BALMORAL Cruise Ship Review

review of Balmoral cruise ship
Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral cruise ship is the flagship of the fleet. Photo courtesy of Fred. Olsen Cruises.

The most recent addition to the Fred. Olsen fleet, Balmoral cruise ship takes her name from Balmoral Castle in Scotland, which serves as a summer residence to the Royal Family.

Built in 1988 and acquired from Norwegian Cruise Line in 2007, Balmoral underwent an extensive refurbishment before entering service with Fred. Olsen. This enhancement program saw Balmoral cut in half to allow for the insertion of a new, 99-foot long midsection, which increased her total length to 714 feet and brought her gross tonnage to 43,537 from 34,242.

The refurbishment converted an entire deck of ocean view staterooms to balconies, added a total of 186 passenger cabins, and extensively renovated public rooms and passenger spaces in order to better appeal to the British cruise market.

The result is a new ship almost indistinguishable from the vessel’s former incarnation as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Crown. As with her fleetmates, it’s easy to see the pride Fred. Olsen takes in their newest flagship. As with any large undertaking, there were some initial teething problems after the ship’s refit involving the ship’s electrical and toilet systems. Happily, these initial problems seem to have been rectified early on.

BALMORAL Cruise Ship Staterooms

Twenty-one Stateroom choices are offered and range from comfortable inside cabins to the spacious 430-square foot Premier Suites located high atop Deck 10. The Balmoral cruise ship also offers special inside, outside and balcony staterooms designed for the solo traveler. These “Single” accommodations are rare in the cruise industry, and make Balmoral a perfect ship for those looking to get away on their own.  Only Norwegian Epic and P&O’s Azura offer similar solo arrangements.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Balmoral cruise ship

BALMORAL Public Rooms

Balmoral cruise ship interior
The glittering two-story Atrium aboard Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral. Photo courtesy of Fred. Olsen Cruises

Taking a cue from her Scottish name, all public rooms aboard Balmoral are built around a Scottish theme. The Ballindalloch Restaurant on Main Deck, 6, is the largest formal dining area aboard, and is supplemented by the Spey and Avon Restaurants located on Highland Deck, 10.

Casual dining takes place in the Palms Café, along with the line’s first seagoing pub, the Morning Light. Balmoral also has two separate show lounges, a full gym, a library, two pools and four Jacuzzis, and several bars and lounges, including the panoramic Observatory Lounge on Marquee Deck, 11, which features commanding views of the sea from the ship’s highest vantage point.

Capable of carrying 1,350 guests on unique itineraries to the British Isles, the Canary Islands, Northern Europe, South America, and the line’s famous World Voyages, Balmoral is certain to have a voyage to fit every taste and budget.

Avid Cruisers Should Know!

  • Category B, D, and H staterooms on Balmoral can be booked on a male or female share basis.
  • Some staterooms are equipped with a bathtub; look for staterooms with a left-pointing triangle symbol on them on the deck plan.
  • Room service is offered between 10 am and 10 pm.
  • Balmoral is the only ship in the Fred. Olsen fleet that lacks sauna and steam rooms.

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