Fred Olsen

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Fred Olsen fleet

Review of Fred Olsen

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is a Norwegian-owned, UK-based cruise shipping line with four ships, part of the Fred. Olsen Group. The headquarters of the company are in Ipswich, Suffolk, the UK, and it is owned by Bonheur and Ganger Rolf. 

The company of Fred Olsen originated in 1848 in Hvitsten, a little town on Oslofjord, Norway, by three Olsen brothers, Petter, Andras and Fredrik Christian, who bought their first ships and established an international shipping company. Today the line is into the 5th generation of the family and operates companies skilled within cruise and passenger shipping trade, ships' crewing, ship building, aviation and offshore industries. The Fred. Olsen group also has business interests in the property development, estate management, luxury hotel sector and electronics companies.

Fred Olsen Cruises logo

The ships of the Fred Olsen company are attractive with nice bars and lounges, smartly furnished cabins and deluxe restaurants. The airy public areas provide excellent places to read an interesting book and have a drink while relaxing and watching the world go by. The daily activities, uncrowded pool areas, exotic spas, help you enjoy your cruise holiday on a Fred Olsen ship.

The itineraries include sailings from different British ports, which makes them ideal for single travelers or couples, whatever the season. The policy of the line to include different British embarkation ports, does not mean that they do not offer cruise holidays all over the globe - to Africa, the Caribbean, Australasia, North and South America.

Not everyone craves to have countless numbers of on board activities and to be on the same ship with thousands of other people. Sometimes people just need a cruise holiday to relax in comfort and quiet. Being on Fred. Olsen cruise liners is what you really need from cruise holidays - relaxation and chance to discover new places around the world. You also have better chances of bonding with fellows on board - this usually happens only on smaller liners. The intimate setting on these cruise liners allows you go at own pace while providing all services and amenities you need. The company had to alter some regulations on board. For example, smoking is now banned in indoor areas, but there are outside permitted sections.

Owing to the cheap price of these deals, more people can afford to sail. This way companies like Fred Olsen are the most welcoming, giving you chance to meet new people and explore new places in times when passenger ships become larger and more distant to ordinary people.

  • Fred Olsen company purchased a new ship in May 2006 - Norwegian Crown, bought from Norwegian Cruise Line. In November 2007 the vessel was dry-docked for lengthening and refurbishment, with pre-built forty metre added centre section. Then the ship was renamed Balmoral, entering service in 2008. This fact was followed in the summer of 2008 by the extension of Braemar - adding a new centre section with new public rooms and cabins. Thus the size of the vessel was increased from 19,000 grt to 24,000 grt.
  • Fred Olsen lines provide traditional cruising with unhurried on board ambience - this is the main reason why they are the best choice for cruise holiday passengers. The four stylish ships of the company offer a variety of itineraries of different duration - from a few days on European mini-cruises to round the world voyages including the most spectacular destinations in the world.
  • On July 28, 2015, the Fred Olsen's fleet (all 4 vessels) met in Bergen Norway for a historic joint event (CruiseMapper news).
  • On March 7, 2017, Fred Olsen announced the company had its most successful cruise sales day ever. Total bookings were over GBP 3 million for that day. Most of the bookings were made by top tier loyalty club members, following the official release of Fred Olsen's 2018-2019 cruise itinerary program. The increase in bookings over te same launch day in 2016 was 15%. By the new program, the all 4 Fred Olsen ships will cruise to 228 destinations in 73 different countries. The program also featured 91 scenic cruising areas included in 135 unique itineraries.

Fred Olsen enjoys a high repeat booking rate. To attract first-timer cruisers, since 2013 Fred Olsen offers "Enjoyment Promise". By this initiative, a full cruise full refund is guaranteed to anyone who doesn't enjoy the company's cruising vacation product. The cruise line guarantees that if passengers find that the experience is not for them, they can leave the cruise ship at the next available call port. The "Enjoyment Promise" offer applies only to new bookings and first-time customers.

Occasionally, Fred Olsen offers short UK cruises ("themed as "Taster Cruises’") allowing potential customers to book 1-night cruise deals. This is a perfect opportunity to sample the line's product without committing too much money or time. Booking these 1-night deals don't require purchasing travel insurance.

Itinerary of Fred Olsen

The ships of the Fred Olsen company are based in Britain during most of the year, with cruises departing from Dover, Southampton, Rosyth (for Edinburgh), Liverpool, Greenock (for Glasgow), Newcastle and Portsmouth. The Braemar’s winter Caribbean fly cruise program operates from Barbados, and provides connecting flights from Manchester and London Gatwick.

Itineraries range from areas that are quite popular, as the Baltic, Canaries, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Norway, to longer cruise routes - ‘Around the World’ and ‘Around South America’. The list of destinations operated by Fred Olsen ships includes the Adriatic, Africa, Canary Islands, Transatlantic, Canada/New England, Northern Europe/UK ((Around Britain/British Isles, Iceland), South America, the US. One of the most British cruise companies, the Fred Olsen fleet consists of smaller size cruise ships - weight/tonnage from 11,000 to 43,000 GRT.

In April 2017, Fred Olsen announced the company will pull its ships out of Falmouth UK. The decision was partly based on the port's lack of dedicated cruising facilities.

Fred Olsen commenced its 2017-2018 cruise season from Dover on June 4, 2017 with a sold-out 7-night ‘Phenomenal Fjords of Norway’ itinerary, onboard its 804-passenger Black Watch. In total, the cruise ship offered 6 unique, great-value vacations up to August 2017; passengers can choose from an 11-day ‘Lochs of Scotland’ cruise, a 15-day ‘Iceland, Ireland & Islands’ adventure and a 28-day adult-only ‘Fjords of Norway, Iceland & Greenland’ cruise.

Fred Olsen cruise itinerary changes

Fred Olsen cruise line adds a South Africa itinerary program on the Boudicca ship in 2018. The new program will be operated with UK to South Africa fly-cruise deals. The Boudicca's cruise fares will be inclusive of flights from London (or Manchester) to Cape Town (departure port). The 14-night round-trip itinerary includes overnight stays in Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay and Durban. The 3-night stay in Cape Town offers as tour options Scale Table Mountain (cable car ride), wine tours (Stellenbosch, Constantia), Camps Bay strolling, visiting the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront complex and the Newlands (cricket ground), Cape Town Harley Davidson bike tour, boating, shark diving, whales-dolphins watching.

  • mv Balmoral (1988) - UK/British isles, Baltic Sea (Russia-Scandinavia and Norwegian Fjords) and Canary Islands leaving out of Newcastle (home-port), also from Dover and Southampton (home-port) including on Transatlantic round-trip cruises to South America. In 2018-2019, the 1,350-passenger flagship Balmoral will offer roundtrip departures out of Edinburgh (Rosyth) for the first time ever. There are a total of 9 cruises scheduled (May through July), including a 5-night Norwegian Fjords, 14-night Scandinavia and St Petersburg, Baltic discovery, 9-night ‘German Waterways’.
  • ms Black Watch (1972) - World Cruise from Southampton, Northern Europe (Norway Fjords, Russia and Scandinavia) leaving from England (Dover, home-port) and Scotland (Edinburgh, home-port), also from London
  • ms Boudicca (1972) - UK/British Isles, Azores and Madeira, Mediterranean leaving from Liverpool (home-port), World Cruise round-trip from Southampton to Caribbean and South America. Select departures from Greenock-Glasgow and Belfast are also available. Fred Olsen Cruise Line's 880-passenger ship Boudicca returned to Liverpool’s Pier Head Cruise Terminal on June 9, 2017 with an action-packed 27-day ‘Bermuda & the America’s Cup’ voyage, which has been crafted for guests to enjoy all the excitement of the 35th America’s Cup held in Hamilton, Bermuda. Fred Olsen’s Boudicca is setting sail on 10 unique adventures from Liverpool in 2017-2018, from June to September. Other itineraries include a 9-day ‘Lochs of Scotland’ cruise, which takes in the very best lochs and picturesque waterways that the country has to offer, and a 17-day ‘Glitz & Glamour of the French Riviera’ cruise, with highlight calls into BarcelonaCannes and Monaco.  
  • ms Braemar (1993) - Baltic Sea (Russia and Scandinavia, Norway Fjords), France (Atlantic Coast ports), Canary Islands and Eastern Mediterranean out of Southampton (home-port). During winter season offers Caribbean cruises out of Barbados.

Fred Olsen line also offers an all-inclusive cruise package upgrade (additional fixed price PP per day) and UK fly cruise deals to Canary Islands (year-round discounted airfare from Southampton, England).

Fred Olsen related cruise news