This has been perhaps the busiest week for cruise ships in Sydney Harbour. Sally Macmillan (Editor, Cruise Passenger magazine) and I (John Pond) were invited to join Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines‘ marketing director, Nigel Lingard and local representative, Cruise Abroad’s director, Peter Marshall, for dinner on board Balmoral.
After a thorough ship inspection, which impressed me greatly, we sat down for drinks in the atrium. Balmoral seems to attract the over 50s with few or no children on board – she is currently on a world cruise and is 100% full with a long waiting list.
Balmoral attracts 50% repeat business each year, for those people wishing a leisurely cruise with excellent food and service. This is my idea of a ship, no glitz, no casino and lots of lounges for relaxation. This ship offers all the usual facilities one expects on a 3- to 4- star line.
Dress codes are enforced and I find this refreshing as it brings back memories of cruising before “casual” became the norm. I would feel very happy sailing on this ship. Sally and I enjoyed our dinner with a menu that was difficult to make my selections from as I liked all of the many mains offered.
Balmoral is named after the Scottish home of the Royal Family, she has accommodation for about 1,300 passengers, through 710 cabins and suites. All the ship’s public rooms have a Scottish theme: its principal restaurant, Ballindalloch, is named after a Speyside village and castle; while the ship’s other two formal restaurants, Avon and Spey are named in honour of two of Scotland’s loveliest salmon rivers.
TRIVIA: Why is there a full stop after Fred in Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines? We know the answer but do you?