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black watch cruise ship photos
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Black Watch Facts & Figures
Owner/Operator:Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Year built:1972
Builder:Wärtsilä, Helsinki, Finland
Former names:Royal Viking Star, Westward, Star Odyssey
Gross Tonnage:28,668
Length:205.5 m (674.1 ft)
Beam:25.2 m (82.6 ft)
Passengers (normal):775
Passengers (maximum):821
Crew:415
Service speed:19.5 kn
Sister Ships:Boudicca, Albatros
Black Watch Photo Gallery
Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos
Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos
Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos
Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos
Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos
Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines cruise ship photos
Black Watch Interior Photos
Lido Lounge - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer Breamar Room - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer
Explorer´s Library - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer Braemar Garden - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer
The Observatory - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer
Marquee Pool - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer Explorer´s Library - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer
Explorer´s Library - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer Braemar Garden - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer
Braemar Room and new Braemar Garden - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer
Glentanar Restaurant - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer Dalreoch Card Room - Photo © 2009 Bart de Boer
From the ShipParade Archives: Black Watch Ship Tour
Amenities, decor, charges and services have changed since this article was written Text & Photos © 2003 Bart de Boer

My fascination with cruise ships started with the elegant sisters Royal Viking Star, Royal Viking Sky and Royal Viking Sea, built in the early seventies for Norwegian luxury operator Royal Viking Line. Sailing on itineraries that spanned the globe, these ships were onsidered the pinnacle in luxury, comfort and style in their days. By the early eighties, I was fanatically studying brochures and deck plans and I just couldn't get enough of the brilliant clean-cut Scandinavian design and stylish interior spaces. My dream to one day set sail on one of these vessels became reality in 1997 as I boarded the former Royal Viking Star - now sailing as Black Watch - in Dover for a 14-day winter cruise to the Canary Islands, Spain and Morocco. I felt right at home.

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Even though the 32-year old ship has been rebuilt many times, present Norwegian owners Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines have managed to transform Black Watch into a contemporary cruise ship without losing that particular feeling of spaciousness and elegance that made such an impression on me more than two decades ago. In December of 1997 I was thrilled to venture to exotic places like Casablanca, Madeira and Lanzarote on this ship that I knew so well. Only three years later, I embarked once again; this time for a four-night cruise from Dover to Cobh (Ireland) and Guernsey (UK Channel Islands).
In the summer of 2003 I was able to briefly hop on board during a visit of the ship to the port of Amsterdam. While Black Watch definitely shows her age in some areas, Fred. Olsen are spending a lot of money on her upkeep and the ship remains as popular as ever. Which in itself is a good reason to take a renewed look at one of my favorite classic cruise liners afloat, the incomparable Black Watch. Please note I was not able to view any staterooms as the ship was fully booked at the time of my visit.
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To set foot on Black Watch again is like coming home. The happy marriage of mainly Philippino crew and Norwegian officers make Black Watch a happy ship where everyone, crew and passengers alike, treats each other with respect. Black Watch is a classic liner and attracts her own loyal following of mature, well-travelled, mostly British guests. So look elsewhere for full-blown Las Vegas revues and ice skating rinks.
When Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines took delivery of Black Watch in 1996, the rather underused Venus Lounge up on Marquee Deck was transformed into a most successful combination of card room, library, reading room and Internet Center. Home to some of the most comfortable overstuffed chairs on the high seas and offering unparalleled sea views through floor-to-ceiling windows, the Explorer Library is very popular, just like the Dalreoch Card Room on the opposite side. In true Fred. Olsen fashion, many areas sport Scottish names as a homage to the country that played such an important role in the Olsen's family history.
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Next door, the nautical ambiance of The Observatory attracts many guests for pre- or after dinner drinks. The views over land and sea are downright sensational here and with a hint of harp or piano music, the mood is just right. I remember sitting in The Observatory after we sailed from the Island of Guernsey back in 2000. The sun set over the French mainland, there was camaraderie with fellow passengers, the long drinks were tall and cool - it was an unforgettable evening!
Black Watch's nightlife centers around Lounge and Lido Decks, starting with the wonderful Braemar Room on Lounge Deck (6). This piano bar and tea room is named after one of Fred. Olsen's former passenger vessels and the ship's weathered figurehead is prominently displayed in the middle of the room. With its Black Watch tartan carpeting, perfect lighting, playful use of colors and materials and the 24-hour self-service coffee and tea station nearby, this could well be the ship's most popular room.
black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos
black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos
Aft of the Braemar Room on the starboard side of the vessel is the Pipers Bar. Done in cheerful red and blue, with bagpipes and golf memorabilia adorning the walls, this is as close as you will get to a traditional Scottish pub. Directly adjacent is the Neptune Lounge, Black Watch's show lounge. Sightlines are not too glorious from many seats and entertainment is a bit of a hit and miss. On my cruises, I recall brilliant evenings with excellent performers interspersed with the odd hair raising extravaganza that barely rose above the level of entertainment found in holiday camps.
On Lido Deck, the volume is turned a tat louder in the charming, nautically inspired Lido Lounge. With a nice dance floor, good sized bar and inviting seating areas, you will find people here at all hours of the night, chatting over drinks and enjoying the music of a combo. Leading to the Lido Lounge is a narrow corridor with Black Jack and Roulette tables that together form the Casino. Casino action is extremely limited on Black Watch, with not a single one-armed bandit to be seen on the whole ship. Even on longer cruises, the fancy red-and-blue Star Night Club attracts many disco fans of all ages, as does the tiny but oh so pretty Cove, the ship's cigar room located further forward.
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The excellent food served on Black Watch is part of the success of this ship. While the offerings might not be as extravagant as on many other cruise liners, the quality of the food and the attention to detail with which it is prepared is second to none. Most meals are served in the large, airy Glentanar Restaurant on Lounge Deck and in the almost hidden Orchid Room next door. The wood-paneled Orchid Room is a true gem, but alas it is only used for VIP's, groups or if the ship is full.
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black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos black watch fred olsen cruise ship photos
Done in red and blue, the Glentanar Restaurant has a fresh, clean and inviting look. Entrance is by means of the Braemar Room or the forward stair tower, with both entrances having their own large buffet setup. In a true departure from other cruise lines, Fred. Olsen serves breakfast and lunch buffet style here. Additional a la carte items may be ordered from your waiter, but the elaborate buffets with exquisite fruit and vegetable carvings really are something to look forward to. Dinner is served in two seatings, with ample choice from the a la carte menu. Don't expect to linger over dinner though; on my most recent cruise service was (too) superfast!
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For sun worshippers, there is a casual Garden Café inside on deck 6 and the Poolside Café all the way aft on the same deck. Overlooking the main swimming pool, the Poolside Café serves up delicious buffet breakfasts and lunches. Black Watch shows her true age when it comes to the amount of open deck space. This ship sports acres of teak decks, so you will always be sure to find your place in the sun. There is the beach-like atmosphere of the Marquee Deck, with its dipping pool twin Jacuzzis and Pool Bar. Or perhaps you fancy the Tennis Court or the fully equipped Fitness Center with saunas. And last but not least, let's not forget the lovely lady's greatest asset: her wide, gorgeous, wrap-around teak Promenade Deck.
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