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HISTORIC CRUISING


entertainment staff, with golf-practice nets and a tennis court on the top deck. There are also two contrasting lido areas, with a small circular pool with two Jacuzzis on Deck 9 and the well-sheltered main pool aft on Deck 6. The latter is the original deep, full-sized pool of 1972, which was retiled during the last major refit. This area is also used for open-air dancing and is overlooked by a large sculptured bronze figurehead from an earlier incarnation. Figureheads were a feature on Fred. Olsen ships from the 1930s onwards and these can be found displayed around the current fleet, with no less than three on Black Watch. By an extraordinary coincidence, a


few days after Black Watch celebrates her 40th


birthday on June 26, 2012, she will be in Helsinki, the place of her birth. With plenty of life still left in this stylish old lady, let us wish her happy returns and hope she has many more years of enjoy- able sea travel to come. 


“Black Watch features a WONDERFUL WRAP-AROUND PROMENADE DECK, complete with TRADITIONAL GAMES”


Executive Chef Siggi Weich introduced all the galley chefs to the audience in the Nep- tune Lounge, followed by a Gala Buffet that showcased their full range of culinary skills. It was the best we had ever seen, with fancy ice sculptures, swan-shaped éclairs and intricate breads in animal designs. A proper Promenade Deck is another


notable Fred. Olsen feature. On many mega-ships, trying to enjoy a brisk walk (an ideal way of shedding excess calories on a cruise!) usually means dodging deck- chairs and the sun-worshipping hordes on the top decks, which are so high up the view of the sea is often blocked by windscreens or the forward superstructure. The wonderful, wide wrap-round prom- enade on Deck 7 of Black Watch offers


perfect views across the ocean from both sides. Five laps equal a mile and walk- ing the well-maintained teak decking is a perfect way to while away time at sea. Just below the bridge, one can also spend hours simply watching the bow break through the waves or trying to spot dolphins and whales. On a single day off the coast of north-west Spain, we saw more than 100 dolphins, often swimming under the bow as they chased fish, emerg- ing out the other side and spinning in the air off the bow wave. This is what sea travel is all about. For the more energetic, there are always the staples of any traditional promenade deck: shuffleboard and deck quoits under the tutelage of the enthusiastic young


BLACK WATCH FACTFILE


Maiden Voyage: 1972 (as Royal Viking Star) Refurbished: 1981, 1996, 2009 Tonnage: 28,613 Length: 674ft Beam: 83ft Draft: 24ft Speed: 20 knots Passengers: 804 Crew: 330


Passenger decks: 8 Registry: Bahamas


ITINERARIES: winter, Caribbean, World Cruise; spring, Mediterranean, Canaries; summer, N Europe, Med; autumn, Med, Canaries.


MORE INFO: Call 01473 746175, or visit www.fredolsencruises.com.


Winter 2011-12 I WORLD OF CRUISING 35


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