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Balmoral

5 of 5 Fred Olsen ships

Former Names: Norwegian Crown, Crown Odyssey. Balmoral is a handsome and well built ship that is spacious and has a good selection of fine public rooms. Now internally refurbished to bring her in line with Fred Olsen style , this ship offers an elegant and comfortable cruise experience. Balmoral passengers tend to be 50+ and mainly British. When all cabins have double occupancy, the ship provides a space ratio of 33.9 tons per passenger and a crew to passenger ratio of one for every 2.5 passengers. At full capacity the space ratio is 29.8 tons per passenger and the crew ratio is one to 2.9 passengers.

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11 Reviews

Traveller Rating

  • Excellent
    4
  • Very Good
    4
  • Good
    2
  • Average
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  • Poor
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Review Overview

  • Cleanliness
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Service
Cruising to happiness
2 years 3 months ago
From the moment we took our cases out of the car boot at Newcastle dockside, till the moment we picked them up again in the car park on our return, nothing could have been more organised. The cases were in our room when we got there and back in the car park before we had disembarked.

The service from everyone was excellent, our stewardess was delightful and most helpful, our room was kept spotlessly clean and well supplied with towels and tea and coffee making facilities. The restaurant staff couldn't have been more helpful and, with an allergy to certain foods, ensured that there were always a number of alternatives for me to select from. They were very smart, hardworking and dedicated to their task of ensuring that everything was to the passengers' satisfaction.

The staff in the drinking lounges were, in the main, on top of their game and very efficient. The entertainment (in various lounges simultaneously) was excellent and catered to all tastes. There wasn't any hassle checking in, as one can get at an airport, and for this reason alone my husband has agreed it has been one of the best and easiest holidays we have had.
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Travel operator: didn't use a tour operator, booked direct

Recommended
Udo Paul
Very nice ship but very poor cabin & cleaning
5 years 11 months ago
We booked a round the world trip on the Balmoral. The food and entertainment were good but it was spoilt by the standard of the cabin.

We lodged our complaint with the customer service manager on the ship and sent a link to customer.relations@fredolsen.co.uk but we have had no reply.

We would like to book again, we like the itineraries, but only if Fred Olsen Lines can assure us that cabin standards have been improved. From our experience the cabins need complete refurbishment.
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Highlands & Ireland
6 years 11 months ago
My wife & I booked a superior suite on the Balmoral as all other cabins were already booked due to Fred Olsen giving free upgrades to previous cruisers, the suite however was superb. Boarding was swift & hassle free & all staff were very friendly. The itinerary was great, well planned & even the weather was glorious but the use of tenders to transport to shore were tedious as some of the older folk had difficulty boarding same although the crew were extremely patient & helpful.The all inclusive drinks package did not include certain premium drinks which were included on other cruise lines. Having cruised previously with Thomson & Royal Caribbean we found the food left much to be desired & the service in the main restaurant was slow even though more than enough staff were present. The entertainment was ok but again nowt special but some guests seemed to enjoy it & many said they only cruised with Fred Olsen so they couldnt make a genuine comparison.
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Johndoe
10 years ago
the ship was spotless in every way they had a few cases of novovirus on board and the endless cleaning helped to keep it in check.
the food in the resturaunts was very good as normal,but the palms cafe food got to be very repetitive .
the ships staff (the vast majority)were once again fantastic there was the odd one or two waiters in the resturaunts who appeared to be lacking in their zeal to serve you (i wonder should i put this down to tiredness).
the day time entertainment staff were suberb,they organised darts/bowls/deck games/quizzes/bingo etc.,and made you feel really welcome(i had a awesome time),the night time entertainment was first class when done by the balmoral team (well done to them all).the rest imported were in my opinion were not so good but you get what you pay for i suppose...all in all we had a great value for money holiday and will cruise again on the balmoral.
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Travel operator: cruise deal .tui.

Recommended
4 Friends
10 years 4 months ago
We found the Balmoral very clean throughout. There was always a staff member with handwash as you entered the restaurants and every time you boarded the ship. Much appreciated with the present outbreak of swine flu etc.

The food we found to be good and varied. There was plenty to eat and the afternoon tea and cakes were delicious. We were amazed just how much some guests managed to eat.

The staff were always pleasant and willing to help if necessary. No complaints there.

We would travel on the Balmoral again as we found it friendly and reasonably priced. It is not all glitz and glamour but comfortable and value for money. We did not have good weather in Norway but it did not stop us enjoying the trip. Dont miss the show put on by the Crew - it was great.
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Travel operator: Victoria Travel

Recommended
K Green
10 years 8 months ago
ship was very clean apart from very black smuts on rear deck from engines in fact emmissions were a disgrace.the food a great deal of the time was very bland the pastas were very dry in fact the lunches were much better than evening dinner.the ships staff as usual with fred olsen ships were excellant.in fact for me they make the cruise.the entertainment was a bit repetative i have been on 3 world cruies with them and the same artists seem to come round.i would only sail on the ship again if it was a special deal.we had a cabin on the 2009 world cruise all the way round in the new section and the storage space was to put it bluntly pathetic,dressing table no drawers shower room only top round sink no cabinet second shelf put under sink after lisbon also cabin supplied with clothes rail to hang clothes so part blocked out window view also supplied two storage boxes two wendy house bedside cabinets.the plus side it was the quietest cabin i have ever been in on any cruise ship.the itinery was brilliant but the ship storage cabin wise is not suitable for world cruises. we were told when we booked 14 months previous the cabin storage could be limited and it would be sorted out,it seems the ship was built origianally for the american market and they do very little dressing up for dinner this was not up to the usual fred olsen standard and alot of his hard core regulars were not pleased bear in mind we had all travelled on the black watch before
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Travel operator: fred olsen

M. White
10 years 10 months ago
Boarded the ship at Dover on the 13th January. Itinerary, Maderia, Tenerife, Senegal, Cape Verde, Lanzarote, Lisbon. 18 nights.

After we boarded at Dover and found our cabin - which was an outside one much to our surprise, we went for something to eat in the Palms. What we found was stale sandwiches and cold cups of tea - not a very good begining. We were used to other ships where you could get a hot meal wheneve suited.
Being used to open dining we opted to eat all of our meals in the Palms instead of the set dining rooms.
The breakfasts were very good, lunches and dinners OK if you liked everything with sauces. But we never went without a decent meal, especially good was the ice cream for deserts.
Our problems started the second night on board, I came down with the Norovirus and we both had to be isolated in our cabins. The food from room service was terrible. I had two days eating bread rolls and sometimes a banana. All of the other food they had to offer was either spicey or contained wine sauces. Not what you want when you have a bad tummy etc.
Mike came down with the virus just as I was ready to leave the cabin, so we had another two days looking at four walls, and no clean bed linen. So we missed seeing Tenerife and Maderia.

The rest of the cruise was OK, but we didn't feel well enough to enjoy what was on offer. Lots of the activities were stopped, trying to keep the virus at bay. The only thing they offered in compensation on the boat was free drinks before dinner, which we didn't dare have.

The arrangements in the Palms Cafe was not good. Set meal times do not agre with me, rushing to finish before they take everything away. Not Good.

Some of the crew were great, but they had sailed with Fred. before. The newer ones hopeless.

The entertainment was good in most respects.

Like us, most of the passengers were in the retired age group. and I would not like to cruise with lots of the older end again. I found the men did not like to queue, and would push in whenever they could to get their meals. The queueing bit was due to the restrictions with the Norovirus.

It wasn't the best cruise we have been on, much preferred Ocean Village and Island. We are now waiting to see what compensation we get for being confined to cabin, with nothing much to eat.

We were not allowed to dock in the Cape Verde Islands beacause of the virus.
I think the ship was thoroughly cleaned before the next cruise, which was the world one, but it still had the virus on board for another week at least.
Lets hope this is the last the Balmoral hears of Norovirus.

Good Luck to her.


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Travel operator: Fred. Olsen

Recommended
11 years 3 months ago
We are just back from a lovely two weeks to the North Cape on this very friendly ship.

A small childrens club run due to school holidays gave our youngest 6 hours of fun a day and was felxible so our older child could choose to stay with us if she preferred.

The food was varied and of good quality and the service excellent.

The cabin was fine for us as a family for two weeks and the sea view appreciated but not essential in my view. It was very well kept by our stewardess.

The entertainment included a variety of acts from magic, comedy and singing and danicng. There was always somewhere to go if the show of the night didn't suit your taste.

The Gala Buffet on Farewell night looked beautiful but it was such chaos with spiky elbows at the photography opportunity we decided that to go for the actual eating of it would probably be like entering an Olympic Boxing Ring, so chose not too.

Bar drinks were good value with pints at about £2.55, wine from £11.75, cocktails £3-£4. No added service charge either even though all drinks were served to the table.
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Travel operator: Fred Olsen booked through Gills

Recommended
Moira Findlay
11 years 3 months ago
I booked this cruise as a surprise for my husband's birthday which was on the middle day of a three night cruise. Arrival at Dover was very efficient, plenty of porters available for luggage and to push my husband in his wheelchair. I had booked one of the new adapted cabins and have to say this was the best adapted cabin we have had so far during our cruising holidays - we have been with Ocean Village and Cunard. We found the day-time activities a bit quiet as it was assumed that most people would be going on shore. We were unable to do this at one of the ports but managed to amuse ourselves and relaxed reading books which we had brought with us. The stewardess was excellent and the waiting staff in the restuarant were very good - singing happy birthday on the appropriate day! We prefer open dining to two sittings, but this is just a personal preference and there was no complaints about the food, quality and quantity. Would be more than happy to travel on this ship again.
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Travel operator: Fred Olsen - Balmoral

Recommended
Paul Eckersall
11 years 5 months ago
This was our first cruise and have to say that we were very impressed with everything about the cruise. The food was first class and the service excellent. The ship is a medium size vessel but was comfortable and certainly large enough for me. The enetrtainment was good with a magician and Billy Zany who was very funny without being offensive. well recommended.
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Travel operator: Fred Olsen

Recommended

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