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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 Black Watch

Your Rating:Four Stars
Reviewed by:Johan Coeman
# previous cruises: 6
Date of Trip: May 30, 2001
Itinerary: Scandinavia

The ship is small compared to modern super liners. But there are relatively few cabins. So you have a lot of space in public rooms and you never have to fight for a deck chair.

The owner (who is a regular visitor) is making improvements all the time. The company caters for older Brits but you will also find a few other nationalities

Public Areas
This ship has an enormous amount of cosy public areas. The best view is at the observation lounge just above the bridge.

But there is also a big library, a card room, the smaller lido lounge and the show-room. For cigar lovers there is "the cove" but I did not see a lot of smokers. There is also a scottish bar and the "Braemar lounge" a place where you can take coffee or tea. There is also a nice disco but it is empty all the time.

The ship has very nice teak decks, there is a walk-around promenade and aft you can find four levels of sunbathing decks including a swimming pool on the lowest level and two jaccuzi's on the top level. There is a small slot machine area and next to the lido lounge you can find a roulette and black-jack table.

Food and Service
There a two restaurants: the main "Glennatar"restaurant were dinner is served in two sittings (open sitting for other meals) and the smaller buffet "gardencafi".

What differs from other cruise lines is that they have both a la carte and buffet in the main restaurant during lunch time. The buffet is wonderful with lots of scandinavian and British specialities (cold and hot). I did not like very much their desserts because they were very British and not to my taste (blubby gellypuddings). Most of the waiters are Filipino and Thai (also some Cubans)and they do their best but some of them speak very bad English.

Dinner is served at 6.30 and 8.30. I find the selection rather limited: there are only two starters, then soup (creamsoup is wonderful), there is NO pasta course, for the main course you can choose between fish, two kinds of meat and a vegetarian menu. Most of the main courses I had were good but again very British combinations and not really the top. Desserts at dinner time were better than at lunch.

And, there is a complete late evening buffet served every day at 11.30 in the garden cafi.

We had cabin 4010 a standard outside but at the front of the ship so we had some noise when docking and in stormy weather. The cabin is big enough in my opinion with lots of storage space. Furniture is in good condition but a little dated. Bathroom gives a good showers pace but needs renovation (a lot of cabins have renovated marble bathrooms since the march dry docking).

There was quite some entertainment but to be honest: I'm not very much interested in those things.

There is a large fitness centre on deck10. You can also book the usual Steiners beauty arrangements and massages. They give also courses in bridge, dancing, there are lecturers, a daily bingo some deck games,.. We visited the Noth Cape and the Norwegian fjords and the size of this ship is just the maximum to pass under bridges,dock at Honningvag and the Lofoten islands. On two occasions tender boats are used and this goes very well: the ship has two brand new catamaran tender boats for 120 pax. A lot of older people stay on board so you are on land within the hour

Who Goes
90% of the passengers were Brits with an average age of 75.

As you can expect from Brit you never get pushed and they line up for everything(even with 3 or 4 persons). Most of them are very friendly except from the very old people who are too busy keeping themselves going. Fre. Olsen has a limit of 6 weelchair passengers ("due to security reasons"). So if your are looking for a "fun ship" please look elsewhere but if you enjoy to sit back and relax this is your thing

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