Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred Olsen Braemar current position
Specifications of Fred Olsen Braemar
|Year built||1993 / Age: 29|
|Builder||Union Navale de Levante SA (Valencia, Spain)|
|Building cost||USD 75 million|
|Owner||Braemar Cruise Ltd|
|Operator||Fred Olsen Cruise Lines|
|Speed||19 kn / 35 kph / 22 mph|
|Length (LOA)||195 m / 640 ft|
|Beam (width)||22 m / 72 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||24344 gt|
|Passengers||929 - 970|
|Decks with cabins||6|
|Former names||MS Crown Dynasty|
Fred Olsen Braemar Itineraries
|Date||Itinerary||Departure Port||Price from|
|2023 Apr 28||5 days, round-trip Discover Normandy in Five nights||Southampton||$964|
|2023 May 03||25 days, round-trip Greek Islands and Corinth Canal||Southampton||$6898|
Fred Olsen Braemar Review
Review of Fred Olsen Braemar
The 1993-built (as "Crown Dynasty") cruise ship MS Braemar is part of the Fred Olsen's cruise fleet. The sistership (same-designed) Crown Jewel (1992-built) was later renamed to MS Gemini and time-chartered by Celestyal Cruises as "Celestyal Nefeli". As design, the Braemar ship is similar to Superstar Gemini (Star Cruises).
History - construction and ownership
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd is a Norwegian-owned and UK-based cruise shipping company, part of the Fred Olsen Group (Fred Olsen & Co / shipowner, headquartered in Oslo, Norway). 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.
Fred Olsen Group wholly owns the companies Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd, Fred Olsen Travel Ltd (worldwide tours and vacations via independent operators), Fred Olsen Marine Services AS (shipowner and vessel management), First Olsen Ltd (tanker ships), Dolphin Drilling Holdings Ltd (offshore drilling rigs), Fred Olsen Express (Canary Islands-based fast ferries / catamarans), Fred Olsen Freight Ltd (cargo shipping and air freight), Fred Olsen Windcarrier AS (transport and installation of offshore wind turbines), Fred Olsen Production AS (offshore petroleum production), Fred Olsen Renewables AS, SeaRoc Group Ltd (offshore and marine consultancy and contracting services), ZephIR Lidar UK (wind measurement devices), Ganger Rolf ASA (energy and shipping). Also part of Fred Olsen Group, the company Bonheur ASA manages several fully-owned companies, among which are NHST Media Group AS (newspapers and online media) and the real estate companies Stavenes Byggeselskap, Koksa Eiendom, Fred Olsens gate 2. Part of Fred Olsen Group is also Timex Group BV - parent of several watchmaking companies, including the subsidiaries in the USA, India and Philippines).
The 1000-passenger ship Braemar was originally built in 1993 (as "Crown Dynasty" for Crown Cruise Lines, 1984-founded/2001-defunct) and joined Fred Olsen's fleet in 2001. One of the biggest changes that past cruisers are going to note is the Braemar Room on Deck 5, leading into the new Scottish-inspired Morning Light Pub (that was released on sister cruise liner Balmoral in early 2008). Prior to the renovation, this space was more of a walkway, but now the expanded Braemar Room has become more of a public room in its own right, with Aztec and nautical-themed design of the decor. This space is also home to a new library, a card room, and an Internet room.
In 2009, MV Braemar (under Fred Olsen's ownership) was stretched by adding a prefabricated middle-section. The refit resulted in increased gross tonnage and passenger capacity. During the ship's stretching (done in Germany, at the Lloyd Werft's shipyard) were built new cabins, lounges and a restaurant, along with the 2 swimming pools (plus a paddling pool) on Marquee Deck 8 (Sun Deck).
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.
Decks and Cabins
MS Braemar staterooms (a total of 485) include 19x Suites, 200x Balcony cabins, 130x Inside, in all 21 grades. Most Braemar staterooms are 130-175 ft2 Balcony rooms. The largest accommodation is the Superior Suite (300 ft2). Fred Olsen Braemar ship has a total of 40 solo cabins (single-occupancy rooms).
The boat has 8 decks, of which 7 are passenger-accessible and 6 with cabins.
Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks
Most Braemar guests have dinner at the Thistle Restaurant for either 6:15 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. seating. The Thistle is an elegant, circular room with panoramic windows. Those who prefer a more intimate setting should choose the smaller Grampian Restaurant. This also has two seatings but it's mainly for travelers staying in the upper decks. Breakfast and lunch are open-seating, so guests can order waiter-served meals at either restaurant or try the self-serve Palms Cafe.
Follows the complete list of Braemar restaurants and food bars.
- Thistle 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)
- Grampian Restaurant (ship's 2nd largest dining room, with the same menu as the Thistle; features floor-ceiling windows and intimate design)
- Palms 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)
- Lido Bar (outdoor bar for alfresco breakfast and lunch)
- 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
MS Braemar is clearly a vessel which attracts repeat cruisers, and much of this is due to the friendliness of the travelers and the camaraderie the small vessel engenders. A lot of the conversations on this cruise liner start with "Last time I was on Braemar..." or "We sailed on the cruise before the extra space was added...." But, instead of acting cliquey, the repeat cruisers are very welcoming, even offering cruising tips to Fred. Olsen newbies.
Follows the complete list of Braemar lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.
- Arts & Crafts Room; Art Gallery
- Atrium (4-deck high; has a spacious seating area)
- 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 (378-seat; ship's theater lounge/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)
- Library; Card Room; Internet Room
- Bookmark Cafe (a la carte priced patisserie; offers luxury chocolates, specialty coffees, hand-made chocolates)
- Cafe Venus
- Braemar Lounge (relaxation place with large windows); Casino
- Morning Light Pub (features stand-up comedy acts, live music performances)
- Coral Club (170-seat, with floor-ceiling windows and dance floor; disco nightclub)
- Pool Deck area (swimming pool, 2 whirlpools, paddling pool, sunbathing area; served by the Marquee Pool Bar)
- The Wellness Centre (Atlantis Spa & Fitness; has treatment rooms for massages, Steam Room, Sauna, gym; the Fitness Centre hosts exercise classes Yoga/Pilates/aerobics/meditation/dancing 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; Deck Games area (shuffleboard, quoits, darts, tennis tables); Walking Track.
Fred Olsen Braemar itinerary program is based on ex-UK to the Mediterranean, Iberia, Canary Islands and Norwegian Fjords cruises (with roundtrip departures from England / Dover and Southampton), as well as on Caribbean fly-cruises (departures out of Bridgetown Barbados), with Transatlantic repositioning crossings.
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, the ship was passed for 3+ years (March 2020 through May 2023), restarting on April 28th from Southampton.
The ship Braemar is known worldwide for its annual (since 2019) Aegean Sea cruises passing through Corinth Canal.
Fred Olsen Braemar - user reviews and comments
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Fred Olsen Braemar ship related cruise news
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Fred. Olsen is giving its guests the chance to relive history via joining small ship Braemar for the repeat of her record-breaking Corinth Canal...December 19, 2021
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The UK-based Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is returning to its homeland of Norway as MS Borealis set sail to the Northern Lights - the natural...November 17, 2021
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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines unveiled a new programme of cruising for 2022-2023 as the company gears up for a return to sailing, with a total of 126 new...March 13, 2021
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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ ship Braemar is scheduled to return to the Corinth Canal in April 2022. In October 2019, the 924-passenger ship broke...February 21, 2021
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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is setting sail to the Adriatic with a new cruise, part of the line's 2022 program. MS Braemar ship is due to depart on the...February 12, 2021
The UK-based passenger shipping company Fred Olsen Cruise Lines announced it will be extending its pause in operations through July 2021 "in light of...February 4, 2021
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The UK-based company Fred Olsen Cruise Lines pushed back its restart date from April 23 to May 22, 2021. The company's first voyage will now be...January 13, 2021
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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines introduced a new voyage to the Balkan Peninsula in 2022 aboard MS Bolette ("MS Amsterdam" when operated by Holland America...December 25, 2020
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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced revised ‘back in service’ dates for its 4-strong ocean fleet, as the line prepares for cruising next...December 17, 2020
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Fred Olsen Cruise Line's MS Braemar ship is scheduled to depart on a 10-night culture-themed itinerary to the lost lands of Prussia in August 2022...December 12, 2020
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Fred Olsen Braemar Wiki
MS Braemar was launched in 1993 as "Crown Dynasty" for Crown Cruise Lines (). In the period 1993-1997, she was chartered to Cunard as "Cunard Crown Dynasty". The ship joined Fred Olsen's fleet in 2001.
In 2008, the vessel was drydock reconstructed at Blohm+Voss Shipyard (Hamburg Germany) and emerged as a brand new (larger) cruise liner with an extra 31-m long midsection. All 70 new cabins were added, along with a new lounge (Observatory), Grampian Restaurant and an expanded Sun Deck (plus one new swimming pool). The biggest change is the Braemar Room (Deck 5) leading into the new Morning Light Pub (Scottish-inspired, it had a debut on Braemar's sistership Balmoral).
The Braemar ship went into drydock on Nov 12, 2014, for an 8-day general refurbishment, various engineering works, interior, and exterior painting. A new cafe was installed on Lounge Deck 5 (Cafe Venus) serving luxury chocolates and high-quality coffees. The Library area was reconfigured. The Card Room was moved on Atlantic Deck 3 and integrated with the Arts and Crafts Center.
Braemar ship's drydock 2019 (November 14-23 at Blohm+Voss Hamburg) was for general maintenance and engineering works, interior renovations (public areas) and cabin refurbishments.
In the Caribbean, Braemar fly-cruise UK deals are offered with flights from England via the Canaries. Return flights are from Bridgetown Barbados to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Fred Olsen also offers an all-inclusive cruise package upgrade (additional fixed price PP per day) and UK fly-cruises to Canary Islands (year-round discounted airfare from Southampton, England).
In 2018, the ship offered a 14-night "Choose Your Cruise" (Baltic Sea itinerary May 29 - June 11) leaving roundtrip from Southampton UK. On the voyage, passengers were allowed to vote on call ports (choosing between 2 ports) and decide between the Baltic capitals or alternative ports (in Holland, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Estonia). After counting, ballots were delivered to the Captain, who announced the winning port. The originally scheduled itinerary only included St Petersburg (Russia) and passing Kiel Canal (Germany). The pairs with optional ports of call were Amsterdam-Rotterdam, Copenhagen-Hundested, Tallinn-Saaremaa, St Petersburg (overnight), Helsinki-Kotka, Wismar-Travemunde (Rostock). Fred Olsen also added GBP 200 pp in onboard credit and free drinks and tours on bookings made by March 1, 2018. Prices started from GBP 1,800 pp.
In 2019, Braemar set a world record as the longest ship ever to pass through Corinth Canal (Greece). The second passage (in 2021) was scheduled as the following itinerary: (booking code M2109) 25-day "Greek Islands and Corinth Canal Cruise" roundtrip from Southampton (departure April 16, 2021). Prices started from GBP 4000 per person (based on two adults sharing twin-bedded Inside cabins, inclusive of port taxes). Ports of call included Malaga, Valletta, Agios Nikolaos, Rhodes, Ermoupoli, Corinth Canal (passing), Patras, Katakolon, Argostoli, Messina Strait, Stromboli Island, Trapani, Ibiza, Cartagena, Lisbon. The third passage (booking code M2212) was scheduled as a Southampton roundtrip leaving on April 20, 2022. In 2021 were scheduled additional Corinth Canal transition cruises - Sept 23/2022 (25-days from Southampton England) and March 27/2023 (10-20-days from Valletta Malta).
Ex-Cuba itineraries 2022 (canceled)
Fred Olsen's Braemar Caribbean winter programs (2021-2022 and 2022-2023) were based on homeporting in Havana Cuba. However, both fly-cruise programs were eventually canceled (in Dec 2020 and Jan 2021).
Both seasons had to start with 30-day Transatlantic crossings (from Southampton to Havana).
Next tables show the two itineraries leaving roundtrip from Cuba.
15-day "Latin American Civilisations" itinerary
|Date / Time||Port|
|05 Jan||Departing from Havana, Cuba|
|09 Jan||Santiago de Cuba|
|11 Jan||Santa Marta, Colombia|
|12 Jan||Cartagena, Colombia|
|13 Jan||Colon, Panama|
|16 Jan||Cozumel, Mexico,|
|17 Jan||Progreso, Mexico|
|20 Jan||Arriving in Havana|
14-day "Islands of the Caribbean" itinerary
|Date / Time||Port|
|19 Jan||Departing from Havana|
|23 Jan||Cockburn Town, Grand Turk Island|
|25 Jan||St Johns, Antigua|
|26 Jan||Port Zante, Basseterre St Kitts|
|27 Jan||Road Town, Tortola Island BVI|
|28 Jan||Philipsburg St Maarten Island|
|31 Jan||Nassau, Bahamas|
|02 Feb||Arriving in Havana|
On each voyage, prices started from GBP 2610 (EUR 3125 / USD 3585) per person with double occupancy)