Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has defined and refined the cruise experience, and judging by the number of passengers that come back time and again, they appear to have styled it to perfection.

The company originated in Hvitsten, a small town on Oslofjord in Norway, in 1848 when three Olsen brothers – Fredrik Christian, Petter and Andreas – bought their first ships and began an international shipping company. Now into the fifth generation of the family, they operate companies skilled in various aspects of the cruise and passenger shipping trade as well as aviation, ships’ crewing, shipbuilding and offshore industries. Aside from the transportation industries, the Fred. Olsen group also has interests in the luxury hotel sector, estate management, property development, and electronics companies.

For most of the year, the ships are based in UK ports, with cruises departing and returning to Britain. A winter Caribbean fly-cruise programme on Braemar operates from Barbados, with connecting flights the UK and Malaga.

Itineraries range from popular areas, such as the Mediterranean, Canaries, Round the UK, Baltic, Norway, Adriatic and the Caribbean, to the longer, cruise voyage routes – ‘Around South America’ and ‘Around the World’

The Company operates a fleet of four, smaller scale, cruise ships, ranging in size from 24,000 to 43,000 tonnes. The ambience on board is traditionally British.

In May 2006 Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced the purchase of a new vessel,Norwegian Crown from Norwegian Cruise Line. Following delivery of the vessel in November 2007, she was dry-docked for refurbishment and lengthening, with a pre-built 30 metre centre section added. She was renamed Balmoral and entered service early in 2008. This was followed by the extension of Braemar in summer 2008. A new centre section was added, with new cabins and public rooms, increasing the size from 19,000to 24,000 tonnes.