Braemar Gallery
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Show Picture Full Size Built in 1993 as Crown Dynasty for Crown Cruise Line, she actually spent her early years chartered by Cunard Line, initially as Cunard Crown Dynasty, then as Cunard Dynasty. I saw her in Costa Rica in 1996. Show Picture Full Size
(left) Cunard Crown Dynasty & Royal Viking Sun in Puerto Caldera, 1996 and (right) Sailing for Crown Cruise Lines again from 1999

In 1997, however, she passed to Majesty Cruise Line as Crown Majesty, only for Majesty Cruise Line itself to be taken over by Norwegian Caribbean Line, whereupon she assumed the name Norwegian Dynasty until the end of her charter in 1998, at which point she reverted to her original name of Crown Dynasty and began sailing for her owners, Crown Cruise Line.

However, Crown Cruise Line ran into difficulties and eventually the ship was sold to Fred Olsen Cruise Line in 2001, to be named Braemar. Until now, the ship had carried her design capacity of 800 passengers but with a complete refit, Fred Olsen introduced a number of single cabins and reduced her overall capacity to just 730 passengers. At last, she had found her niche.

Braemar (2001)
19,089 grt; length 537ft; 730 passengers

Show Picture Full Size It was in September 2002 that Dad & I joined the lovely little Braemar in Dover. In deference to her original name, she still sported a gold crown, forward and just below the Bridge.

Compact though she was and with twists and turns everywhere, Braemar still managed to squeeze everything in without it becoming crowded. It felt a bit like a large private yacht.

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Coral Club Reception Braemar Room Neptune Lounge

Her main facilities on Lounge Deck, included the Coral Club aft and the Neptune Lounge forward, with Reception and her signature Braemar Room situated amidships. The Neptune Lounge was the main show-lounge, but apart from its "Captain Nemo"-style light fittings, it was unusual in being positioned sideways-on, with the only entrance inconveniently at one end. Show Picture Full Size

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Aft Lido Promenade The Foredecks

Show Picture Full Size Also on Lounge Deck, however, was her wrap-around Promenade which gave access to the open Foredeck.

On Main Deck below was the Thistle Restaurant, situated aft with windows on three sides. With its raised central area, the ceiling was a bit low and the room quite noisy at times but the menu & service were quite acceptable.

Show Picture Full Size Tuesday 10th September 2002 - Dinner with the Captain
For Ladies' Night tonight, our entire table, together with one other couple, were invited to dine with Captain Bjarte Marstig. He proved an interesting chap, if a little unsure of himself, and I discovered that he was only 36 and had until recently been on cargo ships. See Menu (right)
View Ladies' Night Menu

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Skylark Club Library Foredeck Bridge

Also aft but up on Bridge Deck was the Skylark Club and a cosy little Library but this deck was where the suites were located, one of which, the Rio de Janeiro Suite was ours!

Show Picture Full Size Surprisingly though, our Suite wasn't much bigger than a large outside cabin on many other ships, although because it was "sideways-on", it had two large windows and the balcony was truly enormous!
(left & right) The Rio de Janeiro Suite (Balcony Suite 7011)
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Marquee Bar Card Room Palms Cafe The View Aft

Directly above our Suite was Marquee Deck, where the pool proved very convenient for my late-afternoon swim every day! Hidden-away aft on this deck was the Card Room, while down on Lido Deck was the Palms Cafe. As this was the only other place to eat apart from the main restaurant, it was very much in demand but although it was a buffet, rather than leaving it as a "free-for-all", a waiter would assign you a proper laid table and this worked much more effectively.

Dad & I had a really happy time aboard this rather lovely little ship. What she lacked in sophisticated facilities, she more than made up for with her intimacy and feeling of exclusivity.

Part of the attraction of Braemar was her size but the relentless pressures of the cruising industry persuaded Fred Olsen to have her lengthened in 2008, expanding her passenger capacity from 730 to 968 and allowing scope to extend her facilities.

In March 2008, she arrived in Southampton with a new 102 ft (31.2m) mid-section, 18 new balcony cabins, a new restaurant, a second pool and a (rather unflattering) new Observatory Lounge above the Bridge.
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Even thus extended, Braemar is still one of the smallest ships in the mass-market and it remains to be seen how this extension will be received. Stretching cruise-ships is by no means a new concept but NCL tried it when they took over the lovely Royal Majesty in 1997 and in my view it didn't work; existing lounges and other facilities originally designed for smaller numbers were pushed beyond their comfortable capacity by packing-in more furniture and more people, and it was not a happy outcome. Personally, I think I prefer to remember Braemar as she was when we sailed on her.

Total Mileage
aboard Braemar: 4,051 n miles

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