Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred Olsen Balmoral current position
Specifications of Fred Olsen Balmoral
|Year built||1988 / Age: 33|
|Builder||Meyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)|
|Building cost||USD 180 million|
|Owner||Balmoral Cruise Ltd|
|Operator||Fred Olsen Cruise Lines|
|Speed||16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph|
|Length (LOA)||187 m / 614 ft|
|Beam (width)||28 m / 92 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||43537 gt|
|Passengers||1350 - 1420|
|Decks with cabins||9|
|Former names||Crown Odyssey|
Fred Olsen Balmoral Itineraries
|Date||Itinerary||Departure Port||Price from|
|2021 Jun 09||8 days, round-trip Rivers Cities of France Belgium||Leith-Edinburgh||$1561|
|2021 Jun 17||14 days, round-trip The Grandeur of Scandinavia St Petersburg||Leith-Edinburgh||$2716|
|2021 Jul 01||13 days, round-trip Cultural Cities of France Spain||Leith-Edinburgh||$2309|
|2021 Jul 14||7 days, round-trip Scenic Views of Norways Iconic Fjords||Leith-Edinburgh||$1493|
|2021 Jul 21||10 days, round-trip Icelandic Wonders Wildlife||Leith-Edinburgh||$2173|
|2021 Jul 31||5 days, round-trip Five Fjords||Leith-Edinburgh||$1085|
|2021 Aug 05||5 days, round-trip Scenic Islands in the Summertime||Leith-Edinburgh||$1018|
|2021 Aug 11||9 days, round-trip The Natural Wonders of Iceland||Newcastle upon Tyne||$1969|
|2021 Aug 20||9 days, round-trip Norways Northern Fjords||Newcastle upon Tyne||$1901|
|2021 Aug 29||6 days, round-trip Spellbinding Fjords of Norway||Newcastle upon Tyne||$1289|
|2021 Sep 04||16 days, round-trip Wine Regions of Portugal, Spain France||Newcastle upon Tyne||$2445|
|2021 Sep 20||10 days, round-trip Smaller Ship Mystery Cruise||Newcastle upon Tyne||$1765|
|2021 Sep 30||12 days, round-trip Uncrowded Baltic||Newcastle upon Tyne||$2309|
|2021 Oct 12||16 days, round-trip Historic Heritage Sites of the Med||Newcastle upon Tyne||$2716|
|2021 Oct 28||2 days, one-way from Newcastle upon Tyne to Portsmouth UK||Newcastle upon Tyne||$406|
|2021 Oct 30||5 days, round-trip French Cities with the Seine||Portsmouth UK||$811|
|2021 Nov 04||13 days, round-trip In Search of the Northern Lights||Portsmouth UK||$2165|
|2021 Nov 17||13 days, round-trip Winter Warmth of the Canaries||Portsmouth UK||$2030|
|2021 Nov 30||6 days, round-trip German Christmas Markets||Portsmouth UK||$946|
|2021 Dec 06||11 days, round-trip Festive Escape to Madeira, Portugal Spain||Southampton||$1623|
|2021 Dec 17||5 days, round-trip Belgium the Netherlands at Christmas||Southampton||$811|
|2021 Dec 22||14 days, round-trip Canaries Christmas Funchal Fireworks||Southampton||$3113|
|2022 Jan 05||14 days, round-trip Canaries Madeira Winter Warmth||Southampton||$2301|
|2022 Jan 19||19 days, round-trip Islands of Cape Verde, Madeira the Canaries||Southampton||$2842|
|2022 Feb 07||8 days, round-trip Uncrowded City Stays||Southampton||$1082|
|2022 Feb 15||28 days, one-way from Southampton to Newcastle upon Tyne||Southampton|
|2022 Feb 15||26 days, round-trip Iconic Italy with the Venice Carnival||Southampton||$4332|
|2022 Mar 13||2 days, one-way from Southampton to Newcastle upon Tyne||Southampton||$337|
|2022 Mar 15||9 days, round-trip In Search of the Northern Lights in Nine||Newcastle upon Tyne||$1623|
|2022 Mar 24||8 days, round-trip In Search of the Northern Lights in Eight||Newcastle upon Tyne||$1488|
|2022 May 02||16 days, round-trip Canaries Portugal with Funchal Flower Parade||Newcastle upon Tyne||$2707|
|2022 Jun 22||15 days, round-trip Rugged Remote Spitsbergen||Newcastle upon Tyne||$3384|
|2022 Sep 27||28 days, round-trip Black Sea Discovery Mediterranean Adventure||Dover||$5822|
|2023 Jan 25||9 days, round-trip Wintertime Fjords with up Helly Aa||Southampton||$1623|
|2023 Sep 26||34 days, round-trip American Waterways Canada in the Fall||Southampton||$7176|
Fred Olsen Balmoral Review
Review of Fred Olsen Balmoral
Launched in 1988 as Crown Odyssey, Balmoral is the biggest of the Fred Olsen ships, with fleet mates Boudicca, Braemar and Black Watch. The cruise ship cost to build was USD 180 million. The vessel was last refurbished in 2019 December.
History - construction and ownership
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd is a Norwegian-owned and UK-based cruise shipping company, part of the Fred Olsen Group (Fred Olsen & Co / shipowner, headquartered in Oslo, Norway). The company is headquartered in Ipswich (Suffolk England) and is owned by Bonheur and Ganger Rolf. The company was founded in 1848 (in Hvitsten, Norway) by the three Olsen brothers (Petter, Andras, Fredrik Christian) who bought their first ships and established an international shipping company. Today Fred Olsen Group is into its 5th family generation and operates subsidiary companies specializing in cruise passenger shipping, trade, shipbuilding, aviation, offshore industries.
Fred Olsen Group wholly owns the companies Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd, Fred Olsen Travel Ltd (worldwide tours and vacations via independent operators), Fred Olsen Marine Services AS (shipowner and vessel management), First Olsen Ltd (tanker ships), Dolphin Drilling Holdings Ltd (offshore drilling rigs), Fred Olsen Express (Canary Islands-based fast ferries / catamarans), Fred Olsen Freight Ltd (cargo shipping and air freight), Fred Olsen Windcarrier AS (transport and installation of offshore wind turbines), Fred Olsen Production AS (offshore petroleum production), Fred Olsen Renewables AS, SeaRoc Group Ltd (offshore and marine consultancy and contracting services), ZephIR Lidar UK (wind measurement devices), Ganger Rolf ASA (energy and shipping). Also part of Fred Olsen Group, the company Bonheur ASA manages several fully-owned companies, among which are NHST Media Group AS (newspapers and online media) and the real estate companies Stavenes Byggeselskap, Koksa Eiendom, Fred Olsens gate 2. Part of Fred Olsen Group is also Timex Group BV - parent of several watchmaking companies, including the subsidiaries in the USA, India and Philippines).
The 1340-passenger cruise ship Balmoral offers a mix of old and new that is fresh and satisfying. If cruisers seek for a well-run vessel which provides peace and coziness while also featuring a nice range of amusement, friendly service, solid cuisine, interesting routes, and competitive rates, Balmoral is a good choice.
The ship debuted in 1988 as Crown Odyssey, built for Royal Cruise Line. Since then, Balmoral has changed her name to Norwegian Crown (for NCL) and Crown Odyssey (for Orient Lines). MS Balmoral debuted for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines after a major refit and refurbishment in 2007-2008 which added a 30-meter midsection. The inaugural cruise of the ship started on February 13, 2008.
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 Shipyard in Hamburg) 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 Balmoral, Boudicca, and Braemar, also the MSC Cruises ships Armonia, Lirica, Opera, the Phoenix Reisen's Albatros and the Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of The Seas.
Cruise itinerary program
Fred Olsen Balmoral itinerary program is based on World Cruise deals out of the UK and regular round-trip voyages from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Scandinavia, Russia, and the Norwegian Fjords.
In 2023, Fred Olsen with Balmoral offers the "North American Waterways and Canadian Fall" itinerary (UK roundtrip) that includes the company's maiden cruise on Hudson River (USA's New York state). The 34-night / 35-day voyage (booking code L2323 ) starts from Southampton on September 26, 2023. Prices start from GBP 5300 (EUR 5860 / USD 6940) per person, double-occupancy cabin rates. Bookings made by September 30, 2020, received up to GBP 300 pp in OBC (onboard credit).
The special itinerary's call ports include St John's Newfoundland (overnight), Sydney NS, Halifax NS (overnight), Saint John NB, Portland ME, Boston MA, Cape Cod Canal, passing by NYC's Statue of Liberty, NYC New York (2-night stay), Hudson River, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Baltimore MD (overnight), Transatlantic crossing, Hamilton Bermuda, Ponta Delgada Azores, La Coruna Spain.
MS Balmoral staterooms (a total of 710) include 68x Suites, 94x Balcony cabins, 340x Outside and 123x Inside, in all 21 grades. Most staterooms are sized 165-200 ft2 Oceanviews. The wheelchair-accessible cabins are 9. The largest accommodation is the Premier Suite (430 ft2).
The Fred Olsen ship Balmoral has a total of 64 solo cabins (single-occupancy rooms).
Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks
Dining on Balmoral is resolutely classic. The vessel's one main dining venue and two satellites all offer set-seating, set-tablemates evening scenarios.
Follows the complete list of Balmoral restaurants and food bars.
- Ballindalloch Restaurant (main dining room; hosts the formal Gala Dinner; dining times are the same in all 3 dining rooms - with 2 fixed dinner seatings at 6:15 pm and 8:30 pm, open-seating buffet-style Breakfast 8:00 - 10:00 am and Lunch 12:00 - 2:30 pm)
- Spey Restaurant (ship's 2nd largest dining room, with the same menu as the Ballindalloch's; features floor-ceiling windows and intimate design)
- Avon Restaurant (ship's 3rd dining room with floor-ceiling windows; offers the same menu as the other two restaurants)
- Palms Cafe (alternative buffet-style restaurant, open-seating; offers Breakfast 7:00 - 9:30 am, Brunch 10:30 - 11:30 am, Lunch 12:30 - 2:30 pm, Afternoon Tea 3:30 - 4:30 pm, Dinner 6:30 - 9 pm and Supper Club 11:30 pm - 12:30 am; also features a 24-hour open tea-coffee station)
- Marquee Bar (casual restaurant for lunch; al-fresco dining, with large, floor-ceiling panoramic windows; serves the pool area with alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks).
Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport
MS Balmoral offers a variety of amenities while also presenting a cozy ambiance. There are lots of places to sit, relax, read and nap without feeling pressure to buy drinks or merchandise. Some aspects of the cruise ship, such as the inflexible bed setups (that offer either a double or 2 twins that can not be converted into the reverse), found in older rooms, might feel a bit dated. Balmoral also features a high-tech, in-cabin interactive TV, and Spa and fitness amenities with state-of-the-art equipment and services.
Follows the complete list of Balmoral lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.
- Arts & Crafts Room; Art Gallery
- Atrium (2-deck high, with glass and chrome design elements; has a spacious seating area)
- Port Shop (duty-paid, sells essentials, hats, swimwear, toiletries, beachwear, sweets, books, snacks)
- Photo Gallery & Shop (offers digital images printing/transferring; personal video making; sells photo and video equipment at duty-free prices)
- Neptune Lounge (ship's theater lounge/main entertainment venue for grand-style show productions in the evenings at 8:45 pm and 10:45 pm; during the day serves the Fred Olsen enrichment program, with various lectures and seminars, multimedia presentations, dance classes, workshops, bridge lectures, cards playing tournaments)
- Boutique Shops (duty-free luxury gifts, perfumes, cosmetics, fashion clothing, watches, fine jewelry, Fred Olsen logo merchandise)
- Card Room; Library; Internet Room
- Bookmark Cafe (a la carte priced patisserie; offers luxury chocolates, specialty coffees, hand-made chocolates); Cafe Venus
- Braemar Lounge (relaxation place with large windows)
- Morning Light Pub (features stand-up comedy acts, live music performances)
- Deck 7 pool area (swimming pool, 2 whirlpools, sunbathing area)
- Lido Lounge (hosts daily bingo games and trivia quizzes; evening entertainment includes cabarets, resident music trio, and Big Band Show)
- Lido Bar (live-music program)
- Casino corner
- The Wellness Centre (Atlantis Spa & Fitness; has treatment rooms for massages, Sauna, gym; the Fitness Centre hosts exercise classes Yoga/Pilates/aerobics/meditation/dancing classes)
- Beauty Salon (part of the Wellness Centre; offers hairdresser/barber services, facial/body treatments, manicure/pedicure, massages)
- Observatory Lounge (indoor observation lounge with piano, glass dancefloor, panoramic windows for 270-degree views; serves Afternoon Tea and transforms into a disco in the late hours)
- Sun Deck's pool area (with one heated swimming pool, 2 whirlpools, sunbathing area)
- Golf Net; Deck Games area (shuffleboard, quoits).
Fred Olsen Balmoral - user reviews and comments
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Fred Olsen Balmoral Wiki
Launched as "Crown Odyssey" in 1988, Balmoral cruise ship was constructed originally for the Royal Cruise Line and operated by NCL Norwegian Cruise Lines and Orient Lines before being bought (2007) by the Fred Olsen. After a major drydock refit (during which a 30 m / 99 ft long midship section was added to the vessel's center) in January 2008 mv Balmoral joined Boudicca, Braemar and Black Watch as the fleet's largest ship. The inaugural cruise started on Feb 13, 2008. Currently, Balmoral is the largest ship operated by Fred Olsen.
An interesting fact about MS Balmoral is that in 2012 "Miles Morgan Travel" chartered the cruise ship to follow the RMS Titanic original route honoring the 100th anniversary of Titanic's sinking. Balmoral stated her "Titanic Cruise" on April 8 departing Southampton with last stop – the site of the wreck of the famous (infamous) ocean liner.
Balmoral cruises attract a loyal base of mature passengers (almost all British), who prefer to travel only with the Fred Olsen company. The ship has some single occupancy cruise cabins and offers regular meetings for solo travelers. Dance hosts are available. This is the ideal UK cruise ship for people who travel alone. Throughout the voyage, guests will find ballroom dance classes and a program of exercise, plus the first jazz dance classes at sea.
Fred Olsen offers an all-inclusive cruise package upgrade (additional fixed price PP per day) and UK fly-cruise deals to Canary Islands (year-round discounted airfare from Southampton, England).
In 2018-2019, MS Balmoral offers roundtrip departures out of Edinburgh (Rosyth) Scotland for the first time ever. There were a total of 9 cruises scheduled (May through July), including 5-night Norwegian Fjords, 14-night Scandinavia and Russia (St Petersburg), 9-night "German Waterways".
In 2017, Fred Olsen (for the first time ever) scheduled "Mardi Gras Cruise" combining Caribbean, North and Central America and leaving roundtrip from UK (Southampton). The voyage was on fleet's flagship Balmoral. The adults-only cruise had 18 ports of call and 3 full days plus 2 overnights in New Orleans for the fun and festivities at the annual Mardi Gras Carnival. This unique themed cruise (46-night itinerary, code L1703, theme "Central America and the Mardi Gras" left Southampton on February 4, 2017. Prices started from GBP 3450 pp (based on double-occupancy twin-bed Superior Interior cabin). Pricing included accommodation, all onboard meals, and entertainment, plus port taxes.
The list of cruise ports of call included: Southampton – Funchal Madeira – Bridgetown Barbados – Castries St. Lucia – St John’s Antigua – Road Town Tortola BVI – Falmouth Jamaica – Trujillo Honduras – Belize City – Cozumel Mexico – New Orleans LA (2-nights) – Tampa FL – Key West FL – Miami FL – Port Canaveral FL – Jacksonville FL – Charleston SC – Hamilton Bermuda – Ponta Delgada Azores – Southampton. The 2-night stay in NOLA allowed cruise tourists to enjoy the festivities at this extravagant festival. Passengers were also provided with the opportunity to attend the "Orpheuscapade Black Tie Ball" in New Orleans – something rarely experienced by tourists. This formal event was held in the city's Convention Centre, featuring live music, dancing and the chance to get up close to the gigantic carnival floats, as a local celebrity leads the parade directly through the Centre.
Fred Olsen Balmoral refurbishments review
On December 9, 2014, the ship underwent a 10-day drydock refurbishment for engineering works, interior and exterior painting works. The Library area was redesigned, a new patisserie (Cafe Venus) was added on Lounge Deck (deck 7).
Balmoral ship's drydock 2019 (December 10-19 at Blohm+Voss Shipyard in Hamburg Germany) was for general maintenance and engineering works, interior renovations (public areas) and cabin refurbishments. The USD 18 million drydocking project also included adding the new Tea Room (China-themed lounge) and Photo Gallery.
The next video shows the cruise ship's refit (time-lapse of the vessel's extension/lengthening) done at Blohm+Voss Shipyard (Hamburg).
Fred Olsen Balmoral User Reviews
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