Built in Helsinki between 1971 and 1973, Black Watch and Boudicca were considered amongst the most luxurious cruise ships on the world’s oceans when they entered service with Royal Viking Line.
Black Watch became part of the Fred. Olsen family in 1996, while Boudicca joined us in 2006. Both vessels have, and will always have, a place in our hearts, and it is with a mix of sadness and great pride that we wish them farewell from our fleet as we now look to the future and welcome our two new ships.
Black Watch and Boudicca served us wonderfully, sailing our guests and crew around the world, many times over. We would like to take this opportunity to thank every single guest who sailed on board the sisters and helped ensure every cruise was unforgettable.
Whilst we can't sail at the moment, we have some plans up our sleeves to celebrate and commemorate their years of service with Fred. Olsen and to ensure they get the best send off we can possibly give. Keep an eye on our official Facebook page, and this special memories page on our website for details for how you can get involved.
Looking to the future, as we plan to welcome our new ships Bolette and Borealis to the fleet, we can confirm that they will be operating future ex-UK itineraries that we had originally planned for Black Watch and Boudicca.
Holly Goddard, staff
Black Watch was the very first cruise ship I stepped aboard. She felt so welcoming and friendly and instantly became my favourite ship in the fleet. Such amazing crew and lovely public areas, including my favourite, the Lido Lounge - which I quickly learnt was also a bar on board Boudicca! The perfect spot both day and night, looking over the pool and out to sea.
Thank you to both vessels and to their crew for all of the "wow" moments and memories.
Ruth & Colin Rowan, guests
Our first cruise with Fred through the Panama canal. That was the first of many many more. Crew guests and ports of call fabulous. We would find it so very difficult to try another cruise line now. Platinum members.
We will miss Boudicca too have had several lovely cruises on her. Looking forward to our two future cruises from Liverpool.
Mike Davis, crew
Boudicca was my first ever ship, I was blessed to have Eliott and Alan as my Cruise Director, within a few weeks I was hosting shows and performing cabarets. Boudicca will always make me smile, I made friends for life with both crew and guests.
In the words of your friend and mine the one and only Captain Mikael, I had a wonderful time onboard the fabulous Boudicca, take care of eachother.
Alice Obee, crew
I am a performer (singer/dancer) and my first four professional contracts were spent on board Fred. Olsen ships. I worked on Black Watch in 2015 and again in 2016/17 for the World Cruise. I worked on Balmoral in 2016 and I also worked on Boudicca in 2018 for the season in the Indian Ocean.
I worked for you as singer, dancer and Dance Captain. I visited the world on these ships, experienced the 'Four Bs In Bergen' day and had many family holidays on board as my family joined me. My favourite memory being when my Mum flew to join me for the 18 night Australian leg of the 2017 world cruise on Black Watch!
Tamara L Compton, guest
My very first Fred Olsen cruise was on the Black Watch to the Arctic in the summer of 2016. Oh, what an incredible experience! I met so many wonderful people--both crew members and passengers. I remember early mornings hearing the stories from a couple of older gentlemen at the coffee/tea station; I felt like I was with my grandfathers. And the lovely woman with whom I shared some chilly swims first thing in the morning on the back deck. And the joining the avid and knowledgeable wildlife watchers up in the observation lounge. . . . I was one of maybe three Americans on board but was made to feel so welcome.
Just a few weeks after returning home I found I had this great yearning to be back on board and booked another cruise for later that same year and have happily continued to sail with Fred Olsen, at least until this dreadful pandemic. I've sailed with a few other companies since 2016 but they always seem to lose out in comparison. Whenever someone asks me why Fred Olsen--i always say "it's the people."
Sally Morris, guest
Our first cruise last July on board Black Watch sailing from Liverpool to the Norwegian Fjords. This was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary which was in October.
Everything was absolutely perfect from start to finish. The staff are a credit to you, nothing was too much trouble for any of them.
Our first experience of cruising was so wonderful we can't wait to do another cruise with you. Farewell Black Watch have wonderful memories of you.
Helen Burns, guest
Loved everything about the Boudicca the staff were very special , we met some lovely people who we are still in touch with both staff and fellow passengers Boudicca you will be missed x
Teresa & Peter Swainsbury, guests
Having a cup of tea in the Oriental Tea Room, served by the lovely Wisa. Having breakfast with some of the show performers. Lovely room, friendly welcoming staff. Captain Mikael, was informative and funny, on our mystery cruise, (as our Baltic Cruise turned out to be because of adverse weather at Bornholm). Lovely memories. Beautiful ship, so sorry that she is retiring.
Elaine Lane & Tony Hogwood, guests
We had our honeymoon on the Black Watch in May 2010 after meeting on the Balmoral's 2009 World Cruise, we sailed on the Black Watch to Venice, Split, Cagliari, Brindisi, Palma & Cadiz.
We had a wonderful time and we were invited onto the Captain's table for a celebration of our honeymoon with a massive cake which we could not finish and gove to our wonderful cabin maid, we also had about 20 of the waiters singing to us, what a wonderful cruise. We have also sailed on the Black Watch to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Norway and the Black Sea.
We have now been on over 25 cruises with Fred Olsen and are now Diamond Elite members.
David Williams, guest
When I came to live in Sydney in 1976 I worked not far from Circular Quay with a company called Wilhelmsen. They were the agents for Royal Viking Line. Whilst not allowed to go on board I admired the sleek modern lines of the ships and wondered if one day I would be able to afford to sail on them.
Little did I know that 40years later in 2016 I would be sailing on the Black Watch to Norway, Iceland & Greenland. A remarkable cruise my wife & I will never forget. We are so sorry to see these ships leave the Fred Olsen fleet.
Ian Meachem, crew
For the weather on the day of the Solar Eclipse, the day everyone onboard waited the entire cruise for, it was pretty poor weather and rough sea when opening the curtains! (I recall the bridge team and Captain going over and over the weather forecast time and again trying to finding any spot in between the March North Sea cloud to spot the sun). However, by some minor miracle, possibly for the only 20 minutes of the entire day, there was a break in the cloud exactly when the eclipse happened for where BD was positioned. I remember BW was also pretty nearby as-well as BM a little later...
Every single person was taken aback by the event and the period where the weather really calmed during the eclipse is something I will never forget, how sun impacts the weather...
I am pretty sure that Capt. Kjeldsen received one of the biggest ever round of Applauses at the BD Farewell Cocktails by a packed Neptune Lounge, for both sittings on probably one of BD’s most unique cruises in its life!
Left to Right on the Starboard Bridge Wing:
Lasse Wahlroos (Chief Officer), Emir Blavic (Communication Officer), Ian Meachem (Safety Officer), Kristine Meachem (Snr. management admin), Deborah Jones (Guest Relations Manager), George Cuyos (2nd Officer), Michael Emmenegger (Hotel Manager), Capt. Lars Kjeldsen (Master), Jessica Tilsley (Hostess), Elliott Taylor (Cruise Director).
Anne Bannatyne, guest
First cruise taken with sister and her 2 children on Black Watch. Her youngest son lost his first tooth on this ship, learnt to swim with out arm bands, sneaked out of bed and got his picture taken with the ladies of the dance troop and created a 12 year friendship with Joyful.
Saw our first air lift from a cruise ship and loved the dolphin racing. And that was all on there first cruise with black watch. What can I say love love love!
Heather Ballard, guest
Our very first cruise was on board Boudicca in September 2017, celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. The tour was around Scotland, mainly and included a stop for the Braemar Highland Games - we went to the games prepared for scottish weather, plenty of layers and water proof coats - the weather was beautiful and we both got sun burnt! Needless to say, we have had several cruises since and have a future one for September 2021 to Italy and Croatia. Happy days!
Pernilla Hernborg Kirsh, crew
This wonderful ship was my first home at sea as I joined her as stewardess in 1989. She then sailed under the name Royal Viking Star.
I so fell in love with life at sea so I kept on sailing until 2001. My best years! Thank you and farewell.
Georgina Farnham, guest
Our first ling cruise for my husbands 80th birthday treat was from Sydney to Southampton in February 1998. The best holuday every experienced and we were both treated like royalty. The waiters, the cleaning staff, the entertainment group, the cruise director, the whole crew were the nicest people you could ever meet.
We have been on the Black Watch again in November 1999 for my 70th Birthday and again many of the staff were still on the ship and lovely that they recognise you again. Shall miss the lovely old ship, but look forward to better times and trying one of your new additions to the fleet. Thank you Fred Olsen for your great service.
Suzy (Turcotte) Watson, guest
My mom and I, both Americans, sat down to dinner in the Orchid room at our table for eight on the first night of the 2009 Round-the-World cruise. Among our table mates was a Scottish guy - I married him a year later.
We have enjoyed close to a years worth of cruises on Black Watch together and will be sad to have her retired.
Ian Meachem, crew
So many memories to recount, 6 years sailing on Boudicca from Deck Cadet to Safety Officer. The Ship and crew taught me everything I knew. So many beautiful areas of the world sailed and viewed from the bridge - the 2015 Solar Eclipse, the Amazon river, Greenland, 15 metre waves off Vigo in 2010, the northern lights on the first ever cruise for the company, 4Bs in Bergen...
I met my wife onboard and have so many lifetime friends made from the crew that worked with so much pride. We will always recount the memories of this beautiful vessel.
All good things must come to an end...farewell Boudicca, you will never be forgotten!
Margaret Logan, guest
Our very first cruise was on Boudicca. We went to the Norwegian Ffiords and we fell in love with cruising. My lasting memory is of the Captain playing his trumpet on the bridge as we left Olden - a super atmosphere and experience!
Mike Davis, crew
I started my career with Fred. in 2016 as an entertainment host and the fabulous Boudicca was my first ever cruise ship, I sailed to so many exotic destinations and learnt so much during my time on her. After a couple of years on Balmoral I was lucky enough to sail on her one last time in November last year during her final world voyage.
In the words of the wonderful Captain Mikael she will always be the “fabulous Boudicca” sending lots of love to my fellow crew and the lovely guests xxx
Georgina Farnham, guest
Our first ling cruise for my husbands 80th birthday treat was from Sydney to Southampton in February 1998. The best holuday every experienced and we were both treated like royalty. The waiters, the cleaning staff, the entertainment group, the cruise director, the whole crew were the nicest people you could ever meet. We have been on the Black Watch again in November 1999 for my 70th Birthday and again many of the staff were still on the ship and lovely that they recognise you again.
Shall miss the lovely old ship, but look forward to better times and trying one of your new additions to the fleet. Thank you Fred Olsen for your great service.
Hilton Davies, guest
As I am a ship enthusiast I have followed the careers of the ex Royal Viking trio since they were built. I photographed sistership Royal Viking Sea in the Tyne when brand new in 1973.
We had the pleasure of sailing on Boudicca in 2010 for our Silver Wedding anniversary to the North Cape and what a great introduction to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines it was. We then sailed twice on Black Watch... once to the Baltic and celebrated my birthday on board!
Regardless of their age they are still superb looking vessels and have provided so many passengers with luxury memorable cruises. They will be a miss to me, but as the saying goes "Nothing is forever". Bon Voyage Black Watch & Boudicca...
Andy & Caole Hull, guests
Our very first cruise was on Boudicca back in February 2015. We sailed up to the top of Norway to see the Northern Lights and cross the Arctic Circle. We were not disappointed and had a wonderful time. The memories bring back the days of atmospheric string trio's playing in the Secret Garden and hot morning snacks of bacon sandwiches etc. on the stern deck as we crossed the Arctic Circle. It was a 16 night cruise and perfect in every way.
We have now done 16 cruises and 8 with Fred, sadly only one on Black Watch.