Written by on Tuesday May 19, 2015
Angela Lafferty and 12 other members of the CruiseKings team were fortunate to sail on the Fred Olsen ship, the Boudicca, on a 2 night festive mini cruise from Liverpool to Dublin.
"It was a perfect taster cruise to see what the ship had to offer and do a bit of Christmas shopping in Dublin too.
We arrived early afternoon at Liverpool Cruise Terminal to be greeted by very cheery Santa hat clad staff which set the tone for the remainder of our trip. The check-in process was very straightforward with our payment cards being registered at this stage and room cards being issued. Accounts could be paid by debit card (not solo or electron) or credit card which had a 2% surcharge. The currency on-board is pounds sterling.
This was my first time on a Fred Olsen ship and I was looking forward to comparing the small ship experience to the large ships which I normally favour for my own cruise holidays. The Boudicca has 462 cabins and takes 880 passengers with standard occupancy. I stayed in a ‘D’ grade outside cabin on deck 4 which had 2 port hole windows. The room was very comfortable with ample storage, comfortable beds, TV, hair-dryer, tea/coffee making facilities and a modern shower room.
There was only one British socket in our cabin so an adaptor is required for the other sockets. It was nice to see that we got a chocolate in our room at turn down service in the evening, something that a lot of the cruise lines seemed to have stopped doing now. Although she is a small ship she was not lacking in facilities. The Boudicca has 5 bars and lounges and also Cafe Venus on lido deck which was a chocolate and coffee shop.
Our favourite haunt was the Lido Lounge which offered daytime activities and music by night. We enjoyed dancing there late into the night. Drinks were very reasonably priced and on par with a bar on land. Leisure facilities consisted of a beauty salon, a fabulous fitness centre, card room and library, gaming tables, internet room and shops. There were three outdoor pools on-board and although we didn't get to use these due to the time of year we were sailing they looked fabulous.
There was a lovely area at the aft of the ship with a bar and contemporary seating which I could imagine would be popular on a warm day. I could see myself sipping a cocktail or two there watching the sun go down. Food is always an important part of any cruise and we were not disappointed. Breakfast was a British affair with cereals, breads and traditional English breakfasts being served. We were treated to a Christmas gala dinner on the second evening with the food being excellent.
What I found made the small ship experience stand out was the service. As there are fewer passengers on-board the staff get to know you better and remember your name. I was amazed to see that one of the bar staff remembered one of our group from being on the ship last year. I also loved the fact that it was so quick and easy to get around the ship and that I didn't need to use a map to find my room or way around the ship. The ship is perfectly suited to an older clientéle who we find return year after year.
I hope to return one day on a Fred Olsen ship although perhaps to a sunnier destination next time so that I can get to sample the swimming pools and sun loungers!"
Angela Lafferty, Product Executive