Experience the Whales, Waterfalls and Geysers of Iceland with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines!

Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines offers traditional cruising on-board small ships, and Borealis is no exception to this. As one of two new additions to the fleet and having undergone a refit in 2015, she offers guests everything they expect from Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines, mirroring her sister and their flagship, Bolette. 

With a capacity of 1,360 guests, she boasts a 2:1 guest-to-staff ratio, offering guests ample space on-board. Our cruise concierge Kevin was lucky enough to experience this beautiful ship first-hand on a 10-night trip to Iceland. Here, he shares his experience and highlights of what guests can expect to enjoy on-board. 

Pre-departure requirements

Arriving in Liverpool ready to embark to Iceland, Fred.Olsen Cruise Line’s protocols were simple to understand and navigate. Passengers are required to take out COVID travel insurance, show proof of vaccination status and are allocated embarkation times. “We dropped bags off at a van outside the convention centre where we needed to take our pre-embarkation lateral flow test and were guided in into a main hall where we were given a coloured sticker and handed a test. Someone watched us take the test, then we were guided to a seat and given a bottle of water whilst we waited for results”. 

Once the results are in, guests are guided to a waiting coach and transferred to the cruise terminal, where they are checked in, provide credit card details, have their passports scanned and are issued trace safe bands. This innovative device allows all passengers to be easily traced on-board. 

For more information on cruise line pre-departure requirements, visit the Cruise118 Hub.

First Impressions

Once on-board, guests can take in the simple touches throughout the ship that reflect Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ history and ethos, with all the art on-board the vessel handpicked by Mrs Olsen and varied in style; some were bright and colourful, some abstract, and there was even a painting of Great Grandmother Bolete Olsen. They had replicas of the Terracotta Army Warriors, a little nod to the home port of Liverpool as the real Terracotta Army was on display there recently. Some of the statement furniture in the public areas was grand and opulent, giving a natural 5-Star feel. 

With Covid restrictions relaxing Fred.Olsen no longer required face masks on-board. All passengers must be vaccinated and wear Trace Safe Bands the whole journey, ensuring passengers can relax knowing that protocols are in place. Guests will find the process and protocols easy to follow, becoming second nature. Hand sanitisers are conveniently placed around the ship, and crew members will politely remind passengers to wash their hands when needed. Those looking to socialise on-board will still get the chance as Fred.Olsen no longer requires social distancing, making it pleasant to share the bars and entertainment spaces with friends and other passengers.

Accommodation on-board Borealis

Borealis hosts a wide range of accommodation options for different needs. Our cruising expert stayed in a BS grade Balcony suite, which was spacious and opulent, creating a great room to relax in after a busy day exploring. The Olsen suite and Premier suites were a step above, truly capturing that ‘suite’ feel. All suites came with The Suite Dreams Package, meaning guests receive £10 credit for laundry, pressing, canapés delivered to the cabin before evening meals, slippers, binoculars and more!

Cruise Expert Top Tip: Junior suites were an excellent option for those looking for more space at a lower price point!

Other cabins on the ship felt spacious, including the solo cabins still carrying two beds. All cabins have a full shower or a shower over a small bath. Cabins come with an elegant light wood finish with large mirrors to give the illusion of even more space. Sockets in each room have both UK and European plug sockets alongside 2 USB sockets.

Dining on-board Borealis

Our concierge had the to chance to visit all the eateries on-board, including the View Buffet and the poolside grill, where they had most items on the menu! Our colleague felt that the excellent food quality across the ship made it an enjoyable experince no matter where you dined. Although a smaller ship, Borealis hosts a range of dining and drinks options:


  • Main Dining Room
  • The View (buffet)
  • The Poolside
  • Vasco ( extra fee)
  • Colours and Tastes (extra fee)


  • The Observatory
  • Lido Bar
  • The View Bar
  • Oriental Room
  • Morning Light Lounge
  • Ocean Bar
  • Bookmark Café

Speciality restaurant reservations can be made in person or over the phone from your room, making it easy to organise a special night for a small reservation fee of £10 or £15. Passengers who prefer a quieter dining experience can order room service between 7am-10pm each day.

Fred.Olsens Borealis stand-out point is the service when dining on-board. By day two, servers and staff greet passengers by name. They remember passengers’ go-to drinks and customisation requests of dishes were happily accommodated, making the experience feel like “Nothing was too much for them”. The captain waiter would make an appearance at every table, every sitting, to ensure everything was okay, making it feel very personable.

Cruise Expert Top Tip: Dine at the Observatory during the day; there are fantastic views cruising across the bow, and at night time, it’s a relaxed party atmosphere with friendly, attentive crew and waiters.”

Entertainment on-board Borealis

Entertainment on-board Borealis does not disappoint, with a large variety of options catered to all personalities. Our cruise concierge’s go-to spot was the Neptune’s Theatre (Deck 4 & 5), where they enjoyed a range of shows, including a Beatles tribute, Ballroom Blitz, and Hits From The Flicks. Alongside this, the theatre hosts comedians and magicians for all to enjoy. For the more health-conscious cruiser, the fitness centre hosts various classes included within the cruise fare. Fitness classes on-board ranging from Yoga to ‘Exercise with Music.’ “The instructors were very welcoming and were sure to adjust the classes to meet all skill levels.”

Over at the Lido Pool and Bar, enjoy fun activities such as a ‘killer darts’ tournament or experiment in a cocktail-making class. “A gallery team member created a spectacular ice carving making the cocktail class feel genuinely luxurious!”

One activity that surprised our experts was the dessert-making and decorating class within The Auditorium; “the crew on-board made this a fun learning experience that I belly laughed at the whole time!” Overall, the entertainment on-board pushes passengers to tap into their creative side from cocktails, desserts, and arts and crafts or relax and have fun with friends and other passengers at the bars or on movie nights!


Fred.Olsens’ Borealis exceeded our cruise expert’s expectations; the level of service was high across the whole ship, and the staff made your time on-board very personable by remembering names and orders. Borealis hosts a classy and elegant look and feel, alongside ample opportunity for entertainment.

The ship had many places to eat in terms of restaurants and smaller eateries, alongside the bars on-board offering speciality cocktails and other familiar favourites. Whilst on-board, we recommend passengers book a speciality restaurant for a special night out but try as many of the dining options as you can as there is a great variety across the whole ship.

Experience Borealis first-hand with a range of sailings to choose from. Find your itinerary online or call our expert cruise concierge today at 0808 278 3940.

Charlotte Richards

One Response to “Our experience on-board Fred.Olsen Borealis!”

  1. Malcolm McKinlay

    My wife and have both Covid jabs and the booster,we both have evudence of this is that all we need to board


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