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Braemar - Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines - cruise ship review and photos.

Ten years ago, almost to the day, Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas anchored off the town of Lerwick on Shetland, but winds were so strong that tendering passengers ashore was deemed too dangerous. Our fellow passengers were so furious about the cancelled Lerwick call that the Captain was quick to arrange an 'open bar' to calm them down.  

Lucy on formal night

As I look out of my porthole in the morning I see a windswept coast, pretty much like that stormy September day back in 1997. Braemar is approaching the town of Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands, located just north of Scotland's mainland. As we pass the rugged islands that make up this North Atlantic archipelago, the pilot comes on board to direct Braemar to the Kirkwall jetty. 

Alas, our ship's thrusters cannot cope with the strong winds and the Captain announces over the PA system that he will have to take the ship out to open waters again. In complete contrast to the scene on Enchantment of the Seas in 1997, most British guests shrug their shoulders, order another cup of tea, say "oh well" and continue their game of shuffleboard.

As an antidote for our over-stressed lives, it actually ain't half bad to be stuck on a ship on the Atlantic Ocean with nothing but a book and a frothy cappuccino. Braemar acts like a gently rocking living room where we feel completely at ease on this lazy Sunday.

As our ship heads north to find shelter from the strong winds off the Shetland islands, formal night sees most guests dressed in dinner jacket and evening gown. A few kilts are spotted, too. Dinner in the Thistle Restaurant is a mixed pleasure. The quality of the food definitely is an improvement over previous Fred. Olsen cruises. The menus are varied, presentation has been vastly improved and the quality of the food is good. I wish I could say the same about the dining room service. Our Thai waiter really doesn't speak any English and can't wait to get the dinner ceremony over and done with. When the waiter starts pulling the menu from your hand and later throws the plates with food on the table, there is really something wrong. Some training is badly needed here!

Orkney Islands

Entrance to Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
The view from our stateroom
Coral Club
Coral Club
Coral Club
Library

Figurehead of the previous Braemar

Aft stairwell
Skylark Club
Skylark Club
A good crowd at the evening cabaret in the Neptune Lounge
Dinner - starter
Dinner - main course
Captain Martin Birkeland introduces the senior officers

 

Photos and text: 2007 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on November 4, 2007

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