Fred Olsen Cruise Line has announced it will be retiring its classic cruise ships Boudicca and Black Watch after taking delivery of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, which it recently acquired from Holland America Line.
The new ships will be re-named Bolette and Borealis and will take over the itineraries scheduled for the two outgoing cruise ships. Even with the retirement of Boudicca and Black Watch, Fred Olsen will still be increasing its passenger capacity by 30%.
Both ships are much larger than Fred Olsen’s existing ships, but are still small enough to remain true to Fred Olsen’s popular low-key, midsize-ship cruise experience. The sister ships carry 1,400 guests and have new and larger public areas.
Bookings for the two new ships will go on sale in September, but guests already booked on itineraries for Boudicca and Black Watch next year will be automatically transferred to Bolette and Borealis.
“I am pleased to say we are now at the stage of finalising our back in the water plans and we are very excited to be doing this with two new vessels within our fleet,” said Peter Deer, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
“While we are still looking at a number of options for Boudicca and Black Watch, what we do know is that they won’t resume sailing with us when we do start to cruise again,” he added.
Deer said that although he knows Boudicca and Black Watch are hugely popular with Fred Olsen’s cruise passenger base, it was time for the cruise line to look to the future and begin to evolve.
“We know that these ships are much loved among our guests, as indeed they are by us, but it is time to evolve and look ahead to a long and bright future for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines,” he said.
“We will soon be revealing more details on our plans to resume sailing again, but in the meantime we hope many of you will join us on our virtual farewell cruises to see our two ships off in style,” he added, referring to Fred Olsen’s virtual voyages that have been hosted on social media.
As part of Fred. Olsen’s virtual cruise program, the company will be holding virtual farewell sailings for both Boudicca and Black Watch on Facebook, with guests and crew invited to share their favourite photographs and memories of the two ships.
The virtual cruises will be held for two weeks starting from Monday, 24th August. The events will replace the real-world farewell voyages that cruise line’s typically hold for outgoing cruise ships.