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The cruise headed north to Alta in northern Norway seeking the Northern Lights and offering scenic cruising and port calls en route. Despite a few minor niggles the cruise was successful, enjoyable and generally well-run. The itinerary was suited to the nature of the cruise; the ports of call were appropriate and the scenic cruising in the fjords was magnificent. Embarkation was slow. We queued standing for almost an hour but once checked in we were on board without much further delay. I was part of a Mr Bridge party so spent much of my time on board at tutorials on bridge or playing the game. My attendance at other talks was limited but those I was able to attend were good. The Arctic weather limited deck games but I participated in a couple of quizzes and other activities which were generally well organised. Evening dining in the Ballindaloch restaurant was very good and a couple of evenings in the Palm Buffet were also good. Breakfast and lunches were also of a good standard; not much variety at breakfast but the lunch menus had good selections and the buffet food was better than on other cruises. Entertainment was varied and of variable standard but there was usually something to enjoy each evening. Daytime entertainment included quizzes, at which I failed miserably, and other activities which I did not have time to try. Talks on Norway were amusing and informative but the port lectures, as often, seemed to feature more on the excursions (many of which were already sold out) than any background to the ports themselves. Other lectures were available but I was not able to attend or not interested in them. Excursions were generally well organised and available at typical cruise prices. One excursion on which I participated left the ship late and was curtailed but my comments to the Excursions Manager resulted in a partial refund and apology, which I considered a reasonable response. Disembarkation was swift and efficient (I was amongst one of the first groups to leave) and the valet parking service was efficient. Overall a very good cruise which has left me happy to sail again with Fred Olsen when a solo cabin is available at a reasonable price.

Chasing the Northern Lights

Balmoral Cruise Review by cricman47

17 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2016
  • Destination: Arctic
  • Cabin Type: Outside
The cruise headed north to Alta in northern Norway seeking the Northern Lights and offering scenic cruising and port calls en route. Despite a few minor niggles the cruise was successful, enjoyable and generally well-run. The itinerary was suited to the nature of the cruise; the ports of call were appropriate and the scenic cruising in the fjords was magnificent.

Embarkation was slow. We queued standing for almost an hour but once checked in we were on board without much further delay.

I was part of a Mr Bridge party so spent much of my time on board at tutorials on bridge or playing the game. My attendance at other talks was limited but those I was able to attend were good. The Arctic weather limited deck games but I participated in a couple of quizzes and other activities which were generally well organised.

Evening dining in the Ballindaloch restaurant was very good and a couple of evenings in the Palm Buffet were also good. Breakfast and lunches were also of a good standard; not much variety at breakfast but the lunch menus had good selections and the buffet food was better than on other cruises.

Entertainment was varied and of variable standard but there was usually something to enjoy each evening. Daytime entertainment included quizzes, at which I failed miserably, and other activities which I did not have time to try. Talks on Norway were amusing and informative but the port lectures, as often, seemed to feature more on the excursions (many of which were already sold out) than any background to the ports themselves. Other lectures were available but I was not able to attend or not interested in them.

Excursions were generally well organised and available at typical cruise prices. One excursion on which I participated left the ship late and was curtailed but my comments to the Excursions Manager resulted in a partial refund and apology, which I considered a reasonable response.

Disembarkation was swift and efficient (I was amongst one of the first groups to leave) and the valet parking service was efficient.

Overall a very good cruise which has left me happy to sail again with Fred Olsen when a solo cabin is available at a reasonable price.
cricman47’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Outside
Cabin D 4124
The cabin was spacious for single accommodation and contained all essentials. It showed some signs of wear and tear (scuffed corners on cupboards and furnishings, discolouration around the window frames and worn-away chrome on the bathroom fittings) but these in no way impaired the use or enjoyment of the facilities. It was good to have tea/coffee making facilities in cabin and a large window, albeit in need of a regular clean to remove the sea spray. The bed was comfortable and the duvet very warm so I aimed to turn the thermostat to its lowest level to avoid overheating. The safe was large enough for a 10" tablet and cameras.
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