16 August 2010

Balmoral, 13 July 2009

Balmoral

IMO 8506294
Built 1988, Meyer Werft Papenburg, West Germany
Tonnage 43 537 GT
Length 218,18 m
Width 28,21 m
Draugth 7,26 m
1 778 passengers
4 MaK diesels, combined 21 330 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 20 knots

Balmoral was originally built in 1988 for Greece-based Royal Cruise Line as the Crown Odyssey. As built she was a neat-looking smallish ship, with her nicely streamlined funnel balanced by an oval-shaped observation lounge located below the radar mast. Royal Cruise Line was later absorbed by the Kloster Cruise empire, and on closure of the Royal brand the Crown Odyssey passed to Norwegian Cruise Line in 1996, becoming their Norwegian Crown. In 2000 the Norwegian Crown was transferred to the fleet of NCL's subsidiary Orient Lines and reverted to her original name Crown Odyssey. In 2003 she again returned to NCL's fleet and her old name as Norwegian Crown. Prior to her re-entry into service with NCL the ship was rebuilt with a spa-section above the bridge, ruining the fine lines of her forward superstructure. In 2007 the ship was sold to Fred. Olsen Cruise Line and she was renamed Balmoral. Prior to entering service with her new owners the ship was again rebuilt, now with the addition of a 30-meter-long midsection, further compromising her original good looks. Some reports indicate Fred. Olsen actually planned on removing the spa from the above the bridge, which certainly would have improved the ship's looks. Of course, this never came to pass and the information could easily be a rumour started by an aesthetically-minded ship enthustiast.

Photographs below are of the Balmoral departing Helsinki on 13 July 2009, taken from the breakwater of Suomenlinna's boat harbour. Click on the image(s) to view full size.

Sunlit Balmoral on Kruunuvuorenselkä, with impressive dark clouds looming in the background.
A little less-sunlit, turning towards Kustaanmiekka strait.
Entering the Kustaanmiekka strait, with more impressive (though less threathening) clouds in the background.

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