Ipswich-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to refurbish three vessels

Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines' ship Braemar in Norway.

Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines' ship Braemar in Norway. - Credit: Archant

Three of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ships are entering dry dock in preparation for the 2015-16 cruise season – the first time that so many of the company’s vessels have undergone refurbishment in such quick succession.

The ships – Black Watch, Braemar and Balmoral – are all due to undergo work at the Blohm+Voss shipyard at Hamburg in Germany.

Work has aready started on the 804-guest Black Watch, which arrived at Blohm+Voss on November 4 and is due to re-enter service on Fred. Olsen’s first-ever “Mystery Cruise” which sails from Tilbury on Saturday, November 15.

Braemar will is due to arrive in Hamburg tomorrow, after which the 929-guest ship will depart on a three-night France Mini-Cruise from Southampton on November 20.

Balmoral, which carries 1,350 guests, will then arrive at the yard on December 9, and will leave in time for a two-night pre-Christmas France Mini-Cruise, also from Southampton, December 19.

The schedule of work for the ships including a range of engineering work, general refurbishment and interior and exterior painting.

On Black Watch, 27 cabins on Lido Deck 7 will also be fitted with balcony terraces while Balmoral and Braemar will follow on from Boudicca and Black Watch by having a “Café Venus” installed, serving high-quality coffee and chocolates.

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Mike Rodwell, managing director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, which is a member of the EADT/EDP Top 100 listing of the 100 largest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, said: “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.”

He added: “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.”