people's champagne habits!  I can see the point in some more upmarket cruise lines and have been very impressed with Azamara, especially their balconies, though itinerary is still what chooses a cruise for us.

 

Actually Fred's drinks prices are still way below any prices I have seen (or seen reported) on other cruise lines, though whether a drinks pack is, or is not worthwhile depends on the individual person and their normal consumption on any particular cruise itinerary.  I know of people who travel with Fred who find it worth paying for the drinks pack to be able to buy premium drinks at half price (Champagne now not allowed on that offer now, but a lot is).  Drinks pack not often for us now and is unlikely to be in the future at the new price.

 

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Thanks for the very detailed review Barbara.  I don't think you mentioned the two speciality restaurants called Vasco and Colours.  We enjoyed some very nice oriental meals in Colours which cost us an extra £5 each.  The setting was quite exotic.  I wasn't so keen on Vasco which served Indian food which I normally love.  Everyone else at our table enjoyed it but I'm a picky eater and didn't like it.  I very much like the idea of the dance team performing a play.  It happened on the Black Watch in 2020 when they did an Agatha Christie play.

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1 hour ago, Coravel said:

Thanks for the very detailed review Barbara.  I don't think you mentioned the two speciality restaurants called Vasco and Colours.  We enjoyed some very nice oriental meals in Colours which cost us an extra £5 each.  The setting was quite exotic.  I wasn't so keen on Vasco which served Indian food which I normally love.  Everyone else at our table enjoyed it but I'm a picky eater and didn't like it.  I very much like the idea of the dance team performing a play.  It happened on the Black Watch in 2020 when they did an Agatha Christie play.

 

We were only on for eight nights and it was a port heavy cruise with three overnights - so they were three nights off the ship for us as well as at least one full day for each port.  As it happened we did eat on the ship those days, but briefly in the Poolside or self service.  We were on late sitting, but any set sitting was a particular nuisance on that cruise as are port plans meant that we definitely wanted to eat late some nights and early on others.  We wanted a quick, early eat the last night as well since we had the long journey back, so did not really have time to do Colours and Tastes justice.  We have had quite a number of meals there on both ships and I must say that it has got better as time has gone on.  Both those restaurants had the senior chef's coming round the tables towards the end of the night asking for feedback from the guests when the ships were first sailing and they have obviously taken notice of that feedback.  We ate in Vasco very early the first night, but even then it left me with a lot of acid on my stomach and a bad night's sleep - that is me, not the food.  I do like Indian food, but at lunch time.  We particularly liked all the starters in the assorted tubs (? condiments - do not know what to call them, but a lot more variety than the usual raita and chutneys), though we have learnt to ask for half the amount of bread - we should just leave what we do not want, but once it is in front of you that is not easy to do.

 

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4 hours ago, Britboys said:

Thanks for the link Barbara. Great review as always.

 

I try from time to time, but always end up writing a lot more than I mean to!  We are on Balmoral to the Baltic late May, which we are looking forward to both for the itinerary and the ship (we prefer Fred's older ships), so will be interesting to see how that goes.  We were booked on Aurora for a similar time, but P&O saw fit to remove Tallin, Riga and another port at the same time as SPB, so it was a no brainer to cancel that one.  Just hoping Fred does go to to Tallin and Riga, neither of which we have been to previously, but I am feeling a little uneasy as our excursions are a tad late being published.

 

We went a little mad over the weekend and booked a cruise on Ambience to Greenland for late June.  I know I have not been keen to do so, but that Itinerary is something we would only find on an expedition ship otherwise, which was something we had been considering, but prices are so very different, so we thought it worth a try with this first.  When we went to Greenland on Fred, the Danish ice pilot said we had done incredibly well getting into all three of our ports and also being able to sail through Prins-Kristiansund, so I expect we may miss at least one or more ports this summer as there are a lot of tender transfers.  We will see.

 

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4 minutes ago, tring said:

 

I try from time to time, but always end up writing a lot more than I mean to!  We are on Balmoral to the Baltic late May, which we are looking forward to both for the itinerary and the ship (we prefer Fred's older ships), so will be interesting to see how that goes.  We were booked on Aurora for a similar time, but P&O saw fit to remove Tallin, Riga and another port at the same time as SPB, so it was a no brainer to cancel that one.  Just hoping Fred does go to to Tallin and Riga, neither of which we have been to previously, but I am feeling a little uneasy as our excursions are a tad late being published.

 

We went a little mad over the weekend and booked a cruise on Ambience to Greenland for late June.  I know I have not been keen to do so, but that Itinerary is something we would only find on an expedition ship otherwise, which was something we had been considering, but prices are so very different, so we thought it worth a try with this first.  When we went to Greenland on Fred, the Danish ice pilot said we had done incredibly well getting into all three of our ports and also being able to sail through Prins-Kristiansund, so I expect we may miss at least one or more ports this summer as there are a lot of tender transfers.  We will see.

 

Tallin and Riga are both lovely Barbara. Been to Tallin twice, on Arcadia and Aurora. Visited Riga once on Aurora and it was my 'surprise of the cruise'. Easy to diy with a medieval quarter and an Art Nouveau quarter. I loved it.

I'm booked on a short, Christmas Markets cruise aboard Ambience. Would have probably booked a longer one if it wasn't that I am due to be on Aurora for 19 nights late Summer. Bit wary of a longish cruise at the moment though...

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1 hour ago, Britboys said:

Tallin and Riga are both lovely Barbara. Been to Tallin twice, on Arcadia and Aurora. Visited Riga once on Aurora and it was my 'surprise of the cruise'. Easy to diy with a medieval quarter and an Art Nouveau quarter. I loved it.

I'm booked on a short, Christmas Markets cruise aboard Ambience. Would have probably booked a longer one if it wasn't that I am due to be on Aurora for 19 nights late Summer. Bit wary of a longish cruise at the moment though...

 

I have been looking at Google Earth and going for "walks" in the Baltic ports as I often do with forthcoming venues.  I have been very impressed with them as most seem to be easily done independently and look very interesting.  The only downer for us is Oslo, as been a couple of time previously, nothing we particularly want to do and we have found the city rather grey on  previous visits.  Cannot complain about one port out of quite a few though - looking forward to it a lot overall.

 

Yes 21 nights on Ambience is a bit optimistic perhaps, but have to try it given the itinerary.  We had covid late March, so are hoping we will still have some extra protection from that in June/July, though it seems the protection from both the vaccines and illness, (regards getting the infection), wanes after about three months.  Still, should be well protected against serious illness though.  We will be very careful before we join the ship and during the cruise as would hate to miss any of the ports unnecessarily.  After doing a previous CMV cruise, we are not expecting much, but as always the ports are what we want.

 

Hope you enjoy your cruises and the summer generally.  We are looking forward to some warmer weather, but it has been a while coming.  Still getting brighter and a bit warmer as time goes by.  We are not keen on the reported hassle in airports at present.

 

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3 hours ago, tring said:

 

I have been looking at Google Earth and going for "walks" in the Baltic ports as I often do with forthcoming venues.  I have been very impressed with them as most seem to be easily done independently and look very interesting.  The only downer for us is Oslo, as been a couple of time previously, nothing we particularly want to do and we have found the city rather grey on  previous visits.  Cannot complain about one port out of quite a few though - looking forward to it a lot overall.

 

Yes 21 nights on Ambience is a bit optimistic perhaps, but have to try it given the itinerary.  We had covid late March, so are hoping we will still have some extra protection from that in June/July, though it seems the protection from both the vaccines and illness, (regards getting the infection), wanes after about three months.  Still, should be well protected against serious illness though.  We will be very careful before we join the ship and during the cruise as would hate to miss any of the ports unnecessarily.  After doing a previous CMV cruise, we are not expecting much, but as always the ports are what we want.

 

Hope you enjoy your cruises and the summer generally.  We are looking forward to some warmer weather, but it has been a while coming.  Still getting brighter and a bit warmer as time goes by.  We are not keen on the reported hassle in airports at present.

 

I assume you have been to Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo? If not, well worth a visit.

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