Package Holiday Reviews For The MS Balmoral

Balmoral from Fred. Olsen Cruiselines is the largest and most modern in their fleet of 4 ships. The ship is named after the Royal Family's Scottish residence - Balmoral. Although it is the largest ship in the Fred. Olsen fleet, it's still smaller than most of the modern floating skyscrapers you see today, providing a traditional approach to cruising!

Before the Balmoral was purchased and extended by Fred. Olsen Cruiselines, the ship (built by Meyer Werft in Germany) was operated by Royal Cruise Line and was known as the 'Crown Odyssey'. Later, Norwegian Cruise Line purchased Royal Cruise Line and the ship continued to be known as the 'Crown Odyssey', however in 1996, Norwegian Cruise Lines had a major re-organisation and the ship was then re-named 'Norwegian Crown'!

The Balmoral now has 3 restaurants, plus the popular Palms Cafe. The Ballindalloch is the principle restaurant with the smaller Avon and Spey restaurants offering a quality dining environment for passengers with the same menu as in the main Ballindalloch restaurant.

Submitted By Lesley Alexandra Edwards in August 2012 for the Antwerp Overnight (L1214)
Dining:Rated Maximum 5 Stars By Lesley Alexandra Edwards
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Excursions:Lesley Alexandra Edwards Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Excursions
Embarkation:Lesley Alexandra Edwards Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Embarkation
Service:Lesley Alexandra Edwards Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Service
Overall Value:Overall Value Rated 4 Stars
Cruise Rating:Lesley Alexandra Edwards Awards Maximum 5 Stars

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: 50-54
Previous Cruises: 3+
"Very Smooth And Enjoyable"

We boarded the MS Balmoral on the 25th August; it was my daughters 24th birthday! We had a lovely cabin on deck 6 with a window which was situated by the restaurant which was very handy! Had a lovely meal on the 25th, the staff sang to my daughter and brought her a birthday cake which I must say there was no charge for this, it was lovely.

The staff on the Balmoral are fantastic, the shows they put on in the evening are good. We arrived in Antwerp on the afternoon of the 26th we had booked on a trip to Brussels which was well worth it. On the morning of the 27th we went shopping in Antwerp, we had to do this quite early as the ship was departing at 1pm, would have liked longer there!

It was a mini cruise, would say our journey was very smooth and enjoyable and would say that all the staff take hygiene very seriously would love to go again well done to everyone on the Balmoral and to Captain Bamberg!

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Submitted By Daniels in August 2012 for the Bergen, Stavanger & the Fjords (L1212)
Dining:Rated Maximum 5 Stars By Daniels
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated 4 Stars
Excursions:Excursions Were Poor Value For Money
Embarkation:Daniels Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Embarkation
Service:Service Rated 4 Stars
Overall Value:Daniels Awards Maximum 5 Stars
Cruise Rating:Daniels Awards Maximum 5 Stars

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: 56-65
Previous Cruises: 5
"Our First Cruise With Fred. Olsen"

This was our first cruise with Fred. Olsen, but it will not be the last. We booked only three weeks before travelling, and were concerned that our cabin right in the bows might mean a bumpy ride in bad weather, but we were lucky to have calm seas for the whole trip.

Embarkation:
We started from berth 104 in Southampton, labelled The Fruit Dock. I would guess this is the 'short straw' in passenger terms, as far as Southampton Docks is concerned. It is a vast warehouse with chairs and insufficient toilets. The 1300 passengers were being called forward to board at a rate of 20 passengers every 10 minutes for security checks by G4S, and it was clear that we would be late leaving. After a while processing was speeded up by only checking random passengers, but of five ships in port on the day, we were the smallest and last to depart.

Accommodation:
Our cabin was clean and roomy, with generous wardrobe space. A flatscreen TV is provided, and the tea & coffee tray was most welcome. The bathroom was of a good size with lots of storage space for toiletries, and dispensers of liquid soap and shower gel are provided. We found the beds very comfy, and had no problems getting to sleep, but that may be partly to do with too much good food! The only niggle was the lock on the cabin door. We were already on our third keycard before someone was summoned to dismantle the lock, and found three batteries all leaking acid.

I had ordered the 'flowers in your cabin on departure' option from Fred Olsen, and at just £27 we were very pleased with the arrangement. The florist is based in Kent, so I would assume the same applies to Dover departures. They are presented in a cardboard vase, and with a little water added occasionally, were still in excellent condition at the end of the eight night cruise.

Dining:
The food on Balmoral is excellent. We both enjoyed every meal and tried some dishes which we had not eaten before. The beef wellington and rack of lamb were simply magnificent. We were pleased to note that compliance with dress codes was mandatory in the waiter service restaurants on formal and informal days, and the few who arrived without ties were discretely sent to make amends or use the Palms bistro restaurant instead.

Entertainment:
The nightly shows in the Neptune lounge were of a good standard, and the special show put on by the ship's crew was particularly good. There are plenty of activities going on during the day, but with only two 'at sea' days, we didn't sample many.

Ports of Call:
We had booked late so many of the tours were already full, but we were quite happy exploring on our own. Stavanger & Bergen are an easy walk from the quay. If you want to do the funicular railway in Bergen and there are other cruise ships in port on the same day, get there first thing, or wait until the afternoon. Long queues build up mid-morning with groups from the ships. It's 40NOK single or 80NOK return, so we chose to ride up for the lovely views and walk down along good pathways.Flam Railway. This is the 'must do' attraction in Flam, and a return ticket costs 360NOK. If you are on a small ship, and there are no other ships in Flam on the same day, there should be no problem. We were there on the same day as Queen Victoria, but fortunately just ahead of her. There are six carriages on each train, and on our day, four of these were reserved for tour parties (all only doing the trip in one direction and the other by coach). With just two carriages left for independent travellers, trains quickly became sold out as the two ships discharged their passengers. We were fortunate to be on one of the first tenders ashore, and got tickets for the 09h45 train, but many others left it too late and missed out. Our other port calls were Olden, where we went for a lovely walk along the valley, picking wild raspberries along the way, and visited a charming wooden church. The final call was Farsund which is very much a picture postcard little town. School children sang on the quay to greet us on arrival, and there is a baker's shop in town with the biggest danish pastries I've ever seen. A 4CL glass of beer in the bar in the centre of town was 62NOK, but it had to be done once!

To sum up, some aspects were better than other ships we have sailed on before (the dining), and some not so good (the entertainment), but over all we were very pleased with the Balmoral, and would certainly love to sail on her again.

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Submitted By Peter in August 2012 for the Bergen, Stavanger & the Fjords (L1212)
Dining:Rated Maximum 5 Stars By Peter
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated 4 Stars
Excursions:Excursions Rated 3 Stars
Embarkation:Embarkation Only Rated 1 Star
Service:Peter Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Service
Overall Value:Overall Value Rated 4 Stars
Cruise Rating:Cruise Rating Rated 4 Stars

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: 50-54
Previous Cruises: 6
"Repeat Visit to Norway On The Balmoral"

Due to the poor summer in the UK we decided to book this holiday as an escape from the poor weather and only booked the cruise 7 weeks prior to departure. The cruise was similar to a previous Norway cruise last May, but I always promised myself that I would return one day and take the Flam Railway, however, I never expected to be going back to Norway so soon!

3 days prior to departure, we received a letter from Fred. Olsen informing us that there would be a high number of cruise ships in Southampton on 3rd August and that the cruise terminal 'allocated' to us, is the 'Fruit Terminal'. This terminal is described as a temporary facility to facilitate our cruise departure! As we were possibly the smallest of the cruise ships in port that day, it did seem reasonable for ABP to push our departure into that warehouse, however this theme of getting pushed out of the way for larger ships continued in 2 of the ports we visited, as we had to anchor (never advertised as anchor ports in the brochure) at Flam and Olden. The 'Fruit Terminal' was a grubby place with dull warehouse standard orange lighting and a trestle table selling tea and coffee; however it did have enough seating and just about managed to serve its purpose! The security was patchy with a G4S employee randomly selecting people from the lengthening queue and bypassing the body and bag xray scanner.

Once onboard, we were met with the rather disappointing news that a small number passengers on the previous (L1211 - The Baltic with Norway) cruise had been affected by a stomach bug! I have had a previous holiday ruined with Thomson on a visit to the Hotel Los Gigantes with the dreaded norovirus, so this wasn't a great start to the cruise! Fred. Olsen implemented a stricter regime for the first 2 days of the holiday to combat any contamination from people on the previous cruise affecting us! I have had 85 nights with Fred. Olsen and have never had any problems! The stricter measures implemented included all the hot tubs and Jacuzzis being closed, the self service buffet served by the staff, extra cleaning of seat arms in public areas, no swapping of quiz sheets, people had to instantly dispose of the free daily news sheet, salt & pepper pots removed from tables, drinks menus removed from bars. The measures seemed to have worked as the measures were relaxed on day 3 and everything was back to normal. Personally, during the stricter hygiene control period I would recommend that they also encourage passengers to carry their own pens for signing bar receipts, dispense with the little booklet with the bar bill in it and spray everyone's hands when entering bars and restaurants! I'm no fan of the automatic dispensers they now use because some people will not use them, some people can't get them to work and walk off rubbing their hands pretending they have solution on them, but no green dispensing light was ever illuminated!

Before we set sail, we had the usual muster station drill. During the drill we were informed that we could be required to leave the room and stand in lines of 3 people next to the lifeboat. They provided a demonstration on how we would form a human chain and proceed to the lifeboat, holding each other's shoulders'! I had read on another review site that they tried this on the Boudicca and there was a revolt and I'm not surprised! Considering we were in a 'lock down' situation with the stomach bug, the thought of me holding someone else's clothing and a strangers hand on my shoulder gave me the sweats! Fortunately the human chain was abandoned and we were allowed to enjoy our cruise without needing to touch complete strangers.

Standards onboard are the same as our first trip on this ship 15 months ago, however it is obvious that Fred. Olsen is constantly trimming down its experience to passengers. It was normal for passengers in a SS grade cabin to have a glass of fizz and a glass of orange in the cabin when you arrived - now you just get 2 empty glasses! Another cut back is the little bag of toiletries, containing soap, shampoo; hair conditioner and shoe shine each passenger received in the bathroom - this has now been withdrawn and you need to use the liquid soap and body wash from containers screwed to the wall. On the final formal night on the 6 previous cruises we have taken with Fred. Olsen, lobster was on the menu and we always treated ourselves to an 'end of cruise' bottle of champagne; however this was not on the menu during this cruise, so we just had the lamb and a bottle of red!

Our cabin was in the new portion of the ship and was of a good standard and was tastefully furnished. The beds were comfortable, however there was a strange drawer under each bed that seemed pretty useless and prevented us from storing our suitcases under the bed! The major criticism I have of Fred. Olsen is the poor selection of television channels. I know you don't go on holiday to watch the TV, but major events like the Olympics and the World Cup receive no coverage on the rubbish channels they provide. Thomson managed to show the World Cup in 2010, but Olsen only provides BBC World, Sky Sports News and Sky News because they are free!

The guest entertainers were good; we had a comedian and a general entertainer who did a show about the movies. We didn't go to any of the 'show company' shows because we had already viewed their shows on previous cruises. The highlight has to be the 'crew show' that is usually performed on the final formal night, it really is worth attending!

We like the Balmoral and that is demonstrated by us completing 4 cruises on it within 17 months, but I feel that 'times are changing' for Fred Olsen. In the short period we have been cruising, we have noticed several cutbacks and talking to other more seasoned cruisers the cutbacks had begun well before we ever voyaged with Fred. Olsen, dedicated wine waiters removed etc.! The dynamics if cruising on the Balmoral or any other Fred. Olsen ship will change dramatically in 2013 with the introduction of 'All Inclusive', so I will wait until I see the full details of how this is going to be implemented before I book another Fred. Olsen cruise!

Compared to our last cruise across the Atlantic, this cruise was very smooth indeed. The captain, Robert Bamberg has refined his noon briefings of nautical and weather information by including some 'fascinating facts' to his briefing! From the bridge - all is well!

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Submitted By Peter Taylor in April 2012 for the New York To Southampton (L1203NY)
Dining:Rated 4 Stars By Peter Taylor
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated 4 Stars
Excursions:Peter Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Excursions
Embarkation:Embarkation Only Rated 1 Star
Service:Service Rated 4 Stars
Overall Value:Overall Value Rated 2 Stars
Cruise Rating:Cruise Rating Only Rated 1 Star

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: 50-54
Previous Cruises: 6
"Over A Week At Sea On The Balmoral - Too Long"

This cruise was actually the ships return from New York after completing the Titanic Memorial Cruise, I have given this a separate review from the Titanic Memorial Cruise because they vary so much. This was initially sold to us as a bargain compared to flying home from New York, just pay 20% of the fare you paid for the Titanic Memorial Cruise and you can have a 9 day cruise back to the UK with 2 further ports of call as you return to Southampton.

We had the opportunity to upgrade in New York so took the opportunity to move from BA Grade to a BJ (Balcony Junior) so we had the benefit of a balcony during the 9 days cruising to Southampton. In the weeks leading to this cruise, we noticed that Miles Morgan and Reader Offers were selling a package, flying out to New York with 3 nights in a hotel, and then taking the Balmoral home to the UK! This indicated to me that the return crossing would have some empty cabins, little did I realise at the time, but the ship was only 30% occupied on the journey from New York to Southampton. From a total occupancy of 1350 passengers, we only had 401 onboard!

The 2 planned ports were Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts and Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Newfoundland. When we returned to our cabin in New York ready for the sailaway to Oak Bluffs, we received notification via a letter signed by the captain Robert Bamberg that he had checked the waters around Nantucket Sound and had decided that they were too shallow for the Balmoral to navigate safely towards Saint Pierre and Miquelon and that this stop had been cancelled. The letter also indicated that each passenger would receive a £75 onboard spending credit as compensation for the loss of this port! The question many people were asking was "how can a cruise be planned almost 5 years ago by Fred. Olsen & Miles Morgan, only for it to be decided that the water is too shallow 48 hours before we were due to arrive"? Conspiracy theories were soon doing the rounds with many people actually believing the depth of water wasn't the real issue, but the speed of the Balmoral itself! It was widely believed that the Balmoral would struggle to cross the Atlantic in good tame to be tied up in Southampton at 6am on the 29th April 2012 ready for preparations for the next cruise and it would be easier/cheaper to disappoint only 401 passengers than it would to disappoint 1350 passengers who were due to embark on the cruise to the Canary Islands, Cruise (L1204) later that afternoon!

We left New York heading towards Massachusetts on time and along the way Captain Bamberg pointed out the Knorr, which was the vessel that Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985. We arrived in Oak Bluffs in good weather and opted for a shore tour of Martha's Vineyard, which was very enjoyable!

Now back to the cruise and this is where it all falls apart for us. Due to the limited number of passengers and quite understandable, they cancelled the 2 dining sittings and had everyone eating at 7pm! For me, this is too early as I like to go to the Observatory and have a couple of drinks prior to eating at 8.30pm! I now had to miss the drinks, part of my enjoyable ritual and sit down for dinner early. This also made the entire evening too long as we had left the restaurant at around 9pm!

From the 2nd day sailing from Oak Bluffs to Southampton, we hit rough weather which slowed our progress to the UK, this rough weather lasted almost to Southampton where we arrived 15 hours late.

The last day was a long, miserable affair with us asked to leave our cabins by 4pm, so we had 5 hours to kill, sitting in public spaces; we did continue to receive meals until disembarkation.

When we arrived in Southampton, we could see the next group of passengers in the Mayflower terminal awaiting their cruise, god knows how long they had been there!

When we picked up our luggage, it was wet and to compound the misery, a jobsworth idiot from ABP asked us to leave the waiting area and stand outside while we were waiting for our taxi - not the best ending to a 21 night holiday!

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Submitted By Pete Taylor in April 2012 for the Titanic Memorial Cruise (L1203SO)
Dining:Rated Maximum 5 Stars By Pete Taylor
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated 4 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated 4 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated 4 Stars
Excursions:ExcursionsOnly Rated 1 Star
Embarkation:Pete Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Embarkation
Service:Pete Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Service
Overall Value:Overall Value Rated 2 Stars
Cruise Rating:Cruise Rating Rated 4 Stars

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: 50-54
Previous Cruises: 5
"Once In A Lifetime"

We had booked the 'Titanic Memorial Cruise' in 2010, almost 2 years before it was scheduled! I must admit, this was one of the most expensive holidays I have ever undertaken, but as it was a 'once in a lifetime' event, I decided it was well worth it. By the time I knew that the cruise was on sale, it was too late for me to get the usual grade of cabin and had to settle for something on deck 8. The cabin (8020) on deck 8 was a fair size and comfortable, but I did miss the balcony!

This cruise was heavily featured on the BBC with plenty of great touches along the way! We did the full 21 night round trip from Southampton, but this review will only relate to the first 12 nights, Southampton to New York because the return leg was not part of the Titanic Memorial Cruise and warrants its own review and scores!

Once we arrived at the Ocean terminal, you could see that this was no ordinary cruise, there were camera crews and people in fancy dress making the place feel special. Embarkation was good and fairly fast considering all the extra media people in attendance. I was worried that the prices for drinks etc would be hiked up for this cruise due to how we were treated with regards a fuel surcharge, I was concerned that someone would attempt to 'cash in' on the passengers, however I'm pleased to report that the prices onboard for drinks were the same as on our previous Fred. Olsen cruise on the Black Watch last December. I did think the £59.95 for the cruise in review Blu Ray disc was extortionate.

We left Southampton around an hour later than planned and hit some bad weather, so we arrived in Cobh, Ireland around tea time on Easter Monday. This late arrival necessitated the cancelation of many shore tours, so we only had a brief time in Cobh. The welcome we received from the people of Cobh was outstanding; I have never seen so many people awaiting the arrival of a Fred. Olsen ship as I did in Cobh.

The bad weather continued for many hours after we left Ireland and to compound this, a passenger needed to be airlifted off the Balmoral for health reasons; this required us to sail back towards Ireland to get within range of the rescue helicopter. This was the last thing we needed repeating the same seas again in rough weather, but due the reason given by captain Robert Bamberg, very understandable decision.

The rough weather on the first day sailing from Ireland coincided with the first formal evening, but unfortunately, we opted out of this event due to feeling a little sea sick and had a small snack in the Palms Cafe instead.

Sailing over to the spot where the Titanic sank after the first day was a pleasure, with plenty of talks from people who had visited the wreck and other interested people from the Titanic Society in Belfast. There was a good selection of entertainment from a Grupetto , The Balmoral Show Company, Trio playing music on deck 7, The Balmoral Orchestra, staff entertainers and the singer Anthony Stuart Lloyd.

The evening before we arrived at the wreck site, we were thrilled to be invited to the Captains Table along with 3 other couples. This was the gala 7 course meal and to receive an invite the Captain's Table on this special evening will be a memory that will live with us forever!

The night that we arrived at the wreck site, we were joined by the other ship that Miles Morgan Travel had charted, the Azamara Journey! The evening was very well organised with a service inside the ship and later outside with the laying of 3 wreaths. Passengers were not allowed to put anything in the sea and all the memorials were laid out in the library to be sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia for a permanent home later. While we were over the wreck site, all the bars onboard were closed and no entertainment was provided showing full respect for the souls who lost their lives 100 years ago! Very dignified, very tasteful, well done to Miles Morgan Travel, Fred. Olsen and their hard working staff who appeared to be working very long hours on that particular day!

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Submitted By Virginia Malcolm in April 2012 for the Titanic Memorial Cruise
Dining:Rated 4 Stars By Virginia Malcolm
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated 4 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated 4 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated 4 Stars
Excursions:Excursions Were Poor Value For Money
Embarkation:Embarkation Rated 4 Stars
Service:Service Rated 4 Stars
Overall Value:Overall Value Rated 4 Stars
Cruise Rating:Cruise Rating Rated 4 Stars

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: Not Known
Previous Cruises: 1+
"Should Have Flown Back From NY"

We managed to make the most of it. I would also add that I thought breakfast was quite miserable on the day most people left at NY. Somehow we managed to miss the notice about breakfast finishing early and went out just before 9 am to give people time to disembark. We were hurried into a corner where we found there was very little food.

The wet greeting at Southampton wasn't very great. Our luggage was soaked and when we reported it we were told to claim on insurance. We know from experience that small claims are a waste time with the excess. It wouldn't have been so bad if we went straight home to Cornwall but we spent the night in Surrey with our daughter with suitcases of soggy clothes having arrived there about midnight and dying to go to bed! So much for my packing an overnight bag because everything was wet!

I would also say in hindsight I think we should have flown back from NY and instead taken the mini cruise to Liverpool and Belfast which I think came out after we had booked the entire trip. We thought we had better ease up on the cash after booking the big one so resisted the temptation of the mini trip! We thought it would be good not having to fly for a change. The long flights cripple me at the end - we are advised to take as much exercise as we can but can never get down to the aisles because of the ******* trolleys! Incidentally Cliff (husband) and I are taking a trip each in a two seater plane owned by one of our Coastwatch members - raising funds for our cause. That's the sort of flying I like!

Trips! I didn't go on any - mainly because we were miffed about the fuel surcharge! However, we did OK doing our own thing and bumped into Balmoral passengers all over Halifax from our $3 bus fare!

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Submitted By Peter Taylor in August 2011 for the The French Collection (L1111)
Dining:Rated Maximum 5 Stars By Peter Taylor
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated 4 Stars
Excursions:Excursions Rated 4 Stars
Embarkation:Peter Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Embarkation
Service:Peter Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Service
Overall Value:Peter Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars
Cruise Rating:Cruise Rating Rated 4 Stars

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: 45-49
Previous Cruises: 3
"Perfect French Cruise On The Balmoral"

2nd cruise on the Balmoral in 2011, taking the opportunity to enjoy 7 days going to 4 ports in France. Rouen, St Malo, Brittany & L'Orient were all worth visiting; however I wouldn't be in a rush to visit Brest again. Rouen offers a great place to relax and shop and usually if you arrive in this city on a Fred. Olsen cruise, you will be tied up overnight allowing you to go ashore in the evening.

Personally, I would prefer to spend more time in some ports and have fewer ports to visit during some cruises. I get the feel that some cruise companies deliberately plan short stops in ports so the only real way to get anything out of the visit is to utilise the expensive shore excursions service.

The Balmoral delivered all that was expected with the same great service I had received on our previous cruise on this ship to Norway.

The crew work exceptionally hard to make your time onboard enjoyable and this is possibly why Fred. Olsen has a high proportion of returning, loyal customers.

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Submitted By P W Taylor in May 2011 for the Cities of Norway (L1103)
Dining:Rated Maximum 5 Stars By P W Taylor
Public Rooms:Public Rooms Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Cabins:Cabins Rated Maximum 5 Stars
Entertainment:Entertainment Rated 4 Stars
Excursions:Excursions Rated 4 Stars
Embarkation:P W Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Embarkation
Service:P W Taylor Awards Maximum 5 Stars For The Service
Overall Value:Overall Value Rated 4 Stars
Cruise Rating:Cruise Rating Rated 4 Stars

About The Reviewer:
Age Range: 45-49
Previous Cruises: 2
"First Cruise On The Balmoral"

The Cities Of Norway cruise was our 3rd with Fred Olsen, but the 1st on the Balmoral. Our previous 2 cruises were on the Black Watch. Although Fred Olsen pride itself on smaller ships, the Balmoral seemed huge compared to the Black Watch.

The cruise itself was faultless with all departures and arrivals on time, some testament to Captain Olav Soevdsnes and his team aboard the Balmoral. From Southampton to Southampton via 6 ports in Norway, I can't recall a single wave affecting the vessel!

Food and entertainment were consistent with our previous cruises on the Black Watch which we found to be of a very good standard. Although the number crunchers at Fred. Olsen headquarters in Ipswich will see the ships at the largest assess, most passengers would disagree and say it's the friendly staff that make the difference between a good cruise and a great cruise!

On departure from each port, Captain Olav Soevdsnes would address the ship, with a wealth of information including things to look out for as we sailed away from each port!

My only complaint about this ship was the delivery style of the cruise director over the PA system! The announcements were delivered with a style of a holiday camp announcer. "This is your cruise director addressing you from the navigational bridge" sounds too pretentious to me.

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MS Balmoral - Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Address : Fred. Olsen House, White House Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 5LL

Telephone : +44 (0) 1473 742424

Fax : +44 (0) 1473 292410

Email : internet@fredolsen.co.uk

Number Of Cabins : 710

Number Of Crew : 510

Number Of Passengers : 1350

Tonnage : 43,537 grt

Length : 218.18 Metres

Beam (width) : 28.2 Metres

Speed : 18.5 Knots

Port Of Registry : Nassau, Bahamas

IMO Number : 8506294

Overall Rating : 78% From 8 Reviews

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