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Cruise News & Reviews


9 February 2016
Author: Terry Hutson
 

 

BOUDICCA TO CRUISE LOCALLY IN 2017/18 SUMMER

report and photographs by Terry Hutson except where indicated

Boudicca Exterior 470
Boudicca and the other ships in the Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines fleet had an all-white livery until recently, when Boudicca appeared with a dark grey hull. According to staff on board the intention is to evaluate this before making a decision about the other vessels. Our opinion was favourable -- an unusual colour but appealing. Picture courtesy Fred.olsen Lines
BOUDICCA Jan 2016 Ian Shiffman 480
This is Boudicca in her new grey and white livery, arriving in Cape Town at the end of January. Picture is by Ian Shiffman

Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines' 28,500-gross registered ton BOUDICCA has just completed her first visit to South Africa and having impressed all that came in contact with her, is currently en route back to the UK on a 46-night cruise via Reunion and Mauritius, Madagascar, Zanzibar and the Seychelles, Oman, the Red Sea and Mediterranean.

The exciting news however is that we haven't seen the last of this elegant ship; she'll be back next year and for an extended stay.

after the fire 25 Jan 2015 464
At the moment none of this is official - there has been no confirmation or statement to the effect but according to PORTS & SHIPS sources BOUDICCA will have an extended five-month stay in South African waters between the months of October 2017 and March 2018. During this time she will sail from Cape Town and from Durban to selected destinations such as Walvis Bay on the west coast. The ship may even spend a few weeks in Mauritius waters cruising from there to exotic Indian Ocean islands including perhaps the east coast of Madagascar and the mysterious historic pirate haven island of Ille Ste Marie -- historic piracy, that is, from the days of sail. Picture above Fred Olsen

Further information is sure to be made available in due course, in fact Fred.Olsen is sure to makea big splash of the announcement when the right time comes, but this is further evidence of more and more interest being shown in southern Africa by the cruise operators. Already Silverseas is a regular, sending a ship to cruise from SA ports every summer, spending six weeks on the coast with mainly fly/cruise type offerings. By all accounts this is proving successful as each year the ship -- this year it was Silver Wind -- spends more time in local cruising.

Nautica1 004 Dec 2015 TNPA 480
Nautica at anchor off Mossel Bay late last year. Picture is by TNPA Mossel Bay
This year we also welcomed three ships from Oceania Cruises, Nautica, Insignia and briefly, Amadea. The latter made a single pass along the coast but Nautica spent about four weeks cruising from port to port whereas Insignia called in November and still owes us a call later this month.

This growing interest in Southern African cruising complements MSC Cruises and the multiple voyages of the extended MSC Sinfonia, now with a capacity of well over 2,000 and catering almost exclusively for South African passengers.

DSCF1226 passageway 480
The advent of Boudicca in our waters for five long months from November 2017 promises to be an exciting and interesting test of whether South Africa is ready for that next step up the cruise ladder. Boudicca will bring a different style of cruising from that on offer by MSC Cruises. Dare we say it, they won't be 'booze cruises'. Boudicca is an older ship and although tastefully furnished, she lacks the glitter and 'rush' (and crush) that passengers experience on Sinfonia. Fly in passengers will know what to expect but South Africans taking up the opportunity to cruise at a more sedate pace will be able to enjoy a more restful and rewarding experience at sea with longer cruises and more emphasis on landside calls.

Boudicca

DSCF1252 480
So what about Fred Olsen's Boudicca? She's the most recent addition to the company fleet and is a sister ship to another long-time occupant in Fred.Olsen colours, Black Watch, the former Royal Viking Star. In 2005 Black Watch went for re-engining and upgrading including the addition of a number of new balconies and no sooner was this underway than Fred.Olsen announced the acquisition of one of her sister ships, the former Royal Viking Sky, which was subsequently renamed Boudicca, after the warrior English queen of the Iceni tribe in Roman times.
DSCF1271 Boudicca 480
Cast of Boudicca, also spelt Boadicea, warrior queen from the English Iceni tribe.
Boudicca entered service with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines in 2006 and has proved to be a very popular ship. Now we will have the opportunity of getting to know her better and to experience the English style of cruising.

The ship carries a maximum of 880 passengers in 462 cabins. She has five restaurants, five bars and lounges, two swimming pools, two jacuzzis, a swim exercise pool, gymnasium, health & beauty salon, casino tables, a well-stockled library, card room,and wi-fi internet access. Oh, and there is a launderette.

DSCF1230 Library 480
The cabins are spacious and well fitted out. Some have balconies and the suites are all furnished as expected. Nothing too fancy, just plain good quality and comfortable. Much like home in fact! The public rooms -- lounges, dining room and restaurants, bars, library and theatre area are all tasteful if basic -- no glary colour schemes but nevertheless bright and cheerful throughout. She looks and feels like a ship that you can relax in and enjoy yourself and feel at home. Just my kind of ship, in fact.

DSCF1264 480
Out on the deck