Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced that, in 2020/21, its fleet of five smaller, more intimately-sized ocean and river ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch, plus river cruise addition, Brabant – will be visiting no fewer than 277 destinations in 90 countries, across six continents, covering 104 areas of scenic cruising, on 170 different itineraries. Complementing the UK departure ports of Southampton, Dover, Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh (Rosyth), Fred. Olsen will also be offering an expanded programme of exotic fly-cruises in 2020/21.
Fred. Olsen’s new 2020/21 itineraries will be released to its Oceans loyalty club members from 5th March 2019, and will go on general sale from Monday 11th March 2019.
Fred. Olsen’s new 2020/21 ocean cruise programme will feature 144 different itineraries, including the following nine maiden calls: Beppu, Hiroshima, Kochi and Nagoya, in Japan; Fakarava and Raiatea, in French Polynesia; Savusavu, in Fiji; Ha Long Bay, in Vietnam; and Surabaya, in Java, Indonesia.
Fred. Olsen will also be building on the success of its dedicated European river cruise ship, Brabant, with the launch of its new 2020 cruise programme. Guests can discover the beauty of the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers on 26 tempting itineraries – including Luxembourg for the very first time, where few other river ships venture – with all the hallmarks of Fred. Olsen’s warm, welcoming style of cruising.
In 2020, Brabant will be visiting 43 ports of call, in 13 countries, covering 14 areas of scenic cruising – including five brand new areas. This includes 10 maiden itineraries, and 10 maiden calls: Trier and Nierstein, in Germany; Grevenmacher and Remich, in Luxembourg; Cetate, Galati and Drobeta-Turnu Severin, in Romania; Donji Milanovac, in Serbia; Enkhuizen, in The Netherlands; and Vukovar, in Croatia.
In its 2020/21 ocean programme, Fred. Olsen will be offering guests more ‘scenic’ cruising than ever before. An important part of a well-balanced itinerary, scenic cruising is rated as highly as the ports of call – and sometimes even higher. As well as its signature ‘Norwegian fjords’ experiences, Fred. Olsen will also be taking guests to discover the untouched beauty of three new areas of scenic cruising, on Balmoral’s 34-night L2026 ‘American Waterways in the Fall with New York’ voyage, from Southampton in September 2020: Cape Cod Canal, the Hudson River and the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal.
‘Closer’ cruising remains at the fore of the Fred. Olsen experience throughout 2020/21. By making the most of its smaller-sized ships, Fred. Olsen can sail right into the heart of the destination, where many larger vessels cannot reach. Notably, shallow-drafted Braemar will be repeating its best-selling transit of Greece’s Corinth Canal – which spans less than 25 metres at its narrowest, lowest point – on its unforgettable 25-night ‘Corinth Canal & Greek Islands’ itinerary, from Southampton in April 2021.
Another key theme for Fred. Olsen’s 2020/21 cruise programme is ‘Community & Way of Life’, which focusses upon ‘authenticity’ and taking guests ‘closer’, to experience the real world. Boudicca’s inaugural 14-night D2101 ‘Authentic Japan’ fly-cruise from Tokyo in January 2021 is one such example, where guests will experience a range of in-depth shore excursions, including watching a Geisha perform authentic dances to traditional Japanese music, taking part in an authentic tea ceremony, or connecting with the heritage of the Samurai on a trip to Tokyo’s Kamakura, the historic home of this fearless warrior caste.
Black Watch’s 32-night W2031 ‘Idyllic Islands of the Caribbean’ adventure from Liverpool in November 2020 takes in lesser-known parts of this fascinating diaspora, and those visited by fewer tourists, such as Mayreau in the Grenadine Islands, which has a population of under 300.
In addition, Fred. Olsen’s ‘Scenery & Wildlife’ themed cruises in 2020/21 highlight the very best flora and fauna that the planet has to offer. Boudicca’s 14-night D2029 ‘African Wildlife Adventure’ from Cape Town in December 2020 will give guests the chance to go in search of lemurs and chameleons in their native Madagascan habitat; in South Africa, they can seek out the ‘Big Five’, on unmissable safari adventures from Port Elizabeth and Durban. Balmoral’s 10-night L2014 ‘Icelandic Wonders & Wildlife’ itinerary, from Edinburgh (Rosyth) in June 2020 takes in the thundering waterfalls of Godafoss and Gullfoss, and offers guests the opportunity to search for humpback whales along the Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest fjord.
Fred. Olsen will also be operating more of its ‘Five-Night’ cruises. These provide the perfect opportunity for a short break, or the chance to try Fred. Olsen for the first time, offering the full ‘Fred. Olsen experience’ of destination exploration, ‘closer’ scenic cruising, and friendlier onboard service. Guests can choose to see the best of Norway in only five nights on Balmoral’s L2015 ‘Five-Night Fjordland Discovery’ from Edinburgh (Rosyth) in July 2020 – taking advantage of this Scottish port’s strategic location and close proximity to Norway – along with Braemar’s maiden M2022 ‘Delights of Devon & Cornwall’ short getaway in August 2020, calling at St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth – for an overnight stay – and Plymouth.
Another key theme at Fred. Olsen is visiting destinations at the optimum time of the year, to maximise guests’ enjoyment. Examples of Fred. Olsen’s ‘Best Time To Go’itineraries in 2020/21 include: Black Watch’s 10-night W2016 ‘Authentic Flavours of Portugal’ cruise, from Liverpool in June 2020, which coincides with the evocative ‘Feast of St. Anthony’, also known as the ‘Sardine Festival’; Black Watch’s W2012 ‘Canaries & Portugal with the Funchal Flower Parade’ sailing, taking in the city’s awe-inspiring floral spectacular; and a first for Fred. Olsen, Boudicca’s 28-night D2030 ‘Discovering Asia with Singapore at New Year’ fly-cruise, sailing from the Seychelles in December 2020, where guests can enjoy the fun and fanfare of the New Year’s celebrations in this vibrant Asian capital.
Other highlights of Fred. Olsen’s new 2020/21 ocean cruise programme include:
– Black Watch’s nine-night W2010 ‘Mystery Cruise’, from Liverpool in April 2020 (adult-only, 18+), where only the Captain knows where the ship is heading!
– In April 2020, all eyes will be on the Madeiran capital of Funchal, as the entire Fred. Olsen ocean fleet reunites for the third time, to celebrate ‘Four Fred.s in Funchal’! This follows on from Fred. Olsen’s hugely successful ‘Captains in Cádiz’ celebration in September 2018, when the fleet came together to mark Fred. Olsen’s 170th anniversary in shipping.
– Black Watch’s 14-night W2023 ‘The Fjords of Greenland’ adventure, from Liverpool in August 2020, taking in the sensational scenery of Iceland and Greenland. Guests will get the chance to glide past the rugged peaks and mighty glaciers of Prins Christian Sund – rated the best scenic cruising experience by Fred. Olsen guests. Sail among giant creaking icebergs on a boat tour to the Qooroq Ice Fjord, or step back in time on a visit to Nanortalik’s Open Air Museum.
– Balmoral’s nine-night L2102 ‘Winter Fjords with Shetland‘ cruise, from Southampton in January 2021, where guests can experience the Norwegian fjords at a very magical time of year. Take the Flåm railway to ascend into the fjordland when the scenery is likely to be frozen and snowy white. Guests can also attend the world-renowned ‘Up Helly Aa’ Viking festival. Held in Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, on the last Tuesday of January, ‘Up Helly Aa’ Day involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a replica Viking ship.
– Boudicca’s 14-night D2102 ‘Vietnam, Hong Kong & Singapore’ fly-cruise, via Hong Kong in January 2021. In Vietnam, visit historic Ho Chi Minh City, take a boat trip within the rocky islets of Ha Long Bay, delve into the history of the Nguyen Dynasty Emperors on a tour to the country’s former capital city, Hue, as well as overnight stays in vibrant Singapore and Hong Kong.
– Balmoral’s L2107 and L2108 ‘In Search of the Northern Lights in Eight Nights’ sailings, from Newcastle in March 2021 – a new range of itineraries providing the ideal introduction to cruise for new guests…and even more so if they get to witness the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis!