'A Fred. Olsen cruise is all about getting "closer",' remarked Justin Stanton, sales and marketing director for the UK brand.
'From taking advantage of the ship’s smaller scale, to calling into destinations out of reach to larger ships, all the way through to the special, one-off itineraries and excursions that show destinations in real depth – it is part of the Fred. Olsen ethos,' he added.
The new itineraries have been specially tailored to celebrate great events and festivals around the world, on over 135 different itineraries, with a variety of durations, remarked Clare Ward, director of product and customer services, at the brochure launch Wednesday night in London.
In addition Fred. Olsen will be focussing increasingly on fly-cruise itineraries in 2018/19, with the publication of its first-ever dedicated fly-cruise brochure, highlighting new exotic holidays to Arabia and India, and growing on its best-selling Indian Ocean itineraries.
Despite halfing the number of ex-UK departure ports (from 10 in 2017/18), Ward confirmed the five chosen, only 'slightly reduces' the number of people throughout the UK within a 90 minute drive of reaching the ships.
Fred. Olsen’s new 2018/19 cruise programme will include the following nine maiden calls: Anavilhanas, Amazonas(Brazil), Chioggia, Province of Venice and Sanremo(Italy), Georgetown (Ascension), Khasab(Oman), Kirkenes(Norway), Mazatlan/Sinaloa(Mexico), Newcastle(New South Wales, Australia) and Porbandar, Gujarat(India).
New areas of scenic cruising in 2018/19 include Norway's Erfjorden, Hjørundfjord, and Jøsenfjord, 'ignored by others', md Mike Rodwell told Seatrade Cruise News.
A happy chairman, Fred Olsen Jr, declared the 2018/19 programme, 'the best-ever produced!'
More signature ‘Lochs of Scotland’ itineraries, along with the popular ‘German Waterways’ and ‘French Rivers’ sailings, were singled out by itinerary and experience development manager Martin Lister who together with Ward played a key role in creating the new itineraries.
Asked by SCN for his special highlights, Lister picked a 14 night sailing on Braemar along the Guadalquivir River into Seville in March 2018 – specially-timed to visit the city when the orange blossom is at its most fragrant – and a 14-night ‘River Cruising to Bordeaux & the Seville Fair’ itinerary in April 2018, where guests can take part in the ‘Feria de Abril’ and enjoy the spectacular fireworks, as well as spending the night in UNESCO-listed Bordeaux.
The brochure also features more ‘experience-led’ cruises than ever before – a total of 117 in 2018/19 – specifically ‘built’ around a key global event, such as the Edinburgh Tattoo, the ‘Northern Lights’ and New Year’s Eve in Sydney.
'We will be starting Black Watch's 2018 world cruise in November for the first time (usually January) so the ship will be in Sydney for the turn of the year,' Rodwell disclosed.
Following Black Watch's refurb last year, costing in the region of £10m, Braemar and Balmoral will undergo 'similar' refurbs in December of this year with Boudicca's makeover scheduled in March 2018, he confirmed.