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Balmoral Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
252 reviews
31 Awards

Must Do Better

Review for Balmoral to Europe
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Mark Richards
First Time Cruiser • Age 50s

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Additional details

Sail Date: Dec 2019
Cabin: Outside

Very first cruise so chose a very short 2 night trip Southampton – Honfleur just to get a taste.

We were told in advance that boarding would be from 13.00 (or 13.30) and we would board at 16.30 (different times for different cabins/decks so not all together in one big mad rush) and must be at the dock in time but not earlier. We arrived at 15.30 (just in case of traffic, parking etc) and sat & waited. And sat & waited. Quite some time after the staff started checking people in by class & deck. No problem. Then we checked in and walked to where we were told to go over towards security. And stood and waited. And waited. There were no announcements and no-one had a clue what was going on. And no ship was there either. Eventually the ship arrived – very late (it had been in German docks for maintenance and then to Southampton via Dover. Considering it takes some time to do that trip then Fred Olsen would have known how long it would take and it would be late and should have told everyone. But there were NO announcements) – and security (several lanes) could start. Then it was totally disorganised and a ‘free-for-all’. So this whole process start to finish was a farce.

Boarded deck 6 and our cabin was on the opposite side on same deck. Easy to find. 2 cabins along from some big curtains (turned out it was doors) and just along from the customer services desk. Reasonable size, large windows, two single beds, enough wardrobe space, reasonable bathroom. Clean & tidy. No problem. However, on such a cruise the windows are no use as it will be dark and you will not see anything. Rooms with no view might be on lower decks with more noise though so you should check.

Cabin Review

Outside

Deck 6 midships. Our cabin was on the opposite side on same deck. Easy to find. 2 cabins along from some big curtains (turned out it was doors) and just along from the customer services desk. Reasonable size, large windows, two single beds, enough wardrobe space, reasonable bathroom. Clean & tidy. No problem. However, on such a cruise the windows are no use as it will be dark and you will not see anything. Rooms with no view might be on lower decks with more noise though so you should check.

But.......way too close to boarding doors.

On first morning was abruptly woken at 06.15 by what seemed staff talking loudly or radio announcements outside. It was really VERY loud. It felt as if the people were in our room. It went on. And on. So I grabbed a towel, wrapped it around me and went outside. There were 4 members of crew and one male member had a radio strapped to his belt, switched on, listening to all of the announcements being made for crew who were arranging a walkway off the ship (we had docked in Honfleur – these doors were what was behind the curtains). Good grief man. I can hear it in my cabin 2 cabins away. If you cannot hear it when it’s strapped to your belt 50cm from your ears ……….!!!!! I told him ‘politely’ to turn it down and he did. Some staff have no consideration to paying guests. They are just focused on their job/task and others are irrelevant. Idiots !

Port Reviews

Honfleur

Nice old town. Short walk away (maybe 20 minutes) so no real need to shuttle bus unless the weather is poor.

70 Helpful Votes

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