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Borealis in Portsmouth with technical problem


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We should have left Portsmouth at 8:30pm last night for voyage back to Liverpool but we are still in Portsmouth, The Captain has said the problem makes it unsafe to sail until resolved. He is announcing mote info at 11:00am. I think most of the guests are happy onboard but of course this problem will affect those due to board tomorrow 17th July in Liverpool. I will post more later if there is news.

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We have just been told by our TA that the 17 July cruise from Liverpool is cancelled. The TA says they were told at about 11:40 today and the TA phoned us very soon afterwards. Wonderful news having just driven 240 miles to a hotel near the cruise port.

 

Perhaps we can stay a little longer in the Liverpool hotel and enjoy a couple of days here.

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Chanbre, sorry for your disappointment, those onboard now will be receiving a notice this afternoon about our onward travel arrangements tomorrow, I hope you enjoy Liverpool if you decide to stay.

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Thanks Noosey. We decided to stay here three more nights. The hotel seems very nice. Today's walk around the docks and in the summer sun was great. We passed the Liverpool Cruise Terminal, it looked deserted. Everything closed and locked, no people seen and no information boards.

 

We have spoken to a Fred Olsen person on the phone. They will be emailing a detailed compensation offer to us,  it sounds quite good. But it probably will not cover our petrol etc for driving to Liverpool. Haved also spoken to the cruise car parking company and they say they are giving us a full refund of our parking fees.

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I got the call today around noon, just as I was about to put the luggage labels on our packed cases so, obviously, very disappointed but at least we hadn’t travelled to Liverpool like Chanbre. I hope you enjoy your stay in the city.

We accepted the FO offer of rebooking on any cruise up to 8 days long without penalty so now have the same cabin on the July 29th sailing. I was looking forward to seeing the Faroe Islands but this 8 day cruise takes us the Scilly Isles and that is a new destination for us so a bit of a silver lining!

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Such a disappointment for everyone. The other silver lining is that the weather around the Scilly Isles is likely to be better than around the Faroes.

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Posted (edited)

We were on that cruise and arrived back in Liverpool at about 4pm after a very tiring, 7.5 hour coach journey from Portsmouth. A decision was made we should all be bussed to where some people had parked cars (a minority, I suspect after speaking to a number of people).  That meant there was chaos as the rest of us were being dumped in a highly inconvenient location for onward travel!  It was only at that stage that it was decided to supply at least a couple of buses (and presumably more), to the main Liverpool train station.

 

We were treated extremely badly by Fred with no real information forthcoming until late last night via letters distributed by cabin staff at the time of evening service.  We were able to get our letters by seeking out, and asking our cabin stewardess for it, shortly before our 8.30pm dinner time.  Until then we did not even know we were to be returned to Liverpool by coach, though that was obviously a possibility  Fred had treated us very badly regards that and his letter even suggested anyone deciding to make their own travel arrangements direct from Portsmouth would do so at their own expense, which is not as I understand the law sees it!  Not even any hint of a sweetener on a future cruise, not that we would have had any intention of booking any more Fred cruises after the last five days on Borealis, though we do already have a couple booked for this year.

 

We spoke to a senior officer as we left the ship and seems the fault was still being investigated though they thought they may have identified the problem - needs a lot of checking in.  Seems to possibly be an electronics problem, so a bit like modern cars compared to those from the 60's.

 

Will write Review tomorrow if I have chance, but will be away again from Monday for a short time.

Edited by tring
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2 hours ago, tring said:

  Seems to possibly be an electronics problem, so a bit like modern cars compared to those from the 60's.

 

I regret learning about this issue with your new ship.  New technology, new Officers and crew operating a new-to-them ship--I know my words don't help much--but "stuff" happens.  

 

Fred. Olsen's treatment of guests inconvenienced joins the stories of many other cruise lines' guests stories of their dissatisfaction when they experienced issues.  (Read the stories of those on the 2020 World Cruises that found them stuck in Australia.)  

 

I look forward to reading your review when you have a chance to write it.  

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Tring,  I'll read your review with interest as we are expecting to go on Borealis in five weeks (not that I'm counting)  I hope you enjoyed the cruise before the "problem" occurred 

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11 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I regret learning about this issue with your new ship.  New technology, new Officers and crew operating a new-to-them ship--I know my words don't help much--but "stuff" happens.  

 

Fred. Olsen's treatment of guests inconvenienced joins the stories of many other cruise lines' guests stories of their dissatisfaction when they experienced issues.  (Read the stories of those on the 2020 World Cruises that found them stuck in Australia.)  

 

I look forward to reading your review when you have a chance to write it.  

 

There was no Fred ship stuck in Australia in 2020, so am wondering what you are referring to as this is the Fred Olsen forum.  I agree there were various issues with cruise lines in general in early 2020 and some details of that are only known because of forums like this, so I feel is important to give comments as individual sees them.

 

I have been very appreciative of your input regards the ex HAL ships and continue to be so, but the ship has been completely refurbished and will be run differently to HAL, so inevitably it will now be compared to the previous Fred experience, which is what my review will focus on and tbh we, along with some other passengers we spoke to, were not impressed.  There is also the fact the ship is just getting up and running under covid restrictions with some new staff, though the majority of crew at present are Fred's original staff and are still universally loved by all passengers.  The managers and some new ways of working (which are not due to covid) is another matter and our main dislike.  Some things could be due to cut backs, but others just make no sense at all, like constant canned music on pool deck, the self service restaurant and other parts of the ship.

 

We travelled three times on one ship under three different cruise lines.  That ship was originally Minerva II which was brilliant, Adonia, which we strongly disliked and now Azamara Pursuit, which to us was a very big improvement on P&O's Adonia, but still with some things which were not entirely to our liking.  So pease don't take my thoughts on Borealis as a slur on HAL, which I have heard good reports of and would quite like to travel with in the future.

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, July morning said:

Tring,  I'll read your review with interest as we are expecting to go on Borealis in five weeks (not that I'm counting)  I hope you enjoyed the cruise before the "problem" occurred 

 

We are due on again early August, so will report if our views change then, as it is possible they way the ship is working may well change when Fred gets passenger feedback.

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The ship apparently left the dock in Portsmouth soon after we left , but according to cruise mapper is currently lurking round by Stokes Bay (round the corner from Portsmouth Harbour and does not seem to have left The Solent.  Another ship went into the cruise terminal yesterday and on is there now.  Hence it can sail, but any distance not being risked.  We were originally told the electronics to the engine had been turned off for routine maintenance on our planned port day, Thursday, but when they were switched on again that evening to sail, alarms (or other warning system like lights) were sounding/showing.

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9 hours ago, tring said:

There was no Fred ship stuck in Australia in 2020, so am wondering what you are referring to as this is the Fred Olsen forum

 

Realizing that you were dissatisfied, I was simply referring to this part of my post.  

 

21 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

Fred. Olsen's treatment of guests inconvenienced joins the stories of many other cruise lines' guests stories of their dissatisfaction when they experienced issues.  (Read the stories of those on the 2020 World Cruises that found them stuck in Australia.)  

 

9 hours ago, tring said:

So pease don't take my thoughts on Borealis as a slur on HAL,

 

I am not.  

 

I hope that the issues that displeased you will get resolved in time.  

 

Good wishes for a better cruise experience on your next one.  

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On 7/18/2021 at 10:48 AM, tring said:

 

We are due on again early August, so will report if our views change then, as it is possible they way the ship is working may well change when Fred gets passenger feedback.

So sorry to hear you had such a bad experience Barbara. Let's hope that there are significant improvements in time for your next cruise.

It does seem that there are various changes on other lines too, some of which haven't gone down well. I'm sure there are probably lots of things up in the air at the moment as a result of the pandemic, although of course some things on Fred may have changed with the new, larger ships.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We got an email (and copy letter followed) from Fred a week after we returned with a decent apology for the cruise being curtailed as it was and also offering a half price cruise before the end of this year.  As it took a full week for that, I suspect they had received a fair bit of disquiet from passengers who had been on the cruise (we had not ourselves made contact to complain).  The main thing we appreciated was the decent apology as that, along with clear, timely information, had been very sadly lacking previously.  We did take up the offer of the half priced cruise, but have used it to try Bolette, which we hope may have Mikael Degerlund as Captain as he is an excellent captain and runs a very happy ship.  Also perhaps worth trying as a different ship, even though similar to Borealis.  Sadly there were no cruises on the smaller ships which we were available for, though we would have preferred to book one of those.

 

There does seem to be quite a lot of availability on the autumn cruises and offers have been starting to come out recently, though that in itself does upset some people who have previously booked at higher prices of course. 

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8 hours ago, tring said:

We did take up the offer of the half priced cruise, but have used it to try Bolette,

 

Glad that the Company was able to satisfy you with their response, even though you had not directly complained.  That's good PR.  

 

Sailing on Bolette will be similar to Borealis, I expect.  But, the Company might have changed her decor a bit differently than Borealis.  I would be interested in learning what you experience.

 

One thing that you will experience that is different between the two is an aft pool/lido deck that is a "true" pool/lido deck!  

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22 hours ago, tring said:

We got an email (and copy letter followed) from Fred a week after we returned with a decent apology for the cruise being curtailed as it was and also offering a half price cruise before the end of this year.  As it took a full week for that, I suspect they had received a fair bit of disquiet from passengers who had been on the cruise (we had not ourselves made contact to complain).  The main thing we appreciated was the decent apology as that, along with clear, timely information, had been very sadly lacking previously.  We did take up the offer of the half priced cruise, but have used it to try Bolette, which we hope may have Mikael Degerlund as Captain as he is an excellent captain and runs a very happy ship.  Also perhaps worth trying as a different ship, even though similar to Borealis.  Sadly there were no cruises on the smaller ships which we were available for, though we would have preferred to book one of those.

 

There does seem to be quite a lot of availability on the autumn cruises and offers have been starting to come out recently, though that in itself does upset some people who have previously booked at higher prices of course. 

Good to hear you had a decent apology and compensatory offer Barbara.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Glad that the Company was able to satisfy you with their response, even though you had not directly complained.  That's good PR.  

 

Sailing on Bolette will be similar to Borealis, I expect.  But, the Company might have changed her decor a bit differently than Borealis.  I would be interested in learning what you experience.

 

One thing that you will experience that is different between the two is an aft pool/lido deck that is a "true" pool/lido deck!  

 

5 hours ago, Britboys said:

Good to hear you had a decent apology and compensatory offer Barbara.

 

The letter we received does appear to have gone to everyone and did seem to acknowledge that the situation was not well dealt with on the ship (short notice being mentioned), so hopefully any future issue would be handled better.  The "compensation" was certainly a good offer for the lower priced cabin we have booked, though had we gone for a mid ship balcony (which Fred calls suites), even a half price on the cruise we have booked would have still been 1.5 times the pppn cost of a couple of mid ship balcony bookings we have on Aurora for next year, yet one of those bookings is for a deluxe balcony, which is much the same size as Fred's mid ship, deck six "suites".

 

We were not thinking we would have "bitten" with any offers made and were not looking for any compensation ourselves, as we already had a fair bit planned.  In fact  am even now thinking we were a tad rash making that booking, but entirely our own "fault" and it will hopefully give is some better weather as things are heading towards winter here.

 

I do realise it is early days for the return to cruising and those ships are new to Fred, so some hiccups will happen.  Will be interesting to see how things work going forward though,

 

Barbara 

Edited by tring
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2 hours ago, tring said:

 

 

The letter we received does appear to have gone to everyone and did seem to acknowledge that the situation was not well dealt with on the ship (short notice being mentioned), so hopefully any future issue would be handled better.  The "compensation" was certainly a good offer for the lower priced cabin we have booked, though had we gone for a mid ship balcony (which Fred calls suites), even a half price on the cruise we have booked would have still been 1.5 times the pppn cost of a couple of mid ship balcony bookings we have on Aurora for next year, yet one of those bookings is for a deluxe balcony, which is much the same size as Fred's mid ship, deck six "suites".

 

We were not thinking we would have "bitten" with any offers made and were not looking for any compensation ourselves, as we already had a fair bit planned.  In fact  am even now thinking we were a tad rash making that booking, but entirely our own "fault" and it will hopefully give is some better weather as things are heading towards winter here.

 

I do realise it is early days for the return to cruising and those ships are new to Fred, so some hiccups will happen.  Will be interesting to see how things work going forward though,

 

Barbara 

I was looking at a 6 night Saga cruise yesterday to Amsterdam and Bruges in August, thinking how expensive it was at £285 a night for a solo. Fred then advertised their 9 night Iceland cruise today and when I checked that, the cheapest solo fare is £333! Nothing included in that whereas Saga include almost everything!!!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Britboys said:

I was looking at a 6 night Saga cruise yesterday to Amsterdam and Bruges in August, thinking how expensive it was at £285 a night for a solo. Fred then advertised their 9 night Iceland cruise today and when I checked that, the cheapest solo fare is £333! Nothing included in that whereas Saga include almost everything!!!

 

Saga are all balconies as well I think, so you can only compare Fred's balcony prices to Saga.  

 

Our main thoughts on Fred's new ships is that you really need a balcony if you want to be able to sit outdoors and look at the sea.  The deck above the Crow's Nest is completely surrounded by glass sides which have a very dark tint and likewise the Lido deck pool area, which also was virtually all covered by the retractable roof, during our cruise, yet the weather was brilliant.  There were no chairs on outside decks which were exposed to the sun as the few to the back of the self service were covered over (and again no clear view of the sea) and the few chairs/tables on the Lido deck had umbrellas over them as well as being almost covered by the retractable roof!  There were no chairs on prom deck either, just the steamer chairs, most of which were for the "terrace cabins" as he calls them.  So not at all like his previous ships, which had a lot of light, airy places to sit.  The new furnishings/carpets are generally pretty dark and mis-matched as well, compared to the light/bright, but tasteful decor which his previous ships had after refurbishments in recent years.  

 

Each to their own, but our next move is to try balcony cabins on P&O or do some Azamara cruises on what are genuinely small ships, though we will still keep an eye on what Fred is offering on his older, smaller ships.

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17 hours ago, tring said:

 

Saga are all balconies as well I think, so you can only compare Fred's balcony prices to Saga.  

 

Our main thoughts on Fred's new ships is that you really need a balcony if you want to be able to sit outdoors and look at the sea.  The deck above the Crow's Nest is completely surrounded by glass sides which have a very dark tint and likewise the Lido deck pool area, which also was virtually all covered by the retractable roof, during our cruise, yet the weather was brilliant.  There were no chairs on outside decks which were exposed to the sun as the few to the back of the self service were covered over (and again no clear view of the sea) and the few chairs/tables on the Lido deck had umbrellas over them as well as being almost covered by the retractable roof!  There were no chairs on prom deck either, just the steamer chairs, most of which were for the "terrace cabins" as he calls them.  So not at all like his previous ships, which had a lot of light, airy places to sit.  The new furnishings/carpets are generally pretty dark and mis-matched as well, compared to the light/bright, but tasteful decor which his previous ships had after refurbishments in recent years.  

 

Each to their own, but our next move is to try balcony cabins on P&O or do some Azamara cruises on what are genuinely small ships, though we will still keep an eye on what Fred is offering on his older, smaller ships.

Interesting, thanks Barbara. I'm not much of a sun-lover these days but have always enjoyed sitting in a chair on Promenade Deck! If I maybe get to sail on Bolette in 2023, it would be interesting to compare her with Balmoral, which I am sailing on next year. I'm due to be on three different cruise lines next year, so that will be interesting in itself.

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6 hours ago, Britboys said:

Interesting, thanks Barbara. I'm not much of a sun-lover these days but have always enjoyed sitting in a chair on Promenade Deck! If I maybe get to sail on Bolette in 2023, it would be interesting to compare her with Balmoral, which I am sailing on next year. I'm due to be on three different cruise lines next year, so that will be interesting in itself.

 

They may provide some ordinary chairs on prom deck like they had previously as the number of passengers increase - I tried one of those steamer chairs and did not find them comfortable.  Yes, sounds like you have some interesting times ahead, hope the cruises go well.  

 

I have produced the main part of my review in word, but when I went to review page I was not even able to type in the name of the ship I wish to review.  I have found an email address to contact admin, so have sent an email.  I hope the system is working soon as we are away again towards the end of next week.  I have done my usual and written quite a lot, but thought it may be worth leaving it that long with it being for a new to Fred ship.  I see a couple of other reviews have now been posted for the same cruise,

 

Barbara

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On 7/30/2021 at 5:27 PM, tring said:

There were no chairs on prom deck either, just the steamer chairs, most of which were for the "terrace cabins" as he calls them.  

 

When this type of cabin was installed on the Rotterdam, many that booked that type cabin liked them.  Those who did not and had problems finding a deck chair on that deck in which to sit did not.  (Those cabins, incidentally, are smaller that the outside cabins on Decks One and Two.)  

 

The number of deck chairs on Deck 3 varied from ship to ship for no particular reason that I could understand.  

 

You mentioned that you found the chairs to be uncomfortable.  Were they not padded?  Pads were placed on the chairs each early morning and removed in late afternoon on HAL.  Yes, without a pad, they are uncomfortable.

 

I would think that the deck chairs went with the ship when they were sold to Fred. Olsen.  The chairs ought to be aboard.  Getting the Hotel Manager to get them set up may be the issue.  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

When this type of cabin was installed on the Rotterdam, many that booked that type cabin liked them.  Those who did not and had problems finding a deck chair on that deck in which to sit did not.  (Those cabins, incidentally, are smaller that the outside cabins on Decks One and Two.)  

 

The number of deck chairs on Deck 3 varied from ship to ship for no particular reason that I could understand.  

 

You mentioned that you found the chairs to be uncomfortable.  Were they not padded?  Pads were placed on the chairs each early morning and removed in late afternoon on HAL.  Yes, without a pad, they are uncomfortable.

 

I would think that the deck chairs went with the ship when they were sold to Fred. Olsen.  The chairs ought to be aboard.  Getting the Hotel Manager to get them set up may be the issue.  

 

We call them steamer chairs, yes as on HAL.  It is the shape I do not like, though I have seen pics of them with cushions but not easy to clean, so covid may have an effect there.  I am not convinced many (or any) of those cabins were occupied though.  They are basically an outside with an opening window and do not appeal to us or anyone else we have spoken to.  Still plenty of space for real chairs, which Fred had previously.  Lots of his passengers cannot get onto lower seating.

 

I managed to get my review accepted via my phone last night, so should appear soon if accepted, but the review page is still not working properly - apparently AU and Europe sites affected.

 

We need to pack and do some other things before going back on board for 8 nights from Friday.  Best I lay low on board in case they realise who I am since I have made some criticisms.  We have usually sailed on smaller ships when you are never far from a window, but find that ship quite dark and enclosed - just different to what we are used to though.

 

I was looking at the deck plans earlier and see there is an area above the self service marked as a sun deck.  We could not access that - poss work going on there.  I think staff may be using part of it as well as they are not allowed off the ship at all and do stints of nine months, some longer, so they need somewhere outdoors.  I feel so sorry for them and we are complaining about having to do trips to get off!  I have to stop complaining,

 

Barbara

Edited by tring
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6 minutes ago, tring said:

I have to stop complaining,

 

Disagree.  Your observations and reports have been read by me as intelligent and informative reports based upon your experiences.  

 

Cruise Critic is a site where all of us, on whatever Message Board, need to express whatever our experiences have been.  Positive or not.  If you read HAL's Message Board, I have expressed my disappointing experiences on what remains my preferred cruise line.  But, my recent experiences on MSC in their Yacht Club has caused me to reconsider on what cruise line my next cruise will be.  My YC experiences made my Neptune Suite experience seem second rate.  And, let's not even compare the entertainment offered by MSC as compared to HAL!  

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