Fred Olsen, Black Watch North Amerca Cruise Reviews

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Fred Olsen, Black Watch North Amerca Cruise
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“We have sailed before on the Black Watch and was so...”


written by cruisensnooze on 01/12/2007

We have sailed before on the Black Watch and was so looking forward to our 51 day cruise to Greenland, Canada, America and transatlantic. The destinations were fantastic (those we got to!), But Oh what a disappointment it was this time on board. The ship is past it's sell by date and is in need of much TLC. It's standards are dropping like a stone. We had problems from the start.

This does not reflect on the general crew on board who worked so hard throughout and suffered like we did regarding the water and heat. I feel the captain and senior management let their customers down due to the lack of information and customer care.

Air conditioning was so cold in the cabin (not just ours). The thermostats in the cabins are useless - no matter where you adjust them, it stays the same temp. We then had nights where the water in the tap was brown. One breakfast the coffee was served and was so salty due to the desalination plant - it took another 45 minutes before we had a drink. Then the ship ran out of water!! - yes no toilets in cabins or public areas for 6 hours - this I feel was a very great concern to health and safety. On arriving in warmer climes the air conditioning would not work in mid ships. For 6 days our cabins varied between 92 - 100 deg F ( but we were not taken seriously at any time). On one of these days I suffered a very bad migraine and could not go ashore. Eventually the problem was sorted - without any apology from Fred Olsen - in Nassau before the new guests arrived on board. We then set sale and for 2 evenings we had water leaking through our cabin ( this was a frequent problem throughout the ship and cruise). They moved us to another cabin while the work was being carried out. We could of stayed in this cabin but due to the terrible smell we had to move again 2 days later. The ship seemed to play musical cabins throughout the voyage. Transatlantic we were back to very cold cabins again. It seems our love affair with Fred Olsen has come to an end unless there is a dramatic change in it's customer care and short sighted penny pinching.
A plus mark - well for another ship anyway - Louisa who was one of the hosts........ she is brilliant, funny, witty and so loved by most of the guests. We had heard she had applied for the asst cruise directors post but was turned down in favour of someone with less experience - I wonder why?? - is it because she is a peoples person and not a P.C. person?? - I know what one I would prefer. Well it's the Braemars fortune to get her, but I wish her all the success and hope some other cruise line picks her up and sees her potential.

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written by mwe152 on 13/11/2007

My trip with Fred Olsen on board of the Black Watch was the 2nd leg sector of a 51-night Dover to Dover cruise:
Leg 1, Dover to Montreal, via Shetland, Faeroes, Greenland, Iceland & Quebec.
Leg 2, Montreal - Nova Scotia - New Brunswick - Boston - Martha's Vineyard - Rhode Island - New York - Virginia - Florida and Nassau, Bahamas.
Leg 3, back to Dover via Bermuda and Azores.

Having travelled on BW in 2002 &; 2004 I noticed the ship getting increasingly 'tired' & I heard it was going to be refurbished in 2005. This wasn't very thorough, most of the ship was left alone. A bit of a culture shock, having been on Boudicca (BW's sister ship) in July, which was refurbished in 2006.
Despite Boudicca being better overall, BW does have a better restaurant with better quality furniture and a much better self-service restaurant. However, waiter service in the restaurants, especially at breakfast, was poor. Most of the waiters, despite not having much to do were chatting to each other, posing, looking out the window, or daydreaming. They didn't seem very observant: they'd serve a table, but not look around to see if anyone else needed serving, or tables needed clearing. Trying to get eye contact with them failed, whilst other diners were looking back at you wondering what you were looking at!
I was usually early into breakfast, but one day I arrived at 8:45am, 15 minutes before it closed and the waiters were resetting tables for lunch and removing food.
There were 700 passengers on the ship, although there were fewer aged 80+ compared with Boudicca, they were typically in their 70s. A surprisingly high number were doing the full 51-night cruise. Disembarkation and the airport/flights are an eye-opener for those who think ignorant behavior is largely confined to the younger generations: A couple of women blocked the stairs by sitting down for a chat whilst people were disembarking. I was pushed by a man whilst we were queuing for airport security (yes, I was keeping up & not letting people in) and had my hand luggage rammed by some fool pushing a wheelchair while waiting to board the plane. The aircrew persistently requested passengers not to use row 15 as a shortcut to the toilets and some fruitcakes in the row behind me reckoned I wasn't supposed to recline my seat until after we had my meal. Thanks to the Thomson crew for pointing out they were in the wrong!

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