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Black Watch

Former name: Royal Viking Star

Black Watch Review and Specifications

Specifications of Black Watch

Year built1972  /  Age : 47
Flag state Bahamas
BuilderWartsila Hietalahti shipyard (Helsinki, Finland)
Building costUSD 50 million
OwnerBlack Watch Cruise Ltd
OperatorFred Olsen Cruise Lines
Speed19 kn / 35 kph / 22 mph
Length (LOA)205 m / 673 ft
Beam (width)25 m / 82 ft
Gross Tonnage28613 gt
Passengers804 - 846
Passengers-to-space ratio33
Decks with cabins8
Last Refurbishment2018
Former namesRoyal Viking Star

Current itinerary / position of Black Watch

Black Watch current cruise is 16 days, round-trip Western Med with the French Riviera. The itinerary starts on 12 Oct, 2019 and ends on 28 Oct, 2019.

All Itineraries Current Position
Date / TimePort
12 Oct    Departing from Liverpool, England hotels
16 Oct    Gibraltar, UK
17 Oct    Cartagena, Spain
19 Oct    Monte Carlo, Monaco
20 Oct    Cannes, France Riviera
21 Oct    Barcelona, Spain
22 Oct    Palma de Mallorca, Majorca Island, Spain
24 Oct    Cadiz, Spain
28 Oct    Arriving in Liverpool, England hotels

Review of Black Watch

Launched in 1972 as Royal Viking Star, Black Watch is the oldest of the Fred Olsen ships, with fleet mates BoudiccaBalmoral, and Braemar. The ship cost US$50 million to build and was last refurbished in 2014.

History - construction & ownership

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, shipbuilding, aviation, and offshore industries.

MS Black Watch cruise ship (Fred Olsen)

The 28,613-ton, 807-passenger cruise ship Black Watch was acquired in 1996 by Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. The cruise ship was renamed the 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.

During the 2018 drydock at Blohm+Voss (Hamburg), to the ship were added two fiberglass-bottomed boats, each with capacity 12 passengers.

Cruise itinerary program

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.

MS Black Watch cruise ship (Fred Olsen)

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.

MS Black Watch cruise ship (Fred Olsen)

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 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 cruise line 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 - user reviews and comments

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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.

DateCruise NameDeparture PortPrice from
2019 Sep 20 13 days, round-trip Scenic Islands of Northern Norway Liverpool
2019 Oct 03 9 days, round-trip Exploring Portugal’s Highlights Liverpool
2019 Oct 12 16 days, round-trip Western Med with the French Riviera Liverpool
2019 Oct 28 14 days, round-trip The Canary Islands with Madeira Liverpool
2019 Nov 11 15 days, round-trip You Choose Your Cruise Med Liverpool
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 57 days, one-way from Southampton to Sydney Southampton
2021 Jan 08 80 days, one-way from Southampton to Colombo Southampton
2021 Jan 08 109 days, round-trip Around the World Southampton
2021 Jan 29 88 days, one-way from Havana to Southampton Havana
2021 Jan 29 59 days, one-way from Havana to Colombo 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

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