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Review: Braemar

Cruise - Ocean Cruise

Day Visit to Braemar

  • By SilverTraveller Alan-Fairfax

    83 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Oct 2012
  • Colleague(s)
  • Special occasion
  • Inside

138 people found this review helpful

At Southampton it was rain, rain and more rain. The bright side was that the cruise ship Braemar was berthed at the City Terminal and I was on my way to her for a tour.

Completed in 1993 Braemar began life as Crown Dynasty for Crown Cruise Line and having gone through various names and owners was purchased by Fred Olsen Cruises in 2001. In 2009 Braemar was ‘stretched’ to her current size of 640ft in length and 74 ft in width giving her a Gross Tonnage in excess of 24,000 GT. Carrying about 930 passengers when full there is a crew of 370 to look after them in a variety of cabin sizes with facilities.

The first thing you notice on boarding the ship is how refreshingly bright and tasteful are the interiors. Pastel coloured walls, contrasting carpets and gleaming glass and brass. The atrium located on deck 4 is 4 decks high with glass on the outer wall giving views to the outside world whilst an inner wall boasts a mural giving the illusion of viewing scenes through it arches. These decks are connected by a turquoise treaded staircase where much use is made of glass and brass to give it a bright modern feel.

Situated also on deck 4, also known as ‘Main Deck’, is the Thistle Restaurant sited at the stern of the ship. This, the largest of the restaurants, offers waiter or buffet service for both breakfast and lunch. The evenings consist of two sittings, 6.15 and 8.30 with waiter service giving a more traditional dining experience. Again great use is made of pastel colours for walls and ceilings with contrasting light colours for carpet, curtains and seating. All in all a very pleasant venue to dine in.

Also situated on deck 4 are a variety of cabins ranging from Twin Insides at 130 sq ft through, Single Outside to Superior Twin Outside at 140 sq. ft. Interesting to note that a Single Outside is the same size as Superior Twin Outside making it very spacious.

There are also a variety of cabins on decks 2 ‘Marina Deck’, where the Medical Centre is also located as well as deck 3 ‘Atlantic Deck’.

Deck 8 ‘Marquee Deck’ is where most passengers will head for in good weather as it houses the two swimming pools and jacuzzis. The area is well designed with large areas of open deck to accommodate sun loungers away from the pools so you can actually sun bathe without being splashed by people jumping into them. Stairs in the sun bathing area lead to an upper deck where you find more sun bathing space as well as the golf nets.

If you need to satisfy that thirst there is a pool bar and at the stern is the Grampian Restaurant if you need to satisfy that hunger. The Grampian offers both buffet and waiter service for breakfast and lunch. In the evenings it is the traditional two sittings with waiter service at 6.15 and 8.30.

The front of deck 8 finds you in The Observatory. With large picture windows on three sides giving spectacular views and mirrors on the back wall it has a bright and airy atmosphere. White ceiling, blue swirl patterned carpet and mix of chairs in blue and tan makes this is a pleasant place to relax and watch the world go by. In the corner is a highly polished grand piano making this a multipurpose venue. Pre dinner drinks, relaxing after dinner with friends or just having a beer whilst listening to the pianist at the grand piano this is the lounge to be in. By day it becomes the area where passengers will go on a sea day to read or chat when the weather is less than kind. At the rear is a large bar with stools ready to accommodate those who just want to call in for a quick beer or cocktail.

Deck 8 is also home to a number of Deluxe Balcony Cabins which are well appointed and offer a very spacious 225 sq. ft. together with a Single Balcony Suite for some lucky solo traveller.

The other deck that passengers will frequent is deck 5 ‘Lounge Deck’. This is the entertainment deck with Neptune Lounge at one end, Coral Club at the other with Braemar Room and the Library in the centre.

Neptune Lounge, situated at the front of the ship is the main entertainment venue and it is here the main acts perform along with the Braemar Show Company. It’s refreshing to find this venue laid out to tables and chairs and not the usual ‘Theatre’ style seating. Coral Club at the other end of the ship is more of a cabaret lounge with a small stage and again seating laid to chairs, table and settees. The wooden floor in front of the stage with its marquetry inlay of a shell is impressive. This venue also continues the theme of pastel and bright colours which don’t shout at you but leave you with a good impression.

Braemar Room at the centre of this deck is actually on the port side and has comfy chairs and tables by the windows. From here you access the library with its beautiful wooden bookcases housing enough books to keep the most avid reader satisfied. On the central circular table is a large model head with graphics on it depicting a motorbike trials rider. I am still trying to work out the significance of this in a library!! At the other end of the area are comfortable chairs where you can enjoy the contents of your selection.

The Reception Desk is open 24 hrs. Here you can change currency or get that question answered. Close by is the Shore Tours Desk, Shops, Photo Gallery and Gaming Tables.

One other venue on this deck that cannot go unmentioned is the Morning Light Pub. It would be one of my favourite venues as it features guest beers and real ale. With seating from Chesterfield style settees to high back easy chairs this is my ideal place to relax. Pictures of ships from a bygone age adorn the walls, a beautiful glass cased model of a 3 mast sailing ship together with a picture of Fredrik Christian, Petter and Andras Olsen the founders of the line make this a memorable venue.

Lunch was held in the Grampian Restaurant and was of the buffet variety with waiters serving wine and clearing plates. The food of which there was a good variety was well presented and the meats very tasty.

The tour time passed far too quickly but it was enough for me to see what was on offer. This is a ship that has eye catching lines and stands out with her white hull and superstructure topped by the famous Fred Olsen red funnel. Braemar, like other ships in the Fred Olsen fleet, has a loyal following. From her well appointed inside cabins to the spacious balcony suites, 3 restaurants, 2 show lounges, various bars, the delightful Morning Light Pub, 2 swimming pools and jacuzzis, it is not difficult to see why. Add to this a Health and Beauty Salon, Library, Card Room, Craft Room, Gaming Tables, Gym, Wi-Fi at a reasonable price, and much more gives you a ship that will cater for everyone. There is even that all important Self Service laundry that seems to be lacking on the latest large ships. This is a ship that caters for just about everyone and will take you to many destinations in comfort.




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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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