7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We had enjoyed a previous cruise on the Marco Polo, and wanted to see the areas covered by this cruise. The entertainment was an added bonus. We so enjoyed Nadia's attitude and spirit that we will be looking for whatever ship she ... Read More
We had enjoyed a previous cruise on the Marco Polo, and wanted to see the areas covered by this cruise. The entertainment was an added bonus. We so enjoyed Nadia's attitude and spirit that we will be looking for whatever ship she is on in the future when planning our next cruises. It is rare to find such a fine performer on a cruise ship. The shore excursions are well planned and organized, and the check-in process in Tilbury is much smoother and better organized than most other cruises we have taken. The ship itself is one of the smallest and oldest out there, but that gives it an ambiance that is sadly lacking in the newer ships, and makes the shipboard entertainment much more personal and enjoyable. Other cruise ships try to simulate the small-scale entertainment experience, but on the Astoria it is the real thing. We enjoying listening to the classical music in the lounge far more than a steady diet of pop music. Nadia's music reminisces of the days of Schubert and Mozart, where the music was fresh and original. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This cruise offered the opportunity to visit parts of the British Isles which are normally expensive or difficult to get to and the visits ashore were the best part of the holiday. The Astoria (formerly the Azores, the Stockholm, and ... Read More
This cruise offered the opportunity to visit parts of the British Isles which are normally expensive or difficult to get to and the visits ashore were the best part of the holiday. The Astoria (formerly the Azores, the Stockholm, and other names) is an old ship which has been well maintained and rebuilt several times. The small cabins with baths and public rooms were well looked after and the ship seemed to work well apart from constant engine vibration which was commented on by several passengers. The catering and food was adequate and the meals were obviously done to a budget which could only be expected as the ticket price was lower than prices charged by other companies. The free coffee though was very poor and the tea and coffee station in the Lotus Grill was badly organised with frequent queues. The entertainment was satisfactory but there were no talks about the places to be visited. Very little information was given from the bridge about the ship's position or why delays occurred in docking or other matters of interest. This ship should be regarded as a floating overnight hotel which can visit ports of interest which larger ships cannot reach. Serious cruisers might wish to choose larger ships. However as a value for money holiday which includes a lot of shore time in interesting places the Astoria is a good bet. Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This review covers a 19 day B2B of Norwegian Fjords and Round Britain. It was supposed to be the final voyage of Astoria (nee Stockholm) for Cruise and Maritime Voyages(CVM). It was an opportunity to catch a piece of history before she ... Read More
This review covers a 19 day B2B of Norwegian Fjords and Round Britain. It was supposed to be the final voyage of Astoria (nee Stockholm) for Cruise and Maritime Voyages(CVM). It was an opportunity to catch a piece of history before she might have sailed into the sunset. Unexpectedly, CVM renewed its charter on Astoria for 2018; so not historic but still a very satisfying experience. A few words first about the ship. Astoria has had many names and modifications over the years. She is not the Stockholm but is a venerable ship. Carrying just over 500 passengers, Astoria provides a cruising experience that almost no other cruise ship can provide in terms of intimacy, convenience, absence of crowding and ease of embarkation and disembarkation, both at the beginning and end of the cruise and at the intervening ports of call. Astoria handles fairly rough seas surprisingly well for such a small ship. We had several days of gale force wind and 10 ft swells in the North Sea, Irish Sea and the Channel. The captain announced the potential for rough weather and cautioned passengers to be careful moving about the ship. We missed one scheduled port (St Peter Port) due to weather, but here it was an issue of the tender procedure from ship to shore and not the ability of the ship. Cabins are on the small side but more than adequate with the novel feature of a full sized bath tub (plus a bidet) in each bathroom. CMV has not done an outstanding job with the bedding; the mattresses are thin and the support structure is unforgiving. In response to some comments in other posts, we had a cabin on Pacific Deck (deck 2) aft, and had no issues with noise or vibration. Within the limits of the entertainment space, CMV does quite a good job of providing evening entertainment ranging from small ensemble production shows backed by a quality band to individual acts, such as comedians, magicians, and the like. Quizzes are ubiquitous aboard. A classical duo (piano and violin) was first rate and played on multiple occasions each evening. In addition to evening entertainment, our cruises included quality guest lecturers and first run films to provide diversion when on board. Dining on Astoria is a pleasure. Our dining room staff were courteous and efficient. While I would not award Michelin Stars to the kitchen, the food was easily of the quality one would expect on the larger (and significantly more expensive) cruse lines. The buffet area is not well laid out but handles the smaller passenger complement with ease. As an American, I desperately missed a cold drink option with meals (Iced Tea seems to be some form of sin for this UK line). Also, CMV would do well to do the little things that make a meal experience more enjoyable, such as salt and pepper on the tables, rather than the tiny paper packets that are inevitably not picked up requiring a trip back to the buffet. One further comment on dining, some accommodation should be made for “lite bites” during the not infrequent periods that both the dining room and the buffet are closed. CMV offers a nice selection of shore excursions at reasonable prices. We availed ourselves of several during our 19 day back to back cruise and found each of them well organized and enjoyable. Embarkation and disembarkation at Tilbury were smooth and uneventful. On returning to Tilbury at the end of the cruise,which included some non-UK ports, there were no immigration or customs formalities at Tilbury. Access to the ship at some ports is difficult, often using a mobile staircase with no ramps available. Astoria is definitely not wheelchair friendly and poses a significant problem for anyone with mobility difficulties. (To be fair, this drawback is clearly explained in CMV's literature.) 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
72 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Following booking our cruise my wife read the reviews on the Astoria which were not good. So with anticipation meet the ship at Avonmouth parking our car in a secure compound opposite the booking hall. The booking in process was very ... Read More
Following booking our cruise my wife read the reviews on the Astoria which were not good. So with anticipation meet the ship at Avonmouth parking our car in a secure compound opposite the booking hall. The booking in process was very efficient. Boarding the ship for some passengers was difficult due to the steep steps, one must remember the ship is old and retains the original features of yesteryear. On board we were greeted with friendly smiling faces. Then shown to our cabin, lunch followed which was vey good. Our cabin was well appointed with a bath which must be unique now a days. The ship had a good feel about her and you felt you were on a ship rather than in a block of flats. We sailed on time heading along the coast of Wales and then North through St Georges Channel rounding the top of Scotland towards Norway visiting Eidfjord, Flam, cruising Sognefjord, Geirangerfjord, and Bergen. We were very impressed with the level of service from the hard working crew, the food was very good hot and varied. The cleanliness of the ship was to a high level, nothing was too much trouble and service was with a smile. The shows were exceptional varied and entertaining as were the speakers giving talks during the day. It is good to see a company looking after the classic smaller ships and maintaining them to a high standard. We would sail on her again. Astoria is a grand ship long may she sail the seas. Read Less
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We choose this cruise for the destinations, embarkation was simple and quick in Avonmouth. The cabin was bigger than expected and kept nice and clean, by the helpful cabin steward.The entertainment was very good for the facilities at their ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the destinations, embarkation was simple and quick in Avonmouth. The cabin was bigger than expected and kept nice and clean, by the helpful cabin steward.The entertainment was very good for the facilities at their disposal, the team worked very hard. Not enough seating around the ship internally, as weather was very bad you could not go outside on deck. The food was quite nice, but nothing special, the portions were minute, and if like us you were on early sitting you had nothing to eat until breakfast. We have never been so hunger on a cruise before, no tea or coffee after midnight either. Breakfast was alright so long as you didn't want hot food, it was always Luke warm, but cold meats and cheese were fine. Excursions were very expensive, it was a fraction of the price to do the trip independently. Ship old and well worn and had loud engine noises throughout the cruise, making it difficult to sleep. This is not a cruise for anybody under 70 years old. We sailed in terribly rough conditions force 9 and 10 gales, furniture, crew and passengers were being tossed around the ship, we were like a cork in a washing machine, very dangerous, serveral passengers were seriously injured and had to be flown home. A really awful experience, were we feared for our lives. We missed out on two ports due to weather conditions, I have it all on video, please watch and see for yourselves, as Cruise and Maritime, did not take my comments seriously and trivialised our complaint. I have been as fair and accurate in this review as possible. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Ship recently refurbished to a high standard. Good size standard cabins. Very good food with an ambitious menu. Good entertainment every night and films showing every night.a programme throughout the day with some very interesting ... Read More
Ship recently refurbished to a high standard. Good size standard cabins. Very good food with an ambitious menu. Good entertainment every night and films showing every night.a programme throughout the day with some very interesting lectures. Pleasant , attentive staff. Only one complaint about the ship and that is the very steep gangway steps which made it difficult for anybody with mobility problems Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We chose this cruise because it was reasonable in price, and we wanted a smaller, more intimate ship. We were not disappointed. It was all great fun. OK, so Azores is not a glitzy ship - there are limited things to do, and it was a bit ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was reasonable in price, and we wanted a smaller, more intimate ship. We were not disappointed. It was all great fun. OK, so Azores is not a glitzy ship - there are limited things to do, and it was a bit tired looking. But the crew were wonderful, helpful and looked after us very well. If you want a smallish ship then try this one. And the price was very reasonable. We had an upgrade cabin to a junior suite, and started the trip really well with a free bottle of champagne and canapes in our suite - off to a good start! Food was good - wine was limited, but the alcohol package, although expensive, gave us the choice of a huge bar menu. House wine was dull. Excursions were well organised and interesting, and most of the lecturers were really good. Embarkation was swift and efficient, but disembarkation was tiring and slow. The swimming pool was tiny and really not used. But then the ship is not very big. The floor shows were fun, and enormous energy was expended by the dancers and band. If you want a cheap, fun holiday in a small ship, this is the one to try - but don't expect glitz or glitter. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Yes, it is a small ship, but it was very well fitted out and we boarded with high hopes. Soon dashed by discovering we had been 'upgraded' from a Superior Cabin of 16 sq m to a Standard Cabin of 11 sq m! Apparently being a few ... Read More
Yes, it is a small ship, but it was very well fitted out and we boarded with high hopes. Soon dashed by discovering we had been 'upgraded' from a Superior Cabin of 16 sq m to a Standard Cabin of 11 sq m! Apparently being a few decks higher and having a view of the bottom of a lifeboat for a week counts as an upgrade. We had two single beds with a tiny cupboard between., and an (unwanted)fridge with a fixed TV on top, No other surface on which to put ANYTHING. Small wardrobes meant keeping some clothes in the case under the bed. Food? Acceptable. Shop? Selling left-over souvenirs from the last trip - to Norway!! No items reflecting where the ship was going, perfumes of the Lady Gaga, celeb-type, no clothes - never saw a guest in there. Tea in restaurants comes via hot water in flasks and teabags. No tea-making facilities in cabin. Bottle of water? That'll be £2.20, thanks. Their idea of 'activity' on board - quiz after quiz and standing in a corridor throwing bean bags around. On the plus side - bathroom excellent with super shower (might have been more comfortable than the cabin), boarding and disembarking best we have come across, very good cabin steward - rest of the staff suddenly improved on the last day when people were thinking of cancelling their £5 a day tips! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Worst cruise we have done (out of 6). Boat old and noise from engines bad. Crew not at all passenger orientated. Captain invisible. Entertainment very amateurish. Things to do onboard poor. Some lectures good but tour presentations poor. ... Read More
Worst cruise we have done (out of 6). Boat old and noise from engines bad. Crew not at all passenger orientated. Captain invisible. Entertainment very amateurish. Things to do onboard poor. Some lectures good but tour presentations poor. On board shop a joke. Food was not good in either dining areas. Tours not good value, (better to do it yourself). Would not use Cruise & Maritime again ever. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This cruise ship was advertised as refurbished. We found that only the public areas were spruced up. The gangway was steep and very was not an inviting sight to embark the ship by. We spoke to one lady who said she was not leaving the ... Read More
This cruise ship was advertised as refurbished. We found that only the public areas were spruced up. The gangway was steep and very was not an inviting sight to embark the ship by. We spoke to one lady who said she was not leaving the ship because it appeared unsafe to her. We had been upgraded to a so called Delux cabin right next door to the auditorium (Cinema) that had its last showing up to midnight. And was also one of the corridors to the disco. This closed at 2am. We had booked a double bed and were told the original room was a double. The Delux cabin itself was shabby and did not feel clean. The toilet was very small and not as described in the brochure. After declining this cabin we were finally allocated was much bigger and brighter and had two windows. However we didn't foresee the up and coming problems. The bed was comfortable but we could not sleep on the first night because the room was to hot. In the morning my wife pointed out that the clothes in the drawers she was using were very warm. On inspection we noticed the fridge was overheating and the air conditioning not cooling the room enough. My wife reported the problem at 10am, after she visited the Spa and returned to the cabin it was found that nothing had been done to solve the problem had done. My wife said she would sit in the reception until the problem was solved. The guest Service Manager was summoned, her reply was I can't come because it's Gala Night and I am due to go on stage with the captain. She was fortunate because we could not get our problem sorted out. I asked the housekeeping manager to accompany me to the cabin, wher I pointed out the overheating fridge. I asked her to have the fridge disconnected and advised her that the fridge was a danger to the whole ship because it was overheating. We were informed that the air conditioning was boosted and because of this some passengers were complaining that their rooms were to cold. On day 6 we noticed the bedding had been changed and found it to be filth with blood stains the mattress topper had also been change and this was also filthy. The steward informed us that she was only doing what she was told. Incidentally the Guest Service Manager never asked at any stage of the cruise if the problems had been resolved. This ship was built in 1947 and in many areas showed its age. But the main problem we found was the attitude of the crew. We paid for drinks packages and registered our debit card. We were advised on the brochure that if we had registered a credit/debit card we could use it up until we disembarked the ship. However when we went to the bar we were informed we would have to pay cash. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Cruise and Maritime “Fjordland Splendour” 9 day cruise to the Norwegian Fjords, aboard the MV Azores. Excellent cruise totally exceeded my expectations. The MV Azores is small, 16,144 tons, 7 decks, 550 passengers but it has all ... Read More
Cruise and Maritime “Fjordland Splendour” 9 day cruise to the Norwegian Fjords, aboard the MV Azores. Excellent cruise totally exceeded my expectations. The MV Azores is small, 16,144 tons, 7 decks, 550 passengers but it has all of the facilities that you need. I won’t go into the ship’s specifications as they can be found on the company website ,suffice to say that cabins, food, bars, entertainment, lectures and service are all of a very high standard. We booked in September 2014 so we had time to research the ship and the itinerary. We originally booked a basic inner cabin on the lowest deck. Without asking, we got upgraded 11 cabin levels to a Premium Twin Ocean View on deck 6 with 2 full windows (thankyou Cruise and Maritime) which worked out well as the stunning fjord views could be enjoyed from inside our cabin as well as from the public rooms and decks. We also took advantage of the all-inclusive drinks package which was good value and £17 per person per day. The ship is 67 years old but has been superbly re-fitted with all public areas pristine and there are no parts of the ship that look “tired” or are in any need of a face lift (as has been the case with some of the other ships we have been on). There are many smaller rooms you can use as well as the larger bars and lounges, again, all offering comfortable and well upholstered seating, tables, plush carpets and a good standard of decoration. Three bars, serving a variety of drinks, including many cocktails, the majority of which were included in the drinks package. The house wine was good and there were other, premium varieties on offer which attracted an extra charge. Two restaurants, the Lotus buffet and the Olissipo restaurant, both having broadly the same menu for breakfast and lunch, varying a bit more for dinner. Open seating apart from dinner in the Olissipo restaurant which was held in two sittings at specific tables. We dined in the buffet for breakfast and lunch, then in the restaurant for dinner. All of the food was very good, but I would describe the restaurant dinner as being superb, 5 courses, varied menu, something for everyone and beautifully prepared and presented. I did like the service in the buffet as well, which was self service but with a waiter/waitress serving you from behind the counter. You could ask for as much as you wanted and you could return for more if necessary but I think this method did cut down on the disgraceful amount of waste that occurs when greed takes over from common sense and fully loaded plates end up with half eaten food on them. Also in the buffet, there is unlimited tea and coffee from 06:00 to midnight. Entertainment was good, aimed at the older, all adult clientele, based mainly in the Calypso show lounge. Abba and Queen plus 60’s rock and roll for example. The comedian, Andy Leach went down well, a combination of comedy, magic and Derrick the exploding ferret (he’s only a puppet). There was live music in the bar and the shows were supported by a 5 piece live band. I also attended the lectures in the auditorium, presented by Geoffrey Farrell, history of the Vikings, nature of Norway, early shipbuilding, the Hanseatic League and the northern sky, all of which were interesting and informative. The auditorium was also used as a cinema a certain times of the day. Also on the entertainment front, every room had a flat screen TV with channels that varied dependant on the reception but with a forward looking camera on the bridge, a GPS based map, film channels and a preview of the DVD that was being filmed as the cruise went on. Although we would not normally buy a DVD such as this, the fjords were so stunning that we thought still pictures may not do justice to the holiday, so we bought the DVD on this occasion, finding the standard of production to be exceptionally good, with narration and other information added regarding the places visited. At £24.99, again, good value. Excursions could be pre-booked and I would recommend this when wishing to visit popular places such as the Flam railway, as I was later aware that some independent travellers failed to get on the train as it was full. Excursion prices were a bit expensive, but, Norway is an expensive country so it’s difficult to judge. As Norway uses the Krone, the ships reception was able to change small amounts of Sterling for passengers (cash to cash, not using the on-board spend system) and we found this to be at a slightly better rate than the Norwegian Tourist Information offices, where Krone can also be obtained. We did find that, contrary to information we got from the Internet, some popular places will take Euro’s (and even Sterling) but this cannot be guaranteed and certainly the attractions such as the Bergen funicular railway was Krone only. You can use your debit card of course but it’s worth having a small amount of local currency. As mentioned, our cabin was on deck 6 (cabin 643), well appointed with twin beds, plenty of storage space, bathroom with bath, shower, WC, bidet, shaver socket and hair dryer, electronic safe, all nicely decorated and with two large windows, offering great views of the fjord waterfalls and scenery. The cabin steward was never far away and made sure it was clean, tidy and well stocked on a regular basis. There were other facilities we didn’t try, the spa, deck games, quizzes for example and the pool was closed, due to the Norwegian temperatures. There was also a night club. I did pay a short visit to the gym which was small but adequate, which also offered free classes for work outs to repair the damage to the various parts of the body that the restaurants had inflicted!! I haven’t said too much about the itinerary as the Norwegian fjords speak for themselves. Huge snow covered mountains, massive waterfalls, stunning scenery and you do spend a fair bit of time cruising through the fjords during the daylight hours which is both pleasant and relaxing. We were slightly fortunate as the snow had not yet melted on the mountain tops so the waterfalls were in full flow. Also, at the time of year we went it was light for about 22 hours of the day. I should mention that, throughout the whole 9 days, I, personally, didn’t hear one person moaning about anything, and with 550 Brits aboard, that’s quite an achievement. I did hear (second hand) that there were a couple of moans somewhere but I suppose there will always be those who refuse to make happiness last a whole week. Just a few tips: Buy the drinks package. Pre-book excursions that you really want to do. Take a small amount of local currency. Make use of the events, demonstrations and lectures that are offered, particularly during the days at sea. In summary, although Cruise and Maritime are a relatively new company, I was very very impressed. They nailed it for me. The cruise ship, crew services and itinerary all exceeded my expectations by a considerable margin and would wholeheartedly recommend this Cruise and Maritime Voyages to any potential cruiser. Cruise and Maritime - Take a bow!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We sailed from Bristol for our round Britain cruise on mv Azores (Cruise & Maritime). She used to be called mv Athena. An elderly ship but traditionally refitted. The decor was attractive everywhere. Because there were only 550 ... Read More
We sailed from Bristol for our round Britain cruise on mv Azores (Cruise & Maritime). She used to be called mv Athena. An elderly ship but traditionally refitted. The decor was attractive everywhere. Because there were only 550 passengers there were no queues for anything and we found everyone very friendly because you saw the same people several times! Food in the traditional dining room was wonderful - very high standard. The waiters all seemed to love their job and joined in the fun dressing up as pirates one day! We loved the promenade deck and there were plenty of tables and chairs and loungers round the small pool. The bar was comfortable and where the quizzes and classical music took place. The cruise director seemed to be everywhere! Very efficient and friendly and knew exactly what was going on. Our cabin (Superior Twin) was roomy and comfortable, the steward efficient and quite shy. It was lovely to be able to walk back to your cabin without having to walk for miles and miles. Because of rough seas we were unable to use the tender to get into Tobermory or Stornoway which was disapointing but understandable. So quickly the company arranged for us to move on to Kirkwall then an extra stop at Invergordon. Kirkwall was great as we visited the 5,000 year old village that had been uncovered by a storm, Skara Brae and the standing stones at Brogeda. Invergordon was a bit of a disappointment, not much to do there but the company laid on a fabulous Scottish folk song and dance group and a piper for an afternoon shindig on board. Great fun. They had organised a trip to Loch Ness which we did not go on. My one niggle was as the ship is quite old, being built in 1948 the engine noise was apparent at bed time...good job we took our ear plugs. We'd definitely go with Cruise & Maritime again, a great British cruising company. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
My partner decided to book this cruise due to excessive travel insurance costs on any cruises calling at Spanish territory or even in fact Dublin. We had travelled with Cruise & Maritime on the Marco Polo to the Western Med and also to ... Read More
My partner decided to book this cruise due to excessive travel insurance costs on any cruises calling at Spanish territory or even in fact Dublin. We had travelled with Cruise & Maritime on the Marco Polo to the Western Med and also to the Fjords and thoroughly enjoyed the service and ambience on a small and friendly, age-related ship. The Azores is a recent addition to their fleet this year and being even smaller, we felt would be to our taste. It was disappointing to receive a telephone call 2 days before departure advising of a 24 hour delay due to the ship's late arrival from Lisbon on the previous itinerary and also the cancellation of the port visit to Stornoway in order to catch up with their schedule. However, a generous compensation package was offered, 20% of cost of cruise onboard credit plus a 25% discount on future cruise booked on one of their ships. Directions to BRISTOL Avonmouth were excellent and after dropping partner and luggage and parking on dockside, embarkation was on time and efficient. Although the cruise terminal at Bristol Avonmouth does lack the style and comfort levels of Southampton or Dover, we were soon onboard and escorted immediately to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting. There was time to visit the Buffet before the obligatory Liefeboat Drill which was conducted very professionally. Our cabin was clean and spacious with a rather small TV which had some UK channels plus the route map and bridgecam and two in-house film channels which changed daily and shown on a loop. Cabin service was excellent and unobtrusive. I cannot commend the Entertainment team enough - Daniel was the Cruise Director and also one of the two male vocalists and he worked so hard. He was even in charge of cruise terminal embarkation. The band and dance troupe were very slick and professional providing excellent variety and the onboard comedian Lee Carroll did two excellent evening shows. Newly appointed Deputy Cruise Director Cerys, with a lovely voice was on her first contract, as was Jordan (second male vocalist) who was the star of the cruise for us. His youthful appearance belied his talents and he was everywhere from Daily Quizzes, Scattergories, Bean Bag Bowls and Deck Quoits and the whole team responded excellently to adding entertainment activities once it was confirmed that the port of St Mary's, Scilly Isles had to be cancelled due to bad weather. The Dining Room was very pleasant, although the closeness of tables must have made the waiters job a nightmare! Food was plentiful and of an excellent standard - with a special mention for the afternoon tea scones! The shore excursions did seem expensive, as on most cruises, but with some forward planning and use of local tourist information points, satisfactory trips could be made. Apart from Honfleur in Normandy (which was a pure delight in warm sunshine) all other ports were by tender (ship's lifeboats). I would also like to commend the crew who assisted passengers in these quick tricky manouevres in often choppy seas. Although disappointed with the cancellation of St Mary's, we were rewarded with the best weather of the trip with warm sunny skies and calm seas all afternoon round Lands End and return through the Bristol Channel. Disembarkation was calm and efficient with plenty of seats for everyone waiting to be called and luggage already waiting in designated areas in the terminal building. A thoroughly enjoyable cruise where we met many like-minded lovely fellow passengers and we hope to sail again soon on the MV Azores. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to ... Read More
This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to get back to Avonmouth for the Monday morning embarkation. Instead it was sailing from Plymouth and coaches would be available to transfer customers from Avonmouth to Plymouth. I decided that this was not for me so I paid for a taxi to transfer me from the hotel I was staying at in Clevedon, to Plymouth at a cost of £160.00.This turned out to be a good move as the coaching operation was fraught with errors and problems resulting in some passengers not getting their luggage until 11pm.The ship had if fact been in Plymouth since the early hours of Sunday morning , so why it could not make Avonmouth for Monday morning was a mystery. On boarding the vessel it was apparent that not much money had been spent on the restoration with the only visible refurbishment being crockery in the Acores motif and a coat of paint on the outside in its new livery, of which much was missing by the time we arrived in the Caribbean. The air conditioning did not work resulting in unacceptably hot cabins. We asked for an engineer to check our cabin and he came and removed the air filter from the system and turned it up full manually and that is how it was left. In the public rooms, the dining room was far too hot ranging to cold in the auditorium where you need a blanket. Many cabin safes were either not lockable or once set up and locked you could not open them again. When questioned we were told that the safe engineer was not on board and they were trying to contact him in Spain for the security codes. The Wi Fi did not work on the outward journey and was switched off on the Wednesday we were supposed to be home. The next fiasco was our first tender port where five lifeboats broke down, resulting in myself and my wife having fifteen minutes ashore before we had to get the last lifeboat back to the ship so we could keep up with the schedule. This was the ship that had just rock and rolled (and I mean Rocked and rolled) across the Atlantic ocean with over 400 passengers aboard and only three serviceable lifeboats out of eight! The captain came over the tannoy to apologise for the situation and the following day we had another tender port and lifeboat No 5 again broke down for one and a half hours, resulting in us having just one hour ashore before having to return to the ship. Two Islands missed, the only two we had been to before! The whole ship seemed to be poorly maintained with officers speaking to staff appallingly in front of passengers resulting in poor staff moral. We sailed on regardless, making the most of the situation and then we received a letter on the 20th of February 2015 the contents of which is below. I would point out that at that time we had not had any bad weather and we were on course and did arrive on schedule at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on the 21st of February 2015. The letter read; To Whom it may concern. Please be advised that passengers in possession of this letter were aboard cruise ship Azores operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Due to severe sea conditions experienced over the last few days the ship docked later than originally planned at Bristol Avonmouth Cruise terminal on Wednesday 25th of February at 11.30 hrs, thus causing a delay to our passengers onward travel arrangements. As passengers on the vessel had very restricted communication access they were unable to make changes to their travel arrangements in person, as insisted upon by most travel insurance providers. We would therefore kindly request you amend their booking, free of charge, to enable them to travel to their destination on an alternative train or coach. Thanks you for your assistance with regard to this matter. Signed T.J Jerrard Shortly after leaving the Azores the Captain announced further changes to or arrival date as he was taking us to Lisbon to avoid a storm. This resulted in another letter detailing our arrival would now be 2.30pm on Saturday 28th February 2015 in Avonmouth. We finally arrived in Portland Dorset on Friday 27th at noon, with more coaches arranged to get people back to Avonmouth. Once more I got a taxi at £160.00 to take me to Clevedon where our car was parked . However to their credit the show team were excellent with lively shows each evening , and particular credit to Jordan who was a last minute addition to the cruise and at just 21 was breath of fresh air around the ship. Lectures were disappointing with two of them repeating lectures they had given on the way out, on the way back, and the ship relying on passengers for four lectures on the cruise. Food was at best average with much pre-prepared produce used and no fresh food and fruit appearing to be taken on in the Caribbean. Wines in particular were very expensive at an average of £23.00 per bottle for very mediocre wines. The overall feeling I have for Cruise and Maritime is that they have no consideration for customers and use their reception staff as a barrier to avoid you speaking to senior officers who could and should have given clearer and more accurate information as to the delays and the changes of port. We will not be sailing with Cruise and Maritime again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
I have cruised many times with many operators, but never with an operator who does.not understand cruising! Whilst I enjoyed the cruise as such, I do not blame the officers and crew for the awfullness of the ship Azores. We were informed ... Read More
I have cruised many times with many operators, but never with an operator who does.not understand cruising! Whilst I enjoyed the cruise as such, I do not blame the officers and crew for the awfullness of the ship Azores. We were informed that this was the inaugural trip of the Azores to the West Indies, but unfortunately the powers that be misinformed the passengers that this ship was 67 years old a fact that we celebrated on board. There was so much wrong with the ship that it should have been in a maritime museum NOT on an Atlantic crossing at this time of year ie January-February when the Atlantic can be at its strongest wind and wave strategy. This ship was just NOT up to this crossing. Whilst the captain and crew tried to eliminate panic be saying "our paramount importance is for your safety" this was continually said over the loud speaker system. Lets be honest here - the ship just wasn't up to this type of voyage at this time of year. Cruise & Maritime have a great deal to learn about cruising if they really want to become a serious operator of the seas. The waiters were new to their positions and didn't really know what to do, in fact I had to tell one waiter that a puddle of water on the floor could cause an accident and perhaps he should mop it up. This should have been done by the Maitre-de. The food was very mediocre, in fact I didn 't see one ripe tomato in the salad area at lunch time, and the dining area at times there was not a single item on some days that I could enjoy. Other times there was a good choice, but this was few and far between. The cabins, were just about adequate, being on deck 4 outside. The wardrobe was a single size for two people on a 30 day cruise, with no laundry room. There were many difficulties in the cabin ie, the safe had to be reset every other day, then there was trouble in the bathroom, with the door not closing hence banging all night long, and the hairdryer broke just after the first use, then the tap fell off the basin with hot water running. Had to wait over 24 hours for this to be repaired, when I demanded to see the Captain, "low and behold" I had help within 10mins. It was obvious that the ship was just not ready for this voyage, in fact engineers were still on board from Lisbon and disembarked when we returned to Lisbon before the transatlantic crossing. When we eventually arrived in the West Indies, we found that some of the tenders were not working properly - hey ho, we now have to think about the return crossing. Some of the trips ashore had to be cancelled because of this, and infact I wasn't able to go ashore at all.When I asked to buy some dollars, I was told to come back tomorrow to the reception desk.I returned only to be told they wouldn't arrive til 5pm, I returned again at 6pm, but NO dollars, in fact the ship didn't have any dollars or euros on board to sell to their passengers, even though they were sailing to the ports which dealt with $s and Euros. Because we had to return to Lisbon for shelter from the storm before returning to UK,many passengers didn 't have enough medication ie, they were only allowed to bring 30days medication with them, hence they had no option but to buy from the Doctor on board, who charged £60. The passenger was told by the doctor that she couldn't purchase her tablets from a Farmacie in Lisbon, but only on board. Whilst I prefer to cruise with the smaller ships, this was an appaling experience as far as cruising goes. Cruise & Maritime, you have a long way to go before you can even consider yourselves as maritime people. I hope you can learn from experienced cruisers!!!!!! Never again will I cruise with Cruise & Maritime, you need to "Up" your standards.   Read Less
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