Apr 2023 - Fred Olsen Balmoral - Kiel Canal

This was our first trip on the Balmoral - one of the older ships in the Olsen fleet but her smaller size means she can squeeze through the Kiel canal. One of the largest able to do so.

Our first night - Colour and Taste Asian fusion restaurant. Superb food and service, with beautiful views all around. (upcharge applies- £10pp if booked before cruise, £15pp during cruise, well worth the small cost)

Coconut shrimp, delicious.

Beautifully cooked Sirloin with shitake and oyster mushrooms in a hoisin sauce.

Day 2 at Sea

After negotiating the busy Channel we head to the North Sea before turning towards Hamburg.

                                                          Hot tubs a lovely 38 degrees!

Day 3  Hamburg

St Nikolai spire in the centre & St Catherine's church on the right, dates back to 13th century. The baroque-style spire is copper coated topped by St Catherine's gold crown. The roof is still brown as the copper is new and has not yet oxidised to verdigris.


Hamburg is a city of water. It's the second largest city lying on the river Elbe. The much disputed Schleswig Holstein is to its north & lower Saxony to its south. Bridges, canals and tunnels crisscross the city. Most warehouses are still in use today, although not as residences due to flooding.

Brooksbr├╝cke or Brooks Bridge complete with Barbarossa statue & St Nikolai memorial spire.

The Elbphilharmonie concert hall is one of the largest in the world, costing €870 million & 10 years in the making. Built atop a former warehouse.

Leaving Hamburg behind, we enter the Brunsbuttal locks at midnight heading east. We will transit the Kiel Canal overnight. Our daytime crossing of the canal will be in a few days' time on our return from Rostock (Warnemunde).

Day 4 Kiel

Arriving into Kiel and the Baltic the following morning, we save 2 days or 250NM.

Arriving in to Kiel

 We visit the impressive Kiel Maritime Museum for a guided tour, which was a former fish market.

Day 5 Warnemunde, Port of Rostock

The following day sees us in the popular cruise stop of Warnemunde. Having visited here twice before we take a trip out to the Molli railway. The train driver tells us this engine was built in1932.

We have the smoke & grit in our hair, standing at the open vestibule for the entire journey, the trip takes 40 minutes to steam along the 9.5 mile narrow gauge track through avenues of Linden trees.

The Molli Steam Train was built in 1886 by the Duke of Mecklenburg to take him from his summer residence in Doberan to his beach house in Heiligendamm, it now continues through to the genteel, unspoilt spa town of Kuehlungsborn full of well preserved large villas, cafes & shops.

And then on to the Doberan Munster. A medieval abbey from the 13th century

We left Warnemunde quite late so there was plenty of time to explore the picturesque streets of the harbour town.

The Cruise Terminal is right next to the DB train station - last time we were here we took the train into Rostock which is easy to do and worth it (just for the cakes) never mind the beautiful city.

Day 6 Kiel Canal Transit

We the did a full scenic cruise of the Kiel canal in the daylight.

Its amazing just how busy and vastly important this waterway is to shipping.

By 3pm we have arrived back at the North sea from the Baltic. 

Day 7 Bremen

Bremen is a beautiful medieval city

Its also well known for the brick allley ways of the Schnoor quarter with its intricate Brickwork.

The Town Hall and Cathedral

Cruising back up the Weser River from Bremen to the North Sea.

Day 8 at Sea

A Fred Olsen Speciality - the Seafood Buffet Lunch . Lobsters Galore... 

Day 9  Southampton

Home again

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