Fred’ s Olsen’s Balmoral Review

(Courtesy of Berthgmn)

By guest contributor, Gillian Walsh

We returned from a short cruise ex North Shields on Fred Olsen’s Balmoral on Sunday, a swift disembarkation at 07:50 with breakfast available from 6a.m. An early start, home in S. Yorks mid-morning.

Balmoral underwent some refurbishment late 2017 and I wish to report that, for me, the significant addition was a fridge in the cabin. This can be set up as a minibar, but is empty on arrival.

The bedding and linen is sparkling and generous and our bathroom had separate loo within, twin wh basins and shower, equipped with mobility aids as requested.

Size-wise, not a huge cabin but with adequate storage space and room for a desk/dressing table and easy chair. TV on wall.

All public spaces are attractive and well furnished. Staff and crew are universally pleasant and helpful. No formal night but we ate in the mdr and the food and service were excellent throughout the ship. The exterior smoking area aft Lido Bar was comfortable with cushioned chairs and wall heaters and staff quickly learn your cabin number and name. Both alcohol and coffees are available.

On boarding at 1:30, some hot food as well as afternoon tea was available so there was no long wait til 8:30 dinner.

All staff must be congratulated to turn round the ship in a few hours.

My only cavil is that shore tours get you back to the ship in time for lunch which severely limits the time at the sites visited. My motivation for going on this particular cruise was to see the Neolithic remains of Orkney and Shetland. The weather was, luckily, sunny and warm and I would have preferred twice the time allowed.

But, in common with many passengers, I have compromised mobility and can only commend all staff and crew who offer assistance where they see any need.

Still my favourite line and ship. Affordable and comfortable.

Gillian Walsh

September, 2018

Below is a slide show depicting what Balmoral looked like internally and externally in 2009: