Earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting three very different cruise ships (and being royally entertained on two of them!) prior to their inaugural cruises.

‘HEBRIDEAN SPIRIT’ is small at only 4,200 tons and typically accommodates only 70 passengers. It does so, however, in luxurious comfort with fabulous cuisine and unstinting standards of care and attention, visiting many fascinating places where other cruise ships do not go. In the words of the Managing Director, “our cruises are fiendishly expensive”, but this is no barrier to a high proportion of repeat passengers who enjoy the intimate country house party atmosphere and the sheer excellence of it all. This is a little gem.

crystal serenity 09 stills 019

Princess Cruises’ new ship ‘GOLDEN PRINCESS’ could hardly be more different in terms of what it offers. At 109,000 tons it is vast, towering above the cruise terminal at Southampton. This is very much mainstream cruising today with some 2,500 passengers essentially enjoying a large luxury resort hotel with a substantial emphasis on entertainment, a choice of bars, lounges and restaurants, several pools, casino, fitness centre, nightclub and theatre etc. One cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer size and glamour of it all. For those looking for this type of cruising experience, this is undoubtedly a good choice.

Midway between these two extremes is the new addition to the Fred Olsen fleet, the‘BRAEMAR’. Built only a few years ago, this is the youngest of the Fred Olsen ships and follows very much their philosophy of providing a more personal and intimate atmosphere than the current mega cruise ships now being introduced. At only 19,000 tons and carrying a little over 700 passengers, ‘Braemar’ has been specifically tailored to the UK market with decor, entertainment and facilities likely to appeal to British tastes. I can personally vouch for the high standards of food and service and with a changing and interesting range of itineraries I expect this to be a popular and successful addition to the Fred Olsen fleet.

The three ships briefly described above offer a very different cruise experience and illustrate how important it is to choose the right ship for you from the many available. We can help you with this.

If you’d like to know more email me: dorothy@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the gallery!