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Cruise Review

Fred Olsen’s Borealis: A new perspective on a cruise to Norway

Fred Olsen, Borealis ocean cruise


A cruise with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines to the Norwegian fjords on Borealis proves to be an eye-opening experience for Barnaby Moore, who explains to his story to Gary Peters.

Truth be told, the prospect of taking a cruise never appealed to me. In the past, I’ve been dismissive of the idea, casually conforming to the many presumptions that I now know to be wrong.

Barnaby Moore, Fred olsen
Barnaby Moore enjoying his time on board

However, with the desire to step out of my comfort zone, I decide now is the ideal time to take the plunge.

The genesis of my conversion starts as soon as I take my first steps on board Fred Olsen’s Borealis, for the Scenic Summertime Norwegian fjords cruise.

This has long been an area of the world I have been keen to explore, so I’m eagerly anticipating the many awe-inspiring views that are sure to come my way.

Taking it all in on Borealis

However, before that, it’s time to look around my new home for the next eight nights. As a non-cruiser, before departing I was very much unsure about what to expect.

What I realise upon boarding Borealis is that a Fred Olsen ship is very much more than simply a tool to take me from A to B. It is a home away from home, full of friendly faces who are all keen to get going on the adventure.

My eyes dart from one thing to the next, sticking to my pre-cruise mission of immersing myself in everything that Borealis has to offer.

I quickly locate my balcony cabin, which is far more spacious than I expected. And, what a huge plus it is to have the balcony, where – unsurprisingly – I spend many hours, letting the sea air wash away the trivial thoughts of everyday life.

I brave the crisp chill in the air to explore the pool deck, and, as it looks so inviting, I order myself a cocktail and find a suitable viewing spot for the sailaway from Liverpool – let the holiday commence.

Fred Olsen Borealis, Colours and Tastes
The Colours & Tastes restaurant on Borealis

Culinary excellence with Fred Olsen

Over the course of the next few days, I eat in as many places as possible, but there are a few that really delight. In particular, my meal in Colours & Tastes is a true highlight.

Focusing on Asian Fusion cuisine, with signature dishes from Japan, Thailand, China and the Philippines, my time here is quite possibly one of the best culinary experiences of my life.

I tuck into crispy fried chilli beef, which is full of intense flavours that make my tastebuds dance. This is followed by banana fritters with spiced syrup and vanilla ice cream.

Likewise, Vasco – offering a taste of India in a cosy setting – is another showstopper. Here, I order Goan chicken curry and once again I’m blown away by the quality of the food. Both Colours & Tastes and Vasco are speciality restaurants, but no matter where I dine or stop off for a quick snack, the excellence never lets up.

Flam railway, Norway
The magical Flam railway

Fantastic fjords

Speaking of excellence, sailing into the fjords is a pure dreamlike moment. Seeing powerful waterfalls and beautiful valleys is something I will never forget – and something I’ll never tire of looking back on; I don’t get views like this back home in south London, I mutter to myself.

Following some scenic cruising, including to the Hardangerfjord, with a stretch of deep blue water buffeted by mesmeric mountains, we arrive in Flam. Of course, here much of the attention is on the Flam railway and I set off nice and early for a morning excursion.

I knew riding this railway would be an experience – after all, it is known as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.

However, it somehow still manages to surpass all my expectations, with spectacular views everywhere I look.

In between fjord viewing and excursions, I indulge in one of my favourite pastimes – reading. It is in these quiet, reflective moments that I fully appreciate the appeal of cruising.

No longer will I restrict my travelling choices to land-based resorts that only require a short flight. There are plenty of places I still wish to explore and my time on Borealis has shown me that a cruise is the best way to see the world.

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