Part of the charm of our ship is something never seen
by visitors. While those who have spent long hours there may not view
it in the same way, Balmoral's Officer's accommodation is a time warp.
Wooden built-in furniture, brass fittings and lights, traditional
instruments and beautifully made folding wash stands designed to save space
by folding up when not in use.
When the ship was fitted with new hull plates, the
woodwork was carefully removed by our volunteer craftsmen and is now being
refurbished and replaced so that the whole area remains as it was when she
went down the slipway at Southampton four years after the end of the Second
The various cabins are fitted out for the officers
according to rank. The Master and Chief Engineer have the best,
with each junior rank having slightly less space and a lower level of
accessories and fittings, although no less functional. Despite the
wood and brass, this was still a working ship and there is no attempt to
hide the pipes and cable trunking that passes through the cabin area.
However the quality of workmanship and the care is clear to see.
Interestingly, if you lift a hatch in the floor, you can see into the bilge,
the bottom of the ship. Despite being built in 1949 and riveted
together ( time consuming but a superb way of joining metal ) the hull is
absolutely dry. Most ships have some water in the bilge.
Balmoral's hull is dusty. A tribute to the craftsmen who built her.
Just waiting for the Captain to come off duty.
Officers cabins are unaltered and still in amazingly
good condition after her years of service. Each has an original folding
Hot water is provided by a steward who delivers it in a jug !
These have yet to be restored but even have the
original chair and desk in place.
Accommodation for the crew and stewards isn't so well appointed but is
There is always a waiting list of people who want to sign up for the Summer
The Purser has the best place on the ship. He is in charge of the money
and tickets and is the business manager. He sleeps on the job, in a
cosy cabin behind the Purser's Office.
This is in the deckhouse behind the funnel and away from the bustle and
commotion of a busy ship ... once the passengers have disembarked !