1972 June 26th (as Royal Viking Star)
1996 November 15th (as Black Watch)
Named after the Scottish Black Watch Regiment, the third Black Watch of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines joined the fleet in 1996. Built originally for the Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Star in 1972, she was one of the best passenger ships at that time. She was then stretched in 1981 to add a mid-section and increase her capacity. One of her sisters, Boudicca, now also belongs to Fred. Olsen.
With a sleek and elegant appearance, Black Watch is small in size by today's standard, carrying around 800 passengers only. This offers the intimacy, sophistication and traditional style that is reminiscent of the golden age of cruising. Despite of her long history, she is still well-maintained.
The interior decor is pleasant, with wide hallways and foyers, soft lighting without any glitz, as well as fine Scandinavian furnishings around the ship. The spacious and high-ceilinged public areas, good amount of open deck, and larger than usual cabins enable passengers to experience a comfortable feeling. All the artwork onboard is the collection owned by the Olsen family.
With the language onboard being English and the "home from home" feel throughout the ship, Black Watch is designed to provide holiday for elderly British travellers who want a country house cruising atmosphere. She offers worldwide itineraries to the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and grand voyages such as world cruise or around South America each year.
|Wärtsilä Shipyard, Helsinki (Finland)
|Nassau, The Bahamas
|Length x Beam x Draft
|205.5 x 25.2 x 7.3 (m), 673.9 x 82.7 x 23.9 (ft)
Number of Cabins
(Inside / Oceanview / Balcony)
|449 (48, 334, 67)
(Standard Occupancy /
|804 / 868
|IMO Number, Call Sign
Boudicca (Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines)
Albatros (Phoenix Reisen)
1972-1991: Royal Viking Star (Royal
1991-1994: Westward (Norwegian Cruise Line)
1994-1996: Star Odyssey (Royal Cruise Line)
1996- : Black Watch (Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines)
(Unless otherwise specified, information about Black Watch in this virtual ship tour was correct at the time of publishing after the author visited the ship in February 2012. Cruise Wonderland would like to express our gratitude to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in organizing the ship tour for us.)
Click on different decks to
view the details:
Deck 3 / Deck 4 / Deck 5 / Deck 6 / Deck 7 / Deck 8 / Deck 9 / Deck 10 / Deck 11
Deck 3 (Marina Deck)
Deck 3 is the lowest passenger deck. There are the cinema, the Medical Centre, as well as inside and outside cabins.
The 158-seat Marina Theatre with a steeply tiered floor is the onboard cinema at forward of Deck 3. It screens programmed movies every day, and can also be used for lectures and group meetings.
The Medical Centre at the starboard side of Deck 3 forward provides primary care with a doctor and nurses if needed in an emergency.
|Marina Deck Midship Staircase
Deck 4 is another cabin deck with inside and outside cabins. The Beauty Salon is situated amidships.
The midship Beauty Salon, also known as Atlantis Spa, is fully equipped and offers a wide range of services for both ladies and gentlemen, including hairdressing, massage, facials, manicures and spa treatments.
|Beauty Salon (Treatment Room)
Inside cabins (140 square feet) can be found on Deck 3, Deck 4 and Deck 5. Each room has two lower beds, bathroom with shower, sofa chair, table, writing desk, drawers and storage space, air-conditioning, television, telephone, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer and toiletry items.
Outside cabins (150 to 200 square feet) can be found on Deck 3, Deck 4, Deck 5 and Deck 7, which have similar amenities as Inside Cabins. Those on Deck 3 and Deck 4 have portholes, whereas those on Deck 5 and Deck 7 have picture windows.
|Atlantic Deck Hallway
|Atlantic Deck Midship Lifts
Deck 5 houses a number of guest service facilities, such as the front desk, the shore excursion desk and future cruise sales desk. There are also shops and Photo Gallery, as well as inside and outside cabins.
The midship Reception Desk is the heart of Black Watch. The receptionists are on hand to help with any enquiries, including currency exchange, holiday arrangements and all the information passengers want to know.
Shore Tours Office:
The Shore Tours Office is opposite to the Reception Desk. The staff there will be able to give advice to passengers on tours and answer any related questions.
Cruise Sales Office:
The Future Cruise Manager at the Cruise Sales Office, near the forward staircase, is on hand every day for bookings on the next cruise.
|Shore Tours Office
|Boudicca Ship Model
Shops (Boutique and Port Shop):
Some Shops lie at the midship corridor of Deck 5. The stylish Boutique sells duty-free jewellery, watches, perfume and cosmetics, whereas the Port Shop sells Fred. Olsen logo items, port souvenirs, holiday essentials, clothing and accessories.
The Photo Gallery at the midship corridor display photos every day, which can be purchased and printed. It also has a range of photographic related items for sale.
Self-service Launderette can be found at Deck 5 aft. A nominal charge applies for the use of the washing machines and tumble dryers. Irons are also available.
Deck 6 is the deck for public rooms. For forward to aft, there are the main restaurant, the buffet restaurant, a number of lounges and bars, and the outdoor main pool.
Glentanar Restaurant is the non-smoking main dining room located forward. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, with two seatings for dinner (18:15 and 20:30).
Just aft of the Glentanar Restaurant at the port side, the 50-seat Orchid Room is a smaller and intimate venue for dining. It has the same menu as the Glentanar Restaurant, and can be reserved upon request.
Braemar Garden Cafe:
Situated amidships, the Braemar Garden Cafe has 68 seats and is a smaller, buffet restaurant for a casual and lighter dining choice. Self-service breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks are offered in open seating, under the music from the grand piano. Sometimes it has special themed dinners in which pre-booking is required.
The Braemar Room:
The Braemar Room at the starboard side midships is a cocktail lounge which can accommodate 85 guests. Tea and coffee are served from the beverage corner throughout the day. On one wall, there is an old iron figurehead from a former ship called Braemar Castle, which is a collection owned by the Olsen family.
Having a capacity of 51 guests, the Scottish-influenced Pipers Bar at the starboard side midships offers a full range of drinks and cocktails. "Black Watch Regiment" memorabilia is featured here.
|Braemar Garden Cafe
|Braemar Garden Cafe
|Braemar Garden Cafe
|The Braemar Room
|The Braemar Room
Neptune Lounge is the showlounge on Black Watch which seats 460 guests and has a 80-square-meter dance floor. Positioned between the midship and aft staircase, it is the venue for small-scale production shows, cabaret acts, ballroom dancing, lectures, as well as Captain's welcome and farewell parties.
The Games Room at the port side aft can be used for a number of purposes. It is normally set up for table tennis, but is also adapted to a children's playroom on cruises falling within the main school holiday period.
Swimming Pool Area:
The Swimming Pool at Deck 6 aft is filled with sea water which constantly circulates whilst the ship is at sea. There are also one Jacuzzi, and two SwimEx Pools which offer the chance to swim against a controlled current.
Poolside Cafe and Bar:
Situated at the starboard side of Swimming Pool, the Poolside Cafe and Bar provides deck parties and drinks to accompany the deck buffet lunch if weather permits.
|Swimming Pool Area
The Open Promenade encircles the whole Deck 7. Some outside cabins occupy the forward end, whereas a lounge, the library, card room, Casino and Internet Room can be found at the aft end.
The wide, wrap-around teakwood Open Promenade is suitable for strolling, reading or playing deck quoits and shuffleboards. Five times walking around the Promenade equals one mile. The forward area just below the bridge is a popular observation point with nice view of the ship's bow.
Situated at the port side amidships, the Internet Room allows passengers to browse the Internet, send emails and stay in touch with friends. Internet access cards can be purchased from the Reception Desk.
A few gaming tables can be found in the Casino at port side, opposite to the library, where passengers can play blackjack or roulette. There are no slot machines at all on Black Watch.
The well-appointed Explorers Library at the starboard side has a capacity of 27, and offers a wide variety of books including novels, historical, geographical, autobiographical and even large print books and audio books. There is also a selection of board games.
Dalreoch Card Room:
Named after a former Olsen family estate in Scotland, the light and airy Dalreoch Card Room at starboard side has plenty of card tables and is a popular place for playing cards and games. Bridge tuition is also offered on many cruises by qualified instructors. It can accommodate 54 people at most.
|Explorers Library & Dalreoch Card Room
|Dalreoch Card Room
The aft, nautically themed Lido Lounge has a capacity of 98 and can overlook the Swimming Pool Area one deck below. Passengers can take part in a quiz during daytime, or enjoy a cocktail and dance on the spacious dance floor (80 square meter) under live music at night. Morning coffee and afternoon tea are also served here.
Junior Suites and Deluxe Suites:
Junior Suites (240 square feet) and Deluxe Suites (260 square feet) are located on Deck 5 and Deck 7. Each of them has a seating area with sofas and chairs, bathroom with bathtub and shower, refrigerator and other features that can be found in Outside Cabins. The latter also have a separate bedroom.
|Swimming Pool View
Deck 8 is a cabin deck with balcony cabins and suites. The bridge is nestled at the forward end.
Balcony Cabins (160 square feet) can be found on Deck 8. In each cabin there are a balcony, two lower beds, bathroom with shower, sofa chair, table, writing desk, drawers and storage space, air-conditioning, television, telephone, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer and toiletry items. Some cabins may have obstructed views due to the lifeboats and life rafts.
Balcony Suites and Superior Suites:
Balcony Suites (210 square feet) and Superior Suites (300 square feet) are both located on Deck 8 and Deck 9. In addition to all the features found in Balcony Cabins, they have a bedroom, sitting area, refrigerator, safe, and a bathroom with bathtub and shower. All suite occupants also have cotton bathrobes and slippers, binoculars and atlas in cabins, daily newspaper, afternoon canapés, complimentary fruit basket and bottle of wine on arrival, and priority seating in dining rooms.
The largest accommodation on Black Watch is the Owner's Suite (820 square feet), just aft of the bridge at the starboard side. It has a foyer leading to a lounge with sofa, table and chairs, two bedrooms, a large bathroom, and a spacious balcony with several sunloungers. However, price of this suite is generally not listed on the website or in the brochure.
|Bridge Deck Aft
A couple of suites are situated amidships of Deck 9. Forward of this deck lies an observation lounge, and the aft end is another swimming pool with a poolside bar.
With a capacity of 113 people, The Observatory at the forward allows guests a panoramic view day and night through the large windows. It is a popular place to enjoy light snacks and a pre-dinner drink under the background music played by the grand piano. Many nautical memorabilia are also displayed in this horseshoe-shaped lounge.
|Marquee Deck Forward Staircase
|Black Watch Ship Model
|Marquee Deck Hallway
Marquee Pool & Jacuzzis:
A smaller Marquee Pool is positioned at Deck 9 aft, together with two Jacuzzis. Some sunloungers are placed around the pool for passengers to relax.
Marquee Pool Bar:
The Marquee Pool Bar provides deck service for drinks. If weather permits, al-fresco light grills such as burgers, salad, fish and chips are offered at lunchtime.
|Marquee Pool & Jacuzzis
|Marquee Pool Bar
|Swimming Pool View
Marquee Suites and Premier Suites:
6 Marquee Suites (440 square feet) and 3 Premier Suites (550 square feet) are located amidships of Deck 9, in which each suite has an additional mini-bar when compared with Balcony Suites and Superior Suites. They are named after different cities: "Lindos" (9002), "Nice" (9004), "Amalfi" (9006), "Windsor" (9008), "Seville" (9001), "Singapore" (9003), "Carmel" (9005), "Bergen" (9007) and "Waterford" (9009).
The Fitness Centre complex is located amidships on Deck 10. There are also the forward observation area and aft Sun Decks. This deck is only accessible by stairs but not elevators.
Fitness Centre (Saunas & Gymnasium):
Fitness facilities can be found in the large and well-equipped Fitness Centre, which comprises the gymnasium, dance studio, steam rooms, saunas, treatment rooms and changing rooms. There are treadmills, rowing machines, exercise bikes, weights and much more training equipment. Dance and aerobics lessons are also provided by certified instructors.
Golf Nets and Tennis Court are situated atop of the ship on Deck 11, though this deck does not appear separately on deck plan. They can be reached by the outdoor stairs on the port side from Deck 10.
Golf Nets and Tennis Court:
Passengers can play golf and tennis onboard when weather permits. On some departures designated as Flagship Golf Cruises, PGA professionals will be on hand to offer advice on golf techniques.
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