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

The ship, which was previously NCL’s Norwegian Crown, has just undergone an extensive refit, including lengthening the middle. A number of technical issues have arisen meaning further work must be undertaken before the ship can start its cruise programme.

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

Fred Olsen 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”.