Add Your Own Review

Read more Reviews

Review: Boudicca

Cruise - Ocean Cruise

Ruby in the Med

  • By SilverTraveller soopernan

    35 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • Apr 2013
  • Wife
  • Special occasion
  • Balcony

139 people found this review helpful

My wife and I have joined the “whenwe’s”. When we were on our last cruise, we went to… When we were on our last cruise, we went with Fred Olsen When we were on our last cruise, we had dinner one night at the Captain’s table. Okay you whenwe’s try topping that. The reason for our recent cruise was our Ruby anniversary, we decided on the Mediterranean, and the fourteen days were just right to travel on the Boudicca, which is one of the four in the Fred Olsen fleet. Taking 800 passengers, it is able to visit some smaller ports other larger ships cannot. We went out of Portsmouth, okay I suppose, but the directions to the terminal could be better, however, a very large ship docked in port is a handy direction finder. There were lots of young people standing in as porters, we didn’t have a great deal of standing around before we went onboard to find our luggage waiting for us in our cabin. I had notified beforehand the reason for the cruise, with a posted copy of our wedding certificate. I volunteered a wedding photo as well, but the man who looks in the mirror these days is nothing like the youth of forty years ago. Where did he disappear to. Waiting for us in our cabin as well as the luggage was a complimentary bottle of red wine, some fruit, and a lovely display of flowers that were so fresh that they lasted almost until the end. Fred Olsen is a very crafty cruise line, whereby English is the only language spoken, the majority of cruises start and finish at a UK port, all staff speak mostly good and understandable English, and all announcements are in the one language. Sterling is the onboard currency, the passengers are in a very secure comfort zone. Shrewd. Cruising is like being in a cocoon. No major decisions to be made, so we attended the obligatory lifeboat drill – why do people fail to attend? Is it complacency, or is it familiarity. We had opted for second sitting, so it was two hungry sailors at first night’s dinner. We had chosen to sit at a table for six, and they proved to be excellent company. Choice of three cold starters, two soups, two salads, five or six main courses, standard items such as omelette available every meal, followed by three sweets, completed by tea or coffee. The second sitting restaurant was only two thirds full, so we received superb personal service the whole time with our two waiters. The first three full days were at sea, dress for dinner was previously published so passengers knew what to take. Three formal nights, three themed nights (not that many people bothered), some informal with either tie or jacket, the rest casual. We dined with the Captain on the first formal night. I might even write a full article about dining with the Captain, there is so much to impart. First port was Gibraltar. Boudicca docked a short walk to the town, which has one interesting main street. We would like to return, but only for a few days. There is a Marks and Spencer, prices comparable with the UK. The cable car to the top of the Rock was 21 euros for two, look out for the Barbary apes. They are bad tempered, vicious, and creep up on you when you are unaware. Take photos with them, and then escape fast. We had lunch in an outside main street cafe, very reasonable. Second port was Barcelona. What a disappointment. We thought that the Ramblas would have a lot of interesting stalls and shops, but it is over a mile long uphill from the port, pedestrianised, and beware having tapas outside. We were mugs, spent 67 euros on one large beer, one small, and a plate of tapas for two. The owner should have been wearing a mask like Dick Turpin. But the atmosphere was great, the weather was superb, the experience was something. We took the sight-seeing bus, 52 euros for two all day tickets. Again, not cheap, but we felt that we had learned far more this way. We can certainly appreciate why Barcelona is such a popular weekend destination for Britons. Third port was Palamos. What a lovely find. Boudicca was calling there for the first time, docking very close to the main area. Lots of good cafes, shops open where Pam bought a superb leather handbag for 28 euros (I tried to sell it on to another passenger for a profit), it was a real unspoilt delight that we would certainly like to return to, and recommend. Next day was our big anniversary day, in Mahon, the capital of Minorca. Very few shops open in the town, lots at seafront with bars/restaurants. We liked this, took a dotto train ride, would return. We were well looked after that evening. The head barman had reserved our area for canapés and Champagne pre-dinner, which we shared with our new friends and table companions. Lots of nice little touches, already mentioned in my article Ruby Cruise. A couple of days at sea followed, then Portamayo on the Algarve – up a river, a tug had to pull Boudicca into position – then Lisbon the next day, with a pre-booked trip. Lots of cruise ships in the same day, but we didn’t feel as if we were overwhelmed by them. Lisbon is okay, lots of graffiti and boarded up buildings/shops, but so much history. The lady guide was obsessed with imparting her local knowledge, we couldn’t hold a private conversation over her commentary. Inevitably the 14 days went very quickly, our dinner companions had either been on five previous cruises, or the other couple never. The second considered that more cruising was not for them. What are the pluses and minuses accompanying cruising? Let’s get the nasty side out of the way first. You are at the mercy of the staff, if they are moody, which our waiters were for the first three days at breakfast and lunch, then the atmosphere can be trying. We are quite sure that heads were banged together, because suddenly they were laughing and joking with the passengers, which persevered to the end. Not much else really, apart from silly niggles that are inevitable in any mass situation/gathering. And now for the plus part. Good comfort zone. Common language. Everything taken care of. Decisions made for you. A travelling high standard hotel. We like the intimacy of the Fred Olsen boats, no children on our cruise for example, formal when you want it to be, informal otherwise. Next time, we will probably try a larger ship, just to see what it’s like. 3,000 passengers together is daunting, but we can always say that we’ve tried it, and return to Fred. Oh, and what did I do wrong? I bought the anniversary card before we went, but left it at home. Came clean straight away as were unpacking. Don’t expect to buy a Ruby card in English in Europe. They don’t exist.

139 people found this review helpful

Did you find this review helpful? YES

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

More about 'Boudicca'

Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Why not read other articles and reviews possibly related to this one?
Read more

What are your thoughts?

To leave a comment, please Sign in