Booking a Cruise

Balmoral cruise shipIncluded in this section is everything you need to know before booking your cruise holiday.

Do I need a passport to go on a cruise?

All guests travelling on board our ships must be in possession of a full passport with a minimum of six months validity from the date of return. It should also contain several blank pages suitable for entry stamps if required.

We reserve the right to refuse passenger to any guest without the correct documentation. It is also a requirement of all immigration authorities that your passport is not damaged in any way or has no missing pages - we strongly recommend you check the condition of your passport prior to travel.


What is the Enjoyment Promise?

If you favour a welcoming, ‘home-from-home’ atmosphere, friendly, smiling staff and like-minded fellow guests with whom you can share a good story or two, you’ll likely find Fred. Olsen to your taste. You don’t have to take our word for it though: we’re so confident that you’ll like cruising with us that we offer our Enjoyment Promise as standard.

Simply book more than 12 weeks in advance on cruises of five nights or more and if you find that it’s not for you within a couple of days of sailing, just let us know and we promise to arrange and pay for your flight back to the UK from the next port and repay the cost of your cruise. So your relaxation starts the moment you choose Fred. Olsen.

Terms & Conditions
The Enjoyment Promise excludes Party Nights and cruises for 4 or less nights.  The promise only applies to Bookings made for departures more than 12 weeks ahead. The Enjoyment Promise only applies to Passengers who have contracted with FOCL and excludes cruises on vessels operated by FOCL but booked through third Party operators.
​Should you wish to invoke the Enjoyment Promise, you will need to inform Guest Relations within 48 hours of the Vessel's departure from the original port of embarkation at the latest (24 hours for River Cruises).  FOCL will arrange and pay for a flight and/or transport back to the UK.  FOCL will refund the cruise cost only but will not refund other costs.

I'm a single traveller, is a Fred. Olsen cruise for me?

Our single guests need never be alone as we have the reputation of operating the friendliest cruise ships afloat and were recently voted 'Best for Solo Cruisers' by Cruise Critic. The size of our ships makes it perfect for making new friends and we’ll have our smiling staff waiting to greet you from the moment you arrive on board. However, we want our solo cruisers to feel they can have the freedom to do as much or as little as they like – aboard or ashore.

Special activities will be arranged throughout your cruise holiday to give you the opportunity to meet with fellow single travellers if you wish, plus we’ll have dance hosts on hand to make sure our single guests never go too long without a dance partner in the evenings.

​Don’t just take our word for it...

What was I thinking, taking a cruise alone? I felt very apprehensive as I reached Braemar in Southampton Docks, but Fred Olsen were superb at arranging ‘singles’ on tables together, organising dance classes and coffee socials, but I didn't have time to attend them as there were so many other opportunities, from listening to a classical pianist, police dog-handler, an officer from Royal Yacht Britannia, watch magicians, shows, comedy acts and so on. 

A ‘first time cruiser’ meeting was most helpful with advice from mobile 'phones (leave on aeroplane mode) to excursions. The cabins were comfortable, the destinations fascinating and enjoyed in temperatures in the 60's... and I made many new friends.” Joy Mendelsohn


Which UK departures ports do Fred. Olsen cruise from?

At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, we believe cruising should be a relaxing experience from start to finish - which is why we offer more regional departures from your local port than any other cruise line.

Our cruises sail from the following regional departure ports:

  • Southampton
  • Dover
  • Liverpool
  • Newcastle
  • Harwich
  • Falmouth
  • London Tilbury
  • Glasgow (Greenock)
  • Edinburgh (Rosyth)
  • Belfast

What is included in the price of my cruise holiday?

At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines we do our utmost to ensure our cruise holidays are not just hugely enjoyable, but great value too. The benefits included in each cruise package are listed below and, as you'll see, there's a lot - so you can just relax and get on with having a good time!

What's Included:

  • Comfortable en suite room accommodation, including TV, hairdryer, individual air conditioning, and in-room safe (or use of free safety deposit boxes).
  • Fine dining, informal buffets and late-night snacks throughout the day and early evening.
  • Complimentary tea and coffee during the day and early evening at selected venues.
  • Morning coffee with biscuits, and afternoon sandwiches and cakes.
  • In-room sandwiches and snacks.
  • All evening entertainment, including cabarets and dancing.
  • Captain's drinks party and gala buffet.
  • On board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and use of gym equipment.
  • Daily on board activities and free lectures.
  • All port taxes for UK ports, Scottish ports of call and UK airport departure taxes (where collectable in advance).
  • Luggage porterage between your room and the drop-off/pick-up point.
  • Flights, as confirmed as part of a fly-cruise holiday.

And everything on board is priced in Sterling - so you don't have any worries about currency fluctuations.

What's Not Included:

  • Travel to/from your port or airports.
  • All drinks on board.
  • Shore Tours.
  • Hairdressing, health, beauty treatments, and selected fitness classes.
  • Personal laundry and dry cleaning.
  • Passports and Visa costs.
  • Holiday insurance.
  • Government levies or taxes (advised at time of travel)
  • Discretionary gratuities to the crew, drivers, guides, etc on board and ashore.

Suite Dreams
If you are looking to make your cruise holiday even more special, and have booked one of our suites, you will also be eligible for our complimentary 'Suite Dreams' package.

Our Suite Dreams package includes a welcome bottle of sparkling wine, afternoon canape service and complimentary shuttle coach vouchers, among other benefits. For full details of 'Suite Dreams', see On Board Experience.

We look forward to welcoming you on board!

What is a Freedom Fare?

Freedom Fares are designed so that our guests can benefit from the best choice of rooms and relax knowing their holiday is planned out. They offer the best in choice, benefits and flexibility, including being able to choose your room number. 

Please see below for a list of all that's included:

- Your choice of restaurant is confirmed at time of booking*
- Your choice of dining time is confirmed at time of booking*
- Your table size at dinner can be requested (but not guaranteed)
- Room grade can be chosen at time of booking
- Room number can be chosen at time of booking
- 15% deposit on bookings before 90 days of departure
- Standard cancellation fee
- Oceans Discount - as applicable, based on membership level**
- Booking transferable to another cruise (once only per booking)
- Priority booking for pre-booked Shore Tours*
- Oceans benefits on board*
- Priority for room upgrades (complimentary or charged, when available)*
- Free shuttle bus to local centre (where operating)
- Priority embarkation in UK departure ports
- Priority debarkation at end of cruise (available on request, but not guaranteed)

* Subject to availability
** Subject to Oceans Club terms and conditions

Room upgrades are subject to availability and may be complimentary or payable. Free shuttle bus is to the local centre and is not offered where the local centre is within walking distance.

What is an Anchor Fare?

Anchor Fares have been designed to offer our guests a simplified pricing structure and clear update on the latest promotional prices available from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

As Anchor Fares offer guests specially reduced prices, the following terms and conditions are applicable:

- Full payment is required at the time of booking
- 100% cancellation charges apply - no refunds are permitted
- Non-transferrable to any other cruise once booked
- No room number and / or room grade is provided at the time of booking (room number will be advised on the cruise ticket)
- Oceans Cruise Club discounts are not combinable with Anchor Fares. Oceans points will be earned however.
- Dining sitting will be allocated at our discretion and will be advised within the cruise ticket. Anchor Fare guests can choose to book a specific dining sitting at the time of booking for a supplement of £2.00 per person per night.
- Table sizes cannot be requested when booking on an anchor fare.

How much luggage can I take on the cruise ship?

Our cruises from UK ports offer a generous 200lbs (90kgs) of luggage. In order to comply with health & safety legislation, no single baggage item should exceed 20kgs. Please be aware that there is limited storage space within your room on board for empty luggage. 

On fly-cruises, however, your allowance will be subject to the conditions imposed by the air carrier and will vary from airline to airline. Full details of your luggage allowance for both checked baggage and hand baggage will be provided on your booking confirmation and your flight tickets. (This is subject to change at any time).

Coach Services
For safety reasons, when using one of our advertised coach services each piece of luggage must weigh less than 20kgs. Please check when booking and on receipt of your tickets.

Please ensure your passport and cruise ticket are NOT placed in your checked baggage as you will need to present these at check-in. We also recommend any essential medication, valuables and fragile items are placed within your hand baggage. For fly cruises, please be aware that there are strict guidelines relating to the size and items permitted within hand baggage (i.e. liquids, sharp objects, etc.).

Due to the nature of baggage loading processes, please ensure your luggage is of strong construction, in good serviceable condition and with a fully operational locking mechanism. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines strongly recommend the use of “hard shell” luggage to reduce the chance of potential damage whilst in transit.

Dress/Suit Carriers – If you are travelling with a dress or suit carrier, please be advised that these must be brought to the check-in desk as carry-on baggage. Due to the soft construction of dress/suit carriers, we are unable to load them as normal baggage. On fly-cruises, we do not recommend that these items are checked into the hold of the aircraft.


How much will my deposit be and is this payable at the time I make my booking?

A deposit of the price of your cruise holiday must be paid to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines at the time you make your booking. The amount payable is dependent on the type of cruise booked, and will be confirmed by your reservations consultant at the time you make your booking.  Please note that other payments may also be due at the time you make your booking.

When will the balance of my cruise need to be paid?

The balance of your cruise will need to be paid no later than 90 days before the departure date. Any cruise holidays booked after this date require you to pay the full price, and this must be paid at the time you make your cruise booking. However, special payment conditions may apply to special or discounted prices.

Unfortunately, we cannot take payment for the balance of your cruise online.

Full details can be found in our Terms & Conditions.

Is there a surcharge for making a cruise booking using a credit card?

In line with UK law, no surcharge will be applied to guests booking a cruise with a credit card. 

Please note, we currently do not accept American Express.

Do you charge a single supplement?

For those cruise guests travelling on their own, we have a number of single occupancy rooms on each of our cruise ships. Alternatively (or if the single rooms are sold out) you can occupy a twin room. All of our twin rooms have a single supplement charge. However, we occasionally have some great offers on Twin Rooms for sole occupancy, so please call Reservations on 01473 742424 for supplement charges, as they vary. 

Are there any visa requirements I need to be aware of when booking a cruise holiday?

Passport, visa and health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you check with a professionally qualified source and comply with such requirements. UK passport holders will need visas for certain Fred. Olsen cruise holidays and this will be advised to you at time of booking or when the requirement arises.

It is the responsibility of all non-British passport holders to ensure that they are in possession of a valid passport and where necessary entry visas or permits for their chosen cruise. If you are unsure as to whether you are required to obtain such documents you must contact the relevant Embassy or Consulate. Failure to comply with this request may result in refusal of carriage or the imposition of individual fines by the local immigration authorities.

Please note: When going ashore independently in certain ports of call (i.e. St Petersburg, Russia) it may be necessary for you to arrange a visitor’s visa. Please see your confirmation invoice for further details of how to do this. In St Petersburg, when participating in shore excursions arranged by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, all passport holders will be covered on a group visa.

Is it possible to find out my room number when I make my booking?

This is dependent on the type of cruise holiday that you have booked, and you will be advised at the time you make your booking whether you will know what your room number is.

If booked on a Freedom Fare, your room and number can be chosen at the time of booking.

If booked on an Anchor Fare, your room grade and number will be allocated at the point you receive your tickets. Any specific rooms features displayed at the time of booking may therefore change.

Are there any extras I need to budget for when booking my cruise?

You will need to consider the following in your holiday budget:

  • Travel to/from your ports or airports
  • All drinks on board
  • Internet usage or telephone calls
  • Shore tours
  • Salon treatments and fitness classes
  • Laundry services
  • Photographs
  • Duty free or items purchased from our shops on board
  • Gratuities
  • Medical expenses
  • Holiday Insurance
  • Passports or visa costs

Extras on board our cruise ships are charged in sterling. Payment is required at the end of your cruise holiday and if you have pre registered your credit card, your bill will be settled swiftly and without queuing.

Do your cruises accommodate children?

Little Skippers Club

On peak holiday cruises, our Little Skippers Club provides a variety of entertainment and activities for children aged between 5 and 11 years old. These activities include arts and crafts, discos, treasure hunts and much more, and are run by our friendly team of hosts and hostesses. 

All of the events are advertised in the Little Skippers Club's 'mini' version of the Daily Times, and separate kids pool times are also provided. There are daytime and evening activities to suit the needs of every child and parent, so the whole family can enjoy a relaxing cruise experience on board our ships.

Please note: The Little Skippers Club also welcomes children under 5, however parents must provide supervision at all times. The club operates subject to minimum numbers being achieved. 

We regret that we are not able to offer any babysitting service during your cruise holiday.

Can I take my grandchildren on a cruise?

We would be delighted to welcome you on board our fleet of ships with your grandchildren, but we do ask that if you are bringing them on a cruise with you, you bring a letter with you to present at embarkation, signed by the children’s legal guardians and detailing the names of the guests who are taking the children on holiday.

Is it possible to view the layout of my room before booking a cruise?

Unfortunately, this isn’t currently available on our website. However, please contact our Reservations team on 0800 0355 130 who will be happy to help you select your preferred room.

What is the minimum age to travel?

Children less than 6 months old and women who will be more than 24 weeks pregnant at the end of the Holiday are not permitted to travel. It is recommended that medical advice is sought prior to Booking for children aged between 6 – 12 months.

Is it possible to take a wheelchair on board?

We welcome all guests relying on wheelchairs for mobility on board our cruise ships, but we do ask that you advise us of your mobility needs at the time of booking in order to meet our health & safety requirements. Read more about the use of wheelchairs on board.  

Are room upgrades available with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines?

Room upgrades on board our cruise ships are subject to availability. Please contact our Reservations team on 0800 0355 130 or email to enquire about the possibility of upgrading your room.

If for any reason we need to cancel our cruise, what cancellations charges may apply?

You may cancel your cruise holiday, subject to notice to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in writing and payment of a cancellation fee in accordance with the following scale:

Number of days before departureCancellation fee being a % of the Contract Price for the Holiday
91 days or more15%
90-57 days60%
56-42 days75%
41-16 days85%
15 to 0 days100%






The effective date of cancellation is the date of receipt by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines of written notice to cancel.

Please note if you are booked on an Anchor Fare, the cancellation charge is 100%.

For full details of our cancellation policy please see our terms and conditions.


Cruise cancellation form

If for any reason you wish to cancel you cruise, you can do so by following the link below and completing the online cancellation form.

Cruise cancellation form

What are the return times for my cruise, back into the UK or fly-cruise port?

Your return time will be advised to you by the on board team and in the Daily Times, and your time for disembarkation will also be advised to you when on board. However, should you wish to know prior to sailing, our Admin Team - on 01473 292444, can advise you, but please note the timings are always subject to change.

What happens once I've made my booking?

Once you've made your cruise booking, you'll receive your Booking Confirmation documents, which we ask you to check carefully as soon as possible. Should any details be incorrect, then please contact your travel organiser, or Fred. Olsen, if you've booked directly, as any errors shown on your booking documentation may lead to delays with issuing of your travel tickets, and amendments fees.

If you are in any dount about your booking confirmation, please do not hesitate to contact your travel organiser, or if you've booked directly with Fred. Olsen, our Guest Services Department on 0800 0355 145.

The following documents will require your attention:

BOOKING CONFIRMATION - This document details the cruise you have booked, guest details, the cruise holiday pricing and important general information. Please pay particular attention to the general information section, reading each section carefully. 

Please be sure to check all the details on your booking confirmation and report any errors or omissions immediately.

GUEST INFORMATION REQUEST* - In order for us to process your booking fully & correctly, it is essential that you provide us with relevant and up to date information about yourself and all other guests on your booking. Information fields marked with an X are missing from your booking and need to be supplied to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines as soon as possible. Failure to provide ALL the missing information will result in your tickets not being released to you. 

In addition, any information that you have already provided to us must be accurate and up to date so please check this information. If any part of it is incorrect, please amend it following one of the simple steps below.

There are three ways to provide your guest information to us:
1. My Cruises: The quickest and easiest way is to log onto your cruise booking is within My Cruises. You will only have to register once and you will be able to view your booking, cruise documents and tickets, and pre-book your shore tours once they are available.
2. By Post: Please complete the missing information (marked with an X on this document) and post it to: Guest Services Department, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Fred. Olsen House, White House Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 5LL.
3. By Phone: If you prefer to speak to one of our friendly Guest Services team, please call them on 0800 0355 145, where they will be happy to take the information from you over the telephone. 
*Please note that the Guest Information Request will only require completing if there is outstanding missing information on your booking.
YOUR CONTRACT – This important document details the terms & conditions of your contract with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. 

Please note the following additional information.
SHORE TOURS INFORMATION – Information regarding the shore tours programme for your chosen cruise will be sent to you approximately four to six weeks before departure. If your cruise booking has been made within two weeks before departure, you will not receive any shore tour information. However, all pre-bookable shore tours can be found in My Cruises within the six week timeframe.
Please note that pre-bookings for shore tours close one week prior to departure.

This is my first cruise, what happens when I first get on board?

Available for cruises departing from UK ports, excluding mini-cruises, our “New to Cruising” programme offers a number of activities that will ensure you are taken special care of as soon as you set foot on board a Fred. Olsen ship:

Guided Ship Tours – Shortly after boarding there will be a chance to have a guided tour of your cruise ship to help familiarise yourself with your new surroundings. You will also be able to ask any questions whilst being shown around. 

“New to Cruising” Get-Together – Early in your cruise, you will be invited to a get together in one of the lounges so that you can meet key ship staff, your fellow first-time cruisers and hear advice about how to get the best out of your cruise.

“New to Cruising” Representative – Our “New to Cruising” representative will be on hand each day at a nominated time and place to answer any questions and offer advice about any aspect of your cruise.

Also, our single guests never need be alone on board as we have the reputation of operating the friendliest cruise ships afloat and were recently voted 'Best for Solo Cruisers' by Cruise Critic. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines staff will be waiting to greet you from the moment you arrive at the port and special activities will be arranged throughout the cruise to give you the opportunity to meet with fellow single travellers if you wish.


0800 0355 130

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