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Cruise Ratings
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. ... Read More
Chose this cruise so that I would miss the February UK weather. The ports of call were few and varied, however the european stops were very short and I felt were more for the benefit of the ship (eg bunkering) than for the passengers. The food was okay (safe/boring) but the main dining room tried to mix buffet service with (if you were lucky) a menu service. The staff work hard but appear to be too few - there were many times that I was offered ground pepper or sauces when I'd practically finished my meal, and cheese would arrive long before the biscuits to put it on. The public rooms/bars are more like corridors and none of the seating is very comfortable. The entertainment was good, especially some of the guest entertainers, however the lack of a stage meant that you could not see the feet of the tap dancer. My cabin was perfectly okay and just as described (although I did wonder how some of the many larger guests managed in the small single beds). It is what it is ... a cruise for "old" people - not necessarily judged by years but by attitudes and the type of social activities offered. The saving graces were the few good films on offer in the cinema, some of the speakers, especially James Fraser who gave talks on photography and using your camera (and phone camera!) and the staff themselves who were generally very happy and friendly. For my next cruise i will hopefully return to Celebrity Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We flew to Singapore and spent the next 35 days sailing back to Southampton. This was to be a cruise of a life time combined with our honeymoon. This was my 6th cruise and my husbands 3rd so we knew the ropes , more or less. The 1st ... Read More
We flew to Singapore and spent the next 35 days sailing back to Southampton. This was to be a cruise of a life time combined with our honeymoon. This was my 6th cruise and my husbands 3rd so we knew the ropes , more or less. The 1st week was fine, nice However later on we went on excursions tho even then there were disappointments. WE were taken to a museum in Thailand that was empty apart from a few photos on the walls, WHY? then we went on to a fishing village and were treated to some allegedly authentic native dancing. This was just a line of women swaying to some caterwalling singing, and wearing clothes they must have bought recently in a local market. Later on this tour we were taken to magnificant temples so that made up for the shortcomings. WE had noticed a lot of coughing all round the ship, people referred to this as The Balmoral cough". My husband contracted this in our second week, and I got it 2 days later. It was a nasty cough, sore throats and flu like symptoms, which made us feel really ill. WE saw the Doctor after 7 to 10 days as we were no better. WE were given antibiotics and pills, which worked for me, but not my husband. He had to go back to the Doc and get more medication (which didn't work either). All had to be paid for of course. Captain and crew were only concerned about the norovirus, not at all worried by all the coughing etc going on. WE started to recover, but about a week later we had the bug again. THis was common amongst the passengers. However we did manage to enjoy some of the cruise. BUt we felt FRed Olsen was cutting costs everywhere. The food wasn't good. On a cruise that is the least you can expect! The entertainment wasn't up to much either. WE felt that the tours were expensive and most not really worth the money. For instance the visit to the Maldives was ridicuous. WE opted out of that, but other passengers said it was just a hike through a building site! To top everything off, on asking reception about booking a taxi home we were told, no they had no provision for bookings but there would be plenty of taxis. There were NOT. Hordes of fellow passengers trying to hire a taxi, with no luck at all. WE ended up walking to the railway station, lugging our cases, and getting a taxi at the station.This was about half an hours walk! So, now we will never cruise again, and certainly not with Fred Olsen. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
I boarded the balmoral on jan 4 in southampton as a solo traveller , going thru passport control and the embarkation was nice and easy well organized. I had a nice cabin ( my home for the next 4 months ) it was an inside cabin but no ... Read More
I boarded the balmoral on jan 4 in southampton as a solo traveller , going thru passport control and the embarkation was nice and easy well organized. I had a nice cabin ( my home for the next 4 months ) it was an inside cabin but no matter, my plan was to spend as much time around the ship doing things as possible. I chose to eat in the Psalms the self service restaurant, there was a great amount of different types of food for everyone. In the morning there fresh baked rolls and pastries were excellent. The entertainment was good and varied and lots of talks in the, you could learn to paint, sing in a choir, dance lessons, lots of games and a gym. I feel its a very happy well run ship all the staff on the ship are polite and well mannered and a pleasure to deal with at whatever level. For me all the service was first class. The one problem on this is the "Balmoral cough" from the day I arrived untill the day I left it was on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
I took the second sector of the "Balmoral" 2014 world cruise from Dubai to Hong Kong. The flight from London by Virgin Atlantic was very good and arrived on time. After speedy airport formalities we were swiftly transferred to ... Read More
I took the second sector of the "Balmoral" 2014 world cruise from Dubai to Hong Kong. The flight from London by Virgin Atlantic was very good and arrived on time. After speedy airport formalities we were swiftly transferred to the ship. As ever, "Balmoral" looked in good condition despite the battering it had received leaving the UK earlier that month. Despite being an older ship it is well maintained and very comfortable. I had a single cabin on deck 4 which was spacious with plenty of storage space and a picture window. The room was serviced twice daily to a very high standard. The cuisine was of a very high standard. I dined in the Spey restaurant on deck 10 which is relatively small. The service was very good. For breakfast and lunch I used all the ship's reaturants. The daytime entertainment followed the normal pattern. There were lectures, some very good. The classical concerts were first class. I found the promenade deck and swimming pools a great asset and used then daily. The evening cabarets were mixed. The "Balmoral" show company put on a few good shows and some on the other artists gave good performances. One or two were well past their sell-by date. The staff on Fred. Olsen ships are always cheerful, helpful and friendly. This was certainly the case on this cruise. The only small exception is the reception desk where pressure sometimes leads to a somewhat less than customer-friendly attitiude. The itinerary of this relatively short cruise was my main reason for booking. . Muscat in Oman was as charming as ever , Mumbai as chaotic but attractiveas always and Cochin a delight. The call in Sri Lanka was great. I took an overnight visit to Kandy and wasn't disappoined. The hotel was superb and the sights in and around the city were fascinating. Our next port of call was Yangon in Myanmar (formally Burma). As we were one of the first cruise ships to visit there we didn't know what to expect. We were delighted by the reception we received and the beauty of the place. I took an overnight tour to Manadalay. The flights to and from there were on time, comfortable and the airports spotless. The city was real joy and all I had anticipated and more. There was so much to see. The hotel was excellent. I just wishes we had more time there. Singapore was much the same as ever and becomes progressively more affluent and the years go by. There is much to see there. After lovely warm weather Hong Kong was much cooler. . However, the weather was good and I did a crash tour of the main places of interest. II flew home on Cathay Pacific who were very good but almost 13 hours is a very long flight. It was a most interesting and ejoyable cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single ... Read More
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single occupancy basis. It was clean, comfortable and had plenty of storage space. The air conditioning was flexible and effective. It had the additional bonus of a bath tub. The cabin stewardess kept the cabin spotlessly clean by servicing it twice daily. I found the food excellent throughout this long cruise. Normally I ate in the main restaurant but I had the occasional early breakfast in the Garden Cafe and the odd lunch at the Marquee Grill. The speciality evenings (Indian, Thai etc) in the Garden Cafe were most enjoyable. Wine prices remain very competitive. The daytime entertainment followed the normal cruise pattern. There were some very interesting talks by guest lecturers.The classical concerts were of a high standard. Evening cabarets were mixed, some good and some pretty poor but it is very much a personal taste. The occasional local shows brought on board at ports of call were most entertaining.Who could forget the belly dancer in Egypt? The ship's group of singers and dancers put on some lively and enjoyable performances. I booked several shore excursions prior to leaving home. Most of these proved very interesting, some were memorable. I have particularly fond memories of a day trip sailing on the Gambia River, the deserts of Namibia, Robben Island and the parks in RSA, the backwaters in Cochin India, Al Ain and the grand mosque in Abu Dhabi, Oman, the gorgeous beach in Aqaba Jordan, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and the visits to Ephesus in Turkey and Seville in Spain. The security arrangements on board to protect it when sailing through the dangerous waters close to Somalia were most impressive. Happily, there were no attacks by pirates. As usual the staff on board made the cruise as far as I was concerned. They are friendly, efficient and always cheerful. Whether it was in the restaurants, bars or or in the cabins the service was first class. I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
For this cruise to the Red Sea for Petra in Jordan ,we travelled to the NEC Cruise Show in October 2010.We were informed the ship was almost full and we were offered a total of 4 cabins to choose from.We thought we received a reasonable ... Read More
For this cruise to the Red Sea for Petra in Jordan ,we travelled to the NEC Cruise Show in October 2010.We were informed the ship was almost full and we were offered a total of 4 cabins to choose from.We thought we received a reasonable discount on brochure price until in February 2011 we were given an additional fuel charge ,this almost wiped out the discount from the cruise show. Seemingly there were many cancellations for this cruise presumably because of the unsettled situation in the middle east,therefore there became available many late deals.Yes i am aware that shipping Co's must try and fill available cabins as they don't wish to sail with empty space,i also know that cabins were sold for half the price we paid .This is not my main gripe but the additional fuel charge still rancour's ,i know for a fact that the late Booker's despite the reduced price for the cruise did not pay this additional fuel charge,and those who did were subsidising these half price travellers. CAN THIS BE RIGHT? That off my chest,This Cruise was Fantastic and everything we had expected There was some doubt as to whether we would be able to stop at the planned ports in Egypt.The Captain gave us updates as we sailed towards Alexandria,as after we had left the UK there was the COPTIC MASSACRE.However we were assured that the tours planned would be undertaken. Our tours were in ALEXANDRIA,CAIRO and GIZA,LUXOR and VALLEY of the KINGS,and from Sharm El Sheikh a Trip to ST CATHERINES MONASTERY.On all these coach tours we were accompanied by an Armed Plain Clothes Policeman,in Alexandria we had in addition Police Motorbike Outriders who preceded us and stopped traffic to let us pass.To Cairo [from PORT SAID]we went in convoy of 5 coaches with additional forces in jeeps interspersed between the coaches to the outskirts of the area ,however there were plenty of security present at Giza Pyramids and Cairo Museum,also at the Temples of Karnak ,Luxor and the Valley [FRom SAFAGA]. No we did not feel intimidated at all and felt that we were being taken care of under special circumstances existing [i have been to Egypt Twice Before].Lucky for us we managed to get to Petra in Jordan which was the main reason in booking this cruise and one to mark off "our to do list",and it was well worth our expectation. Read Less
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