My family and I have recently returned from a fantastic cruise with Fred Olsen on Balmoral.
We booked car parking with Fred Olsen in Newcastle. The car park was a 2-minute walk from the check-in area. Cases were taken from the car park to the ship by Fred Olsen staff and we carried our hand luggage. The car parking was a very simple process and not a bad price at £10.50 per night. Staff were all very friendly and helpful.
We upgraded to the premier suite which was huge compared to previous cabins we have stayed in. The décor is dated but the space made up for it. There was a bottle of champagne, fresh fruit, and canapés delivered each afternoon. Another nice touch was that the cabin had some binoculars, perfect when cruising the fjords. And some umbrellas, they must have seen the weather forecast!
Being able to experience the Norwegian Fjords was fantastic, it’s probably not something we would normally book but I’m glad we did. The scenery was stunning with excellent views. Some of the villages are very small villages and isolated which I was not expecting. The weather was a bit of a mix, the first day at sea was lovely, hot and sunny. The second day in Eidfjord was also hot and sunny until mid/late afternoon. Bergan was an absolute washout (I now have no need to question why there are so many waterfalls in Norway!). Flam was raining on and off and Olden was rain-free but overcast. We could feel the slight drop in temperature the further north we sailed. The sea day back home was bright and sunny but windy. Luckily, we got home to a bank holiday and 4 days of red-hot sunshine.
The quality of service on Balmoral was great and the staff were ever so friendly and very attentive. They remembered our names, what drinks we wanted to order, where we liked to sit for breakfast and lunch. There was a mix of good and enjoyable entertainment. A great variety of restaurants and choice of food within each, and reasonable prices at the bar. The one evening show that really got everyone excited was one that was put together by the ship’s staff. This included themed dancing and singing from their countries (the Philippines, Sri Lanka etc), I’d say it was a much better turn out than the British themed show the evening before. Excellent effort from the staff followed by some well-deserved respect and appreciation from the audience.
Great cruise with a beautiful itinerary and stunning scenery!