Black Watch Review and Specifications
Specifications of Black Watch
|Year built||1972 / Age : 47|
|Builder||Wartsila Hietalahti shipyard (Helsinki, Finland)|
|Building cost||USD 50 million|
|Owner||Black Watch Cruise Ltd|
|Operator||Fred Olsen Cruise Lines|
|Speed||19 kn / 35 kph / 22 mph|
|Length (LOA)||205 m / 673 ft|
|Beam (width)||25 m / 82 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||28613 gt|
|Passengers||804 - 846|
|Decks with cabins||8|
|Former names||Royal Viking Star|
Review of Black Watch
Launched in 1972 as Royal Viking Star, MS Black Watch is the oldest of the Fred Olsen ships, with fleetmates Boudicca, Balmoral, and Braemar. The cruise ship cost to build was USD 50 million. The vessel was last refurbished in 2019 December.
History - construction & ownership
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is a Norwegian-owned and UK-based cruise shipping company, part of the Fred Olsen Group. The company is headquartered in Ipswich (Suffolk England) and is owned by Bonheur and Ganger Rolf. The company was founded in 1848 (in Hvitsten, Norway) by the three Olsen brothers (Petter, Andras, Fredrik Christian) who bought their first ships and established an international shipping company. Today Fred Olsen Group is into its 5th family generation and operates subsidiary companies specializing in cruise passenger shipping, trade, shipbuilding, aviation, offshore industries.
The 28,613-ton, 807-passenger cruise ship Black Watch was acquired in 1996 by Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. The cruise ship was renamed "Black Watch" after a Scottish Regiment and nowadays is best known for its innovative worldwide voyages, outstanding service, and affordable rates. Since Black Watch cruise ship carries mainly British travelers the U.K. influence is apparent in everything from onboard amenities and lectures to cuisine and currency (all charges are assessed in British pounds). The cruise vessel inspires extreme loyalty between past cruisers as on a typical cruise upwards of 50 % may be repeaters.
In 1981, the vessel (under the Royal Viking Line’s ownership) was stretched by adding a 91 ft / 28 m long prefabricated middle-section. The refit resulted in an increased gross tonnage (from 28,220 to 28,610) and passenger capacity (from 758 to 820). During the ship’s stretching (done in Germany, at the Seebeckwerft AG’s shipyard in Bremerhaven) were built new cabins (including 9 balcony suites – the industry’s first), 2 lounges, the dining room’s size was doubled.
The list of other stretched (elongated) cruise ships includes the fleet mates Balmoral, Boudicca, and Braemar, also the MSC Cruises ships Armonia, Lirica, Opera, the Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros and the Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of The Seas.
Cruise itinerary program
Fred Olsen Black Watch itinerary program is exclusively based on UK departures from Bristol, Glasgow, Southampton, Liverpool, with round-trip itineraries. The list of feature destinations includes South America and the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, British Isles. Black Watch also offers World Cruise deals to ports in Australia, Asia, South Pacific.
Black Watch has a total of 423 cabins (of which 79 Suites, 37 Balcony rooms, 48 Inside) in 21 grades. Most Black Watch staterooms are 160-200-sq.foot Oceanview rooms (225). 4 are the wheelchair accessible cabins. The largest aboard Black Watch is the Superior Suite (550 ft2).
Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks
Breakfast and lunch in the MDR of the Glentanar Restaurant, as well as in a smaller annex, are generally open seating. Dinner is served in 2 assigned seatings. The nice Orchid Room features an Asian theme and serves as an alternative formal dining area. Braemar Garden is the casual buffet option onboard for meals and late-night snacks. Snacking options are also offered near the pools. Room service light meals are complimentary during limited hours.
Follows the complete list of Black Watch restaurants and food bars.
- Glentanar Restaurant (main dining room; hosts the formal Gala Dinner; with 2 fixed dinner seatings at 6:15 pm and 8:30 pm, open-seating buffet-style Breakfast 8:00 - 10:00 am and Lunch 12:00 - 2:30 pm)
- Orchid Room (annex to the MDR)
- Garden Cafe (alternative buffet-style restaurant, open-seating; offers Breakfast 7:00 - 9:30 am, Brunch 10:30 - 11:30 am, Lunch 12:30 - 2:30 pm, Afternoon Tea 3:30 - 4:30 pm, Dinner 6:30 - 9 pm and Supper Club 11:30 pm - 12:30 am; also features a 24-hour open tea-coffee station)
- The Grill restaurant (former Poolside Cafe, an alternative, buffet-style venue for breakfast and lunch; offers al-fresco dining)
- Marquee Bar (casual restaurant for lunch; al-fresco dining, with large, floor-ceiling panoramic windows; serves the pool area with alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks).
Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport
The continuing renovation project on Black Watch cruise ship means she is an attractive cruise liner and an appealing option, particularly for the older set looking for a relaxing and authentic cruising experience.
Follows the complete list of Black Watch lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.
- Marina Theatre (150-seat cinema room)
- Port Shop (duty-paid, sells essentials, hats, swimwear, toiletries, beachwear, sweets, books, snacks)
- Photo Gallery & Shop (offers digital images printing/transferring; personal video making; sells photo and video equipment at duty-free prices)
- Neptune Lounge (ship’s theater & main entertainment venue for grand-style show productions in the evenings at 8:45 pm and 10:45 pm; during the day serves the Fred Olsen enrichment program, with various lectures and seminars, multimedia presentations, dance classes, workshops, bridge lectures, cards playing tournaments)
- Boutique Shops (duty-free luxury gifts, perfumes, cosmetics, fashion clothing, watches, fine jewelry, Fred Olsen logo merchandise)
- Explorers’ Library; Internet Room; Dalreoch Card Room (bridge-playing club lounge)
- Bookmark Cafe (a la carte priced patisserie; offers luxury chocolates, specialty coffees, hand-made chocolates); Cafe Venus
- The Braemar Garden (adjoins the Glentanar Restaurant); Braemar Lounge (relaxation place; offers live music performances; served by the Braemar Garden’s Bar; also serves Afternoon Tea); Casino
- Morning Light Pub (features stand-up comedy acts, live music performances)
- Lido Lounge & Bar (live piano performances; transforms into a disco in the late hours)
- Pool Deck area (swimming pool, whirlpool, 2 exercise pools, sunbathing area)
- Fitness Centre (Wellness complex; there is no Spa, but the ship offers Sauna Rooms and Treatment Rooms for massages)
- The Gymnasium (gym room, with floor-ceiling windows, modern equipment; hosts various exercise and dance classes)
- Beauty Salon (part of the Wellness Centre; offers hairdresser/barber services, facial/body treatments, manicure/pedicure, massages)
- Observatory Lounge (indoor observation lounge with piano, glass dancefloor, panoramic windows for 270-degree views; serves Afternoon Tea)
- Golf Nets; Tennis Court; Deck Games area (shuffleboard, quoits, darts, tennis tables, board games, jigsaw puzzles); Walking Track.
Black Watch - user reviews and comments
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Other Fred Olsen cruise ships
Black Watch Wiki
On May 12, 1971, the cruise ship was launched as Royal Viking Star, and on June 26, 1972, entered service for the Royal Viking Line. The vessel has also sailed as "ms Westward" for NCL Norwegian and as "Star Odyssey" for the Royal Cruise Line. On 15 November 1996, the ship entered service for Fred Olsen under its current name.
Since the ms Black Watch caters primarily to British travelers (from the UK), influence is evident in all the onboard activities, enrichment programming, cuisine, even currency (charges are valued in GBP /pounds). All Fred Olsen ships inspire extreme loyalty among past guests. On a typical Black Watch cruise, over 50% are repeaters.
Fred Olsen also offers an all-inclusive cruise package upgrade (additional fixed price PP per day) and the UK fly cruise deals to Canary Islands (year-round discounted airfare from Southampton, England).
Black Watch ship's drydock 2019 (December 11-20, at Blohm+Voss Hamburg) was mainly for general maintenance and engineering works, interior renovations (public areas) and stateroom refurbishments (including bathroom upgrades).
Black Watch Itineraries
The below listed Black Watch cruise prices on itineraries are only indicative and Per Person (in US dollars, based on double occupancy). These are the cheapest Fred Olsen fares on the ship’s lowest category cabins available for booking. Cruise fares typically change with departure dates approaching, last minute deals, discounts, promotions, independent travel agency offers.
|Date||Cruise Name||Departure Port||Price from|
|2019 Nov 26||11 days, round-trip Spain, Portugal & Morocco||Liverpool|
|2019 Dec 21||1 day, round-trip Party||Southampton|
|2019 Dec 22||15 days, round-trip Christmas & New Year Canaries Cruise||Southampton|
|2020 Jan 06||11 days, round-trip Spain, Portugal & Madeira||Southampton|
|2020 Jan 17||14 days, round-trip Islands of the Canaries||Southampton|
|2020 Jan 31||14 days, round-trip Northern Norway with Sami National Day||Southampton|
|2020 Feb 14||5 days, round-trip City Break in the Netherlands & Belgium||Southampton|
|2020 Feb 19||13 days, round-trip Authentic Andalusia with the Cádiz Carnival||Southampton|
|2020 Mar 03||14 days, round-trip Fred. Olsen’s Canary Island History||Southampton|
|2020 Mar 17||7 days, round-trip Highlights of the Low Countries||Southampton|
|2020 Mar 24||2 days, one-way from Southampton to Liverpool||Southampton|
|2020 Mar 26||14 days, round-trip Four Fred's in Funchal with the Azores||Liverpool|
|2020 Apr 09||9 days, round-trip Mystery Cruise||Liverpool|
|2020 Apr 18||10 days, round-trip Closer Spain & Cruising the Seine||Liverpool|
|2020 Apr 28||14 days, round-trip Canaries & Portugal with Funchal Flower Parade||Liverpool|
|2020 May 12||11 days, round-trip Norwegian Fjords with National Day in Oslo||Liverpool|
|2020 May 23||5 days, round-trip Scotland with the Isles of Orkney and Mull||Liverpool|
|2020 May 28||10 days, round-trip Closer Spain & Cruising the Seine||Liverpool|
|2020 Jun 07||10 days, round-trip Authentic Flavours of Portugal||Liverpool|
|2020 Jun 17||8 days, round-trip Scenic Fjords of Norway||Liverpool|
|2020 Jun 25||16 days, round-trip A Voyage to Remote Spitsbergen||Liverpool|
|2020 Jul 11||7 days, round-trip Exploring the Lochs of Scotland||Liverpool|
|2020 Jul 18||9 days, round-trip Cruising the Fjords of Norway||Liverpool|
|2020 Jul 27||9 days, round-trip Whales, Wonders & Waterfalls||Liverpool|
|2020 Aug 05||8 days, round-trip Scottish Isles & the Edinburgh Military Tattoo||Liverpool|
|2020 Aug 13||14 days, round-trip The Fjords of Greenland||Liverpool|
|2020 Aug 27||5 days, round-trip Scotland with the Isles of Orkney and Mull||Liverpool|
|2020 Sep 01||11 days, round-trip Uncovering the Natural Wonders of Iceland||Liverpool|
|2020 Sep 12||13 days, round-trip Azorean Islands & Portuguese Cities||Liverpool|
|2020 Sep 25||12 days, round-trip Norway's Northern Archipelagos with Lofoten||Liverpool|
|2020 Oct 07||9 days, round-trip Authentic Portugal||Liverpool|
|2020 Oct 16||9 days, round-trip Cultural Cities with the River Seine||Liverpool|
|2020 Oct 25||12 days, round-trip Cultural Highlights of Southern Spain||Liverpool|
|2020 Nov 06||32 days, round-trip Idyllic Islands of the Caribbean||Liverpool|
|2020 Dec 08||14 days, round-trip Canaries & Portugal with Madeira Meteor Shower||Liverpool|
|2020 Dec 22||15 days, round-trip Canaries Christmas & Funchal Fireworks||Liverpool|
|2021 Jan 06||2 days, one-way from Liverpool to Southampton||Liverpool|
|2021 Jan 06||113 days, round-trip Around the World from Liverpool||Liverpool|
|2021 Jan 08||21 days, one-way from Southampton to Havana||Southampton|
|2021 Jan 08||80 days, one-way from Southampton to Colombo||Southampton|
|2021 Jan 08||57 days, one-way from Southampton to Sydney||Southampton|
|2021 Jan 08||109 days, round-trip Around the World||Southampton|
|2021 Jan 29||59 days, one-way from Havana to Colombo||Havana|
|2021 Jan 29||88 days, one-way from Havana to Southampton||Havana|
|2021 Jan 29||35 days, one-way from Havana to Sydney||Havana|
|2021 Mar 05||53 days, one-way from Sydney to Southampton||Sydney|
|2021 Mar 05||24 days, one-way from Sydney to Colombo||Sydney|
|2021 Mar 29||29 days, one-way from Colombo to Southampton||Colombo|
|2021 Apr 27||2 days, one-way from Southampton to Liverpool||Southampton|
|2021 Apr 29||5 days, round-trip Irish Capitals and Scottish Scenery||Liverpool|
|2021 May 04||18 days, round-trip Islands of the Mediterranean||Liverpool|
|2021 May 22||7 days, round-trip Sailing Around Iconic Ireland||Liverpool|
|2021 May 29||5 days, round-trip Five Celtic Cruise||Liverpool|
Black Watch User Reviews
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