julie richards | December 18, 2015 | Fred Olsen Cruise Lines | Balmoral
We stayed overnight at the Hilton hotel in Maidstone and drove to the port the next day. the hotel was about half hour away from the port we pre booked parking for the duration of the cruise which was ?26. the car park was right next to the ship. Embarkation on our tickets stated check in at 12 pm and embark 12.30 pm this did not happen and check in began at 1 pm and we got on the ship at 2 pm while we was waiting for check -in there was one woman moaning (while eating a chocolate bar) she said I have to eat energy bars as I have ME and I can faint at any time then another man moaning about his stomach. I thought if these are of these sort of passengers on the cruise Fred Olsen staff need medals to put up with this!. The premier suite – we had a sitting room with sofas and chairs, French doors, a large veranda and a separate bedroom with large double bed and en-suite bathroom with bath and shower the suite also included an interactive television, DVD and CD player, mini-bar and/or refrigerator we also had a free bottle of champagne and fruit upon our arrival in the room however having this suite does not give you priority embarkation at the port. We opted for 2nd sitting on our cruise the restaurant we were allocated was the Avon restaurant which was smaller that the other main dining rooms but more intimate there was an alternative dining option called palms cafe This restaurant is self-service, but the standard is as good as in the main restaurants. This is a little less formal if you wish to just pop along whenever you feel hungry, rather than waiting for the set dining times restaurant is all buffet. Evening set meals in the main dining rooms – the food was very unusual un-like P&O where plain options for food are available. on the menu with Fred Olsen they are not so if you didn’t like what was on the menu it was tough! Also all meals are plated. On the second evening of our cruise this was a formal night we got a personal invitation to the captains table we also attended the captains cocktail party. Room service was available @ a charge of ?1.50 not a huge choice on the menu light snacks, small sandwiches, salads and soup. room service is not available on embarkation and disembarkation days. Jacuzzis on board were very warm and the midship pools were very inviting however the aft pool was a different story it wasn’t really heated and looked more like lake water than pool water it was a dark green colour! We were due to go to St peters port in Guernsey but we was advised by the port authorities that the swell of the sea was really high and as this is a tender port it was dangerous for the ship to dock, so the captain diverted us to Cherbourg in France. This was a nice little town as it was Sunday all shops were closed and you couldn’t have a drink in a restaurant without ordering food however only 10 minutes walk from the centre to the ship was it was a nice walk out and the weather was good. The spa on board seemed really nice although we didn’t try any of the treatments the prices seemed quite reasonable with prices for massages starting from ?22 pp. Overall my Fred Olsen cruise experience was a good one and I would travel on them again but only on the Balmoral as I don’t think I could cope with a ship smaller that this one!!!
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