I boarded Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Braemar in Dover yesterday and as I have now been aboard for 24-hours I thought it would be a good time to do a first impressions blog – So here goes!
Braemar is one of the smallest ships I have cruised on, but she certainly has a big heart and a superb crew! I know several people who have enjoyed voyages on this ship and they have all said how wonderful she is, how friendly the crew were and how good the food was and so far I get, I really do!
Of an evening we are dining in the Grampian Restaurant, which is one of two main dining venues onboard – the Thistle being the other. I have to say I absolutely love the Grampian, there are only 37 tables which make it a very intimate dining experience. The décor is absolutely perfect and the huge floor to ceiling windows along with large round windows on both the port and starboard sides allow for a great panoramic view (I believe this is the section that was added when she was ‘stretched’). I managed to watch the sunset last night while enjoying dinner and it was a definite moment of satisfaction! If you book a cruise on this ship I would highly recommend you request a table in the Grampian, of course space is limited and not guaranteed, but it never hurts to ask! Last night for dinner I enjoyed a vegetable broth followed by grilled chicken with vegetables and boiled potatoes, it was very tasty! Today for lunch I decided to try another vegetable soup, which again was delicious, followed by pork cordon bleu served with sautéed potatoes, green peas and onions – it was SO good! Sadly I slept through breakfast! I was awake in total for 24-hours yesterday so once my head hit my pillow in the early hours of this morning I was out like a light and didn’t emerge until breakfast was long gone – I shall report on the breakfast once I sample it 😉
My cabin is a superior twin oceanview and is quite a good size! As I have the cabin to myself I have one single bed, a large sofa, chair, vanity area and double wardrobe. The bathroom is a good size too, about what I expected to be honest and with good storage space for toiletries. One thing I have noticed is that the cabin stewards on this ship do NOT have trollies, they carry small baskets which contain everything they need. I can’t tell you how quiet it is, I am used to large trollies being wheeled up and down the deck, cups rattling against one another but on here, NOT A SOUND! It is absolute bliss. I think that was one reason why I slept so late because the deck was silent.
One of the most important things for me about any ship is the outer deck space and Braemar has definitely hit the spot! Her aft decks are wonderful, exactly what I like from a cruise ship. Tiered, plenty of seating, a bar and of course they are all right next to the Palms Café which is the buffet area. The lido deck is also excellent. A massive open space with a bar and seating area, two swimming pools and a few whirlpool spas and then an ample amount of sunbeds. Sadly it’s a little damp out there today so I can’t enjoy it, but I am sure I will get the chance in the not too distant future. I hope anyway!
I imagine after reading this you already know what my first impressions are! She is small and intimate but very big on spirit and is certainly a modern ship in many ways. I am incredibly comfortable onboard and even after just 24-hours I can honestly say that this is the kind of ship I could happily cruise solo on. In fact I have already met several people who are cruising on their own, two of them were on my coach on the way down and during our muster drill yesterday I noted at least 10 people that were 1 to a cabin.
Braemar has lots of bars and lounges, several small shops, photo gallery, library, card room, casino area, golf nets, large and quite impressive fitness centre (although I only go in those terrible places to take photographs 😉 ) and a laundrette. She is a ship with traditions but easily places herself into the modern world of ocean travel.
We are at sea today and should begin our Kiel Canal transit at around 7.30pm. Tomorrow we dock in Kiel and on Sunday, Travemunde. I shall check back in with you all again very soon!
P.S. This is our current position!