Janice Kesper | June 15, 2015 | Fred Olsen Cruise Lines | Balmoral
We booked this cruise for our family to celebrate our Ruby Wedding. We upgraded to adjacent suites which we were very impressed with. The cabin size was good, plenty of storage, comfortable beds spacious bathroom, pleasing decor and very clean. The interconnecting balconies was also an advantage for us. We found the food and service excellent. The trip was called the Easter Chocolate Cruise and on Easter Sunday there was certainly no shortage of Easter Eggs both big and small. All members of the crew were friendly and courteous, nothing was too much trouble: one evening we noticed a problem with our toilet and despite it being quite late it was fixed within half an hour. The Balmoral is a smaller ship than we are used to but there was plenty of room both inside and on the decks. Entertainment was good and the resident group of youngsters certainly could sing…so well done to them. As I said this trip was booked for our Ruby Wedding and thanks to Fred we certainly celebrated in style. We were greeted in our cabin with a lovely floral display, we had a cake at dinner serenaded by the waiters, champagne and other gifts too. So unexpected and appreciated. Even the weather was sunny albeit just a few miles from a very wet England. Hygiene should be praised as there were many gel distributors around the ship, and you could not get into a restaurant without being a squirt by one of the crew. Clearly hygiene is important.
Unfortunately there are a few criticisms but mainly down to organisation. Firstly we were kept waiting quite a while before boarding which meant there were a lot of passengers without seats. Secondly we were a hour late arriving in Antwerp which had a knock on effect to many on trips, their later dining arrangements and evenings entertainment which included the captains cocktail party and the formal dress. Thirdly we were3/4 hours late arriving in Southampton(600 mile round trip! ) disembarkation was late which meant some missed their train connections and were told they would have to claim on their insurance. As the channel seemed calm and there were no winds it was difficult to understand the delay: but then I’m not the captain. Fourthly there was unnecessary confusion over where to collect car keys due to the ship changing the venue at the last moment. In fairness once disembarkation had begun the process was speedy and we had no problem in finding our cases. Finally I did ring Fred to check they realised there were three in our cabin and was rather dismissed. However when we arrived at the cabin there was only two of everything and I had to ring reception to request the addition glass, towels etc.
Overall though we had a brilliant time and cannot praise those on the ground floor highly enough. They do a great job to ensure we the passengers have a good experience. Grateful thanks to all involved. We have many happy memories to look back on.
There is one tip however and that is to say there are no English sockets so please take an adaptor with you
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