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Norway - Rivers and Railways cruise. First time cruisers so make of this what you will. Service, was good throughout though the pronunciation of English, yes, we know it is a world language, really was hard to follow sometimes - and we are well-used to multicultural London. The numbers were well-managed at breakfast times when everyone arrived at 9am we thought. The all-inclusive drinks package was only just about worth it for us two though one of us was getting over an operation, the other about to have one and loosing weight. The floor shows reminded us of the end of the pier show at Cromer pier which many rave over but not us. A clean and well-painted and well-polished ship. Getting off the ship in Stavanger was not well-managed as cruisers were left standing on the main staircase for up to an hour without any expiation for the delays. The shore tours which we booked a number of and spent about £600 on were not all that well finessed with pretty disengaged entertainment staff roped in as somewhat reluctant tour leaders. The Bergen steam railway tour began as a sort of anticlimax, a pre-climax as the station (and shop?) were not opened for us. There was loose talk of coffee which never arrived and the visit fizzled out beside a busy main road, not even a group picture. The follow-on tour of Bergen city centre in a max size 3-axle coach was we thought an inappropriate way to sight-see a small city centre, in the rain. With only four elevators (lifts) for the elderly passengers when one of then broke down, as it did, there was real inconvenience. We paid extra for white glove Afternoon Tea but the staff were flustered when we arrived at the correct time and this was the only time that service standards slipped really, as far as we were concerned. It didn't help the occasion that scruffy passengers wandered in and out of the bar around us in essentially beach wear. A lot of men did not make much effort to dress appropriately for the two formal dinner nights. We are thinking of booking with Fred.Olsen again but wonder if the organisation isn't a tad blind to it shore tour shortcomings?

Met our expectations: friendly ship, shore tours need finessing

Balmoral Cruise Review by StevieMK14

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Trip Details
Norway - Rivers and Railways cruise. First time cruisers so make of this what you will.
Service, was good throughout though the pronunciation of English, yes, we know it is a world language, really was hard to follow sometimes - and we are well-used to multicultural London.
The numbers were well-managed at breakfast times when everyone arrived at 9am we thought. The all-inclusive drinks package was only just about worth it for us two though one of us was getting over an operation, the other about to have one and loosing weight. The floor shows reminded us of the end of the pier show at Cromer pier which many rave over but not us.
A clean and well-painted and well-polished ship.
Getting off the ship in Stavanger was not well-managed as cruisers were left standing on the main staircase for up to an hour without any expiation for the delays.
The shore tours which we booked a number of and spent about £600 on were not all that well finessed with pretty disengaged entertainment staff roped in as somewhat reluctant tour leaders.
The Bergen steam railway tour began as a sort of anticlimax, a pre-climax as the station (and shop?) were not opened for us. There was loose talk of coffee which never arrived and the visit fizzled out beside a busy main road, not even a group picture. The follow-on tour of Bergen city centre in a max size 3-axle coach was we thought an inappropriate way to sight-see a small city centre, in the rain.
With only four elevators (lifts) for the elderly passengers when one of then broke down, as it did, there was real inconvenience.
We paid extra for white glove Afternoon Tea but the staff were flustered when we arrived at the correct time and this was the only time that service standards slipped really, as far as we were concerned. It didn't help the occasion that scruffy passengers wandered in and out of the bar around us in essentially beach wear.
A lot of men did not make much effort to dress appropriately for the two formal dinner nights. We are thinking of booking with Fred.Olsen again but wonder if the organisation isn't a tad blind to it shore tour shortcomings?
StevieMK14’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin 6017
Only the washed white wood effect of the cabin fittings detracted, it looked old and tired. Booking late we did not have an option of twins and the double definitely got in the way in this size of cabin. The only way to get near the window was to clamber over the bed.
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