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Fred. Olsen scraps passenger mask mandate, Balmoral reenters service

Article-Fred. Olsen scraps passenger mask mandate, Balmoral reenters service

Balmoral is the first in Fred. Olsen’s fleet to set sail without a face mask requirement
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines removed its mask mandate at the same time as its third ship, Balmoral, concludes its first itinerary since resuming operations.

Passengers will still be asked to pack a mask for potential use in some destinations, and crew members will continue donning masks. The move is part of a phased reduction in Fred. Olsen’s COVID-19 protocols although pre-embarkation testing and the full vaccination requirement remain.

Procedures regularly reviewed

 ‘We have been regularly reviewing our onboard procedures and know this move will be well received among our guests,’ explained Peter Deer, MD, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

‘Of course, we understand that some guests may prefer to continue wearing a face mask as they move around the ship, and this will be entirely at their discretion. 

‘The health and well-being of our guests and crew remains our utmost priority, and as such we will be operating a phased reduction in our onboard protocols. Pre-departure testing will remain in place at our ports, and we know that this is a measure that is supported by our guests. We will also continue to require all guests to be fully vaccinated to join us on board.

‘These measures help us to ensure our ships remain a safe and enjoyable way to explore the world.’


Balmoral returned to service May 2 with the 16-night ‘Canary Islands with the Funchal Flower Parade’ cruise sailing roundtrip from Newcastle. The ship is the first of the line’s vessels to sail under the new face mask measure having left Newcastle only yesterday, on the same day it arrived back at the port.

The new guidance will apply to Bolette’s next departure from Southampton on May 22 and Borealis’ departure from Liverpool on May 15. The two ships returned to service last summer, Braemar will begin sailing again next spring.

A 'big milestone' 

Balmoral will split its summer sailings between Newcastle and Rosyth, before a programme of winter sailings from Southampton and Dover under new captains Valentin Giuglea and Steffan Ravneng at the helm. 

‘Welcoming our wonderful Balmoral back into service is a big milestone for us,’ added Deer. ‘Having three ships sailing means we can offer departures from even more regional ports, and we are so pleased to have Balmoral returning to offer sailings from Newcastle and Rosyth again this year. 

He went on to congratulate the two captains on their promotions after years of working as officers in the Fred. Olsen fleet. 


Balmoral passengers will experience scenic sailings along the Norwegian fjords and the River Seine in France.

In the coming weeks, passengers will have the chance to witness the Midnight Sun and Arctic Norway, explore the historic towns and cities of Tallinn and Riga and experience the Iceland’s Golden Circle.


Balmoral will operate a 15-night ‘Rugged & Remote Spitsbergen’ cruise on June 22 sailing roundtrip from Newcastle, calling: Olden, Norway (overnight stay); cruising Nordfjord, Norway; Maloy, Norway; cruising Nærøyfjord, Norway; cruising Torghatten, Norway; cruising Seven Sisters Mountain Range, Norway; crossing the Arctic Circle, Norway; cruising Trollfjord, Norway; cruising by Djevelen Tanngard, Norway; Honningsvåg, Norway; cruising North Cape, Norway; Pryamiden, Norway; cruising by Nordenskiöldbreen, Norway; cruising Tempelfjorden, Norway; Longyearbyen, Norway; Tromsø, Norway; cruising by Black Glacier, Norway; cruising Nordfjorden, Norway; Åndalsnes, Norway; cruising Romsdalfjorden & Isfjorden, Norway.

On July 16, the ship will embark on a ‘Historic Cities and Islands of Sweden, Estonia and Latvia’ cruise leaving/returning Rosyth, Scotland. The 13-night journey comprises: Liepaja, Latvia;  Saaremaa, Estonia; Tallinn, Estonia; Stockholm, Sweden (overnight stay); Visby, Sweden; Riga, Latvia and Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Later in the summer on August 3, the ship will operate a five-night Norwegian Fjords cruise also sailing roundtrip Rosyth. The programme will consist of: cruising Lysefjord, Norway; Bergen, Norway; cruising Nordfjord, Norway; Olden, Norway; cruising by Hornelen, Norway.

On September 23, Balmoral will venture to France from Dover calling Rouen and Honfleur before returning to the Kent port.   

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