Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is a UK-based cruise line with three smaller-sized ocean ships – Bolette, Borealis and Balmoral – with headquarters in Ipswich.

Satsuma has provided a full PR service for the company, which was founded in 1848 by the Olsen brothers and is now in the fifth generation of the family, since April 2023.

The company approached Satsuma in April 2023 to cover the upcoming maternity leave of the PR Manager. The brief was to become part of the team and not be seen as an external support agency, while managing Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ proactive and reactive PR.

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Work Included

We started work on the account in May 2023, initially working in-house two days a week to manage the day-to-day PR operation with the support of Fred. Olsen’s PR Executive. This has ranged from running a press office, responding to journalist enquiries and curating relationships with the national, trade, consumer and regional press, creating press release content, organising media events and writing compelling award entries, among much more.

Three months later, the role evolved to a member of the Satsuma team working full-time on the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines account with three in-house days a week and two days working remotely.

We had control of the strategic and management side of the PR department, including the generating of, overseeing creative campaign ideas, and facilitating discussion with the leadership team, with a particular focus on press in the regional departure ports of Southampton, Dover, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle and Rosyth.

These have included a Blue Sky Thinking campaign based on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ TV advert with clouds shaped as Asian countries hidden in the sky. Entrants had to identify the countries and the timestamp to enter and be in with the chance of winning a cruise for two. It generated 2,160 entries.

We worked on the Community Heroes campaign with local newspapers in Liverpool, Newcastle and Rosyth with residents recognised for their voluntary, charitable or community efforts and winning a cruise.

We also announced the arrival of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ new CEO and celebrated a guest who had racked up 2,500 nights on board over the course of 30 years of cruising. Both received widespread coverage in the press.

To mark the Turn of Year campaign, we ran a poll with Markettiers with targeted questions for Fred. Olsen’s demographic. As part of the package, radio soundbites were taken from an interview with a member of the itinerary team. From this, the long interview, bulletin and lunchtime news programme amounted to a total of 864 items of coverage and a total reach of 13.7million. Broken down, this was nine-and-a-half hours of listening time across the campaign.

Another element of the account has been identifying target award schemes and creating exciting, data-driven entries. This has led to numerous award shortlistings in the UK Customer Experience Awards, Engage Awards, Wave Awards, UK Dev Awards, UK Digital Growth Awards and EADT Business Awards, among many others.
This translated into wins in the UK Customer Experience Awards, Engage Awards, UK Dev Awards and UK Digital Awards with the other ceremonies yet to take place.

We have continued to work with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines since the PR Manager returned from maternity leave.


Since May 2023, we have achieved:

  • National broadcast coverage on ITV’s Loose Women and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
  • National press coverage in titles including The Times, The Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Forbes
  • Forged trade press relationships securing coverage in Travel Weekly, Cruise Trade News
  • Multiple award-winning entries:
    Bronze for Best Customer Service – UK Customer Experience Awards 2023
    Silver for Customers at the Heart of Everything – UK Customer Experience Awards 2023
    Gold for Best Business Transformation Strategy – Engage Awards 2023
    Silver for Best Customer Centric Strategy – Engage Awards 2023
    Travel Website of the Year – UK Dev Awards 2024
  • Curated a press trip which generated 52 pieces of regional media coverage
  • Ran a poll which generated 864 pieces of radio coverage with a reach of 13.7 million

“We drafted in the support of Satsuma as maternity cover for our PR Manager. This started with two members of the team, Ellen and Lauren, supporting with various PR functions during this time, with Ellen focusing on more big picture projects and Lauren working more as a part of the team, working closely with the PR Executive on the day-to-day running of the press office.

“Lauren remained working in-house in the approach to the PR Manager’s return, making her return to work as seamless and efficient as possible, and has remained an implanted member of the team on a rolling contract to support with existing projects.

“Her work within the team has been invaluable in what has been a time of real transition not just for the PR team – as the PR Manager returned to work – but for the business as a whole, following the arrival of a new CEO in the early part of the year.

“Lauren has a friendly but professional attitude, will turn her hand to any task and is extremely efficient in all that she does.

“It has been a pleasure to work closely with Lauren, and we would like to thank Ellen, Lauren and all at Satsuma for their support.”

Ellis Orchard, PR Manager at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Meet the team involved