Chosen as embarked Newcastle.Embarkation first class suitcases outside cabin on arrival.Stayed in oceanview deck 4 quiet cabin 4116 first time in many years of cruising there was a bath if you had time to wait for it to fill.The cabin was a good size kept very clean with plenty of wardrobe space.No noise from adjacent cabins
We chose second sitting the meals where palatable but similar to pub meals the dining time was 8.30 but we always waited til at least 9 to be served on some occasions faulty towers comes to mind.The best meal of the week was a fish buffet which was excellent.Eating in the palm court at breakfast and lunch was very busy and the same choice everyday
Entertainment by the cruise team was the best we have seen on any ship energetic and professional west end quality.We are ballroom dancers and did find a small dancefloor with dance hosts sadly the singer of the band kept changeing tempo mid dance and was very slow dancing to prerecorded music was better.There was a variety of entertainment around the ship on an evening. Unfortunately any entertainment during the day is poor and geared at older passengers but on this cruise there was a good mixture of all ages.
We visited 2 ports and had a kayak trip outstanding and breathtaking hard work but worth it highly recommended if you are fit led by an excellent guide
there is a fully equipped gym with fa bulous views but £5 for a 30 min class is steep .
The service from barstaff was a massive let down as there are very few.Olsen seem to have promoted all inclusive drink packages so I assume to save money waiters are few and far between we waited up to 30 mins for drinks and several occasions we gave up waiting pleased we hadn't the package
Disembarking was easy as we carried own luggage and we were home within an hour We would travel on the balmoral again but would be prepared by ordering several drinks and carrying a water bottle as there are no drink stations open all day .Compared to their sister ship boudica which we would certainly not travel on again we feel giving them another chance worked but in comparison to Cunard or celebrity they have to raise the bar substantially