Cruising Mates Forum: Cruise reviews, chat, answers and information. cruisingmates.co.uk • View topic - Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Postby Jeffo » 13 Jan 2020 09:59

It was so good to be back on Black Watch after so many years. She was fresh out of dry dock in Hamburg. New carpets in the Glentanar Restaurant and new murals in the Brigadoon buffet restaurant. Despite her age she is impressively up to date. We were due to depart from Southampton on Sunday 22nd December, together with Balmoral on a similar itinerary. The weather in the English Channel, and the Bay of Biscay was so severe it was decided to overnight in Southampton, and both ships left the following day, Monday, at 10.30 a.m. The captain stressed that the ship would have handled the bad weather but it would not have been safe for the passengers. Although the winds had dropped, it takes the sea a lot longer for the waves to calm down so we had a rough ride for a couple of days, with one day not even being allowed outside. We were due to arrive Funchal on Thursday 26 December for an overnight stay, and departure on Friday. The delay in departure meant we didn't get to Funchal until the Friday. People who had booked Shore Tours through the company had their money refunded, but I don't know about people who had paid for private excursions. Balmoral's first port was supposed to be Casablanca, but the delay meant the call there was cancelled. The weather in Funchal was glorious. Locals explained the winds were coming from the direction of the Sahara bringing lovely warm sunshine. The next port was Last Palmas and now we were back on the correct itinerary, except, we were due to arrive at 12 noon, but the port authority said there wouldn't be room until 6 pm. The captain reduced speed and we all had a nice day in lovely sunshine on board. When we got there, an "Aida" monster was in, Marella was in, and so was Mein Schiff. When Balmoral arrived the next day, she had to be berthed in the container terminal. Next was Santa Cruze Tenerife. Again the weather was beautiful, and we mastered how to take a local tram and went up to La Laguna. 40 minute ride for a flat fare of 1.35 euros ! We were in Santa Cruz for two days. Fred Olsen Jnr. came on board on the first day and was seen on board chatting with the Captain and the Chef. The next day was New Years eve and Fred. Olsen Jnr. had arranged a private party on board. The Speciality restaurant was taken over for his party on New Year's Eve. They began in The Observatory for cocktails. One half of the lounge was dedicated to his party. I went to a nearby men's toilet and witnessed a waiter not washing his hands on leaving. I made a written complaint to the Bar and Restaurant manager, who thanked me, and passed my letter on to the Bars Manager. It was all aboard at 12.30 a.m. for a 1.00 am departure. We actually departed at 2.30 a.m. "because they couldn't get a pilot". Everyone knew it was really because Fred Olsen Jnr's party were having such good fun out on deck that they didn't want to get off. New Year's Eve was a formal night with a 1920's theme. Lots of us dressed up and a good time was had by all. Next was the last port - Lisbon just for the day. We were due to arrive at 7.30 a.m. on the Friday. A medical emergency developed, with a passenger in urgent need of hospitalization. The captain announced we were going full speed ahead and arrived Lisbon at 7.00 p.m the night before. We had a lovely day in Lisbon and sailed for Southampton at 4.30 pm followed all the way by Balmoral. We enjoyed this cruise very much but are thinking of flying to the Canaries next time for a week in the warm sunshine, without the winter sea days there and back.
Previous Cruises :
Black Watch (5), Braemar (9), Boudicca (1), Balmoral (1), Adonia (1), Saga Sapphire (1) Saga Ruby (1) Astoria (1)
User avatar
Jeffo
Commodore
Commodore
 
Posts: 1595
Joined: 12 May 2013 08:20
Location: Bournemouth
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Postby judgegeoff » 13 Jan 2020 12:58

Thank you for posting your interesting review of your recent cruise Jeffo, I really enjoyed reading it. :clap: :clap: :clap: It is a pity that the cruise was subject to so many delays and lumpy weather etc., but you enjoyed it regardless.
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
User avatar
judgegeoff
Powder Monkey
Powder Monkey
 
Posts: 4441
Joined: 23 Mar 2013 12:58
Location: New Romney. Kent
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Postby Gillzajoker » 13 Jan 2020 14:47

Glad you enjoyed it apart from the rough start, Jeffo. And well done for reporting the waiter, we
really need to be on top of the cleanliness issues on board! :D
Image
User avatar
Gillzajoker
Admiral
Admiral
 
Posts: 16774
Joined: 03 Mar 2011 16:07
Location: Costa Almeria, Spain
National Flag:
Spain

Re: Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Postby Camela » 13 Jan 2020 16:37

A fair amount of variety on your cruise Jeffo so, glad you enjoyed it. I recognise that cruise company bosses have to entertain important/potential guests but wonder if it is entirely in the spirit of things especially on NYE to take over half a bar and a speciality restaurant, then delay the departure?
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
User avatar
Camela
Commodore
Commodore
 
Posts: 1653
Joined: 09 Feb 2013 18:21
National Flag:
England

Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Postby adogap » 13 Jan 2020 19:41

Interesting Jeff, thank you. I wondered why Balmoral did not visit Casablanca so now know. Fred Olsen Jr. visited Balmoral last year whilst we were on board. We thought service prior to this bordered on mediocre and whilst he was on the ship became outstanding!
You do appear to have enjoyed your cruise though agree have to take a risk with stormy seas at this time of year.
Black Watch is my favourite FO ship

Chris
Baltic Cities, Balmoral, June 2018
User avatar
adogap
Commodore
Commodore
 
Posts: 1381
Joined: 25 Oct 2012 15:09
Location: Bangor Co. Down
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Re: Black Watch - Christmas/New Year 2019/2020

Postby rdw123 » 14 Jan 2020 09:54

Thanks Jeff for your review. Sorry to hear that the weather wasn’t too good to start with. Reading your review I like others wondered if F.O. were running the cruise for you the fare paying passengers, or if they were running it for the Olsen family benefit. I have only had one cruise with them and found the service sadly lacking and very chauvinist. Not been back. Sounds like a flight to the Canaries would avoid the worst of the seas. Biscay can be evil at any time. I am off next week on Spirit of Discovery so keeping my fingers crossed that Biscay behaves! Glad you enjoyed your cruise.
rdw123
Commander
Commander
 
Posts: 466
Joined: 31 Jan 2013 18:04


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Fred Olsen



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron