I’d sailed two previous voyages with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – one to the Baltic aboard Braemar and one around the British Isles aboard Boudicca – so I knew what to expect, which was probably why I was so eager to join Balmoral on a 5-night Norwegian Fjords voyage from Newcastle.
It was a wet and miserable day, but Balmoral was warm and inviting and I had that “welcome home” feeling fall upon me as soon as I stepped aboard. I had a balcony cabin on Deck 6 during the cruise and it was a lot bigger than I had expected it to be, although most accommodations across the Fred. Olsen fleet are of a respectable size. Not only was there enough wardrobe storage for 2 or maybe even 3 people, the cabin was also wide enough to allow me to keep my suitcase open on the floor without it being an obstruction – as it was only a 5-night cruise I decided not to unpack completely. The beds were in a twin formation and were very comfortable, there was also a chair, vanity area with TV, a safe in the wardrobe along with tea and coffee making facilities, and a good sized bathroom offered a shower over the bath.
Balmoral is a traditional cruise ship, she doesn’t pack all the bells and whistles of the entertainment and gimmick laden vessels that have now joined her on the high seas, but she does offer a little something for everyone. Onboard entertainment is varied – quizzes, comedians, musicals and more – her dining options (along with the menu offerings) are superb, and she tends to stay in port longer than many other cruise ships – another great reason to cruise with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Our first port of call on the voyage was the town of Bergen, where I had an organised excursion booked to Mount Floyen. Apparently Bergen has over 250 days of rain a year, so I was incredibly lucky to board the funicular and ascend beneath a covering of clear, blue skies. The views from the top of Mount Floyen were absolutely stunning, which I suppose you would expect at 1,000ft above sea level! We only had a short time to take pictures, admire the life-size troll and grab souvenirs before it was time to head back down and enjoy a panoramic city tour.
Next, we arrived in the small and beautiful town of Eidfjord. I didn’t plan any excursions here, I simply left Balmoral and enjoyed a walk, admiring the incredible scenery that surrounded me as I went. Mountains with waterfalls towered above us and it really did feel like I was in the middle of a postcard, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place that kept me as transfixed as Eidfjord did.
The Norwegian Fjords offer stunning scenery at every turn and that was a key aspect of this particular voyage. It was advertised as ‘scenic cruising’ and that, and more, is exactly what her bridge team and local pilots delivered to more than 1,500 guests. We were presented with some magical sights as we sailed through various Fjords, including the Furebergfoss Waterfall, which was phenomenal. It looked big from the deck of Balmoral, but then a lorry would cross the road in front of it and then you realised just how incredible this natural beauty was. The water was pounding down the side of the mountain and there we were, sat before it in complete and utter awe.
Would I recommend a cruise with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines? I most certainly would.
More about Danielle
Danielle Fear is a blogger, freelance travel writer and social media manager specialising in cruising. Passionate about all forms of ocean travel, when Danielle is not at sea, she spends the majority of her time updating her cruise blog with cruise news and tales of her ocean adventures. Her favourite destinations include the Caribbean, America and Italy, but she is always ready to pack a bag and explore somewhere new and exciting.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines