Authentic experiences, cruises coinciding with major events and more scenic cruising are key elements in the new Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ sailings for 2020-21.
The new programme was launched to travel trade guests at two events held on board Boudicca at Newcastle’s Port of Tyne and the Port of Dover.
In 2020/21, Fred. Olsen’s fleet of five smaller-sized ocean and river ships - Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch, plus river cruise addition, Brabant - will visit 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 fly-cruises.
The line, crowned Best Cruise Line for Groups for seven consecutive years in the Group Leisure & Travel Awards, will feature 144 different itineraries in its ocean programme, including nine ports being visited for the first ever time: 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.
It will also offer more ‘scenic’ cruising than ever before. Guests at the brochure launch were told that scenic cruising is rated as highly by passengers 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 three new areas of scenic cruising, on Balmoral’s American Waterways in the Fall with New York voyage, from Southampton in September 2020: Cape Cod Canal, the Hudson River and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
‘Closer’ cruising also remains at the fore of the line’s experience throughout 2020/21, with ships sailing into the heart of destinations that many larger vessels cannot reach. Notably, shallow-drafted Braemar will be repeating its transit of Greece’s Corinth Canal on its Corinth Canal & Greek Islands itinerary, from Southampton in April 2021.
Another key theme for the new cruise programme is Community & Way of Life which focusses upon authenticity and taking passengers closer, to experience the real world. Boudicca’s inaugural 14-night Authentic Japan fly-cruise from Tokyo in January 2021 is one example, and guests will have the opportunity to watching geishas dance to traditional Japanese music, take part in a tea ceremony and discover the heritage of the Samurai on a trip to Tokyo’s Kamakura, the historic home of the fearless warrior caste.
River cruising on board Brabant
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. Groups can discover the beauty of the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers on 26 itineraries - including Luxembourg for the very first time, which few other river ships visit.
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.
Justin Stanton, sales and marketing director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “In 2020/21, guests will find a mix of sailings from the UK and truly inspirational fly-cruises to destinations across the globe, as well as a new programme of European river cruises, taking them far and wide, and affording unforgettable experiences, both on board and ashore.
“Our upgraded fleet, together with our award-winning itineraries and legendary customer service, will ensure that we continue to stand out from the crowd, offering unrivalled cruise holidays and taking guests closer to the destination!”
The cruises are now on sale and a range of benefits are available for GTOs that hit an agreed group passenger target, usually between 15 and 30 members, depending on the cruise. They include funding towards coach transfers to and from the port or airport, free on board spend for every member, a complimentary group drinks party, preferential group dining and priority disembarkation for coach groups.