Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Black Watch was in Port of Tyne today and I was fortunate enough to enjoy a few hours aboard – before she once again sailed from North Shields en-route to wonderful foreign shores. As most of you know, I cruised on Braemer just 4 short months ago, so I was quite excited to investigate another of the Fred. Olsen fleet and I have to admit that some aspects of her I actually preferred over Braemar! I know, shock horror!
She was built by Wärtsilä Helsinki New Shipyard in Finland for Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Star, entering service in 1972. She then also sailed for Norwegian Cruise Lines as Westward and Royal Cruise Line as Star Odyssey. Today, however, she is known as Black Watch and from what I could tell from disembarking passengers at the port, she is certainly a ship that does not disappoint.
Once all the usual formalities were completed we boarded the ship and made our way toward the Observatory Lounge, where we would spend 30 minutes before heading off on a guided tour.
We spent time in several areas onboard, but I have to say that I really liked the Garden Cafe. I thought that was a beautiful space, as was the Braemar Lounge that it branched off from. It was definitely somewhere that I could picture myself spending several hours just watching the world go by. I want to say more about it, I really do, but in this case it is easier for me to just let you see for yourself. I am sure you will agree that both spaces are incredibly beautiful and perfectly compliment one another.
During the tour we also had the privilege of looking in several cabins, I don’t remember every single one, but there was a solo cabin – that was incredibly spacious too I might add – several different suites and balcony cabins, and the Owner’s Suite. Every single one was tastefully decorated and actually very modern in decor. Not entirely sure what I had expected with regards to the accommodations, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Owner’s Suite was very nice indeed and it felt like it was never going to end, but personally I actually preferred the PS grade suite, which in this case was cabin 9002 – Lindos Suite. I was a bigger fan of the decor and I liked the snug, second bedroom which led from the living room. I would, however, like to make it perfectly clear that if the Owner’s Suite was offered, I would definitely NOT say no! 😉
The aft outer decks aboard Black Watch were my ideal. Slightly tiered and offering pools, jacuzzis and plenty of sun loungers, one also offering The Grill – the ships new speciality restaurant. As I have said many times before, the outer decks are hugely important for me and although I wasn’t a fan of her top deck, her aft decks received a big thumbs up.
The library onboard was a good size and conveniently located within feet of the lush chocolate bar. Sadly, the bar was closed during our visit, but all the sweets were set out in display cabinets and each one looked better than the one next to it! If you are cruising on Black Watch anytime soon then I suggest you take your “cruise pants” with you – you will need them if you walk through there every day as a diversion for at least one chocolate is guaranteed! Well, it would be for me. I can’t say no to cheeky little bundles of happiness, it’s just unfortunate for my waist that they happen to be covered in chocolate. 😉
There is only so much one can say about a ship from such a short visit, but I did like Black Watch, she is certainly a ship I would happily spend my holiday aboard and I am now quite excited to see her sister, Boudicca, next year! 🙂
I bid all those sailing on her this evening, Bon Voyage!