After a care free embarkation at Southampton and a prompt delivery of our cases to our cabin we were prepared for another excellent cruise with Fred Olsen, having sailed on the Boudicca and the Black Prince and never disappointed. The cabin size is good on the Balmoral and there is more than enough cupboard and draw space to allow for a 19 day cruise. Stewardess was lovely and couldn't be more helpful. The ship is well laid out with easy access to all areas except for decks 11 and 3. For some reason the forward lift is the only one which accesses these 2 decks. This means that if you are midships our forward you had quit a long walk to the lifts. 11 is the sun deck and 3 has the Medical centre on it.
The itinerary was very good as it included the Verde Islands, a one-off visit is recommended.
The £10 all-inclusive charge is well worth it if you drink more than 2 glasses of wine each day.
Our disappointment came when it came to dining.
No problem with breakfast but lunch and dinner, a different story. Selection on menue and at the buffet was very limited. The portions and selections at dinner were limited in size and choice. The average age was in the 70's and the chef must have thought we were all on restricted diets. Veg served was usually carrots and brochlili. Potatoes served cold. I was confined for 3 days and food served to the cabin was always cold.The medical staff were excellent.
The staff on board were excellent, as they have always have been on Fred Olsen ships. Shame about the chef.
Will check to see who is Chef next time we sail with them.