Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has just announced the cancellation of the inaugural cruise of its latest ship, Balmoral, due to depart for the Canary Islands on January 30.

The ship has just undergone a very extensive refit, including a substantial lengthening process, which is an extremely complex task.  A number of technical issues have now arisen and, consequently, further essential work must be undertaken before the ship can commence her cruise program.

Fred. Olsen's managing director, Mike Rodwell said: "Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that we had to take this difficult decision and have apologised to the customers affected by it. The complex lengthening and refurbishment work onboard has been ongoing since we took delivery of the ship in November 2007 and we were confident that the vessel would be ready for service in good time. However, a number of unforeseen technical issues have emerged in the past week and these have led to this unfortunate decision being taken".

The cruise line is fully compensating all passengers and the second planned cruise, to the Caribbean, due to depart Dover on February 13, remains on schedule.