Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 324 out of 500
Accommodation: 130 out of 200
Food: 252 out of 400
Service: 254 out of 400
Entertainment: 62 out of 100
Cruise: 258 out of 400
Overall Score: 1280 out of 2000
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Former Names: Grand Latino, SuperStar Capricorn, Hyundai Keumgang, SuperStar, Capricorn, Golden Princess, New Sunward, Birka Queen, Sunward, Royal Viking Sky
IMO Number: 7218395
Builder: Wartsila (Finland)
Original Cost: $22.5 million
Entered Service: Jun 1973/Feb 2006
Registry: The Bahamas
Length (ft/m): 674.1/205.4
Beam (ft/m): 82.6/25.2
Draft (ft/m): 24.7/7.5
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (13,400kW)/2 (CP)
Passenger Decks: 8
Total Crew: 320
Passengers (lower beds): 839
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 33.8
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.3
Cabins (total): 437
Size Range (sq ft/m): 135.6-579.1/12.6-53.8
Cabins (for one person): 35
Cabins (with private balcony): 64
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 4
Wheelchair accessibility: Fair
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: No
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 2
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: UK£
An older-style ship with a traditional British ambience
Overview. This ship appeals to British couples and single travelers seeking a sense of space, comfortable surroundings with decent facilities, realistic, good value-for-money pricing, with British food and entertainment.
The Ship. Acquired by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in 2005, this well-proportioned ship, originally built for long-distance cruising for the now-defunct Royal Viking Line (it was built for one of the three original shipping partners who formed the line - Bergenske Dampskibsselskab), has a sharply raked bow and a sleek appearance. The ship was ‘stretched’ in 1982 with the addition of a 91ft (28m) midsection.
The outer styling is quite handsome for an early 1970s-built vessel. The single funnel bears the company’s starfish logo and balances the profile of this attractive (now contemporary-classic) ship. The name Boudicca comes from the Queen of the Iceni tribe that occupied England’s East Anglia; she led a dramatic revolt against the Romans in AD 61, and her body is supposedly buried under Platform 10 of King’s Cross Station in London.
The ship has a good amount of open deck and sunbathing space; in fact, there is plenty of space everywhere and little sense of crowding because the ship absorbs passengers well. There is a complete walk-around teak promenade deck outdoors.
The interior decor is restful, with a mix of English and Norwegian styles (particularly the artwork) with wide stairways and foyers, good passenger flow, soft lighting, and no glitz. In general, good materials, fabrics, and soft furnishings add to a pleasant ambience and comfortable feeling experienced throughout the public rooms, most of which are quite spacious and have high, indented ceilings.
There are lots of (small) public rooms, bars, and lounges, unlike the newer (larger) ships built today, including a delightful observation lounge, a small casino, card room, large library, and the Secret Garden Lounge.
Boudicca is an extremely comfortable ship in which to cruise, with a moderate standard of food and service from a friendly, mostly Filipino staff, featuring extremely good value for money cruises in a relaxed environment that provides passengers with many of the comforts of home.
Although the ship has benefited from an extensive refit and refurbishment, do remember that it’ll soon be 40 years old, which means that little problems such as gurgling plumbing, creaking joints, and other idiosyncrasies can occur, and air conditioning may not be all that it should be. Port taxes are included for UK passengers. Gratuities of £4 ($6) per passenger, per day, are suggested.
Passenger niggles include: noticeable cutbacks in food variety and quality; an increased use of packets of butter, margarine, and preserves; the lack of choice of sugar; very poor coffee; long lines at the cramped buffet; and too few wine waiters.
For the ship’s mainly British passengers, the National Express bus operator works in conjunction with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to provide a dedicated Cruiselink service via London’s Victoria Coach Station to the UK departure ports of Dover or Southampton.
Accommodation. There is something for every taste and wallet, from spacious family suites to small interior cabins. While most cabins are for two persons, some can accommodate a third, fourth, or even a fifth person. There are 20 price categories of cabins (plus one for the Owner’s Suite, whose price isn’t listed in the brochure), including four grades of cabin for those traveling solo (these are spread across most of the cabin decks, and not just the lower decks, as is the case with some cruise lines), and three of these have a private balcony. While most cabins have bathtubs, some lower grades have only a shower enclosure.
Some of the quietest cabins are those located just under the navigation bridge, on Lido Deck, as well as those suites and cabins on Bridge Deck. In the refit, a vacuum toilet system was fitted.
In all grades, duvets are provided, the bathroom towels are 100 percent cotton and are quite large, a hairdryer is provided, as is a shower wall-mounted soap and shampoo dispenser. Occupants of suite grades also get a cotton bathrobe and cold canapés each evening, and priority seating in the dining rooms.
The room service menu is quite limited and could be improved, although there is an abundance of food available at most times of the day. All cabins have had a facelift. Only a few suites have private balconies.
Outside-view/inside cabins. These are quite well equipped, and there is plenty of good (illuminated) closet, drawer, and storage space, but insulation between some of the lower grade cabins could be better. While most cabin bathrooms are of a decent size, some have awkward access. Some have a small tub, although many have only a shower enclosure.
Deluxe/Bridge/Junior Suites. These suites, on decks 7 and 8, have a large sleeping area and lounge area with ocean-view picture windows and refrigerator, plenty of hooks for hanging bathrobes, outerwear, and luggage; and a bathroom with bathtub and shower.
Marquee Suites. These suites have a large sleeping area and lounge area with bigger ocean view picture windows and a refrigerator, more hooks for hanging bathrobes, outerwear, and luggage; and a bathroom with tub and shower.
Premier Suites. Anyone wanting the most space should consider one of these suites (each is named after a place). These have a separate bedroom with ample closet and other storage space, a lounge with large windows (with large television/video player, refrigerator/minibar), and bathroom with full-size tub and shower, and a separate toilet.
Dining. The main dining room is divided into three venues: Heligan, Tintagel, and Four Seasons; each has a high ceiling, and ample space at each table. Although the decor is reserved, the chairs, which have armrests, are comfortable. Window-side tables for two are the most sought after, naturally.
Breakfast and lunch are in an open-seating arrangement, with two seatings for dinner. Cold food display counters are provided for passengers to help themselves to breakfast and lunch items.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has above-average cuisine that is attractively presented and includes a good range of fish, seafood, meat, and chicken dishes, plus vegetarian options, and a wide selection of cheeses to suit most British tastes. You’ll also find a number of popular British pub standards such as bangers and mash, toad in the hole, and spotted dick. Breakfast buffets tend to be a little repetitious, although they appear to satisfy most passengers. There is a reasonably decent range of wines, at unpretentious prices.
Coffee and tea are available in the Secret Garden Café (part of the Secret Garden Lounge), just aft of the main dining venues - but, sadly, not around-the-clock, although there are late-night ‘supper club’ snacks.
Casual self-serve deck buffets are provided outdoors at the Poolside Café, while fast-food items can be obtained from the Marquee Bar (also outdoors).
Entertainment. The Neptune Lounge is the venue for shows, cabaret acts, and lectures. It is a large room that seats about 400, although some pillars obstruct sight lines from some seats. The entertainment consists of small-scale production shows presented by a small team of resident singers/dancers, and cabaret acts (these typically rotate around many cruise ships of the same standard).
There is plenty of live music for social dancing (many of the musicians are Filipino) and listening in several lounges, and good British singalongs are a feature on each cruise.
Spa/Fitness. A decent amount of ocean-view space is given to providing health and fitness facilities, which include sauna/steam rooms, gymnasium/aerobics room, changing rooms, while the beauty salon is located in a window-less area.
Some fitness classes are free, while some, such as yoga and kick-boxing, cost extra.
It’s best to make appointments as early as possible as treatment time slots go quickly. Sports facilities include golf practice nets, shuffleboard, and ringtoss.