6 Fred. Olsen Balmoral Romantic Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were just viewing it as a means of getting to Orkney and Shetland and really were not expecting much. However how wrong we were. We found our inside cabin clean and spacious with a good ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were just viewing it as a means of getting to Orkney and Shetland and really were not expecting much. However how wrong we were. We found our inside cabin clean and spacious with a good sized shower room. The food was excellent and we found the entertainment some of the best we have come across. We have cruised many many times with Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and Costa always having had either a suite or balcony so feel I am in a position to give an honest review of the Balmoral. We found the size of the Balmoral easy to walk around especially when in heels of an evening. The crew and staff were very friendly and there was none of the hard sell for good reviews from the restaurant staff or the maitre d. The only thing I would change is the disembarkation/embarkation at ports of call. This is the first ship where both have taken place on the same gang plank but I guess this may be due to size. The ports of call - Invergordon, Kirkwall and Lerwick were good and we were blessed with excellent weather. We toured independently and hired a car for the day in Lerwick through Bolts car hire who had car waiting on quay upon ships arrival at a reasonable price. The age range on board was varied and yes there were some people who had mobility issues and how nice it was that they too could enjoy a lovely holiday. I would definitely consider cruising on the Balmoral again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Five nights Norwegian fjords, our first cruise. What a revelation! Self catering holidays are now well and truly in the shade. Impressive organisation from start to finish, friendly efficient service, good food and entertainment, high ... Read More
Five nights Norwegian fjords, our first cruise. What a revelation! Self catering holidays are now well and truly in the shade. Impressive organisation from start to finish, friendly efficient service, good food and entertainment, high standard of cleanliness. Super spacious suite. In short everything ship shape. Couldn't fault any of it. Dined in Spey restaurant at table for 2 by a beautiful circular window. We want one of those at home now complete with waterfall. Lovely waiter and room stewardess looked after us very well. I wasn't expecting to enjoy entertainment and activities but the jolly atmosphere was infectious and ship's company great. Despite the ship being fully booked we never felt crowded. We had booked this cruise to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary and it was a memorable and romantic way to mark the milestone. It was also my husband's birthday so the waiters ended up singing to us twice and presenting 2 celebration cakes. A delightful time was had and we are now converted. Next year's Fred Olsen brochure is open on the coffee table... Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of a Newcastle departure,we live in the north of England and wanted to avoid flying. Check in was easy and boarding was well organised. We had a cabin in the forward section on the 4th ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of a Newcastle departure,we live in the north of England and wanted to avoid flying. Check in was easy and boarding was well organised. We had a cabin in the forward section on the 4th deck,lots of storage and kept nice and clean by housekeeping. When we sailed away the sun was shining and temperatures made us feel as if in the med ,not Tyneside! The ship was a good size,and although full we always found little quiet spots. I made use of the pool and Jacuzzis as the sun shone throughout. We ate dinner in the Ballindalloc restaurant most evenings though enjoyed a delicious Asian buffet in the Palm cafe on last night. We loved the group 4th dimension in Lido lounge which got going after the show in the theatre. We had a drinks package that we took full advantage of! It was great to be able to explore Bergen independently,very easy as we docked in the centre. Likewise with Eidefjord,where we took a scenic walk along the river up to some Viking graves,with good views on the way back. The ship then sailed along the beautiful scenery. We felt sad to be leaving. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have been on Balmoral before, and we have been to Norway lots of times before - but who could ever tire of Norway? We chose the "Fred's Favourite Fjords" cruise because the departure port was from Newcastle, which is ... Read More
We have been on Balmoral before, and we have been to Norway lots of times before - but who could ever tire of Norway? We chose the "Fred's Favourite Fjords" cruise because the departure port was from Newcastle, which is very handy for us in Durham. Embarkation was straightforward and efficient, and we found ourselves on board by about 2.30pm. We had wanted to sit out on deck with a cold cocktail, but the grey and drizzly Newcastle weather made this impossible. It was, however, the only grey and drizzly weather we saw, because there wasn't a cloud in the sky once we reached the fjords. We were allocated cabin 4125, a spacious outside cabin with a large window and two single beds in an L-configuration. There was ample wardrobe and drawer space, tea and coffee making facilities, a flat screen TV and a small-but-adequate bathroom with a shower stall. Not the Ritz, but certainly enough to ensure we would have a comfortable cruise. I like the Balmoral (indeed, all the FO ships) because they actually look like ships and not like floating apartment blocks like some of the RCI monstrosities. Balmoral is the flagship of the FO line with 1350 passengers, and is just a nice size to ensure there is plenty to do on board without being overcrowded. We ate in the Ballindalloch restaurant on the 6.15pm sitting and the food was the high standard we have come to expect on Fred cruises. Service was quick and done with a smile. We were travelling on the all inclusive package and this is well worth the money if, like us, you enjoy a drink. Even premium brands and cocktails were half-price. Entertainment was very good; the Balmoral Show Company put on original, lively performances and the guest entertainers included a funny comedienne and an amusing comedy magician. I must also mention John Smithson, the resident entertainer in the Morning Light pub, who played the keyboard, guitar and violin (not all at the same time) and had everyone's feet tapping and hands clapping with his lively fiddle tunes each night. The cruise itself was fantastic. As I mentioned, the weather was perfect and the scenery, cruising along through the beautiful fjords, was stunning. Think of the Lake District but on a grander scale - all mountains, waterfalls, mirror-like water and glaciers; absolutely beautiful. We did an excursion in most of the ports and these were expensive (aren't they always?) but well organised, with the exception of Hellesylt, where the cruise director made the mistake of announcing that the gangway was open, leading to a massive bottleneck as 1350 passengers all tried to disembark at once, leading to our tour starting over an hour late. This was the only blip, however, and everything went to plan after that. Our only complaint on this week-long cruise was that it wasn't long enough! We could easily have managed another week. Everything was spot-on and I cannot understand the negative reviews I have read here - it's hard to believe those people were on the same cruise. We are looking forward to our next one, and would advise anyone who hasn't been to Norway to go there at once; if there is a Heaven, it must look how the Norwegian fjords look. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Various friends keen on cruising had suggested that we try it and so, after years of travelling abroad by plane and car, we chose Fred Olsen's Christmas and New Year trip on the Balmoral to Madeira and the Canaries to dip our toes in ... Read More
Various friends keen on cruising had suggested that we try it and so, after years of travelling abroad by plane and car, we chose Fred Olsen's Christmas and New Year trip on the Balmoral to Madeira and the Canaries to dip our toes in the water, as it were. In short, I have to say we both found it simply excellent. We stayed at the De Vere New Place hotel, 10 miles outside Southampton, the night before our embarkation and found their cruise package very good. It included dinner, bed and breakfast, 16 nights car parking and taxi transfers to and from the terminal before and after the cruise and we would certainly stay there again. At the terminal the check-in and embarkation process was trouble-free and we were delighted with our Superior Suite on deck 9. Our cabin stewardess, Ellen, was a delight, as were our two evening waiters. The food and entertainment was suitably varied and of high quality throughout our time onboard and what struck us most was just how friendly all staff were, from the Master down. It really was a happy ship. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were simply superb thanks to the staff's efforts. We, in our mid 50s, were probably some of the youngest passengers aboard, but the age mix was not a problem for us as we made some good friends along the way. We tended to do our own thing whan ashore, but found the mix of land and sae days fine. Disembarkation was just as impressive, particularly compared to passing through airports. We enjoyed this trip so much that, whilst we will still look forward to other forms of overseas holidays, we will definitely look to cruise again and more than likely with Fred Olsen. In short, Fred and his team on the Balmoral made this the best Christmas and New Year we have ever had, and we are already eyeing up a trip for the same time this year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Our 8 day Balmoral cruise was quite stunning. Having previously sailed with QM2 and Celebrity, I tried Fred Olsen last year with Blackwatch and fell in love with the unique style of British food and unique personal experience of the ... Read More
Our 8 day Balmoral cruise was quite stunning. Having previously sailed with QM2 and Celebrity, I tried Fred Olsen last year with Blackwatch and fell in love with the unique style of British food and unique personal experience of the Fred Olsen staff, many of which seem to effortlessly remember guests names. I dined with my wife and mother in the Spey restaurant, waiters as usual were highly trained and nothing was too much trouble. The assistant Maitre De, Greg, was marvelous,courteous and extremely helpful as were our able friendly table waiters, Chai and John, and in the mornings the ever cheerful waiter Made'. Evening dishes were of the highest quality and varied, including venison rich in its game sauce, sirloin steak, lobster in herbed crust, and river trout. Our cabin 4071 was midship, noiseless and clean. Our cabin stewardess was attentive and cheerful. The Norwegian scenery was stunning, my mother who accompanied us in a single adjoining cabin thought the scenery of the Fjords heaven on earth. The Flam train took us through some of the most picturesque scenery I have ever had the privilage to see. This particular excursion is well recommended. Shows on Balmoral were particularly good, the comedians Bret and Bob were extremely funny, more so than what you see on TV, and jokes were clean. The show company dancers were entertaining and on international night, ship staff held an extra show singing their socks off. Highly entertaining. All in all a very enjoyable cruise indeed, we loved the Blackwatch, and I'm pleased to say the Balmoral was every bit as good. I hope Fred Olsen keep up the good work as after we got off this cruise we immediately decided to book 22 days with Balmoral to the Adriatic in October! Robin & Penny Farrant, Sidmouth. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
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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