Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has celebrated an historic coming together of its fleet of four ocean ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – in Cadiz, Spain.
The four ships came together in Cadiz on Sept. 10 for the “Captains in Cadiz.” It marks only the second time the entire Fred. Olsen fleet has been in the same place.
Fred. Olsen’s four ships sailed into Cadiz harbour at just before 8am, carrying 4,000 guests, who were welcomed by the Los Sones de Cadiz band and a port bedecked with “Captains in Cadiz” fiesta-style bunting and banners.
Mike Rodwell, Managing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We have named this year’s event ‘Captains in Cadiz’, as our Captains – and their dedicated crews – help to make the cruise experience across our fleet such an enjoyable and memorable one.
“This year marks the 170th anniversary of Fred. Olsen’s start as a shipping company and we are delighted to be celebrating today in the stunning city of Cadiz. Our cruise ships have been calling here since 1987, and the excellent port facilities mean that we can berth all four ships in close proximity to each other.
“‘Captains in Cadiz’ has been two years in the planning, and follows on from the tremendous success of our ‘Four Ships in Bergen’ event in July 2015, when we brought our four ocean ships together for the very first time in Bergen, Norway. We would like to thank the Port and city of Cadiz for their very warm welcome, and we look forward to giving our guests another unforgettable Fred. Olsen experience here today with ‘Captains in Cadiz’!”
A key part of the “Captains in Cadiz” celebrations day was the bringing together of the eight ships’ Masters from across the Fred. Olsen fleet: Captains Victor Stoica and Rommel Pineda from Balmoral, Captains Jozo Glavic and Jens Erik Gulowsen from Braemar, Captains Juha Sartela and Mikael Degerlund from Boudicca, and Captains Henrik Mattsson and Valentin Giuglea from Black Watch.
Also attending the event was Chairman of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Fred. Olsen Junior, who watched the fleet come together.
Captain Mikael Degerlund, Master of Boudicca, said: “‘Captains in Cadiz’ really was another tremendous success for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. The event was wonderful, not only for all of us eight Captains, but also for all the staff and crew, who had a great opportunity to meet and mingle with guests from across the fleet, together with the Chairman, Directors and Managers from both of our offices in Ipswich and Oslo. Wherever you walked and turned, there was always a familiar face.
“On a personal level, it makes me very proud to be part of Fred. Olsen, whose cruise ships – for me and many of our guests – are our ‘home away from home.'”
The company was able to put together a program of festivities and activities during the day, along the quayside and throughout the city.
Guests could take part in a ‘Siege of Cadiz’ themed Treasure Hunt, enjoy live bands and Flamenco shows along the route, try local produce, cheer on the crew in a hotly-contested inter-ship Tug of War competition, and sample local Sherry, the company said.
One of the highlights of the event was a ceremonial Plaque Exchange on stage, attended by all eight Captains, Fred. Olsen Junior, Mike Rodwell, the Mayor of Cadiz, President of Cadiz Port Authority and other local dignitaries, at which ships’ plaques were presented by the Captains and commemorative gifts received from the city of Cádiz, followed by a VIP Reception onboard Balmoral.
Guests also had the rare opportunity to visit all of the Fred. Olsen ships during the day, and many took advantage of the chance to meet up with each other – or their favorite crew members – and get to experience the rest of the fleet for themselves, the company said
At 5pm, all four ships made a dramatic departure from Cadiz in convoy, serenaded by a local jazz band. Led out of the harbour by a fire tug boat spraying its water cannons, the Fred. Olsen fleet passed under the imposing The Constitution of 1812 Bridge in formation, before setting sail for their next destinations: Braemar was returning to Southampton, UK; both Balmoral and Black Watch continued to Lisbon, Portugal; and Boudicca headed to Ibiza, Spain.
Fred. Olsen has already started planning its next fleet reunion – the third such event – in Funchal, in Madeira, on April 4, 2020. The event will be named “Four Fred.s in Funchal.”