Braemar encompasses everything Fred Olsen are about when it comes to cruising. Friendly, comfortable and appealing to the extent that some refuse to board any other ship, Braemar attracts a loyal following all year round.
Her small ship stature allows Braemar the unique opportunity to sail both rivers and oceans. As a result, itineraries are vast and varied, with Caribbean, Cuban and Mayan adventures appearing alongside Amsterdam mini cruises and sailings along French rivers. Fred Olsen do themed cruising incredibly well, and Braemar offers some of the best themed itineraries in the industry; Elvis at 80; Le Mans Motor Racing; Highland Games & Edinburgh Tattoo, and the intriguing ‘You Choose Your Cruise’ are just a handful of our favourites.
Braemar’s five-deck atrium sits at the heart of the ship, its painted murals, sleek brass and polished wood creating a magnificent first impression of what is a contemporary and modern ship. A dry-dock visit in December 2014 saw the ship’s cream, gold and blue décor refreshed beautifully throughout and ready to welcome back her loyal guests.
Braemar’s itineraries are reflected in the ship’s activities and recreational facilities, and there is a focus on the traditional British cruising experience. Lectures and guest speakers focus on the best of British, with everything from history, antiques, gardening, food and wine serving as previous subjects of discussion.
There are plenty of activities to encourage you outside, with strolls on the Promenade and deck games both cruise traditions that have stood the test of time. The 360 degree promenade aboard Braemar is located on Lounge Deck 5, attracting a mixture of joggers and those who prefer a more leisurely pace. Sea views make workouts in the fitness centre far more pleasant than back home, and there are fitness classes available throughout the day. Some can’t imagine anything worse than working out on holiday, preferring to relax in the Atlantis Spa instead. Featuring a sauna and steam room, along with an extensive treatment list, the small but perfectly formed spa area is a great place to escape and indulge.
The pool area aboard Braemar is a fantastic wide-open space, with enough sun loungers for even the busiest sea days. Choose between two larger pools or head to one of two whirlpool Jacuzzis. A paddling pool just next to the main pool area is great for the kids who tend to come aboard with parents and grandparents during the summer holidays.
You’ll enjoy a sense of camaraderie wherever you venture on Braemar, with the Coral Club and Morning Light Pub staying busy all day long.
The Coral Club is one of the most popular venues aboard Braemar, attracting the crowds all day long thanks to a variety of entertainment. Daytimes see the space filled with eager ears for lectures, with bingo and quizzes also popular throughout the day. Evenings see the 170 capacity space fill to the rafters with guests keen to see the latest cabaret acts and live bands. Many Fred Olsen guests choose the line based on its ballroom dancing and the Coral Club has four dance hosts for single passengers.
Neptune Lounge is the largest entertainment venue aboard Braemar, with some of the best performers in the cruise industry taking to the stage for twice-nightly performances that draw an eager crowd. The Observatory Lounge is perfectly placed to offer spectacular views over the front of the ship and the venue is a great spot to enjoy a pre-dinner drink or nightcap – take advantage of the amazing views through panoramic windows and grab the binoculars available around the room for a closer look.
The Morning Light Pub plays to a cosy Scottish theme, with Highland accents and tartan décor. A lot like a night down the local at home, you’ll meet up with friends old and new, enjoy an extensive drinks list including great real ales, and enjoy entertainment from live musicians and comedians with a very British sense of humour.
The Thistle Restaurant is Braemar’s main restaurant and the circular room fills with light, thanks to huge windows and great placement. An elegant coffee and cream colour scheme compliments formal atmosphere perfectly, with a la carte five-course meals and gala dinners created by Fred Olsen’s executive chefs. Those looking to enjoy dinner in more intimate surroundings can dine at the ship’s second restaurant, The Grampian; the most formal dining room on board.
The Thistle Restaurant and Grampian Restaurant each offer the same impeccable service and delicious menu, with waiters and staff more than happy for you to order ‘off menu’ if you’d prefer. Two sittings are available for dinner, with open seating for breakfast and lunch.
The Palms Café plays host to relaxed buffets, and is also the venue for the ship’s supper club each evening. Those who prefer relaxed dinners, eaten at a time to suit them, will appreciate leisurely lunches at the buffet, and dinners eaten without formality after a busy day exploring in port. Other informal dining options on board include the popular Marquee Bar, where you can enjoy light lunches between visits to the pool. Great burgers and baguettes are available at the Lido Bar, and the spot is a great place to enjoy a drink in the sun before dinner.
Afternoon tea in the Observatory Lounge is a great Fred Olsen tradition, and the newly introduced Café Venus serves exquisite truffles alongside speciality teas and coffees from Taylors of Harrogate; supplier to the famous Betty’s tea room in York and Harrogate.
Fred Olsen guests favour the formal dress code of traditional cruising and going glam is encouraged for formal evenings and gala dinners. Tuxedos and dark suits are the attire of choice for the gentlemen, with cocktail dresses and elegant evening wear for the ladies. Dress code during the day is smart casual, with the usual summer clothing perfectly acceptable on sea days.
Braemar’s varied itineraries may see you visit sacred sites, so make sure you are prepared with long sleeved tops and lightweight trousers.