1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Balmoral
First, I must mention a similar cruise reviewed by Alfie111 in May 2018. It appears Alfie111 was surprised that two whole days of the tour were spent at sea transiting to and from Norway. The itinerary in the Fred Olsen brochure clearly shows arrival and departure times at each port - depart Rosyth evening and arrive Norway following evening. Our cruise on the ms. ‘Balmoral’ was 7 nights from Newcastle to the Fjords departing on 22nd July 2018 and our first experience of cruising. First thing to mention is the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is a 30 year old ship, so if your preference is for a megaship carrying thousands of passengers then the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is not for you. We specifically chose Fred Olsen because their ships are small and have that classical ocean liner look. We were not disappointed even though the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is the largest ship in their fleet. The ship has style and ambiance to match. Indeed, when I saw the public rooms I immediately thought how nice they looked with superb furnishings and pictures of sailing ships. The food served was excellent quality. Our evening meals were booked in the Avon restaurant where service was a bit slow but generally, it did not matter. If the ship was sailing past beautiful scenery then we could skip the Avon restaurant and have a meal in the excellent Palms restaurant which served a buffet with good choices of food. Breakfast and lunch could be taken in any one of the restaurants. For the accommodation, we selected a balcony room on deck 8 (Lido deck). We had plenty of space for the two of us so a good choice. The only slight snag was that the hot water pressure was rather low. The air conditioning worked very well. The ship’s crew were always polite and very happy to chat and generally welcoming. We did not attend any of the shows so cannot comment on the entertainment. Shore excursions if one wished to participate, were well organised. For some reason the ships design meant that the fitness centre had the best forward facing view being directly above the bridge. Above the fitness centre was the Observatory lounge which was very pleasant but being set well aft, the forward view was marred by the top of the fitness centre. It would have been better had the ships designers swapped the two around and left a promenade area above the bridge so one could stand outside and better take in the forward view. As it is, the only open area looking forward is a walkway on deck 7. All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed being on the ms. ‘Balmoral’ for the food, service and experience of a classical cruise vessel. Should we decide upon another cruise then Fred Olsen would definitely be our choice.

First Cruising Experience

Balmoral Cruise Review by GeoffA

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
First, I must mention a similar cruise reviewed by Alfie111 in May 2018. It appears Alfie111 was surprised that two whole days of the tour were spent at sea transiting to and from Norway. The itinerary in the Fred Olsen brochure clearly shows arrival and departure times at each port - depart Rosyth evening and arrive Norway following evening.

Our cruise on the ms. ‘Balmoral’ was 7 nights from Newcastle to the Fjords departing on 22nd July 2018 and our first experience of cruising. First thing to mention is the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is a 30 year old ship, so if your preference is for a megaship carrying thousands of passengers then the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is not for you. We specifically chose Fred Olsen because their ships are small and have that classical ocean liner look. We were not disappointed even though the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is the largest ship in their fleet. The ship has style and ambiance to match. Indeed, when I saw the public rooms I immediately thought how nice they looked with superb furnishings and pictures of sailing ships.

The food served was excellent quality. Our evening meals were booked in the Avon restaurant where service was a bit slow but generally, it did not matter. If the ship was sailing past beautiful scenery then we could skip the Avon restaurant and have a meal in the excellent Palms restaurant which served a buffet with good choices of food. Breakfast and lunch could be taken in any one of the restaurants.

For the accommodation, we selected a balcony room on deck 8 (Lido deck). We had plenty of space for the two of us so a good choice. The only slight snag was that the hot water pressure was rather low. The air conditioning worked very well.

The ship’s crew were always polite and very happy to chat and generally welcoming.

We did not attend any of the shows so cannot comment on the entertainment. Shore excursions if one wished to participate, were well organised.

For some reason the ships design meant that the fitness centre had the best forward facing view being directly above the bridge. Above the fitness centre was the Observatory lounge which was very pleasant but being set well aft, the forward view was marred by the top of the fitness centre. It would have been better had the ships designers swapped the two around and left a promenade area above the bridge so one could stand outside and better take in the forward view. As it is, the only open area looking forward is a walkway on deck 7.

All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed being on the ms. ‘Balmoral’ for the food, service and experience of a classical cruise vessel. Should we decide upon another cruise then Fred Olsen would definitely be our choice.
GeoffA’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Balmoral price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews