EXCLUSIVE: Cruise ship chartered to provide Olympics accommodation

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braemar.jpgA cruise ship has been chartered to provide accommodation for key workers at the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games this summer. Fred Olsen’s Braemar will be berthed in East London for a period of 34 days, from July 12 to August 15.
It will be a temporary home-from-home for about 900 workers, mostly those involved in transporting competitors and officials around the Games venues and those employed in the transport depots. The ship is expected to be tied up at Albert Dock or King George V Dock, close to London City airport and near the ExCel centre which is the venue for the Olympic boxing, fencing, taekwondo, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling events.
Three cruises have had to be cancelled to fulfil the Olympic charter and the schedules of four more are affected. A Fred. Olsen spokesperson told me: “Guests whose existing bookings are affected will be offered an alternative cruise, together with a goodwill gesture to acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause. Guests who choose not to take up this offer will be given a full refund.”
Negotiations for the charter have been under way for some time, since LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) realised towards the end of 2011 that they needed to find additional accommodation.
Braemar, built in 1993 and originally the Crown Dynasty, was extended by the insertion of a 102-ft hull section in 2008 and is now capable of carrying 929 passengers, with a crew of 370. Olympics workers will use the cabins and restaurants, but will not have access to the vessel’s two outdoor pools, theatre or nightclubs.
To accommodate the charter, Braemar’s eight-night cruise from Dover to the fjords has been replaced by the 15-night voyage to North Cape and Spitsbergen originally due to depart on July 5. Out goes a 15-night cruise to the Western Mediterranean, and the 14-night Baltic cruise originally scheduled for August 4 will now depart on August 15, followed by a nine-night Norway cruise on August 29.
A three-night mini-break to Ostend and Amsterdam, and an eight-night voyage to Portugal and Spain disappear from the schedule. Fred Olsen and travel agents are currently contacting all passengers whose holidays have been affected.
There had earlier been speculation that cruise ships would be chartered to provide hotel accommodation for Olympic spectators in London and at Weymouth and Portland, where the sailing events will be held, but no agreements have been reached.
The German Olympic Committee has, however, chartered MS Deutschland, which will be berthed at South Quay, in the shadow of Canary Wharf’s skyscraper office blocks.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:53+00:00 21 February 2012|Cruise News|8 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

8 Comments

  1. Bill 22 February 2012 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    There are few enough opportunities to take affordable cruises from the UK to Svalbard so it is disappointing for those who booked this one that the dates have now been changed

  2. Senior Citizen 22 February 2012 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    I and my partner booked on the Braemar cruise in June to the Norwegian Fjords only 3 weeks ago, yet nothing was mentioned at the time about this imminent cancellation. The alternative offered is on different dates, on a different ship, leaving from a different port, going to different places. And all the compensation they have offered is an extra £65 each spending money, which has to be spent on board their ship. I’m appalled that Fred Olsen are prepared to ruin so many of their passengers / customersholiday plans. We had spent weeks planning every detail of this holiday, and they just blithely announce that it’s been rescheduled, and the director who sent out the letter announcing this is ‘out of the office for two weeks’.

  3. Mike Toulson 23 February 2012 at 8:42 am - Reply

    We booked last November for the Western Med Cruise, letter arrived 21st offering £250 credit and upgraded cabin on the Blackwatch.
    The upgrade was from a suite on the Braemar to a Balcony cabin on the BW!!
    An embarassed lady said the BW had been booked up for some time.
    Offered deposit back only.
    As previous F.O customers this seems to be appaling.
    Unable to speak to a Director.
    Doubt we will ever use F.O again.
    Just wonder how much future revenue they will loose by doing this? – or how badly they need the cash?

  4. Annie 23 February 2012 at 11:08 am - Reply

    WHAT A CHEEK FRED OLSEN HAVE CANCELLING THE 20TH JULY CRUISE ON THE BRAEMAR THIS YEAR SO THEY CAN MAKE LOADS OF CASH CHARTERING OUT FOR OLYPICS. WHAT A WAY TO TREAT THEIR CRUISE CUSTOMERS MANY WHO CRUISE EVERY YEAR WITH THEM OUT OF DOVER.
    A BIG CROWD OF US BOOK WITH FRED OLSEN EVERY YEAR AND ARE R4EALLY ANGRY THAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS!

  5. Nick 24 February 2012 at 10:51 am - Reply

    We were booked on the Svalbard cruise and are unable to accept the rescheduled dates.
    Thanks you Fred Olsen – destroyer of dreams.
    Nick

  6. Dave 22 July 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Did I hear that Fred Olsen was giving Volunteers attending the Olympic Games who are travelling from outside London, free accommodation on their Cruise Ships Docked in London?

  7. John Honeywell 23 July 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Fred Olsen’s Braemar has been chartered by LOCOG to provide accommodation for workers at the Olympic Games.See: http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/captain-greybeard/2012/02/exclusive-cruise-ship-chartered-to-provide-olympics-accommodation.html

  8. Roger Rowley 14 August 2012 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    I’ve sailed on Braemar 4 months ago(with the trouble & strive=wife) 6 ports in the Caribbean across the pond (via the Azores ) & an air sea rescue off spain to Dover

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