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Fred Olsen Resumes UK Cruises As Part of Reopening Coupled with Newest Member to the Fleet

6th July 2021
Resumption of UK cruises continue as Fred Olsen Guest Services team seen jumping for joy as they get ready to welcome their first guests on board Borealis Maiden Voyage Cruise which started last night.  The inaugural 3 nights cruise of the Scottish Western Isles, embarked guests at the Irish Sea port of Liverpool from where the cruiseship set off to tour scenic sights among them the Isle of Staffa. Resumption of UK cruises continue as Fred Olsen Guest Services team seen jumping for joy as they get ready to welcome their first guests on board Borealis Maiden Voyage Cruise which started last night. The inaugural 3 nights cruise of the Scottish Western Isles, embarked guests at the Irish Sea port of Liverpool from where the cruiseship set off to tour scenic sights among them the Isle of Staffa. Credit: Fred Olsen Cruise Lines-twitter

After many months away from operating due to pandemic, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines finally resumed with a maiden cruise by newcomer Borealis, albeit only within UK waters due to travel related restrictions, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Borealis departed Liverpool Cruise Terminal yesterday evening under the command of Captain Rommel, with his officers and crew welcoming cruise-goers on a much eagerly awaited three-night sailing around the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland

The 'Borealis Maiden Voyage' setting off from Merseyside was also made more significant as it was the first operated by Fred Olsen in 2021.

The inaugural cruise follows that of the UK's cruise industry's first large cruiseship voyage also exclusively confined to domestic ports when MSC Cruises returned with a cruise last month. This saw MSC Virtousa include a visit to Belfast Habour.

As of today, Borealis is off West Scotland and bound for the Isle of Staffa. Among the notable scenic highlights will be sights such as Fingal's Cave on the Staffa, west of the Isle of Mull where Duart Castle was earlier passed this morning. Also included on the mainland will be Loch Fyne. 

Borealis brings features including more balcony cabins and suites, an all-weather swimming pool with a retractable roof and a wide choice of restaurants, lounges and bars all designed with original artwork and premium décor. In addition, the Bahama flagged cruiseship has a classic two-tiered theatre, enabling guests to have great views of evening shows.

In advance of Borealis first cruise, Afloat had tracked the newest member of the four-strong fleet in Liverpool last Friday, following departure from the east Scottish port of Rosyth. This was to enable further sea-trials in the run up to the maiden voyage.

The cruiseship with a designed capacity for 1,400 passengers was the former Rotterdam along with a sister, Amsterdam, renamed Bolette, were last year acquired by Fred Olsen from Holland America Line. The cruiseship had been a caller to Irish ports. 

HAL along with leading global cruise brands, last year had suffered from the major impact of Covid-19 which led to operators disposal of their more smaller and older tonnage. Though for Fred Olsen, the 60,000 gross tonnage vessels are relatively young, built between 1998 and 2000.

The pair directly replaced the ageing veterans Boudicca and Black Watch, early examples of purpose built cruiseships dating from the early 1970's.

Each of the 800 passenger capacity cruiseships originally built for Royal Viking Line, would later in their careers serve other operators and ultimately ending with Fred Olsen. This involved calls to ports throughout the island of Ireland.  

Both vessels were disposed by Fred Olsen to become accommodation ships, however Boudicca more recently was sold and scrapped in Turkey.

Whereas Black Watch also in the Asian country, at the Port of Pendik is where Afloat tracked the ship one that is year short of its 50th anniversary. So the fate of this veteran vessel in a sea-going role remains unclear.

Published in Cruise Liners
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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