Balmoral birthday bounce in the Bay

//Balmoral birthday bounce in the Bay

balmo_splash.jpgThere’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than taking a cruise. Which is why I jumped at the chance to join a trip on Fred Olsen’s Balmoral last week. It also helped that I had not previously visited any of the destinations on the itinerary.
Unseasonably good weather accompanying us all the way . . . until the last couple of days. It was a bit rough during the night as we headed west from Avilés to La Coruña and by the time we came to leave, Captain Robert Bamberg was warning that we would be sailing into the teeth of a Force 8 gale as we set off to cross the Bay of Biscay.
balmo_splash2.jpgBalmoral’s bouncy departure was captured on camera by José Ricardo Rodriguez Montero – the full video is at the foot of this item.
Until that point we had enjoyed unseasonably warm and sunny weather on our visits to La Rochelle – from where I took an excursion to the fascinating Île de Ré – Bilbao, and Avilés.
It wasn’t just me who was a first-timer in the Asturian city; Balmoral was making her maiden call, and becoming headline news in the local papers. In fact, according to the reporter and photographer from La Nueva Espana who accosted us in the town’s Plaza de España we were only the second cruise ship ever to visit, and the first was Olsen’s Braemar.
Returning to Balmoral was a bit like going home to an old friend – it was my third cruise on the ship – and it was good to see it sailing full with 1,381 passengers and 512 crew aboard. As it was half term, there was a good number of families and children on board, but the kids were never intrusive.
Next October will see Braemar taking a similar cruise, but with a visit to Nantes and an overnight stay in Le Verdon for excursions to Bordeaux. The 10-night voyage, with fares from £979 per person, leaves Dover on October 4, 2013.
Fittingly, for a cruise visiting several French and Spanish wine-producing regions, TV food and wine expert Jilly Goolden will be on board, talking about her favourite subject and leading tasting sessions.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:41+00:00 6 November 2012|Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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