Balmoral was built as Crown Odyssey for the Royal Cruise Line and floated out of her building dock at the 1st of november 1987. At the time, the ship measured 34.242 tons and her lenght was 187,71 meters. She had a width of 28,21 meters and her draft was 7,26 meters. The ship was built at the wharf of Jos L. Meyer in Papenburg, Western Germany and was one of the first cruiseships that was completed by the wharf. The first one was launched just one year before, the Home Lines ship Homeric. Crown Odyssey was built under yardnumber 616. She sailed with a capacity of 1209 passengers and 443 crewmembers.
The homeport of the ship was to be Piraeus, Greece and her trials were held between the 28th and the 31st of december 1987. She was named at the 14th of may 1988 and sailed her positioningvoyage between Emden and Tilbury at the 4th of june of that year. Her first cruise in the Baltic was from Tilbury and began at the 7th of june.
In 1990, the homeport of the Crown Odyssey was changed to Nassau so she started flying the Bahamian flag. Royal Cruise Line was a part of the Klosters Group, who's most important brand was the Norwegian Caribbean Lines. When the group ran into financial difficulties in the mid-1990's, Klosters had to close down their two other brands, Royal Cruise Line and Royal Viking Line. Because of this move, the Crown Odyssey was placed in the fleet of Norwegian Caribbean Lines, almost at the same time rebranded as Norwegian Cruise Line. Her new name was brought in line with the new naming strategy of the company, and she became the Norwegian Crown in june 1996. This was only for a few years, because she was transferred to another company that was bought by Klosters, Orient Lines, in the year 2000. She was going to sail as a partner to Orient Lines only ship, the 1964-built Marco Polo. For this, the Norwegian Crown was renamed to her old name Crown Odyssey. She sailed for Orient Lines for just under three years, because she was again transferred back to the Norwegian Cruise Line in february 2003. For this, she was renamed Norwegian Crown again, and she was modernized at the Singapore Technologies Marine wharf. Here, she recieved more balconies and her spa was enlarged. Her second first cruise for NCL started at the 15th of september 2003 and took her to New England from Baltimore.
Below, the ship is shown as Norwegian Crown, photographed in Amsterdam at the 30th of august 1997. Behind her is the former Spanish ferry Juan March, sailing as Ocean Majesty at the time. The ships are seen at the old quay in Amsterdam, before a true passengerterminal was built. Actually, because there was no terminal at all, it was very easy to hop onto the quay itself, even get aboard one of the ships berthed. On this day, I managed to get aboard Oriana, that arrived shortly after I took this picture, but I was kicked off soon afterwards...
She had a little mishap just afterwards, at the 25th of september, when her propeller was damaged when she ran into a fishing net close to Boston, Because of this, two stops had to be cancelled. And the fisherman had the catch of his lifetime... In may of the following year, the ship was struck by a Norwalk-like virus and 26 of her passengers were reported to be ill.
On the 25th of may 2006, the Norwegian Crown was sold to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines but the ship was chartered back by NCL untill the end of november 2007. After her service with NCL ended, Fred. Olsen send the ship to the Harland & Wolff yards at Hamburg, Germany where she was rebuild, updated and lenghtened for her new owners. After a three month rebuilding, the ship emerged as the Balmoral, still recignizable as her former self but rebuilt extensively. Her new tonnage is now 43.537 and her new lenght is 217,91 meters. Of course, she also has now a larger passenger capacity, she can now sail with 1778 passengers served by 471 crewmembers on her ten passengerdecks.
On january 21st of 2009, Balmoral had a rough cruise in the Bay of Biscay when she met some 50ft high waves. Two passengers suffered severe injuries and had to be hospitalized in La Coruna, Spain. A special event was planned for her in 2012, when she was chartered to Miles Morgan Travel and she sailed the original path of the Titanic to commemorate the 100th years anniversary of the big White Star liner's sinking. At the 15th of april she stopped at the exact place where the liner sank in 1912 for a memorial service.
The pictures, of course the second one as an exception, were shot at IJmuiden at the 2nd of september 2011.