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CRUISE NEWS

Posted March 8th, 2016




Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is excited to announce that, in 2017/18, its fleet of four smaller, more intimate ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – will be visiting no fewer than 220 destinations in 70 countries around the globe, plus 118 areas of scenic cruising. The new 2017/18 itineraries will go on general sale from 18th March 2016.

Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch in Bergen 2015
 

Fred. Olsen will be sailing from a total of ten convenient, regional UK departure ports in 2017/18 – Southampton, Dover, Harwich, Tilbury, Falmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle, Rosyth (for Edinburgh), Greenock (for Glasgow) and Belfast.

Nathan Philpot, Sales and Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, we have a very clear vision for our 2017/18 cruise season: ‘It’s all about the experience!’ We are renowned for giving our guests a very different kind of cruise holiday, tailoring our itineraries to celebrate great events and festivals, providing authentic shore tours and creating memories that ‘last a lifetime’.

“For 2017/18, we have worked even harder than ever to create over 100 unique and innovative sailings, which will enable our guests to see the world in a very different, and very special, way.”

Fred. Olsen’s new 2017/18 cruise programme will include nine maiden calls, as follows:

Lipari, Italy; Heligoland, Germany; Amalfi, Italy; Lajes das Flores, Azores; Southwold, England; Ghent, Belgium; Olbia, on the island of Sardinia, Italy; Sorrento, Italy; and Pula, Croatia.

In 2017/18, Fred. Olsen will be reconfirming its commitment to the port of Newcastle, offering a record 13 departures, between May and September 2017, aboard its 1,350-guest flagship Balmoral. Departures include a five-night ‘Norwegian Fjords’ cruise, an 11-night ‘Swedish Waterways’ holiday and a 15-night ‘Authentic Andalusia’ adventure, taking in seven sunshine ports of call in Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar.

Fred. Olsen’s Boudicca will be setting sail on 10 unique adventures from the Port of Liverpool in 2017/18, including a 26-night ‘Azores & the America’s Cup’ cruise, which has been specially crafted for guests to be able to enjoy the action of the 35th America’s Cup in Hamilton, Bermuda; an eight-night ‘Lochs of Scotland’ cruise; and a 16-night ‘Glitz & Glamour of the French Riviera’ holiday, with calls into eight beautiful locations, including Barcelona, Monaco and Cannes.

Fred. Olsen will also be reinforcing its reputation as the ‘local, global cruise line of choice’ in 2017/18, with 12 departures from Scotland, a country that has historically been very close to the Olsen family: three from Greenock (Glasgow) and nine from Rosyth (Edinburgh). Cruise holidays on offer to Scottish guests include a 10-night ‘French Rivers’ experience, departing from Rosyth on 4th October 2017, and a 10-night ‘Iceland’ adventure from Greenock, setting sail on 16th May 2017.

Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch and Balmoral will be embarking on two epic ‘Grand Voyages’ in January 2018, visiting a total of 46 ports in 35 countries between them.

Black Watch will be setting sail on a 108-night ‘Wonders of the World’ cruise, whereby guests will experience five of the seven ‘New Wonders of the World’ – Chichén Itzá, the Colosseum, the ‘Lost City’ of Petra, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal – plus the only surviving ‘Ancient Wonder’, the Great Pyramid of Giza. This incredible ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’ is bursting with magical, unforgettable experiences!

Balmoral will be cruising to mighty South America on a 46-night ‘Rio Carnival and River Plate’ adventure, filled with sun, sea, sand and Samba! Highlights include four days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the famous Rio Carnival, plus calls to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a full day in Montevideo, Uruguay.

In 2017/18, Fred. Olsen will be making the most of its smaller-sized ships by offering even more river, fjords and scenic cruising, taking guests along narrow sea passages and waterways, and past awe-inspiring scenery. Fred. Olsen will be visiting 118 picturesque scenic sea passages and waterways in 2017/18, totalling almost 1,000 hours of scenic cruising.

Guests can enjoy leisurely trips past Swedish fjords, the Amalfi coast in Italy, fascinating formations in Iceland, including the infamous Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Elephant Rock and Dinosaur Rock, and impressive Bonafacio, on the southern tip of Corsica.

Highlights of Fred. Olsen’s new 2017/18 cruise programme are as follows:

- For the first time ever, Fred. Olsen is offering guests the chance to experience a ‘location vacation’, visiting film settings featured in top blockbusters and hit TV series, including James Bond’s Skyfall, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Braveheart, Game of Thrones, Broadchurch and Poldark. Fred. Olsen will be offering two new ‘UK Set-jetting’ cruises in 2017/18: the first ‘UK Scenes from the Silver Screen’ is a 10-night cruise aboard Braemar, and the second is an eight-night adventure aboard Balmoral.

- Following its tremendous popularity in 2016, Fred. Olsen will now be offering its ‘Lochs of Scotland’ itinerary across all four of its ships. This ‘Fred. favourite’ showcases Scotland’s glorious, unspoilt countryside, mountainous landscapes and vast, peaceful lochs.

- Fred. Olsen will continue to build on its reputation as THE ‘Fjords Specialist’, with a nine-night ‘Greatest Fjords of Norway’ cruise, showcasing many scenic cruising gems, from the Seven Sisters Waterfall and Pulpit Rock, to the mesmerising backdrops of Nærøyfjord and Hardangerfjord; and a 27-night ‘Exploring the Fjords of the Arctic’, taking in the splendid destinations of Norway, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Greenland, and even the secluded Faroe Islands.

- Go in search of Seals, Orcas, Basking Sharks, Golden Eagles, Dolphins, Minke Whales, Puffins and Shetland Ponies on an eight-night ‘Wildlife of England & Scotland’ adventure from Liverpool, which includes a maiden call to Southwold, in East Anglia, close to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Ipswich Head Office. Here, guests can enjoy the pretty coastal Suffolk town, famous for its pastel-coloured beach huts and Pier; or take a shore tour to the Minsmere RSPB Reserve, which has been featured extensively at a backdrop for the BBC’s bird-watching series, Springwatch.

- Back after huge demand in 2016 is Fred. Olsen’s five-night ‘Norwegian Fjords’ cruise. Fred. Olsen will be offering two of these in 2017/18, departing on either 25th May 2017 or 23rd August 2017: importantly, they will only require three days’ leave from work, as both sailings incorporate a Bank Holiday.

- Fred. Olsen is offering even more rivers and waterways cruises on shallow-drafted Braemar, including two seven-night ‘Waterways of Belgium & Holland’ holidays, with a maiden call to Ghent, in Belgium.

- Discover ‘Authentic Croatia & Venice’ on an in-depth 25-night sailing of the Dalmatian coast, taking in 12 destinations, including maiden calls in historic Pula, Croatia, and Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands, in Italy, plus an overnight stay in Venice. Guests can also experience a full day in the stunning island of Hvar, cruising past Dubrovnik’s Old Town harbour.

- Set sail on a 40-night ‘Caribbean Discovery’ from Southampton aboard Balmoral, visiting 15 sun-soaked destinations.

- Undertake an incredible circumnavigation of Great Britain, featuring many destinations harbouring intriguing links to Royalty, on Braemar’s 10-night ‘The Braemar Highland Games’ sailing. Stroll along the ‘Royal Mile’ in Edinburgh; head to Glamis Castle and the Royal Castle of Mey – both former residences of The Queen Mother; and don’t miss the chance to see the annual Braemar Highland Games, attended each year by The Queen and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.

- Enjoy the warm weather along the UNESCO-listed Amalfi Coast, on Boudicca’s 16-night sailing from Falmouth, boasting calls into Rome, Sorrento and Amalfi, plus Palermo, in Sicily, and a maiden call to Olbia, in Sardinia.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at www.fredolsencruises.com or call 0800 0355 242.

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DRAMA IN THE ATLANTIC

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Braemar in dramatic Christmas mid-Atlantic yacht rescue
On Sunday 27th December 2015, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' ‎ship Braemar came to the aid of a sailing yacht marooned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with the dramatic rescue of the 14-metre Nicollet and her four Polish passengers and crew, who had been adrift for nearly three days.

‎On the morning of 27th December 2015, Fred. Olsen's 929-guest Braemar was cruising from Santa Cruz, Tenerife to Bridgetown, Barbados, at a speed of 16.2 Knots, when the Officer of the Watch ‎spotted the drifting sailing yacht Nicollet on the radar, positioned in the Atlantic Ocean, 10 Nautical Miles from the cruise ship.

Braemar's Officer of the Watch contacted the Nicollet to make sure that everything was in order, since the yacht was drifting and no sails were hoisted. The yacht confirmed that the steering gear was broken and the sea anchor had been deployed. The yacht had been drifting for 2.5 days‎ and was en route from Las Palmas to Dominica. The Nicollet was carrying two passengers, one male and one female, and two male crew members, all of Polish nationality.

The Braemar's Master, Captain Robert Bamberg, contacted the Nicollet and asked what assistance was required. The Skipper of the sailing yacht requested that the cruise ship take the two passengers on board and supply some material for the necessary repairs to the Nicollet, which the two crew members would carry out.

Captain Bamberg informed Braemar's guests that the ship would be involved in a rescue operation, and ‎he manoeuvred the ship into position, ready to lower the rescue tender boat. Tender boat number 10 was then launched, with six crew members aboard.

 


Fred. Olsen's tender boat number 10 delivered a supply of wood, a hacksaw, two wooden oars and a box of water to the two crew members remaining aboard the stricken Nicollet – although the sailing yacht was equipped with enough food and water to last up to three weeks – and the two passengers were transferred to the tender boat and taken to Braemar. ‎Following a full security inspection and medical check, it was confirmed that the two passengers were Polish nationals and in good health.

At midday on 27th December 2015, Braemar was back on track, sailing to Bridgetown, Barbados, to continue her 15-night 'Canaries Christmas & Caribbean New Year' cruise.

Speaking of the rescue operation, Captain Robert Bamberg, Master of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Braemar, said:

"The sea conditions at the scene were very challenging, with three to five metres of swell, so in order to be able to carry out a rescue operation in such circumstances, everyone must know exactly what to do.

"Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is proud to have a very robust safety culture and procedures in place across its fleet, and my Officers and crew showed true professionalism and knowledge while carrying out this rescue operation. We regularly conduct safety drills and practices, but it was great to see such team work, spirit and determination implemented so successfully in a real-life situation.‎"

Following her rescue by Fred. Olsen's Braemar and subsequent repairs, the Nicollet was able to continue her voyage to Dominica.

It is expected that the two passengers from the Nicollet will remain on board Braemar until Dominica, where they will rejoin the repaired yacht.

Braemar will arrive in Bridgetown, Barbados on 31st December 2015, where she will stay overnight, to see in the New Year in true Caribbean style. She will then continue to Dominica, St. Kitts, Tortola, Antigua and St. Lucia, before arriving back in Barbados on 7th January 2016‎.

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The cruise ship Marco Polo, formerly named Aleksandr Pushkin, owned by Cruise & Maritime Voyages, docked in Saguenay on Saturday, August 15, 2015. The Saguenay port of call offered an extra special reception to celebrate the ship's 50th anniversary. Local residents and visitors alike showed their support with a warm welcome for the captain and dignitaries. Fifty blueberry pies were offered and beautifully presented by fifty individuals proudly dressed in Saguenay's colors. Attendees had the opportunity to have their picture taken in front of Saguenay's sculpted letters by a professional photographer. The Marco Polo, carrying 848 passengers, mostly from Britain, and the 356 crew members, will dock once again in Saguenay on September 26, 2015.


Getting tucked in.

Still going strong even after 50 years!
The Marco Polo is no stranger to the fjord's waters; during the 70’s while flying the Soviet flag, the Aleksandr Pushkin graced the Baie des Ha! Ha! with its presence. Over the past 50 years, it’s sailed the seven seas and every ocean worldwide, visiting every continent from the Arctic to Antarctica. This vessel is truly embedded within the maritime history of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay.
 
The Saguenay port of call accommodates 38 port visits over a 33-day period for the 2015 season. Over 50,000 passengers and crew members will be welcomed in Saguenay. Saguenay is proud to be among the must-see port destinations along the St. Lawrence River. For more information about cruising the super St. Lawrence please visit www.croisieresaintlaurent.com 
 
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It looks like NCL will have to change their signature tag-line from "FreeStyle Cruising" to something like "Nothing's Free Cruising"...

Beginning with the introduction of the new Norwegian Escape in October, menus in Norwegian Cruise Line’s La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Bayamo, a new restaurant, will be priced a la carte. But Moderno Churrascaria and Teppanyaki will retain cover charges of $19.95 and $29.95, respectively, as will entertainment dining packages.


The Norwegian Getaway

 
Norwegian plans to roll out a la carte dining fleet-wide on January 1, 2016, while Ocean Blue on the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway will also switch to a la carte pricing in October.

Instead of a fixed cost of $29.99 for the line’s signature Cagney’s Steakhouse, for example, passengers will pay $4.99 to $7.95 for an appetizer and $17.99 to $29.99 for a main course, the line says.

Desserts will be extraNew menu additions at Le Bistro will include bouillabaisse and pan-seared jumbo bay scallops, starting at $15.99 each La Cucina will offer main dishes like osso buco alla Milanese or pan-seared sea bass filet at $12.99 each.

Guests who purchase Norwegian specialty dining packages can dine at La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagney’s at no additional charge, but Bayamo will still carry a $15 fee.

Norwegian’s main dining rooms, the cafeteria, O’Sheehan’s and all of the Asian venues except Teppanyaki and Wasabi will remain complimentary.

Apart from a few specialty restaurants and grills on some of the great ocean liners of a century ago, it is thought that the last time a la carte has been applied at sea was in the 1920s.
 
This article, with the exception of the header, is reproduced from the article first published 21 July 2015 in http://www.cruise-tourism.com .

Editor's Note
It is understood from sources within the cruise industry that this comes on top of Norwegian Cruise Line increasing gratuity levels twice this year, as well as adding a room service charge.
 
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