One of those familiar though very occasional outbreaks of shipboard illness among a handful of passengers aboard this British cruise ship prevented the assembled travel hacks from actually boarding the HMS Balmoral docked beside them at Pier 90 at 50th Street on Manhattan’s West Side on Wednesday, though they could still appreciate its timber guard rail toppings and other signs of being a real ship rather than a floating castle which Americans now compete to build ever more gigantic and impersonal, with new ones planned which will approach 5000 passenger capacity next year. But if you want to cruise to faraway exotic places the virtues of smaller scale in a ship for only 1393 passengers were clear from Nathan Philpot’s talk as he explained the competitive advantage that Fred Olsen Cruises has crossed the Atlantic to exploit – you can cruise up the river of Seville to its Fair or freely explore the Western Isles off Scotland’s West coast, not to mention enjoy acquaintances among the 1,393 passengers who may become friends who sign up again for another cruise, likely enough since the average Fred Olsen cruise is so enjoyable that up to 60% board again for another trip, which is not so surprising since research shows that as many as 74% of cruise passengers worldwide would rather pay more to be on a smaller ship than the American “ours is bigger than yours” behemoths, which have so many on board that they can’t stop at the many ports too small to accommodate their numbers of three or four thousand, leaving some of the most unusual and satisfying tours as rich pickings for Fred Olsen, such as the wildlife of Scotland, the labyrinthine fjords of Norway, German waterways and other gems nobody else can think of because their ship’s draft is not as shallow as the Olsen ships or as developed as Olsen’s view of shipboard travel’s rich potential as a visit into other worlds.I am writing to personally invite you to join us on May 4, 2016 for the inaugural arrival of Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s Balmoral in New York. While the company was founded nearly 170 years ago, the upcoming Balmoral visit marks a renewed dedication by Fred. Olsen to introduce the US audience to this distinctly British style of cruising by welcoming you on board for an exclusive media preview.
We understand your time is valuable, so we’re including some information about Fred. Olsen that we hope will pique your interest and help in your decision-making process.
This smaller British cruise line (Balmoral holds just 1,350 guests) is about to begin promoting and selling its award winning itineraries in New York and throughout the US, and we would like to invite you to discover more.
· Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s ship Balmoral offers a very British cruise experience. Unlike many cruise lines, the majority of guests are British, the only language used is English, the currency on board is the pound, there is a ‘High Tea’ on offer akin to those found at the finest London hotels and among many fine dishes, you’ll always find a very a British “dish-of-the day” such as fish and chips.
· Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has undertaken extensive research into the cruise market over the past few years and will be sharing interesting information that you may find enlightening and worthwhile – including the idea that the focus of the industry may not be exactly in tune with the demand of those it serves.
· At this event, you will learn about the Olsen family, who own and run the cruise line, a shipping dynasty established in 1848 and passed from father to son into the fifth generation. Come hear about the current Fred. Olsen Senior, who escaped the Nazis in Norway and arrived in Scotland straddling a torpedo before moving to Ossining, a New York City suburb on the Hudson river. This fascinating man also ran Timex, is suspected of being a Simpsons’ character, and is now building the United States’ first wind farm off Rhode Island.
Fred. Olsen senior management in attendance at this one-time event will include Nathan Philpot, sales and marketing director, and Kate Wooldridge, sales manager for international markets. Also on board will be Dana Huntley, editor of British Heritage Travel who also holds a Ph.D. in British Literature. A leading expert on all things British, Dana will speak about the American/Britain connection (as his own American roots includes seven lineal ancestors from the Mayflower), as well as his own experiences sailing with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.