Mixed reactions to the first part of BBC2’s new documentary series The Cruise: A Life At Sea, which made its debut last night. Fred Olsen fans have been quick to express their opinions this morning, and many of them are far from favourable.
I had not been expecting anything outrageous from the six-part series; the production team had earlier worked on gentle observational programmes such as An Island Parish, and were planning to focus on the activities of Balmoral’s chaplain, the Rev Colin Still.
Some viewers seem to think this gave the impression everyone on a Fred Olsen cruise is obsessed with religion – which is far from the truth.
Others expressed doubts that the series would do much to encourage newcomers to sample a cruise, and many were adamant that their own experiences on board were much different from those on the programme.
There was enough reaction for Fred Olsen to post its own message on Facebook, almost appearing to distance the cruise line from the film-makers:
The post reads: “It is important to note that the focus of the The Cruise: A Life At Sea’ series is the Chaplain. The series was commissioned by the BBC’s Religion and Ethics Department, under the premise of taking its hugely popular Island Parish series to sea, and as such ‘The Cruise: A Life At Sea’ is about the Chaplain’s life on board, who he comes to meet and the activities that he undertakes in the course of his travels.
“The series is therefore a gentle, warm-hearted view of life on board and is not a promotional broadcast for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, nor the ship nor its guests and crew (the BBC could possibly have been clearer about this in its promotion of the series).
“Fred. Olsen has no ability to influence what
“We are very proud that Fred. Olsen has been chosen as the cruise line for this BBC observational documentary series, and we hope that, as it goes on, viewers will get to see more of the warm and welcoming atmosphere that Fred. Olsen offers on its ships, get to meet more of the guests and entertainers on board, and come to understand more of the very special experience of taking a world cruise with Fred. Olsen.”
Not sure that people like Andrina Hardcastle will be convinced. She wrote: “Not sure it exactly showed you in the best light!! Not convinced it will improve sales which is sad because Balmoral is a great ship – staff, food, service, entertainment – second to none.”
Or Jennifer Roberts, who said: “OMG – please don’t let our cruise on Boudicca be anything like that. We have cruised several times. Never to lose weight, go to church or sing Gilbert and Sullivan.”
Kenny Barr added: “Fred must be careful not to have his product stereotyped as a churchy themed organisation. That is far from the truth, as I thought the spiritual content of the cruise I was on hit exactly the right note. It was very nostalgic to see Balmoral again. It did make me want to book up right away, but that’s because I know the real Balmoral. Careful Fred, this could back fire.
Last word – for now – to Veronica Kettle: “A load of rubbish. Nothing like the cruises we have had with Fred. We have been on 15 cruises on all ships and it’s nothing like this.
“I don’t think you have done yourself any favours, because we were thinking of doing the world cruise but have changed our minds. We told all our friends to watch this programme and now feel very embarrassed by it. It was all about old people, illnesses and dying.”
If you didn’t see the programme, you can catch up with it on the BBC iPlayer.
Did you watch the programme? Are you a regular cruise passenger? What did you think of the show? Add your comments below.