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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Chosen as embarked Newcastle.Embarkation first class suitcases outside cabin on arrival.Stayed in oceanview deck 4 quiet cabin 4116 first time in many years of cruising there was a bath if you had time to wait for it to fill.The cabin was ... Read More
Chosen as embarked Newcastle.Embarkation first class suitcases outside cabin on arrival.Stayed in oceanview deck 4 quiet cabin 4116 first time in many years of cruising there was a bath if you had time to wait for it to fill.The cabin was a good size kept very clean with plenty of wardrobe space.No noise from adjacent cabins We chose second sitting the meals where palatable but similar to pub meals the dining time was 8.30 but we always waited til at least 9 to be served on some occasions faulty towers comes to mind.The best meal of the week was a fish buffet which was excellent.Eating in the palm court at breakfast and lunch was very busy and the same choice everyday Entertainment by the cruise team was the best we have seen on any ship energetic and professional west end quality.We are ballroom dancers and did find a small dancefloor with dance hosts sadly the singer of the band kept changeing tempo mid dance and was very slow dancing to prerecorded music was better.There was a variety of entertainment around the ship on an evening. Unfortunately any entertainment during the day is poor and geared at older passengers but on this cruise there was a good mixture of all ages. We visited 2 ports and had a kayak trip outstanding and breathtaking hard work but worth it highly recommended if you are fit led by an excellent guide there is a fully equipped gym with fa bulous views but £5 for a 30 min class is steep . The service from barstaff was a massive let down as there are very few.Olsen seem to have promoted all inclusive drink packages so I assume to save money waiters are few and far between we waited up to 30 mins for drinks and several occasions we gave up waiting pleased we hadn't the package Disembarking was easy as we carried own luggage and we were home within an hour We would travel on the balmoral again but would be prepared by ordering several drinks and carrying a water bottle as there are no drink stations open all day .Compared to their sister ship boudica which we would certainly not travel on again we feel giving them another chance worked but in comparison to Cunard or celebrity they have to raise the bar substantially Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I did not think a holiday could be this good & relaxing. 100% effort from every body, we arrived at Port of Tyne and baggage handlers descended to take our luggage, very easy & simple check in, & of to the ship after a short ... Read More
I did not think a holiday could be this good & relaxing. 100% effort from every body, we arrived at Port of Tyne and baggage handlers descended to take our luggage, very easy & simple check in, & of to the ship after a short wait. Our cabin was spotless & the cabin stewardess kept it that way till we left, calling 2 or 3 times a day. The crew were all happy & smiling & this rubbed off onto the passengers, who all seemed to love the cruise. The entertainment was fantastic, especially the Ministry of Rock Show, performed by the Balmoral Show Company, led by Charlie Legg, faultless performance by them all. If I had to fault anything it would be the toast at breakfast, white bread toasted was still white!!! & if that is all I can find to complain about, it shows what a great time we had. Once again Thanks Fred. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Been on a couple of Fred Olsen cruises before on the Balmoral & was expecting the same kind of treatment ,sadly I couldn't have been more wrong !. the ship looked shabby & dated .The ship is not disabled friendly . there are ... Read More
Been on a couple of Fred Olsen cruises before on the Balmoral & was expecting the same kind of treatment ,sadly I couldn't have been more wrong !. the ship looked shabby & dated .The ship is not disabled friendly . there are only two sets of lifts which are small & you have to walk down very long corridors to get to cabins which are cramped and not well fitted. There were only two smoking areas on board which can only be accessed by climbing stairs ,when I asked they had failed to offer a smoking area with level access I was quite rudely told that this was the wish of the owners & basically told hard luck . the entertainment is abysmal !.the excursions are an overpriced rip-off and they do not provide provide free shuttles out of the ports they charge you five pounds per day . Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We booked a Christmas markets cruise to Denmark and Germany 18 months ago and at no time did Fred Olsen let us know that this cruise would be the first following a 28 day re-fit. We only found out by chance that this was happening just a ... Read More
We booked a Christmas markets cruise to Denmark and Germany 18 months ago and at no time did Fred Olsen let us know that this cruise would be the first following a 28 day re-fit. We only found out by chance that this was happening just a few weeks before departure. There had been quite a lot of cosmetic changes to the interior décor and the Glentanar Restaurant is much improved but who on earth chose the quite dreadful plastic feature in the centre? As is to be expected after a re-fit there were still residual "snagging" works carrying on even as the ship sailed. What was surprising however, was that there were no announcements or even letters to the cabins letting us fare paying passengers know that these works were still in progress and that “we apologise for any inconvenience caused”. Absolutely “zilch” from anybody, including the Captain and the (mostly anonymous) Cruise Director. The worst area was the cabin TV system. This was inoperative for the whole week and nobody at Fred Olsen seemed to care let alone take responsibility for the issue. All anyone got from the Reception desk was “someone’s working on it”. Very poor customer service if I may say so but then after all Fred Olsen had got our money 10 weeks prior to sailing so why should they care!! On a positive note the new “Black Watch Room” will be very good once they finish hanging the paintings that were still in packaging and left leaning against the walls. There is a £20 per head surcharge to dine in this room and I think that that amount is a fair charge for a distinctly superior meal. It was a great shame that they spoilt it by serving the butter for the bread rolls in those canteen type plastic sachets! Hopefully our feedback to the Maître D on this point will improve matters for future passengers. The crew were as friendly as ever and the entertainment was rescued by that excellent comedian Christopher Gee. The Guest Lecturer – who talked about various aspects of Christmas – was sadly out of her depth and persisted in reading verbatim from her powerpoint slides. Oh, and beware the new coffee station. This has now been transferred from the old Braemar Lounge to just outside the entrance to the Neptune Lounge. There is hardly enough room to swing a cat let alone help yourself to a drink, especially if more than three of you are intent on the same mission at the same time! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise as it was not too far a trip for my mother in law and it was also near Christmas. We were not impressed with the parking set up for our car, signs not clear etc. After we had checked I looked for a bar and somewhere ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was not too far a trip for my mother in law and it was also near Christmas. We were not impressed with the parking set up for our car, signs not clear etc. After we had checked I looked for a bar and somewhere to eat, only found a gazebo type structure with a very poor range of drinks and very little to eat. If this port wants to be taken seriously it needs to get a grip. This is certainly not an international port of departure in my book. Problems. On leaving port we found our cabin very warm, tried to turn it down, no good. Many passengers we spoke to had complaints ranging from no hot water, no cold water or the best one, no water at all. Tv's did not work properly at all even though we were told they would be fine by the time we got to Hamburg. No they were not. One of the exercise pools seemed to be permantly out of order. Lots of work being carried on outside cabins, sometimes starting quite early in the morning and also quite late at night. Inside the ship notice boards or direction/information boards were still being put up. In my view 28 days was not long enough and the ship should never have left dry dock. Plus points. Those areas that had been refurbished were very nice particularly the restaurants. Staff were excellent. Food as usual was really good. Entertainment was not to bad either. We found information from the captain was poor and sometimes could not be heard, we were on this ship four years ago and had a poor cruise, captain was the same guy. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this ship as it was leaving from scotland and was not a big ship. Embarkation was good and the safety drill well done though i was disturbed that wee were not made to wear and demonstrate our life jackets on other cruises this ... Read More
We chose this ship as it was leaving from scotland and was not a big ship. Embarkation was good and the safety drill well done though i was disturbed that wee were not made to wear and demonstrate our life jackets on other cruises this has not been the case. W were well aware of the ship and were pleasantly surprised at the general state of her. Food good. entertainment really excellent with an exceptional classical pianist and a great show team, The speaker doing port talks was quite abysmal. the first speaker at any event i have ever heard. the speaker on the russian area nd jewellery was knowledgeable enough but a hustler and really was only there to sell as much on board of the good he brought but we did learn a fair bit from him, The crew were really lovely hard working learnt our preferences very quickly. we could not fault them. now for the rub. One does not pay over 4k for a holiday and expect it to be anything other than a luxury holiday. I did not expect to have th very strong smell of sewage or effluent in our corridor around our cabin we could next leave or enter the area with out it hitting us. this is cabin 5105 and i would strongly recommend anyone avoid it. We reported it an at first the smell of a lot of air freshener seemed to be on top of the nasty pong then after the canon next door complained and e did again. a pumper came ands took a panel of the corridor an ugly sight. The smell continued till finally vy the 8th day it was gone. Not a word of apology or offer of change or even on board spend. not everyone can afford cruise after cruise,i felt cheated a little by this. Having said that we did grow to really like the ship.We would consider going on her again but never on this deck. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
I chose this cruise because the departure port of Rosyth was close to home and I thought it would be better than flying to a departure port. I was on this cruise with my mother and between us we have cruised or twenty times with Thomson ... Read More
I chose this cruise because the departure port of Rosyth was close to home and I thought it would be better than flying to a departure port. I was on this cruise with my mother and between us we have cruised or twenty times with Thomson cruises. We thought we would give Fred Olsen a chance. What a mistake that was. First of all we couldn't get the dinner table for two we requested. There was only food available at meal times, no snacks in between. All inclusive drinks package was a waste of time and money. No entertainment on pool decks during the afternoon. You couldn't get a tea or coffee in between meal times unless you made it yourself. With Thomson there is food all day every day. All inclusive drinks package in includes mocktails and a cocktail of the day plus all kinds of tea and coffee. Always entertainment on decks plus better entertainment at night with Thomson. We did a tour in St.Petersburg which was a shambles from start to finish. I would recommend Thomson any time but not Fred Olsen. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Once and Once Only My wife and I have over the years taken many cruises with many different lines, but had never been with Fred Olsen before and won’t be going again. We had heard mixed reviews about Fred, with some friends liking ... Read More
Once and Once Only My wife and I have over the years taken many cruises with many different lines, but had never been with Fred Olsen before and won’t be going again. We had heard mixed reviews about Fred, with some friends liking it and others hating it. So we decided to try a short cruise to see for ourselves before booking anything longer. The conclusion was once and once only, there was something about this ship we did not like. Overall the crew did not come across as a happy one, they looked very tired, it was a lot of what I could call British Airways smiles. I know crews do not like short cruises as it means turn around days are close together. Embarkation and Disembarkation The check in went smoothly and by the time we got on board our luggage was already outside our cabin, disembarkation also went well, but these are about the only positives about this cruise. Shore Excursions We did not take any shore excursions, there were only two offered on the first day in port and none on the second day, thought this was rather poor. Our Cabin 7008 this is classed as a balcony suite, I would only class it as a mini suite, we had been informed that on average Fred's cabins were on the small side and we can confirm that appears to be correct. There was a settee and armchair, these were smaller than normal size and very low, it might be that these were purchased this size to make the cabin look bigger? The bathroom was very small, the only bathroom on a ship or boat that I can remember which was smaller than this one was thirty plus years ago on a Russian river cruiser. When having a shower the water temperature goes up and down, presumably because other passengers on the same water circuit are using theirs? The cabin was supplied with tea and coffee making facilities, unfortunately the kettle was fitted with an English type three pin plug but all the sockets were of the continental type. So we asked our stewardess how to plug the kettle in, and were informed that we had to go to reception and ask for an adaptor as she was not allowed to do that. So we went to reception and asked for an adaptor, the receptionist immediately gave a note to another member of staff and informed us that an adaptor would be delivered to our cabin straight away. About a hour and half later we returned to our cabin and guess what, no adaptor, so we telephoned reception and a few minutes later an adaptor actually arrived. The only plus points about this cabin is that it is located in a quiet position towards one end of a corridor and the balcony is a useful shape, fairly deep back to front. The Stewardess wanted to come early and do the turndown service before we went to diner each night as we were on the late sitting at 8.30, we said no as we both like to have a shower and change our clothes before diner. On all other ships, we have always left the makeup room card on the door when going to dinner and any turndown service happened whist we were out. Dining The main dining room was very noisy, didn't appear to be enough waiters, they have to almost run between tables to try and keep up, Fred Olsen expects too much of the staff, it makes the restaurant look and sound like a fast food place. One night I ordered a baked potato with my main course, but instead received a single boiled potato, obviously someone thought I should go on a diet. On the First night waiter came to take my order, but I hadn't had a menu yet, other tables had been laid out with menus, also when the main courses arrived my wife was still short of a fork. Thought the overall food choice was rather poor, on the gala night menu there was not the usual lobster or beef Wellington, but there was shepherd’s pie. Also I believe Fred should be awarded a prize for the worst beard rolls at sea. Wine Service Information in the cabin suggested it was best to preorder wine for dinner as things could get a little busy, so in the afternoon we did this by filling out one of the little order forms just outside the dining room and placed it in the box provided. This was a complete waste of time, when we went to diner we thought the wine would be brought to our table, not so, other tables who had not preordered were managing to get drinks or wine. When I finally managed to attract a waiters attention he knew nothing about preordered wine, but he did manage to retake our order and only half a hour after we had sat down it arrived. It appears that there are no actual wine waiters; it's the waiters who serve the wine. One of the onboard TV presentations re the 'suite dreams' package the presenter stated that you would receive a bottle of champagne in your cabin; this is not quite the case as it is actually sparkling wine. Onboard information stated we would receive a customer questionnaire at the end of the cruise but we never did, after we returned home we did receive an online questionnaire but this was only about what we thought about Rouen and if we had taken a shore excursion, nothing else. No questions regarding what we thought of the cruise. Certainly my wife and I will not be booking any future cruises with Fred; there are many far far better lines available. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
There was much that was good about this cruise, in particular the staff, entertainment and food. However from day 2 passengers were falling ill with gastrointestinal outbreaks. This affected the facilities available, for example closure ... Read More
There was much that was good about this cruise, in particular the staff, entertainment and food. However from day 2 passengers were falling ill with gastrointestinal outbreaks. This affected the facilities available, for example closure of the jacuzzis, closure of the gaming tables, some of the toilets around the ship, no table top sales, temporary closure of the gym, no self service buffets, constant hand washing and teams of specialist cleaners washing down surfaces constantly. Etc. All of this meant that the cruise we paid for was not as expected. Fred Olsen customer services have offered platitudes and apology but accompanied by a point blank refusal to offer any compensation. Whilst we did not expect anything other than a discount off a future cruise it is very disappointing that the company consider they do not have any moral responsibility to their customers feeling satisfied. Needless to say our party of 6 will NOT be cruising with Fred again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The worst cruise of our lives. I became sick on the second night and was confined to cabin with my husband for 48 hours, it would seem that we came off lightly, some people had longer confinement, o e lady told us it was 4 days. the ... Read More
The worst cruise of our lives. I became sick on the second night and was confined to cabin with my husband for 48 hours, it would seem that we came off lightly, some people had longer confinement, o e lady told us it was 4 days. the cabin was nice but the floor was never hoovered ,there was dirt on the inside of the wardrobe doors, there ware no handles just a groove to open the door. The toilet had a flushing system of its own, you pressed the flush button left the bathroom got out a book and oh, it suddenly flushed. One morning most of the toilets didn't flush for about three hours Twice a day captain was banging on about washing hands In hit water for at least 20 seconds, good idea, it took 45 seconds for the water to rungot in our cabin and in the public toilets it was almost impossible to get hot water unless you used it immediately after someone else, I wrote and told the captain, and someone came while we were out to fix the water, it still took 45 seconds toget hot Laundry,gym,jacuzzi, library, all closed, they were not getting to grips with the sickness and dhiorhea at all. We were woken by a fire announcement, the ta boys stopped working in our cabin. Essential work on the water supply woke us at 2 a, sounded like someone drilling in our bathroom, and no water.must have been please t for the vomiting people We were offered money off another cruise, no chance, I could bang on a lot more but to be honest it's an experience I would rather forget Read Less
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