Balmoral Cruise Review by rwlid
- Sail Date: September 2017
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Balcony Junior Suite
Service was very friendly although we did notice a couple of exceptions and Guest Services were excellent and always very helpful. Wi-fi bandwith is pretty abysmal even when in port, I would recommend saving your money and taking your phone or tablet ashore and finding a cafe or other place with good wi-fi. We found a number of the small Norwegian villages had their own hotspots.
Although we did not attend all the shows, entertainment and activities were varied and of good quality. Food was however inconsistent ranging from very good to quite poor and often a little cold. We ate dinner each evening in the Avon restaurant which was very comfortable, although they could think about changing the art work on the walls which is quite weird. Breakfast was pretty poor quality and it always seemed rushed. Also, unlike most cruise lines they did not have a place where you could get a light meal such as a hamburger or pizza at lunchtime.
We signed up for the all inclusive (AI) drinks package was very good value, although I believe it has been increased from £10 per day which we paid, to £15. AI wines were acceptable as was the gin, although I don’t know where the whiskey came from, perhaps not Scotland! The biggest negative for us was the constant chit signing to authorise payment for drinks and coffee. Quite a ridiculous system and technology options must be available to make this a more efficient and seamless process. The time wasted on the Olsen side must be significant.
We only booked one excursion which was a 4 hour Great Ocean Road excursion in Kristiansund. This was because it would have been difficult to arrange ourselves. Other tours we did arrange ourselves and saved quite a bit against similar tours promoted by Olsen, all of which seemed very overpriced.
We took a Seabourn cruise the previous year and although we did not expect (or get), the quality of food and service on Fred Olsen, it was much better value for money.
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