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Lottie A

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About Lottie A

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    3,000+ Club

About Me

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  • Interests
    Cruising, Playing my Violin, learning Italian and Cooking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, Celebrity, Cunard Oceania and P&O
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Well, I would never book a Mystery cruise as I like to know where I’m going! However this one does seem to be a bit of a disaster for Fred and according to The Daily Wail some passengers have staged a “sit in” onboard Balmoral. Needless to say, the reporting from this rag was over sensationalised. The ports were Great Yarmouth, Dunkirk and the industrial port of Ijmuiden which is 20 miles from Amsterdam. Some passengers were not happy with these ports at all. I believe Balmoral is now in The Kiel Canal so next Port is possibly Warnemunde? The recent Mystery cruise on Braemar seems to have been a success though. They visited Aviles in Spain, Bordeaux overnight and Falmouth ...all very nice ports. I’m on Balmoral in less than a month for a little jaunt up The Seine to Rouen and Honfleur and I can’t wait.
  2. Yes, thanks Ann for a very informative and detailed blog, as well as your excellent photo's. I have looked forward to reading it every day during a very difficult family time for me, so thanks again. Hope your Hotel stay is great too.
  3. I’m on the Balmoral Rouen/Honfleur cruise next month too. I have been to both ports before and they are lovely. Really looking forward to the cruise along the river Seine as well.
  4. I am surprised you think Fred Olsen fares are high Britboys. I think they are very reasonable indeed, especially for solo passengers. I can do three cruises on Fred for the price of one solo cruise on Azamara, especially when I book through my solo cruiser specialist. I am not allowed to recommend a travel agent on here but if you google specialist solo cruise travel agents you will find some marvellous bargains on Fred. Never book directly with Fred Olsen themselves as much better prices for solo’s can be found in travel agents who are solo cruise specialists. That goes for all cruise lines of course, not just Fred. I am really quite “passionate” about that! 😄
  5. I certainly could smell it on my island tour of Corsica in July. It smells like eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender mixed together to me.
  6. I love Sanary sur Mer so much, it’s probably my favourite Med Port. Thanks for the pix Ann. Can’t wait to go back next June on JR. I was on the shambolic Cassis tour with Mrs Miggins last year and in the end we just abandoned the whole tour (we did let the guide know!) and stayed in Cassis for lunch and a few hours wandering in this charming place. We all got a taxi back to the ship berthed in Marseille which in hindsight we should have done in the first place instead of paying for the overpriced ship’s tour. After we all complained about not only the shambolic nature of the tour, but also the completely misleading description in the first place, we did all receive a refund. Come on Azamara, someone needs to sort out your poor Shorex experiences. No wonder they are so frequently cancelled because of lack of interest when you are charging such high prices for such a poor product. Even if people do only pay for them using OBC!
  7. I’m not sure why this has become such a hot topic! I never mind being asked if I would like to share a table...I quite enjoy meeting new people but not at breakfast. That’s my quiet time. All it takes is a polite “No thank you, I would prefer to dine on my own today”. Job done. If I was told there were no tables for two available at that moment then I would say with a smile “that’s fine. I am happy to wait.” A table for two would then magically become available within the next five minutes! Happens on every cruise line sometimes, including my beloved Azamara. 😄
  8. Corinne, I have done a little review of my Fred Olsen cruise on the Fred forum. Nothing like the detail and brilliance of your Saga cruise report or Ann’s excellent blogs of course, but it may help you a bit in deciding whether to try Fred Olsen or not. To answer your specific questions I was on Braemar out of Southampton and with the sole exception of the first sitting show in The Neptune Lounge, the ship never felt crowded at all. I believe there were about 700 pax onboard. I absolutely loved my first Fred Olsen cruise and have booked another one for a month away from now. They do quite a few 5 day cruises from Southampton and Dover at very reasonable prices, so perhaps you could consider trying one of those to see if Fred is your cup of tea?
  9. We were in Sete a year ago on Quest. It’s a pleasant little low key port and we also did the little white train. Wish we had done the boat trip as well now after your description.
  10. Just got off Braemar and I found that British Night was very easy to avoid! Most pax just wore something red with a bit of white and blue like a scarf, tie or jewellery, as I did. There were a couple of plonkers wearing full Union Jack dresses and trousers of course....but most people just laughed at them. I am a proud Brit but I do find this kind of “entertainment” very old fashioned and somewhat embarrassing I must say. I didn’t go to the Rule Britannia Show so can’t say how crowded it was...but certainly there are not enough seats in The Neptune Lounge for any show performance. People were going up to 40 mins early in order to get a good seat for all the shows and our cruise wasn’t even full. One of the very few negatives I found on Braemar because I had such a great cruise on her.
  11. I think you should Les. How convenient that Fred sail from so near you. My next cruise with them is in a month from Dover on Balmoral and it's very difficult for me to get there from Wales but I loved the Fred experience so much that I'm willing to do it.
  12. Yes it was my first ....but it certainly won't be my last! I had such a good time on Braemar that I came home and immediately booked another Fred cruise! I had previously been a bit dubious about how I would enjoy the very British experience with an older passenger demographic but how wrong I was. I usually cruise with Azamara and Silversea now but wish I had added Fred Olsen years ago. It's not the same type of cruise experience but it's certainly good value and very enjoyable. I was on Braemar for the 11 night Spain and Portugal cruise from Southampton on August 27th. Ports were La Coruna, Vigo, Funchal in Madeira for an overnight stay and Lisbon, with lots of lovely sea days in between. I enjoy sea days and loved the aft tiered decks to sit peacefully and read. Braemar is a "proper" cruise ship...maybe a little old school in places but still very well kept and attractive. It was sparklingly clean, the chairs and beds were very comfortable and my only criticism was that there were not enough seats in the Neptune Lounge for the show's. People were queuing to get in about 40 mins before the shows started just to get a seat. I think that may be because I was on first sitting dining, which seems more popular with the Fred passengers. The second sitting dining shows were not as crowded. Speaking personally, first sitting is far too early for me so I'm on second sitting for my next cruise with them. I would much prefer Freedom dining however. One other thing I disliked was that Braemar's speciality restaurant The Grill is outside and on this windy Atlantic voyage it wasn't very pleasant at night to be eating outside. I am looking forward to the inside Speciality restaurant on Balmoral on my next cruise. I was surprised at the passenger demographic. I was expecting very elderly passengers on walking frames and yes, there were a few but the majority of the passengers were lively, interesting and a lot were dancing in The Disco until very late. I met some lovely people and didn't feel like I was the youngest person onboard! Entertainment was varied...a lot not to my taste but my partner is a Cruise Director for another cruise line so I'm quite picky! There was a wonderful opera and West End show by Chris, one of the young hosts onboard. He has a marvellous voice and was actually better than the guest entertainers. There were also interesting lectures by Tim, a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist. Trivia was huge fun and our team won often, so we sometimes donated the bottles of Cava prizes to other teams! I thought the drinks package was good value although I often bought upgraded drinks but it was good to have them reduced by 50% as I had the drinks package. I bought several of The Bookmark cafe coffee cards at £14.99 each for 7 coffees and a free bag of delicious chocolate truffles. The food onboard was very good indeed...there was not one meal I didn't enjoy and we dined with the Staff Captain, who was such a charming man. I preferred the smaller Grampian restaurant to the big Thistle restaurant, so we had breakfast and lunch there. We had had a storm in The Bay of Biscay so had to leave Lisbon at 2pm as the Captain was going to try to outrun it. He made the correct decision but it was still quite rocky at a Force 6 with a big swell. Unfortunately there was a helicopter medical evacuation of a very poorly passenger in the middle of the storm but this seemed to be handled very well by the crew concerned. I have to say the service from all the crew onboard was wonderful. It is on a par with Azamara, which I think has the best crew service and officer interaction at sea. We chatted to the Captain, had dinner with senior officers and the whole crew were so happy and cheerful. To to sum up, I really enjoyed my Braemar cruise and met some lovely friends. I see many more Fred Olsen cruises in my future! 😄
  13. Well that is better Chris but I still think you should be allowed to book more than one speciality at a time. I like to plan my speciality dining times according to my schedule for the days in port...not just be offered them ad hoc if passing someone offering bookings because they are quiet on that night. Is the food much better in the speciality restaurants as opposed to the MDR? Would be nice to see some menu’s if you could manage it.
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