Fred Olsen Cruise Lines invited us to tour their flagship Balmoral on 23rd August 2013. The visit had been in the pipeline for many months, and since then we had actually booked a short Fred Olsen cruise on Boudicca to Ireland departing 26th August.
This resulted in us visiting two Fred Olsen vessels in quick succession. This was very beneficial as it allowed us to get a taste of what Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is all about, before we cruised with them. It allowed us to experience Fred Olsen’s largest vessel, Balmoral as well as their smallest ship, Boudicca.
We boarded Balmoral on 23rd August at 11am, after some slight confusion over who was supposed to show us around, we were eventually introduced to Emma, the Future Cruise Sales Manager. The gangway lead straight into the 2 deck high atrium. Circled around the atrium were guest services, the shops and the future cruise sales desk.
We first headed up to Deck 11, where we viewed the Observatory – a large lounge area with panoramic vistas over the front of the ship and home to piano music in the evening. Located just behind the Observatory was the Marquee Bar. We ventured out to the pool area, where the sun finally came out!
Balmoral features two large pools on board. The main one is located on the Marquee Deck (Deck 11) along with 2 hot tubs. You can find the other pool on deck 7.
We then worked our way down the decks, viewing the different cabin categories. At this stage, we had already noticed how homely the ship felt. It truly felt like you had been invited into someones house! The staterooms were all modernly stylish.
After viewing all the different cabin grades, we ventured around the ship, viewing the main lounges on board.
We also checked out the gym as well as some of the other areas on board.
Of course, a cruise is not complete without the amazing food and excellent service. So to finish our tour around the ship, we viewed the dining options on board, before trying out some of the delicious food for ourselves in the Avon Restaurant!