16 Newcastle (England) Romantic Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were just viewing it as a means of getting to Orkney and Shetland and really were not expecting much. However how wrong we were. We found our inside cabin clean and spacious with a good ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were just viewing it as a means of getting to Orkney and Shetland and really were not expecting much. However how wrong we were. We found our inside cabin clean and spacious with a good sized shower room. The food was excellent and we found the entertainment some of the best we have come across. We have cruised many many times with Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and Costa always having had either a suite or balcony so feel I am in a position to give an honest review of the Balmoral. We found the size of the Balmoral easy to walk around especially when in heels of an evening. The crew and staff were very friendly and there was none of the hard sell for good reviews from the restaurant staff or the maitre d. The only thing I would change is the disembarkation/embarkation at ports of call. This is the first ship where both have taken place on the same gang plank but I guess this may be due to size. The ports of call - Invergordon, Kirkwall and Lerwick were good and we were blessed with excellent weather. We toured independently and hired a car for the day in Lerwick through Bolts car hire who had car waiting on quay upon ships arrival at a reasonable price. The age range on board was varied and yes there were some people who had mobility issues and how nice it was that they too could enjoy a lovely holiday. I would definitely consider cruising on the Balmoral again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
AMAZING DISCOVERY . More then a Ten . Just back from our 2nd Norwegian Fjords cruise in 2 months on board the Marella Discovery. The first cruise was so enjoyable we booked the 2nd 2 days after we came back home and the 2nd ... Read More
AMAZING DISCOVERY . More then a Ten . Just back from our 2nd Norwegian Fjords cruise in 2 months on board the Marella Discovery. The first cruise was so enjoyable we booked the 2nd 2 days after we came back home and the 2nd week was even better and a lot of the staff remembered us as soon as they saw us which was so nice . We also learnt how to dance under the patient guidance of the fabulous professional dance couple ( Amy and Roland) The staff were fantastic from the cleaner to the Captain and all have the same work etchic of wanting you to have the best holiday and service they can give. So freindly but so profresisonal also . Anyone wanting to find fault would have to work hard it was SO EASY to have an amazing time. nothing is to much trouble,, we even heard hat on one of the recent cruise the bad weather had menat the had to replan the cruise itenery at the drop of the hat , how amazing service is that . Ok to give the break down of each aspect of what our cruise offered ENTERTAINMENT . Always something going on to watch or do . First class evening shows , good variety and the performers are so talented and put so much energy and enthusiasm into each peforrmance . They have two fantastc bands and also have Solo peformances by a magical saxophonist, guitarist and pianist also excellent and well rotated . There were also plays for adults and children,quizes, bingo , game shows and other activiies such as tours, tournaments movies and health talks. And not forgetting our favourite , daily dance lessons ‘passion for dance’ in the afternoon and also the evening althuogh on board with a lot of people you could find quiet areas for most of the daytime and therre are adult only areas . The evening does get more of a party atmophere but you do get the full range from classical music to pop and ballroom to disco . On sail out days they often had some musical event making the scenery of the Fjords even more awesome . one night they had a live musical duo (Braximusic ) ther singing was superb and made for a magical experience. All the enertament staff are visible and approcahable and are happy to engage with you FOOD and DRINK . All great quality and service . The restatarants (47 and 47 Gallery) was our favourite when we had the time and every meal was superb and service incredible . One one day the restaurant was supposed to be closed for lunch as was a port day but the weather was so wwt in the morning so not many people went to shore as expected so they opened it up , this showed to usthey go the extra mile by giving up what was a few hours off for the chefs/waiters. Island buffet had a great chioce and open most the daytime as with any ship the buffet does get busy. for snacks you can also go to the Snak shack and the Glass House .The all inclusive drinks litss is amazingly varied. even loads of mocktails if you prefer not to have alchol. The waiters are everywhere(even in the theatre) and very effecient at getting you order wthout you having to go to the bar . Before we cruised we were little anxious that an al inclusive meant a booze cruse mentality but all in all most people on the ship did;over indulge so the atmosphere was just 'happy' ROOMS AND HOSPITALITY. THe whole ship could not be cleaner and if there is a problem you report they fix it very promptly . Cabins vary in size depending on what you pay but the service is the same you know your cabin crew. beds are comfy and good storage space /plugs etc Tv is limited depending upon were you are so they show films etc EXCURSIONS. for the more poplular /limited spaces it is best to book before your cruise . but you do find they are sometimes more choice There is a destination desk open each day On the first day at sea they do a run down of all avavailble in the main theatre but ff you dont go the recording of it is shown on the onship tv channels . Each excursions we went on was on time ,had agreat local guide and was as desribed. Had good stops for photos.toilets etc Some ports you can just walk off find a tourist info and book your own activity if you prefer. One day we had to tender to shore and again very smooth operation and was running continuously from 9 - 5. It’s hard to find anything to be negative but if we were pushed to find anythig it would be the embarkation process could be better at the car park , if the weather is wet you would get very wet standing in a long queue to drop off your cases. Thsi may be the port rsther than marella as it is organised once you get to the terminal building as you get a numbered ticket and there are lots of seats and facilties whilst you wait . and most the boarding crew are from the cruise crew so yo get met them from the start. Wil definitely be looking at another cruise on this ship again in he near future Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Spent to whole days at sea before we arrived in Iceland. Always wanted to visit Iceland and more of Norway. Was not disappointed with any of it. Our cabin was really good and so clean. Thanks must go to our Cabin Boys, they were ... Read More
Spent to whole days at sea before we arrived in Iceland. Always wanted to visit Iceland and more of Norway. Was not disappointed with any of it. Our cabin was really good and so clean. Thanks must go to our Cabin Boys, they were superb and really friendly. Our cabin was checked twice every day and our bed turned down each night with 2 chocolates and our news letter for following day. Sometime they made an animal out of towels for us. 1st one was a Turtle, then a dog and an elephant. Last one was great, a money hanging on a coat hanger. Rally appreciated all they did for us. The corridors leading from the cabins to the bar areas was spotless. Even the decks were very clean and well kept. The bar waiters were great when you wanted a coffee/tea or any kind of drink and were always very curteous. Dining room 47 deg was excellent and thanks must go to Jade, Ann and Agnel who are excellent waiters and cannot do enough for you and they are such good fun even when we played a trick on them, they took it all in their stride. If you go on this cruise you must try to occupy tables 126 or thereabouts and you will meet them for yourselves. We would give them 12 out of 10 as expert waiters. The staff when booking in for a meal were also excellent if you wished to have a table for two you got one. If you were willing to share that was also okay with them and they couldn't be more helpful. From the Captain down all the staff were so friendly, helpful and pleasant to meet. The shows were excellent and the entertainers work so hard it is unbelievable and they are very energetic and have lovely singing voices. Would recommend that you take in a show or two. Last but not least from Captain Chris Dodds and his Officers and Reception and shop staff they were all excellent and Captain Chris I am glad to see did get up to dance on our last night at sea. Well done Chris and thank you and all of your staff for a wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I thought you may like some feedback on our recent cruise in June 2018 to the Midnight Sun on TUI new ship Marella Discovery. We have been cruising with Thompson’s (TUI) since 2004 and have booked in excess of ten cruise trips with ... Read More
I thought you may like some feedback on our recent cruise in June 2018 to the Midnight Sun on TUI new ship Marella Discovery. We have been cruising with Thompson’s (TUI) since 2004 and have booked in excess of ten cruise trips with TUI. This is our second cruise with TUI in 2018. The ship is beautiful, with excellent recreation facilities, entertainment and lounge and bar service. In general, the facilities, bar and lounge staff were excellent. The two main areas that we were not too pleased with was the supervision and service provided in the Gallery 47 Restaurant and Island Restaurant. Maitr'd seldom visible did not help out. We eventually moved away from these facilities of the Gallery 47 and Island Restaurants and used the excellent facilities and food at the Black Rock Grill, Glass House, which was well supervised by Mr Anthony Tapiador, the Head Waiter and his most pleasant staff. I would recommend this excellent facility for your meals. Look forward to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Major problem on this cruise. Hot water pipes in my cabin ceiling broke and doused my whole cabin in scalding water. It destroyed all the furniture and all my possessions. The water escapes into the corridor entering other cabins and ... Read More
Major problem on this cruise. Hot water pipes in my cabin ceiling broke and doused my whole cabin in scalding water. It destroyed all the furniture and all my possessions. The water escapes into the corridor entering other cabins and wetting the floors. Everyone was moved to new cabins. Wonderful. Then everyone compensated with £300. Wonderful. Unfortunately everything we had on the cruise was destroyed. ALL of our clothes suitcases and personal stuff. I’m told now, five weeks later that it is TUI company policy to give £300 compensation and nothing more. IT IS DISGRACEFUL that I receive the same as someone with wet shoes, when I have lost everything. Even our passports were destroyed. Unfortunately my insurance is insufficient to cover all that was lost and so I believe TUI should make up the difference at least? I have rated our experience below without taking into consideration the cabin disaster for Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We sailed on the Astor 30 years ago for our honeymoon, and she is now owned by CMV, we decided to choose this company for our anniversary cruise, as we haven't cruised since! I'm pleased to say we weren't disappointed, as ... Read More
We sailed on the Astor 30 years ago for our honeymoon, and she is now owned by CMV, we decided to choose this company for our anniversary cruise, as we haven't cruised since! I'm pleased to say we weren't disappointed, as every aspect of the holiday was first class. Embarkation at Port of Tyne was smooth and impressive, with no queueing or hold ups, and we were in our cabin in record time. Our cabin, 5079, was conveniently located just beside reception, and was perfect for our needs. It was an outside cabin with a picture window, plenty of room, and kept spotlessly clean. It also had plenty of storage space, and the bathroom was big enough too, with a nice hot shower. It was also quiet, we couldn't hear any engine noise, and slept well every night, in really comfortable beds. The staff on board were really friendly and helpful, and the ship was kept spotlessly clean. The food was delicious, with plenty of choice. We ate in the Kensington restaurant every evening, and got on very well with the others at our table; their company added to our enjoyment of our holiday. My husband is a vegetarian and was impressed with the range of food he was offered, and I was relieved that the portion sizes weren't too big, which was helpful when there are five courses to get through! I loved the ship itself, not being a fan of huge modern cruise ships with thousands of passengers; this was much more friendly. And you could always find space to sit, either on deck, or inside in a lounge or bar. The entertainment was good, apart from the comedian, and that is my only complaint. I was surprised at CMV employing this person, as I found him offensive, his material was racist and sexist. But all the other entertainers worked really hard and were very talented. The Norwegian Fjords were absolutely beautiful, and the weather was perfect, so we saw them at their best. We called at Eidfjord, Olden & Bergen, and did not book any tours through the cruise line, preferring to explore the ports independently. This worked very well, and it was possible to get a bus to the glacier from Olden, which was well worth doing, as there is not a lot to see in the village itself. I would recommend CMV to anyone, and can't wait to sail on the Magellan again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I don't usually write reviews for cruises but having travelled on the Magellan three times I feel the need to add some balance to all the negative reviews posted on this site. I've just come back from another great holiday, ... Read More
I don't usually write reviews for cruises but having travelled on the Magellan three times I feel the need to add some balance to all the negative reviews posted on this site. I've just come back from another great holiday, sailing from Newcastle to Norway for seven nights. The Magellan is an old ship and can never compete with the new-build state of the art ships run by Royal Caribbean etc, but what it does excell at is excellent service and value for money. We were in an inside cabin on deck four. "Isn't that down with the crew and the engines?" one ill-informed and rather stuck up fellow passenger asked me. It was a room for two, with plenty of space and a comfortable bed. I have a very sensitive sense of smell and despite what's been written here before, there was no smell of diesel or sewage. Nor were we stricken down by the killer air conditioning. The room was serviced twice a day and I slept well every night of the cruise. The low, mid-ship position of the cabin meant I didn't feel any motion when the ship was moving. The passenger decks are all clean and comfortable, with enough bars and sitting areas to move around across the day. The quality of food and drinks are where CMV really excels. I've done six previous cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and can honestly say that the food and wine selection onboard Magellan are far superior to those companies. We had all our meals in the ala carte restaurants to avoid the buffet scrum and I enjoyed every one. We also ate in the speciality restaurant Fusion, which was open two nights of the cruise, and this too was outstanding. We took out the VIP drinks package, which is far cheaper than packages on Royal Caribbean, with a much better wine selection (I think the quality of wine included in RC's packages really let them down). It also included a private cocktail party which was a nice opportunity to meet other people, and allowed 50% off the speciality restaurant. The service from all staff is excellent. Another area in which CMV scores over it's bigger competitors. There are always staff on hand to take drink orders, and if you do go to the bar to order for yourself, someone will bring the order to your seat. Even at very busy times, such as after the evening show, I never waited long to be served. I enjoyed the entertainment this cruise. No, it's not as expensively produced as on other lines, but the main theatre shows are all well performed by a talented team, headed by Cruise Director Jonathan Dulson. We weren't interested in the craft activities but there seemed to be something on every day for those who were. I did hear a lot of moaning from other passengers but it was all ridiculous stuff. "This porridge is made with milk, I wanted it with water." Someone else was very rude to a waiter when she didn't receive a plate of fruit with her breakfast , a plate of fruit she didn't order in the first place. People complained when they turned up at the ala carte restaurant and there was no buffet there. All absolute rubbish from people who should take responsibility for there own failings rather than moan. We met someone else so mean spirited that he'd worked out how much he thought the staff would make in gratuities, and then bragged how he'd stolen a pen from a waiter. I suspect all these people will delight in posting their negative reviews but don't believe it. As mentioned above this is my third time on Magellan and I loved it. Would we book again? We already have. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Embarked at Newcastle without problem, good direction to drop off area, very friendly and welcoming staff at every point. Straight through the check in and onto the ship within about 20 minutes. Excellent starting point for us up north, ... Read More
Embarked at Newcastle without problem, good direction to drop off area, very friendly and welcoming staff at every point. Straight through the check in and onto the ship within about 20 minutes. Excellent starting point for us up north, the main reason we booked this cruise as we travelled with parents in their 80's who find airports a challenge. The rest of the cruise exceeded expectations, cabin 856 on deck 1 was mid ship and next to a crew passageway meaning we only had neighbours on 2 sides, 4 berth cabin with the ability to create a double. No complaints about the room at all, good control of heat/cool and water pressure excellent. Slightly smaller due to crew doorway outside but more than enough storage space. Firm but very comfortable mattress. Previous reviews have referred to the Celebration as being tired, we didn’t note this at all. Compared to the Spirit it’s much more modern and updated, but it’s lost some of the classic character that Spirit retained. All public areas, toilets and restaurants were clean and looked updated. That said we soon felt at home on a wonderful ship particularly the Horizons Bar for the ambiance, service and views. The bar staff there were exceptionally friendly and attentive on every occasion, appreciated when you know how hard they work. Changes to the upper decks removing the sports nets and providing additional sun beds has reduced the pressure on sea days, we always found a bed without problem on sea or sunny back on board afternoons. Celebration is just the right size, plenty of space to be entertained or quiet. The walk around deck 6 is great, both for exercising and enjoying arrival and departure times. We found the food in the Lido and Meridian restaurants very good at every meal, the best out of 4 Thomson cruises. Food hot and varied, mainly British focussed but plenty of variety, salad and vegetable choices. We had the inclusive drinks package of the first time and enjoyed the freedom to sample the drinks menu, a small additional charge for some branded drinks but without choosing them the choice was still very good. Thomson offer an upgrade for £100 a week to be fully all inclusive but we didn’t think this was necessary, only paying a supplement on a few occasions. If you weren’t all inclusive you could purchase it onboard for £370 for the 13 days :-o ! Fosters was the included draft lager, not my favourite, with Heineken having a supplement. The only problem with the bar service was that they ran out of a couple of bottled options within a few days, poor planning from Thomsons and very frustrating if you had paid for the top up all-inclusive based on those drinks. The entertainment team in the show lounge and liberties were exceptional, the shows were again the best we’ve seen supported by excellent costumes and electronic set. All the ports we visited were excellent, the only small gripe was Dublin, pay 10 euro for shuttle into the city or wait for the free shuttle to the port gate, you couldn’t walk across the port. 30 minute + wait as the free shuttle that only seated 18 passengers and took around 10 minutes+ to do the loop. No problem on return journey and the walk into the city from drop off point along the Liffey was very good. Overall an excellent cruise, sailing into Malaga. Thomson remain our favourite for the reasons quoted by others, friendly staff, you know what you’ll pay for and excellent food / entertainment. Keep it up – and don’t lose the Celebration, a well-loved and perfect sized ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
For some reason I wasn't sure what to expect from this week. But we had a brilliant time. Both aged 48 we thought we would be the youngest but we certainly were not. Mixed ages. Cabin big and immaculate. Very quiet and peaceful. ... Read More
For some reason I wasn't sure what to expect from this week. But we had a brilliant time. Both aged 48 we thought we would be the youngest but we certainly were not. Mixed ages. Cabin big and immaculate. Very quiet and peaceful. Victoria our cabin maid was in and out our cabin making sure it was lovely. Food beautiful. Got the 17 pound all inclusive drinks package so sampled most cocktails. Entertainment ok. Comedian Bruce was excellent. Met some lovely people on ship. Staff not as friendly as thomson cruises but polite. Overall an excellent cruise and would do this cruise again. Norway was beautiful. Brilliant experience for all ages. Heard the odd whingers but I could not find one single fault. We paid 900 pound for the two of us and felt it was excellent value for money. Mr and mrs show very funny. Hygiene standards excellent. Hand wash gel pre dining. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We are retired,we holiday at least 6 times a year and at the Glasgow cruise show in 2016 we were taken in by this cruise as it was somewhere we had wanted to go for years it sailed from a port only 90 miles from our home and we had a free ... Read More
We are retired,we holiday at least 6 times a year and at the Glasgow cruise show in 2016 we were taken in by this cruise as it was somewhere we had wanted to go for years it sailed from a port only 90 miles from our home and we had a free few week, so why not!. Departure was a farse. Massive 'Q's' o get into the car park and no toilets. No bus to take us to the ship [it was only 100mts away but we were not allowed to walk so had to stand in the rain for twenty minutes]. When we finally got on the ship our luggage was waiting for us and the cabin 203 deck 6] was quite spacious, plenty of wardrobe space and two windows facing the front [sorry 'Prow'] pity they didn't leek like sieve]. first night crossing the north sea was a bit rough, force 9 gale as we crossed the north sea, but we are experiences cruisers so woke up and had a hearty breakfast in the 'Lido' restaurant. . Had lunch in the meridian restaurant nice staff and food I would compare to 'Witherspoon's, Ok but nothing exceptional and dinner was the same as were all the meals we had there except the 'Escargot' which would put most french restaurants to shame as was the 'Red Snapper', so they do have some exceptional chefs. The 'excursions Sales Pitch' was a wonder to behold. It was done like a 'QVC' questions & Answer session with the cruise director and other members of his team telling us why it we would be so much better to go on the organized tour rather than doing it yourself. First stop would be Flam and we could go on the official Thomason Carriages for £98 English commentary and that if we went ourselves it would be 150, What they did not tell you was the 150 was Norwegian currency [10.6 to £1] which was under £15 and that all carriages were the same and all got the english commentary. It was the same for all other excursions, over priced and over hyped. on night two after the storm had subsided I noticed a very distinct vibration in the cabin to the point that you could not drink a cup of tea without spilling it. Morning three I woke up thinking I had 'Parkinsons' as I had the shakes [and it was not due to drink, if only it was] it was due to the shake in the ship and as we found out it was worse when the ship was docked and the main engines shut down. I gave Thomsons the benefit of doubt that something had come loose or got damaged during the storm and that is what was causing the terrible vibration that went right through the whole of the front of the ship. I have since found out that this has been reported for over twenty years on this ship. During the cruise I got more & more tired because of sleep deprivation because of sleep deprivation as did others. Reporting the vibration got lots of engineers looking about our cabin, but no improvement. Entertainment: the comedian who was on two nights was great. The entertainment team I believe this was their first cruise and it showed, bit like a secondary school concert,a bad secondary school concert. During the cruise when docked the ship was told to turn the music and sound down because we were causing sound pollution as the entertainment director thought it appropriate to make the ship sound like an 18-30 Benidorm Hotel ans all of these beautiful tranquil & peaceful Norwegian towns should suffer his choice of 'Garage Music'. We were in a church service in Stavanger Cathedral and all you could here was the music coming off Thomson Celebration and I felt ashamed to be one of the passengers. Overall the main crew are fantastic and hard working, but they have the most arrogant European officers I have ever encountered in 40 years of cruising. he ship and it's sister ship have been reported for the vibration problem for at least 20 years but Thomson [now renamed TUI] have ignored it. IMO the Celebration should have been scrapped long ago. Not only does it give you the 'Shakes' the so called 'Deluxe cabins' the windows leek. Over the next 12 months I have 4 other cruises booked already, Luckily none with Thomsons. And have they replied to my complaints? Not a word or acknowledgment in any form. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise for two main reasons. The Newcastle port of departure and the itinerary. Fred Olsen documentation appears to indicate that port facilities at Newcastle are not as good as other ports. However, we found the arrangements ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two main reasons. The Newcastle port of departure and the itinerary. Fred Olsen documentation appears to indicate that port facilities at Newcastle are not as good as other ports. However, we found the arrangements to be pleasant and relaxed with a smooth embarkation, giving no cause for concern. Disembarkation was a little slow but our luggage was available for collection in the car park, which was helpful The cruise itinerary was very interesting taking us to areas that we had not visited before, and including some river sailing, down to Hamburg and also right down to Bremen. The shore excursions are a little expensive, but did include some good choices. There were also opportunities for some free time whilst the ship was in port. All ports were directly accessible by the ship, but the first visit at Kiel was especially impressive with airport style walkways direct to the ship. We have travelled on this ship before and generally enjoyed our experience. We are not a fan of very large cruise ships. We did feel on this cruise that the standard of restaurant service, whilst very good, had reduced very slightly. The "all-inclusive" drinks option was limited to "singles" this time, where previously "doubles" had been permitted. However, this did not cause us any difficulty. The cabin was the same category as our previous cruise, and again we were very satisfied. The cleaning was also good and reliable. There is an annoying feature in the Marquee Bar on the highest deck. The doors are automatic and cause an uncomfortable gale when the entrance onto the open deck and entrance from the inside of the ship are both open. As this tends to be used as a through route, this occurs frequently. Our overall experiences to date have encouraged us to book another short cruise from Newcastle on this ship for 2018. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We enjoyed a cruise on Fred Olsen last year and like the smaller ships. The staff and the ship are good BUT the food was so disappointing. Very small amounts in the evening in the dining room and nothing special at all.We had a meal ... Read More
We enjoyed a cruise on Fred Olsen last year and like the smaller ships. The staff and the ship are good BUT the food was so disappointing. Very small amounts in the evening in the dining room and nothing special at all.We had a meal one evening which was not unlike a frozen Findus dinner from years ago. A dry piece of pork covered in very burnt breadcrumbs and a few frozen diced carrots and peas and again frozen chips.Yuk, even the Head Waiter agreed it was rubbish. There was no sign of steak or lobster and having sailed with several other lines, these items usually make an appearance especially on a Gala night. The buffet between 11pm and midnight seemed to have more interesting and hot dishes and we went down there regularly for cheese and biscuits as we were hungry, (a first for us on any previous cruise) All in all not good value as we had paid over £4000 for 7 days!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Ports of call were great to visit with St Petersburg been the pick (overnight wasn't long enough). Did a private tour on day one with St Petersburg travel which was well worth the money visited Winter Palace/Hermitage, Church of ... Read More
Ports of call were great to visit with St Petersburg been the pick (overnight wasn't long enough). Did a private tour on day one with St Petersburg travel which was well worth the money visited Winter Palace/Hermitage, Church of spilled blood, Si Isaacs Cathedral as well as stop offs at other places of interest.Tallin and Wismar old towns were very picturesque. Gothenburg,Helsinki and Oslo were also very interesting. Ship is very dated and when we were on board the ship the Lido buffet restaurant was under restrictions because of stomach upsets this was only lifted for a couple of days and then had to be reintroduced. Announcements were made continuously regarding passengers sanitizsing hands but Thomson need to get this message over to their staff as well based on what I witnessed. Entertainment was very average (resident singers and dancers) comedians were good.Which was a major disappointment because on previous Thomson cruises it has been as good as if not better than other cruise lines. Cruise was poor value for money compared with higher rated cruise lines eg Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. . Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have been on Balmoral before, and we have been to Norway lots of times before - but who could ever tire of Norway? We chose the "Fred's Favourite Fjords" cruise because the departure port was from Newcastle, which is ... Read More
We have been on Balmoral before, and we have been to Norway lots of times before - but who could ever tire of Norway? We chose the "Fred's Favourite Fjords" cruise because the departure port was from Newcastle, which is very handy for us in Durham. Embarkation was straightforward and efficient, and we found ourselves on board by about 2.30pm. We had wanted to sit out on deck with a cold cocktail, but the grey and drizzly Newcastle weather made this impossible. It was, however, the only grey and drizzly weather we saw, because there wasn't a cloud in the sky once we reached the fjords. We were allocated cabin 4125, a spacious outside cabin with a large window and two single beds in an L-configuration. There was ample wardrobe and drawer space, tea and coffee making facilities, a flat screen TV and a small-but-adequate bathroom with a shower stall. Not the Ritz, but certainly enough to ensure we would have a comfortable cruise. I like the Balmoral (indeed, all the FO ships) because they actually look like ships and not like floating apartment blocks like some of the RCI monstrosities. Balmoral is the flagship of the FO line with 1350 passengers, and is just a nice size to ensure there is plenty to do on board without being overcrowded. We ate in the Ballindalloch restaurant on the 6.15pm sitting and the food was the high standard we have come to expect on Fred cruises. Service was quick and done with a smile. We were travelling on the all inclusive package and this is well worth the money if, like us, you enjoy a drink. Even premium brands and cocktails were half-price. Entertainment was very good; the Balmoral Show Company put on original, lively performances and the guest entertainers included a funny comedienne and an amusing comedy magician. I must also mention John Smithson, the resident entertainer in the Morning Light pub, who played the keyboard, guitar and violin (not all at the same time) and had everyone's feet tapping and hands clapping with his lively fiddle tunes each night. The cruise itself was fantastic. As I mentioned, the weather was perfect and the scenery, cruising along through the beautiful fjords, was stunning. Think of the Lake District but on a grander scale - all mountains, waterfalls, mirror-like water and glaciers; absolutely beautiful. We did an excursion in most of the ports and these were expensive (aren't they always?) but well organised, with the exception of Hellesylt, where the cruise director made the mistake of announcing that the gangway was open, leading to a massive bottleneck as 1350 passengers all tried to disembark at once, leading to our tour starting over an hour late. This was the only blip, however, and everything went to plan after that. Our only complaint on this week-long cruise was that it wasn't long enough! We could easily have managed another week. Everything was spot-on and I cannot understand the negative reviews I have read here - it's hard to believe those people were on the same cruise. We are looking forward to our next one, and would advise anyone who hasn't been to Norway to go there at once; if there is a Heaven, it must look how the Norwegian fjords look. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
First cruise ever, so we were a little apprehensive. But as the Magellan ship is a small/medium size it is a good choice for a first cruise. Embarking at Newcastle was great and very easy. The steward met us and showed us our free ... Read More
First cruise ever, so we were a little apprehensive. But as the Magellan ship is a small/medium size it is a good choice for a first cruise. Embarking at Newcastle was great and very easy. The steward met us and showed us our free upgrade room from the 4th deck to the 7th. We were surprised how big the cabin looked, and the bathroom & shower were bigger than we had hoped for.there was shampoo & shower gel dispenser in the shower and little bars of soap on the sink. The room had a big picture window was made the room very light and airy. Plenty of wardrobe space & the TV had bbc,itv etc. We didn't take the drinks package at £17 per person but plenty did and many said they had got there money's worth. But drinks are not expensive on board so we just paid as we went along. The food was a bit of hit & miss but overall the Raffles Bistro faired better than the restaurants for food. If you eat in the restaurants you get free coffe,tea & water. The shows on board were ok, although to be fair we didn't bother much with them. All the staff are just so lovely, nothing was too much trouble. You do pay £5 per day for tips which will be added to your bill at the end of the cruise. I read some reviews that said take your own water bottle, but there is a big sign on the water dispenser that tells you not to, so we didn't as it makes perfect sense health wise. Staff offer you antibacterial gel for your hands at every restaurant which again is a thing you must do to protect not only yourself but the other passengers. My disembarkation was a mess, as I hold a USA passport they make you walk to the bus them onto the terminal to go through immigration and as it was snowing very heavily I got soaked and had to return to the ship to disembark an hour later. No staff told me this otherwise I wouldn't have packed my jacket! Don't bother paying for the wifi, it's just rubbish and not worth the money as it ties so long to get onto it, even to just check emails is just so frustrating. If you want a leisurely cruise without all the nonsense of the big mega ships try this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Embarkation for the cruise to the Norwegian Fiords was most efficient and impressive. I regularly cruise and this was by far the quickest embarkation I've ever experienced. After this the cruise experience started to go down hill. ... Read More
Embarkation for the cruise to the Norwegian Fiords was most efficient and impressive. I regularly cruise and this was by far the quickest embarkation I've ever experienced. After this the cruise experience started to go down hill. Magellan is and old ship and cruises like an old tug boat. Cabin was very noisy and vibrated terribly. The vibration was also present in most of the lounges. Our cabin toilet failed to work twice during the voyage. Temperatures in the cabin were uncontrollable, ours ran unbearably hot, whilst other travellers complained of freezing to death in thier's. Toilet facilities are in the majority for the disabled, which meant long queues for both men and women as despite being large, they could only accommodate one person at a time. At other times there would be an "OUT OF USE" board placed outside the door. Staff training seemed to be on going. Simple instructions as to how to stack glasses and spot a table that needed clearing were constantly being given by senior staff who were not much better trained themselves! Getting a drink in the evening was an impossible task. You could sit for 20 minutes and still not be noticed by the bar staff. Eventually I would go to the bar to place the order to be met by chaotic scenes from behind the bar as inexperienced staff tried to remember what ingredients of each cocktail was! By the 4th day both my wife and I were confined to the cabin as we had both contracted the virus of severe sore throat and coughing which seemed to be on board the Magellan. It would seem from previous cruise reviews that this is an unwanted free of charge extra that comes with the ship! Drinks prices were reasonable if you could get served. Also you didn't want to drink too much as you then had the chore of finding a toilet that either was still in working order or didn't have a queue 20 persons deep outside it! Evening entertainment was average . Quiz shows were chaotically run but untrained staff and the cabaret in the evening was punctuated by very long gaps as the performers got changed or read the script for the next scene. I have cruised for many years and with many companies and this experience will be remembered as one of the less memorable. I am given to understand that the Magellan is going back into dry dock to have its Carnival Funnel removed. Might I also suggest that they remove their present senior management and replace both them and the rest of the crew with competent and professionally trained staff if they exist within this company? Read Less
Sail Date April 2015

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