2 Fred. Olsen Balmoral Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise primarily because we wanted to go to the Canaries at this time of year before it became too hot. The weather was just right and the Bay of Biscay was calm in both directions. Unfortunately we were not so happy with the ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because we wanted to go to the Canaries at this time of year before it became too hot. The weather was just right and the Bay of Biscay was calm in both directions. Unfortunately we were not so happy with the quality of the service on the Balmoral where it seemed that with the exception of the entertainment staff, the rest appeared to be working to suit themselves rather than the guests on board. We were very concerned after one incident when we discovered on returning to our suite that a glass shelf in the bathroom was mission but that there were pieces of glass on the bathroom floor and on the surfaces around the basin and on the bedroom carpet. It was 11.50pm when we discovered this and immediately telephoned reception who sent a lad to vacuum up the glass. We kept some of the pieces and sent them with a note to the Hotel manager the next morning as we were very concerned. It appeared that a member of staff had broken the shelf but nobody from management had come to see if the area was safe for us and there was no note left to warn us of any danger. We queried what safety procedures there were for dealing with such incidents. All we got back from the Hotel manager was a small note scribbled on a card and pushed under our door. No member of the management team came to see us in person. We do not consider this good customer care. Had either of us been diabetic and cut our foot on the splinters or pieces of glass, they would have had to call out an air ambulance in the middle of the night. We also had to inform reception that we were getting engine fumes through our air conditioning. It was so bad in the room at 7am that we had to get up and hold the balcony door open to air it but as soon as we closed it, the fumes built up again. There was no engine smell outside on the balcony which gave us to think that the air con system was being contaminated by an outlet from the engines. We put the balcony door on the latch to keep the fresh air circulating and went to report it at reception on our way out. Later we found a note from an engineer which said that the reason for the fumes was because we had left the door on the latch. At that point we gave up in utter despair! Two days later when the Balcony door was closed all day, we returned to our suite late in the afternoon after a tour to find that the air con had pulled in strong paint smells, but we decided that it wasn't worth telling reception. However it was clear that the air con had been drawing in fumes from elsewhere so we kept both doors open for a while to air the room. There is a distinct lack of care on this ship compared to that we have experienced with other cruise companies. At mealtimes, the staff were always in a hurry to clear plates from under our noses, often before we had finished the last mouthful. They always appeared to be trying to hurry us up. This is the third cruise lines that we have been on and the first where we have encountered any problems. This is a great pity as the entertainment on board was excellent as were the excursions that we went on at each port and we made friends with a large number of other travellers. However the incident with the broken glass has put us off travelling with the Fred Olsen company in future.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Very different from our previous cruises with Fred Olsen. Embarkation, a queue backed up onto the top of an escalator so that people coming up were falling over one another; need someone at the top of the escalator to prevent that ... Read More
Very different from our previous cruises with Fred Olsen. Embarkation, a queue backed up onto the top of an escalator so that people coming up were falling over one another; need someone at the top of the escalator to prevent that happening. Weather was atrocious but that was not their fault. Very opportunistic, Even proper coffee chargeable! Some junior male staff chauvinistic and rude. Others polite and helpful. Daytime entertainment on port days for those unable or unwilling to go ashore was abysmal. Arranged Bridge for port days myself, provided score sheets and obtained cards with difficulty. Tipping automatically added to bill though one could opt out. This fact need to be made more noticeable in literature. Cabin maids very good but appeared overworked. Watched safety drill for crew when in port one day. Crew gathered at muster points but saw no evidence of instruction on how to evacuate obese, disabled people, people with walking difficulties or those who are generally slow. Plenty of those on board! Food not up to previous standard. New years eve, Haggis as main dish option - one small scoop haggis, one small scoop mashed potato, one small scoop mashed swede and a dribble of whisky! Unlikely to travel with FO again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Balmoral Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 3.9
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 2.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.8

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