You’re by no means alone with Fred – Marion Ainge cruises solo with Fred Olsen to Spain and France

Journey with Fred and also you want by no means be lonely. It may be a problem for some individuals who reside alone and wish to go on vacation however, for one purpose or one other, discover themselves with out a buddy or companion to journey with. Ladies, notably, could also be apprehensive and anxious about security, in the event that they’re within the older age group and haven’t needed to take this step earlier than, maybe due to widowhood or divorce. Fred Olsen cruises cater particularly for the over 50s, however the common age of passengers is round 70.


Two Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – The bountiful ship Boudicca

I travelled solo on an eight-night cruise with Fred to France and Spain to find what it’s like. At Albert Dock, Liverpool, my suitcase was rapidly whipped away by cheerful cruise workers to reach outdoors my cabin door as if by magic. It took round 30 minutes in all to check-in, stroll alongside the quayside and up the gangplank….I used to be on board the Boudicca and really excited. As a result of Boudicca, with a capability for simply over 800 passengers, is small in contrast with among the high-rise floating tower blocks which carry some three,000 folks, it’s straightforward to search out your means round. Smiling Fred Olsen workers guarantee passengers really feel comfy and comfy. They bear in mind you and do something they will to assist make your expertise comfortable and downside free. Visitor companies attendant, Debbie, from the Philippines, advised me she and her siblings had been named after movie stars or celebrities – Debbie (Reynolds); Michael (Jackson); Donald (Sutherland); Mae (West); Diana (Ross) and Donna (Summer time).

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-restaurant-2Two Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – How does it really feel to go solo?

There are common get togethers for solo travellers. There have been 63 feminine and 27 male passengers on board. Within the Heligan Restaurant, I sat at a round desk with three males and three girls, all lone travellers. It didn’t take lengthy to bond, chat about our households, our lives and what we’d been doing in the course of the day. We laughed lots, loved the improbable meals and drank wine. The drinks package deal is a really cheap £10 a day. Sybil, 77, from Flixton, Manchester, started to journey alone after she was widowed. She feels at house with Fred Olsen and likes the truth that on a cruise she doesn’t must eat alone. Margaret, 74, from Liverpool, has been widowed for 27 years. Not having to decide on at resort and make different journey preparations is one purpose she chooses to cruise. “The Boudicca isn’t too massive and it’s straightforward to pal up with folks,” she says. As for myself? I liked having a cabin to myself, making my very own selections, feeling impartial however with the choice for companionship.

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-boudicca-deckTwo Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – Life on board

Life on board may be as busy or stress-free as you select. On sea days I discovered a quiet spot to have a espresso and browse, took a bracing stroll across the deck a couple of occasions or attended port lectures. Some play bridge, bingo or have ballroom dance classes.Within the night, solo girls can take a flip across the dance flooring with gents hosts. As we sailed in direction of Spain the climate warmed and I lazed on the solar deck. Others swam within the heated pool or de-stressed within the sizzling tub. Following a Thalgo anti-ageing facial within the Spa salon, one passenger requested If I’d had a face elevate! Good end result.

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-boudicca-afternoon-teaTwo Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – Time for tea

Served within the Observatory Lounge, the white-gloved, conventional English afternoon tea service presents a alternative of teas, dainty sandwiches plus mini chocolate eclairs, berry tarts and Victoria sponges, heat scones with jam and cream. Very naughty however extraordinarily good. Meals is top of the range and high class. Select from the menu or choose from the sumptuous buffet. The Chateau Briand was perfection. In The Grill, I savoured expertly-cooked halibut. Desserts are irresistible. After dinner, there’s a nightly present within the Neptune Lounge.

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-santiago-de-compostela-spainTwo Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – El Ferrol in Galicia

Seafaring metropolis, El Ferrol, in Spain, was our first port of name. Many friends travelled to the holy metropolis of Santiago De Compostella. Pilgrims stroll the 120 kilometres to the cathedral from El Ferrol. The Guggenheim Museum in close by Bilbao can be a must-see cease. I glided by coach, with newfound companion, Mary, a sublime 84, from Blackeney, Norfolk, to the charming, medieval village of Betanzos, the place we walked the cobbled streets, seen the outdated church and strolled across the lovely gardens of the 18th century Pazo de Mariñan finion the banks of the Betanzos and Mandeo rivers. The week beforehand, very long time divorcee, Mary, had cruised the Scottish Highlands and stayed on Boudicca for one more week. A dedicated Fred Olsen fan, she feels safe and protected on a cruise. From Celtic Galicia our sail away from the port was heralded with the sounds of bagpipes performed on the quayside.

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-tapasTwo Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – Pintxos in Portu Zaharra.

In Getxo, the primary port for Bilbao, the Vizcayer transporter bridge over the River Nervion includes two slatted metal tower helps, every 65 metres excessive, supporting the 164 metre lengthy bridge. A ferry takes automobiles throughout. Foot passengers take the elevate through one of many towers after which traverse a walkway to the opposite financial institution. I feel I’d be swimming throughout. In Getxo lovely 19th to early 20th century mansions, designed by British architects, with balconies, turrets, balustrades and pillars stand proudly. At an outdated, wood-panelled tapas bar in Portu Zaharr, we tasted pintxos, or tapas, which comprised skewers of inexperienced olives, pimientos and anchovies plus, for the courageous (not me!) entire vegetable-stuffed child squid, which appeared barely sufficiently old to depart their moms. Right here, a glass of rose wine price simply 1.20 euros. The views throughout the sweeping golden-sanded Portu Zaharra bay pounded by foaming waves of the Atlantic ocean had been gorgeous. Basque nation at its finest.

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-ile-de-re-harbourTwo Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – Parisians love image excellent Île de Ré

From La Pallice, on the west coast of France, some cruisers took a horse and carriage journey across the maritime port of La Rochelle. Our coach took the highway and crossed the two-mile toll bridge to the very French, tres stylish, Île de Ré, a favorite hang-out of Parisians in the summertime and famed for beautiful seashores, picturesque little cities, pine forests and salt and oyster beds. No vacationer tat, right here. We sipped sturdy espresso at a tranquil pavement cafe within the fortified capital, Saint Martin de Re, apart the small, quaint harbour.

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-quimper-marketTwo Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – A medieval meander in Quimper

As we crossed the Bay of Biscay on our return voyage, the climate grew to become slightly cooler. Jackets had been on once more on the port of L’Orient, capital of Finistère, Brittany. for our go to to Quimper. The atmospheric outdated quarter options half-timbered Medieval homes and retailers and a Gothic, twin-spired cathedral, which dates again to the 15th century. Seasoned solo traveller, Tina, 64, from Wolverhamton, and I mooched across the fish, fruit and cheese market. Tina has cruised to the Amazon, and has hung out in China and India. She says: “I like my very own area. It’s necessary to me that I do what I would like after I need.

two-monkeys-travel-fred-olsen-cruises-captain-mikael-degerlund-and-guests-marion-front-far-leftTwo Monkeys Journey – Fred Olsen Cruises – An invite to the captain’s desk

Whereas I used to be on board, on one formal night, I used to be invited, together with different solo passengers, to dine on the captain’s desk. Seated subsequent to Captain Mikael Degerlund, of Finland, I requested him in regards to the annual Fred Olsen thriller cruise. Apparently, the ports of name on this voyage are recognized two years upfront and solely two or three folks, together with the captain, after all, know the place the ship will sail beforehand. Passengers are usually not knowledgeable the place they would be the following day till the evening earlier than they dock. What would the climate be like? I questioned how they determined what to pack of their suitcases! However would I actually care? If Captain Mikael was on the helm, I’d observe him wherever!

Reality file:

Fred Olsen Rivers of Spain & France – Crusing date on June 10, 2017, 14 nights, from Southampton. From £1,699

For additional info on this and different cruises verify their web site or name tel zero800 0355 242

Monkey Dividers

Because of Fred Olsen Cruises for offering this cruise. All statements and opinions belong to the author!