Tag-Archive for » Fred.Olsen «

Adults Only On A Cruise Ship?

We probably should have known there was something politically incorrect about the cruise line known as Fred.Olsen when it put a period where most of us would put a space…okay, so it’s at least grammatically incorrect. It’s not like it’s being used to separate http and www.

Now there is more evidence that this little-known, British-based cruise line of four ships is sailing upstream, as they say, at least in the eyes of North Americans.

You may have noticed that just about every major cruise line is trumpeting the fact that it’s targeting families more than ever because, as more than one of them is happy to point Black Watchout, kids bring parents onto cruise ships and also grandparents otherwise known as Baby Boomers. So they’re promoting cruise pricing as family values.

Fred.Olsen is promoting adults.

Here’s what the press release says:

“A total of 20 adults-only cruises, for passengers aged 18 or above, are offered to guests who would rather cruise with people of a similar age.”

That’s a nice way of saying kids aren’t welcome unless they’re of adult age, in which case they’re adults.


Since Fred.Olsen’s four ships — Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch — visit 84 countries and 253 destinations, it’s not exactly like throwing out the babies with the seawater. Families are still welcome on most of the company’s cruises…kids, too. But the fact that 20 cruises are only for adults is an indicator that Fred.Olsen sees there’s an untapped market and it wants to be first to exploit it openly.


In the news…

• Carnival's fathom brand first to get green light for Cuba cruises, starting spring 2016
• Cruise lines to Alaska to get chance to continue to Russians when pier built this year
Today at portsandbows.com: Canadians to get cruise company in Cuba

Crown Princess
4 nights
January 25, 2016
Los Angeles (return): Catalina Island, Ensenada
Inside: $379
Cost per day: $94

A Look Into Dry Dock…And What Follows

Knowing how fascinated we are by all things cruising, a good friend yesterday sent us an email with an interesting link.

If you've never fully understood what happens when a ship goes into dry dock, stick around.

The ship is the Norwegian Crown, or it was the Crown until it became the Fred.Olsen Balmoral, seven years ago. It takes three minutes to watch that transformation…the process probably took about 7,000 times that.

There are two places you can find it, in one click — liveleak or YouTube.

The story gets more interesting than the sale of a ship and what happens to it in dry dock. This was the second time the Norwegian Crown was so named. Originally the Crown Odyssey and operated by Royal Cruise Line, it was sold to Norwegian in 1996 and was part of the fleet for four years.

Then it became Crown Odyssey again, this time for Orient Lines, which was purchased by Norwegian. That lasted three years, then it was back to Norwegian for another four years as the Norwegian Crown.

Since 2007, it has remained what you saw in the video: the Fred.Olsen Balmoral. By today's cruise standards, it's on the small side, carrying just over 1,230 Balmoral-500passengers, but it was the subject of much discussion two years ago next month. Chartered by a travel company, it followed the path of the Titanic, pausing overnight where the famous ship went down to exactly 100 years earlier.

This time, the ship didn't sink.

Even little-known ships have stories to tell.

Today at portsandbows.com: A little Avignon, mais oui?

Crown Princess
7 nights
April 26, 2014 
Los Angeles (return): San FranciscoSanta BarbaraSan DiegoEnsenada
Inside $455
Cost per day: $65

The 55-plus Crowd of Consumers Sometimes Lost in the Rush for Youth

If you're of a certain vintage, then you have undoubtedly recognized that one of the things that comes with the vintage is you are no longer considered to be among the mainstream consumers. This applies in most consumer categories including, as surprising as this might be to people who avoid cruise ships, the cruise industry.

We saw it again yesterday. We watched the Emmy Awards on Sunday night, because that's what people of our vintage traditionally do. We watch TV to be entertained.

Yesterday, we woke up to a mini-controversy that hadn't occurred to us at the time. The show had not given the late Jack Klugman — who was 90 when he Jack Klugman220px-Cory_Monteith_2,_2011died last December — his due during the show's "memorial" segments. The three-time Emmy winner was mentioned in passing (no pun intended)…not canonized as the late Cory Monteith was. Monteith died at 31 as a no-time Emmy winner.

Why? Because the sponsors are after young people in the TV audience, because they are "the consumers."

Cruise lines are also after the young guns. How many retirees do you know who climb rock walls on ships, who stay up all night drinking exotic concoctions and who would be tempted to go on a cruise because they could zip-line or see Mickey Mouse?

Because cruise lines "have" the older set they chase the younger…but do they have the old folks? A man from Fred.Olsen Cruises was asked about this "age-ist" mentality last week in England. Here is part of what the man, Nathan Philpot, had to say:

"We're not catering to the needs of the over-55s market. Perhaps we prefer the airbrushed views of cruisers. We need to question ourselves — are we promoting the image of cruise that we feel more comfortable with or the image of cruise that is most relevant to the audience we are talking to?"

Retirees will likely always be the foundation of the cruise industry. Only retirees have — in significant numbers — the time to cruise regularly or for a long time (anything over two weeks). Like it or not, cruise lines can't afford to lose sight of that.

And retirees are a vintage of consumers.

Yesterday, we went shopping (okay, one of us did) at Justice, a clothing store just for girls. Young girls. After all, people of our vintage do have grandchildren, and that makes them consumers.

For life.

Caribbean Princess
4 nights
November 1, 2013
Houston (return): Progreso
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $99

Cruising Where Sun Doesn't Shine

So here's a question for you:

How much would you pay to spend two minutes and 47 seconds watching one of Mother Nature's rare events, from the best place in the world to see it, in outside temperatures below 40 degrees?

The event is a total eclipse of the sun and people are lining up to see it. What they're paying, so far, is upwards of $2,500 per person. To be fair, the cost is part of a two-week cruise on a small ship from the United Kingdom, so it's not really like paying $15 a second for an event that might not happen.

That's right. There's no guarantee the passengers on four ships from three cruise lines will see the eclipse, because it will depend  on weather conditions, such as fog. 

The date is March 20, 2015. The place is somewhere near the Faroe Islands, halfway between northern Scotland and Iceland. The weather is, well…here is The Lonely Planet's description:

"Theatrical meteorology is part of the Faroes’ fascination. Torrential downpours, swirling fogs and vicious storm-force winds are conjured up from nothing as though they were the outcome of witches’ spells. Then miraculously the sun bursts through to paint the towering cliffs in dazzling crystal-clear brilliance. Rainfall is very common (280 days per year on average) but unpredictable."

Fortunately (?), the Faroes are subject to "milder temperatures" because they're in the jet stream. None of this discourages people determined to have the best view of an eclipse. Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines sold out the Boudicca (left) at $2,772 per person, then quickly despatched its Black Watch for the same itinerary at $4,000 per person. Neither can be booked online, which indicates both are sold out.

Voyages of Discovery is sending its mv Voyager, and that's fully booked. Cruise and Maritime Voyages still appears to have space on the Marco Polo at $4,000 to $12,000 per customer.

Besides the solar eclipse at 9:47 that morning, there's a bonus that night — the northern lights.

Weather permitting.

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
July 8, 2013
Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, JuneauSkagwayKetchikanVancouver
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $35


Cruise Awards from the UK

There are so many cruise lines, passengers, critics and assorted opinions in North America that it's easy to forget about what the rest of the world thinks about cruise lines.

Today, we bring you a sampling.

It comes from the United Kingdom, where readers of Cruise International Magazine cast 20,000 ballots to pick the best of everything…everything from cruise agent to learning to well-being to — of course — cruise line.

You might be surprised by some of the results.

Instead of saving the best for last, let's reveal right off the top that the best cruise line is…Carnival. It's not exactly like winning Best Picture at the Oscars, but it's a feather in the cap of a cruise line that doesn't do much more than put its toe in the water in Europe. That makes it a curious choice.

Either Brits like to cross the ocean and sail on Carnival ships, or they're enamored with the British humor in the world according to John Heald, Carnival's blogger-in-chief. If you don't think that's possible, you should know that Best Cruise Blogger was one of the magazine awards, and Heald won it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the red carpet…

Best FoodCunard, with an honorable mention to Holland America

Best for ActivitiesRoyal Caribbean, followed by Celebrity

Best Innovation — Carnival's 5D Cinema, ahead of Norwegian's Ice Bar on the Epic

Best for LearningFred.Olsen first, Cunard second

Best Luxury Cruise LineSeabourn number one, Oceania second

Best EntertainmentPrincess, followed by Carnival, with nary a mention of Norwegian

Best Shore ExcursionsUniworld, and honorable mention for Fred.Olsen

Best for KidsDisney, with Carnival best of the others

Best Destination (Europe) — Norway, then Stockholm, even though one is a country and the other a city

Best Destination (Rest of World)Alaska, then Jamaica

And in the event you think any of those are strange choices, this has to be the strangest…

Best River Cruise LineViking first, Uniworld second

Best Luxury River Cruise Line — Uniworld first, Viking second

Carnival Breeze
15 nights
November 6, 2012
Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Las Palmas, Antigua, St. Maarten, Miami
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $53

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