Last week saw Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines launch their brand new brochure for itineraries in 2018 and 2019, taking passengers to a total of 228 ports across 73 countries. The family-owned line has over 200 years of maritime history and this shines through in the experiences and personalised service delivered on board. And, unlike other cruise lines, the small size of the ships enables them to visit smaller ports and travel along narrower waterways – providing a highly enriching experience.
The line originally launched in 1966 with Black Prince, which would remain the line’s only ship until the arrival of Black Watch in 1996. Over the course of the next 11 years, the fleet would see a further three additions: Braemar in 2001, Boudicca in 2005, and Balmoral in 2007; with Black Prince ceasing service in 2006. Since then, the line has played down talk of any new vessels joining the line, instead opting to refurbish current vessels and give them new features.
Speaking at a launch event for the new brochure, Fred. Olsen Jnr – son of the founder, Fred. Olsen Snr – stated that plans for new ocean vessels were on the table. “Just over ten years ago in 2005 we looked at having a new ship but in terms of finances it didn’t make sense at the time. We are looking at it again and we have ships on the drawing board. Any new ships we do produce in the future will be smaller ocean ships which is what we want as a brand and what our customers want.”
These claims were backed up by Mike Rodwell, who is the UK managing director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines: “We look at opportunities all the time and a new ship is of course an aspiration of ours but it has to make financial sense.”
No further details have been revealed at this time and this should not be seen as an official confirmation of any new vessels. It is, however, the first official mention of any new addition in recent years and is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
It is worth noting that both Black Watch and Boudicca sailed under Royal Viking Line in a previous life, with the ships known as Royal Viking Star and Royal Viking Sky respectively. There were three other members of the fleet which, if purchased, could make for a fitting reunion and would fit with the lines philosophy of restoring older vessels into elegant cruise ships.
Royal Viking Sea now serves as MS Albatross for the German-based travel company, Phoenix Reisen; while Royal Viking Sun serves Holland America Line as Prinsendam; and Royal Viking Queen serves as Star Legend for Windstar Cruises. All of these vessels share a similar design and history to both Black Watch and Boudicca and could potentially make ideal additions.
Were you lucky enough to sail on board Black Prince or one of the Royal Viking Line Vessels? Do you love cruising and have a passion or travel? You may be interested in finding out more about the unique business opportunity available with GoCruise Franchise. For more information, contact us via the number above or complete an Online Enquiry Form.