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4 Fred. Olsen Dubai Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. ... Read More
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. The food was okay (safe/boring) but the main dining room tried to mix buffet service with (if you were lucky) a menu service. The staff work hard but appear to be too few - there were many times that I was offered ground pepper or sauces when I'd practically finished my meal, and cheese would arrive long before the biscuits to put it on. The public rooms/bars are more like corridors and none of the seating is very comfortable. The entertainment was good, especially some of the guest entertainers, however the lack of a stage meant that you could not see the feet of the tap dancer. My cabin was perfectly okay and just as described (although I did wonder how some of the many larger guests managed in the small single beds). It is what it is ... a cruise for "old" people - not necessarily judged by years but by attitudes and the type of social activities offered. The saving graces were the few good films on offer in the cinema, some of the speakers, especially James Fraser who gave talks on photography and using your camera (and phone camera!) and the staff themselves who were generally very happy and friendly. For my next cruise i will hopefully return to Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Went on a sector of a World cruise as interesting itinerary. Embarkation was a total mix up as we were taken to wrong terminal at Dubai and left to almost check in on the wrong ship whereby we had to then walk along with everyone else from ... Read More
Went on a sector of a World cruise as interesting itinerary. Embarkation was a total mix up as we were taken to wrong terminal at Dubai and left to almost check in on the wrong ship whereby we had to then walk along with everyone else from our coach down the dock with our had luggage to the Balmoral tent where we were met with "Are you looking for the Balmoral". We then proceeded to the ship where no friendly welcoming was waiting just "your cabins are waiting. Ship was a dated rust bucket whereas we expected high quality sedate cruising since it is advertised as home from home . The cabin, food were 2nd class guest house standard and the entertainment Leeds Music Hall/Blackpool Pier. The bedlinen was nothing short of shabby, bobbley duvet cover which if it was ever changed in 25 days then the same quality was put back on. Bed was 2 small singles with no headboard placed under the picture window rather than on the side so you could actually see out of the window and you couldnt sit up in bed because of the window sill jutting into your neck. Examples of food, sausage and mash/steak pie and fish and chips at DINNER! Mostly accompanied by frozen peas and carrots. If you wanted vegetables you had to pile your plate up lunchtime at the self service. Supposedly 5 course dinner. 2 mouthfuls of salad on a large plate does not constitute an appetiser, followed by watery soup with virtually no content, 3rd course more salad, choices of main variable and then the smallest desserts you ever saw. Cheese and biscuits never offered because this was available on the 11pm buffet. Our waiter was surly all cruise. He was given our table as an extra and every night almost threw the menu at us and wanted to know your order before you had a chance to see what was available. He made it clear he wanted you out by taking cruet off table every night half way through the meal. If you picked something other than main course choices which you were entitled to do as detailed on the menu ie omelette or chicken he made it clear he was not happy. Your plates were almost thrown at you. First cruise where I hadnt had mix of female and male waiters. Girls are more chatty and friendly. This man never once in 4 weeks asked our names, what sort of day we'd had, had we enjoyed our sightseeing etc. Dinner should have been an experience on a long cruise. The ship had a coughing virus when we got on in Dubai which spread like wildfire throughout the ship. Despite my best hygiene precautions I was one of those who succumbed and had to spend 2 hrs one night on deck to give my neighbours and husband relief from what was described as a 40 a day smokers bark. The virus spreading wasnt helped by the restaurant staff insisting at breakfast and lunch that tables were filled so healthy people (me) were placed next to coughers and then I was one of those coughing placed next to healthy people. With the best will in the world and coughing only into hankies, you are touching communual tongs, butter dishes and milk jugs with hands that have been anti-bacterialised going into the dining room but they should have allowed people to sit apart if they choose. We witnessed a member of he catering staff in what could only be described as the canteen (called the Palms Cafe) sneeze all over a tray of cups and saucers and then had them out to passengers. The ship needed a thorough deep clean, the public toilets particularly by the Palms cafe were often smelly and the edges of the floor tiles were filthy. The ship was clearly unstable in rough weather but passengers might have been able to take extra precautions if the captain had indicated that we were in for an extremely bumpy ride out of Singapore. I've been on bigger ships in a Force 11 and never had a problem. This time in what the Captain described as a Force 7-8 I was extremely seasick before taking seasickness pills along with many others on board. This was our first time with Fred Olsen but never again. It seemed that all rounders as they called themselves took priority and the 400 or so who joined in Dubai were just making up the numbers. The ship rarely docked on time so port time was limited. There was something extremely wrong with the gangway so getting on and off the ship was slow. In Myanamar due to traffic the coaches had to be escorted and therefore were in convoy which meant 20 full coaches arriving back to the ship together. Disabled people were left with no canopy for shade on the dock for long periods in temps of 34degrees because the only gangway was a makeshift thing balanced on wooden pallets which for health and safety could only allow 3 to board at a time. Every night the seating on all aft decks were covered in soot from the funnel and one one morning the aft top sun deck was so badly covered in soot and debris from the funnel that you couldnt avoid walking through it and the soot was then taken into the carpeted areas giving the cleaners more work shampooing them but the actual deck remained covered in soot even when sunbathers were assembling after 9.30am. I consider this entire cruise was poor value for the money invested. The jingoism of "British Night" union jack waving and singing of nationalistic songs was so over the top I was embarrassed on behalf of the few foreign nationals on board as Brits are obviously 90% of the clientele of this cruise line. If you are of sound mind physically active and wish to experience rather than criticise other cultures this is not the ship for you. On a positive note we understand the chef left in Hong Kong when we did so perhaps the quality of the food has improved and the majority of fellow passengers were very friendly.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I took the second sector of the "Balmoral" 2014 world cruise from Dubai to Hong Kong. The flight from London by Virgin Atlantic was very good and arrived on time. After speedy airport formalities we were swiftly transferred to ... Read More
I took the second sector of the "Balmoral" 2014 world cruise from Dubai to Hong Kong. The flight from London by Virgin Atlantic was very good and arrived on time. After speedy airport formalities we were swiftly transferred to the ship. As ever, "Balmoral" looked in good condition despite the battering it had received leaving the UK earlier that month. Despite being an older ship it is well maintained and very comfortable. I had a single cabin on deck 4 which was spacious with plenty of storage space and a picture window. The room was serviced twice daily to a very high standard. The cuisine was of a very high standard. I dined in the Spey restaurant on deck 10 which is relatively small. The service was very good. For breakfast and lunch I used all the ship's reaturants. The daytime entertainment followed the normal pattern. There were lectures, some very good. The classical concerts were first class. I found the promenade deck and swimming pools a great asset and used then daily. The evening cabarets were mixed. The "Balmoral" show company put on a few good shows and some on the other artists gave good performances. One or two were well past their sell-by date. The staff on Fred. Olsen ships are always cheerful, helpful and friendly. This was certainly the case on this cruise. The only small exception is the reception desk where pressure sometimes leads to a somewhat less than customer-friendly attitiude. The itinerary of this relatively short cruise was my main reason for booking. . Muscat in Oman was as charming as ever , Mumbai as chaotic but attractiveas always and Cochin a delight. The call in Sri Lanka was great. I took an overnight visit to Kandy and wasn't disappoined. The hotel was superb and the sights in and around the city were fascinating. Our next port of call was Yangon in Myanmar (formally Burma). As we were one of the first cruise ships to visit there we didn't know what to expect. We were delighted by the reception we received and the beauty of the place. I took an overnight tour to Manadalay. The flights to and from there were on time, comfortable and the airports spotless. The city was real joy and all I had anticipated and more. There was so much to see. The hotel was excellent. I just wishes we had more time there. Singapore was much the same as ever and becomes progressively more affluent and the years go by. There is much to see there. After lovely warm weather Hong Kong was much cooler. . However, the weather was good and I did a crash tour of the main places of interest. II flew home on Cathay Pacific who were very good but almost 13 hours is a very long flight. It was a most interesting and ejoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Personal Background Information Widow of nearly 70 years who likes to travel Only had experience of 3 cruises, the first on Grand Princess to Scandanavia spoilt me, I could not fault the ship experience and assumed that other crusie lines ... Read More
Personal Background Information Widow of nearly 70 years who likes to travel Only had experience of 3 cruises, the first on Grand Princess to Scandanavia spoilt me, I could not fault the ship experience and assumed that other crusie lines wold be as good. Travel To Port of Embarkation arranged private travel to Dubai Hotel and Igloo Cruises arranged transfer to Fred Olsen's Balmoral Hotel Info (if any) - Arabian Courtyard in Dubai is central and opposite the Dubai Museum which is well worth a visit. Nice hotel very efficeint, cheerful and helpful. Embarkation - I need assistance up the gangway but Olsen's staff were not in evidence despite asking for assistance. One of the cruise speakers helped me and took me to my cabin. Stateroom - Single inside Ship Info Fred Olsen's Balmoral Deck 6 Starboard exit in front of Palms diesel and air-conditioning fumes vented out. Very bad design that Olsen's are aware of but do not rectify. I was unable to use deck 6 starboad because these fumes triggered asthma, laryngitis and sinusitis. Also one day paint fumes invade the interior of deck 6 again bad for my health. Complaint made to Guest Relations Manager whos eattitude was patronising and unhelpful. A fellow passenger told me that on a previous cruise he could not use his balcony (above the doorway deck 6 starboard in front of Palms) because of fumes and on complaint could not be moved but received compensation from Olsen. I have not yet received any official acknowlwdgement of my complaint. Cruise ended 27 April 2013 Dining -reasonable choice but food deteriorated towards end of cruise Activities - limited Children's Clubs none Staff & Service not up to standard in most areas BUT in Palms Cafe waiters were excellent. Entertainment OK Shore Excursions seemed OK Disembarkation well organised. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
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