The story so far

WorldWide Cruises 2017-18

HISTORY The story so far The roots of Fred. Olsen trace back to 1848 in Hvitsten, a village on the Oslofjord (one of the current scenic cruising highlights of our cruises). The first Olsen family ship-owner was a certain Fredrik Christian Olsen, who operated a fleet of primitive sailing vessels. Only a few years later Fredrik’s brothers, Petter and Andreas, became involved in trading with small fleets of sailing vessels, starting in 1852 and 1860 respectively. It was Petter’s son, the second Fred. Olsen (actually ‘Thomas Fredrik’), who put the Olsen name on the map as one of the most significant in Norwegian shipping. Having taken command of one of his father’s vessels at the age of 23, others were added to the fleet over the next few years, the biggest being the Canadianbuilt ocean-going full rigger, Morning Light. But it was not until 1896 that Thomas Fredrik placed an order on behalf of a newly-established company, A/S Bonheur, for the first steamship in the fleet, Bayard, named after one of the vessels that started his ship-owning career. From that point, it has become a family custom that most of the Fred. Olsen ships should bear names beginning with the letter ‘B’. Having transferred his office to the capital, Thomas Fredrik acquired the Færder Steamship Company in 1901; the first decisive venture into the passenger business. The ships of this period only accommodated around 100 passengers, and links were established to Scotland and then Newcastle in 1906. The Brabant, the first of a new generation of passenger vessels, was delivered in 1926. A more modern-looking ship than her predecessors, she had a newlyfashionable cruiser stern. As in many other industries, shipping activities were heavily affected by the events of both World Wars. Half of the fleet of 40 ships were lost during World War I, however during 1938, Olsen introduced the Black Prince and the Black Watch, named in honour of England and Scotland. Sadly, neither was to fulfil its potential; both were seized by the Nazis and lost in the turmoil of the war, along with 26 other vessels to decimate the fleet once more. It was the Bretagne that re-opened the Newcastle service in August 1945. The modern story begins in 1951 with Blenheim, named in honour of Sir Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim Palace, the Churchill family seat. A second ship, named Braemar in tribute to Scotland and the British Royal Family, followed two years later. These new ships were relatively small but among the most eye-catching liners of their day. In 1955, the third Fred. Olsen – and the current Fred. Olsen Senior – suddenly found himself having to oversee the development of the family empire at the age of just 26 after his father, Thomas Olsen, became ill. The Black Watch entered joint service for Fred. Olsen and Bergen Line in 1966, and her first sailing was to the Canary Islands from London. She was soon followed by her sister ship Black Prince on the same route the following month, and this would become the route for many Fred. Olsen maiden voyages. A ‘reborn’ Black Prince started out as a ‘sunshine cruiser’ in 1987, sailing to Cadiz, Casablanca, the Canary Islands, Madeira and Gibraltar from Southampton. The officers and crew on board that first 8 Visit fredolsencruises.com, contact your travel agent or call 0800 0355 105


WorldWide Cruises 2017-18
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