Rich, Claire, Rachael and I were invited to the official Fred. Olsen 2020/21 brochure launch event on board the Fred. Olsen ship Boudicca, docked overnight at Dover.
We were welcomed on board by members of Fred. Olsen head office as well as the team of attentive, friendly ship staff.
We checked into our rooms on Main Deck 5 where we found our goodie bags containing binoculars, a travel wallet and reusable metal water canister (my youngest son quickly claimed the binoculars when I got home!).
After dropping off our luggage in our rooms, we went to the restaurant for afternoon tea where we enjoyed a selection of loose-leaf teas, sandwiches, pastries and freshly-baked scones. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE afternoon tea, so I was in my element.
After gorging ourselves on tea and cakes, we took our time exploring the ship where there were rooms open to view on each deck. We imagined ourselves on our penthouse suite balcony sailing in the Caribbean or some other far off sunny destination but were soon brought back to reality with a walk out on deck experiencing the windy British weather.
After all that exploring we treated ourselves to a well deserved cocktail in one of the ship’s lounge bars and caught up on office emails.
We then returned to our rooms where we had time to get ourselves ready for the evening, before returning to the bar for more cocktails! It also gave us the chance to explore the on board portal developed by SimpleClick incorporating the daily times programme of activities, dining menus and general information. It’s so nice to see one of our projects in action.
There was then a drinks and canapé reception offering the chance to be greeted by the Cruise staff including the Captain and Cruise Director. We then heard presentations from Peter Deer (Commercial Director), Mike Evans (Head of Sales), Martin Lister (Head of Itinerary Planning and Destination Experience) as well as Boudicca’s current captain, Juha Sartela. Fred. Olsen pride themselves on delivering imaginative itineraries, focussing on rich experiences across the globe and I can safely say the new cruise programme certainly looks to deliver on this.
Next was dinner time where we were given the specially produced Explore the World menus from which to select our courses – it was a tough decision as everything sounded so good! All the dishes were inspired by the destinations featured in the 2020/2021 worldwide cruise programme. We were sat on a table with Holly and Martyn from Fred. Olsen head office who had helped to organise the event, with Martyn especially proud of his work designing the printed menus.
The food was prepared under the direction of Executive Chef Dirk Helsig and the rest of the Gallery Team and arrived beautifully presented and served by the wonderful waiting staff who also kept us topped up with wine throughout the meal. We decided to go all out and order something for all five courses, all of which were outstanding.
Once dinner was over, we moved to the Neptune Lounge with yet more drinks and were entertained by the 4-piece singing and dancing group, the Jukebox Rogues. Singing showstopper classics they got the evening started off nicely and soon managed to fill the dancefloor.
After missing out on headsets for the silent disco (but managing to collect a few glowsticks to adorn ourselves with) we made our way up to the Lido Lounge where JD The Soul Machine was performing a selection of Motown and soul – he was brilliant! We were on the G&Ts by now and were suitably merry to join in with the dancing (and taking our turns on the mic).
Although we were still full from our dinner so didn’t actually eat anything, we did go and have a little look at Supper Club – a late night buffet of yet more amazing food. You certainly don’t go hungry on a cruise!
We returned to the Lido Lounge where we drank and danced the rest of the night away, finally making our way back to our rooms at 2.30am after a laughter-filled night.
Feeling a bit worse for wear, it was an early start to have breakfast – full English of course - the perfect hangover cure! We also enjoyed pastries, fruit, yoghurts and a selection of fish along with a very welcome pot of strong tea.
Our time on board Boudicca was then over and we disembarked the ship for the coach journey back to Ipswich with a lot of sore heads and tired bodies.
We’re so lucky to work with fantastic clients who value our working partnership enough to invite us to share events like this with them.