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Black Watch Review

2017 Best for Entertainment
2016 Best for Shore Excursions
2015 Best Overall
View More

Find a Black Watch Cruise from £269

Black Watch
4.5 / 5.0
151 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line
A traditionally styled ship with a country house ambience and luxurious seating in public rooms

About

Passengers
804

Crew
388

Passenger to Crew
2.07:1

Launched
1972 (refurbed 2016)

Shore Excursions
974
Sails To
Europe, Caribbean, Cuba, British Isles & Western Europe, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, South America, Africa
Fred. Olsen Cruise Deals
Jean and Ken Rush
Cruise Critic Contributor

Black Watch Overview

Built in Finland as a six star vessel, this ship started life in 1972 as the Viking Star, and was regarded as one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world at the time. After two more brief acquisitions by other cruise lines, she was bought by Fred. Olsen in 1996 and renamed the Black Watch. In common with the rest of the Olsen fleet, it has a devoted following of regular cruisers.

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After its multi million pound refurbishment in November 2016, the Black Watch has an entirely new look. The public areas have been redesigned and refurbished with new layouts, furniture, carpets and curtains, and luxurious seating everywhere. The Morning Light Pub replaces the Braemar Lounge, covering a much larger area in common with the rest of the Olsen fleet. The former Morning Light Pub is now the Neptune Bar, and the former Braemar Courtyard is now a speciality dining area, with a fascinating and eclectic display of art chosen by Fred. Olsen. All 423 cabins across the ship have also been refurbished, and equipped with all the latest features, such as bedframes and mattresses, as well as very attractive new décor.

The Black Watch regularly welcomes special interest groups, and on our cruise of the Norwegian Fjords in June 2017 we had the Kirker Music Festival at Sea, with daily concerts by the Doric String Quartet and pianist Alasdair Beatson in the Marina Theatre for its members, and a special concert for everyone in the Neptune Lounge.

To sum up, we would say that an old friend has been rejuvenated without losing any of its traditional qualities.


Top Black Watch Itineraries

Black Watch
53 night world voyage cruise

Sydney (Australia), Sydney (Australia), Burnie, Melbourne, Albany (Australia), Perth (Fremantle), Singapore, Singapore, Colombo, Kochi (Cochin), Mormugao (Goa), Mumbai (Bombay), Mumbai (Bombay), Aqaba (Petra), Haifa (Tel Aviv), Haifa (Tel Aviv), Limassol, Malta (Valletta), Malaga, Southampton

View All Black Watch Itineraries (42)

Fellow Passengers

The ship attracts mostly mature British passengers, although children are welcome on most sailings and an activity programme is provided for them. There were no children on our cruise, but a number of younger people were on board, attracted by the onshore activities such as cycling and walking. Everyone mixed well, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere.


Black Watch Dress Code

There are usually two formal nights and one themed night on a seven night cruise. Formal wear is defined as a dinner jacket or dark suit and tie for the men, and a cocktail or evening dress for the ladies. On the formal nights the majority of men were in dinner jackets and ladies in long dresses. Normal evening wear is defined as smart casual, open neck shirts with collars for gentlemen and casual separates or summer dresses for ladies. Our themed night was British, with quite a few passengers turning out in red, white and blue. Daytime wear is usually trousers or shorts and t-shirts. 


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Black Watch Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.03.6
Dining5.04.1
Entertainment5.03.6
Public Rooms5.03.9
Fitness Recreation5.03.4
Family2.05
Enrichment5.03.5
Service5.04.3
Value For Money4.03.6

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More about Black Watch

Where does Black Watch sail from?

How much does it cost to go on Black Watch?

Cruises on Black Watch start from £269 per person.

Is Black Watch a good ship to cruise on?

Black Watch won 21 awards over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2017 Best for Entertainment
  • 2016 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2015 Best Overall
  • 2015 Best for Cabins
  • 2015 Best for Dining
  • 2015 Best for Embarkation
  • 2015 Best for Entertainment
  • 2015 Best for Public Rooms
  • 2015 Best for Service
  • 2015 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2015 Best for Value
  • 2014 Best Overall
  • 2014 Best for Cabins
  • 2014 Best for Dining
  • 2014 Best for Embarkation
  • 2014 Best for Entertainment
  • 2014 Best for Fitness
  • 2014 Best for Public Rooms
  • 2014 Best for Service
  • 2014 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2014 Best for Value
Show More

Black Watch Member Reviews

DannyYoung
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Black Watch is a lovely ship in good condition for her age.... Read More
seaventurer
Sail Date: Jan 2020
We dined in Glentanar's Orchid Room each night for the exception of one night out while on tour and one night in "Black Watch's" optional dining venue: "The Black Watch Room - The Grill".... Read More
TheGardener
Sail Date: Feb 2020
Black watch is a lovely sahip she is quite old but FO maintain her in beautiful condition.... Read More
rcem
Sail Date: Jul 2019
For our Anniversary Dinner we dined in the Black Watch Restaurant which again of high standard, my husband declared his steak one of the best ever.... Read More

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Fleet

Black Watch
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

151 reviews

Built in Finland, this ship started life in 1972 as Viking Star and, at the time, was regarded as one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world.

Black Watch Cruises to Europe Black Watch Cruises to the Caribbean View All Black Watch Cruises
Braemar
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Braemar is one of the most welcoming cruise ships you're likely to experience. Wherever you sit, you're almost guaranteed to engage in pleasant, warm conversation.

Boudicca
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Boudicca is for an older set of cruisers who enjoy small, classic ships in a proper and cosy British setting without the distractions of a big ship.

Balmoral
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Balmoral, originally launched in 1988, has a strong and loyal base of British middle-aged to mature passengers, who travel only with Fred. Olsen.

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