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RiverSong

Brilliant Boudicca

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I would like to share with you my experience on board Fred Olsen Boudicca, D1722 Scenic Spain 22nd September – 30th September 2017 round trip Liverpool.

This was the first time we had used the port of Liverpool and was impressed with how convenient it is for us Northerners.  When the car was parked with CPS at the ECHO arena, the stewards took our luggage and we didn’t see again till the cabin.  This left us free to explore the city Liverpool before embarkation, being one of our favourite cities I would recommend anyone to do this and it’s easy to just walk to the terminal after.  I think Paul (my long suffering other half) was surprise at how small the Boudicca looked compared to some of the other vessels he’s been on and to his horror he realised losing me on board may be more difficult than previously anticipated, but the benefits of a small ship soon became clear, we were checked in and onboard within thirty minutes.  Our cabin was conveniently located on Atlantic Deck with two port holes and bath which if I’m honest is a first for myself in a cabin.  The exploring of our new home for the next eight nights began, all public arears were modern and inviting and you immediately felt a friendly atmosphere.  The bookmark café offers speciality coffees at a small supplement like a Gingerbread Latte or Ice Caramel Macchiato at only £2.40 supplement, they also have a wide selection of assorted fine chocolates that are hard to resist.  They don’t have a casino on board but do offer Gaming tables outside the Lido Lounge with Roulette and Blackjack. Even though the Boudicca is a little ununiformed some of the balcony cabins are on the open promenade but you don’t feel like you’re looking onto them so passengers will still have their privacy, it was a little bit blowy on deck typical British weather so the Pool Grill and Marquee Bar remained closed till we hit warmer climates.  The look of relief on Pauls face was evident when he saw the shops on board which are adequate but limited in their offerings and he foolishly thought I may not be able to take advantage of their offerings.  One thing we was surprised at was that none of the self-service restaurants were open for anyone to obtain a snack they had closed the Secret Garden Café as this is used for the muster so the only option if you were unable to wait till dinner was room service.  We made the choice to upgrade to All Inclusive Drinks but I would recommend for passengers to do this before travelling, on a cruise of this duration it would be at the discounted rate of just £15.00 instead of the £25.00 per person per night we paid on board, this was still excellent value and well worth doing (not that were alcoholics honest).  That evening we’d been allocated a table in The Heligan Room which is a small intimate restaurant just off the Tintagel, Fred Olsen only offer the two sitting in an evening first 06:15 and second 20:30, if you prefer the self-service this is in Secret Garden Café 06:30 till 21:00 you will also find the supper club there normally 23:00 - Midnight.  All in all, the first impressions where impressive.

As the cruise progressed so did our initial impressions.  We soon found ourselves in the centre of activities on board, Paul can talk the hind legs of anyone he loves meeting other people and found the Boudicca was perfect to get to know everyone, which thankfully gave me some respite to relax.  The service only got better as the crew got to know you, and food standards remained high with varied choices in the main restaurants and themed night in the Secret Garden like Hawaiian, English Pub and Tapas.  We even tried our hands at the daily quizzes which were more like university challenge and when you’re up against members of Mensa we really didn’t stand a chance.  The entertainment was ideal for demographic on board you have live music every evening in the Lido Lounge from Jon Asher and Chris Ricketts, The Boudicca Show Company offer cabaret style shows like Cinematastic in the Neptune Lounge also a comedian and a magician, the highlight is still The Boudicca Crew Show which you now see many competitors mimic on their sailings.  We went to the guest speakers and even a classical concert in the day time but you can find time to just sit back and chill.  Everything is detailed in The Daily Times you get nightly with your cabin turndown.  There is as much or a little to do on board depending on what you want to get involved in.  Our only criticism if you can call it that was we felt the cruise was a port short, we felt one more stop would have made the experience and with so much on offer in these regions of Spain it would have enhanced the sailing.

Fred Olsen offer what some of the other cruise lines are now lacking, small boutique style ships.  You can tell it is still a family run company with the emphasis on personal service, this is their main strength and they are so friendly on board and this is contagious.  The food in the restaurants is in line with the best I’ve had at sea with an unlimited choice each day, and the Pool Side Grill was so good we had to go back a second time just to make sure.  Fred Olsen keep the experience on board traditional with shows and dance hosts and daytime activities like deck quoits and bridge.  The age group is young at heart but don’t be fooled into think this means a quite cruise the Neptune Lounge was literally rocking till 3am each morning, even me and my man child struggled to keep up.  Without hesitation, we would travel again with Fred Olsen.

 

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Off on Fred again tomorrow on Balmoral - our first time on her, and she is due in for a refit when we return (Braemar is currently undergoing a refit).  We love Fred they offer a really enjoyable cruising experience and River Song really paints a true picture.

 

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Riversong, Thanks for this detailed review on Fred Olsen. Many cruisers are looking forward to big and bigger liners, I prefer the older one, and smaller one. Of course my beloved Cunarder are bigger, but finally these mid-size ships are just fine, and give a family atmosphere without toboggans, Mountains-wall-climber Circus, Scooters, Surfboards etc...simply no Las Vegas. 

I cruised on HAL "Rotterdam" 2 years ago, I found it also very relaxed, and comfy.

:)

 

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