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Balmoral Review

4.5 / 5.0
239 reviews

Not What I Expect from Fred

Review for Norwegian Fjords Cruise on Balmoral
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms

Additional details

Sail Date: May 2015

This was a Norwegian Fjords cruise. Embarkation went smoothly and our luggage was in our cabin as we got there. We had stayed B&B in the Holiday Inn, Southampton the night before and parked there as well. So about 12.30pm we walked our cases to the passenger terminal (102) passing City Terminal on the way, were able to check in and then returned to the hotel as we had a late check out there. We then had another cup of tea and went back with our hand luggage about 2pm and we were able to board the ship straight away. We have stayed in this hotel before and found it good, with great views and convenient location to go into Southampton town for a meal in the evening.

We were surprised at our inside cabin as it was bigger than we expected, well laid out and with lots of storage space. The ship had been refurbished a few months earlier and everything was in very good condition. Likewise the rest of the ship pleased us, as it was well presented throughout.

The first day, which was at sea, went well and we settled in nicely. Port talks were given and could be seen on the cabin TV. Our cabin stewardess, Wilhelmina, was excellent and we had nothing but smiles and efficiency from her, even though we were fairly late leaving our cabin at times. Likewise our restaurant waiter Bobby and his assistant, Prie, in the Avon restaurant were also excellent and very friendly and the food was also very good. The self service restaurant was big, but there was not much view as the windows looked out onto prom deck and some of the view was obstructed. It was worse than need be as the curtains were never drawn back fully, which was a shame. The meal times, were quite limited, lunch only available form 12.00 – 2.30pm for instance and breakfast finished at 10.00am. This was quite problematic at times.

Cabin Review

Port Reviews


We arrived in port late afternoon and stayed until late afternoon the next day. On arrival we went to the tourist office and purchased a one day Bergen card for 200Kr (£20) each and this was very good value as it gave us half price on the funicular and Greig's house, free entry to a couple of art galleries, free travel on the buses to and from the port and a tram to Grieg's house.

We went up the funicular the first evening, which gave good views and we strolled around a bit on the footpaths up there. The next day we caught a bus from the port to the town and then took a 20 minute tram ride to the nearest stop to Grieg's house. It was about a 20 minute pleasant walk from there to Grieg's house. The house was extremely interesting with a display about his life, a video, his composing hut and grave as well as the house itself. The location was by the edge of a fjord which was lovely. We were really pleased we went here independently as the house was almost empty at the time and we had plenty of time to see everything and the staff were very good at giving extra information about him and his family. This was a much better experience than going with a tour group and the only thing we missed was a very short concert of his work.

I had looked into travelling to Greig's house before we left home, so we had full details of the tram times and route as well as the walk from the tram to the house. There is a website which gives the opening hours for the house and other museums/galleries as well, so we knew what we could do during different times of our visit.

We returned to the centre of Bergen and still had time to visit a couple of art galleries before returning to the port by bus in plenty of time for our sail out, which was very pleasant.


We have been to Flam before and went on the train then, so we just walked up the valley for a while, then returned and strolled a little on the footpaths by the large hotel near the port.

It was a really pleasant walk up the valley and we were almost alone there in very beautiful, quiet surroundings. The footpaths near the hotel just went uphill a little with a slightly different view of the fjord.

We stayed on deck for 2.5 hours after we sailed out of the port as it took that long to sail most of the way out of the fjord and it was most impressive. Luckily we sailed a little way up Naeroyfjord and back soon after we left Flam, which was extremely impressive, with very steep sides. This extra scenic cruising is something Fred Olsen often do and is the main reason we chose this cruise.


We went to the Canning Museum and the Maritime Museum, which can be visited on a combined ticket. They were both interesting and a good way to get away from the showery, windy day outside. After that the weather brightened up so we had a coffee at Burger King. The coffee was very cheap for Norway (I think about 25 Kr) and we could sit on bench type seats outside in the sun.

Then we walked away from the harbour, to the left hand side of the lake and walked uphill a bit where there was a lovely wooden church and a lot of wooden houses, but the area was not full of tourists which was lovely. We then headed back towards the harbour which was a pleasant walk. At one stage we had walked off the map we were given as we got off the ship, but a kind Norwegian gentleman pointed us in the right direction.

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