In recent years, the major cruise lines have made a conscious effort to be more environmentally friendly, such as by working to achieve carbon neutrality and cut back on harmful emissions.  

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is giving back to the environment by paying extra attention to the marine animals that share the sea with its three small ships, which resulted in nearly 3,500 wild animal sightings in 2023. 

Through a partnership with marine wildlife charity ORCA, passengers on board Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s three ships spotted a total of 3,431 animals during their cruises in 2023. 

This number declines from the over 4,400 wildlife sightings made by Fred. Olsen’s passengers in 2022, but is impressive nonetheless. 

The partnership between the small ship cruise line and ORCA, which began in 2019, is meant to protect the world’s whales and dolphins by identifying where they are most vulnerable and monitoring their habitats and behaviors.

Each year, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines welcomes volunteers from ORCA onboard select cruises to locate wildlife and collect data – all while providing guests with the unique experience of playing a role in marine science and conservation. 

“Understanding these animals better is the only way we can protect them for future generations, and we are incredibly grateful to the entire Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines team, on land and at sea, for welcoming us on board,” said Steve Jones, Director of Fundraising and Operations at ORCA.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Wildlife

Read Also: The Cruise Industry’s Pursuit of Carbon Neutrality by 2050

Echoing patterns from previous years, dolphins were the most likely animal to be spotted onboard the cruises in 2023, with passengers spotting a total of 2,312 individual dolphins. 

Additionally, cruisers spotted 135 harbour porpoises, 11 orca, 84 humpback whales, 44 grey seals, and seven Cuvier’s beaked whales as part of the conservation program. Blue whales, bearded seals, and ocean sunfish were also spotted, which are much more rare. 

Fred. Olsen Cruise Line will once again be welcoming ORCA volunteers onboard its ships this year, with 30 ORCA sailings already scheduled throughout 2024 and even 2025. 

“We look forward to another year of working with ORCA to learn more about the wildlife sighted, while playing a part in capturing key data,” said James Moss, Itinerary Product Manager at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. 

The cruise line’s fleet currently consists of three small ships: Balmoral, which can carry 1,325 passengers and 537 crew members; Borealis, with 1,353 passengers and 642 crew members; and Bolette, with a 1,338 passenger capacity and 645 crew members. 

Over the next two years, 10 of the conservation cruises will take place aboard Balmoral, with cruises ranging from 8-14 nights – the exception being a 1-night mini cruise sailing from Scotland to the UK.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Wildlife

The longer cruises will be sailing to destinations like the Scottish Isles, Iceland, and Norway to see the Northern Lights. The earliest cruise is an 11-night sailing titled “Natural Wonders of Iceland” that embarks from Newcastle in the UK on April 17, 2024. 

An additional 11 ORCA cruises will be hosted on Bolette, with the earliest sailing, titled “Islands of the Azores, Crossing The Path of the Solar Eclipse” embarking fromSouthampton in the UK on April 4, 2024 and lasting for 13 nights. Across the 11 cruises, Bolette will take passengers to destinations like France, Portugal, the Scottish Isles, Canada, and Greenland. 

Last but not least, the final 9 cruises that will host the conservation team members will take place throughout 2024 and 2025 onboard Borealis. The earliest sailing, titled “Whales and Volcanic Landscapes of Iceland,” will depart from Southampton on May 14, 2024 and last for 11 nights. In addition to Iceland, the 9 itineraries will cover destinations across Scotland, the UK, Canada, and Portugal (the Azores and Madeira).

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