We booked this very short cruise at exceptionally short notice (book Monday sail Saturday.) We were accommodated in a suite on Deck 9. During the booking procedure I made it clear that we wished to dine at 8-30 pm but were later told that we must eat at 6-30 pm. It took very many telephone calls to unravel that situation but having paid an extra £12 we were granted our wish.
We have sailed in Balmoral on a previous occasion and felt confident that we would enjoy ourselves.
The parking arrangements by ABP and the boarding procedure were excellent. Our suite (9028) was large and well decorated if a tiny bit tired. Our cabin stewardess was charming and efficient and worked exceptionally hard. We had asked for a double bed but were provided with 2 singles I expect that this was because I booked so late. The Champagne (Cava,) the fruit and the fresh flowers were a nice touch as were the canapes in the evening.
We were assigned a table in the Ballindalloch Restaurant which is large and very noisy. We breakfasted in the Spey Restaurant. Breakfast was a very generous buffet arrangement. Dinner was a five course affair with good variation. Generally we felt that the standard of the food was good to very good without being exceptional, the one exception was the roast beef that was exceptional. The wine was perfectly acceptable if one chose carefully. There was no draught bitter beer apart from Newcastle Brown Ale which is not to everyone's taste. A disappointment!
We attended the entertainment in the Neptune Lounge on all three evenings. The dance troop worked tirelessly and with professionalism, the music was not to our taste but it suited most people. The comedian was very sharp and his act in the top flight.
We visited Rouen and Honfleur, in both places it rained but we enjoyed wandering about. We chose not to use the organised tours as they seemed to be very expensive.
We felt that the service on board was not quite as good as we have experienced on other cruises. It may be that the staff are being worked too hard.
All in all this was quite a fun break in a monotonous winter. Will we choose to sail with Fred Olsen again? I am not sure. There are many cruises on offer and the competition is fierce.. We will decide soon.
A good bright cabin with great draw and hanging space. The bathroom was just a little tired but the cabin steward worked tirelessly to keep things in order. The balcony was a blessing apart from the rain. it was a good place to slip away to end relax.
A fine city and a magnificent cathedral
Smashing little fishing port with good restaurants and shops.
A good starting off point