Fred. Olsen Balmoral Cabins to Avoid

Balmoral is the longest-serving ship still sailing for Fred. Olsen, and also the oldest in the fleet too, having originally been built in 1988 and serving as the ship Crown Odyssey for the now-defunct Royal Cruise Line.

Yet despite her age, she remains very popular with Fred. Olsen guests, as she has been caringly refurbished over the years. Her accommodation options, in particular, remain comfortable and welcoming, but there are a lot to choose from – and with the ship being older, she has some quirks that make some rooms less appealing to some guests than others.

In this guide, I’ll help you filter between all the cabin options on Balmoral so that you can find the ones that are most suitable for you and see which you should avoid.

How To Choose the Best Cruise Cabin

While this guide is tailored towards Balmoral, there are some tips which apply to any cruise ship and any cruise line. I’ve made a handy checklist so that you always have those tips to hand, and you can get a copy sent straight to your inbox…

There are 710 cabins and suites that you can choose from onboard Balmoral – not a bad selection, but at the same time, that’s a lot fewer than many of the largest ships in the world, which have thousands.

Within those cabins and suites, there are 17 different options available, from the smallest single interior rooms to the very best suites. Here’s a breakdown of all your Balmoral accommodation options:

CabinTypeCategoryMax. GuestsDecksAverage Size (sq. ft.)
Single InteriorInsideN13, 6130
InteriorInsideH, I2-43-6160
Single Superior InteriorInsideM19160
Superior InteriorInsideG28-9160
Single Ocean View (Porthole)Ocean ViewL13140
Ocean View (Porthole)Ocean ViewF23-5165
Single Ocean View (Picture Window)Ocean ViewK14, 8165
Ocean View (Picture Window)Ocean ViewD, E24-5165
Superior Ocean ViewOcean ViewB, C25, 6, 8165
Single Balcony CabinBalconyJ18218
Balcony CabinBalconyBA28-9248-260
Single Balcony SuiteSuiteJB19270
Balcony Junior SuiteSuiteBJ28-10279
Superior SuiteSuiteSS29, 10341
Marquee SuiteSuiteMS210472
Premier SuiteSuitePS210601
Owner’s SuiteSuiteOW2101,181

Balmoral Room Sizes

Most of the rooms on Balmoral are a standard size, but there are a few that fall within a range. The best thing you can do is check out the Balmoral deck plans on the Fred. Olsen website, as you can then browse to see which of the rooms is the biggest – they’re accurate and to scale, so if a room looks bigger on the deck plans, that means it is.

Here are some of the Balmoral cabins you might want to avoid – though they aren’t ‘bad’ cabins, just some that you may or may not prefer.

1. Porthole Cabins

Portholes on Balmoral

Many of the Ocean View cabins on Deck 3-5 have portholes instead of a larger picture window. You aren’t limited to just one porthole, you might get in a row – but the experience isn’t the same.

Porthole cabins aren’t really any good if you want to enjoy the view. You need to bend over and peer through, and with them being lower on the ship the views aren’t great anyway.

Inside a porthole cabin on Balmoral

If you don’t care about the view, and only want some natural light, then these cabins are a good choice (and they’re cheaper than Picture Window Ocean View cabins). Otherwise, consider booking another cabin type if you want to be able to enjoy that sea view from your cosy cabin.

2. Cabins Under the Pool Deck

Premier and Superior Suites 1007 to 1024

Whenever I write guides on cabins to avoid, one of the most common complaints I find is about noisy cabins, typically above the theatre, or near the engines. But to be honest, the noise complaints on social media and forums for Balmoral are almost non-existent. That’ll be helped by the typical audience, who generally aren’t late-night party animals, and the fact that the lowest cabins aren’t super-close to the engine deck.

One potential noise issue is with the pool deck, which is directly above some of the Suites on Deck 10. It’s not the actual pool that can be noisy, but the decking area when people wake up early and go to move/reserve a lounger for the day, scraping it across the wood.

If you’re someone who tends to be awake early anyway then it’s not much of a problem at all. The sound is muffled, after all, and it only lasts a few seconds at a time at most. However, if you’re a lighter sleeper and those cruise lie-ins are important to you, consider booking one of the suites further back on that deck.

3. Higher Cabins If You Suffer Seasickness

Balmoral cabins to avoid for seasickness with arrows

Balmoral isn’t a tiny ship, but she is a little older, and without some of the latest innovations in stabilising technology, that does mean you can often feel the movement of the boat on the water, especially when you’re towards the front or aft (rear) of the ship and on a higher deck.

The way Balmoral’s accommodation is designed, the better cabin classes are further up, because they offer better views. I saw a great phrase when researching this guide – “The more you pay, the more you sway”, because the better a room you book, the higher up you are.

You can avoid this if you book a mid-ship cabin, since the motion is felt less there, but if you suffer from seasickness really badly then I’d recommend a lower deck.

Balmoral docked

4. Connecting Cabins If Not Needed

Like many cruise ships, Balmoral has connecting cabins. These are side-by-side cabins with an extra door between them, which normally stays locked on a cruise. However, if you book both adjacent cabins, you can ask for the door to be unlocked and essentially create one larger cabin for your travelling party.

This is the only other time where noise could play an issue though, because connecting doors on cruise ships are always worse than a metal wall for soundproofing. So, if you book one of the connecting rooms, you might hear the other guests in the adjoining room through the door.

Loud, rowdy passengers are rare on a Fred. Olsen cruise, so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern for you, but again light sleepers (especially if loud snoring drives you mad) might want to make sure they don’t get one of these rooms.

There is one problem though, and that’s that Balmoral doesn’t have its connecting cabins marked on the deck plans. You might want to contact the cruise line if this is a bigger concern for you.

5. Balcony Suites If You Hate Smoking

Balcony room on Balmoral

One of the quirks of Fred. Olsen cruises is that smoking is still permitted on balconies. Very few cruise lines still allow this, and usually have very limited smoking areas on the ship.

So, be aware that if you book a Balcony Suite of any kind on Balmoral, you might be adjacent to someone smoking. An ashtray will be provided, too.

On a windy day, it might not be too bad as the smoke is quickly carried away, but I know some people hate the smell of smoke, so it’s good to be aware of these rules.

I suppose, if you are a smoker, this also makes these rooms even more appealing since you don’t need to trek to a designated public area to have a cigarette or use your vape.

However, it has been announced that this policy is changing and, from 1st April 2025, smoking and vaping will be banned on all balconies across the Fred. Olsen fleet. So, if you are concerned about smoke, it won’t be a problem for much longer.

6. Deck 3 Rooms With Potential Noise Issues

Deck 3 on Balmoral

Again, Balmoral is a relatively quiet ship and noise complaints are rare. But if you do choose a Deck 3 cabin, be aware that you might hear a little more than you would elsewhere on the ship.

Firstly, you’re closer to the engines, so the vibrations can sometimes be felt, especially in cabins near the mid-ship (there are no aft cabins on Deck 3).

It’s also where there’s a big laundry room, the medical centre, and the arts and crafts room, so traffic during the day can be a little hectic between crew and guests.

If you want your cabin to be somewhere peaceful, aim for a higher deck instead.

Here’s a look at some of the best cabin options on Balmoral:

1. Owner’s Suites

Owners Suite on Balmoral

The Owner’s Suites are the best accommodation options on the ship. There are two, each offering almost 1,200 square feet of space – that’s around six times the amount of space you get in the smallest rooms on the ship.

They are still only one-bedroom accommodation options though – that extra space gives you a much bigger bathroom with an oversized bath, a separate shower, a spacious private balcony with loungers, and separate dining, dressing and sitting areas too.

You also get the Suite Dreams package, which comes with all the suites on the ship, which gets you:

  • Priority check-in
  • A welcome bottle of sparkling wine
  • A fruit basket topped up throughout the cruise
  • Free pressing for formal wear
  • An afternoon canape service
  • Use of binoculars, an atlas, a bathrobe and slippers in your suite, along with more luxurious towels
  • Discounted laundry

So, while this is the most expensive option on Balmoral, it’s worth considering if you want your cruise to feel even more special.

2. Single Cabins

single balcony suites

Solo cruising is growing in popularity across the cruise industry, but it’s always been a popular option with Fred. Olsen. And so, Balmoral caters to this with a range of single options, including interior and ocean view. But what’s really unique to Fred. Olsen is the option to book a solo suite – normally on a cruise, you’d be paying full price for two people if you wanted to enjoy a suite on your own.

If you’re looking for a solo cruise option to meet new friends, then Balmoral’s range of accommodation options is one of the most varied of all cruises.

3. Aft-View Cabins

9091, 9098

There are just two cabins on Balmoral that offer an aft view, being positioned right at the back of the ship and looking out over the wake.

Your own opinion matters here, but it’s widely believed that the aft views are the best on a cruise ship, since you get to enjoy the serenity of the scenery fading away.

These two rooms are hard to secure since they’re typically going to be popular, but if you have the chance then I’d recommend it.

What is the Best Deck on Balmoral?

The best deck on Balmoral is Deck 10, which is where you’ll find most of the suites on the ship. Normally you want to cruise with cabins above and below to minimise noise but on Balmoral, noise is rarely an issue.

Being on Deck 10 not only means getting some of the best accommodation options but it also means you’re close to the pool and sports decks, yet not too far from the restaurants either.

What is the Best Room on Balmoral?

The best rooms on Balmoral are the Owner’s Suites but there are several good options, including the Premier Suites and the range of Single Cabin options. The least popular rooms are the Porthole rooms.


Don’t miss the latest Fred. Olsen offers…

Find More Information About Balmoral Cabins

When researching this guide I spent time on social media and cruise forums to help find the cabins that people wanted to avoid. To be honest, I had to look a little harder than normal – complaints are few and far between!

If you want to do your own research, read some Balmoral reviews and see Balmoral cabin pictures, consider checking these resources out for yourself:

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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