With excitement I travelled in a shared taxi (booked and paid for myself) to Southampton for a cruise – mysterious Morocco and seeuctive Spain. I was dismayed to find the ship was very much delayed (4-5 hours) and we had to wait in a hot overcrowded waiting room with no apparent refreshment. I was told on ship that there had been a small area where one could buy drinks but I did not see it. We all had to sign a declaration stating that we had not had a gastric or respiratory infection during the last 48 hours. I was aware that many passengers were coughing around me. Result, much of the ship was down with an infection by the end of the first week. I went downwith it on the last day and was very ill for three weeks with a severe chest infection as were two others who I’ve kept in touch with. The reason I mention this is because nothing was done to intervene and challenge those who were obviously unwell. We boarded so late that dinner wasn’t served til 10.30pm and was a scrum. I couldn’t face it and went to bed hungry. Not the best of starts.
Having started off with a negative (or two!) Fred Olsen do try hard for solo travellers. Many cabins on selective cruises without single supplement, a welcome meet and greet opportunity on first morning for solos followed by a daily solos afternoon tea and meet up point for people wanting company if venturing ashore without a tour each morning. In reality these opportunities were rarely taken advantage of. Most people travelled in a solos group or were very independent. No evening get togethers arranged for solos despite being150 on board. I was only ever aware of 20-30 solos.
Dancing lessons were held on each sea day and hosts provided partners for solos.
The lessons were very good.
I did meet some very nice people but I’m not sure that I’d want to travel with Fred again.
Maybe it’s just the ship I was on, but the majority of the people were very sedentary and elderly and,due to the widespread spread of infection, it’s put me off. I have been on others cruises as part of a couple but the passengers have always been more of a mixed age group and I’ve not experience these problems. Use of hand gel was strict before dining but no watch on this before dancing or entering the theatre.
The trouble is that Fred does very good deals for singles and their brochures are very appealing!! I must stay strong 🙂 tempting on a bleak winters day.