11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
ASTORIA, THE SHIP: Astoria is the world's oldest active oceangoing passenger ship and was originally built and launched as MS Stockholm in 1948. Her capacity is around 540 passengers making her quite an intimate vessel. THE ... Read More
ASTORIA, THE SHIP: Astoria is the world's oldest active oceangoing passenger ship and was originally built and launched as MS Stockholm in 1948. Her capacity is around 540 passengers making her quite an intimate vessel. THE FACILITIES: SIRENES BAR is the “meeting place” on the ship. It’s a small area above the reception desk, holding around 150 guests. The drinks are reasonably priced (see menu shots), and you can purchase additional packages, depending on your circumstances. We picked all-inclusive (CMV Premium) and I think we were better off. In this bar it’s sometimes difficult to attract waiters, and it can take 10 minutes or so to get your drink. I think the fact that the bartender makes and pours all drinks means that the waiters can be waiting to serve their guests. The bar is cosy, but could need a little attention to the chairs upholstery,. LOTUS POOL BAR is the outside bar serving the pool and rear deck. In September this wasn’t open at night. CYCLOPES AUDITORIUM is the cinema and presentation theatre. There are 2 films a day in here, and presentations on various topics. CALYPSO SHOW LOUNGE is the main theatre, holding around 500 guests. Again, drinks are waiter service. The shows, for such a small ship, are very entertaining, being performed by the ship’s hard working “repertory” cast. ENTERTAINMENT as above, is first class from the small team of 4 singers and 4 dancers. They put on some very entertaining shows, ranging from Les Miserables, to Rock and Roll and Wartime Favourites. Special mention to the cruise director, Jon Dulson, who makes sure all entertainment in all bars is top notch. A special mention is also due to the resident band. They are a group of really talented players, some of whom are classically trained and they provided outstanding live music (Unlike some bigger cruise ships where the entertainment is driven by LED displays and recorded soundtracks). THERE ARE MANY OTHER nooks and crannies, such as the library, card room, cigar lounge etc, and of course there is a small gym and spa centre. There’s also a small casino, chapel and medical centre. SHOPPING – you probably aren’t going on a ship like this for the shopping experience, but there are small shops, a jeweller and the obligatory photo shop (although now with a touch screen instead of row upon row of photos on shelves) THE STAFF were always friendly and very helpful. CRUISE SPECIFIC – ours was the Fjords cruise in mid September. Unfortunately we had storms Ali and Bronah to contend with and 2 fjord stops were cancelled due to adverse open sea conditions, prior to getting there, and we were give £50 per cabin compensation for this. The size of Astoria really does mean, in our opinion, that the 7 metre waves we battled against meant a couple of nights very unpleasant sailing, with sick bags in the corridors and advice to the ladies not to wear high heels in the swaying conditions. Also, the presentations on the ship’s trips were very specific in mentioning, for example, the 3 steps onto the Flam railway train, but didn’t mention the very steep gangway needed at some stops, to get onto the jetties. These steps were problematical for some of the elderly passengers. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Have just returned from the Scotland and Faro Island cruise on board the Astoria, first of the itinerary, it included the Orkney's, the Shetlands the Faro Islands and mainland Scotland, for me the highs were the trip to Scapa Flow, ... Read More
Have just returned from the Scotland and Faro Island cruise on board the Astoria, first of the itinerary, it included the Orkney's, the Shetlands the Faro Islands and mainland Scotland, for me the highs were the trip to Scapa Flow, the Loch Ness trip and the stunning scenery, these are places that I have not really thought about going but it is well worth the trip. now about the rest, the ship is old, it can be a bit noisy, it is also very small so some things you take for granted on a cruise were not there, prime example no dressing table in the cabin, all these things you get used to, the cabins are not a bad size and most have manged to fit a bath and bidet in the en-suite, the beds are 2 singles pushed together but we did discover there is a slight list on the ship so my mattress tended to slip, but again I got used to that, the food was good in both the restaurant and buffet, the drinks were a very reasonable price as were the cocktails. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful, they did not constantly push you to buy drinks ect as on most other ships, the photographer always asked if you wanted a picture taken and if you said no that was fine. The ship is charming and this seemed to put people very at ease, the passengers were all very friendly as well which on some cruises never happens! We had the backed Alaska dance by the waiters, something I have not seen for quite a while, but I have to say a big well done to the cruise director and his team, they were amazing, the shows quizzes and extras they did were fantastic. We did have a few rough days, but they offered free travel sickness pill to anyone in need, this ship takes you back in time, if you want bells and whistles this is not the ship for you, if you want traditional friendly and very relaxing I highly recommend. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We have both wanted to see the Northern Lights so when I saw this cruise listed in a brochure from Newmarket Travel we decided to book there and then. Embarkation at Tilbury was very smooth and we quickly settled in to our cabin. ... Read More
We have both wanted to see the Northern Lights so when I saw this cruise listed in a brochure from Newmarket Travel we decided to book there and then. Embarkation at Tilbury was very smooth and we quickly settled in to our cabin. Our cabin steward was very helpful and obliging. The cabin was small but this was not a problem. We had booked several excursions at various ports - these were very well organised and most enjoyable. The only disappointment was the entertainment - the cabaret seemed rather amateurish. But the guest lecturers made up for this - one in particular was a press photographer who gave several talks on photography, her life as a press photographer and how best to take photos of the Northern Lights. The food was excellent and the catering staff (waiters, Maitre D and his 2nd in command) were first class, nothing was too much trouble. We met several passengers who had either travelled with CMV before, or who had cruised on the Astoria (Azores) before - so this was a great endorsement of both company and ship. We certainly intend to cruise with this company again, possibly on the Astoria (Azores) or maybe on one of their other ships. Read Less
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