Fred Olsen Balmoral accidents and incidents

Fred Olsen Balmoral cruise ship

Former names
Crown Odyssey

Length (LOA)
218 m / 715 ft

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CruiseMapper's Fred Olsen Balmoral cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 1420-passenger vessel owned by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. Our Fred Olsen Balmoral accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • redesigned/stretched by Blohm+Voss (Hamburg, Germany) in 2007
  • propulsion/power loss - 2003, 2008, 2011, 2022
  • ship listing - 2009
  • deaths - overboard (2010, 2011), 2013, 2017 (snorkeling in Barbados)
  • injuries/crimes - 2009 (rough seas)
  • medevacs - 2013, 2018
  • special events - 2012 (RMS Titanic sinking - "100th Anniversary" cruise Southampton to New York)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew)- 2004 (total 151 / 17), 2005 (60 / 4), 2007 (51 / 2), 2009 (total 330+), 2010 (total 650+), 2012 (50+ pax), 2015 (total 650+), 2016 (252 / 8)

During its service history, the vessel was operated under the names Crown Odyssey (1988-1996, constructed for Royal Cruise Line), Norwegian Crown (1996-2000, and 2003-2007, bought and operated by NCL Norwegian Cruise Line), again as originally named Crown Odyssey (2000-2003, while was transferred to Orient Lines / acquired in 2003 by NCL Norwegian) and MS Balmoral (since 2007 - owned by  Balmoral Cruise Ltd, chartered to Fred Olsen).

24 August 2022Propulsion / Power Loss

On August 24, 2022, the ship suffered a propulsion system malfunction (a propeller issue) and the current voyage was canceled. Due to the needed drydocking for repairs (in Newcastle upon Tyne's Swan Hunter NE Ltd) Fred Olsen had to cancel the next voyage from Rosyth (departure Aug 29).

The accident occurred during the 10-day "Discovering castles, palaces and cultural landmarks of Northern Europe" itinerary/roundtrip from Rosyth) with call ports in Denmark (Fredericia), Lithuania (Klaipeda), Poland (Gdynia-Gdansk/Aug 24th), Germany (Sassnitz, Rugen Island), and Copenhagen.

The next scheduled and canceled cruise (11-day itinerary "French Rivers with Bordeaux"/Rosyth roundtrip) had planned visits to Lorient, Bordeaux, Rouen, and Honfleur. The ship restarted operations on Sept 11 (12-day "UK Scenic Isles Celtic Cities" itinerary from Rosyth).

05 January 2019Coast Guard Medevacs

On January 5, 2019, at ~5:30 pm, a 73-year-old female passenger (suffering a dislocated shoulder) was medevaced from the ship navigating in the Solent Strait. The elderly woman was offloaded to a UK Coastguard vessel dispatched from RNLI Bembridge Lifeboat Station in Bembridge (Isle of Wight). The lifeboat transported the woman to Portsmouth (England) where she was met by an ambulance.

The incident occurred at the beginning of the 14-day Canary Islands and Madeira cruise (itinerary Jan 5-19) roundtrip from homeport Southampton to Lisbon, Funchal (Madeira Island), the Canaries (Santa Cruz de la Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Gran Tarajal) and La Coruna.

11 November 2017Crew / Passenger Deaths

On November 11, 2017, a 79-year-old male passenger (of British origin) died while snorkeling in Barbados. The accident occurred ~2:45 pm at Mount Standfast (parish St James). The elderly man was found semi-conscious in the water, floating face down. After CPR was performed, he was transported by an ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where was pronounced dead on arrival.

May 2016Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

April-May 2016, during the Transatlantic cruise to USA and Canada from Southampton (roundtrip itinerary April 16 – May 20), CDC reported a truly epidemic Norovirus outbreak affecting a total of 252 passengers (out of 919, or 27,4%) and 8 crew (out of 520, or 1,5%).

The ship was boarded by CDC inspectors upon arrival in port Baltimore MD (Apr 30 – May 1) for health assessment and evaluation. Before Baltimore, the vessel visited Azores, Bermuda, Norfolk VA. After Baltimore followed New York, Newport, Boston, Portland, ports in New England (Saint John, Halifax, St Johns) and Ireland (Cork). Due to the epidemic proportion of the illness outbreak, the ship was denied docking in port Hamilton (Bermuda).

(Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.)

10 January 2016Structural and Technical Issues

On January 10, 2016, the vessel was docked in call port Funchal (Madeira) when during a scheduled safety drill one of its tender boats malfunctioned. The incident occurred when the boat was being lowered (the lowering winches couldn’t synchronize). No injuries were reported.

June 2015Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In June 2015, due to a Norovirus outbreak, Fred Olsen Cruise Line canceled its scheduled 3-day mini cruise (itinerary June 20-23) to Belgium and France. It affected over 100 passengers during the 11-day “Scandinavian Discovery” (Baltic itinerary from Southampton, June 9-20). All booked passengers were offered transfers to later scheduled cruises or optional full refund, plus 25% future Fred Olsen cruise booking discount.

May 2015Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In May 2015, major UK news media reported an epidemic Norovirus outbreak affected nearly 1/4 of all passengers and crew (some 250 people out of 1100). The incident occurred on 8-day Norway Fjords cruise (itinerary May 3-10) roundtrip from homeport Southampton UK. The itinerary was shortened from 8 to 7 days. The ship returned to Southampton 24 hours early for extensive cleaning.

As compensation, each of the passengers received partial refund (for the lost day) plus 50% future Fred Olsen cruise booking discount (Norwegian Fjords itinerary). The company had a virus sample tested. It turned out negative for Norovirus.

Fred Olsen Balmoral passengers were struck by another Norovirus illness outbreak in May – on the next scheduled 13-day Azores and Madeira cruise (itinerary May 11-24) from Southampton. The exact number of sick was not revealed. Unofficially, at least 300 (out of all 1100) passengers contracted the virus.

21 December 2013Crew / Passenger Deaths

On December 21, 2013, a 73-year-old male passenger died on the ship. The man (Garth O’Donnell, of British origin) was found by the hotel manager at ~10 am. The elderly man was bleeding and lying unconscious in front of a stairwell (head on the floor, legs on the stairs). During that time, the ship was in rough seas. The accident occurred on Madeira and Canary Islands "Christmas Cruise" from homeport Southampton England.

27 July 2013Coast Guard Medevacs

On July 27, 2013, an 85-year-old female passenger (in a “life-threatening condition”) was medevaced by a Royal Air Force helicopter. The woman (of British origin) was transferred to Norfolk and transported by an ambulance to Norwich University Hospital.

The incident occurred at the beginning of Southampton to Norway voyage, while the ship was in the English Channel.

April 2012Other Incidents

In April 2012, being chartered privately (Miles Morgan Travel company as charterer), the ship followed the original RMS Titanic’s itinerary route stopping and staying overnight at the exact sinking location. This was the 100th Anniversary cruise memorating the Titanic ship’s sinking in 1912.

MV Balmoral departed from Southampton England on April 8. The itinerary included Cherbourg (France) and stopping in Cobh (Ireland) on April 9. The Fred Olsen’s largest cruise ship Balmoral reached the Titanic wreckage site at 11 pm (April 14). The held on board memorial service ended with casting overboard of 3 floral wreaths. The ship stayed overnight at the Titanic’s sinking location and departed the following morning en-route to New York City.

March 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In March 2012, while the ship was operating in South America, a Santos (Brazil) news media reported a Norovirus outbreak affecting around 50 passengers and crew. The sick suffered from flu symptoms and diarrhea.

17 November 2011Propulsion / Power Loss

On November 17, 2011, the vessel’s departure from call port Hamburg Germany was delayed by ~6 hours due to a main engine problem. The engine’s oil pump malfunctioned and required new bearing (later delivered and installed). The incident caused itinerary change (call port Amsterdam Holland was dropped) and late arrival in call port Antwerp Belgium.

11 September 2011Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On September 11, 2011, an elderly male passenger jumped overboard committing suicide. The incident occurred while the ship was in the North Sea (east of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England UK) and returning from 8-day Norwegian Fjords cruise. The Southampton disembarkation (on Sept 14) was delayed by ~3 hours due to the police investigation. The man (of British origin) was traveling alone. He was last seen in the evening on Sept 11 after the ship left call port Stavanger Norway. The missing person report was filed on the following morning when a cabin stewardess found a suicide note in his stateroom.

11 October 2010Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On October 11, 2010, a 79-year-old male passenger was presumed fell overboard. The man (of British origin) was reported missing while the ship was approx 45 ml / 70 km south of The Lizard Peninsula (West Cornwall, England UK). The search and rescue operation was conducted by the UK and French coast guard assets (including helicopters) and 2 warships but failed to find the body.

February 2010Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In January-February 2010, during the "Christmas and New Year Cruise" from Dover, an epidemic Norovirus outbreak affected a total of 348 passengers and crew. The ship underwent a thorough cleaning and disinfection before the next scheduled departure on a 106-day Around The World cruise roundtrip from the UK.

During that World Cruise 2010, CDC officially reported an epidemic Norovirus outbreak infecting a total of 293 passengers (out of 1163, or 25,2%) and 17 crew (out of 519, or 3,3%). The number of sick was reported when the ship was in USA waters (Jan 5 to Feb 4).

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

September 2009Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In September 2009, while operating on a British Isles cruise itinerary, a Norovirus outbreak affected 97 passengers (out of 1280, or 7,6% of all) and 2 crew (out of 516, or 0,4% of all). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (headache, vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. On Sept 14, the ship arrived a day early in homeport Dover UK to undergo deep cleaning before the next scheduled 12-day Baltic cruise.

February 2009Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

January-February 2009, several UK news media reported a major Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) affected 227 passengers (out of 1846, or 12,3% of all). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps) and more than 50 of them were quarantined to their cabins.

The illness incident occurred during 18-day Africa and Canary Islands cruise (itinerary Jan 27 - Feb 14) roundtrip from homeport Dover England. Due to the outbreak, the cruise ship was refused entry to Cape Verde Islands (part of the scheduled itinerary). Fred Olsen compensated all confined to their cabins passengers at the daily rate.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

20 January 2009Ship Listing

On January 20, 2009, while navigating in Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean), the vessel experienced heavy listing in rough sea conditions with rouge waves (up to 50 ft / 15 m) and gale-force winds (up to 60 mph / 100 kph). The ship reported 2 passengers suffering broken bones. Both were disembarked and hospitalized in call port La Coruna (Spain).

20 January 2009Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On January 20, 2009, two passengers were hospitalized with bone fractures sustained during the rough seas incident (ship listing). Both passengers were disembarked in La Coruna (Spain), part of the current cruise itinerary (January 17-27) roundtrip from Dover England.

16 September 2008Propulsion / Power Loss

On September 16, 2008, due to propulsion system related technical concerns, the shipowner Fred Olsen changed the Sept 18 itinerary’s departure port from Dover to Southampton (roundtrip).

28 January 2008Structural and Technical Issues

On January 28, 2008, due to technical issues, the scheduled January 30 "Inaugural Cruise" was canceled.

October 2007Other Incidents

In November-October 2007, MV Balmoral (under Fred Olsen’s ownership) was stretched by inserting a 99 ft / 30 m long prefabricated middle-section. The refit resulted in an increased gross tonnage (from 34,242 to 43,537) and passenger capacity (from 1230 to 1780).

During the ship’s stretching (reconstruction was done in Germany, Blohm+Voss’s shipyard) were built new cruise cabins (186, including 60 balconies), restaurants, bars, and lounges. The list of other stretched (elongated) cruise ships includes the fleet mates Black Watch, Boudicca and Braemar, also the MSC ships Armonia, Lirica, Opera, the Phoenix Reisen's Albatros and the Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of The Seas.

August 2007Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(MS Norwegian Crown) In August 2007, CDC reported on itinerary Aug 12 to 19, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 51 passengers (out of 1246, or 4,1%) and 2 crew (out of 534, or 0,4%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins.

March 2005Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(MS Norwegian Crown) In March 2005, CDC reported on itinerary March 13 to 28, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 60 passengers (out of 1014, or 5,9%) and 4 crew (out of 528, or 0,8%).

All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The ship was on 14-day Caribbean cruise roundtrip from homeport Miami FL.

May 2004Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(MS Norwegian Crown) In May 2004, CDC reported two Norovirus outbreaks (gastrointestinal illness).

  • On the first itinerary (April 25 to May 2), an outbreak infected 43 passengers (out of 1109, or 3,9%) and 2 crew (out of 536, or 0,4%).
  • On the following itinerary (May 2 to 9), an outbreak infected 39 passengers (out of 1070, or 3,6%) and 6 crew (out of 541, or 1,1%).
  • All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins.

The ship was operating on roundtrip cruises from homeport Philadelphia PA.

March 2004Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Norwegian Crown) On March 20, the ship reported on itinerary March 7 to 22, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 69 passengers and 9 crew.

25 September 2003Propulsion / Power Loss

(MS Norwegian Crown) On September 25, 2003, the ship's port propeller (propulsion unit) was damaged after being entangled in a fishing net. The vessel was en-route from Quebec City (Canada) to Boston MA (USA). The US arrival was delayed by ~1 day.

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