Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is a British, family-run cruise line, with its headquarters in Ipswich, UK. Operating for over 170 years, and now into the fifth generation of the Olsen family, Fred. Olsen offers cruise holidays to the world’s finest destinations, tailored to give its guests an unforgettable experience aboard its fleet of stylish, smaller cruise ships: Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch.

Fred. Olsen offers award-winning cruise holidays to over 270 destinations around the world, sailing from five convenient UK departure ports – Southampton, Dover, Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh (Rosyth) – as well as providing shorter fly-cruise breaks to the tropical archipelagos of Asia, the Caribbean and other exotic locations.

Black Watch, named after the famous Scottish Regiment, has been in service with Fred. Olsen since November 1996. Known for its intimate size, innovative worldwide voyages and excellent service, the ship underwent an extensive refurbishment in December 2019 at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and now boasts a refreshed look and feel.

Accommodating under 800 guests, Black Watch offers swimming pools, a well-equipped Fitness Centre, a surround-sound cinema – an unusual feature at sea these days – elegant lounges and well-stocked bars. Designed as a boutique ‘hotel at sea’, Black Watch’s long history and heritage are highly regarded by its many loyal guests.

As part of its commitment to improving technology across the fleet, Fred. Olsen made the decision to look at the key access used for its guest cabins.

Unique to the Fred. Olsen fleet, Black Watch was using a standard key and mortice lock for access into its guest cabins. Fred. Olsen recognised that the implementation of new lock technology would improve the guest experience overall and aid the management of the cabins by Hotel staff. To this end, Fred. Olsen started to research RFID door system solutions.

Fred. Olsen’s vision was to source a UK-based company with whom it could maintain a close working relationship, and which was capable of providing the robust RFID solution that it required, to budget and to time, aligning with its own corporate values. This was where Hoist Group entered the vision.

At Hoist Group, we offer a Smart Key product which provides hotels with a stable and reliable security solution, whilst providing the guest with a more relaxed and comfortable stay. Our smart locks come with features such as PMS integration, personal access for staff, panic release, emergency key, in-house support, RFID and keycard.

Using our electronic hotel locks with RFID and key cards, several functions are added that make issuing keycards easier, an important factor when providing Fred. Olsen with its desired solution. Keycards are re-programmed for each guest, providing a high level of security and reducing the issue of lost keys.

"We’re really pleased with the impressive results that we have achieved with Hoist Group. The RFID solution was on-spec, providing us with a robust door lock system for our guest cabins whilst integrating with the on-board hospitality system. Hoist were keen to work closely with us throughout the implementation, and the experience and expertise of their specialists really shone through. Staff at Fred Olsen genuinely feel that the door lock technology on board Black Watch has been improved vastly and feedback from both the crew and guests has been really positive."
Robyn Faulks
Cruise Infrastructure Support, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines