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Balmoral Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
252 Reviews

A wonderful surprise and magnificent cruise.

Balmoral Cruise Review by troath

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Norwegian Fjords
  • Cabin Type: Inside

Most pleasant cruise to date.

My husband and I have just returned from a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords with Fred Olsen. In a nutshell, it was a joy from start to finish. The organisation getting everyone on the Balmoral was fantastic, and getting off was so simple. Many people have a fear of larger ships. The Balmoral accommodates 1400 passengers. But at no time did we feel crowded. There was always somewhere to sit and enjoy the spectacular views. We had a simple inside cabin on Deck five and were most impressed with the L shaped layout.On other ships there isn't room to move. This cabin was spacious, with plenty of cupboards and draws to unpack all our clothes. We are travelling for more than seven weeks so had a full case. They fitted under the beds so we're out of the way. We had to lift the bed slightly and then slid them under.

The ports of call were very different to our previous cruises as we visited stunning Norwegian towns rather than huge cities. When we got off the boat in Stavanger we were treated to spectacular parades throughout the day as it was Norway's National day on 15 May. The parades started at ten with thousands of children dressed in national costume and feeling so very proud. Later there was a youth parade, and at the end of the day, a people's parade with dancers and acrobats along with marching bands parading through the streets. Walking through the streets after each parade, the locals happily posed for photographs. Such a pleasant city filled with happiness on their special day.

Ulvrok was a picturesque spot where we needed to catch a tender to the port. But once again, the process was so much better than we had experienced with other cruise lines. It was a quiet very small village but we enjoyed it after the busy day before. The day was wet, but we simply went for a long walk around part of the lake.

Flam turned on fabulous sunshine once more and once again we pulled right alongside this very picturesque village. We bought a ticket for the Flam railway - make sure you sit on the right side if you go as the views on that side are beautiful. However, it really is just a two hour up and down trip. The highlight was stopping half way at a magnificent waterfall. Make sure you have your cameras ready when the music starts and Ulder, the lady of the Mountain appears in a flowing red dress. Very impressive.

The cruise out of Flam down the Fjords made the view from the train pale to insignificance. We felt we had wasted our money so would do something else if we travel on this cruise again. Absolutely spectacular views for hours.

Olden was another chocolate box town. We walked to both churches, around the river and back in glorious sunshine. Once again, a quiet location with magnificent scenery all round.

Geiranger greeted us with rain, but it didn't dampen our spirits at all. We chose to walk up the road to the church, then follow this round to the top of the waterfall. There are 100s of steps, but it was worth it. For those unable to walk uphill, a simple flat walk round the water was lovely too.

Bergen was the last stop and busiest port by far but no where near as busy as the ports on the Med we have visited. Some interesting architecture on the left as you leave the ship. We walked 20000 steps around the town that day. Be careful not to get lost!

So all in all, this was a fantastic cruise. The accommodation and food were excellent. The nightly shows were terrific. I have never witnessed a more energetic and passionate cruise company as these fine young dancers and singers. Brilliant!

We came on this cruise to spend time with friends. We were apprehensive, thinking it might be boring. How wrong we were. We'd go again and will now always look at Fred Olsen as our preferred cruise line. Thanks so much for an amazing trip

troath's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Cabin I 5071

So impressed with this L shaped cabin. Plenty of room and ample cupboards and wardrobes. Would choose this cabin again. Great to have tea and coffee in the room. Beds and pillows very comfortable.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Very easy to walk around at each Port of call without going on organised tours. We prefer to simply explore on our own.

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