Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

3 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


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Date of travel

March, 2018

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Reasons for trip

Regular holiday

Being chased by a large scary, poisonous dragon in Indonesia was one of many memorable moments experienced whilst cruising the east coast of Australia to Kuala Lumpur.
I was on a Fly Cruise on Fred Olsen’s Braemar and joined around 800 fellow passengers ready for an adventure. 
Before setting sail from Sydney we visited the breathtaking Blue Mountains. En route calling at Featherdale Wildlife Park, on the outskirts of Sydney. I couldn’t resist an opportunity to have a personal encounter with a fluffy, but sleepy, Kuala. 
On to the mountains – a million hectares of forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons and waterfalls. They were breathtaking with the blue haze created from the oil in warm Eucalyptus trees. After exploring the leafy trails I boarded the cable car up to the ‘scenic railway’ with its glass-roofed carriages which resembled a big dipper. According to the Guinness Book of Records it is the steepest railway in the world with a 128 per cent decline into the Jamison Valley. There were some scared passengers on board.
Setting sail under the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Braemar headed for Brisbane, the sophisticated capital of Queensland with its harmonious mix of elegant colonial sandstone structures and modern glass skyscrapers. Here I boarded a river cruise to the Lone Pine Koala sanctuary and admired the extravagant waterside properties as we motored down the river. The sanctuary is home to over 70 species of Australian native wildlife including the Tasmanian devil. Koalas were strictly monitored but you could walk freely among the tame kangaroos and feed them.
The ship called at Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays in the Barrier Reef. I opted for a snorkelling tour with a two and a half hour boat ride to a diving platform on the coral reef. Putting on a stinger suit, which protects from jelly fish stings, was a challenge akin to getting a wet pair of tights pulled up across your body. I swam among big purple and yellow fish that were bashing into me as I got in their way. They boasted so many beautiful colours, shapes and sizes. Then I saw an enormous fat one which had a shark-like fin and decided it was time to get out. I don’t think it was a shark but I gave it a wide berth as it didn’t look very friendly.
After a stop in Cairns we headed for Darwin. I opted for a boat trip in the middle of a mangrove forest were saltwater crocodiles were encouraged to jump out of the river to grab meat being dangled overboard – luckily no-one fell in. 
Then in contrast to the cosmopolitan ports of call we had visited in Australia something completely different, Komodo Island in Indonesia. Part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The area was very picturesque, a combination of rusty-red volcanic hills, savannah and forests encircled by calm, glistening seas. The island is known for its three metre long monitor lizard dragons – there are 4000 of them (twice as man dragons as people living on the island) and they are not friendly. One headed towards us with its long tongue whipping out, slobbering its poisonous venom. We jumped into the bushes out of its way. It made sense that you could only visit the island under the supervision of a ranger.
A brief visit to Singapore preceded the final destination Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I stayed at the Le Meridian on the 25th floor offering amazing views. A two day visitor ticket gave easy access to public transport including the train to the airport. 
At the base of the famous Petronas Twin Towers (the tallest twin structure in the world) is a massive shopping centre. The twin towers are 88 storeys high and a workplace for 10,000 people employed by Petronas petrol company. I took an elevator up to the double decker Sky Bridge on level 41, which is 175 metres above street level, and then the viewing platform on level 83. I don’t think I would want to work there!
This was a trip of contrasts from the steepest railway in the world, to the highest twin towers in the world, to a tiny island where I imagined I was on a filmset of Jurassic Park.


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