MV Balmoral (1987)

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Balmoral turning (cropped).jpg
Balmoral in Antwerp, Belgium on March 19, 2016.
  • 1988–1996: Crown Odyssey
  • 1996–2000: Norwegian Crown
  • 2000–2003: Crown Odyssey
  • 2003–2007: Norwegian Crown
  • 2007 onwards: Balmoral[1]
Port of registry:
Builder: Meyer Werft, Papenburg, West Germany[1]
Cost: $178 million[3]
Yard number: 616[1]
Launched: 1 November 1987[1]
Christened: 14 May 1988[1]
Acquired: June 1988[1]
In service: 7 June 1988[1]
Identification:IMO number8506294[1]
Status: In service
General characteristics (as built, 1988)[1]
Type: Cruise ship
Length: 187.71 m (615 ft 10 in)
Beam: 28.21 m (92 ft 7 in)
Draught: 6.80 m (22 ft 4 in)
Installed power:
  • 2 × MaK 8M601/ 2 × 6M35
  • 21,300 kW (combined)
Propulsion: Two propellers[3]
Speed: 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph)
Capacity: 1,230 passengers (maximum)
General characteristics (as rebuilt, 2007)[3]
Tonnage: 43,537 GT[2]
Length: 217.91 m (714 ft 11 in)[1]
Draught: 7.25 m (23 ft 9 in)[1]
Decks: 10 (passenger accessible)
Capacity: 1,778 passengers
Crew: 471
Notes: Otherwise the same as built

Balmoral is a cruise ship owned and operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. She was built in 1988 by the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, West Germany, as Crown Odyssey for Royal Cruise Line. She has also sailed for the Norwegian Cruise Line as Norwegian Crown and Orient Lines as Crown Odyssey. In 2007–2008 she was lengthened by 30 m (98 ft) at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg prior to entering service with her current operator.[1][4]


Crown Odyssey in Key West, February 1995.

The vessel was built by Meyer Werft of Papenburg, Germany, in 1988, for service with Royal Cruise Line as the Crown Odyssey. In 1989, Royal Cruise Line was sold to Norwegian Cruise Line, which continued operation of the company, along with the Crown Odyssey, until 1996. A reorganization of all the fleets owned by Norwegian Cruise Line saw Crown Odyssey enter service with NCL's main fleet, where it was renamed Norwegian Crown.

Following the purchase of Orient Lines by NCL in April 2000, Norwegian Crown was transferred, regaining her original name, Crown Odyssey, in the process.

In September 2003, Crown Odyssey was refurbished and returned to the NCL fleet, again with the name Norwegian Crown.

Norwegian Crown at New York City, New York on July 22, 2007.

On 25 May 2006, NCL Corporation announced that its parent company, Star Cruises, had agreed to sell Norwegian Crown to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines effective August 2006. Star Cruises concurrently chartered the vessel back from Fred. Olsen and NCL continued her deployment through to November 2007. “Although a beautiful and well-maintained vessel, Norwegian Crown’s smaller size is less suitable for Star Cruises’ ambitions in Asia,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. “Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines specializes in operating smaller and mid-sized upscale vessels and this ship should fit perfectly in their fleet.” Her last NCL cruise was on 28 October 2007.

On 21 January 2009, during a cruise, the ship sailed into rough weather in the Bay of Biscay, smashing through 50 ft (15 m) waves and 60 mph (97 km/h) winds. Two passengers were sent to a hospital in A Coruña, Spain, with serious injuries.[5]

There have been several outbreaks of norovirus ("the vomiting bug", unpleasant but not dangerous) on the vessel, in 2009, 2010, May 2015, and May 2016.[6]


Balmoral in Ajaccio, September 2008.

Fred. Olsen took delivery of the ship on 7 November 2007, renaming her after the Balmoral estate. The company initiated a major refit at the Blohm + Voss repair shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, before her inaugural cruise on 13 February 2008, to Florida—her base for Caribbean cruising. The work included the insertion of a 30 meter (99 ft) midsection, built in conjunction with Schichau Seebeckwerft in Bremerhaven, and floated into Hamburg at the end of October 2007.[7][8]

Balmoral in Tallinn, Estonia on July 9, 2013.

The reconstruction added a further 186 passenger and 53 crew cabins, making the ship currently the company's largest. It also introduced 60 new balconies, along with new and modified public areas, all designed to appeal particularly to the British cruise market.[7][9][10]

Titanic commemoration[edit]

Balmoral at the Port of Liverpool prior to the Titanic commemoration, April 2012.

Balmoral was chartered by Miles Morgan Travel to follow the original route of the RMS Titanic, intending to stop over the point on the sea bed where Titanic rests on 15 April 2012, to honor the 100th anniversary of her sinking. She set sail from Southampton on Easter Sunday, 8 April 2012, passing Cherbourg and then on to Cobh, formerly Queenstown, in the Republic of Ireland, arriving on Easter Monday, 9 April 2012.[11] Cobh was the last port of call for RMS Titanic before she set off across the Atlantic.

Balmoral reached the site of the wreck of Titanic in time for the 100th anniversary of the sinking at 11pm on 14 April 2012. A memorial service was held onboard which culminated in three floral wreaths being cast overboard. Balmoral remained at the location overnight and then departed early the following morning, with the intention of reaching the Titanic's intended destination of New York.

Public spaces[edit]

Balmoral has 9 passenger decks, numbered 3 to 11.

The main Ballindalloch Restaurant is on Main Deck 6; two new restaurants (Spey to port and Avon to starboard) were added on Highland Deck 10 when the ship was stretched before entering service with Fred Olsen. Further forward on Deck 6 are the Reception, Shore Tours Office, Photo Gallery and Guest Services, all located around an atrium running up to Deck 7.

Lounge Deck 7 is entirely dedicated to public space with the main show lounge, the Neptune Lounge, forward. It contains a stage which can be raised to improve sight lines. Aft of that lies the atrium, around which are located boutiques and the future cruise sales office. Behind that on the starboard side is the Braemar Lounge, while on the port side lie the Bookmark Cafe, Card Room and Library, with an internet room amidships. Behind them lies the Morning Light Pub, then the informal Palms Cafe. There is a small area of open deck right at the back which contains the aft swimming pool.

The Lido Lounge, with facilities for use by entertainers is aft on Deck 8, with open space and the Lido Bar right at the back.

The Fitness Centre and Atlantis Spa are forward on Highland Deck 10, with the Observatory Lounge on the highest deck, Marquee Deck 11. The sun deck and main swimming pool, plus jacuzzis, lie amidships on the same deck.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Asklander, Micke. "M/S Crown Odyssey (1988)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Balmoral (21506)". DNV GL Vessel Register. Det Norske Veritas. Retrieved 18 September 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Ward, Douglas (2008). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Singapore: Berlitz. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-981-268-240-6. 
  4. ^ BBC: film of Balmoral being lengthened
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  6. ^ "Balmoral cruise ship: Hundreds on board come down with norovirus". BBC News. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Fred. Olsen's Balmoral Undergoes Major Refit". Travel Pulse. Modern Agent. 4 December 2007. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Fred. Olsen's Balmoral". News. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. 4 March 2008. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008. 
  9. ^ "Balmoral". Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008. 
  10. ^ Molyneaux, David G (23 March 2008). "Old World style reborn aboard the Balmoral". Cruise Ship Review. The Miami Herald. Retrieved 10 May 2008. 
  11. ^ "Titanic Memorial Cruise". Miles Morgan Travel. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 

External links[edit]