Torn between an ocean cruise and a river cruise? Try both, as Fred Olsen’s Balmoral takes to the River Seine.

The ship that thinks it is a river boat will sail from Southampton on a three-night mini cruise to Rouen and Honfleur in France.

The itinerary is busy, with an overnight call to Rouen, scenic cruising along the River Seine, and an afternoon in Honfleur. That still leaves time to relax and enjoy the facilities onboard.

For newcomers, three nights gives you a better understanding of cruise holidays, the Fred Olsen brand, and of small ship cruising than a one- or two-night alternative.

Your three-night break begins on a Saturday where Balmoral will await in Southampton. Sailing in the early evening, you can watch the Hampshire coastline pass on by as you head out to sea. Early on Sunday, the ship will arrive in Rouen where it will stay overnight. It leaves early in the morning (I reckon before 6am) which means you could book into a fine French restaurant for a long, relaxed dinner should you wish.

Scenic river cruising follows as the ship sails back up the River Seine to Honfleur. The stay here is short, with an afternoon to spend at your leisure. Later that night, Balmoral heads back across the English Channel back to Southampton.

In January, only the brave will take to the steaming hot tubs on Balmoral, but thankfully there are toasty warm lounges to observe all that beautiful scenery you will pass on your short journey. You could head to the spa for a well-deserved massage with a view across the Seine if you are lucky.

Balmoral is a lovely ship. I spent a week on her in an ocean view cabin on a cruise that included scenic river cruising and I loved the atmosphere onboard. The food is great, too!


  • Enjoy a long weekend break, sailing on a Saturday and returning on Tuesday morning.
  • Get the best of both worlds with an ocean cruise combined with a river cruise as Balmoral travels the River Seine.
  • Enjoy a long stay in Rouen and a brief afternoon in Honfleur.

The Route

The map above shows point-to-point lines which may cross land. Do not worry, your cruise ship will stay on water all the way! Mapping is approximate and the markers are based on city locations and not necessarily the ports. The itinerary for this mini cruise is:

1Saturday 20th January 2018SouthamptonLate afternoon
2Sunday 21st January 2018RouenEarly morning until early Monday morning
3Monday 22nd January 2018HonfleurEarly afternoon to late night
4Tuesday 23rd January 2018SouthamptonEarly morning

Times are estimates, and itineraries are subject to change. Occasionally, cruise lines alter itineraries based on the weather or prevailing events at the time of the cruise.


This ship has sailed

Sorry, the ship has sailed on this mini cruise. There are many more mini cruises to choose from though.

More choices

Not quite right? Here are some other suggestions that may suit better.

Last updated on 10th May 2017 by David Fiske

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