Like other Fred. Olsen ships, the 1,350-passenger Balmoral is thoroughly British in character: It is named after the Scottish residence of the royal family, the onboard currency is the British pound, and the majority of passengers are Brits age 50 and up. While it’s the largest ship in the Fred. Olsen fleet — during its refit in 2007, Balmoral was lengthened nearly 100 feet — it's still considered midsize and retains a cozy, intimate setting.
What We Love
The Observatory Lounge: Perched on the top deck, the lounge is the place to soak in dramatic sea views, as well as to sample the wide selection of cocktails.
Single Cabins: Before Balmoral joined the Fred. Olsen fleet in 2007 (it was previously under Norwegian Cruise Line and Orient Lines), a number of cabins were converted to single occupancy, making it a convenient and more affordable option for solo travelers.
Best Known For
Classy Decor: Nautical memorabilia and leather-covered stools fill the traditional Morning Light Pub, the main Ballindalloch Restaurant is adorned with Tiffany glass domes, and the smaller Avon and Spey restaurants feature timber paneling. Scattered throughout the ship are original British and Scandinavian artworks from the Olsen family collection.
Relaxed Atmosphere: The ambiance is generally relaxed and refined, with limited public announcements and low-key diversions such as ballroom dance music, lectures, crafts classes, and carpet bowling. Passengers do tend to go all out for formal nights though, donning tuxes and white dinner jackets — even kilts.
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Who It's Best For
Anglophiles, Mature Adults, and Singles: If you like British civility and getting to know passengers from around the English-speaking world, Balmoral provides the grown-up, international flavor you crave. In addition, cabins and special programs cater to solo travelers.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Not for Families: Even though Balmoral does offer a kids club during British holiday periods, this is not really a family-oriented ship.
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Balmoral at a Glance
- Line: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- Number of Passengers: 1340
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 1988
- Refurbish Date: 2007