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Ship Visit to Braemar
Fred.Olsen Cruises
 
Dover - 19th August 2010
Report by John Harrison

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2005 Ian Boyle
Photo: ©2005 Ian Boyle - BRAEMAR before lengthening, at Dover

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2008 Ian Boyle
Photo: ©2008 Ian Boyle - BRAEMAR after lengthening, at Southampton


   

2011 Visit Reports
Revisited ships in 2011 will not be shown unless significantly revised since previous visit

Rotterdam

 
BRAEMAR - Deck Plans: ©2010 Fred.Olsenl Cruises
BRAEMAR - Deck Plans
Opens a large PDF file (2.4 Mb) in new window


BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Neptune Lounge - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Observatory Lounge - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Grampian Restaurant - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Grampian Restaurant - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Skylark Club - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - DC Grade Cabin - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - BA Grade Cabin - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - BA Grade Cabin - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - SS Grade Superior Suite - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Lido Bar - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Lido Bar - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Palms Cafe - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Afternoon Tea Display - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Coral Club - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Reception - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Braemar Room - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Morning Light Pub - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Morning Light Pub - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Morning Light Pub - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Atrium - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman


The Braemar was completed by Union Navale de Levante, Valencia, Spain in 1993 as the Crown Dynasty for the Crown Cruise Line with a gross tonnage of 19,089 tons. In 1997 she was chartered to the Majesty Cruise Line and renamed Crown Majesty. Later in 1997 she was chartered to Norwegian Cruise Line and renamed Norwegian Dynasty. In 1999 she reverted to the name Crown Dynasty. Following the bankruptcy of her owners in 2000 she was sold to Fred.Olsen Cruises in 2001 and renamed Braemar. She was refitted at Blohm and Voss, Hamburg for their services. In 2008 she returned to that yard to be lengthened by 31.2 metres to 195.9 metres, an enlargement not only to provide additional berths but also more public rooms. She has capacity for 929 passengers in 484 cabins and a crew of 371. Her gross tonnage is now 24,344 tons.

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Marquee Deck - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman


We visited the Braemar at the Dover Cruise Terminal on 19 August. Our group of 13 was part of a much larger number visiting the ship that day, the others presumably travel agents and regular cruisers. We assembled in the Neptune Lounge which I assume acts as a theatre, cinema and lecture room (and probably serves other purposes too) where we were given a drink. Here we had a brief introductory talk and were shown a DVD about Olsen's cruises. The company operates smaller ships which have the advantage of providing a more intimate atmosphere and being able to visit more ports. I have taken part in several Ocean Liner Society ship visits, but this is the visit I felt the salesmanship was most overt, though it was far from a hard sell.

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Skylark Club Bar - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman


We then went on a tour of the ship, starting at the top and working down. The first public room we saw was the Observatory, a cocktail lounge. Being located above the bridge, this offered panoramic views forward and on entering it I could not help thinking that if I ever cruised on this ship I would probably spend a lot of time there. We were subsequently told that ladies were allowed to bathe topless on deck 9 above, so perhaps I would spend more time somewhere else!

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - BS Grade Suite - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman


The ship has a bit of a “bookend” design with the forward and aft areas of the accommodation given over to public rooms, thus providing good views in relevant directions. One deck, deck 5, the lounge deck, however, is given over to public rooms, the accommodation there including the Coral Room (a lounge used for lectures, music performances and dances), the shopping area, the internet room, the card room, the Braemar Room (a lounge area), the library and the aforementioned Neptune Lounge. Passengers have the choice of dining rooms and, if I ever did cruise on the Braemar I would have preferred the more intimate Grampian Restaurant than the larger Thistle Restaurant. One thing joining the Ocean Liner Society has made me more aware of is ships’ decor. It is difficult to summarise the Braemar’s decor as it did not have one strong style or theme. For want of better words, therefore, I would opt for pleasant and modern.

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Aft Stairwell - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman


Some might say one cannot see too many ships’ cabins, but on this tour I felt we did. For travel agents and those contemplating a cruise, this was fine as they could decide which cabins best suited particular needs, but after a while I rather felt “cabin overload”. Our starting at the top and working down did mean we saw the suites and best cabins first and as we went down the ship, the standard of cabin also went down. Having said that, all cabins seemed adequate and well-furnished, so I did not feel any provided unsatisfactory accommodation. The night before the visit I had watched “The Secret Tourist” on television, a programme which used covert filming to expose poor cleanliness and other problems in holiday facilities. At one point I glanced through a cabin door (not one that had been indicated as being one we could look into) and noticed the steward was vacuuming the inside of one of the drawers – I concluded it was unlikely that this ship would feature on “The Secret Tourist”.

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Palms Cafe - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman


One personal disappointment I had with the visit was I felt we were not told much about the ship. When I started writing this report a few days after the visit, I realised I had no idea where the ship had arrived from and where she was sailing to (she had just completed a Norwegian cruise and was about to sail to Iberia apparently). During the tour, it would have been nice to have known where original ship stopped and the new section started, but we were not told this (the fact the old and new were joined apparently seamlessly does, however, suggest a very good job was made of the lengthening). A visit to a ship, whether by a prospective passenger or just a “curious onlooker” (who perhaps one day might take a cruise – as an OLS member I am perhaps unusual in this respect as most members are seasoned cruisers) as I was should give not only a chance to see the ship but also a chance to get to “know” it in a deeper way in terms of how she is operated and what the experience of a voyage on board might be like. Though we had been extolled the virtues of Fred.Olsen’s cruises, I felt we could have been told more about what their cruises were like. This would perhaps have been a softer sell, but more effective than the introduction we were given at the beginning.

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Lido Bar - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Library - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman


Our visit concluded with a meal in the Thistle Restaurant. This provided a self-service menu with a wide range of choice and I regret I could only choose some of it, but what I had was certainly good food. Getting ones food was not well organised and almost a rugby scrum, but one presumes in normal use there would not be so many people arriving together. Our thanks to Peter Godliman for arranging the visit and, of course, to Fred.Olsen Lines and their staff for allowing us on board.

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Braemar Room - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Model of Braemar (1) - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Thistle Restaurant - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman
BRAEMAR - Atrium - Photo: ©2010 Peter Godliman



BRAEMAR - Photo: ©Fred.Olsen Cruises
BRAEMAR - before lengthening - Photo: ©Fred.Olsen Cruises

BRAEMAR - Photo: ©Fred.Olsen Cruises
BRAEMAR - after lengthening - Photo: ©Fred.Olsen Cruises




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