Cruise Wonderland >> Ship Visits >> Black Watch


Date: 2012/02/17
Port: Hong Kong
Berth: Ocean Terminal (north berth), Tsim Sha Tsui

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Unless otherwise specified, information in this article was correct at the time of publishing in February 2012.

About Black Watch

Click on the picture for the virtual ship tour:

About the Visit

Black Watch at Ocean Terminal Gangway Visitor Pass

Founded in 1848 in Norway, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is a family-owned company which is now based in England. Although not being a very famous brand in the overseas markets, it is one of the major cruise lines targeted for the British passengers. It specializes in operating cruises for senior adults with a fleet of four small ships including Balmoral, Black Watch, Boudicca and Braemar. Departures from various British ports are available.

Fred. Olsen features worldwide programmes which bring the four vessels sailing all the world's oceans. Grand voyages, such as world cruises or South American adventures, are planned every year from January to April. Nevertheless, the full world cruise itineraries do not always include Northeast Asia. The last time when a Fred. Olsen's ship came to Hong Kong was Balmoral in March 2009. Three years later, we welcomed Black Watch to our city.

Black Watch's 2012 World Cruise lasted for 106 nights that sailed from and ended in Southampton. After transiting the Suez Canal in January, she spent a whole month cruising in Asia, which arrived in the overnight port Singapore on 11th February, followed by Chan May and then Hong Kong. This would be my second time to see Black Watch, after the first time in Southampton when I travelled to England in 2010.

Being a great opportunity to know more about the ship, I requested for an onboard visit three months ago. Thank Rachael Jackson (Public Relations Manager) and Angela Arnold (Port Operations Manager) for the arrangements.

The ship arrived in our city at 08:00 on 17th February and moored at the north berth of Ocean Terminal. The visit was scheduled at 10:00. After obtaining a visitor pass at the gangway, I met Olga Hliakava, the Guest Relations Manager who was also my guide today.

The tour began on the upper decks. We first went to The Observatory lounge at Deck 9 forward, and walked towards the aft end on Deck 10, passing through the Fitness Centre and Tennis Court. The next destinations were the two aft swimming pools and the open decks. When all the open-air areas were completed, it's time to explore the indoor facilities. Starting from the Library, Card Room and Casino on Deck 7, we then went downstairs to see an entire deck of public rooms on Deck 6, followed by the passenger services desks on Deck 5, as well as the Beauty Salon on Deck 4 and the Marina Theatre on Deck 3. Details about all the amenities on Black Watch can be referred in the virtual ship tour in the previous section.

My first impression of this ship was that she boasts a Norwegian heritage of seamanship. The interior design also reflects traditional features. A large amount of artworks and other collections dedicated by the Olsen family can be found. Although the ship is already 40 years old, it was once one of the best ships in the world (as Royal Viking Star of Royal Viking line from 1972 to 1991) and had been refitted regularly. Many facilities are still in good conditions. Also there is a friendly and intimate shipboard ambience like a British country house, offering a relaxing cruising experience.

Finally I was invited to have a cup of tea in The Braemar Room on Deck 6 amidships. Thanks Olga once again for introducing every parts on the ship to me. I disembarked Black Watch at noon and strolled near the terminal to take some more exterior pictures of the ship.

Black Watch stayed overnight in Hong Kong and departed at 14:00 the next day. Then she would continue with her world cruise to Manila, Kota Kinabalu and several ports in Australia.

The next Fred. Olsen ship coming to Hong Kong should be Balmoral again, as the itinerary of her 2014 World Cruise has just been announced, with Hong Kong as one of the ports of call.

Port Shop
Marquee Pool

Hallway Black Watch at Ocean Terminal Black Watch Departed from Hong Kong


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