Fred. Olsen Cruise Line
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is a UK-based, Norwegian-owned cruise shipping line with four cruise ships. The company headquarters are in Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom and is owned by Bonheur and Ganger Rolf. The company is part of the Fred. Olsen Group.
The company originated in Hvitsten, a small town on Oslofjord in Norway, in 1848 by three Olsen brothers – Fredrik Christian, Petter and Andras who bought their first ships and began an international shipping company. The company is now into the fifth generation of the family and operates various companies skilled within the cruise and passenger shipping trade, as well as aviation, ships’ crewing, ship building and offshore industries. The Fred. Olsen group also has business interests in the luxury hotel sector, estate management, property development and electronics companies.
The company operates a fleet of four cruise ships to destinations in Northern Europe, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, Africa, Canada, the United States and South America. The company operates smaller scale cruise ships, ranging in size from 11,000 to 43,000 grt (approx). The ambience on board is traditionally British.
Itineraries range from popular areas, such as the Mediterranean, Canaries, Baltic, Norway and the Caribbean, to the longer, cruise voyage routes – ‘Around South America’ and ‘Around the World’.
For most of the year, the ships are based in Britain, with cruises departing from Southampton, Dover, Rosyth (for Edinburgh), Greenock (for Glasgow), Liverpool, Portsmouth and Newcastle. A winter Caribbean fly-cruise programme on Braemar operates from Barbados, with connecting flights from London Gatwick and Manchester.
In May 2006 Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced the purchase of a new vessel, Norwegian Crown, from Norwegian Cruise Line. Following delivery of the vessel in November 2007, she was dry-docked for refurbishment and lengthening, with a pre-built 30 metre centre section added. She was renamed Balmoral and entered service early in 2008. This was followed by the extension of Braemar in summer 2008. A new centre section was added, with new cabins and public rooms, increasing the size from 19,000 grt to 24,000 grt (approx).
In January 2008 it was reported that the company was considering ordering a newbuild of unspecified dimensions from a Korean shipyard. If realised, the ship will be the first ever newbuild ordered for Fred. Olsen’s cruise operations.
The Fred Olsen cruise ship ‘Balmoral’