Fred Olsen: Cruising the Canary Islands on Braemar - Day 1


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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.

Braemar - Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines6am, Gatwick Airport. I had forgotten that there was such a time in the day. However this was to be worth it as I was embarking upon a flight to Tenerife to board Fred Olsen’s ship Braemar. Although quickly on board an announcement from the Captain informs us that we will be delayed as we have to wait for the ‘tug’ to arrive to move up backwards from the stand. 30 minutes later however sees us racing along the runway and up into the overcast skies of the UK, Tenerife bound. Scheduled flight time 4 hours.

After an uneventful flight we land at Tenerife South where the sun is shining. As soon as the plane doors are opened you feel the warmth that seems to have eluded us for so long this winter. Cases arrive quite quickly and we make our way out into the brilliant sunshine and board the coach that will take us north to Santa Cruz where Braemar awaits us.

Braemar outside cabin - Fred. Olsen Cruise LinesThe journey along the coast road is peaceful and people can be seen sunbathing and swimming in the clear blue sea. 40 minutes later we arrive at the port of Santa Cruz and get our first glimpse of Braemar with her white hull and superstructure glistening in the afternoon sunshine. Check in and boarding is very swift and efficient and within minutes I am in cabin 4094 a superior outside that looks very neat and tidy. The woodwork is in a light coloured oak with curtains and bed spreads in tan and white. The dressing table has a large mirror with ornate lights on either side. The hairdryer is the hand held type which I find more preferable to the tube affairs you find on some ships. The cabin is also equipped with tea/coffee making facilities and a flat screen interactive television. Another luxury touch is the lights that come on when you open the wardrobe doors. Plenty of hanging and drawer space and lots of sturdy wooden hangers. The bathroom has the usual shower, toilet and vanity unit and 300 ml containers of hand wash and body wash by Cole and Lewis.

It is now time to sample the food in Palms Café. Considering the number of newly boarded passengers descending on Palms Café the crew do an excellent job at keeping the food trays stocked and clearing tables. The salad with sliced roast beef was excellent and would certainly see me through to dinner time.

Time now to catch up on a few hours sleep that is badly needed.

Braemar outside cabin - Fred. Olsen Cruise LinesNap over, time for a shower and change for dinner. The shower although small is functional and gives a good pressure of hot water. Towels are of good quality and feel soft on the body. Tonight is casual dress being the first night on board.

Next stop is the Observatory Lounge on deck 8 at the front of the ship. From here there are beautiful views of Santa Cruz and the hills behind. The lounge is busy and the air full of chat and laughter. Some of the group are already there and my favourite Gin and Tonic is waiting. Dinner is at 8.15pm in the Grampian Restaurant at the rear of the same deck. This restaurant is very bright with windows on three sides again giving good views of the area. No sooner we are seated, the attentive staff are there with menus and waiting to take drink orders. Our main waiter is Ali. The menu is impressive and caters well for vegetarians. My starter is Grilled Tomato and Gorgonzola Cheese on Toast and very tasty it was too. Followed by Yellow Pea Soup, Pumpkin Salad and a main course of Liver and Onions with Carrots and Mashed Potato. All this washed down with a very palatable fruity white wine. To finish I chose the Rum and Raison Ice Cream. The time passes so very quickly and next time I look at my watch it is gone 10pm. Many people are now making their way to the show lounge and various bars around the ship but for me it is time to return to the cabin and that comfy bed.

Goodnight everyone. See you tomorrow.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 4 Comment(s)

  • Alan-Fairfax
    almost 7 years ago
    Good morning Robinmead,
    I apologise for having only just seen your comment. I personally did not find Fred Olsen bar prices high, on the contrary compared with most cruise lines they are quite low and do not attract the usual 15% associated with most of the major cruise lines. As for gratuities they are the second lowest of any cruise line I know. The wif-fi fees are again one of the lowest if not the lowest of any cruise line. Excursions are expensive with all the cruise lines which is why more and more people are utilising private companies. I don't obviously know which cruise line you are comparing them with but I would be interest to know.
  • robinmead
    over 7 years ago
    What a pity that Alan didn't mention Fred Olsen's high bar prices, charges for bottled water, exorbitant wi-fi fees, expensive excursions, and 'compulsory' tipping (they automatically add what they think is a fair figure for gratuities to your shipboard account, unless you tell Reception early on that you prefer to decide for yourself who to tip and by how much). Once-friendly Fred has, I fear, turned into a money-grabbing cruise line, and loyal customers are turning away from them.
  • tiddles12
    almost 8 years ago
    Thanks Alan- the comedian on board The P&O cruise ship was very derogatory regarding Fred Olsen cruises- so an interesting article.
  • PamWNorth
    over 8 years ago
    I enjoyed reading the interesting start to your cruise, looking forward to reading more,