Written on: 27/07/2007 by mwe152 (10 reviews written)
Itinerary including Orkney Islands, Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Eire.
Higher grade cabins refurbished in 2006 when Olsen acquired the ship.
Tea, coffee and biscuits in all cabin grades.
Warm swimming pools.
Sister ship to the Black Watch.
Secret Garden Cafe, the self-service restaurant is pathetic.
Marquee bar and cafe on deck was sometimes closed in perfectly good weather.
Olsen's bizarre pricing structures.
Extreme judder from new German engines when ship changed speed or direction.
I was quite surprised at so many elderly passengers on a cruise going to potentially cold northern places! I accept cruises appeal mainly to the elderly but most cruises have a few unattached 40-something women and a few young single blokes, as they tend not to consider cruises but not this time! This isn't meant as a criticism, just an observation. It's clearly an advantage to those born before 1930, as most of them won't want screaming brats and rowdy louts spoiling their holiday.
Olsen have wildly varying prices. Some passengers paid rip-off prices, others got bargains, depending on when and how they booked. For example a G grade (cheapest outside cabin) for single occupancy was £7290.96 full price, reduced to £4107.95, which is what I paid but reduced to £2039 one month before departure.
Boudicca is very similar to Black Watch, with minor variations in deck plans. Boudicca is 28,388 tons, BW is 28,613 tons. Both ships are exactly the same length and width. BW was built in Finland in 1972, Boudicca was built in Finland in 1973.
The self-service Secret Garden cafe was hopeless. Most self-service restaurants on ships are large, this one was a poky little place in the middle of the ship. I turned up for breakfast when it was only about 15% full and the head waiter wanted me to sit on a table with someone else, when most tables were empty! If you were on a virtually empty train or bus and someone sat next to you, you'd find it a bit strange! The SG had things like cranberry juice but no tomato juice, you had to ask for it and you got something that's vastly inferior to Sainsbury's basics tomato juice. Fried eggs weren't available. The waiters either ignored you, or offered to fill up your tea/coffee when it was still full! The best advice is to have breakfast in the restaurant you go in for dinner, it operates on a self-serve buffet basis with fried eggs and tomato juice.
The captain was a hopeless public speaker, a major talking point among passengers, not just my opinion, he made himself even less popular when he cut out the last port of call in Greenland (Nanortalik) due to ice. He'd previously informed passengers that ice conditions change by the hour, yet he decided not to go to Nanortalik 3 days before we were due. There was no alternative port of call, despite there being lots of places around the southern part of Greenland. We simply had 4, instead of 3, days at sea en-route for Ireland.
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