Whilst Fred Olsen doesn't consciously market itself as a small ship operator in the way that some of the bespoke luxury lines do, its aged fleet is comprised of ships that are generally regarded as small by modern standards, and for many guests the more cosy atmosphere and lack of big scale entertainment and facilities is all part of the charm. The line's fleet is the second oldest of any major cruise operator, and includes two ships that date from the early 1970s. They have been modernised extensively since then, but there's no getting away from the fact that ships of that age are never going to be able to compete with more modern vessels in terms of comfort and amenities.
Although the tradition and formality of Fred Olsen might give the impression that it has grand aspirations, there is no getting away from the fact that its ships do not have the high class feel of the newer luxury vessels operated by many of its competitors. It certainly doesn't market itself as a budget line, but equally you would struggle to place it in the same category as some of its more upmarket rivals.
Whilst Fred Olsen does theoretically cater for guests of all ages, there is no doubt that its resolutely traditional approach to cruising does primarily attract an older clientele. Young families are fairly few and far between and most guests choose the line because of a desire to avoid more modern forms of entertainment and sports facilities.
As you might expect from a line that is home to two of the oldest cruise ships of any major operator, Fred Olsen does not market itself on the basis of being innovative. This is a line for people that enjoy reminiscing about the good old days and are not bothered by the absence of the more modern touches which are now the norm in the cruise industry.
In keeping with its traditional image, Fred Olsen has largely shunned the general move towards a more casual style of cruising. There are of course options to cater for all tastes, but formality of dress and behaviour is still the norm around most of the dining and entertainment venues.