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Disappointing 'All Inclusive' package


Johnny Red Tip
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My wife and I went on the cruise to Iceland recently on the Balmoral. The cruise itself was good, and the ship was fine, however the ‘All Inclusive’ (sic) package was the worst we have ever experienced.

It is the ONLY AI package we have experienced that doesn’t include:-

·        Wifi

·        Bottled water!

·        Cocktails (unless you happen to like the extremely weak cocktail of the day.)

·        Mocktails

·        Liquors (unless you like a cheap version of Baileys)

·        Bourbon

·        Irish whiskey

·        White Rum

·        Sherry

·        Port

The beer component included 2 lagers, an amber ale and Newcastle Brown – but you had to pay extra if your preferred beer was bitter.

The white wine selection was 1 SB and 2 types of chardonnay but no PG – which was available at an additional cost.

By far the worse component though was the ‘selection’ of spirits. There was no selection, the package inclusions were all cheap ‘no brand’ spirits. (For instance, the Whisky was from China). Also, other cruise lines charge the difference between the package price of a drink and actual price when upgrading to more expensive drink choices, Fred Olsen charge 50% of the total price.

There was also a drastic shortage of quiz games / parlour games. I am referring to ‘audience participation’ type games, not the shows. My wife and I are enthusiastic participants. Every cruise we have ever been on (over 25) includes at least 1 such game on every sea day – sometimes more frequently. The only such games on this cruise were 1 game of ‘Scattegories’ and 1 of ‘Majority Rules’, both of which were held at 23.30 hours when the vast majority of passengers had already retired. 

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@Johnny Red Tip

 

I am a wine drinker so the package suits me as the house wines are fine for the odd glass but more importantly there is a 50% discount off bottles.
 

Consequently we could have a good bottle of wine at half price with dinner along with a glass at lunch, soft drinks, the odd beer and the occasional other drink,

 

I agree the included cocktails are pretty poor. We tended to go for the half price Martinis if we wanted a cocktail.

 

If I wanted a spirit (very occasionally)  I ordered something decent and just paid the 50% price which makes it reasonably priced.

 

At £25 pppd it worked for us and is less than half the price of many other lines. It may not work for others, it depends what you prefer to drink.
 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

@Johnny Red Tip

 

I am a wine drinker so the package suits me as the house wines are fine for the odd glass but more importantly there is a 50% discount off bottles.
 

Consequently we could have a good bottle of wine at half price with dinner along with a glass at lunch, soft drinks, the odd beer and the occasional other drink,

 

I agree the included cocktails are pretty poor. We tended to go for the half price Martinis if we wanted a cocktail.

 

If I wanted a spirit (very occasionally)  I ordered something decent and just paid the 50% price which makes it reasonably priced.

 

At £25 pppd it worked for us and is less than half the price of many other lines. It may not work for others, it depends what you prefer to drink.
 

 

 

 

 

The combination of having to pay for a "drinks package" and then "half price on top" makes many of FOCL's drinks very expensive.

 

For instance, Denbies White Downs costs £21.99 for a single bottle from the vineyard. Retail customers can have if for about £16.00 on offer or on a loyalty card and that's paying UK duty on the bottle. FOCls will have a much bigger discount for bulk purchases and they won't have to pay the £2.60 per bottle duty. so the cost pf a bottle to FOCLs must be in the region of £10.00 or less... but Fred Charges £55.00 a bottle .... a 500% markup ... much more than our local restaurant. Even at 1/2 price FOCLs is selling this wine at a premium... especially when considering that the cruise customer has already paid a lot for the privilege of getting the 1/2 price deal.

 

We've tried the drinks package in the past and found that we didn't like the house wines and even if we did we wouldn't have gone through £50 quid worth of alcohol a day.

 

And now FOCLs has removed all of the really good wines from the lists.

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26 minutes ago, twotravellersLondon said:

 

 

The combination of having to pay for a "drinks package" and then "half price on top" makes many of FOCL's drinks very expensive.

 

For instance, Denbies White Downs costs £21.99 for a single bottle from the vineyard. Retail customers can have if for about £16.00 on offer or on a loyalty card and that's paying UK duty on the bottle. FOCls will have a much bigger discount for bulk purchases and they won't have to pay the £2.60 per bottle duty. so the cost pf a bottle to FOCLs must be in the region of £10.00 or less... but Fred Charges £55.00 a bottle .... a 500% markup ... much more than our local restaurant. Even at 1/2 price FOCLs is selling this wine at a premium... especially when considering that the cruise customer has already paid a lot for the privilege of getting the 1/2 price deal.

 

We've tried the drinks package in the past and found that we didn't like the house wines and even if we did we wouldn't have gone through £50 quid worth of alcohol a day.

 

And now FOCLs has removed all of the really good wines from the lists.

It’s absolutely down to personal requirements and tastes. A package won’t suit everyone.

 

The OP was comparing with other all inclusive packages. By that comparison we think Fred is Ok (not brilliant) but Ok. The prices on other lines per day are eye-watering.

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

The OP was comparing with other all inclusive packages. By that comparison we think Fred is Ok (not brilliant) but Ok. The prices on other lines per day are eye-watering.

 

We've done two cruises with SAGA this year. The price we paid for a like for like cabin was the same or a little less per day than we would have done a similar cruise with FOCLs at the same time of the year. SAGA's Drinks were included in that comparative price. That included all premium drinks and cocktails.

 

That's what we call "brilliant."

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5 hours ago, twotravellersLondon said:

 

We've done two cruises with SAGA this year. The price we paid for a like for like cabin was the same or a little less per day than we would have done a similar cruise with FOCLs at the same time of the year. SAGA's Drinks were included in that comparative price. That included all premium drinks and cocktails.

 

That's what we call "brilliant."

I’ve yet to try out SAGA as they only seem to leave from the far South.

 

Sounds good though.

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On 10/17/2023 at 10:55 PM, Johnny Red Tip said:

My wife and I went on the cruise to Iceland recently on the Balmoral. The cruise itself was good, and the ship was fine, however the ‘All Inclusive’ (sic) package was the worst we have ever experienced.

It is the ONLY AI package we have experienced that doesn’t include:-

·        Wifi

·        Bottled water!

·        Cocktails (unless you happen to like the extremely weak cocktail of the day.)

·        Mocktails

·        Liquors (unless you like a cheap version of Baileys)

·        Bourbon

·        Irish whiskey

·        White Rum

·        Sherry

·        Port

The beer component included 2 lagers, an amber ale and Newcastle Brown – but you had to pay extra if your preferred beer was bitter.

The white wine selection was 1 SB and 2 types of chardonnay but no PG – which was available at an additional cost.

By far the worse component though was the ‘selection’ of spirits. There was no selection, the package inclusions were all cheap ‘no brand’ spirits. (For instance, the Whisky was from China). Also, other cruise lines charge the difference between the package price of a drink and actual price when upgrading to more expensive drink choices, Fred Olsen charge 50% of the total price.

There was also a drastic shortage of quiz games / parlour games. I am referring to ‘audience participation’ type games, not the shows. My wife and I are enthusiastic participants. Every cruise we have ever been on (over 25) includes at least 1 such game on every sea day – sometimes more frequently. The only such games on this cruise were 1 game of ‘Scattegories’ and 1 of ‘Majority Rules’, both of which were held at 23.30 hours when the vast majority of passengers had already retired. 

Just out of interest - I don't drink alcohol, so this is not of interest to me other than the water. Is bottled water the only available water, or is there potable, non bottled water available - maybe I should bring my own bottles of water for our anticipated cruise in March!

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4 hours ago, cymrucat23 said:

Just out of interest - I don't drink alcohol, so this is not of interest to me other than the water. Is bottled water the only available water, or is there potable, non bottled water available - maybe I should bring my own bottles of water for our anticipated cruise in March!

You can get glasses of tap water at the bars. We used to fill our own water bottles up from the fountain in the gym. You can, of course, buy bottled water. They are large glass bottles though so a bit heavy to carry around.

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10 hours ago, paularmstrong said:

Just booked this cruise for next year , out of interest what were the choices of lager please do you know if they also had cider 

Package options were:-

Heineken, Stella and Moretti on tap (to be honest, I couldn't taste the difference between the Stella and Moretti). Others were available for 50% of cost. Strongbow and Somersby cider were also included

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1 hour ago, paularmstrong said:

Stella and Moretti will do , ThanksJohnny

 

This link can get you into the full drinks pack menu, but you need to click the dark blue tab labelled, our drinks package menu from this link and it pops up:-  https://www.fredolsencruises.com/cruising-information/drinks-upgrade

 

They do say brands can vary, though tbh they are pretty much the same as they always have been from what we have seen.  You should get a paper copy of the menu for the cruise and will also be on the menus that are placed in the bars/restaurants.  We find the spirits fine with mixers, but not to drink on their own, though DH does like the brandy at times after dinner. 

 

The details are on Fred's website, but takes a bit of getting into.  You need to click on FAQs at the bottom of the page to get into it and then need to click "drinks pack upgrade", even after you have gone into it that way. 

 

It used to be very good value when they first brought it out as only £10pppn, but as prices crept up we soon stopped taking it at full cost.   £24.99pppd would certainly not be worth it for us unless it is part of an offer, though still a lot cheaper than some cruise lines charge, especially the American lines.  Although the price of Fred's drinks onboard have gone up recently, they are nothing like the level charged on the American based lines and no extra service charge added.  So given most people will not drink as much on port days, most regular posters on here would recommend just buying drinks on the ship, unless someone does like a fair number of drinks per day.  Note hot drinks are not included on the pack.

 

 

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17 hours ago, cymrucat23 said:

Just out of interest - I don't drink alcohol, so this is not of interest to me other than the water. Is bottled water the only available water, or is there potable, non bottled water available - maybe I should bring my own bottles of water for our anticipated cruise in March!

 

Fred stopped having a lot of plastic on his ships a few years back now, though he was serving 330 ml cans of water (sparkling or still) in the bars quite cheaply and you should be able to get water from the dispensers in the self service restaurants, though of course not to dispense directly into a water bottle which is unhygienic.  People do pour water from glasses into bottles to take away though, better to choose a quiet time for that rather than cause a queue at restaurant times though.

 

When we have been on the drinks pack we have always taken a pint glass of water each to our cabin at night.  It is worth taking a couple of bottles onboard for cabin use though, IMO.  The tap water is safe to drink, but can taste metallic, so not my choice.

 

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1 hour ago, terry2 said:

Sorry I'm confused - the title talks about an "all inclusive" package,  I did  not think  Fred offered such a thing, as far as I ca n recall he only offers a drinks package.

 

Yes, you are quite right, it is purely a drinks package that Fred does and that is what he calls it.  It is not as comprehensive as some other cruise lines offer, but is a lot cheaper than what some cruise lines charge, especially the American based ones.  He does publish what is included, but it not very easy to find on his website.

 

Given the limitations we would prefer to buy our drinks as we go, then can have a full choice of what we drink.

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We like that Fred sails from more Northern ports as it saves the hassle of getting to Southampton. We wish he would bring back the fly cruises.

On the subject of the "All inclusive Package" As others have stated it's a drinks package and has certainly served us well😂 It's quite clear what you get and at the moment prices on board for drinks are reasonable. We just use free wi-fi when in port if we feel the need to check anything at home. Crew "tips" are fair and of course if someone has served you well extra is given at the end of the cruise.

Got home from P&O Ventura on Tuesday and no way would we even consider it but of course that's our choice.

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8 hours ago, July morning said:

We like that Fred sails from more Northern ports as it saves the hassle of getting to Southampton. We wish he would bring back the fly cruises.

On the subject of the "All inclusive Package" As others have stated it's a drinks package and has certainly served us well😂 It's quite clear what you get and at the moment prices on board for drinks are reasonable. We just use free wi-fi when in port if we feel the need to check anything at home. Crew "tips" are fair and of course if someone has served you well extra is given at the end of the cruise.

Got home from P&O Ventura on Tuesday and no way would we even consider it but of course that's our choice.

Re 'It's quite clear what you get '. except that it isn't. On the website and in any communication from them it mentions 'selected' drinks, Not 'house spirits only' and 'cocktail of the day only' or 'non branded Irish cream liquor.'. the word 'selected' implies that there is selection (to choose from) but there isn't. If this had been clear we would not have taken the package.

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It may have changed for this year or next, but the Morettti last year was served from Blade 8 liter mini kegs machines. It was very good 😁

 

We looked at the drinks package last year, but it didn't make sense for us. My wife isn't a drinker and you had to buy the package for both occupants of the cabin.

 

Given the relatively low cost of drinks onboard (which was a pleasant surprise when compared to drinks on some other cruises we have been on in the past) it wouldn't have saved anything anyway even if we could have just purchased one drinks package.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/22/2023 at 11:33 PM, Johnny Red Tip said:

Re 'It's quite clear what you get '. except that it isn't. On the website and in any communication from them it mentions 'selected' drinks, Not 'house spirits only' and 'cocktail of the day only' or 'non branded Irish cream liquor.'. the word 'selected' implies that there is selection (to choose from) but there isn't. If this had been clear we would not have taken the package.

They seem to be what Fred has selected 🤣🤣 shame he hasn’t selected a dark rum, so no Dark and Stormy, I wonder what a Light and Stormy would be like…that is if they have selected ginger beer.

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  • 3 months later...

We've Never sailed with Fred Olsen before, but watched a lot of YT videos and the World Cruise ambiance and itineraries look very appealing.

 

One thing, that might seem trivial to others that read this is that my favourite tipple is Johnnie Walker Black Label. I drink 3 or 4 large ones each evening. Every cruise line I have sailed with thus far has stocked it, lucky enough for me, (HAL, Regent 7 sees, MSC, NCL, Princess, P&O, Vikings, RCL etc)

 

It is super important to me that Johnnie Black stocked on board, or I won't take the cruise of this length. So, do any if you good people know if Black Label is sold on board?

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33 minutes ago, Glide said:

We've Never sailed with Fred Olsen before, but watched a lot of YT videos and the World Cruise ambiance and itineraries look very appealing.

 

One thing, that might seem trivial to others that read this is that my favourite tipple is Johnnie Walker Black Label. I drink 3 or 4 large ones each evening. Every cruise line I have sailed with thus far has stocked it, lucky enough for me, (HAL, Regent 7 sees, MSC, NCL, Princess, P&O, Vikings, RCL etc)

 

It is super important to me that Johnnie Black stocked on board, or I won't take the cruise of this length. So, do any if you good people know if Black Label is sold on board?

Don’t take this a guarantee as things can and do change from time to time but my last Fred cruise yes they has JW black label. They also had red label and double black (which I like as nice and smoky)

 

JW whisky was not included in the all inclusive (as per this thread) but sold at half price with the AI package.

 

The whisky tasting event included a JW blue label.

 

I would check with the company if it is a deal breaker for you.

 

Incidentely we just visited JW on Princess Street Edinburgh for a tasting, well worth a visit if you are in Edinburgh.

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