Fred. Olsen’s Boudicca :: Refreshed with more small ship charm

Fred. Olsen’s cruise ships are all on a smaller scale than most of the cruise ships operating today. They’re also a bit older than many ships on other lines. An ambitious refreshing of their long standing ships has therefore been underway during 2016/17/18.

To see the itineraries and destinations sailed by Fred. Olsen, visit our main website at www.gocruise.co.uk/sarah-and-bjarne.

Some makeovers can be a lick of paint and a replacement of carpets and the more worn furnishings. This makeover programme of the Fred. Olsen fleet though has been much more than this as they have looked at the available space and changed the function of some spaces, and looked at how the ships a be improved. OK it’s nothing like a total redesign, but it’s more ambitious than just a cosmetic makeover.

For Boudicca there has been a complete overhaul of all the 462 cabins on board, and an introduction of two new areas – the Oriental Tea Room and the Indian Ocean Restaurant. The Morning Light pub has also been relocated, and a new alfresco area has been created at the rear of the ship. Of course there’s been the engineering work too to ensure that this ships keeps sailing well!

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The Oriental Tea Room is something a little different, serving exotic teas and other oriental specialities. The decor is elegant and with a Far Eastern influence. No doubt it will become a popular area on the ship and a pleasant location for a treat and a chat.

The Indian Ocean restaurant, is a new small-scale speciality dining experience with a theme based around the destinations which now form Boudicca’s winter itineraries. Fred. Olsen’s Indian Ocean Fly-Cruises are a increasingly prominent feature for this line, and currently marking their offering out as a little different. A 14-day fly-cruises open up the possibility of a realistic ‘off-work’ time-frame for itineraries which explore enticing destinations. This gives Fred. Olsen a chance of reducing their age profile a little as they offer some attractively-different itinerary options.

An older ship is never likely to look new, but quite a lot has been done to make Boudicca feel more modern and contemporary and give a new lease of life.

Boudicca has lots of charm as she is one of the smaller ships even in Fred. Olsen’s range – a sister ship to Black Watch and very similar in most respects. 880 passengers with attractive public areas and good deck space to enjoy your cruise. The more compact nature of the ship of course means that there are fewer dining options and entertainment spaces than on board the big ships, but there are also far fewer passengers to compete for the facilities too. The Boudicca experience therefore balances through to a more intimate experience on a ship that you probably won’t get lost on!

 

The Neptune show lounge still looks like it was conceived in the 1980s but it’s a functional attractive area that will be a lot of fun as the entertainment rolls. The Morning Light pub is a comfortable and convivial space with good deep sofas and armchairs as well as a seating area at the bar.

The Secret Garden Café Lounge & Bar provides the buffet restaurant option, where you can turn up at your convenience and choose from the fine selection. It has a much to be admired contemporary look with understated decor, good range of table sizes and is adjoining an even more informal area by the windows which may well be the first tables to be occupied and a pleasant place to eat.

The cabin (or room) makeovers also deliver a fresher cleaner look, with enhanced facilities, now including interactive TVs to help you keep track of your cruise itinerary and spending as well as providing a better selection of visual entertainment. There is the same range of accommodation available as previously from straightforward single inside cabins to attractive suites, all now with better furnishings and brighter colour schemes. Given the age of the ship there are very limited balcony cabins, and there is an interesting terrace balcony category still, which does mean that you could have people walking past your balcony on the Open Promenade just a few feet below.

Fred. Olsen library areas are now in the Bookmark Cafe section, giving an open plan space where you can browse some reading material, collect the latest newsheet with a summary of recent news, buy speciality chocolates or coffee, or just unwind in comfortable armchairs and sofas. It’s an area with a modern look and feel.

The Lido Lounge on Deck 7 has also been revamped and some new removable doors fitted – which in warmer destinations facilitate the opening up of the bar to flow into the decked area behind it. This transforms the potential of this area for all kinds of enjoyment and entertainment. A simple change, which along with the other bits of remodeling, has helped Fred. Olsen to give a sense that ships such as Boudicca still have quite a bit of life left in them.

One of our favourites places on a Fred. Olsen ship has always been the Observatory with the glass windows all around that give a vista of the journey and destinations. It’s an area for entertainment helped by the Grand Piano and quiz times most evenings.

 

Of course the food on Fred. Olsen ships is to be recommended. We have been impressed by the quality and variety of food that we have experienced on board. When we toured Boudicca, we ate in the Four Seasons Restaurant and were served imaginative salad starters in the style of a Rubics Cube with feta, watermelon, and kiwi fruit. Fun to see, eat and tasty too. The fish and steak were well presented and delicious too and the chocolate tube and panacota berries refreshing surprises at the end of the meal. Nice to have food that’s a bit unexpected when it arrives.

So our experience of Boudicca was overall refreshing and pleasant – and gave us some confidence that, although not transforming their proposition, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines are investing in their ships and moving their offering forward to help keep upto date with increasing expectations from cruise passengers (perhaps based on the experiences that are being enhanced elsewhere).

There are still many who really value the idea of sailing on a smaller ship, and Fred. Olsen clearly know that this is one of their most important features. The smaller nature of the ships also influences the destinations and ports that make it onto the itineraries. There seem to be increasing prominence of smaller ports on their itineraries, and even in the larger ports Fred. Olsen can sometimes secure the more central berths – which are sometimes only appropriate for these smaller ships.

A watchword for Fred. Olsen these days is ‘Closer’ as they seek to make the most of the smaller size of ships and get you closer to the destinations for a more intimate experience shoreside as well as shipside.

To see the itineraries and destinations sailed by Fred. Olsen, visit our main website at www.gocruise.co.uk/sarah-and-bjarne

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