Balmoral Cruise Review by Dun123das: Exceeded expectations!
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Departed on 23 April 2011 from Southampton, having stayed on the previous night at the Dolphin Hotel. For anyone cruising from Southampton, this is a cheap and cheerful option due to it's location and car-parking deal, but not it's breakfast on the day we were there.
Our cabin on deck 8 was lovely and much larger than we expected - after paying half- price upgrade in January. No bath, but the shower space was comfortable and the shower was a good strong one. We had a double bed, covered with two single quilts when we arrived. We requested a double quilt which was duly delivered, albeit on Day 2 of the trip.
We had breakfast delivered to our room on all but two days, because we like to start our day in the comfort of our cabin, but did enjoy the breakfast in the main restaurant as well. The food we had throughout the trip was excellent and I found that I had the 'dish of the Day' on about 5 days, which included typical English fayre such as Cottage Pie and Fish Pie, More which were very tasty. We also found that the portions were more than adequate, especially in light of the number of courses offered.
We also felt that Casablanca was a disappointment, but we only went into the Town and not on a trip, so I can't comment on the experiences of thosebwho did.
I have been to Gibraltar before but still enjoyed our independent visit here. We took a trip to Jerez when we visited Cadiz, visiting the Tio Pepe Bodego. The tourbaround Jerez itself was cut short because of the weather (agreed by all), but I felt that this trip was expensive for what was included. This w the only trip we took because we had to pay a fuel surcharge within a couple of weeks of paying our final balance. This was particularly galling as we had to pay much more due to our taking advantage of the upgrade offer.
Lisbon was also a great independent visit, and we felt quite pleased with ourselves using the Metro, which was really cheap and so quick, it took us less than five minutes from the Centre back to the Ship.
We were disappointed when we found that we were not visiting Portamao, as this was one reason for selecting this itinerary, but it gives us an excuse to make another trip!
Embarkation was ordered and reasonably quick, but the disembarkation was the best we have ever had. We were at breakfast at 7.25 and back at our hotel in the town centre by 8.15 - fantastically well organised!
All in all a great time. Less
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Cabin review: Balmoral Balcony Junior Suite Lido Deck 8053
Spacious, light and very clean. Plenty of room for clothes, good mixture of hanging space and shelving. Lots of mirrors with good lighting for doing make-up (a big bonus when you normally wear glasses, so need to be close to the mirror with sufficient light). Fantastic location, close to Dining Room (2 decks down): and the Theatre (one deck down) and the main bar, where we joined in with the evening quiz each night (on the same Deck). Good unobstructed balcony with one sun bed and two chairs, with a small table - not really suitable for breakfast but fine for a drink of wine whilst watching the sunset!