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Black Watch berthed at Rouen

Fred. Olsen Cruises have recently announced that their two oldest ships, Black and Boudicca, are being retired. They will be replaced by the two ships that Fred. Olsen bought from Holland America line in July this year, the Amsterdam and the Rotterdam.

The two new ships – to be named Bolette and Borealis – will take over the existing planned itineraries in 2021 and 2022 of Boudicca and Black Watch respectively. Bolette will be home-ported in Dover, and Borealis will be be home-ported in Liverpool.

I’m sad to see Black watch and Boudicca go. They were truly classic ships. Built as sister ships in the early 1970s for the Royal Viking Line (and originally named Royal Viking Star and Royal Viking Sky), for a few years they were at the high end of cruising. As cruising developed both ships were passed on from line to line, and ended up in situations in which their classic style did not really fit. However, you’d have to say that when they were bought by Fred. Olsen (Black Watch in 1996, Boudicca in 205) they were found a new lease of life and have become much-loved by Fred. Olsen passengers.

Sadly, there won’t even be the opportunity for passengers to take ‘Retirement’ cruises on either of them – in view of the current Covid-19 restrictions with Fred Olsen not running cruises until at least the end of this year, they have aleady sailed last cruises for Fred. Olsen. They have announced, however, that there will be ‘virtual sailing’ for each ship, starting on 24 August. I might just embark on one of them myself.

We sailed on Black Watch on a short cruise in December 2011 across the Channel to northern France – the picture at the top of this page was taken during that cruise. Here’s a link to the posts I did at that time from that cruise.

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