Black Watch – Cruise Ship Review

26 Apr 2017

As most of you probably know, Fred. Olsen's 'Black Watch' recently has gone through a re-fit. A couple of weeks back, Sally from our sales team went onboard for a mini cruise to Rouen! We thought it would be a great idea to show you some first hand experience of what has changed. This is what Sally had to say...


Embarkation at Southampton

Embarkation with Fred. Olsen normally starts at around 2-3pm. When you check in you are given a numbered boarding card, you then board when your number gets called. When boarding everyone they will always start boarding passengers who are booked under their “Suite dream package”, then passengers holding a gold boarding card then people who need assistance. After this, they call the boarding card numbers in blocks of 10. So 1-10 then 11-20 etc.


As there were 4 of us, I was lucky to have a Junior Suite, this was very large with a picture window (no balcony) situated on deck 5. As the Black Watch has recently had a refit, the bathrooms were very new and modern. They included some shower & hand gel and a new hairdryer – it wasn’t the usual beige one attached to the wall!!

The only thing I was a little disappointed with was the size of the window, Fred. Olsen say it’s a large picture window, but wasn’t much bigger than the two port holes!


We were dining in the main restaurant called Glentanar, however there is another main restaurant which is smaller called The Orchid Room. At dinner time, The Orchid Room is mainly reserved for suite passengers. If you have booked on an anchor fare you will be allocated Glentanar, no matter which grade of cabin you have confirmed. The Black Watch also has a buffet restaurant, which since the re-fit has changed its name to Brigadoon. Just outside of the buffet restaurant there is a tea/coffee station where people can help themselves and is free of charge!

Breakfast - In the main dining rooms this is all buffet, however there are signs on the tables to say if you want anything specific that isn't on the buffet then speak to your waiter. There was a lot of choice at the buffet, including cereals, fruit, cakes, cold meats and cheeses, toast, and plenty of hot food to choose from too! At a separate station, there was also a chef making omelettes.

Lunch - In the main dining rooms again it is mainly buffet, however they have re-introduced the a la carte menu and a selection of these choices can be ordered from your waiter.

Apparently, the a la carte menu for breakfast and lunchtime was scrapped on the world cruise, but on the final sector Mr Fred Olsen Junior was onboard and heard so many passengers complain about it he re-introduced it for lunchtime!

The Black Watch Room - This is the ships speciality restaurant. For dinner there is a cover charge of £20 per person and you would need to make a reservation onboard. If the outside grill isn’t open they do open The Black Watch Room for breakfast and lunch, it is menu service and free of charge. Some passengers didn’t like the look of it and said it was very dark, but we did notice quite a few people eating in there!

Terrace Balcony and Terrace Balcony Suites

On the Lido deck as you know there are some terrace balcony cabins and terrace balcony suites. These were put in around 2 years ago. They are really nice cabins / suites, the only thing people are not sure of the balconies.

As you can see when walking outside on the Lido deck people can see you sitting on your balcony! However, what they can’t see is into your cabin. The glass which is used on their balcony door is only oneway view, people inside their cabin can see out, people outside the cabin can’t see in! The balconies are private nobody can just walk onto the balcony and they are clear views with no lifeboats to disrupt your view.

Shuttle Buses

When we arrived at Rouen these were provided by Fred. Olsen to take you into the town, and ran on a regular basis. If you were on an Anchor fare, you need to pay £5 per person for these, if you booked a freedom fare they were complimentary.


This was very straightforward - if you want the porter service, you leave your bags outside your cabin the night before and they will call you by deck to disembark.

We needed to get off early to do the school run so we didn’t use the porter service. If you carry your own luggage off, you can disembark once the ship has clearance from immigration. We managed to get off by 7.45.

Overall everything onboard was very new and clean, the only thing which was still left to be done was the main swimming pool.

Some of the views...