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Fred Olsen’s Bolette. Cabin Reviews and Cabins To Avoid (Real Photos – I Stayed Onboard)

If you are taking a cruise on Bolette you may be wondering which cabin would suit you.

I have just disembarked a cruise on Fred Olsen’s Bolette, after a wonderful adventure to Norway “In Search of the Northern Lights”.

Whilst I stayed in a midship balcony cabin, on deck 8. I had a friend with an ocean-view cabin on deck 3. He had two “Porthole” type windows. Ocean-view cabins on decks higher up have large, square windows.

We stayed in Cabin 6146. Below is a photo of me during the cruise, we cruised into the arctic circle!

emma cruises bolette fred olsen

Bollete is a New Ship for Fred Olsen – But Not New

Bolette was brought from Holland America Line in 2020

Fred Olsen prides itself on being a “family-run” cruise line. Bolette is named after the great-great-grandmother of the company Chairman, Fred Olsen Jnr.

She was one of Four R-Class ships (Or Rotterdam class ships) built between 1997 and 2000 specifically for the Holland America cruise line.

These ships all carry roughly 1,400 passengers.

She was originally named “Amsterdam.” Fred Olsen also bought her sister ship “Rotterdam” and renamed her the “Borealis” at the same time.

It is a little confusing that Holland America uses the same ship names over and over again – They now have a new ship called Rotterdam that was launched in October 2020.

In This Post We Explore:

  • Inside Cabins
  • Outside Cabins
  • Balcony Suite Cabins
  • Terrace Cabins
  • Facilities provided in each cabin
  • Other things to consider

We will also look at cabins to avoid.

Inside Cabins – Bolette Review

Inside Cabins normally sleep two people and are around 183 sq feet. Some rooms can accommodate 4 guests. These inside cabins are normally the cheapest cabins available.

There are 135 inside cabins onboard.

fred olsen bolette inside cabins

Cabins normally have twin beds, which can easily be converted into a double, depending on your needs. 

Just speak to your cabin steward, they are always happy to help.

There are cabins available that accommodate four passengers

If you are planning to have more than two people in the cabin, there are cabins available that have Pullman beds that can be pulled down from the ceiling.

Others have a large sofa bed that can be made up in the evenings.

What I Liked About The Inside Cabins:

  • They were a good size for an inside cabin
  • The amount of storage space and drawers within the main cabin itself.
  • A good-sized, tiled bathroom
  • Well maintained -even though the ship is over 30 years old nothing was scuffed or broken
fred olsen bolette inside cabins bathroom

What I Didn’t like: 

  • The older style of traditional cruise ship décor.  Lots of wood and beige.  Personal choice of course, but I prefer the décor of more modern ships like those of the MSC fleet or the newer Royal Caribbean ships. 

I am a big fan of inside cabins, as it saves money that can be spent on drinks, excursions, speciality dining – or another cruise!

My friend Jamie stayed in an inside cabin onboard Borealis which is near identical to Bolette.

One problem people mention is that it is easy to sleep – and sleep – and sleep in an inside cabin.  There is no daylight to wake you up. 

I now pack my daylight alarm clock, which gently wakes me up in the morning.  To learn more about daylight alarm clocks, check out my review here:

Outside Cabins – Bolette Review

The outside cabins on Bolette are almost identical to the inside cabins in style and design.

The average size is slightly bigger, at 215 sq ft. They can also sleep up to four people, with some cabins having pull-down/Pullman beds or sofa beds.

There are 383 ocean-view cabins onboard.

They have either a porthole or a bigger, square window, depending on which deck you are on. 

fred olsen bolette oceanview cabin

Oceanview cabins are the next step up to an inside cabin and are a good choice if you think you would miss having natural light in your cabin. 

It is a cheaper option than a balcony suite cabin, but still gives you views of the ocean – albeit with no actual outside space.

What I Liked About The Oceanview Cabins:

  • The amount of storage space and drawers within the main cabin itself.
  • A good-sized, tiled bathroom with a bath and shower over.
  • Even though the ship is over 30 years old, it has been very well maintained throughout.
  • Bright light and airy.
fred olsen bolette oceanview cabin

What I Didn’t like: 

  • The older style of traditional cruise ship décor. Lots of wood and beige. Personal choice of course, but I prefer the décor of more modern ships like those of the MSC fleet or the newer Royal Caribbean ships. 

My friend David have an oceanview cabin onboard Borealis which is near identical to Bolette:

Balcony Suite Cabins – Bolette Review

Fred Olsen doesn’t offer standard “balcony” cabins as you would find on many other cruise ships.

“Balcony” cabins are known as “Balcony Suites”.

There are 120 of these balcony suites onboard. I was lucky enough to stay in one of these suites, and it was very comfortable.

A standard balcony suite cabin is around 235 sq ft.  Some balcony cabins can accommodate four guests with one bed coming down from the ceiling and a sofa bed.

There were two of us travelling and we had the room set up with just one double bed.

Balcony Suite Cabin
Our Balcony

What I Loved About My Balcony Suite Cabin On Bolette

  • Very comfy beds – unfortunately I was quite seasick on this winter, Northern Lights sailing. I spent more time in bed than usual!
  • The storage space and drawers within the main cabin itself.
  • Good choice of TV and Movies to watch.
  • An actual bath, with a shower over it in the bathroom.
  • The cabin was always spotlessly clean.

What I Didn’t Love About My Balcony Suite Cabin On Board Bolette

  • The older style of traditional cruise ship décor. Lots of wood and beige. Personal choice of course, but I prefer the décor of more modern ships like those of the MSC fleet or the newer Royal Caribbean ships. This ship is over 30 years old but is maintained very well, with no scuffs, marks or damages.
  • No USB plugs or sockets by the beds. Again, this is down to the age of the ship, and there are plenty of plug sockets in the desk area.
  • Smoking on the balconies! I don’t smoke, but if you did you can here – and an ashtray is provided!

Only four cruise lines allow you to smoke on your cabin balcony. To find out which ones, check out my fuller article on this below:

Cruise Line Balcony Smoking Policies – On These 4 Lines You Can

There are a number of “suite perks” you will get if you book a balcony suite. To find out more details about these and the cabin itself, check out this article:

Fred Olsen’s Bolette – Balcony Suite Real Review and Photo Guide (I Spent 9 Days Onboard)

Terrace Cabins – Bolette Review

Bolette has 7 “Terrace Cabins”, with a room size: of approximately 218 sq ft.

This is smaller than the balcony suite cabin I stayed in.

These unusual Terrace Cabins have sliding patio doors straight out onto the promenade deck.

They have a double bed which can be converted to singles and all the other cabin features you would expect.

The sliding patio doors are like one-way mirrors – you can see everyone walking past on the promenade deck, but they can’t see into your room.

I think it is nice that you can go straight out on to the promenade deck if you want to. You have plenty of daylight, but no private outside space.

I recently cruised on P&O’s Iona and had a Conservatory Mini Suite cabin. We had a balcony area that opened out on to the Promenade deck – but you couldn’t actually get out there because of the balcony railings.

To find out all about that cabin, see the article below.

I Booked the Most Controversial Cabin on a Cruise Ship – P&O’s Iona Conservatory Mini Suite

Bolette Suites

There is a range of different suites that you can book on Bolette.

The size of these suites varies a great deal, with the largest, the Owner’s Suite, being a massive 1273 Square feet!

A “Premier Suite” is smaller – but is still a very acceptable 575 Square feet!

I have never stayed in a suite on a cruise ship, although I have been lucky enough to be invited to look at the suites of friends who have!

Do Fred Olsen Cruises Provide Bathrobes?

Fred Olsen provides bathrobes in suite cabins if you are sailing for three or more nights.

They say:

“Bathrobes are also available for use in other cabin grades, subject to availability. A refundable deposit is required and a charge is made to cover laundry costs.”

Fred olsen cruise lines

So if you want a bathrobe and it isn’t automatically provided, speak to your room steward.

Do The Cabins on Bolette have TVs?

All cabins on the Bolette come with TVs. In our cabin, there was a flat-screen TV on the unit at the foot of the bed.  It was easy to move it so that you always had a good view.

They have a good range of films and box sets and a selection of news channels.

Unlike many cruise lines, they don’t have lots of channels in different languages, so there is plenty of channel choices!

Position of TV

Do The Cabins on Bolette have Kettles?

All the cabins on Bolette came with a kettle and some tea/coffee-making facilities.

If there aren’t the tea bags that you’d like, feel free to take some from the buffet back to your room, I always do!

Do The Cabins on Bolette have Safes?

All cabins on Bolette have safes. Ours was quite small, and could be found on one of the shelves in the wardrobe/closet area outside the bathroom.

Cabins to Avoid – Bolette

If you suffer from motion sickness, I would avoid a cabin right at the front or right at the back of the ship.

I do get seasick, and unfortunately did feel a little unwell on this cruise, despite having a cabin in the middle of the ship. This was probably due to a number of things:

  • The Itinerary – it was a winter cruise, we sailed in March 2023
  • The destination – going across the North Sea in the winter months can be rough.
  • The size of the ship – she is quite small. Although she does have stabilizers (retrofitted in 2022) she seemed to move more than some other ships I have sailed on.

Deck 3 Terrace Cabins

I don’t think I would book a Terrace cabin, as I think I might find it distracting with people walking by outside whilst I am trying to relax – even if they can’t see into the cabin itself.

There are lots of people who love these cabins though.

fred olsens bolette terrace cabins

Deck 3 and 5 Forward

If you are somebody who likes to sleep early and needs it to be quiet I would recommend avoiding the cabins at the front of decks 3 and 6. These are above and below the theatre.

The late theatre shows usually started at 10:30 so the noise would be happening until around 11:30.

fred olsen bolette cabins to avoid

If you have mobility issues, I wouldn’t book a cabin on the lower decks. There are actually passenger cabins right down on deck 1 on Bolette!

If you want to go up to the top deck (deck 9) it is a lot of stairs! We found the lifts/elevators were always busy on our cruise.

Fortunately, I have no mobility issues, and am very happy to use the stairs – it means I can eat more cookies!

Should You Book a Guaranteed Cabin?

I normally would choose a “guaranteed cabin” to save money and the cruise line pick the location. 

I didn’t pick my cabin location on this trip – but I think I was very fortunate to get a mid-ship cabin. I am sure my seasickness would have been even worse if I was right at the front or the back of the ship!

I am perfectly happy and able to walk great distances, and nothing much disturbs my sleep.

Not everyone is the same though, and I perfectly understand people choosing their cabins very carefully.

To learn more about guaranteed cabins and if it’s worth paying extra to pick your location, check out this post next: I Always Book Guaranteed Cabins on Cruise Ships – (Photo Examples, Regrets & More)

Would I Recommend These Cabins?

I would definitely recommend the cabins onboard Bolette. They felt as though they had been well looked after and our cabin was spacious, always spotlessly clean and very comfortable.

We had a wonderful trip to Fred Olsen’s Bolette! I enjoyed the destination, the staff were wonderful, and It was nice to get a taste of traditional, small-ship cruising.

I often cruise on larger, less traditional ships so it made a nice change to try something different.

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