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Fred Olsen have earned good reputation and as they were sailing ex Newcastle which is near for us we decided to give it a try. We have done 9 cruises with Thomson, which we would highly recommend but thought we needed to try another company. The ship was really friendly and we met some lovely people. The cabin and all inclusive deal were OK for what we paid. The entertainment was good and probably the best show team we have experienced. The main problem was the dining which was very disappointing from start to finish, both in quality of food (much lower than expected) and times available to eat The 2 set dining times in the evening were 6.30pm wich is too early and 8.30pm which is too late (we were on the latter.) We also had reservations about having to sit with same people every night and without going in to chapter and verse during our second week we opted to dine mostly in the self service cafe in order to avoid! I would point out that we weren't missing out on food quality as it is pretty much the same in all the restaurants i.e. disappointing and can be summed up in one word - EDIBLE. We found the other meal times too restrictive e.g. breakfast ends at 10am and lunch is from 12noon to 2pm. The emphasis seems to be on afternoon tea which goes down very well with the elderly clientele this cruise line attracts. Perhaps if we hadn't been used to Thomson's super flexibility and hot food available 24/7 we may not have found this an issue. In fairness I would add that most people seem to find the food to be out of this world but I witnessed lots of full plates going back to kitchens and we know how some people like to kid themselves.

Mostly OK

Balmoral Cruise Review by jolai1

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2017
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Inside
Fred Olsen have earned good reputation and as they were sailing ex Newcastle which is near for us we decided to give it a try. We have done 9 cruises with Thomson, which we would highly recommend but thought we needed to try another company. The ship was really friendly and we met some lovely people. The cabin and all inclusive deal were OK for what we paid. The entertainment was good and probably the best show team we have experienced. The main problem was the dining which was very disappointing from start to finish, both in quality of food (much lower than expected) and times available to eat The 2 set dining times in the evening were 6.30pm wich is too early and 8.30pm which is too late (we were on the latter.) We also had reservations about having to sit with same people every night and without going in to chapter and verse during our second week we opted to dine mostly in the self service cafe in order to avoid! I would point out that we weren't missing out on food quality as it is pretty much the same in all the restaurants i.e. disappointing and can be summed up in one word - EDIBLE. We found the other meal times too restrictive e.g. breakfast ends at 10am and lunch is from 12noon to 2pm. The emphasis seems to be on afternoon tea which goes down very well with the elderly clientele this cruise line attracts. Perhaps if we hadn't been used to Thomson's super flexibility and hot food available 24/7 we may not have found this an issue. In fairness I would add that most people seem to find the food to be out of this world but I witnessed lots of full plates going back to kitchens and we know how some people like to kid themselves.
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin I 8009
Inside cabin on deck 8 was adequate - was little on small side -was classed as superior - goodness knows how small standard are. Mattress, pillow quality and bedding -well had better.Towels were excellent quality. There were no issues with noise whatsover so could get good nights sleep which is main thing. Plenty red hot water always available.
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