Balmoral Cruise Review by Parsman
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: Canary Islands
- Cabin Type: Single Outside
Our cruise took us to three of the islands in the Azores, Madeira, Lisbon and Oporto.
The "Balmoral" is a fine ship and looks to be in a very good condition. I still have some difficulty in recognizing the the grey hull livery. I expect I will accept it in due course.
I had a single outside cabin on deck 4 which is ideal fro my needs. It had a picture window, effective air conditioning and was spacious. There was plenty of storage, in fact enough for two on this relatively short cruise. The safe and the tea/coffee facilities was additional benefits. The cabin was serviced twice daily and kept in good condition.
I dined in the Avon restaurant on deck 10 which is an ideal place. The food was very good as was the service. I ate in the Spey and Ballindalloch restaurants for the occasional lunch and breakfast. The Palms Cafe was ideal for coffee, afternoon tea and the occasional speciality night, sadly only one on this cruise.
The daytime activities followed the normal pattern. Some of the lecturers were very good indeed. The occasional classical concerts were first class. The evening cabarets in the Neptune lounge were very good with the Balmoral Show Company performances and, of course, the Crew Show outstanding.
One of the strong points of Fred. Olsen cruising is the high quality of their staff.They are efficient, friendly and cheerful.
I booked excursions for all ports of call. Those in the Azores and Madeira were excellent mainly because I chose take 4x4 (Land Rover) trips which meant there was a driver cum guide and 3 or 4 passengers. We visited sites which were inaccessible to coaches and taxis so we saw something of the real life of these islands.
We sailed from the UK in warm sunshine but sadly on the voyage South the weather was disappointingly damp, grey and windy. The sea was occasionally choppy but nothing to upset all but the inevitable few. The weather in the Azores was mixed but didn't spoil the visit. In Madeira, Lisbon and Oporto we rediscovers the sun. The return voage to dover was on calm seas.
Overall, it was a good cruise on my favourite ship.
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