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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Fred Olsen Cruises

MS Braemar

Your Rating:Three Stars
Reviewed by: Cruiser Boy
# previous cruises: 50 or more
Date of Trip: November 15, 2004
Itinerary: Caribbean - Eastern

A fabulous alternative to the floating theme parks looming around the Caribbean, this is a gem of a ship that will feed and serve you in superb style, at a good cost, pervaded by a genuine sense of intimacy and warmth that other ships simply cannot replicate. Cannot recommend this ship highly enough.

Public Areas
Promenade deck is superb, and makes the ship feel much bigger than is actually the case. Palms Cafe has a very colonial, quite raffish air about it. The main Braemar Lounge is tranquil, sedate and gorgeous, with wonderful piano music at night. The atrium, set off at an angle, floods the ship with light over it's entire five storey expanse.

Food and Service
Food in the Thistle dining room is consistently good, almost five star, with no shortage of options. Selections for breakfast buffets in the Palms a bit limited and predictable, but when was breakfast ever a culinary adventure? Late night snacks were always well worth checking out, though the room service menu needs drastic updating, with more hot items.

Adequate at 140 sq.ft. Expect to dance with the shower curtain, but the shower itself is good and powerful. Lots of little drawers and closet space for one, but two might have to improvise over the course of a fortnight. Decor bright and cheerful, just like the cabin stewardesses, who are never less than superb. Their smiles are a delight.

The cruise staff, like the crew as a whole, absolutely work their socks off. Braemar caters primarily to an elderly English clientele, so expect lots of end of the pier flag waving on British night. Live bands and musicians always of good quality, though more pool music during the day would help. Bear in mind that this is a small ship, with a limited entertainment handle. She is not a party boat. The outdoor terraces at night are perfect for alfresco dining and cocktails, even late at night.

Pool more like a splash pool, but two good hot tubs! Childcare academic, as there seemed to be no kids on board. This is a small country hotel that feeds you well, provides classes such as art, golf and bridge, while delivering you to a string of Caribbean islands-such as Virgin Gorda-that are off the menu for the floating box carts. Life on board has a gentler, richer pace, and the experience of being in the Caribbean has more depth and, therefore, more real return for your money.

I was undertaking a mini-cruise from Dover, on Braemar, visiting Honfluer (france) and Antwerp (Brussels), returning to Dover. Two charming ports 0 did not bother with excursions.

Who Goes
Many right wing, retired types of the sort that certainly preferred Thatcher to Blair. However, most people are pleasant and polite enough, and the oustanding crew will make you more welcome than on any other ship afloat. This was my seventh time on Braemar.

As always on a ship, there is more than enough space to enjoy your own company and that of others, or avoid the attentions of those you might find inherently incompatible. Above all, take time to discover this very different, individual and charismatic ship.

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