Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ have announced that three of its cruise ships Black Watch, Braemar and Balmoral will be entering dry dock at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in the Germany city of Hamburg this month and December 2014, in order to prepare them for the impending 2015/16 cruise season. The move means that passengers will see the difference on the Fred Olsen cruise ships in 2015 and it’s the first time that so many of their fleet have undergone refurbishment within such a short space of time.
Work has already begun on Black Watch, which arrived at the Blohm & Voss dary dock on 4 November 2014. After it’s refurbishment, Black Watch will then continue on Fred. Olsen’s first-ever sellout ‘Mystery Cruise’ of 14 nights. Cruise W1417, sails from Tilbury on 15 November 2014.
Braemar will be the next to arrive in Hamburg on 12 November 2014, and it’s refurbishment will be followed by a three-night ‘France Mini-Cruise’ leaving Southampton on 20 November 2014.
Fred Olsen’s Balmoral, which has a capacity of 1,350 passengers, completes the planned dry dock works. Balmoral arrives in Hamburg on 9 December 2014, and will then leave the shipyard to commence a two-night pre-Christmas ‘France Mini-Cruise’ from Southampton, departing on 19 December 2014.
The refurbishment at Blohm & Voss’ Hamburg dry dock will see the company performing various engineering works, general refurbishment and interior and exterior painting in time for the end of 2014.
During its dry dock, Black Watch will have 27 new balconies added to its Lido Deck 7. As a result, the new Balcony Terrace cabins will extend 1.2 metres outwards from the Black Watch’s bulkhead, and will provide guests with an increased choice of cost-effective balcony cabins with access to the outside of the ship.
For Balmoral and Braemar, their time in dry dock will see installation of Fred. Olsen’s popular ‘Café Venus’. The Cafe Venus serves high-quality coffee and luxury chocolates. The new Café will be created on Balmoral’s Lounge Deck 7, as a result of reconfiguring the ship’s Library area, and will result in a more open and sociable public space.
On Braemar, Café Venus is to be installed on Lounge Deck 5, also by reconfiguring the Library areaThe Card Room will be moved and integrated with the Arts and Crafts Centre on the ship’s Atlantic Deck 3.
Mike Rodwell, the Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, added: “We experience extremely high demand for balcony cabins across our fleet, and in particular on board the smaller-sized Black Watch, and our new Balcony Terrace cabins are an innovative response to this. We are also looking forward to being able to give guests the experience of fine coffee and chocolates on board Balmoral and Braemar, as they have already been enjoying on Boudicca and Black Watch.
“Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is pleased to be returning to Blohm+Voss for this important work. Balmoral and Braemar are both well-known to the Hamburg shipyard, as they both underwent mid-section extensions in 2007 and 2008 respectively.”