Fife set for cruise tourism boom in 2018 as Balmoral heads for Rosyth

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines welcomes VIP delegation and prepares to introduce 1,350-guest flagship ‘Balmoral’ to the Port of Rosyth 

The Balmoral docked in Belfast
Fife could be set for a cruise tourism boom next year when Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines introduces its 1,350-guest flagship ‘Balmoral’ to the Port of Rosyth.
In 2018/19, Fred. Olsen says it will be reinforcing its commitment to Edinburgh (Rosyth) by introducing its largest ship, Balmoral, which will be sailing from the port for the first time ever, on a total of nine itineraries.
Cruise holidays on offer, from May to July, include a five-night ‘Norwegian Fjords’ departure, a 14-night ‘Scandinavia & St. Petersburg’ Baltic discovery, and a nine-night ‘German Waterways’ experience.
Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines’ 2017 cruise season from Rosyth, which began back in August, will draw to a close on 14 October. Its 804-guest ship ‘Black Watch’ will, by then, have completed eight cruises – an increase of one turnaround call since 2016 – departing from the port, including a seven-night Lochs of Scotland; seven-night Scenic Fjords of Norway; 10-night Cultural Cities of Northern Europe, and a 16-night Landscapes of Portugal & the Canaries sailings, as well as two river cruises: German Waterways and French Rivers, which were a first for the port this year.
Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Services at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “Black Watch’s cruise season from Rosyth builds upon Fred. Olsen’s already-close relationship with this convenient, regional Scottish port.
“It is rewarding to see that cruising with Fred. Olsen is now well-established as the ‘holiday of choice’ in the minds of so many local people, as well as attracting guests from further afield on our more adventurous itineraries, such as our 13-night ‘Greenland, Iceland & Norway Exploration’ in August.
“The Port of Rosyth boasts spectacular scenery and three iconic bridges; Black Watch’s guests will be amongst the first to sail under the new Queensferry Bridge.”
Robert Mason, Capital Cruising’s Head of Cruise at Rosyth, said: “Rosyth is fast becoming Scotland’s key port to cruise from, with some amazing destinations on offer. It’s so easy to arrive at the Port, board a cruise liner and quickly be on your vacation.
“Across all our Scottish ports, we are enjoying a very busy cruise season this year and – with the arrival of the Black Watch on 14 August – we will have welcomed over 100,000 passengers in 2017, with more due over the next few months.”
Black Watch has benefitted from an extensive multi-million pound refurbishment, and now offers guests improved facilities on board, including a new informal dining area, Brigadoon, and the creation of a new speciality dining restaurant, The Black Watch Room, as well as an upgraded Glentanar main restaurant and new 3D-enabled Marina Theatre.

A sneak peek on board Black Watch 

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of Black Watch’s facilities and experience its hospitality first-hand when Fred. Olsen welcomed a VIP delegation of travel agents, media partners and journalists, local dignitaries, tourism organisations and Member of Parliament for Dunfermline and West Fife, Douglas Chapman, on board at the Port of Rosyth last week (Wednesday, 4 October).
Black Watch at sea
We were received by Captain Åge Danielsen, Master of Black Watch, in the ship’s elegant Neptune Show Lounge, along with Cruise Director, Michelle Jeffries.
Following welcome drinks, Mathew Foxcroft, Field Sales Manager for Fred. Olsen, gave a comprehensive presentation on the history and heritage of the family-run cruise line, introduced Fred. Olsen’s key selling points, and gave the group a flavour of the 200-plus destinations that Fred. Olsen visits each year.
We were then treated to a guided tour of Black Watch by Fred. Olsen staff – including Allison Graham, Account Manager, Northern High Street – highlighting the ship’s stylish décor, refurbished cabins and spacious public areas, which benefitted from an extensive multi-million-pound upgrade late last year.
Our VIP group enjoyed lunch in Brigadoon, one of Black Watch’s five restaurants, which also include the more formal Glentanar and Orchid (featuring a large wooden Buddha sculpture and Thai-inspired decor) rooms, exclusive The Black Watch Room and The Poolside for al fresco dining.
Lunch was a delectable three-course tasting menu, comprising smoked salmon, succulent topside of beef, and a chocolate and orange torte. Needless to say, the hospitality was out of this world.
The chocolate and orange torte
Mike Evans, Head of Sales for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We were very pleased to welcome Douglas Chapman MP and prestigious guests from the travel trade, media and tourism organisations on board Black Watch, the most classic and intimate ship in the Fred. Olsen fleet, on our final cruise from the Port of Rosyth this year.
“Our guests thoroughly enjoy sailing to the most spectacular destinations around the world from the convenience of ‘right on their doorstep’, here in Rosyth, and the feedback from guests this year has been very positive.
“We would like to thank all those who have helped to make this year’s Rosyth cruise departures such a success for us – including the Port’s dedicated Cruise Volunteers – and we look forward to bringing our flagship, Balmoral, to Rosyth on her maiden cruise season next year…the first time that the ship has ever been based in Scotland.”
Black Watch VIP reception in Rosyth
Fred. Olsen, which is one of the few cruise lines to operate out of regional ports such as Rosyth, has been calling at the Fife port since 2006.
Robert Mason, Head of Cruise at Capital Cruising, which unites cruise interests in London, Edinburgh and Dundee, said: “In the busiest year yet for Capital Cruising, it’s great to have an event like this with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, which showcases the amazing and unique destinations that the line can offer passengers from Port of Rosyth.
“We’re already looking forward to the 2018 season, with nearly 50 cruises already scheduled from Rosyth alone, and are set to surpass the 153,000 passengers that will have used our ports across the UK in 2017.”
From Rosyth, Black Watch continued on a 10-night ‘French Rivers’ cruise, returning to the port on 14 October 2017, from where the ship will reposition to London Tilbury.