Fred Olsen Cruise Lines prizes on Borealis

Fred Olsen Iceland fam trip: Learn about the Olsen Way

In association with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Cruise Trade News recently joined eight travel agents on a special cruise to Iceland with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

The VIP educational trip was designed to enable agents to learn about the product and showcase the Olsen Way, helping agents understand what it includes and what it means for clients.

Sailing on one of the line’s new ships, Borealis, the cruise departed from Liverpool, sailing to Reykjavík, Ísafjörður, and Akureyri, among other scenic ports of call.

Iceland, Reykjavik
Guests will visit geysers in Reykjavík, Iceland

CTN editor Gary Peters said: “This was a wonderful trip, giving agents the chance to explore a new ship in the Fred Olsen fleet and understand the elements of the Olsen Way and how they relate to helping agents sell the line’s cruises.

“It was also been a great chance to step on board Borealis and see first-hand how Fred Olsen has elevated its on-board experience since the restart of cruising.”

Follow this page and CTN’s social media channels for coverage and look out for a full round-up in the August/September edition of the magazine.

Discover more about the Olsen Way

The Olsen Way features 10 key principles that define Fred Olsen and what makes the cruise line unique.

Find out more on its official Olsen Way page.

More information to help agents understand the brand and its key selling points can be found in its comprehensive trade guide.

Click to view


Fred Olsen VIP fam: Travel agent video reactions

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

The Fred Olsen VIP fam trip to Iceland has come to an end. We speak to some of the travel agents who joined the cruise to discover what they thought of their experience.

The 10-day Whales, Waterfalls & Geysers of Iceland itinerary, on Borealis, gave agents an insight into the Olsen Way – 10 key principles that define the Fred Olsen experience.

From on-board activities, to speciality dining, immersive shore excursions and much more, the group was able to learn how Fred Olsen focuses on the joy of the journey, and, in particular, how everything it does relates to its guests.

As the Olsen Way puts it: ‘It’s all about the people, all of it. Everything’.

Here, agents outline what they have learned and how it will help them when selling Fred Olsen itineraries to their clients.

Alan Witt, Not Just Travel ⬇

Brogan Doyle, Fred Holidays ⬇

Lisette Barnes, Lincolnshire Coop Travel ⬇

Stephanie Blackmun, Newmarket Holidays ⬇

Kevin Reeves, Cruise 118 ⬇


Fred Olsen VIP fam: A memorable cruise for so many reasons

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

It’s the final day on the Fred Olsen VIP fam cruise, with agents expressing their gratitude for what has been a memorable 10 days.

The day began with an exclusive chat with the Borealis entertainment team, who explained the work that goes into putting on the incredible shows, night after night.

Following this, some of the group went for a sumptuous afternoon tea, and then took part in a fun-filled treasure hunt around the ship.

Speaking today, agents have been keen to stress their sadness at the trip coming to an end, but also their thanks to Fred Olsen and fellow shipmates for creating a “special” experience.

Brogan Doyle, Fred Holidays marketing and creative design executive, says the tour with the entertainment team made her feel like a “real VIP”.

“It was great to hear from them about their experiences and to see how the amazing shows all come together.”

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip
Agents speak to the Borealis entertainment team

Lincolnshire Coop Travel’s Lisette Barnes says: “I don’t want our journey to end. It has been an amazing experience.

“Thank you to the Fred Olsen team – they have gone over and above to make our cruise special.

“Every member of crew has been so kind and thoughtful. They will go that extra mile for you, no matter what the request is. It has surpassed my expectations in every way.”

Fred Olsen Travel assistant manager Tom Holland echoes Barnes’ comments, explaining: “Sadly our Fred Olsen journey is coming to an end.

“Today was such a relaxing day, with some more behind-the-scenes encounters and fun activities. This included looking around backstage, which provided an insight into how hard working the entertainment team is.

“We also got to run around the ship for a treasure hunt, and in the afternoon were treated to a food and wine pairing experience with the resident sommelier.

“I will be ending the day with a delicious meal in Vasco with a big smile on my face and a tear in my heart.”

Holland adds that the Fred Olsen team and other agents on board have “made this such a special and memorable trip… we arrived as strangers but will be leaving as friends.”


Fred Olsen VIP voyage: Going above and beyond

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

Borealis arrives in Tórshavn for a bonus port of call, as Fred Olsen Cruise Lines once again demonstrates its commitment to going above and beyond for its guests.

Agents on Fred Olsen’s VIP fam trip today explored the capital city of the Faroe Islands.

The stop in Tórshavn was quickly arranged by the cruise line following the cancellation of the previous port, Seyðisfjörður, due to bad weather.

However, this is not some sort of special treatment – it simply encapsulates how Fred Olsen treats all its guests.

The group walked through the old town, spotting many quirky sights along the way, including the wooden grass-roofed houses.

As Fred Olsen Travel assistant manager Tom Holland puts its: “I love it when an unfortunate turn of events turns into something positive.

“The whole Fred Olsen team has pulled together to organise fun activities. Yesterday, we had dinner in Colours & Tastes, one of the speciality restaurants.

“The cuisine was exquisite. In my opinion it was better than what I’ve experienced with some high-end luxury cruise lines. And then, today, we were lucky enough to wake up in Tórshavn.

“A big thank you to everyone at Fred Olsen. Once again, the line’s commitment to its values has been proven.”

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip
A warm welcome in Tórshavn

Newmarket Holidays’ Stephanie Blackmun adds: “The sun came out for us upon our unexpected arrival in Tórshavn. What a beautiful place, with its multi-coloured houses and old town. It was great to be able to explore.”

Lisette Barnes, from Lincolnshire Coop Travel, was equally delighted with the short but sweet visit, saying: “The city is quite quirky, with its grass-covered houses and personal touches. On the plus side, the weather was kind to us, too.”

“I’m so glad we were able to visit Tórshavn,” says Fred Holidays marketing and creative design executive Brogan Doyle. “It was a lovely walk through the pretty streets and the peaceful national park. It was another wonderful day with a lovely group of people.”


Fred Olsen VIP cruise: Making agents ‘proud’

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

Despite bad weather resulting in the cancellation of the next port of call, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines quickly and efficiently makes all better again.

After departing Akureyri, Borealis has planned to dock in Seyðisfjörður, in eastern Iceland.

However, with conditions less than ideal, the captain made the decision to cancel the port of call. Cue the Fred Olsen team jumping into action to make alternative plans and put smiles on faces again.

Experts from marine wildlife charity ORCA were on hand to help guests see whales from the ship, before agents and fellow guests took part in various activities throughout the day.

And, the cherry on top came soon after, when the captain revealed that Fred Olsen has organised a new port of call for tomorrow, in Tórshavn, the capital city of the Faroe Islands.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip
An early morning out on deck

Stephanie Blackmun, from Newmarket Holidays, says: “Today has been all about the joy of the journey. Not being able to dock gave us the opportunity to really enjoy the on-board facilities and activities.

“It started with whale watching with ORCA, followed by arts and crafts and a fitness class. The day was packed with fun and things to do for all guests.”

Alan Witt, from Not Just Travel, explains: “I’m sure the Faroe Islands will be as fascinating as all the ports of call in Iceland.

“Because of the change in schedule, it does mean there is a chance to take part in things on board, from golf putting to line dancing. You really have to hand it to the entertainment team.”

Witt adds that the modifications to the itinerary have all been done “with the minimum of fuss”, stating: “Well done Fred Olsen, you continue to do us proud.”

Fred Holidays marketing and creative design executive Brogan Doyle adds: “Spotting whales from the ship at breakfast time was a highlight for sure. We had the perfect view of them from the ship.

“The crew have been so fast to make all these changes and ensure an exciting day at sea.”


Fred Olsen VIP fam trip: ‘Maritime is in the line’s DNA’

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

Akureyri plays hosts to travel agents on yet another fun-filled and adventurous day on the Fred Olsen VIP cruise in Iceland.

Sailing from Ísafjörður, Fred Olsen’s Borealis and its guests have spent the day in the city of Akureyri, located in the northern part of the land of fire and ice.

Due to some inclement weather, an arranged RIB tour that had been planned to give guests the chance to see the local wildlife had to be called off.

Nonetheless, the quick-thinking and helpful Fred Olsen team soon calmed any worried souls by organising an alternative excursion to spot whales, demonstrating that even when things don’t go to plan, the line has the ideal solution.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip
Whale watching in Akureyri

Kevin Reeves from Cruise 118 says: “Maritime is truly in Fred Olsen’s DNA, and the cruise line proved that this morning.

“Our pre-booked RIB tour had to be cancelled because of bad weather. However, before we knew it, the team on board had booked us on to a larger boat to enable us to go out and see the whales.”

Newmarket Holidays’ Stephanie Blackmun adds: “What a great day out watching wildlife in their natural habitats.

“We were lucky to see a humpback whale and puffins – all the things you hope to see when in Iceland. It was magical and something I’ll never forget.”

Alan Witt, from Not Just Travel, was particularly looking forward to the day in Akureyri and says it “did not disappoint”.

“We saw humpback whales appear and dive back down numerous times,” he adds. “It was a wonderful excursion with great commentary throughout. The lovely, warm clothes provided also made this must-do trip extra special.”

Linda Thomson, from Connoisseur Travel Services, explains: “From our boat we saw whales and several types of seabird. Boy was it cold, but it was a memorable excursion.”

Fred Olsen Travel assistant manager Tom Holland says he is thankful to Fred Olsen for helping him to tick off a bucket-list moment.

“As with all wildlife, you are never guaranteed to see anything, but our tour guide was determined to make it happen and we kept sailing until we finally saw what we had come to see.

“The excursion included the use of thermal suits and blankets, which proved they care about our welfare.”


Fred Olsen VIP fam: The joy of the journey

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

Ísafjörður – the second port of call in Iceland – has provided agents the opportunity to take in the joy of the journey.

After departing Reykjavík, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Borealis has sailed to the town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords region.

Arriving early, guests woke to dramatic scenery and a peaceful stillness, before setting off for the Secluded Valley Life excursion. The group met Christian, a local farmer, and his family, and enjoyed homemade cake and fresh coffee.

With no other tourists in sight, the local guide, Gunnar, also explained more about the community and how people work together, as one, for the betterment of everyone.

This visit again underlines the smaller is better ethos of Fred Olsen, as well as the travellers, not tourists Olsen Way principle, as seen in Reykjavík yesterday (21 June).

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip
Taking in the local life in Ísafjörður

Stephanie Blackmun, from Newmarket Holidays, says : “I woke up today and what a view I had.

“Having seen a larger cruise ship at tender, it is clear to see that smaller ships are better. It was wonderful to meet a local farming family and see how the community pulls together and takes inspiration from nature.”

Lincolnshire Coop Travel’s Lisette Barnes says: “The joy of the journey has certainly continued.

“The excursion did not disappoint – Iceland definitely takes your breath away. The trip was so interesting and the views were just spectacular.”

For Fred Olsen Travel assistant manager Tom Holland, the day in Ísafjörður has been his favourite to date. “We certainly got the Olsen Way shore excursion experience.

“We docked in the heart of this quaint little town with no need for a shuttle. We then took a scenic drive through the beautiful fjords, with endless green valleys and waterfalls in sight.”

Kevin Reeves adds: “What Fred Olsen misses out on in terms of bells and whistles, it makes up for it with heart and soul. You can’t buy that.”


Fred Olsen VIP cruise: ‘Guests are travellers, not tourists’

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

In Reykjavík, travel agents have experienced a fundamental Olsen Way principle – that Fred Olsen guests are travellers, more than tourists.

With almost a full day to explore the wonders of Reykjavík and the surrounding areas, agents on the VIP fam have today seen how Fred Olsen provides meaningful excursions that bring every destination to life.

These carefully curated tours take guests deeper, into the heart of local life.

Newmarket Holidays’ Stephanie Blackmun, who took part in the Geothermal Landscapes of Iceland tour, says: “It was so lovely to go ashore with a small number of guests and like-minded people.

“We learnt about geothermal energy and how hot water and electricity are produced.

“It was also great to see the hot springs and learn how the people of Iceland used these to cook rye bread and eggs. However, the best thing for me was walking through the Lava Tunnel; it’s something I will never forget.”

Appleby Travel’s Alice Hook, who was also on the same excursion, agrees, explaining: “The geothermal station was fascinating and the Lava Tunnel was a huge highlight.

“The colour of the lava on the ceiling was so bright orange it could have still been flowing, and the tour guide told a wonderful story about this.”

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip
The Gullfoss waterfall, as seen on the VIP trip

Other agents joined the Golden Circle and Hidden Gems tour. Linda Thomson, from Connoisseur Travel Services, adds: “As this is my first time in Iceland, I was looking forward to seeing what makes the country famous – I wasn’t disappointed.

“The geysir was an amazing feat of nature and the power of the Gullfoss waterfall was simply incredible.”

According to Kevin Reeves from Cruise 118: “The Fred Olsen experience is different to other cruise lines because it provides local, hand-crafted excursions.

“For example, guests don’t just go for ice cream, rather they see how it is made and speak to the people who make it.”

Fred Holidays marketing and creative design executive Brogan Doyle praises the knowledgeable tour guides and says: “We got to see Iceland as a traveller, rather than a tourist.

“There were special touches, such as visiting a family-run tomato farm with a tasting and story of the business.”

Lisette Barnes, from Lincolnshire Coop Travel, speaks of her delight at seeing the natural wonders of the country and focuses on the “attention to detail” throughout the Golden Circle excursion – “it was brilliant from start to finish”, she says.


Fred Olsen fam cruise: ‘Every guest is treated like a VIP’

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

As Borealis nears Reykjavík for its first port of call in Iceland on the Fred Olsen VIP fam, travel agents have today toured the cabins on board and been given a special insight into the Olsen Way.

From the Olsen Suite right through to the interior, single occupancy cabins, Fred Olsen welcomed agents to view the accommodation to showcase that no matter what grade a guest books, style and quality runs throughout the ship.

After the tour, members of the Fred Olsen team spoke in detail about the Olsen Way principles and how the brand is evolving.

Not Just Travel’s Alan Witt explains: “Even in the single occupancy cabins, there’s more space than you would expect. You don’t get the feeling of claustrophobia. There are also lovely colour schemes throughout. It’s beautiful accommodation.”

Kevin Reeves, from Cruise 118, says: “There is one class of guest, everyone on board is a VIP and all guests are treated equally.

“I was surprised at the space [in the cabins]. The Olsen Suite and Premier Suites were amazing, in particular, with a real sense of luxury.”

As Fred Olsen says, the pause in operations during the pandemic gave the cruise line time to reflect and expand and improve on what it has done so successfully for decades.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip, Olsen Way
The Olsen Way defines everything that Fred Olsen stands for

The 10 Olsen Way principles (which can be viewed at the top of this page) send a clear message about all that makes the brand stand out among the crowd.

From its hand-crafted, not mass produced, itineraries, to the belief that smaller is better, taking guests to hidden-gem ports of call, and the joy of the journey, with painstaking attention paid to every detail – agents have tangible assets and a brand identity they can use when talking to clients.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Since restarting operations, Fred Olsen has seen an increase of 50 per cent in new-to-brand guests.

Come 2023, the line will also introduce its Journey Navigators concept, with nature scouts, culture curators, maritime guides and entertainment hosts joining guests on board to enhance the experience.

Stephanie Blackmun, from Newmarket Holidays, believes that the line has succeeded in creating a sense of family, saying: “People are guests, not customers. Sailing with Fred Olsen is like coming home and holidaying with friends.”

Witt adds: “The line truly does cater for all. I think Fred Olsen has certainly changed [in recent years].”


Fred Olsen VIP fam: The Olsen Way learning continues

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

On the first full sea day on the VIP fam cruise, travel agents are continuing their learning journey.

Following the unique access provided to agents on day two with exclusive cooking demonstrations, today the group joined officers on Borealis’ bridge to discover the highly skilled work that goes into navigating the ship and ensuring a smooth and safe sailing for all on board.

This was designed to showcase how maritime is in Fred Olsen’s DNA – another fundamental Olsen Way principle.

Alongside this, agents have been able to dine in Vasco, one of the ship’s speciality restaurants, serving authentic Goan cuisine.

Stephanie Blackmun, from Newmarket Holidays, explains: “Speciality dining at Vasco did not disappoint. I will highly recommend this to our customers.

“The food was divine and it’s a great place for a special occasion – it took me back to my holiday in Goa. It’s a fine dining experience at a fraction of the cost [from £10pp].”

Blackmun also highlights the crew on board Borealis, adding: “They are genuinely interested in you – it doesn’t feel forced in any way. It makes a massive difference. One you experience it for yourself, you believe in it.”

As for the ship itself, others are keen to stress the level of quality that runs throughout everything on board.

Lisette Barnes says: “It’s more contemporary [than I thought it would be]. It’s not ‘stuffy’, it feels like a Fred Olsen ship. If it’s a younger guest, I’d sell them Fred Olsen for the itineraries.”

Appleby Travel’s Alice Hook says: “Everyone on board can have a difference experience, as there is terrific variety in things to do.”

Cruise 118 sales concierge Kevin Reeves agrees, stating: “Borealis has the small-ship feel, but Fred Olsen has not compromised with what’s available on board.”


Fred Olsen VIP fam: The learning journey begins

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines VIP fam trip

It’s day two on board Borealis, and time for the learning to begin.

Travel agents today arrived in Belfast on the first full day of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ VIP fam trip to Iceland.

After spending a couple of hours exploring the city of Belfast, the group joined an exclusive cooking demonstration, making pastries and decorating cakes, to learn about some key Olsen Way principles.

Following this, we were treated to a menu briefing, to understand the meticulous work that goes into catering for all tastes and passengers’ dietary requirements.

As Fred Olsen as a brand explains, this is all about attention to detail, making the guest experience personal to each and every guest, and showcasing that everything that happens on board relates back to one key message: it’s all about the people.

Cruise 118’s Kevin Reeves says: “We decorated cakes, made trifles and had a fun time. I was surprised by the measures the senior team go to to ensure the crew get sufficient rest periods between work to keep them happy, meaning they can keep us happy.”

Speaking at the menu briefing, Fred Olsen Travel assistant manager Tom Holland was highly complimentary about the quality of food, saying: “It’s some of the best food I’ve had on board a ship. I’d put it up there with the likes of Oceania Cruises.”

Fred Holidays marketing and creative design executive Brogan Doyle adds: “I feel like I’ve experienced the Olsen Way in such a short space of time.

“We have been lucky enough to take part in a food demonstration and it was such a personalised experience – it felt special to be part of it.

“It was great to hear from the chefs and understand the incredible amount of work that goes into each day. They really do make it all about the people.”

Alan Witt, from Not Just Travel, explains: “I saw how much work the chefs and waiting staff put it.

“They will steer guests through the menus and adapt a recipe wherever they can, to ensure guests get a wonderful selection of dishes. It’a all done with a friendly smile.”


Fred Olsen VIP fam trip: We are sailing

Fred Olsen VIP fam trip

Eight travel agents have today departed Liverpool for a special educational cruise with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

The Whales, Waterfalls & Geysers of Iceland itinerary, on Borealis, will see the group experience some unique and once-in-a-lifetime moments, including a not-to-be-forgotten tour of the Blue Lagoon.

Ahead of arrival in Iceland, there’s a stop in Belfast, and today before sailaway the group was able to tour the ship and discover what’s on board.

Newmarket Holidays’ Stephanie Blackmun says: “Borealis has exceeded all expectations. We are only on day one and I can see why so many people decide to cruise with Fred Olsen.

“It’s friendly, with attentive staff, and there’s beautiful attention to detail. [The ship] has stunning artwork. I’m really impressed and cannot wait to see more.

“[Covid] Testing was a breeze and super easy – it’s something to highlight to our customers, as their holiday will start stress-free; they can relax and make the most of it.”

Kevin Reeves, from Cruise 118, agrees, adding: “[I’m] very excited to spend the next 10 days with some new friends experiencing the Olsen Way. It’s a very friendly ship.”

Fred Olsen Travel assistant manager Tom Holland explains: “The embarkation process was so easy and efficient. There were plenty of staff to guide you through the testing centre – check-in was so quick and I was on board within a few minutes.

“It was a beautiful ship tour followed by a delicious lunch.”

For Fred Holidays marketing and creative design executive Brogan Doyle, a particular highlight is the decor on board Borealis, and she also highlights the smooth and seamless embarkation.

“The atmosphere is amazing,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to our next 10 days on board.”


‘We can’t wait to experience the Olsen Way’: Agents look forward to Fred Olsen fam

Fred Olsen fam trip Iceland

Travel agents preparing to join the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Iceland 2022 fam trip have spoken of their excitement at experiencing what the line has to offer.

The VIP educational trip will see eight agents join the cruise line for a special cruise to Iceland, with a strong focus on learning about the product and the Olsen Way.

Cruise Trade News will be on board to report exclusively on the event.

Stephanie Blackmun Newmarket Holidays, Fred Olsen fam
Stephanie Blackmun will be on board

Newmarket Holidays’ Stephanie Blackmun said: “I have never cruised [on an ocean ship], so I am very excited to experience my first one with Fred Olsen.

“We at Newmarket Holidays started selling Fred Olsen cruises to our customers during the pandemic, and it was great to hear so many customers looking forward to the opportunity to sail the Olsen Way.

“I am looking forward to seeing all that the ship has to offer our customers. I’ve have heard so many great things about the staff on board, the restaurants and the entertainment.

“In terms of what I am hoping to take away with me, that would be being able to bring sailing with Fred Olsen to life by talking about my own personal experience on board to our customers and also to my team.”

Cruise 118's Kevin Reeves
Cruise 118’s Kevin Reeves

Fred Olsen Travel assistant manager Tom Holland added he was “curious to know what the entertainment is like” on board, and is hoping “to spot whales and puffins” during the cruise.

“It will be good to get the small-ship experience,” he said. “The best thing is I will get to share this with my current and new customers.

“The itinerary is amazing and I have always wanted to go to Iceland.”

Cruise 118 sales concierge Kevin Reeves said his initial reaction upon hearing the news that he had won a place on the trip was: “Wow, look at that itinerary… this is going to be amazing.”

“I want to experience the Olsen Way,” he explained. “Customers who sail with Fred Olsen, stay with Fred Olsen – there must be a reason for such loyalty.”

Alan Witt, from Not Just Travel, said: “I am lucky to have cruised on Balmoral about 15 years ago, and really enjoyed the fact that the ship’s size means you bump into the same people from time to time and have a chat.

“That’s a real selling point for me, as I know a lot of my customers like that intimacy as well.

Alan Witt, Not Just Travel Fred Olsen
Alan Witt, from Not Just Travel

“In the past I have maybe pigeon-holed customers into either being a big ship or small ship customer. However, I try not to do that now, and instead focus on the itineraries and the ports of call, as that can be the key to getting the sale.

“I think Fred Olsen has made some real changes in the past few years –  I can see a real identity in the ships now.”

Witt added: “I am also looking forward to the business session, as I like to share ideas and thoughts. Social media is my achilles heel so hopefully I will get some tips from others in the group.”

For Alice Hook, from Appleby Travel, a key highlight will be dining on Borealis, particularly the new speciality restaurants. She is also excited about sharing her shore excursion experiences with clients.

Brogan Doyle, Fred Olsen fam trip
Fred Holidays’ Brogan Doyle

Fred Holidays marketing and creative design executive Brogan Doyle said that the Iceland fam trip will be her first ocean cruise experience.

“I am intrigued to see how amazing the dining and food is as I have heard it is really lovely and to see all of the sights Iceland has to offer,” she said.

“I hope that from this cruise educational, I am able to learn all of the key selling points to market the brand.”

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