Fred. Olsen Borealis Cabins to Avoid



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Borealis is a very popular cruise ship despite her age. One of just three ships in the Fred. Olsen fleet, she’s a firm favourite of many a British cruise passenger, with a relaxed atmosphere, warm service, and comfortable accommodation choices.

But there are quite a few of those cabins available, and so picking the right one is important. You don’t want to waste your money on a cruise that isn’t quite perfect – and while the wrong cabin will never ruin a cruise, it could put a dampener on an otherwise amazing experience.

I’ve been on a Borealis cruise, so using my own knowledge and a lot of research in cruise groups online, I’ve put together this guide to all of the cabin options on the ship, with tips on some that you might want to avoid.

How To Choose the Best Cruise Cabin

While this guide is tailored towards Borealis, there are some tips which apply to any cruise ship and any cruise line.

I’ve made a handy checklist so that you always have those tips to hand, and you can get a copy sent straight to your inbox…

Borealis has the most cabins of any ship in the Fred. Olsen fleet, with 702. While she shares a very similar design with her sister ship Bolette, there are differences, and Borealis has 12 additional cabins along with one extra cabin type.

That puts her at 19 options – lots to choose from! You can break those down into Inside, Ocean View, Balcony and Suite options to help narrow your choices, and some are designed for people with accessibility needs too – only book those if you need them.

Here’s a look at all of the cabin and suite options on Borealis:

CabinTypeCategoryMax. GuestsDecksAverage Size (sq. ft.)
Single InteriorInsideN11182
InteriorInsideH, I2-41-3182
Single Superior InteriorInsideM12, 7182
Superior InteriorInsideG22, 3, 6182
Ocean View (Porthole)Ocean ViewF21, 2214
Ocean View Adapted (Porthole)Ocean ViewFD21214
Single Ocean View (Picture Window)Ocean ViewK11-3214
Ocean View (Picture Window)Ocean ViewD, E21, 2214
Superior Ocean ViewOcean ViewB, C23, 6190-214
Superior Ocean View AdaptedOcean ViewBD23, 6214
Superior Ocean View Fully RestrictedOcean ViewCO23214
Terrace CabinBalconyTC23218
Terrace Cabin AdaptedBalconyTCD23218
Single Balcony SuiteSuiteJB16244
Balcony Junior SuiteSuiteBJ26280-290
Balcony SuiteSuiteBS26280-290
Premier SuiteSuitePS27568-644
Premier Adapted SuiteSuitePSD27568-644
Olsen SuiteSuiteOW271,181

Borealis Room Sizes

Most of the rooms on Borealis are a standard size, but there are a few that fall within a range. The best thing you can do is check out the Borealis deck plans on the Fred. Olsen website, as you can then browse to see which of the rooms is the biggest – they’re accurate and to scale, so if a room looks bigger on the deck plans, that means it is.

Here are some of the Borealis cabins you might want to avoid – though they aren’t ‘bad’ cabins, just some that you may or may not prefer.

1. Terrace Cabins

terrace cabin on borealis

Borealis doesn’t have any regular balcony cabins. Instead, it can either offer a suite with a private balcony, or a Terrace Cabin.

Terrace Cabins are all situated on Deck 3, which is the Promenade Deck. Each cabin has sliding doors that open out directly onto the promenade, so instead of a private balcony, think of it as a giant balcony that wraps around the whole ship that you share with all the other guests!

You do get two sun loungers, which are exclusively for your use, situated right outside your cabin. And it’s important to note that the glass is one-way, so people can’t wander around the promenade and stare into each room.

Still, if you don’t want to risk someone hovering right outside your cabin or walking past, you might prefer to upgrade to a suite with a balcony, so you have your own space.

2. Porthole Cabins

portholes on Borealis

Many of the Ocean View cabins on Deck 1 and Deck 2 have portholes instead of a larger picture window. You aren’t limited to just one porthole, you get several in a row – but the experience isn’t the same.

Porthole cabins aren’t really any good if you want to enjoy the view. You need to bend over and peer through, and with them being lower on the ship the views aren’t great anyway.

If you don’t care about the view, and only want some natural light, then these cabins are a good choice (and they’re cheaper than Picture Window Ocean View cabins).

Otherwise, consider booking another cabin type if you want to be able to enjoy that sea view from your cosy cabin.

3. Cabins Under the Pool Deck

Premier Suites 7005 to 7019

Indoor pool on Borealis

Whenever I write guides on cabins to avoid, one of the most common complaints I find is about noisy cabins, typically above the theatre, or near the engines.

But to be honest, the noise complaints on social media and forums for Borealis are almost non-existent. That’ll be helped by the typical audience, who generally aren’t late-night party animals, and the fact that the lowest cabins aren’t super-close to the engine deck.

One potential noise issue is with the pool deck, which is directly above some of the Premier Suites on Deck 7. It’s not the actual pool that can be noisy, but the decking area when people wake up early and go to move/reserve a lounger for the day, scraping it across the wood.

If you’re someone who tends to be awake early anyway then it’s not much of a problem at all. The sound is muffled, after all, and it only lasts a few seconds at a time at most. However, if you’re a lighter sleeper and those cruise lie-ins are important to you, consider booking one of the suites further back on that deck.

4. Higher Cabins If You Suffer Seasickness

Worst cabins on Borealis for seasickness shown by arrow

Borealis isn’t a huge ship, but she is a little older, and without some of the latest innovations in stabilising technology, that does mean you can often feel the movement of the boat on the water, especially when you’re towards the front or aft (rear) of the ship and on a higher deck.

The way Borealis’ accommodation is designed, the better cabin classes are further up, because they offer better views. I saw a great phrase when researching this guide – “The more you pay, the more you sway”, because the better a room you book, the higher up you are.

You can avoid this if you book a mid-ship cabin, since the motion is felt less there, but if you suffer from seasickness really badly then I’d recommend a lower deck.

Fresh air and a view of the horizon are helpful so this might actually be when a Terrace Cabin is worth choosing.

5. Connecting Cabins If Not Needed

Like many cruise ships, Borealis has connecting cabins. These are side-by-side cabins with an extra door between them, which normally stays locked on a cruise. However, if you book both adjacent cabins, you can ask for the door to be unlocked and essentially create one larger cabin for your travelling party.

This is the only other time where noise could play an issue though, because connecting doors on cruise ships are always worse than a metal wall for soundproofing. So, if you book one of the connecting rooms, you might hear the other guests in the adjoining room through the door.

Loud, rowdy passengers are rare on a Fred. Olsen cruise, so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern for you, but again light sleepers (especially if loud snoring drives you mad) might want to make sure they don’t get one of these rooms.

6. Part-Accessible Cabins If Using a Wheelchair

1806, 1807, 1956, 2500, 2702, 2704, 2709, 3394, 3399, 3428, 3439

On the official cabin listings for Borealis, rooms are either standard or they are designated as ‘Adapted’, meaning they offer extra features to accommodate guests with disabilities or accessibility requirements.

However, what you’ll only find out if you check the deck plans is that there are two kinds of adapted cabin – fully adapted, and part-adapted.

Fully adapted cabins are designed for guests with wheelchairs or scooters who need the extra room to manoeuvre, whereas part-accessible cabins don’t offer additional space but have an adapted bathroom with fold-down shower seat and grab bars.

Make sure, if you use a wheelchair or scooter, you book the right type of room. I’ve listed the part-adapted cabins above but you can also see them on the deck plans with the code PA.

7. Balcony Suites If You Hate Smoking

balcony cabin on Borealis

One of the quirks of Fred. Olsen cruises is that smoking is still permitted on balconies. Very few cruise lines still allow this, and usually have very limited smoking areas on the ship.

So, be aware that if you book a Balcony Suite of any kind on Borealis, you might be adjacent to someone smoking. An ashtray will be provided, too.

On a windy day, it might not be too bad as the smoke is quickly carried away, but I know some people hate the smell of smoke, so it’s good to be aware of these rules.

To be clear, it’s only in rooms with a private balcony where smoking is allowed. It’s not permitted in Terrace Cabins.

I suppose, if you are a smoker, this also makes these rooms even more appealing since you don’t need to trek to a designated public area to have a cigarette or use your vape.

However, it has been announced that this policy is changing and, from 1st April 2025, smoking and vaping will be banned on all balconies across the Fred. Olsen fleet. So, if you are concerned about smoke, it won’t be a problem for much longer.

Here’s a look at some of the best cabin options on Borealis:

1. Olsen Suites

Borealis Olsen Suite

The Olsen Suites are the best accommodation options on the ship. There are four, each offering almost 1,200 square feet of space – that’s around six times the amount of space you get in the smallest rooms on the ship.

They are still only one-bedroom accommodation options though – that extra space gives you a much bigger bathroom with an oversized bath, a separate shower, a spacious private balcony with loungers, and separate dining, dressing and sitting areas too.

You also get the Suite Dreams package, which comes with all the suites on the ship, which gets you:

  • Priority check-in
  • A welcome bottle of sparkling wine
  • A fruit basket topped up throughout the cruise
  • Free pressing for formal wear
  • An afternoon canape service
  • Use of binoculars, an atlas, a bathrobe and slippers in your suite, along with more luxurious towels
  • Discounted laundry

So, while this is the most expensive option on Borealis, it’s worth considering if you want your cruise to feel even more special.

When I was onboard Borealis I met a couple who were staying in the Olsen Suite. They showed me photos of it on their phone. I asked what they thought of it and their reply was: “It’s nice, but VERY orange!”.

2. Single Cabins

Solo cruising is growing in popularity across the cruise industry, but it’s always been a popular option with Fred. Olsen. And so, Borealis caters to this with a range of single options, including interior and ocean view.

But what’s really unique to Fred. Olsen is the option to book a solo suite – normally on a cruise, you’d be paying full-price for two people if you wanted to enjoy a suite on your own.

If you’re looking for a solo cruise option to meet new friends (or more…) then Borealis’ range of accommodation options is one of the most varied of all cruises.

When I cruised solo on Borealis, I was given a twin room (pictured below) when I booked the solo traveller rate. It would have been nice to have a double bed, and I’m sure my cabin steward would have changed it for me if I would have asked.

twin room for solo occupancy on Borealis.

3. Aft-View Cabins

2704, 2707, 2711, 3437, 6223, 6225, 6227, 6229, 6234, 6236, 6238, 6240, 7061, 7063, 7065, 7067, 7070, 7072, 7074, 7076

Borealis aft view

There are a select few cabins on Borealis that offer an aft view, being positioned right at the back of the ship and looking out over the wake.

Your own opinion matters here, but it’s widely believed that the aft views are the best on a cruise ship, since you get to enjoy the serenity of the scenery fading away.

It’s a nice-to-have feature with the Ocean View rooms lower on the ship, but for the Balcony Junior Suites on Decks 6 and 7 it’s even more useful, since you get a more sheltered balcony – it’s one of the calmest places to relax on the ship.

What is the Best Deck on Borealis?

The best deck on Borealis is Deck 7, which is where you’ll find the Olsen Suites, the Premier Suites, Balcony Suites and a handful of Superior Single Interior rooms. Normally, you want to cruise with cabins above and below to minimise noise, but on Borealis, noise is rarely an issue.

Being on Deck 7 not only means getting some of the best accommodation options, but it also means you’re close to the pool and sports decks, yet not too far from the restaurants either.

What is the Best Room on Borealis?

The best rooms on Borealis are the Olsen Suites, but there are several good options, including the Premier Suites and the range of Single Cabin options. The aft-view Balcony Junior Suites are also excellent. The least popular rooms are the Terrace Cabins, which open straight onto the Promenade Deck.

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Find More Information About Borealis Cabins

I read a lot of Borealis reviews when putting this guide together. Honestly, they are all so positive! It was quite tricky digging through all the love for the ship to find the cabins that people weren’t a fan of, so that’s promising if you were looking to book a cruise on the ship.

If you want to do your own additional reading, and see cabin pictures from past guests of Borealis, you can take a look:

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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