Central & South America: Balmoral Cruise Review by Parsman
Overall Member Rating
Central & South America
Destination: South America
The "Balmoral" is an older vessel but has been well maintained over the years. It is comfortable and is unpretentious.
The itinerary took to Colon, Panama - transited the Panama Canal - visited Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador in Central America. We then turned South to visit Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Falkland Islands, Uruguay and Brazil in South America.
The accommodation was very comfortable. I had an outside, single cabin which was spacious, very clean and with a large picture window. The air conditioning was very effective and the cabin was very quiet. There was ample storage facilities. The cabin was serviced twice daily to a very high standard.
The Officers on the ship were mainly Scandinavian (the captain Norwegian) and the domestic staff mainly from Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India. The More entertainment staff were mainly British. The staff were friendly, helpful and most courteous.
Passengers were primarily British but there was a significant number from the Netherlands and smaller numbers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, Australia, India and Japan.
The food on board was excellent. I dined in the Spey restaurant which had the added advantage of spectacular views. The food in the other restaurants was equally good. Drinks prices were very reasonable with no service surcharge.
Most ports of call were interesting. The most spectacular was the two-night visit I took from Lima (Callao) to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. The visit in Chile to Santiago from Valparaiso was also fascinating. We rounded Cape Horn on calm seas and bright sunshine although there was a cold wind. The call at Stanley, Falkland Islands was also blessed with glorious sunshine which contributed to the enjoyment of visiting those desolate islands.Montevideo is a lovely city and a joy to visit. Due to the tensions in the South Atlantic we were denied berthing in Buenos Aires, Argentina presumably because of our call in the Falklands. We visited Santos, Ilhabela and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Ilhabela was particularly attractive with beautiful scenery, lovely beaches and refreshing sea. Our brief call in Rio prior to the flight home gave us a chance to visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer and Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.
The on board entertainment was mixed but rather disappointing. The tango show in Uruguay was spectacular.
This was a most enjoyable cruise. Less