Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines mini cruises from £79pp

Looking for a mini cruise holiday on a cruise ship? Experience the characterful Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ships

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Balmoral

Experience small ship cruising without committing to a week or two at sea with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

The trusted British-style cruise operator has a range of short taster mini cruise breaks planned for 2016/2017, conveniently sailing from ports dotted along the British coastline.

Why choose a Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines mini cruise break?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines can be traced back to 1848 when three Olsen brothers – Fredrik Christian, Petter and Andreas – bought their first ships and founded an international shipping company in Hvitsten, a small town on Oslofjord in Norway.

The Fred. Olsen group, now with headquarters in Oslo and Tenerife, operates companies within the cruise and passenger shipping trade, and also has interests in the luxury hotel sector, estate management, property development, and electronics companies.

The Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship arm is based in Ipswich, Suffolk, and operates a fleet of four small sized cruise ships.

Each ship boasts heritage, elegance and character. Importantly they all offer the familiar creature comforts of home. Purchases are made in Great British Pounds, tea and coffee making facilities can be found inside each cabin and classic British dishes can be found on the restaurant menus.

Ships cater for families but lack the facilities found on larger cruise ships. During peak holiday times (school summer holidays, etc) then family orientated, parent supervised children's activities are offered on each ship aimed at kids aged between five and 11 years old. These include arts and crafts, disco's, treasure hunts and similar events. Family pool times will also be advertised on-board.

Entertainment during the day and evening is offered on-board and this is in keeping with the traditional feel of the cruise line. Unlike the full-on entertainment found on large cruise ships the entertainment on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is more genteel.

In terms of leisure activities you can find a spa on-board each ship as well as a fitness room should you want to burn off those extra calories from the delicious food included in the price.

A cruise ship holiday is a step up from a mini cruise aboard a ferry and while the price reflects this, fares on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines often represent exceptionally good value for money. If you are considering booking a mini cruise and want the facilities, charm and character of a boutique hotel then look no further than Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

Note: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines doesn't normally offer 2 for 1 mini cruise deals but they do offer great value mini cruise fares throughout the year instead. Find details of upcoming sailings below.

The good and not so good

The good

  • Great way to try a cruise ship holiday without committing to a week or more.
  • Sail from a choice of British ports, normally no flights are required meaning there's no bag limits.
  • Your sailing is full board meaning your main meals and snacks are included.

The not so good

  • There won't be enough time on a mini cruise to fully explore and experience the ship, leaving you wanting more.
  • Drinks cost extra, aside from the in-room tea and coffee. An all-inclusive drinks packages is available ° which may be better value depending on how much you intend to drink.

The fleet

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has a fleet of four small sized cruise ships - Balmoral, Boudicca, Black Watch and Braemar.

These ships are compact but perfectly formed. They offer a friendly, cosy atmosphere on-board with plenty of space to relax and enjoy yourself. The largest ship in the fleet, Balmoral, can accommodate just 1,300 passengers across 710 cabins so you can be assured that you won't find the ship busy or crowded.

Mini Cruise itineraries for 2016/2017

You can find the very latest list of mini cruise itineraries here °, together with current pricing and live availability.

At the time of writing a total of seven were scheduled for 2016/2017. If you want to dip your toe into the world of cruise ship holidays then a one- or two-night cruise is ideal. If you've been on a cruise ship holiday before, perhaps not with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, then a four-night sailing would give you more time to explore the ship.

Tip: Where cruises are one-way around Britain (i.e. start and end at different ports), Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines usually offers a one-way coach transfer to get you back to your starting point. Remember to include this when you book online.

Some sailings commence in the UK and end in another country, for example Portugal or the Canary Islands. In these cases you will need to book a one-way flight to return back to the UK.

Date Nights Ship Itinerary Prices
21 October 2016 2 Balmoral Southampton to Honfleur (France) to Southampton Prices °
29 October 2016 2 Black Watch Harwich to Mystery port of call to Harwich Prices °
7 November 2016 3 Braemar Southampton to Lisbon (Portugal) Prices °
11 December 2016 4 Boudicca Liverpool to Cobh to Dublin to Belfast to Liverpool Prices °
14 December 2016 5 Balmoral Southampton to Falmouth to Cobh to Dublin to Southampton Prices °
16 December 2016 2 Boudicca Liverpool to Dublin to Liverpool Prices °
2 January 2017 1 Black Watch Tilbury to Southampton Prices °
5 January 2017 3 Boudicca Liverpool to Dublin to Southampton Prices °
8 January 2017 5 Boudicca Southampton to Funchal (Madeira) to Santa Cruz de Tenerife Prices °
26 March 2017 5 Boudicca Southampton to Antwerp to Amsterdam to Southampton Prices °
31 March 2017 1 Boudicca Southampton to Falmouth Prices °
21 April 2017 3 Black Watch Southampton to Rouen to Southampton Prices °
25 May 2017 5 Balmoral Newcastle to Bergen to Eidfjord to Newcastle Prices °
26 May 2017 5 Boudicca Greenock to Fort William to Ullapool to Invergordon to Greenock Prices °
8 June 2017 1 Boudicca Greenock to Liverpool Prices °
10 August 2017 3 Black Watch Dover to Amsterdam to Dover Prices °
23 August 2017 5 Balmoral Newcastle to Bergen to Eidfjord to Newcastle Prices °
8 September 2017 3 Braemar Southampton to Rouen to Southampton Prices °
29 September 2017 3 Balmoral Southampton to Honfleur to Rouen to Southampton Prices °
10 November 2017 3 Black Watch Harwich to Zeebrugge to Boulogne-Sur-Mer to Harwich Prices °
13 November 2017 1 Black Watch Tilbury to Southampton Prices °
20 January 2018 3 Balmoral Southampton to Rouen to Honfleur to Southampton Prices °

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The dull-but-necessary small print

All deals are subject to availability and can be withdrawn by the operator without prior notice. The lead-in prices (otherwise known as the 'from' prices) are, unless otherwise stated above, based on two adults sharing the cheapest available cabin on the cheapest available date. Typically the best prices are available at the start of any promotion period so the earlier you book the better choice of sailing dates and cabin availability you should have. Mid-week sail dates are likely to be cheaper than weekend sail dates.

(Photo credit to David Fiske)

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