Fred Olsen: Cruising the Canary Islands on Braemar - Day 5
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Silver Travel Advisor Alan Fairfax writes his Blog from the deck of Fred Olsen’s Braemar on his Canary Islands cruise in March 2013.
My final day on board Fred Olsen’s ship Braemar has arrived and time for me to look back over the last 5 days and reflect. Has it been a good cruise and would I recommend Fred Olsen for a future cruise?
Fred Olsen has 4 ships of which Braemar is the smallest. At a little over 24,000grt and built in 1992 she was refitted in 2008 which included putting in a new mid section to increase passenger capacity to just over 920. On boarding the ship you immediately notice the use of light oak and pastel furnishings giving the ship a very spacious feel. Add to this gleaming glass panels and highly polished brass which together help with the bright spacious feel of what is a fairly small ship.
My cabin I described on Day 1, so I will not repeat other than to say that it was a superior twin outside. Very comfortable and well looked after by Tanya the stewardess. It would have been better to have one dispenser of body wash and one of shampoo in the shower instead of two body wash.
There are 3 restaurants on board, The Thistle, The Grampian and Palms buffet restaurant. For breakfast I chose the Grampian. A restaurant on deck 8 with windows on 3 sides. It reminded me of eating in a small exclusive hotel which suited me. The service given by Ali and his assistant was excellent. The breakfast menu from the buffet had a good selection considering the size of ship and the number of passengers catered for. If ordered from the menu you could have just about anything you wanted and it then arrived freshly cooked. Never had to wait for toast or coffee.
The Grampian was my allocated restaurant for dinner in the evenings. Dinner was a 5 course affair and it pleased me to see the salad course still retained although done away by some other cruise lines. The food was well cooked and presented and no dish had to be sent back. My only comment would be that perhaps steak should be available as one of the alternatives. Vegetarians are well catered for.
With 2 swimming pools, 2 Jacuzzis and no shortage of sun lounger’s deck 8 is the place to be on sea days. There is also sun bathing space on deck 9 at the front of the ship. If you feel energetic then 5 times around deck 5 is a mile. There is also a gym onboard which I said yesterday I would visit today. As good as my word I did just that. I entered at 8.20 and saw the impressive number of walking machines and weights machines for those looking to lose some of that weight gained on the cruise. I left at 8.22. Why are you laughing? I said I would visit, nothing about using it.
The entertainment is good ranging from classical interludes to stage productions with cabaret acts, comedians and magicians. On looking through the daily events paper there are meetings for Freemasons, Ex-Service Personnel, Service clubs like Lions and Rotary so everyone is catered for.
Finally, I must mention the Observatory. This is a bar at the front of the ship on deck 8. The views from here are excellent and a fabulous venue for pre-dinner drinks. Sitting, chatting, listening to Enrique playing the beautiful grand piano whilst having that pre-dinner G&T is a great way to spend time. It is also the place to have that night cap.
The tours were mainly half day affairs. The coaches used were almost new and the tour guides very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. I went on three tours and all involved going on narrow roads up mountain sides. Whilst the views were magnificent I had difficulty as I am not good with heights but managed to put on a brave face. All tours are also accompanied by a Fred Olsen representative from the ship. I certainly saw a lot of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura that I had never seen before. Maps were supplied by the ship for all our ports of call for those not partaking in the tours.
The final questions have to be; did I enjoy my days on Braemar and would I cruise on her again? The simple answer is, yes to both questions. Fred Olsen caters in the main for the more mature cruiser, the vast majority of which are huge fans of ‘Fred’. I spoke to many people during the cruise and the theme of common loyalty to the brand was very evident, many having their favourite ship. As one couple told me, ‘We don’t care about the itinerary we just love being on the ship’. I think that just about sums it up.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- Cruising the Canary Islands on Braemar: Day 1
- Cruising the Canary Islands on Braemar: Day 2
- Cruising the Canary Islands on Braemar: Day 3
- Cruising the Canary Islands on Braemar: Day 4
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