Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines - Boudicca Review - October 2016
Ian Warren – 07/10/16
Boudicca is the only ship in the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines fleet which I haven’t cruised on previously, or even visited. Therefore, when I saw details of this 8 nights ‘Lochs of Scotland’ cruise on Boudicca, I got it booked quickly. In fact, I booked it in May 2015, and it sold out pretty quickly. It proved so popular that for 2017, there are a number of similar itineraries available. If you would like more details or a quotation for any of these 2017 ‘Lochs of Scotland’ itineraries, call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850.
As well as giving my review of Boudicca, there are two videos below – one showing you around Boudicca, and one showing some of the highlights of this itinerary. There are also links below to take you to the daily blogs I added to my Facebook page, together with some photos, so please take a look. Then further down the page you will see my videos of the ship, and also of the itinerary.
- Day 1 – departure from Liverpool
- Day 2 – cruising Loch Fyne, and time spent in Tarbert
- Day 3 – cruising by Duart Castle, cruising Sound of Mull, and time spent in Tobermory
- Day 4 – time spent in Kirkwall
- Day 5 – time spent in Invergordon
- Day 6 – cruising Sound of Raasay, Loch Torridon and Loch Shieldaig
- Day 7 – time spent in Fort William, and cruising Corran Narrows and Loch Linnhe
- Day 8 – time spent in Sandbank, Holy Loch
- Day 9 – arrival back in Liverpool
Ship Facts & Figures
She originally entered service as the Royal Viking Sky in 1973, and has had several names over the years, including Golden Princess. In 1982 she was ‘stretched’, by adding a new 91 ft long section mid-ship, which added more cabins and public areas. She joined the Fred Olsen fleet in 2005, and was renamed Boudicca, and serves alongside her ‘sister ship’ Black Watch, which was originally the Royal Viking Star. Boudicca is 28.388 gross tons, and carries 880 passengers in 449 cabins and suites, at standard capacity, with a crew of 371.
With 23 grades of accommodation, ranging from an inside cabin up to a Premier Suite, there is bound to be something to suit everyone. Solo travellers are well catered for, with a total of 48 single cabins and suites – inside, outside, superior balcony and balcony suite.
Whichever grade you choose, there will be a television, safe (ours was even big enough for my widescreen laptop), tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer, and ensuite facilities. If you opt for one of the suites you will benefit from additional facilities, such as a lounge area, fridge and mini-bar. Some grades also have bathrobes and slippers, sparkling wine and fruit basket on arrival, and more.
There are 4 wheelchair adapted cabins onboard, which are within the TC terrace balcony grade, although only 3 of them are suitable for someone who is wheelchair bound. In addition to these 4 wheelchairs, 2 more wheelchairs can be used onboard ship, and a further 4 can be taken for use ashore only. If you need to take a wheelchair with you, it is very important that you mention it to me when you first enquire about a cruise; so that I can check what wheelchair spaces are left.
Things to do Onboard
- Entertainment – there is a team of resident dancers and singers, and they put on regular shows. There are usually visiting acts as well, such as singers and comedians, to provide cabaret some evenings
- Dancing – the band play music suitable for dancing, so you can dance every day if you wish. As well as having dance instructors onboard, there are also dance hosts available if you don’t have a dance partner
- Bars & lounges – there are a number of venues to choose from, including the Neptune Lounge, the Morning Light Pub, Lido Lounge, Observatory, and Marquee Bar
- Other Facilities – fitness centre, sauna and steam rooms, golf nets, gaming tables, swimming pool, exercise pool, Jacuzzis, deck games, library, laundry room and various shops
- Children’s Facilities – you generally won’t find many children aboard, although during the peak holiday period they do offer the Little Skippers Club for 5-11 year olds, subject to minimum numbers. The friendly hosts and hostesses organize games and activities to keep the children occupied. Children under 5 are allowed to attend, but a parent would need to supervise them
- Breakfast – you can choose between self-service in the Secret Garden Café, waiter service (and self-service if preferred) in the main restaurant, or room service.
- Lunch – again you have the choice of open sitting in the self-service café or waiter service (and self-service if preferred) in the main restaurant
- Afternoon Tea – this is served complimentary each day, although you can opt for a premium traditional afternoon tea, for a supplement (currently £7.95pp) which is served in the Observatory Lounge on sea days
- Dinner – there are two sittings in the evening (usually 18.15 and 20.30) in the Four Seasons, Tintagel and Heligan Room Restaurants. You will be allocated a table which you will dine at each evening, giving you the opportunity to get to know your table companions over the course of the cruise
- Dining Al Fresco – weather permitting, you can dine at The Grill, which offers a choice of dishes for breakfast and lunch. On warm evenings you can dine here for a supplement, and enjoy the premium dinner menu, but a reservation is necessary
- Café Venus – if you want to relax and treat yourself to a speciality coffee or tea, and perhaps some indulgent chocolates visit the Venus Café. Prices are very reasonable, with a Latte or Cappuccino for £2.10, an Americano for £1.85, and teas from £1.85. The individual chocolates range in price from £0.55 to £0.85 each
You will find that the price of drinks onboard compares favourably with what you would pay in many pubs in the UK. While I was onboard prices included £3.30 for a pint of lager, £3.60for a whisky and coke, and £4.05 for glass of red, white or rose house wine. There are not any service charges added to these prices either
You can also pre-book a drinks package, as we did for this cruise. At present the price is £10 per person per night on most cruises, although it is more expensive on Festive, Speciality and mini cruises. Click on the following link for details of what drinks are included in the All Inclusive drinks package.
Casual dress is appropriate during the day, and for breakfast and lunch, although swimwear is not permitted in the restaurants. Most evenings are smart casual, but on formal nights it is normal to dress up a bit more. This could mean a dinner suit or dark suit and tie for gents, with ladies opting for a ball gown or smart cocktail dress. If you really don’t want to dress up formally, then you could dine in the buffet restaurant on those evenings.
- Gratuities – the recommended amount is £4 per day, for all passengers aged 12 and over, and this covers tips for your cabin and dining room stewards. Although the amount is added to your onboard account, they are not compulsory so you can have them amended or removed at reception, if you prefer to tip directly to the crew.
- Onboard Currency – everything onboard is priced in sterling, so you don’t need to worry about exchange rates. All purchases onboard will be charged to your cabin account, and you settle up at the end of the cruise, by pre-registering a payment card. There is no charge for using a debit card, but there will be a charge added for credit cards. You can pay in cash if you prefer, and you need to go to the reception on embarkation day to arrange this.
- Smoking – you are only allowed to smoke on cabin balconies (excluding Terrace balconies), and in designated outdoor deck areas. Electronic cigarettes which give off a vapour (even a water vapour) are restricted the same as normal cigarettes. However, electronic cigarettes which do not emit a vapour can be smoked in cabins, but otherwise have the same restrictions as normal cigarettes.
We really enjoyed being onboard Boudicca, and found her to be a comfortable, friendly, traditional cruise ship. The crew were very attentive and gave excellent friendly service.
The weather wasn’t always the best, but that is to be expected when cruising around the north of Scotland in the last week of September. However, for 2017 the ‘Lochs of Scotland’ itineraries are earlier in the year, so things should be even better. Click on the following link if you would like details of the 2017 ‘Lochs of Scotland’ itineraries.
Please note that while all prices and details included in this review were correct in September 2016, they are obviously subject to change at any time without notice.
Details of the Fleet
Balmoral – 43,540 gross tons, carrying 1,350 passengers at standard capacity
Braemar – 24,345 gross tons, carrying 930 passengers at standard capacity
Black Watch – 28,615 gross tons, carrying 805 passengers at standard capacity
Most Fred Olsen cruises depart from UK ports, including Southampton, Dover, Tilbury, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are some fly cruise options, including world cruise sectors, and I can give you more details of these if you wish.