This cruise was the Singapore / Vancouver sectors of the "Balmoral's"2009 world cruise. It was very much a destination orientated cruise. The flights to Singapore and from Vancouver were Fred. Olsen exclusive charters operated by Thomsonfly. Apart from a hiccup and a slight delay in Vancouver when the cabin crew discovered that the company in Gatwick had forgotten to load food for the return flight into the hold the flights were good. As a regular on Fred. Olsen and on my second cruise on this ship I am still not completely sold on it and still prefer the "Black Watch" or the "Boudicca". It is a rather anonymous ship mainly because of its larger number of passengers.There is also an amount of wasted space on the ship especially on the Main and Lido decks. Internally the decor on the ship was pretty good but externally it was looking a little "tired" after two months of cruising the world. I had a double cabin on a single occupancy basis and it was more than satisfactory. There was More
ample storage space. As ever the service in the restaurants, bars and cabins was excellent with most friendly staff. The same cannot be said of the reception desk staff who give the impression that dealing with passengers is upsetting their routine. The food was of high quality. The daytime lecturers were good but it was pity that Edwina Currie gave virtually the same lectures on my last cruise. The cabaret acts varied from first class to dire but were certainly much better than in the recent past. The Captain certainly led the way with his enthusiasm for the ports of call. He is a most approachable and sociable person epitomized by the fact that he was on the gangway at Vancouver to shake hands with all 600 passengers who were disembarking.
We had the remarkable event on board in that as we crossed the International Date Line in that we gained an extra day so celebrated two Easters! The destinations were superb; Chan May in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tianjin in China, Incheon in Korea, Kagoshima and Yokohama in Japan, Kodiak, Seward, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska. The shore tours were very good indeed especially the 3-day overland tour in China. We were fortunate in Alaska for we were the first cruise ship of the season so we could visit the ports in peace and quiet which is unknown when the monster cruise ships call in the Summer. In Alaska we were we were very fortunate with the weather as apart from a wet visit to Kodiak island we had virtual wall to wall sunshine albeit quite chilly at times. It wa a most enjoyable cruise to lovely destinations. Less