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Balmoral Cruise Review by dogfishdoug

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Balmoral
Balmoral
Member Name: dogfishdoug
Cruise Date: May 2012
Embarkation: Southampton
Destination: Western Mediterranean
Cabin Category: C
Cabin Number: 5093
Booking Method: Local Travel Agency
See More About: Balmoral Cruise Reviews | Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews | Fred. Olsen Cruise Deals
Member Rating   4.0 out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Cabins 3.0
Entertainment 4.0
Spa & Fitness 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 3.0
Service 5.0
Value-for-Money 4.0
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Balmoral Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Balmoral Deck Plans
First Fred Olsen cruise
Embarkation was from Southampton, following a long coach journey with Portlink (which was quite pleasant). Not an entirely smooth embarkation, passengers sat around for sometime until called by batch numbers, 20 a time.

Initial impressions of passenger mix - mainly UK & older clientele. Although we are in our early 60s, we felt a little young - although, to be fair, many were in 60s & 70s fit & healthy...but there were a significant proportion who were 85+ (regular medical emergencies happened throughout the cruise).

Cabin was a bit of a squeeze, but sufficient storage & wardrobe space. However, soundproofing was poor - you could clearly hear neighbours' conversations. Cabin steward very good.

Ship's facilities were very good for a medium sized ship, easy to get around, signposted quite well & stable ship. Several bars / lounges / good library. Crew were well organised. Quite a few spaces outside, sun deck, promenade deck, & tiered stern for quiet (if cramped) areas.

Food was of average to good standard UK fayre, reasonable variety with efficient dining rooms + buffet at Palm's cafe, which we used for lunches. Dining room staff were attentive & efficient; good basic variety of wines. Entertainment was UK style shows, although the crew show was better than the professional company...demonstrating a rather talented crew, especially the engine room guys who were an absolute hoot!

Standard fayre for organisation & information. Docking & free time excellent. A variety of tours were available, enjoyed the visit to Mini-Hollywood, where they film the spaghetti westerns.

As mentioned, this was a themed cruise...& I undertook art classes under the tuition of Maurice Greenwood who inspired us to produce our own styles of watercolours...very gentle approach, fun & learned a great deal for someone who had never painted before!

Overall, fair value for money with lots of daytime activities.

Publication Date: 06/04/12
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