Fred. Olsen Moves Into River Cruising

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced the launch of its new dedicated cruise programme by river boat, unveiled in its new ‘European River Cruising by Fred. Olsen’ brochure.

Fred. Olsen River Cruises is now offering European river cruise holidays, between 5th April and 3rd November 2018, on board 156-guest river boat, Brabant, to go on general sale from 26th May 2017.

Fred. Olsen will be operating its new river cruise programme – taking in some of Europe’s most beautiful rivers, including the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle – on a total of 30 departures in 2018, on duration’s ranging from five to 25 nights, complemented by a selection of high-quality chargeable shore excursions, designed to enhance guests’ experience of the destination.

Fred. Olsen will be bringing its unique style of ‘destination exploration’ to the river cruise market, with exciting itineraries visiting some of Europe’s most stunning rivers, canals and valleys. Guests can choose to sail the breath-taking Danube, taking in the major cities and wildlife-rich Danube Delta; savour the highlights of the heart of Europe, along the twists and turns of the Moselle, Rhine and Main valleys; or enjoy a ‘taster’ cruise to Amsterdam, when the tulips are in full bloom.

Importantly, Fred. Olsen has also incorporated a large amount of scenic cruising in daylight hours into its new river cruise itineraries, so that guests can make the most of the spectacular scenery on offer at the best time of the day.

Justin Stanton, Sales and Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“At Fred. Olsen, we specialise in creating a ‘home-from-home’ atmosphere on our ocean cruises, and we are proud to be bringing our many decades of expertise and rich sailing heritage to the river cruise market for the very first time. In fact, the name Brabant harks back to Fred. Olsen’s historic passenger ship of the same name from the 1920s.

“Guests can rest assured that the new Fred. Olsen river cruises will be underpinned by the usual high standards, award-winning customer service and understated elegance that they have come to expect of our ocean-going offer. We firmly believe that we have crafted the perfect formula to ensure that our new river cruise guests are able to get the most out of their holiday with Fred. Olsen.”

Fred. Olsen’s new river cruise itineraries on board Brabant for 2018 include: Düsseldorf, Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Düsseldorf to Nuremberg, Germany; Nuremberg to Budapest, Hungary; Budapest to Hirsova (Bucharest), Romania; Düsseldorf to Basel, Switzerland;and Hirsova (Bucharest) to Düsseldorf.

Three Amadeus vessels – Danube (Click to enlarge)

Built in 2006, 110-metre-long Brabant is a stylish and comfortable river cruise boat, and has everything that guests will need to make their holiday a memorable one: from bright and spacious public areas, to well-equipped bedrooms and ample deck space, from which to enjoy the superb views. With just four decks – Haydn Deck 1, Strauss Deck 2, Mozart Deck 3 and Sun Deck 4 – and fewer than 80 rooms and suites, staffed by 40 crew members, Brabanthas the intimate and friendly feel that Fred. Olsen’s guests know and love.

Brabant’s classic design is smaller than many river boats, so guests will enjoy the usual hallmarks of Fred. Olsen’s ‘closer’ approach to cruising. In keeping with Fred. Olsen’s ocean-going fleet, this smaller-scaled vessel has the style, atmosphere and elegance of a country house hotel. Cherry wood interiors and contemporary colours combine to make guests feel relaxed from the moment that they step on board. Juliette balconies with panoramic windows are a feature of many of the rooms, so that guests can enjoy expansive views of Europe’s most impressive waterways.

Fred. Olsen guests – who are predominantly British – will also feel at home on board Brabant, with English spoken throughout and all transactions conducted in Pounds Sterling. The British taste will also be reflected in the cuisine, customer service and shore tours on offer.

All holidays featured in the new ‘River Cruising by Fred. Olsen’ brochure are based on fly-cruises, and include return flights from / to a London airport and transfers to / from the boat. Cruise-only options are also available

(Fred.Olsen)

Malcolm says: I predicted this last year when Olsen. hinted at a ‘new direction’. This is a clever move. Olsen passengers are very loyal and trust the Olsen name.  It seems that this will essentially be an ‘Amadeus’ (Luftner Cruises) product, with some Olsen tweaks like sterling as the on-board currency and British menus.

Having cruised with Amadeus twice I can vouch that they offer a pretty high standard of experience at a fare more reasonable than many.

The Amadeus experience is an international one, attracting many German and French passengers, but will equally suit Brits. All the crew speak English. The food normally served by Amadeus is arguably higher-class (better) than some of Fred Olsen’s fare. The small number of passengers on river boats should ensure excellent service. (See my Amadeus cruise reviews).

Amadeus do not have a very high profile in the U.K. so this partnership can only help them.

Olsen’s ‘Brabant’ is the ‘Amadeus Princess’ which entered service in 2006. The line has revealed that the vessel will not undergo a refurbishment before it sails as Brabant, but will receive Fred. Olsen River Cruise branding and a new livery/name.

There is already talk of a second Olsen river boat, later on.

Amadeus Elegant, my second river cruise review HERE

The Original Brabant

The Brabant was the first of a notable new generation of passengers ships, which was taken delivery of in 1926.  She had a gross tonnage of 2, 335 and was the Olsen’s biggest passenger ship so far, with accommodation for up to 70 first class passengers amidships, and could carry 30 third class travellers in less comfortable quarters at the stern.  She also had space for 2, 500 tons of cargo in two substantial holds.  (The Fred. Olsen Line and It’s Passenger Ships, by Anthony Cooke).

D-S_Brabant,_Fred_Olsen_&_Co_-_no-nb_digifoto_20160422_00162_NB_NS_000856Y

Olsen’s Brabant (National Library of Norway)

Thinking Of Taking Your First River Cruise?

It’s spring, so the major European river cruise lines are once again starting to operate cruises along the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Seine, Rhone/Saone and other European rivers.

River cruising is actually is the fastest growing segment of the cruise industry.

There are many myths about river cruising and many truths too.

As a brand new convert myself, I have created a short article to dispel some of the myths and confirm some of the truths. Enjoy!

River Cruising – Myth & Reality: HERE

Malcolm

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2 Responses to “Fred. Olsen Moves Into River Cruising”

  1. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Gillian, some river cruises do tend to sell out quickly with not too many price cuts, if any. Also bear in mind that most river boats only have 78-100 cabins.

    Beware of cabins on the lowest deck on some boats – they can be almost under the water level and only have a tiny window, but are the cheapest. Beware of the cabins at the very rear of the boat on the second deck up, these may suffer from engine noise, but are often a little cheaper.

  2. Gillian Walsh Says:

    Thank you for bringing this to attention. Your own review of river cruising is a trusted recommend as is the Fred Olsen brand as you say. I don’t like booking a year in advance but 2017 being mostly full across operators, I’m beginning to think I should….

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