When Fred. Olsen bought Black Watch (originally Royal Viking Star) in 1997, it took their operations to a new dimension, with more modern hardware, facilities and style. They have since added the ex-Norwegian Dynasty (Braemar), Star’s former sister Royal Viking Sky (Boudicca) and Norwegian Crown (Balmoral). Every one of the ships has been stretched – by the addition of an extra mid-section – since their original construction. All cruises feature good British-orientated entertainment and bridge instructors, and many include gentlemen hosts. Moving with the times, the ships are now in traducing an extra-charge Grill restaurant and squeezing in specialty coffee and chocolate shops into the library space. There’s tea and coffee-making facilities in the cabins, and bar prices are very reasonable. Ex-UK cruises operate from ports around the country, including Liverpool, Greenock, Newcastle and Rosyth as well as Dover and Southampton, while fly-cruises take in much of Europe and further afield, including Canada and New England, South America. Gratuities not included.