Black Watch improved

I am writing because, although Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in Ipswich was given the opportunity to reply to the specific complaints of one couple (“Black Watch Cruise Appraisal,” Jan. ’06, pg. 73), we, the North American representatives — and closest to the rest of the customers — were never given a chance to provide input. If we had, we would have pointed out the following.

The Black Watch had a thorough overhaul in June 2005, including brand-new (very quiet — nice and fast — ecologically friendly) engines. I had the privilege of sailing on her in October and found the ship to be a sparkling and attractive traditional cruise experience.

Our company had a good number of passengers aboard the around-the-world cruise which the above-mentioned couple was on, and we received some of the same comments that they gave; however, the overall impression was so good that many of these passengers have booked again on future cruises, including, of course, on the dressed-up Black Watch.

The dress code on board is quite dressy for some North Americans (including myself); however, there are alternative dining options for clients preferring not to wear a tuxedo. I personally wear a dark suit and a red bow tie, and I believe the glances I receive from the ladies, at least, are favorable.

ROBERT SWAN, Vice-President & General Manager, Borton Overseas, 5412 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419