Southampton to Dubai
Cloughie | October 18, 2019 | Fred Olsen Cruise Lines | Balmoral
We joined a Fred Olsen cruise for the first time with doubts as several people had suggested to us it wasn’t up to the standard of previous cruise lines we had sailed with. We spent 23 days on the cruise from Southampton to Dubai, a part of a World cruise. it was also the first time we had joined a cruise from Southampton. There is no doubt it is much easier to start in a home port and not have the hassle of airports, we did worry about sailing through the Bay of Biscay but that proved unfounded, no problem. We booked a suite on Deck 10, this was a wise choice it was excellent, as good if not better than any other we had experienced which included Celebrity, Princess and Regent Seven Seas. Very spacious which included a large balcony which had a dining table and four chairs plus two sun beds which we used excessively. The cruise line do not employ the “any time dining principle” which we prefer. We were initially given a table for four, we had requested a larger table when we booked. We spoke to the Ma??tre De and after one night he switched it to a larger table in the Spey dining room which in our opinion was by far the best. We found the standard of cuisine “hit and miss”, it could be very good but also not so sometimes not so good. The one area which in our opinion is better than any other cruise line we have used was the standard of service. It is exceptional, very rarely did you pass a member of staff who didn’t acknowledge you. In the dining room the waiters could not do enough for you, as soon as we walked into the dining room our regular waiters were ushering us to a good table. They are a great credit to the cruise line.
We chose the cruise because of the destination ports, we enjoyed the Pyramids of Giza, Petra, Muscat Abu Dhabi and Dubai, however we felt there were too many sea days, initially four straight off and then six on the trot later on. The cruise needed more ports of call.
The one area our initial doubts were proved correct was the age profile of the passengers. We were warned the average age tends to be very high, we are in our 60’s, the average age we would suggest was much higher. This can be a problem, if you are on a day tour you can find yourself moving at the pace of the slowest person which can be very frustrating. There was also many more single people on the cruise than we have experienced before.
The real test of any cruise line is would you sail with them again ? For us the answer is possibly. Given the destinations we would want to visit and being able to book a suite I can see us sailing with Fred Olsen again. There is no doubt a large proportion of their customers are repeat customers which suggests that Fred Olson are good value.
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