Balmoral cruise on offer at ball

A FANTASTIC auction prize has been donated to the Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball.

A FANTASTIC auction prize has been donated to the Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball.

Ipswich-based Fred. Olsen Travel is supporting the glittering event with a Captivating Christmas Market cruise.

Sharon Ingle, sales and marketing manager at Fred. Olsen Travel's Head Office in Ipswich's Crown Street, said: “We are delighted to support the Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball, this is a fantastic event which raises huge sums for it's deserving charities.

"The prize is an outside twin cabin on the Captivating Christmas Markets cruise on board the Fred. Olsen Cruise Line's ship Balmoral.


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"Departing Dover on December 12, 2009 for seven nights the cruise visits Copenhagen, in Denmark, the Keil Canal, in Hamburg, Germany, and Amsterdam in The Netherlands before cruising back to Dover."

The prize includes accommodation, meals and entertainment on board

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Organisers have described the auction prize as a "massive boost" to the success of the fund raising evening.

Since the inaugural ball in 1997 the Press Ball has raised thousands for charity and this year the Press Ball organising committee has chosen the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as the 2009 beneficiaries.

Star editor Nigel Pickover said: "The Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball will be a dazzling night and this is a brilliant auction prize and a massive boost to the event.

"We cannot thank Fred Olsen Travel and other firms and organisations for their astounding generosity."

The event will be held at the Hotel Elizabeth Copdock on Friday June 19 with music dancing fine food and wines followed by an auction and tombola with prizes donated by businesses and organisations.

As announced in The Evening Star, headline acts will include rock legend and soul sensation Ray Lewis of The Drifters fame who will perform at the Soul Ball themed night of nights.

Regularly and strongly supported by the county's business community the Press Ball is once again sponsored by Ipswich firm Call Connection.

For more information on Fred. Olsen Cruises please visit Fred. Olsen Travel's Shop at 20a Upper Brook Street, Ipswich or call 01473 232929. Fred. Olsen Travel also have shops in Felixstowe, Colchester, Bury St Edmunds and in store at Williams & Griffin, Colchester and Jarrold's , Norwich plus they have also recently acquired Thorpe Travel in Norwich.

Have you been helped by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust? Write to Your Letters Evening Star 30 Lower Brook Street Ipswich IP4 1AN or send an e mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Previous press ball special guest stars have included magician Paul Daniels, comic Bobby Davro, singer Tony Hadley and pop group Bucks Fizz.

Press Ball bosses are today offering the chance for the business community to offer their help to raise cash for the event's chosen charities

If your business or organisation would like to donate a raffle or auction prize to the event please contact Bridget York on 07961 430599

WHAT'S it like on board?

JAMES MARSTON, who went aboard the Balmoral as the toured the Mediterranean last year, remembers.

IT takes a little while to get your bearings aboard the Balmoral

Named after the Royal family's Scottish estate and larger than the Ipswich-based cruise line's existing ships, the 43,537 ton Balmoral is compact enough to offer an intimate, homely atmosphere.

Nevertheless with 11 decks, three restaurants, a theatre, a fitness centre, a pub, a library, several bars, and even a launderette... there's a lot to take in.

With 738 cabins, 1,400 passengers, and a crew of 471, at any one time Balmoral has a sizeable population.

Once on board though the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.

People are chatty and relaxed and there is a holiday atmosphere. You quickly meet people and make friends.

The days are given over to port visits or, if at sea, activities such as deck quoits, daily quiz, talks and theatre shows, music and relaxing.

During the evenings passengers take drinks and cocktails in the ship's stunning Observatory lounge

Set at the forward end of the ship, this lounge allows passengers a panoramic view of their journey, or the port they are staying in that day.

The large windows afford fantastic views which are enhanced with the help of plenty of binoculars spaced around the lounge.

A grand piano provides background music as guests enjoy a pre-dinner drink or prepare to dance into the small hours on its glass dancefloor.

Dining is an event, sometimes black tie at other times less formal, meals are taken in a variety of restaurants and dishes typical include asparagus fricassee, chilled strawberry soup, corn fed chicken supreme and chocolate and cappuccino mousse cake. The wine flows. Staff are attentive and numerous, nothing is too much trouble.

After dinner it's time to take in a show in the ship's theatre, take a stroll on deck or retire to a bar.

Cruising aboard the Balmoral is a civilised and gracious way to travel.

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