1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Balmoral
We booked this cruise as a last minute holiday and therefore got a very good deal. (Less than half the original cost) We had never cruised before and therefore we felt that getting a last minute deal was a good way to try it out. We were not disappointed. Firstly check in was so quick and easy at Southampton. We only had a short wait in the departure longe before we boarded our ship and went to our cabin. We had a superior outside cabin but were warned that it had a fully restricted view. We were pleasantly surprised as although our view was restricted due to our cabin being opposite a lifeboat - we were still able to have some view due to the large picture window and our cabin was light and a good size with both a bath and shower. It was all beautifully clean and kept that way by our cabin stewardess Aurora. We didn't spend a lot of time in our cabin as there was so much to see and go on board. Meals were fantastic. As we booked late we could not change our sitting time but we were first sitting and this suited us as we don't like to eat late. Meals in the Ballandaloch restaurant were amazing - easily would match and in many cases excel any of the best restaurants we have dined in on land. Our waiters were very attentive and friendly and service was extremely efficient. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Palms cafe where the choice was beyond our expectations and we could have as much or as little as we wanted. Again the service was second to none. The mostly Filipino crew couldnt have done more for us and were extremely polite and nothing was too much trouble. As we booked late we were unable to purchase a drinks package but this was not a problem as drinks were in line with pub prices and a bottle of house wine was similar to what you would pay in your local indian restaurant or similar. We are moderate drinkers only so we may not have saved with a drinks package. Entertainment on the ship was of the highest standard. the Balmoral show company were absolutely incredible. Their "musicals" night would match anything seen in a West End show. Special guests were a comedien/singer, another singer who sang Michael Buble songs and a lady saxophonist who was beautiful and hugely talented. There was also 4th dimension who entertained us in a number of the lounges, other singers, a classical guitarist and a string trio. the genres were many and varied and there was something to suit all tastes. My only regret is that we didn't join in the dancing lessons early on in the cruise as we would have enjoyed dancing to Ricki and the Balmooral orchestra, although we enjoyed listening. Our cruise was to Norway and the Arctic Circle and the scenery was spectacular.The shore excursions were quite expensive but we thoroughly enjoyed the four we took and have no regrets about paying for them. On these coffee and cake was laid on for us at the main attractions. The ride on the replica viking ship was a bit hairy due to torrential rain just after we set off but is a great memory to keep. All tours were well arranged and we felt secure having great guides and drivers. We also took a couple of trips on our own and if we go again we would do our research first and probably arrange our own excursions at the local tourist offices. Virtually everyone speaks English and the Norwegian people are extremely helpful and welcoming. We were unable to visit the Lofton Islands as planned due to bad weather but the captain and cruise director arranged a stop at Kristiansand which was a perfect substitute. The facilities on the ship were excellent - treatments in the spa are to be recommended. There are two pools, masses of seating on deck, deck games, a library with games and jigsaws, quiz nights and other talks and demonstrations. If I had any criticism at all it was the cost of things in the shop and the boutiques but we didn't need to buy anything as we had everything we needed. All in all my husband and I had a brilliant time and we would say that given the standard we enjoyed it would have been worth it even if we had paid full price. We would certainly book with Fred Olsen again and would recommend them to our friends.

Fantastic first cruise to Norway and crossing the Arctic Circle

Balmoral Cruise Review by schoolmaam

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We booked this cruise as a last minute holiday and therefore got a very good deal. (Less than half the original cost) We had never cruised before and therefore we felt that getting a last minute deal was a good way to try it out. We were not disappointed.
Firstly check in was so quick and easy at Southampton. We only had a short wait in the departure longe before we boarded our ship and went to our cabin. We had a superior outside cabin but were warned that it had a fully restricted view. We were pleasantly surprised as although our view was restricted due to our cabin being opposite a lifeboat - we were still able to have some view due to the large picture window and our cabin was light and a good size with both a bath and shower. It was all beautifully clean and kept that way by our cabin stewardess Aurora. We didn't spend a lot of time in our cabin as there was so much to see and go on board.
Meals were fantastic. As we booked late we could not change our sitting time but we were first sitting and this suited us as we don't like to eat late. Meals in the Ballandaloch restaurant were amazing - easily would match and in many cases excel any of the best restaurants we have dined in on land. Our waiters were very attentive and friendly and service was extremely efficient. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Palms cafe where the choice was beyond our expectations and we could have as much or as little as we wanted. Again the service was second to none. The mostly Filipino crew couldnt have done more for us and were extremely polite and nothing was too much trouble. As we booked late we were unable to purchase a drinks package but this was not a problem as drinks were in line with pub prices and a bottle of house wine was similar to what you would pay in your local indian restaurant or similar. We are moderate drinkers only so we may not have saved with a drinks package.
Entertainment on the ship was of the highest standard. the Balmoral show company were absolutely incredible. Their "musicals" night would match anything seen in a West End show. Special guests were a comedien/singer, another singer who sang Michael Buble songs and a lady saxophonist who was beautiful and hugely talented. There was also 4th dimension who entertained us in a number of the lounges, other singers, a classical guitarist and a string trio. the genres were many and varied and there was something to suit all tastes. My only regret is that we didn't join in the dancing lessons early on in the cruise as we would have enjoyed dancing to Ricki and the Balmooral orchestra, although we enjoyed listening.
Our cruise was to Norway and the Arctic Circle and the scenery was spectacular.The shore excursions were quite expensive but we thoroughly enjoyed the four we took and have no regrets about paying for them. On these coffee and cake was laid on for us at the main attractions. The ride on the replica viking ship was a bit hairy due to torrential rain just after we set off but is a great memory to keep. All tours were well arranged and we felt secure having great guides and drivers. We also took a couple of trips on our own and if we go again we would do our research first and probably arrange our own excursions at the local tourist offices. Virtually everyone speaks English and the Norwegian people are extremely helpful and welcoming. We were unable to visit the Lofton Islands as planned due to bad weather but the captain and cruise director arranged a stop at Kristiansand which was a perfect substitute.
The facilities on the ship were excellent - treatments in the spa are to be recommended. There are two pools, masses of seating on deck, deck games, a library with games and jigsaws, quiz nights and other talks and demonstrations. If I had any criticism at all it was the cost of things in the shop and the boutiques but we didn't need to buy anything as we had everything we needed.
All in all my husband and I had a brilliant time and we would say that given the standard we enjoyed it would have been worth it even if we had paid full price. We would certainly book with Fred Olsen again and would recommend them to our friends.
schoolmaam’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Balmoral price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Cabin 8076
We were warned that our cabin had a fully restricted view. We were pleasantly surprised as although our view was restricted due to our cabin being opposite a lifeboat - we were still able to have some view due to the large picture window. Plenty of storage and a good size with both a bath and shower. It was all beautifully clean and had very efficient air conditioning. Complimentary tea and coffee provided and was refilled during the day. We were undisturbed and the room was fairly central to everything.
  Balmoral Deck Plans