Cruising European Rivers & Canals

Balmoral

Cruising European Rivers & Canals Overview

Departs: 07 August 2019

9 Nights Full Board

Sailing from Newcastle

 

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Cruise
  • All meals and entertainment onboard
  • All port & passenger taxes
  • Exclusive Offer

Ports of Call

Newcastle • Cruising North Sea Canal, Netherlands • Amsterdam, Netherlands (overnight) • Cruising Western Scheldt River, Belgium • Antwerp, Belgium (overnight) • Cruising River Seine, France • Rouen, France (overnight) • Cruising River Seine, France • Honfleur, France • Newcastle

Exclusive Offer - All Tips Included PLUS Choose One Offer from:

 

• Up to £180 David Urquhart Sky Travel Voucher

• Up to £180 Free Excursion Voucher

• Free Afternoon Tea On-Board

• Free All Inclusive Upgrade

 

 

 

 

Day 1

Depart Newcastle (PM)

 

 

 

Days 2 - 3

Cruising North Sea Canal / Amsterdam, Netherlands (overnight)

 

Cruising North Sea Canal 

The North Sea Canal (or Noordzeekanaal) is Amsterdam’s direct link to the North Sea and is one of the country’s busiest and most important shipping lanes. 

Despite its industrial importance, there’s a lot more to this winding waterway than just container ships. Along the banks of the 16-mile-long canal – from the mouth at Ijmuiden, to the end in Amsterdam – there are an abundance of diverse sights to see on a scenic cruise to the Dutch capital, including interesting fortifications from World War Two, huge power plants, pretty beaches and nature reserves.  

Amsterdam

Golden Age canals lined with elegant merchant homes is the familiar backdrop for the Netherlands's historic capital, Amsterdam. Established in the 17th century with the construction of the River Amstel dam, this celebrated port offers everything from treasure-packed museums and antiquarian bookshops to chic boutiques and convivial cafés. Equally, art is never far away in this hub of uber-creative design. One noticeable thing about the city is that, some 150 years after its industrial heyday, Amsterdam is once again awash with producers.

Amsterdam has some 40 museums, and the Museum Quarter boasts three of the most famous: the Rijksmuseum has paintings from Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals; the Van Gogh Museum; and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, displays work from Manet to Picasso. The Anne Frankhuis where Anne Frank and her family hid from German troops during the World War II, is an experience many visitors seek.

Whether on boat or bike - there are more bikes than permanent residents - exploration of the city is relatively straightforward, and a tour of the Canal Ring district, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not to be missed. Seemingly stuck in the 17th century, the district has been recognised for its unique cultural and historical values, and is home to many exclusive gabled facades and their celebrity owners.

Days 4 - 5

Cruising Western Scheldt River, Belgium / Antwerp, Belgium (overnight)

 

Cruising Western Scheldt River

Located in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands, the Western Scheldt River is an estuary of the Scheldt River, and is the only direct way to the North Sea.  An important shipping route for the port of Antwerp, the Western Scheldt River is formed in the east where the Schelde River enters the Netherlands from Belgium. An interesting route to cruise along, there are no bridges across the river, only a tunnel running from Ellewoutsdijk to Terneuzen, or foot ferries.

Antwerp

Belgium’s charming, medieval city of Antwerp is the country’s biggest port and often recognised as its capital of cool. It has proved an alluring city for centuries, attracting lovers of art, fashion and, of course, diamonds – over 80% of the world's rough diamonds pass through the city's famous diamond district at some point or other. Renowned for its charm and sparkle, Antwerp was one of Europe’s principle cities in the mid-16th century and has maintained the essence of its medieval past, despite severe bombing during World War II.

A riverside fortress and numerous intriguing cobbled streets are overshadowed by the 123m high tower of the imposing Cathedral of Our Lady, the biggest church in Benelux. Its construction started in 1352 on the site of a 10th century chapel, but like many medieval religious buildings, it took several centuries to complete. The cathedral interior has four altarpieces by Peter Paul Rubens – a true legend of baroque painting.  The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated to Rubens and houses many of his finest works, along with those of other Flemish masters.

There are more than 20 other museums in the city, and other attractions to this cultural gem of a city include a vibrant fashion and entertainment scene, a robust café culture, excellent shops and delightful parks and gardens. Fine dining is also on the menu, and one of Antwerp's most dramatic restaurant, The Jane, brings it all together with a slice of rock and roll.

 

Days 6 - 7

Cruising River Seine, France / Rouen, France (overnight)

 

Cruising River Seine

Slicing through the gorgeous lush-green countryside of Normandy's Parc naturel régional des Boucles de la Seine, the route Fred. Olsen's smaller cruise ships sail along the River Seine - connecting the historic cities of Honfleur and Rouen - presents guests with simply unforgettable views to enjoy in comfort on board. 

Simply sit back, relax and take in stunning scenes of rolling valleys, floral fields and charming communes dotted with historic churches and traditional houses that have inspired many famous artists over the years, including Claude Monet and Henri Matisse. 

Rouen

The ‘City of a Hundred Bells’, Rouen, is capital of the French region of Normandy. This 2,000-year-old port city on the River Seine, important in Roman times and the Middle Ages, is a unique city rich with monuments and museums.  

Rouen’s narrow pedestrianised streets lined with tall, half-timber houses and a statue marking the spot where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, is a pointer to the city’s dark history. Devastated by fire, the plague and bombs in the past, modern Rouen is now a vibrant cultural centre, and one of Normandy’s most engaging destinations.

The skyline is dominated by the spires of Cathédrale Notre-Dame, much-painted by  Claude Monet. The Gothic churches of Saint-Maclou and Saint-Ouen are also must-see attractions, two of the best examples of gothic architecture in France and a important part of Rouen’s history.

The city's beautiful botanical garden – Jardin de Plantes de Rouen, is also worth a visit. Its 600 different plant species and various gardens, including a rock garden, rose garden and a garden full of medicinal plants, are a joy to wander through.

 

Day 8

Cruising River Seine, France / Honfleur, France

 

Cruising River Seine

Slicing through the gorgeous lush-green countryside of Normandy's Parc naturel régional des Boucles de la Seine, the route Fred. Olsen's smaller cruise ships sail along the River Seine - connecting the historic cities of Honfleur and Rouen - presents guests with simply unforgettable views to enjoy in comfort on board. 

Simply sit back, relax and take in stunning scenes of rolling valleys, floral fields and charming communes dotted with historic churches and traditional houses that have inspired many famous artists over the years, including Claude Monet and Henri Matisse. 

Honfleur

Historic Honfleur in northern France's Lower Normandy region is a quaint little port with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. One of France’s most visited towns, Honfleur – with its beautiful 15th and 16th century architecture and distinctive harbour – was the inspiration for Impressionist painters and poets.

Vieux-Bassin, Honfleur’s colourful old harbour, is lined with 16th to 18th-century lofty slate-and-timber fronted houses. Its sloping cobbled streets have long been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son, Eugène Boudin. 

A visit to the 15th century St. Catherine's Church, a vaulted timber structure erected by shipbuilders, is a must, as is the maritime museum and Notre Dame de Grâce – a 17th century chapel containing various paintings and models. The chapel also offers fabulous views of the town, the Seine estuary and the impressively-engineered Normandy Bridge that crosses it. 

 

Day 9

At Sea

Day 10

Arrive Newcastle (AM)

 

Welcome aboard Fred. Olsen Balmoral

At a glance....

  • 3 restaurants
  • 2 Cafes
  • 2 lounges
  • 3 Bars
  • Fitness Centre
  • 2 swimming pools
  • 2 Jacuzzis

Balmoral is Fred. Olsen's largest and newest cruise ship, named after the Scottish home of the Royal Family. Still smaller than most cruise ships today, there are 710 cabins and suites and generous public space for the 1,300 guests on board.

Dining on Balmoral

  • Ballindalloch Restaurant: The stylish Ballindalloch restaurant is the main restaurant on board your cruise ship Balmoral, where your taste buds will be tempted by the delicious dishes on offer. Including the lavish affair that is the Gala Dinner, the Ballindalloch Restaurant represents quality dining on board Fred. Olsen cruises.
  • Spey Restaurant: The Spey Restaurant, and her sister restaurant the Avon, offers the quality dining you would expect on board your cruise holiday on Balmoral. Both restaurants provide the same a la carte menu as the main Ballindalloch restaurant on deck 6, but their intimate design and panoramic views combine to give a unique dining atmosphere on your cruise ship.
  • Avon Restaurant: This tastefully designed restaurant provides a beautiful setting to enjoy a delicious meal on board your cruise ship. Situated on Deck 10, the Avon Restaurant – and her sister restaurant the Spey - offers the fine dining you would expect on a cruise on board Balmoral.
  • Palms Cafe: The Palms Cafe on board Balmoral is slightly less formal and ideal for if you prefer not to stick to set dining times. The Palms Cafe offers the perfect alternative for those times when you prefer not to stick to the set dinner times on board your cruise holiday. Of course you will still be offered a fine choice of dishes, prepared to the same high standard you expect with Fred. Olsen Cruises, in a relaxed buffet style of service.
  • Marquee Bar: Enjoy a more casual lunch al-fresco on board your cruise ship Balmoral, at the Marquee Bar (weather permitting).

Entertainment on Balmoral

  • Neptune Lounge: Take your seat in the Neptune Lounge on board your cruise ship as the sun goes down and experience the music, dancing, lights and costumes. Shows, reviews and evenings of cabaret are guaranteed to have you shouting “encore”. Music and entertainment is on offer throughout Balmoral during the evening on board your cruise holiday, but the Neptune Lounge has ample room for passengers whichever dinner sitting you are on, so you can find a seat to enjoy the glitz and glamour of the evening shows.
  • Gaming Tables: See if lady luck is smiling on you when on board your cruise holiday. Your cruise ship Balmoral includes a gaming area where you may try your hand on the Black Jack table or Roulette wheel. Try and beat our experienced croupiers, and there is even the opportunity to learn how to play better, with daytime sessions teaching you how to win big.
  • Lido Bar: The Lido Bar is the perfect place to unwind after a hard days sightseeing or to simply relax during your cruise holiday. The Lido Bar looks out over the aft pool and the stern of your cruise ship and is the ideal spot to appreciate the talents of our on board pianist or musical duo. Our friendly and attentive bar staff are always on hand to serve you your favourite drink - often remembering what that may be.
  • Marquee Bar: The Marquee Bar on board your cruise ship offers plenty of refreshment options, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Situated on Deck 11 of your cruise ship, the Marquee Bar is the perfect way to settle down with a drink, or just to enjoy some cool shade for a while, on a hot, sunny day. The floor-to-ceiling windows let the light flood in, letting you take in the panoramic views, which are a key feature of so many Fred. Olsen cruise holidays.
  • Morning Light Pub: Like your own local, the pub on board your cruise ship is the ideal place for socialising with friends old and new. The Morning Light Pub on board your cruise ship, Balmoral, is decorated in a traditional style, depicting the century and a half of Fred. Olsen history. Daytime or evening you can be entertained by occasional live music or stand-up comedians.
  • Observatory Lounge: The Observatory Lounge allows you panoramic views of your cruise holiday. The large picture windows in the Observatory Lounge offer fantastic views which are enhanced with plenty of binoculars spaced around the lounge. A grand piano provides the perfect background music as you enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail on your cruise holiday, or you can dance into the small hours upon the glass dance-floor.

Relax and Fitness on Balmoral

  • Atlantis Spa & Salon: Disappear into the Atlantis Spa and find true relaxation. Hydrating, purifying, renewing and nourishing facials. Full body or hot stone massages, waxing and body shaping treatments are just some of the ways you can embrace the pleasures and indulgence of your cruise holiday! Or enjoy all the glamour of formal nights with a new salon style, holiday highlights or a nourishing conditioning treatment. Just sit back, and enjoy the pampering. The Atlantis Spa is open from 8am till 8pm whilst at sea and in port. On occasional evenings the spa will remain open until 10pm. These services tend to be in high demand, so please do make sure you book your treatment early. Remember when you’re on board to check your cruise ship’s Daily Times – there may be a special offer to take advantage of.
  • Fitness Centre: After all that relaxing, get your blood pumping in the Fitness Centre. There are friendly fitness instructors available to give you help and guidance. Burn off the calories and stay in shape with treadmills, rowing machines, exercise bikes and free weights -  it’ll give you an excuse for extra dessert at dinner! Situated at the front of the ship on Deck 10, it offers perfect views as you exercise at your own pace. Take a yoga, aerobics, stretch and tone or pilates class while you cruise. Or make the most of the beautiful views and join the ‘walk a mile’, with a revitalising stroll, or more energetic walk round your cruise ship deck in the mornings
  • Swimming pool & Jacuzzis: Enjoy a dip in one of the two pools situated on Balmoral’s Lounge and Marquee decks. Both the swimming pools on board your cruise ship are heated to a comfortable temperature. The pool on the Lounge deck of Balmoral is located at the aft of the ship, adjacent to Palms café. The aft pool also incorporates a pair of whirlpool jacuzzi’s meaning that this area is perfect to relax your days away. Situated on the Marquee deck this beautifully tiled pool is the perfect area to relax in the sun on your cruise holiday. Burn off some of the five-course meals with a few lengths of the pool, or relax on one of the comfortable sun loungers and bathe in the sun instead. There are also two whirlpools adjacent to the pool, the ultimate indulgence.
  • Sun Deck and golfing: The large deck area on board Balmoral is the ideal sun trap where you can relax on one of the many sun loungers. The Marquee Pool Bar staff are always on hand with a long cool drink, so sip a cocktail and immerse yourself in a good book. For those keen golfers, take in sweeping sea views as you hone your perfect swing. Take some time to yourself in our practice golf nets. You could come home with a new technique up your sleeve!
  • Library: Balmoral’s well stocked library is a popular area of the ship. With an array of novels, historical, geographical, autobiographical and many other books, the library on board your cruise ship Balmoral is a true haven of peace and tranquillity. The majority of our books are in English; however we do offer a few titles in French, German and Dutch.
  • Card room: Find card tables and competition in our card room. Bridge is always a popular pursuit on board, so you’re sure to find players for a hand or two and more – whether casual or competitive is up to you! There’s always time to settle into a classic card or board game, whilst on board your cruise ship. Perfect for when you feel like a break from the elements.
  • Arts and crafts room: The Arts & Crafts Room on board your cruise ship Balmoral is situated on deck 3 and is the perfect space to explore your ideas and designs with our arts and crafts lecturers and on our Vistas themed cruises. So, for the creative amongst you, there will be plenty to keep you entertained throughout your cruise holiday, and perhaps leave you with your own self-crafted souvenir to take home.
  • Art gallery: You’ll be inspired and intrigued by some of the works on show. Paintings from the Olsen family’s private art collection hang on the walls around your cruise ship. A number of pieces form a mini-gallery on the way into the Ballindalloch Restaurant.
  • Braemar Lounge: The light and airy Braemar Lounge is perfect for watching the world go by, or for meeting up with new found friends. Along one side, large windows offer you uninterrupted views and the lounge is graced with comfortable sofas and armchairs in a tasteful and cheerful yellow and red colour scheme.  Intimate live music often adds to the relaxed atmosphere on board your cruise holiday.
  • Promenade: One of the pleasures on board a Fred. Olsen cruise ship is the extensive deck space. On board your cruise ship Balmoral, the Promenade runs all the way round the Lounge Deck where you can take a traditional stroll in the fresh air before dinner, or for the more energetic, perhaps take a jog in the morning. Or simply join friends and fellow passengers for an invigorating game of shuffleboard or deck quoits.
  • Stern: The stern of Balmoral is the perfect place to relax in the sunshine on board your cruise holiday. Why not enjoy breakfast, lunch or a cocktail or two out on deck?  With the Avon and Spey restaurants close by, you don't have far to go to enjoy the culinary delights on board your cruise ship Balmoral. During days at sea, the stern offers the perfect area to relax, take in a book, or just soak up the sun.

Other Facilities

  • Internet Centre: The internet has become part of daily life for many and especially during one of our longer cruise holidays the internet is vital to keep in touch with friends and family, or simply to make everyone back home envious with all your stories from your trip. In our well-equipped internet room it is possible to stay in touch with those back home and keep up to date with news and sporting events.
  • Launderette: One of the treats of being on board your cruise ship is to leave behind the routine chores. And of course, there is a comprehensive on board laundry service which your cabin staff will be pleased to arrange for you. Full details and prices for this service can be found in your Welcome Pack waiting in your cabin. However, occasionally there may be items you wish to deal with yourself, and the self-service launderette is very well equipped with washing machines, tumble dryers and ironing facilities. A particularly useful facility for those guests enjoying a longer cruise holiday.
  • Medical Centre: Rest assured that on each of Fred. Olsen cruise ships, have a doctor and/or nurse on call. The Medical Centre offers primary care, whenever you might need it.
  • Reception: Once on board Balmoral, you will find that the Reception Desk is at the heart of your cruise ship. 24 hours a day, our Reception staff on board your cruise ship, are on hand to advise and answer your queries. With their breadth of knowledge, they are sure to be able to help make your cruise holiday as pleasurable as possible.

Vital Statistics

Cabins 710
Passengers 1350 Standard Occupancy
Crew 510
Refitted 2008
Fully Stabilised Yes
Tonnage 43,537 grt
Length 218.18 m
Beam (width) 28.2 m
Speed 18.5 knots