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.
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.
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!
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 Veronica Shine