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The Black

Watch

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Take a 'virtual tour of the Black Watch

Or use the locater to pin point Black Watch's position now

Marina Deck 3

Marina Theatre, Medical Centre

Atlantic Deck 4

Steiner's Salon [never visited!]

Main Deck 5

Reception, Tour Office, Duty Free shops, Photo Gallery

Lounge Deck 6

Glentanar Restaurant, Garden Cafe, Braemar Room, Pipers Bar, Neptune Lounge, Childrens Room, Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi, also Café here but not used on this trip.

Lido Deck 7

Wrap around prom., Arcade, Casino, Star Nightclub, Lido Lounge.

Marquee Deck 9

Observatory Lounge, Library, Email & Internet Access room:)), Card Room, Poolside Café, Pool and 2 Jacuzzis.

Sun Deck 10

Fitness Centre, Sauna, Table Tennis, Darts, also wrap around prom.

Deck 11

Short Tennis Court, Deck Tennis, Golf nets.

Click here to view an album of the interior [20 photos]
Click here for an album of the exterior [15 photos]

Board showing capacity and detaiils of The BlackWatch

The Black Watch is an older ship, built in 1972 and refitted for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in 1996. Previously named, Star Odyssey, Westward and Royal Viking Star. We found her to be well maintained and clean. Work seems to be continuous with various hand-rails being varnished and other routine jobs being carried out during the trip. The 330 crew members come from 18 different nations! This is a 'proper' ship, not a modern glitzy floating resort:) There did seem to be a lot of hammering going on at times during the day which got annoying, but you could always find somewhere else to go. Althought the ship was full, it never seemed crowded, with plenty of space, always a free chair, on deck or inside, and if you wanted to be on your own, you could.

The public rooms and lounges are all pleasant, attractively decorated and 'peaceful', nothing gory or outrageous. The main dining room, The Glentanar, was spacious with room to manoeuvre. Most meals were à la carte, but occasionally for breakfast or lunch there was a buffet too. The Garden Café, where one could have alternative dining buffet style, was lovely, but not as much room between the tables. Lunch could also be eaten at the Marquee deck Poolside Café (weather permitting). Burgers, chips, 'pizza of the day', minute steaks, fish and chips, with salad followed by 'ice cream of the day' was served here. There was another café by the main pool, although I only saw this being used as a bar during the day.

The Observatory Lounge

The Observatory Lounge

Observatory Lounge

Dave lunching at the Poolside Café
Dave lunching at the Poolside Café

 

The Glentanar had two sittings, 6.30pm and 8.30pm. The food was excellent, a lot of fish, and attractively presented. The head chef is Norwegian. There was a limited choice of about 3 or 4 items for each of the courses. But you could have an appetizer, then soup, then a salad, then the main course, then a dessert, followed by fruit and cheese and biscuits:) There was a vegetarian selection too, and a separate childrens menu. The wine list extended to several pages and we selected a bottle from a different part of the World every night. There were daily recommendations and the bottle saved o/n if needed. During the 13 nights, there were 3 formal nights, 4 informal, 4 casual, a British Red/White/Blue night and a 60's and 70's night. A nice mix. Union hats and bow ties were supplied for the British night and kipper ties and tinsel wigs for the 70's:) There were also two Captain's cocktail parties before dinner, a 'Welcome' and 'Leaving' one, though we only attended the former.

The Braemar Room
The Braemar Room

The Garden Café
The Garden Café

 

Howard and Beverley never wanted a particular meal off the menu but got what they asked for each time, even if Howard's peas did come in the form of mange-tout one evening:) They always had chocolate chip ice cream to follow. One evening Howard had fallen asleep before dinner, and our waiter, 'Santa', gave Beverley an extra chocolate ice cream to take down to the cabin for him! Dave did a good line in mix 'n match meals too! The service was very good and the waiters all friendly and smiling. With few young children aboard, both Beverley and Howard got a lot of attention from many of the waiters.For the first sitting coffee is served in the Braemar Room and Neptune Lounge. Coffee and all types of tea are available foc all the time in the Braemar Lounge. Good for me:) Biscuits mid-morning and cakes, fruit and sandwiches mid-afternoon are served with the tea and coffee both in the Braemar lounge and on the Lido deck.

The Explorers' Library
The Explorers' Library

The Dalreoch Card Room
The Dalreoch Card Room

The Internet Access Room
The Internet Access Room

 

For breakfast there was everything under the sun, from cereal, porridge, fruit, toast, rolls etc, to all cooked items, pancakes, sausage, eggs all ways, you want something you can have it.

A 'midnight' buffet was available in the Garden Café every night, and snacks in the Observatory Lounge. On the penultimate night there was a Grand Gala Buffet in the Glentanar restaurant at 11.30pm. The food looked amazing with all the butter and ice carvings. View my photos here [15 photos]. The previous day Marcello the 'ice carver', from The Phillipines, [who won the bronze medal in the World ice carving championships at the end of 1999] had carved an angel fish by the pool. View the photos here [9 photos].

The Observatory Lounge was my favourite. Wrapping around giving good views. It has a bar, and grand piano played during the evenings. Very relaxing, dark with candles at night. The Dalreoch card room was used for playing bridge, in tournaments and sessions for beginners. There were also numerous board games to play and a large jigsaw set up in one corner with which much progress was made by various people during the fortnight. It didn't get finished though.

Marcello and the ice Angel Fish
Marcello and the ice Angel Fish

The Neptune Lounge
The Neptune Lounge

 

Then there was the 'Internet' room. A nice touch as I hadn't expected this to be available. It meant Dave didn't have to rely on the mobile phone which only worked when in port or near land anyway. A card cost £10 for 30 minutes, [with a £5 deposit on the card], but you actually got 40 minutes. One only had to shove the card in the slot when connecting to log-on to Yahoo or Hotmail or whatever to receive and then to send the mail. So useage of the time was minimal. The connection was fast too. I did however spend about 15 mins of my time showing other people how to use webmail. Just a shame one wasn't able to email photos home:(

The Explorers' Library was open twice a day with a wide selection of books.

Pipers Bar
The Pipers Bar

Through the Pipers Bar to the Neptune Lounge
Through the Pipers Bar to the Neptune Lounge

 

The Pipers Bar, was a bar:) I sat in here talking to some friends we made a few evenings. Noisy at times as next to the Neptune Lounge where the shows* are held [twice nightly]. The Neptune Lounge was spacious and nicely laid out, but on occasion if full it could be difficult to see the stage. It was also the venue for the various port talks and other lectures during the trip**. Also bingo and dance classes, and afternoon recitals. A large dance floor, as in the Lido Lounge, where there was a disco at night, which opens out onto the aft deck. There were quizzes and craft classes here too. The Star Nightclub and Casino are next door, but I didn't use them, so I can't comment. I only saw the tables in play during a couple of afternoon 'beginners' sessions. I didn't go in the slot machine room either, but was told they paid well.There was always something going on, outlined in the 'Daily Times', many things of interest clashed:( Plenty of deck quoits and shuffleboard, golf putting, table tennis, deck tennis etc. One couldn't be bored. We had good weather for most of the trip, in the high 70's, so the pools were well used. There was also the Marina Movie Theatre and the in-room TV with two channels showing a variety of films through out the day, with a different set each day. You could also have a the view from the Bridge on one channel and BBC World was shown continuously on another. This was also broadcast on TV monitors throughout the ship, by the lifts and in a few of the lounges.

The Neptune Lounge
The Neptune Lounge

Pool Party
Pool Party

 

During the 'At Sea' days there were two Navigational Bridge visits with a maximum of 15 people permitted at any time. This was popular but tickets went fast. I was lucky enough to get 3 for the children and myself. Howard loved it:)

Deck Tennis - Beverley & Howard
Deck Tennis - Beverley & Howard

 

Eva, Gilly and Christian ran the childrens room. It had a ball pit, numerous games, toys and lego etc, video, Nintendo and Playstation. There was a full program of activities, covering sports, competitions, crafts, parties etc for the 'Kids' and 'Teens'. It was closed for lunch whilst in port, but otherwise the program ran from 9.30am until 5pm for the Kids and until after midnight for the Teens, ending in something like a disco or pyjama party. Both Howard and Beverley thoroughly enjoyed going there and Howard didn't want to stay ashore sometimes, wanting to get back to his friends. I understand there were 50 children under 18 aboard, with 25 of those under 12. You certainly wouldn't have known it, all well behaved, when I saw them anyway:), and kept well occupied by a great team.

Beverley in the cabin
Beverley

 

The cabins all seemed to be different in layout, the ones I saw anyway:) They were spacious and airey. We were in 4012 on the Atlantic deck, which was larger than some standard outside cabins, but there were 4 of us. However, it was bigger than I expected and plenty of closet, drawer and storage space for all of us. Plenty of room and shelves in the shower room too. Some cabins do have a 'bathtub', though I didn't see how big. A hairdrier is fitted in all cabins, soap, shampoo and shower cap provided, along with a small emergency sewing kit and little sponge shoe polishers. Also a small basket of fruit. Bottled water is in the cabin but you pay for any you drink. The ice bucket is refilled morning and night too. 'Tonton' kept the cabin clean and tidy - poor girl:)

 I had a quick peek in a couple of the Marquee deck 'Premier' suites, and they were lovely, with a private balcony. I don't seem to have any photos of just the cabin:( There are some cabin 'views' on Fred Olsen's website, but ours' wasn't similar to any shown.

There were obviously some plumbing 'problems' during the cruise as a lot of work was being undertaken with pipes being replaced along the corridor from us. On one occasion a few cabins in our 'section' were advised that the water was to be switched off for an hour, but it didn't affect us. The plumbing was noisy on occasion. The arcade was flooded by a burst pipe one day too and all the slot machines were removed for it to be cleaned out.

Dave & Howard in the cabin
Dave & Howard

The Neptune Lounge

The Braemar Lounge

Black Watch in Norway

Star Nightclub

Explorers' Library

Lido Lounge

*The shows alternated between the comedian Bob Curtiss, vocalist Jane Beaumont, ventriloquist John Bouchier, vocalist David McClaine, and Deja Vu & company, singers/dancers, along with the Black Watch Orchestra and singers. Some of the shows were good, others not quite so. Both the comedian and ventriloquist were excellent, but I didn't think a lot of Jane Beaumont, always seemed out of breath, but others enjoyed her. The classical flute and piano recitals by Gary Arbuthnot and Judith Kearney were very good. Port lectures were by Frank & Evelyn Jackson. The Cruise Director was Gary Nicholson.

** The maritime historian Paul Louden-Brown gave some excellent lectures on the story of the White Star Line and the Titanic, the Cruising Business [how it came into being after the transatlantic rush declined], and the sinking of the Arabic and the search for her.

The Itinerary

The Ports of Call

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