The Cruise Life At Sea With Fred Olsen

The-Cruise-A-Life-at-Sea-transmission-cardTuesday shall bring the third episode in a six part series from Fred Olsen and the BBC titled, The Cruise: A Life At Sea. The series follows Fred Olsen’s Balmoral and her passengers on her 112-night world cruise which sailed in January of this year.

So far the series has created a bit of a divide and people’s comments and suggestions go literally from one extreme to the other, there is certainly no happy medium from what I can see. Because of all the discussion surrounding the show I decided I wanted to weigh in with my own opinion.

I shall start with the title of the series “The Cruise: A Life At Sea”. This to me implies I am going to be following a wonderful cruise ship on the most amazing voyage that one could ever embark on. That’s where I would be wrong! So far we have seen very little of the ship and even less of the destinations. I wasn’t actually aware until Captain Greybeard noted in his blog that “the series was commissioned by the BBC’s Religion and Ethics Department, responsible for the successful Island Parish, and was originally to be titled Parish At Sea”. I agree The Cruise: A Life At Sea is a far more grabbing title and will bring in the viewers but it’s far from what we watch for 30 minutes on a Tuesday night.

Many people will be thoroughly enjoying the series and I know for some the chance to follow the Chaplain on his journey will be Fred-Olsen-Balmoralincredibly appealing and interesting, but for those of us who tuned in to explore Balmoral and her ports, we have been left quite disappointed. I wish it had been made clearer what the series was actually about. The title offers one suggestion yet the footage is something else.

During the show, which airs on BBC 2 at 8.30pm on a Tuesday night, there is a live tweet along using the hashtag #TheCruiseLifeAtSea and for the last 2 weeks I have followed it whilst watching. So many people have said that the show is depressing and those who have yet to cruise have decided the last thing they ever want to see is a cruise ship. I will defend Fred Olsen here and say you have to remember this is a world cruise, 99% of people in a position to do a world cruise are retired so are therefore going to be older. However, having embarked on several long voyages myself including a 35-night itinerary I have found age to be literally nothing but a number. Passengers 3 times my age have outlived my energy on a nightly basis and are often the most fun!

To make it perfectly clear, the show does not depict a typical cruise, in fact it couldn’t be further from it! I don’t want the series to put younger people off cruising hence I decided I had to weigh in on the conversation. I started cruising at 21 and although my passion for cruise in general wouldn’t allow the series to deter me, I know for others it will. With cruising be more and more popular each year there literally is a ship, itinerary and age mix out there to suit every human being on the planet! Whatever you want I guarantee you will find it.

Am I enjoying the show? To an extent yes, the little bursts of the ship that we do get are quite nice and it is nice to follow the stories ofBalmoral-Aft her passengers, I just find it a little un-enthusiastic production wise, it feels like it needs some kind of boost. But all I want is to see the SHIP!! It’s that such a bad thing?

To end, Fred Olsen have said that within the first three days of the series airing they had over £1 million of sales for round the world and extended voyages. I suppose that means the show is targeting the audience they were aiming towards perfectly.

Have you been watching? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Author: Danielle

Trying to explore each and every inch of this wonderful planet via cruise ship.

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Posted in Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, General Cruise Articles
5 comments on “The Cruise Life At Sea With Fred Olsen
  1. Scott says:

    Great blog Danielle. My two penneth is that yet again, TV has let us down with sloppy direction and editing. Its about time TV makers made a positive programme about cruising and showed the other side of it that we all love. I’ll carry on watching, but only out of morbid curiosity to see how much worse it can get!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear Fred I guess must have had some input if he “the company” thought it was good advertising how wrong!

  3. John says:

    my wife and I enjoy the programme it is a bit different than other shows-we like anything to do with cruising, wish we could afford more.

  4. Ray Aylott says:

    Having done a few cruises myself, and our 1st Fred cruise a few weeks ago I have to wholeheartedly agree with you. The show does not represent a cruise, or at least any I have been on.
    It would be such a shame if it did put people off cruising. Go on people enjoy yourself book a cruise !!

    • Astrid says:

      As a ‘Round the World’ passenger on this very cruise I feel moved to agree with Danielle on most of her comments and analysis. As I live abroad I can only watch the series on You Tube, which I HAVE done, (at least the first 2 episodes) I haven’t located Episode 3 on You Tube yet!

      FO had made it clear to all passengers that the BBC would be filming “An Ocean Parish”, as a follow-up to their “Island Parish” series and in their advertising made it clear that Rev Colin Still and his floating flock would be the main focus of the filming.
      Where it all went awry, in my opinion, is that the exciting, exotic still photos that invite a potential viewer to sail along to all those places and vicariously to enjoy being on board with us, don’t correctly depict what is actually contained in the film… Hence your disappointment Danielle.

      Although MOST of the passengers were retired, they weren’t ALL in their dotage, and in general were a pretty fun, interesting and unpretentious group, that enjoyed and took advantage of all aspects of the cruising life and the activities available to them.

      It has to be said that a great many of the Balmoral passengers were loyal “serial” Fred Olsen cruisers and had enjoyed all of the ships in the FO fleet. That fact speaks for itself!

      WE found all the aspects of OUR Grand Voyage incredibly enjoyable and interesting.
      Staff, fellow passengers, activities, destinations, BBC presence!.. so much so, we have already signed up to cruise for 7 weeks in Balmoral next year starting from India.

      We have cruised with a number of popular cruise lines in short bursts of 3-4 weeks, and FO stacks up well by comparison (if you don’t require a rock-climbing wall!)

      Different strokes, and all that. The cruise ship provides the canvas, what activities one paints on it.. is up to the individual.

      Please keep watching all you bloggers, perhaps the series has had a slow start!!

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