Fred. Olsen's Black Watch in the Kiel Canal

Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch in the Kiel Canal

If you’re looking for a cheap hotel in London for Christmas shopping, or fancy sampling life aboard a luxury cruise ship without breaking the bank- or, indeed, risking the winter storms in northern Europe- then Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has come up with something you might be interested in.

The popular, classically styled Black Watch will be moored on the Thames, at Tilbury, for three nights from December 15th through 17th, in between a pair of short cruises she will be making to the continental Christmas markets. The 28,000 ton ship will be offering occupancy across a range of inside, outside and balcony cabins- not to mention suites- at a price that no London hotel could hope to match. And with the prices also inclusive of a four course, evening dinner, as well as a cooked or continental breakfast, the value is obvious.

Prices begin at £89 per person for a standard inside, rising to £119 per person for a suite. Single fares begin at £109 for an inside, and an astonishing £159 for a suite. A full entertainment programme will run during these overnight stays, including live entertainment, a disco, and a casino. It is also worth noting how cheap the drinks prices are when compared to any mainland London hotel.

The one disadvantage for some is that they may feel that Tilbury is too far from central London. Trains run regularly from Tilbury into London, however; ideal for daytime shopping followed by night time relaxation aboard the classically styled, elegant Black Watch.

In addition, all of the leisure facilities on board, including the gym, pools, and hot tubs, will be open for those brave enough to endure the outdoor December temperatures.

Fred. Olsen is not the first company to offer such a programme. Rival cruise line, Cruise And Maritime, has been doing something similar with their equally classic style Marco Polo for a few years now, also berthed at Tilbury.

These overnight stays will obviously appeal as venues for Christmas parties for local companies, being very cost effective in themselves in terms of both venue and accommodation. And you can also combine an overnight stay on board the Black Watch with a short, two night foray over to the continent if the mood so takes you.

This is a first toe in the water, so to speak, for the venerable Norwegian operator. It will be interesting to see how the numbers stack up in relation to the already established and very popular Marco Polo. Either way, this is  a reasonably priced excuse- if one is needed- for a sweet little pre- Christmas treat.



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