Once upon a time, sea days used to be reserved for lazing by the only pool on board, enjoying the sun before the evening’s entertainment.
Today however, cruise ships are becoming bigger and more innovative by the year, with even the slightest notions of boredom quickly dispelled by the likes of skydiving, surfing, zip wires, water flumes and airy shop-filled promenades.
As many cruise lines look to create floating resorts to rival those on land, vast and varied itineraries often take a back seat to technological advances and innovative facilities.
As Fred Olsen announce the refurbishment of three ships in their fleet, we thought we would take a closer look at a cruise line that places destination firmly at the forefront.
When Black Watch, Braemar and Balmoral dry-dock at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg it will mark the beginning of an exciting year for Fred Olsen; by 2015 the popular line will operate from 10 ports around the UK, including Rosyth; Newcastle; Belfast; Liverpool; Harwich; Tilbury; Avonmouth and Dover.
This expansion places 90% of the population within 90 minutes of a Fred Olsen cruise and puts their diverse itineraries at your fingertips. Rather than focusing all their attentions on the facilities on board, Fred Olsen are making strides with inspirational itineraries and opening the door to the world; all while sailing directly from the UK.
Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better
Braemar is one of very few ocean cruise ships small enough to sail along Europe’s finest rivers. A great alternative to traditional river cruise vessels, Braemar combines the benefits of multiple dining venues and greater choice of facilities, with access to some of the most beautiful waterways in the world. European itineraries for 2015 include;
‘French River’ – An 8-night river cruise along the Loire and Garonne rivers, plus an overnight stay in Bordeux
‘Spanish Cities with Seville’ – Spend 14 nights sailing the Guadalquivir River to the Andalucian capital of Seville
‘German Waterways’ – A 10-night cruise taking in the fjords, rivers and canals of Germany
Did you know?
All ships in the Fred Olsen fleet are small enough not to fall foul to recently introduced legislation banning larger cruise ships from central Venice, meaning you can still experience the thrill of sailing through the heart of this beautiful city.
Themed Cruises with a Difference
Themed cruises aren’t just about wine tastings, ballroom dancing and flower festivals. Experiential cruises are steaming ahead in terms of popularity and Fred Olsen continue to lead the way with some of the most unique itineraries around.
‘Film Stars & Fast Cars’ experienced great success in 2014 and is being repeated in May 2015, with a 15 night itinerary that takes in some of the most recognisable movie backdrops in the world including Cannes; Barcelona; Cadiz and Nice. With the film stars taken care of, it’s up to the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix to provide the fast cars, with Boudicca passengers having the opportunity to experience what is deemed to be the stand-out race of the Formula 1 calendar.
If endurance racing is more your thing, the 4 night ‘Le Mans & Historic Rouen’ cruise is perfect. You’ll cruise the River Seine to Le Havre, where you can choose to spend your overnight stay enjoying the culture of the city or to make the two-hour trip to Le Mans; one of the oldest races in the world and an event that appears on many a bucket list. With excitement high after such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you’ll head to Paris to enjoy your final evening before heading home.
‘You Choose Your Cruise’ is a whole new concept in themed cruising and one that is unique to Fred Olsen. Passengers on this 15 night voyage effectively steer the ship, with guests voting for each port of call as the cruise progresses. You will be given possible port choices at time of booking, however final decision as to which wins out will be made entirely by those on board. Will you choose Malaga or Gibraltar; Barcelona or Palamos; Valencia or Palma. You’ll experience the familiar and encounter the unknown, with a choice of 78 shore excursions promising a truly exciting holiday.
The World is on Your Doorstep
With your suitcase packed and your holiday money burning a hole in your pocket, that long trip to Southampton can feel like forever. Fred Olsen brings the world to your doorstep with their long list of ports around the UK and new itineraries for 2015 are truly incredible.
Arctic exploration departing from Newcastle?
No-fly cruises to the Caribbean direct from Scotland?
A chance to depart Liverpool destined for the rugged shores of Canada? Fred Olsen offers all this and more for 2015.
‘Exploring the Arctic’ opens up a world of spectacular scenery, remote villages, dramatic fjords, imposing mountains and majestic icebergs. You’ll visit the world’s northernmost city of Longyearbyen, less than 800 miles from the North Pole and a place of stunning natural beauty, and you’ll enjoy an overnight stay in the popular city of Reykjavik; all within touching distance of Newcastle.
Travelling from Scotland to Southampton is no mean feat in itself. Making good use of ports in Rosyth and Greenock, Fred Olsen is taking the trouble out of travel with no-fly cruises to the Caribbean direct from Scotland. You’ll board the newly refurbished Black Watch in November 2015, enjoying 32 nights and 13 different destinations; all from your (probably snow covered) doorstep.
Speaking of Southampton, the UK’s original port of choice provides your ticket to southern charm via Fred Olsen’s ‘Voyage to the American Deep South’ cruise. While the land of opportunity may seem a million miles away, Fred Olsen places you firmly in its centre on board the Balmoral. Direct from Southampton, you’ll spend 35 nights voyaging around Canada and the USA, experiencing the southern hospitality of Savannah and Charlestown, the bright lights of New York and the sandy beaches of Miami and Nassau.
While an abundance of activities and an epically proportioned ship plays perfect host to families and adventure-seekers, the call remains for experiential cruises and exciting itineraries. Away from the family-packed ‘floating resorts’, Fred Olsen have carved their niche for smaller ship cruising.