Experience the Monaco Grand Prix with Fred.Olsen

Monaco Grand Prix

Now that we are into spring it’s time to get ready for an exciting sporting event coming this May. The Monaco Grand Prix was first held on April 14th 1929; an idea founded by President Anthony Noghes in an attempt to create a major car rally in this small nation.

The very first winner of the Grand Prix was William Grover-Williams who went on to win six more championships before his retirement in 1936. Since then, the world of Grand Prix has been flooded with famous names like Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Fangio and Graham Hill amongst others.

Presently, 16 competitors are getting ready for the race of 78 laps. This internationally renowned event is being offered as part of a themed cruise by Fred. Olsen.


The ‘Sun, Sea & Monaco Grand Prix’ cruise will depart from Dover on the 21st of May aboard the Black Watch. This cruise is sure to be the dream and envy of every Formula One fan who has never had the opportunity of experiencing an event this grand.

The ship will sail through the various locations of the Grand Prix route. See exotic Mediterranean delights such as Gibraltar, Cannes, Nice, Barcelona and Alicante. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Fred. Olsen is also offering two exciting tour packages that will enhance your holiday even further. The packages will offer fantastic views of the race. The first package is Grandstand K, which stretches out from the Tabac to the Swimming Pool. The package also comes with tickets to the upper section, offering a complete panoramic view of the race.

The second package Grandstand T is located around Monaco Harbour and offers a view of the Straight Section. It also comes with a view of the pits, allowing you to see some of the “behind the scenes” maintenance of these amazing cars.

Nathan Philpot, Sales & Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“This cruise highlights our commitment and focus on bringing our guests closer to the world’s best attractions and finest destinations. We have made this experience really easy, with ready-made shore tour packages, meaning that our guests can be present at one of the sporting world’s most renowned and spectacular events.”

Ports of Call


The first port of call will allow you to interact with its famous Barbary apes. There are duty-free shopping opportunities galore and you can use sterling! Enjoy the impressive flora and fauna of the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens or board a cable car to stand on top of the ‘rock’ for breathtaking views of nearby Morocco across the narrow strait


Barcelona is captivated by so many landmark Modernists features created by Gaudi including the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Along each turn; history unfolds itself whilst caressing the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the mountains on the other. Museums, parks and Las Ramblas add to the jam-packed Bohemian flavour of Barcelona.


Stroll along the famous palm-lined boulevard ‘La Croisette’ which has been used as a backdrop in many a film. Cannes is synonymous with fascination since so many have walked the red carpet during its prominent film festival. The city contains chic beaches, luxury boutiques and casinos, museums and glorious sunshine!


Known as ‘The Queen of the Riviera’ the ship will remain in Nice overnight. An optional shore excursion has been arranged to Monaco to view the famous street circuit Grand Prix on race day. There is plenty of time to view points of interest on the French Rivera such as the Italian Baroque Church of Saint Giaume or the Musee Matisse.


The Black Watch makes a return to Spain at its penultimate stop. Here, visitors can relax on the sandy beaches of Play San Juan or visit the MARQ (Archaeological Museum of Alicante) or even gain views of the surrounding city and mountain on top of Santa Barbara Castle.


The final call is in Malaga, the birth place of Picasso. The best thing to do here is to book some private tours which could include the Alhambra Palace in Granada or the stunningly beautiful rural areas of Andalucía.


Fred Olsen Black Watch

The Black Watch was built in Finland on June 26th, 1972 as the Royal Viking Star. It was acquired by Norwegian Cruise Line in 1992 and was sold to Fred. Olsen in October 1996. Ninety percent of her cabins are outside. The mid-size ship holds 807 passengers and has been refurbished and maintained to meet the standards you would expect from Fred. Olsen.

For those that aren’t Formula 1 fans, the Black Watch has more than enough entertainment opportunities to keep you busy. The shows at the Neptune Lounge consist of variety acts every night. At lunch time, there is light piano music at the Lido Lounge, perfect for relaxing. There is also a unique movie a day screened at the Marina Theatre.

Activities include British style sports such as carpet boules and darts as well as traditional games including bingo and bridge. For those that are looking for some fun, dance classes are available, teaching you everything from the waltz to the cha-cha.

For more information on this cruise click here

Written by

A Look at Fred.Olsen’s Braemar

fred olsen braemar

Every cruise line has their own uniqueness that allows them to stand out from the crowd and Ipswich based Fred. Olsen are no different. Reviews from their past passengers are very positive and many comment on the relaxed and friendly atmosphere onboard, the great service plus the ability to get into smaller ports as reasons for staying loyal to this line.

One of their ships, the Bahamas registered 900 plus passenger MV Braemar has been a major seafarer player since 1993. Braemar was built in 1993 for the now defunct Crown Cruise Line as the Crown Dynasty and was with Crown until 1997. The ship then sailed under several lines which were Cunard, Majesty and NCL before finding her final home with Fred.Olsen and renamed Braemar.

In 2008, a major retrofit and lengthening took place with cabins and suites featuring balconies and a five-deck high atrium added. The ship can now accommodate up to 929 passengers. Onboard public enhancements such as a second pool, a new library, an internet centre and a new fitness centre give their passengers more options whilst still maintaining the intimate feel that Fred.Olsen Cruises are known for.


Braemar’s unique features also extend to their accommodation with 23 different types of cabins to choose from. Everything from enormous Superior Suites (stretching out at over 300 square feet) to single cabins are available.

braemar superior suite

There are four different types of balcony cabins including the balcony suite and ten types of twin cabins, both inside and ocean view. Some twin cabins can have their beds made up into doubles and all twin staterooms are sufficient to accommodate two people. Make sure to book early if you wish to reserve a balcony cabin as there are only 80 of them available and they tend to sell out quickly.


The main restaurant is the Thistle Restaurant which serves an array of international dishes. A more laid back approach to dining can be found at the Palms Café which is a buffet style restaurant with a relaxed setting without the formal dinner times. For dining with a view, there is no better place than the Grampian restaurant which offers panoramic views of the ocean.

Braemar Thistle Restaurant

For those watching their waistline, a light lunch can be had at the Marquee Pool Bar, perfect after a quick dip in the pool.


Days at sea are anything but boring onboard the Braemar. For starters, the extensive fitness centre offers Yoga and Pilate’s classes that are sure to burn off those unwanted calories. Other sporting activities include a golf course and a jogging track. You will never be without a connection to the outside world at the internet café and there is also Wi-Fi access in some rooms. The shopping opportunities at the Boutique, Fine Jewellery shop and Port Shop are not to be missed either for those who want a souvenir or two.

The spa offers a varied menu of treatments, from massages and facials to full-fledged body wraps, and the hair salon is the perfect opportunity to obtain that new look.


Some of the ships lounges including the Coral club offer live entertainment. Besides live music, the Neptune Lounge also offers cabaret acts, whereas the Braemar Room offers a more classy style of music with a resident string trio. The Observatory Lounge boasts a beautiful view of the sea while the Morning Light Pub is just like your local back at home!

braemar observatory lounge

The majority of the shows are performed in the elegant Coral Club. For those who just want to relax and catch up on some reading, the library is a quiet place that has a large amount of books to choose from.

Though children are welcome onboard Braemar and during the summer there are activities geared towards them; the atmosphere tends to cater for the more mature traveller. As such, it is unusual to find families with children on-board except during the summer holidays and even then there are not many.

Images courtesy of Fred. Olsen Cruises

Written by

A Date with Death & The Duchess

poison murder mystery cruise

Everybody loves a good mystery and Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines are no different!

They have introduced a ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ that will take place on their Boudicca ship. The 16 night cruise departs on the 10th of July of next year. The ports of call will be contributing to the sinister role play onboard the ship with the subject of poison and mystery evident with plays, talks and special tours and even a murder-mystery game.

The ship will be leaving from Rosyth in Edinburgh and will be working in tandem with the only ‘Poison Gardens’ in Britain at Alnwick Castle, owned by the Duchess of Northumberland. As the estate and castle owner is very proud of her infamous ‘Poison Gardens’, she will join the festivities’ onboard for a portion of this cruise holiday.


Alnwick Castle is one of the most popular attractions in the Northeast with more than 800 thousand visitors each year. The castle is better known as the castle that served as the set of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series of films.

Besides Alnwick, the mythical ‘Pyramids of Guimar’ will be waiting to be discovered for passengers at a ‘Poison Garden’ in Santa Cruz, Tenerife created by Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior.

As the serving Chairman of the Board, Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior stated, “It is very special to be able to link these gardens with a unique cruise itinerary and we know that many of our guests share an enthusiasm for gardening. We also know, from previous experiences such as our Titanic Centenary cruise two years ago, that they enjoy dressing up and taking part in murder mystery-themed events.”

fred olsen senior

Other ports that the ship will be visiting in Portugal and the Canary Islands area are also very intriguing. The route has been specifically chosen as it is the ‘Agatha Christie Route’, named after the famous mystery story author. Agatha may be long gone but thriller-writing legend, Dick Francis’s son, Felix Francis, will be on-board to create a short crime story as it is happening during the sailing.


There are plenty of other interesting things to experience on this cruise besides murder and mayhem. In Leixoes, visit the Porto Cathedral which is constructed in three different architectural styles. In addition, take in the Ribiera Old district designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Funchal, you can try out Levada Walking by using aged irrigation canals as hiking trails.

When you arrive in Santa Cruz, you will be greeted with the enormous Parque Nacional del Teide as well as the Playa de las Teresitas, a beach that has managed to remain unspoiled.

Las Palmas contains intriguing sights as well such as the Plaza de Santa Ana with its iconic twin towered cathedral and ornaments originally from St. Paul’s cathedral. Another attraction is the Casa de Colon, an enormous mansion where Christopher Columbus was rumoured to stay in 1492. It also served as a governor’s palace and is now a museum.

Finally, there is an endless amount of things to do in the capital of Lisbon. Must-see landmarks and attractions include the famous and World Heritage Site the Torre de Belem, the commerce centre of Praca do Comercio and the 25 de Abril Bridge, one of the largest in the world.


Of course, every evening there will be some mystery  guest speakers to match the theme. Former Forensic Medical Examiner with the Metropolitan Police and the Coroner for Essex, Peter Dean will be providing his insight into the fascinating subject of murder and forensic science to figure out ‘who did it’.

Everything you wanted to know about poisons but were afraid to ask will be clarified by eminent poison Historian and Archaeologist, Dr. Dan Jones.

And if learning wasn’t enough, the curator of ‘The Power of Poison’ exhibition, Doctor Mark Siddall will be offering interactive and hands-on classes.

Now is the time to book and not miss out of this once in a lifetime adventure onboard Fred.Olsen’s Boudicca. To book the D1516 cruise click here

Written by

Focus on Fred Olsen’s Black Watch

Black Watch

The Black Watch is a throwback to the golden age of cruises, decked out from top to bottom in a classical and traditional fashion. Capable of managing 800 guests, this means that there will be less crowding and the ship can go to interesting ports of calls that many others miss.

In 2010, the Black Watch went through a major refurbishment of the ship’s public areas, including a new casual dining area, Braemar Garden, with seating for 120 people. One section of this newly created dining facility can be used for private parties.

Braemar Garden

Other public areas of the ship have also been rejuvenated with eye-pleasing and pleasant decor.

Aboard the Black Watch, amenities are plentiful with a theatre, library and cabaret as well as two swimming pools and a fitness center. One highlight is the new Atlantis Spa, a great way to relax after doing some serious sightseeing. The main objective behind many spa treatments is to relieve stress and offer a feel-good attitude to continue on to the next day’s adventure.

90% of the cabins are outside with most measuring a comfortable 160 square feet. There are ultra spacious balcony and superior suites available as well.

Superior Suite


The Black Watch is truly a world traveller and goes to many exotic destinations.

For instance, in 2014, a two-month voyage sails from Southampton on 14  January 2014, makes a interesting mix of calls including Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Easter Island, Tahiti, Auckland and Bay of Islands before finally reaching Sydney.

Known as the ‘Australia & South America World Cruise’, it can be extend to a total of 114 nights. This is the longest world cruise ever undertaken by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

For anyone who has ever desired to carry on this journey from Sydney, the ship will leisurely head towards Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore and several ports in India, Jordan, Egypt and finally Malta and Gibraltar, before concluding in Southampton.

Another highlight for 2014 is the ‘Black Watch’s Film Stars & Fast Cars’ sailing. Taking place in May 2014, this two for one special features the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco’s Grand Prix.

It’s not too early to think about 2015 ether as Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced its schedule. Word is out that the “Solar Eclipse Cruise” that embarks from Southampton on the 9th of March 2015 is already full but it is possible to join the waiting list!

Black Watch has scheduled another themed departure taking place on the 12th of April and heading in the Mediterranean. This will entail a 28-night ‘Gallipoli Centenary Cruise’ which will honour Anzac Day. During WWI, troops from Australia & New Zealand landed at what is known as Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. A service observing this event will be held off the shores of Gallipoli marking its 100th year.

There are many more itineraries to choose from that are shorter in duration. The Black Watch offers the best of a Fred. Olsen Cruise in quality, price and interest.


Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is well known for their high quality and cruise aficionados find their traditional service on smaller classic ships a excellent benefit.  They have earned respect of both guests and rivals alike.

All ships in their fleet are small size, which is an excellent advantage as passengers receive more spacious and comfortable surroundings with plenty of elbow room.  The fleet can head to exotic areas that are unlikely for the mega cruise ships to make port.  The food quality is exceptional, even by the standards of other major cruise lines and will impress the most experienced of gourmets.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has its headquarters in the UK and provides adventure for all kinds of travellers, including solo cruisers.

A cruise holiday aboard a Fred. Olsen ship ensures single guests will never dance alone as dance hosts and hostesses are available.


September 2013 marked another notch for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines by receiving the “Best Affordable Cruise Line” award from the Cruise International Awards (CLIA). This is not their only award to their repertoire, having been voted “Best European and Classic Ship Operator” and the “Best for Seeing the World.”

British cruisers voted that the 2012 Cruise Critic ‘Cruisers’ Choice UK for the ‘Best for Entertainment award’ to the ship Black Watch.   The consensus was that the Black Watch’s crew “consistently went the extra mile.”

Images courtesy of Fred Olsen Cruises

Written by