Balmoral, the most recent ship to join Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' fleet, is now at the Blohm+Voss Repair shipyard in Hamburg getting a newly constructed midsection and a major refit. The Balmoral will begin its cruise program from Dover in January. The ship, formerly Norwegian Crown, will be extended by 99 feet. The extra capacity will create an additional 186 passenger and 53 new crew cabins. In addition, 60 new balconies will be added while public areas will be modified and new areas constructed. The mid-section was built in conjunction with Schichau Seebeck Shipyard in Bremerhaven and floated into Hamburg at the end of October. Balmoral is scheduled to leave the shipyard on Jan. 18 for sea trials and will be handed over to Fred. Olsen in Dover on Jan. 22.
The ship will depart on its inaugural cruise to the Canary Islands on Jan. 30. It will make its maiden voyage from Miami on March 3, the first of four Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in March and April. Following those voyages, Balmoral will return to the Mediterranean for the summer cruising season. Balmoral -- named after the Queen's summer residence in Aberdeenshire -- was delivered to Royal Cruise Line in 1988 under the name Crown Odyssey. After the takeover of Royal Cruise Line by Norwegian Cruise Line in 1989, the ship was renamed Norwegian Crown. In 2006, it was sold to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and chartered by Star Cruises/Norwegian Cruise Line until November 2007. After the reconstruction at Blohm + Voss Repair, the cruise ship will resume its voyages under the name Balmoral. For more information, visit www.fredolsencruises.com.