Fred Olsen cruise on Borealis

I’ve just returned from a 2 week cruise onboard Fred Olsen Borealis. We were due to travel to the Azores, Madeira, Lisbon and Porto but due to bad weather we had to change our itinerary, this meant we visited  Belfast, Cobh and Vigo before picking up our original itinerary.

Boarding in Liverpool was so easy, we were given an embarkation time to stagger the check in and prevent long queues. We parked at CPS parking which was 5 minutes away from the cruise terminal. They took our luggage ( as much as we liked so no drama about too many clothes/shoes!) from us at the car and transferred it straight to our cabin. We were then transferred to the passenger terminal by minibus. We were having lunch onboard the ship in less than an hour from arriving in Liverpool – very nice! On our return we put our luggage outside our cabin before going to bed, we were given a disembarkation tag and was off at 0730 , minibus straight to the car where our luggage was waiting, all very efficient.



The shipMay be an image of 5 people

Borealis had around 1300 passengers with around 700 crew. We found the crew to be very friendly, fun, attentive and plentiful. We never had to wait a long time for a drink in any of the bars. Our cabin steward came twice a day, bringing us the daily programme and a chocolate at turn down

The swimming pool had a retractable roof and plenty of seating/loungers

Well equipped gym with lots of classes

Comfortable and spotlessly clean lots of art and antiquities to look at is you wander around the ship

Plenty of quiet areas or if you’re on your own lots of opportunity to meet people

A few shops, and photographer not pushy as on some ships we’ve been on

Spa services – thermal suite, treatments ,beautician and hairdresser

Borealis is a nice size , not too big but plenty of space for everyone.

The cabin

We were on deck 7 in a junior suite balcony, beds were very comfy and we had plenty of room. There was a jacuzzi bath but this was very small so only used it once, there was a shower over, people with walking difficulties may struggle getting in

We had a fridge ( payable stocked minibar) tv, kettle,atlas,binoculars,dressing gowns and slippers. The suite package also gave us a daily delivery of canapés, fruit basket,water and a bottle of fizz on arrival. We could order continental breakfast in our suite at no extra charge

You are not permitted to bring your own alcohol onboard. You can order bottles of spirits etc to be delivered to your cabin to be drank in your cabin – a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin was around £30 and we bought tonic water ashore,they filled our ice bucket daily

Smoking is allowed on your balcony as well as certain areas of the decks

Safe ,hairdryer, toiletries, air con, plenty of space for belongings

Laundry service – pressing shirts included in suites package


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our suite
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junior balcony suite


Entertainment and things to do

A daily programme always something going on – sports, games,shows,crafts,talks, dancing,films, cooking demos, board games,jigsaws

Library – earth room with books about the planet,gardening,animals

Coffee shop with cakes and chocolates always a busy area (extra charge £3cappucino) get a card for 7 works out £1 cheaper and free chocolates

Dance hosts were popular – ballroom and sequence dancing nightly with some classes in the day

Daily quiz was extremely popular!

We had 3 formal nights during our 2 week cruise incl a masquerade ball

Excursions- pre book ones you want to do or do your own thing

Guest specialist lecturers including wildlife experts



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one of several lounge areas
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another lounge area- also used as an art room









Food & drink 

Dining was traditional 2 sittings, the buffet and 2 speciality restaurants. All meals included , including afternoon tea and late night snacks . Tables for 2/4/6/8 state your preference asap

Food in the restaurants was always excellent, plenty of choice, always hot and tasty. With assigned waiters you get to know each other which was lovely

We ate in Vasco the Goan themed restaurant and Taste Colours, the Asian restaurant. These were £15pp supplement but if you book online before sailing you get £5pp discount, food in both was excellent

We had paid for the drinks package, there was a fairly limited choice (house wine,beer,spirits, draught mixers/soft drinks) if you chose a drink not included it was half price. We were fine with it but  it’s worth looking if you’ll get your moneys worth with what’s included

We also paid for the traditional afternoon tea, white glove service in the lounge accompanied by musicians £15 was a nice treat.


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We were lucky to take part in the Fleet in Funchal ’ event where all 3 ships were in port together. A fun day for passengers and crew with games, entertainment and the chance to visit the other ships

Bolette is the sister ship to Borealis and has the same facilities, Balmoral is slightly smaller

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The Fleet in Funchal

I was also lucky to be invited to the Bridge where the captain gave us an interesting talk on what goes on behind the scenes.

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The Bridge

I would say  the average passenger age is 60 something , definitely lots of older passengers  great for anyone with walking aids I saw lots of people with them. Lots of solo travellers onboard, meet ups in the daily programme, people seemed to easily mingle – joining others in a quiz or team game, having a dance with one of the hosts or dining with other solo travellers

Fred Olsen has sailings departing from several UK ports including Liverpool and Newcastle so great for us northerners!

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