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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ award-winning onboard enrichment programme, Vistas – an added attraction on selected cruises

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ award-winning onboard enrichment programme, Vistas – an added attraction on selected cruises

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers a host of great facilities and a varied daily programme of activities aboard its fleet of four, modestly-sized cruise ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch. An added attraction, on selected cruises, is the award-winning onboard enrichment programme, Vistas, which won Fred. Olsen the accolade of ‘Best for Learning’ in the prestigious Cruise International Awards for two years running, in 2011 and 2012.

This programme offers a wide range of different topics, hosted by experts in their respective fields, who join the cruise and give talks, lectures, tuition and accompany shore excursions related to their subject. The programme features some very well-known names from the worlds of politics, gardening, antiques, wine and much more.

Amongst those hosting this exciting and informative programme for 2013 will be TV presenter and food and wine expert, Jilly Goolden, making her second appearance on a Fred. Olsen cruise. Jilly will be a host on Braemar‘s ‘Wine Regions of Bordeaux and Rioja’ cruise in 2013. The 10-night cruise, M1325, departs from Dover on 4th October 2013, and visits Nantes (France), La Pallice (for tours to La Rochelle, France), Bordeaux (France), Getxo (for tours to Bilbao, Spain), Aviles (Spain) and La Coruna (Spain), before returning to Dover. 

Best known for presenting top-rated TV series, Food and Drink, for almost 20 years, Jilly appeared alongside the late Michael Barry OBE, Chris Kelly and fellow ‘oenophile’, Oz Clarke. She became nationally famous as the most widely-known wine expert in Britain, and is now a regular on Britain’s Best Dish.

Gardening is another very popular hobby with Fred. Olsen guests, and they have welcomed several celebrity gardeners aboard in recent years. For 2013, gardening stars will include the popular TV gardening expert, Charlie Dimmock. Charlie will be hosting the Braemar cruise ‘Gardens of Madeira & the Canaries’ that departs from Dover on 22nd April 2013, for 14 nights. The islands of the Canaries contain many stunning gardens and are home to a huge variety of exotic plant life, some species being unique to this region. Charlie will help guests learn more about gardens and gardening with entertaining and engaging talks.

For the first time, Vistas will host Round-the-World yachtswoman, Tracy Edwards, in 2013, who will be speaking on ‘The Great Explorers’ aboard Balmoral’s ‘Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar Explorer’ cruise, L1311, of 12 nights, departing from Southampton on 11th August 2013. Tracy is a renowned motivational speaker and, during this Iberia cruise, she will talk about explorers who have inspired her on her own adventures.

On a very different topic, former MP, author and celebrity Edwina Currie will be hosting an Iberia cruise, with a ballroom dancing theme, based on her experience as a contestant on BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing.’ Edwina will be joining Fred. Olsen’s ‘Strictly Spain and Portugal’ cruise aboard Black Watch in 2013.

This Iberian cruise, W1321, is for eight nights and departs from Dover on 16th November 2013. The itinerary includes some of the most attractive Portuguese and Spanish ports: Lisbon, the cosmopolitan and elegant capital of Portugal; Leixoes, for tours to Oporto, home of the world famous port industry; then, the great Spanish ports of Vigo and La Coruna, in the lovely Galicia region of northern Spain. Three days at sea during this cruise allow plenty of time for guests to enjoy the ballroom dancing theme, hosted by the irrepressible Edwina.

Born and brought up in Liverpool, Edwina is best known nationally for her years as Minister in the Department of Health under Margaret Thatcher. She is also a best-selling author and has appeared on numerous radio and TV programmes since leaving politics.

Fellow MP Julian Critchley once said: “Edwina has a brass neck, a silver tongue and a golden pen”, while former colleague, Matthew Parris, wrote, “Edwina is the best communicator the Tories have”. She will, no doubt, make a fascinating and highly entertaining Vistas host.

One of the most popular and long-standing hosts of Vistas is antiques expert and regular on the Antiques Roadshow, Lars Tharp. Lars brings his expertise to bear on Balmoral’s ‘The Art of the Mediterranean’ cruise of 14 nights, L1316, departing from Southampton on 27th September 2013, and visiting ports in Spain and Portugal.

These are just a few of the many and varied hosts and topics offered by Vistas. The onboard activity is offered at no extra charge to guests (although there may be a small cost for wines in the case of wine tastings.) Guests can take part in any Vistas themed activity and there is no need to pre-book. 


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Fred. Olsen Cruise Line operates in the UK with four intimately sized ships for a more personal cruising experience.

Press contacts

Ellis Barker

Ellis Barker

Press contact Public Relations Executive Public Relations +44 (0) 1473 292237

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has defined and redefined the cruise experience, and judging by the number of passengers that come back time and again, we seem to have styled it to perfection

The company originated in Hvitsten, a small town on Oslofjord in Norway, in 1848 when three Olsen brothers – Fredrik Christian, Petter and Andreas – bought their first ships and began an international shipping company.

Now into the fifth generation of the family, they operate companies skilled in various aspects of the cruise and passenger shipping trade as well as aviation, ships’ crewing, shipbuilding and offshore industries.
Aside from the transportation industries, the Fred. Olsen group also has interests in the luxury hotel sector, estate management, property development, and electronics companies.

Offices for the company are spread throughout the world, although the company headquarters remain firmly in the family’s hands in Oslo and Tenerife. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is based in Ipswich in Suffolk.

Company Reg. No: 2672435
Registered Name & Office: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd, 2nd Floor, 64-65 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2NU.
Place of registration: England and Wales
VAT Number: 927 5336 08

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred. Olsen House, White House Road
IP1 5LL Ipswich, Suffolk