Balmoral Cruise Ship Day Visit

Fred Olsen Cruise Line and the

Balmoral Cruise Ship

Our Day visit by Paul and Carole

The cruise industry is growing at an alarming rate and focus is mostly on what is new and exciting. Cruise ships are getting bigger and bigger, with zip wires, bumper cars, magic carpets and the lastest NCL ship coming out this year even has a Go Kart track!

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Waiting to board!

As we are now over the age of 50 (only just mind!) those things don’t really excite us any more but what does is a relaxing cruise on a stylish ship that provides comfortable surroundings, good entertainment and excellent dining opportunities.

We are experienced cruisers, as you can see from our cruising history and after cruising predominantly on the larger ships, are tastes are changing. In the last two years our favourite cruises have been on the smaller ships with Marella cruises. This got us thinking what else was out there and the reason why we wanted to see what Fred Olsen Cruise Lines had to offer.  We were invited on a day visit on the Balmoral Cruise  Ship and this is what we discovered.

*We were hosted for our day trip with Fred Olsen Cruise, however our opinions are a true reflection of our experience.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Sunset sail away in Southampton

The Balmoral Cruise Ship has abundant deck space with open sea views

This might sound strange as your probably thinking, well your on a cruise ship at sea what else can you see, however, outside space with a a sea view on some ships is difficult to find. This is not the case on the Balmoral Cruise Ship. There is nothing better than sitting on deck watching the world literally go by.

Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen cruise lines

Deck 7 Pool deck on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

The Aft Pool on deck 7 looked a really great place to catch some rays and enjoy a cocktail. The pool was a decent size with two jacuzzi’s which are raised for the perfect view.

There was also additional seating areas on the decks above and a promenade deck that extends all the way around deck 7.

Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen cruise lines

Deck 11 Sun Deck on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

Right at the top of the ship you will find the pool area on deck 11 which looked a fabulous place to hang out too.

Comfortable lounges with large windows on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

The Balmoral has a few of these and we loved the magnificent Marquee Observatory located on deck 11 at the very top which provides panoramic views.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Marquee Observatory Lounge

The Lido Bar overlooks the aft pool on Lounge Deck 7 and offers superb, unspoilt views from the stern of the ship.

Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen

Lido Bar

Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen

Lido Lounge

The Lido also had large windows too, and with talks, lectures and classes during the day, and live performances of stand-up comedy and music from the resident bands and singers this looks a great place to be, this was definitely somewhere we would spend our evenings.

Another venue that we were told was popular is the Morning Light Pub, and we do love a pub! A great spot to grab a pint or a pre dinner drink.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Morning Light Pub

Entertainment can also be found in the main theatre called the Neptune. A lounge with graduating seating so it appears wherever you are sat there is a good view. The stage can also be adapted and elevated, depending on the type of entertainment too.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

The Neptune Theatre

The Bookmark cafe looked another comfortable space to enjoy a coffee and a good book, with a comprehensive library and an excellent selection of chocolates on offer which certainly caught our attention.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer


Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Chocolates on offer in the Bookmark Cafe

All inclusive drinks package can be purchased from £15 a day on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

Now this is cheap, however, checking the small print £15 per day only applies for cruises of more than 4 days. If you cruise for 1-4 days or less it is £34 per day. Getting an all inclusive package can save you money but do check out the bar prices here and see if the all inclusive is for you.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

The Balmoral Cruise Ship

Unique Itineraries on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

Due to the size of the ships the Fred Olsen ships are able to access ports larger ships can’t which makes for really interesting and different itineraries. When we sadly had to get off after our visit the ship was heading down the river Seine to Honfleur and Rouen, and the following cruise was to Brazil and the Rio Carnival!

We are currently watching Danielle also known as Cruise Miss who is currently on a World cruise on the Black Watch, another Fred Olsen ship and we dream of doing this one day!

For UK cruisers there is also a variety of ports to choose from including Dover, Southampton, Liverpool, Newcastle and Rosyth

Loyal following of the the Balmoral Cruise Ship and Fred Olsen

Talking to Zhenya, the future cruise sales manager it became apparent that there are a high percentage of repeat guests. We sometimes wait until last minute to book our cruises, however, cruises on the Blamoral do get booked up and we found this out the hard way when we missed out on the the 3 night Cruise to Honfleur!

Traditional daily activities on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

We were told that at noon each day the Captain addresses the ship, this is something that we thought was a nice touch.

Daily quizzes, guest lecturers, bingo, afternoon tea and dance lessons also seem available. Must admit we have joined in the dance classes on previous cruises which has been great fun, though I don’t think we are quite ready for Strictly Come Dancing yet!

We know it’s not for everyone but do we enjoy this side of cruising.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Beautiful interior of the Balmoral Cruise Ship

WiFi Packages on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

There are different options that are reasonable compared to other cruise lines. The 120-minute package for £13.00, the unlimited 5-day package for £50.00, and the seven-day package is £63.00.

The diversity of the cabin configurations available on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

We were shown a variety of cabins and were very impressed with the decor and how spacious the majority were. We noticed there were many different shaped cabins so it is really worth doing your research to find the perfect layout that works for you.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Room 8027 Room Grade A Superior Ocean View

In an ideal world we would love to have a balcony on all of our cruises however in reality our budget does not always allow! We do like a bit of natural light so an ocean view does suit. We particularly liked this arrangement so that you could sit and drink your coffee with a view through the large picture window. In all of our previous ocean view cabins the bed has been under the window.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Cabin 6089 Main Deck Room Grade B Superior Ocean View

We cruise with our Dad’s sometimes and John uses a mobility scooter so it was interesting to see the accessible cabins and suites. Well equipped and ideal for individuals with mobility issues.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Wheelchair adapted balcony junior suite

We dream of the days when we will stay in a suite and on this visit is was so good to see the suites that were on offer. Our particular favourite was the Owners Suite, with two bathrooms, walk in wardrobe, seating and dining area it was pretty impressive. We love to dream….maybe one day!

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Dining Area

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Bedroom area

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Main Bathroom

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

The very large balcony!

Fine Dining on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

These are multiple dining options on board the Balmoral. The Ballindalloch, Spey and Avon main dining areas and the Palms Buffet restaurant.

Recent refurbishments include a Mediterranean rest, which is a new dining area at the back of the Palms Restaurant. The Grill (Steak and seafood) which is another completely newly purpose built restaurant but as a speciality restaurant does come with an extra charge.

We enjoyed a 3 course lunch in the Spey Restaurant, Prawns, Pheasant and a delicious sugar free chocolate pudding that did not taste sugar free at all, the whole meal was delicious!

Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen prawn starter


Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen Pheasant main course

Main Course

Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen sugar free pudding chocolate


Complimentary Room Service on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

There is a complimentary room service for breakfast and light snacks which is served between 10am and 10pm each day. Drinks are also available 24 hours a day.

Oceans Club Membership 

This is the loyalty programme for all the Fred Olsen Ships which is always good to see. You automatically start accumulating points from the first night you cruise. You can find more information here.

Health and Wellbeing on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

I can’t pretend we are health nuts because we are not, however, we are always interested in what the health spa has to offer. The Atlantis Spa has a well equipped gym with excellent views out of the front of the ship.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Gym on the Balmoral Cruise Ship

Normally the prices for treatments at sea can be extortionate, however, we were pleasantly surprised as the prices here were competitive with a foot and ankle massage starting at £25.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Balmoral Cruise Ship

Balmoral Cruise Ship Facts

The Balmoral Cruise Ship is the largest of the four cruise ships in the Fred Olsen Fleet. The other ships being the Black Watch, Boudicca, and the Braemar. The ship takes her name from the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family and there is a Scottish theme throughout.

With 710 well equipped cabins and suites, she can carry up to 1350 passengers and has a crew of 510.

The Balmoral Cruise Ship is just over 218 metres long and 28 metres wide, and with a tonnage of 43,537 grt can reach speeds of 18.5 knots.

Originally built in 1988 she has operated as the Crown Odyssey for Royal Cruise lines before she sailed as the Norwegian Crown for NCL. In 2007-2008 she was lengthened by 30 metres prior to entering service with Fred Olsen as the Balmoral Cruise Ship.

Balmoral cruise ship fred olsen cruise lines

Balmoral Cruise Ship

Our Verdict of Fred Olsen and the Balmoral Cruise Ship

We were shown around the ship by Rachael and Zhenya who were perfect hosts, very knowledgeable and a credit to the company. We so wanted to stay on this ship and cruise to Honfleur but alas our visit was over. We really enjoyed our day, the ship has a real classic British feel to it, and we particularly loved all the options of open space and unobstructed sea views. The standard of dining we experienced was excellent and we particularly loved that Fred Olsen offers traditional cruising without the gimmicks.

Fred Olsen is definitely geared for the older British cruising community, with the multiple port options in the UK, and the classic British feel, and as we fall into this demographic this suits us fine!

We have been very impressed with what Fred Olsen and what the Balmoral Cruise Ship has to offer and there is no doubt that we will be sailing with Fred Olsen in the future!

Have you sailed with Fred Olsen? Is there any other information that would be helpful? If so please comment below.

We have also put this video together regarding our visit so do have watch and please do subscribe to our You Tube Channel too!

Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

Sadly watching the Balmoral sailing away!

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Fred Olsen Cruise Line Balmoral ship southampton visit what do they have to offer

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About paulandcarole

Sharing our love of travel and cruising, hoping to inspire you along the way!
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28 Responses to Balmoral Cruise Ship Day Visit

  1. Sage says:

    I’ve only been on one cruise in my life, but holy cow those rooms look amazing and WAY more spacious than what I remember! Maybe I’ll have to give a cruise a second thought…

  2. This looks like a great cruise ship. The Balmoral sure holds the promise of some great and relaxing times.

  3. The Fred Olsen Cruise Line is new to me. I have cruised a few times and the Balmoral Cruise Ship looks fabulous with all those ocean views which is what I look for. Just seeing all these stunning photos and detailed information I will definitely check out what they have to offer. Great YouTube Videos of the Balmoral Cruise Ship. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  4. I seriously can’t believe HOW big these ships are getting and what you can do on them! Calling them a floating city is almost an understatement! I can imagine hoe different your itineraries are when your cruise ships are smaller and can get into other ports. #FeetDoTravel
    California Globetrotter recently posted…Melk AbbeyMy Profile

    • Some of the new ships are huge, so it was really good to explore an older smaller one! Your right the large ships are amazing but the smaller ships do tend to have more interesting itineraries.

  5. This definitely look like a big ship! I had never heard of the Fred Olsen company but we haven’t done a lot of cruising (mostly Cunard and HAL). It is a shame you only went on for a day trip, are you planning a longer cruise in the near future on this ship?
    Jessica Norah recently posted…Guide to Attending the Bristol Balloon FiestaMy Profile

    • In comparison to some it is quite small with only approx 1300 passengers. Fred Olsen caters mostly for the British cruising community which is why you may not of heard of them, however they sail worldwide. We were invited for a complimentary visit just for the day, but would love to cruise on her. Unfortunately, the dates we can do she is sailing out of Scotland which is the other side of the country from us. We are looking at another Fred Olsen ship called the Braemar which will be sailing out of Southampton this year. Thanks for reading.

  6. Ruth says:

    I would love to have the opportunity to check a cruise ship like this. I was once invited to an event on a cruise but the activity was canceled because of some logistic error. Bummer! I like how spacious some rooms on the cruise are. I can see the industry is moving in the direction of having rooms that resemble hotels (and that is good). If there is one thing I really like about cruises is the food. What you tried looks fantastic! I enjoy sitting down in the dining room and being served the different courses. #feetdotravel

  7. Shona says:

    This looks like a fantastic ship. A great size and the floor plans of the cabins you showed do look spacious. I’m seriously impressed by the prices for the wi-fi and booze packages though. Even GBP34 per day for the under 4-day trips seems reasonable to me. I’ll be keeping my eye out for suitable Fred Olsen Cruises in the future. Thanks for the info! 🙂

    • We were very impressed with the size of the cabins and the variety of layouts. Compared to other lines their WiFI and drinks are very reasonable another reason why we would choose Fred. Thanks for reading!

  8. Anisa says:

    I love cruising but it has been awhile since I have done one. I have only been on big ships so would be nice to try a smaller one like this that still has a lot of activities and dining options. I wish they had a port closer to me and the wifi was not so expensive! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Anisa recently posted…Inside Holyrood Palace: The Queen’s Official Residence in EdinburghMy Profile

    • We have done a couple of smaller ships now and really enjoyed them, they don’t have all the gimmicks of the newer ships but as we are getting older thats not so important to us anymore. WiFi is always expensive on ships we dream for the day that it is not. Maybe Harwich would be the closest to you now in the UK?

  9. sara says:

    That sunset photo looks surreal! At first I thought it was a line of fire. I love that there’s plenty of space to watch the skies and the sea. I am surprised that isn’t easier to do on cruise ships, actually. We’ve never cruised anywhere, so I just expected it would be easy to find a sea and sky view. 😉 That suite looks lovely – and the standard rooms don’t look too terribly small. I would think I would want one with a balcony though. Thanks for sharing all these helpful details to consider when evaluating a cruise! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  10. Vicky says:

    It blows my mind just how insanely big cruise ships can be! I definitely think I would prefer to be on a smaller boat like this!

    Thank you for sharing on this weeks #FeetdoTravel #TheWeeklyPostcard

  11. Anda says:

    I am not a great fan of cruise ships, but I have to admit that Balmoral Cruise Ship looks stunning. And it seems huge too, which I like. Very luxurious amenities. I remember the first time I went on a cruise, it took me 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other. This was what impressed me the most, believe it or not. It felt like I was in a floating town. Beautiful pictures! #TheWeeklyPostcard


  13. We’ve never sailed with Fred Thompson, but hear really good things. So much so that we’ve considered tacking a cruise onto a UK visit. You guys have us even more sold on the idea now! Balmoral looks like a great ship, and that is about the nicest ship-board bathroom we’ve ever seen! 🙂 Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard, too.
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    • That would be a great addition to your visit. There are plenty of options from not only from Southampton but other UK ports depending on where you will be visiting. Thanks for reading!

  14. Shikha Singh says:

    The luxury at its best. The cruise definitely worth for a trip. Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog, Paula

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