With the white cliffs of Dover as a backdrop, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines new flagship Bolette has set sail on her maiden voyage.
The fully refurbished 1,138-passenger vessel, formerly sailing as Holland America Line’s Amsterdam, was purchased by Fred. Olsen last year along with Holland America’s Rotterdam, now Borealis, to replace Boudicca and Black Watch which were retired following the acquisition. They were both renamed after two previous Fred. ships and are now part of the four-strong fleet that mainly caters to British passengers.
Bolette embarked on a three-night Scenic British Isles & Summer Wildlife maiden voyage around the Scilly and Channel Islands and will go on to offer ex-UK round-trip cruises from Dover – which will be the ship’s homeport – and Southampton, plus fly-cruises to destinations including the Mediterranean, Norway, the Canaries and Central America.
The milestone sailing followed an extensive refurbishment programme that saw public areas revamped, cabins updated, new bathrooms installed, and new carpets laid throughout. The project introduced popular Fred. Olsen venues to the ship including the Morning Light Pub, The Bookmark Café, and The Oriental Tea Room, alongside many new additions to Fred. Olsen, including an all-weather pool and two-tiered theatre.
New speciality dining venues include Vasco, named after the famous explorer Vasco Da Gama, who was the first European to reach India by sea. Meanwhile, Colours & Tastes offers modern Asian Fusion dishes.
Peter Deer, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:
“Today is a very important day for us, as we introduce our new flagship, Bolette, to the world. The team on board has worked incredibly hard to add our own Fred. Olsen touches to the ship, with every element designed with the elegance and attention to detail that we are so well known for.
“After many weeks of successful cruising, I am so proud to enhance our offering with a second new ship in the fleet today. I know that guests will love her just as much as we do, and our wonderful crew can’t wait to welcome guests, both new and returning, on board.
Captain Mikael Degerlund added:
“Launching a new ship always brings a buzz of excitement, but launching a new flagship is even more special. There has been a real energy on board as the final preparations have been made over the past few weeks. When we welcome our first guests on board we will do so with great pride.
“It is a huge honour to captain Bolette for her Maiden Voyage, and I look forward to many happy sailings aboard our new flagship in the future.”
Bolette, named after the great-great-grandmother of company Chairman, Fred. Olsen Jnr, is the second in the fleet to set sail post-pandemic, following on from sister ship Borealis in early July.
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 by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines