From Samurai to sardine festivals – Fred. Olsen announces new cruise experiences for 2020/21
Visiting Tokyo’s Kamakura – the historic home of the fearless Japanese warrior caste Samurai – and helping Indian dabbawallas deliver lunchboxes in Mumbai are among a host of new and authentic experiences being offered by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
The innovative and novel shore excursions, which also include Portugal’s annual Sardine Festival in honour of Lisbon’s patron saint, were announced when the new brochure was launched aboard Boudicca – one of the line’s four small ocean ships – in Dover on Friday (March 8).
In 2020/21 Fred. Olsen will visit an unprecedented 277 destinations in 90 countries, across six continents on 170 different itineraries.
One of the highlights of the new ocean programme is the inaugural 14-night ‘Authentic Japan’ fly-cruise, from Tokyo in January 2021, aboard Boudicca. This itinerary features three maiden calls in Japan – Beppu, Hiroshima and Nagoya – and focusses upon the themes of ‘authenticity’ and taking guests ‘closer’, as part of Fred. Olsen’s range of new ‘Community & Way of Life’ cruise experiences.
Passengers will visit Kamakura, the place where the Samurai originated; don a kimono as part of a traditional tea ceremony in Kobe; watch geishas dance to Japanese music in Tokyo; sample classic cuisine, such as Sake rice wine and sushi; and relax in the thermal hot springs at Beppu.
On the 14-night ‘Exploring Authentic India’ sailing from Phuket in February 2021, also on Boudicca, highlights include a visit to Mumbai’s Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest open-air laundry, and the chance to assist some of the busy dabbawallas that deliver an incredible 350,000 hot lunches daily across India’s largest city.
Another key theme in the new brochure is visiting destinations at the optimum time of the year to take in local events and festivals. Examples of the ‘Best Time To Go’ itineraries include: Black Watch’s 10-night Authentic Flavours of Portugal’ cruise, from Liverpool in June 2020, to coincide with the evocative Feast of St. Anthony, also known as the Sardine Festival; Black Watch’s ‘Canaries & Portugal with the Funchal Flower Parade’ sailing, taking in the city’s awe-inspiring floral spectacular; and – a first for Fred. Olsen – Boudicca’s 28-night ‘Discovering Asia with Singapore at New Year’ fly-cruise, sailing from the Seychelles in December 2020, where guests can enjoy the fun and fanfare of the New Year’s celebrations in the vibrant Asian capital.
Following its successful launch into the world of river cruising in 2018, with the exclusive Fred. Olsen vessel Brabant, the company is also launching a new river programme in 2020 with 26 itineraries covering 43 ports of call across six countries on the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Danube. Most notably, these include sailings into Luxembourg, a country visited by very few river ships.
Guests at the launch were told the itineraries had been created following feedback from passengers saying how much they enjoyed authentic cultural experiences. This also follows the line being named Best for Itineraries in Cruise Critic’s annual UK Editors’ Picks Awards 2018 for a record fourth year in a row, as well as coming out top in the Best for Shore Excursions category.
Justin Stanton, Sales and Marketing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “In 2020/21, guests will find a mix of sailings from the UK and truly inspirational fly-cruises to destinations across the globe, as well as a new programme of European river cruises, taking them far and wide, and affording unforgettable experiences, both on board and ashore.
And for passengers that can’t make up their mind where they want to go, there is even an unusual ‘Mystery Cruise’ aboard Black Watch in April 2020. Departing from Liverpool, only the captain will know where the ship is heading on the nine-night sailing!
The 2020/21 cruises are now on sale at www.fredolsencruises.com
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
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