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Cruise IntroThe ItineraryPhotographs


Black Watch logo

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd

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, Launderette

Table Tennis, Darts.

Lounge Deck 6

Glentanar Restaurant, Garden Cafe, Braemar Room, Pipers Bar, Neptune Lounge, Childrens Room, Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi, Poolside Café.

Lido Deck 7

Wrap around prom., Arcade, Casino, Star Nightclub [Teens 'Chill Out Zone'], Lido Lounge.

Marquee Deck 9

Observatory Lounge, Explorers Library, Internet Centre, Dalreoch Card Room, Marquee Pool Café, Pool and 2 Jacuzzis.

Sun Deck 10

Fitness Centre, Sauna, Sun Decks

Deck 11

Short Tennis Court, Deck Tennis, Golf nets.

Click here for interior Photos of Black Watch and exterior photos here
[These were taken in Aug 2000, little has changed. There are a few new ones in amongst the port photos from my 2002 gallery]

Black Watch was built in 1972 at the Wartsila shipyard in Finland and originally named Royal Viking Star.
Also previously known as Star Odyssey & Westward, she joined Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in November 1996.
She is the third passenger ship in the company’s history of that name.

Black Watch in Cadiz
Black Watch in Cádiz

This was a 10 night Easter Cruise, our second trip on Black Watch, and she was full. At 28,492 grt, with 420 cabins, carrying 850+ passengers, Black Watch is a small and elegant ship of the traditional style, with lots of open deck and teak wrap around promenade. Her public rooms are all lovely, nicely decorated [even if a few of the carpets around the stairs and lifts seemed a little 'worn' in places], well laid out and functional. She is spacious, and 'cared for', with plenty of ongoing maintenance evident.

Captain Arne Solberg was the Master, a great character. The crew were all friendly and accommodating, a couple remembered us from our previous trip; The majority of passengers were in the 'just retired' range, but plenty of younger ones and 80 [10%] children under 18. Most were friendly and chatty, but there was a small group of self-centered intolerant whining moaning grannies/grandads who were best avoided. Even whinged their way around the ports, money not right, shops not right, nothing right!

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Easter display, animals from fruit
..in the Braemar Room

The main dining room, the Glentanar had 2 sittings in the evening at 6.30pm and 8.30pm with the same à la carte menu. The food was excellent with plenty of choices, for all; Appetiser, Soup, Salad, Main Course, Dessert, Cheese/Biscuits & Fruit. Vegetarian options and diabetic foods are marked. A good reasonably priced wine list.

Easter bunnies from melons

Alternative buffet dining was available in the Garden Café which was also the venue for the children's High Tea from 5.45pm to 6.30pm. They could go to the Kid's Club while the adults ate. A 'Late Night' buffet was available in the Garden Café every night, and a Grand Gala Buffet was held in the Glentanar on the last formal night.

Open seating in the restaurant for breakfast and lunch when you could have the buffet, eat off the menu, or a mixture of both. No queuing at the buffets. You can eat in the Garden Café too, or between 11.30am and 3.30pm, weather permitting, the Marquee Grill is open on deck, serving 'fast food', pizza, salad, ribs, burgers, fish and chips and ice cream.

Katie & Beverley, lunch at Marquee Grill
Katie & Beverley - Lunch at the Marquee Grill

 The Poolside Café sometimes serves breakfast, but it was a little chilly! Only light snacks are available through cabin service, but we didn't try it, not even for breakfast. Modesto Javinez was the Executive Chef.

 

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Pam in Red, White & Blue

Anthony the waiter was attentive and cheerful, his assitant was great too. The wine waiter was good; taking our orders at lunch for the evening, but then we had a fair amount of wine, so he would have been happy! 3 formal nights, 1 informal, and 6 casual including a Red, White & Blue Night, a Tropical Night [Lei provided] and a Western Night [with hats]. No shorts are permitted in the dining room, and although when 'casual', nearly [all?] everyone dresses smartly for dinner. There was the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party, Oceans Members Cocktail Party, and the Captain's Farewell Party all with free drinks, Martinis, sherry, wine & fruit juice.

With being the Easter Break, and quite a few children aboard, the Easter Bunny visited with Eggs, somehow finding us off the coast of Portugal. The 'Mini Olsen Club' for the 12's and under, and the 'Chill Out Zone' for the older ones kept the children occupied. Activities included an Easter Bonnet Parade and a Talent Show was held one evening. The children can only use the main pool during an hour each morning and afternoon, but there was a problem with the pumps in the smaller Marquee Pool on the sunny days [which weren't many!] so they were allowed in the other one, but it was never crowded.

Howard with the Easter Bunny & Capt Arne Solberg
Howard, Bunny & Capt Arne Solberg

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Biscuits mid-morning and cakes/sandwiches mid-afternoon are served with tea and coffee in the Lido Lounge and elsewhere, with after dinner coffee in the Braemar Room for those at first seating. Most other information can be found in my review of our Baltic Cruise in Aug 2000. Little has changed with Black Watch, except the Table Tennis tables [and dart boards] have been relocated aft under the main pool. This gives a lot of semi sheltered extra space for sunbeds on Sun Deck, and fewer lost balls over the side:) But you do now have to leave a deposit with reception for the bats and balls. Not a problem, just a nuisance going back and forth. There is also a ceiling to contend with!

As usual when we go anywhere the weather is not good! We had a couple of nice sunny days at the outset, but the rain came, the wind arrived and we ended up returning in some quite rough weather. I enjoy that, some don't.

SS Norway, 1891
SS Norway

There are two nice models in the library. One of Olsen's SS Norway built in 1891, owned by Fred Olsen, 1901- 1909, and the second of the first Black Watch.

Black Watch I
Black Watch I

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Adrian reading on deck
Adrian on deck reading

The shows alternated between the comedian Jeff Stevenson, singer Susannah Jupp, her husband John Wilson [ex lead vocalist with The Average White Band and song writer to Cliff Richard amongst others], ventriloquist John Bouchier, and Deja Vu & company, singers/dancers, along with the Black Watch Orchestra and singers. Some of the shows were very good, but we didn't see them all.

The classical violin, and piano recitals by Sali-Wyn Ryan and Nerys Richards were excellent, apart from the moaning grannies who couldn't keep quiet during them. Port lectures were by Cliff Smith, good, but not in the same league as Frank Jackson, who sadly passed away last year. Brad Ashton, an exposers of confidence tricks, gave a series of lectures on how to avoid being conned. but I never got around to going to any. The Cruise Director was Michael Burke.

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The Itinerary

Photographs

Cruise Intro

Black Watch logo

Our other Fred. Olsen Cruises

Black Prince

Guild Houses & Gourmets Mini-Cruise, Dec 16 - 19, 2001

Braemar

Nordic Explorer, August 24 - 31 2001

Black Watch

Baltic Heritage Cruise, August 13 - 26 2000