I have been on 20 plus cruises on Celebrity, Royal Cruise Line, Princess, First European, Fred Olsen and NCL. This by far was my best cruise. I sailed on the Balmoral 12 times when she was the Crown Odyssey built in 1988 for Royal Cruise Line. She was never a 20 year old ferry as one reviewer described her. She was one of the most innovated and modern ships of her time. I am happy to say that her rescue from NCL by Fred Olsen was a miracle.
We flew from Minneapolis to Miami and were on the ship in 5 minutes after reaching port. At first I was worried what I might see. Upon boarding I was delighted to see her lobby and atrium in the pristine condition I remembered from my first cruise. Bright and shiny looking like new. I felt like I was home again. I was led to my cabin on the same deck ( 6 ) which was in the newer part of the ship that had been lengthened. Large, comfortable and a ton of closet space.
I immediately took a tour of the ship. Not much had changed outside of the new section. All new carpeting and furnishings through out the ship. The new Library and internet cafe were fabulous. The new restaurant, Avon and Spey were very nicely appointed. I had late seating in the Avon. I was a little worried about the food being a British ship but found it to be some of the best I have had on a cruise. I'm pretty much a meat and potatoes guy and I decided to eat at the buffet one night since there was no beef item on the menu that night in the main dining room. They had a fantastic beef stew. When the waiter asked the rest of my friends why I wasn't at dinner they explained I only wanted beef for dinner and it wasn't on the menu. He got the Maitre De ( I don't know how to spell it ) who contacted me and assured me I would have steak every night if I wanted. From that night on I had steak! Talk about service!