5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted a taste of river cruising so this seemed ideal. Embarkation at Poole was quick however a little back to front, you picked up your cruise card at the port, then got on the ship to "check in", have passports checked etc, ... Read More
We wanted a taste of river cruising so this seemed ideal. Embarkation at Poole was quick however a little back to front, you picked up your cruise card at the port, then got on the ship to "check in", have passports checked etc, then were taken to your cabin where your room keys were waiting for you. We booked last minute so the only available cabin was "Inside Guarantee" which was surprisingly larger than expected although really disappointed that the beds could not be put together to form a double. No kettle/tea/coffee making facilities. Bath in bathroom was a bonus. Entertainment was pretty basic, don't get me wrong, the all worked really, really hard but don't expect any Broadway type shows! We found the menu in the Restaurant quite limited and basic, and the portions fairly small. Staff were really helpful and friendly, no long waits at either bar or restaurants. Cocktail of the Day was a nice touch. No "snacks" available late night or if you miss breakfast (which ends at 930am) Due to bad weather most out door areas were mostly closed and the crossing both there and back was the worst I've ever experienced, sick bags and sickness pills were in plentiful supply! Both stops (Honfleur and Rouen) were really pretty, we did not book excursions but visited the areas where the shuttle bus dropped you. Casino was a bit of a waste really, only 1 member of staff to run a Blackjack Table or Roulette Table alternatively between giving out tokens for the slots. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this cruise, The British Isles , as the Astora was cruising to the Orkney, Shetland , Tobermory then after Ireland ,The Scilly Isles . The only place on the schedule that we managed to dock/tender was Ireland. This was extremely ... Read More
Chose this cruise, The British Isles , as the Astora was cruising to the Orkney, Shetland , Tobermory then after Ireland ,The Scilly Isles . The only place on the schedule that we managed to dock/tender was Ireland. This was extremely disappointing, after suffering bad weather at sea not able to see places we wanted. The ship was not stable enough and too old for the job. The service on board was excellent......the Captain ( Mr Invisible ) rubbish. I cannot fault the food or service of crew, but we think that the Captain must have known about the adverse weather conditions before we left Tilbury , which had we had the choice we would not have continued with the cruise. We left Cork and were told that we were not travelling to The Scilly Isles or Guernsey , went to Falmouth and Portsmouth instead. I would not choose to sail on this ship again. 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
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose a taster 3 night cruise on this venerable ship out of curiosity .Astoria is the oldest cruise ship, built in 1946, with quite a history to her name . ( other than the luxury yacht Sea cloud) and the chance to sail on a " ... Read More
We chose a taster 3 night cruise on this venerable ship out of curiosity .Astoria is the oldest cruise ship, built in 1946, with quite a history to her name . ( other than the luxury yacht Sea cloud) and the chance to sail on a " blast from the past was irresistible. Our cruise departed from Tilbury, and it was incredible to see this tiny ship, with her remarkable hull sheer and rows of proper portholes. Embarkation was fairly speedy, and we were shown to our deck 5 cabin by a friendly young lady. It was ,as a deluxe ocean view, fairly spacious, with a decent size bathroom equipped with a a good range of toiletries , full sized tub and remarkably, a bidet. The bed was rather too firm for our taste, but would be fine for a few days we realised! There was plenty of storage space in the drawers, and a small wardrobe, with 2 fluffy robes hanging for our use, as well as slippers. We were provided with a kettle and cups on a tray, and surprisingly, on embarkation , were given a plate of tiny canapés and a bottle of wine. All in all a very pleasant surprise , especially as it was a taster mini cruise. We strolled round the curving teak promenade deck, sloping upwards both to stern and prow, then down the steps to enjoy lunch in the open air on the teak after deck, where a buffet lunch was on offer, with nice fresh breads and remarkably low drinks prices. The house wines were decent, and were generously poured by the glass. We explored what was on offer , finding a well equipped tiny gym, a small shop, and tiny library, in addition to pleasant spots to relax . Unlike many ships the officers were visible and friendly, and there was a very relaxed pleasant feeling throughout the ship. Dining was in two sittings, and the maître d was very relaxed about changing your sitting should you choose to. Service was pleasant and quite prompt, with plenty of choice. For breakfast we chose room service from the limited menu, and it was brought promptly by cheerful servers. The itinerary included Amsterdam and Antwerp, and the ships tiny size meant that we could sail right into the heart do these delightful cities. Should the opportunity arise, we would certainly choose to cruise on this ship again, glad to have experienced her character and charm. 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
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The best aspect of this cruise was, without doubt, the entertainment - which was good fun. The onboard-team were so full of energy and enthusiasm and were accomplished dancers and singers - so that was good. The speakers were interesting - ... Read More
The best aspect of this cruise was, without doubt, the entertainment - which was good fun. The onboard-team were so full of energy and enthusiasm and were accomplished dancers and singers - so that was good. The speakers were interesting - however, I was rather taken aback to find that the theme of a few of the speakers talks seemed to be around their Christian beliefs.....there was no mention upon booking that the cruise was to have a Christian element. This did not especially perturb me, I just feel that mention should have been made of this in the information prior to booking. Other aspects of the cruise left a great deal to be desired........particularly in the catering department....the food was just acceptable (in my opinion, and I overheard many others expressing similar views). The meat was almost always tough (I had to send some beef back because it was literally unchewable) the fish seemed like a more acceptable option. The quantities of food at dinner was small - I never felt totally satisfied after an evening meal; very little in the way of veg. and the food all came plated so you could not help yourself to veg. The sweets were poor - generally rather synthetic creamy cakes, or minute portions of ice-cream, and don't even mention the cheese and biscuits! What a joke! A couple of thin slices of 2 different cheeses with a couple of ritz-type biscuits, half a dozen grapes and that was that! Disgraceful really! Lunch-time salads were better. The trouble with lunch-time was the free for all in the buffet-lounge (well, not just at lunch-time, at all meal-times it was like Paddy's market!) Not a great deal of choice andfrequently food would run out - only to be replaced after a long wait, then plates, or cups would disappear, and a queue would form, whereupon 4 cups would be brought out, and a couple of plates! Breakfasts had all the usual fruit and cereals, etc and some very nice omelettes cooked for you if you wished, the rest was rather over-cooked, dried-up bacon, baked beans, tomatoes and hash-browns - not a lot of variety. The biggest criticism of all of the food was that it was served luke-warm and sometimes cold - at all of the meals. The milk was UHT - yuk! For me a big issue was that there was no food in the evening after dinner - we ate at 6.0pm, so by 10pm I would have loved a snack (or, as on other cruises, a buffet) but there was not a thing! No crisps or nuts in the bars, nothing! Each evening the "What's on" bulletin advertised "refreshments in all of the lounges" - but when I enquired at reception I was told that if I wanted something to eat I must use room-service! I thought that the attitude was rather penny-pinching. There was a bottle of water in our cabin on arrival which I opened and drank - to find that that was charged at £2.20p! To use your computer cost £40 for I can't recall how many hours - but,surely that should be included in this day and age? Apparently a whole new crew had been taken on prior to this trip, and it showed! No-one seemed to quite know what was happening - and the more senior staff were reprimanding the newbies in public....."don't pour the drink like that, do it like this....." unprofessional! Shambolic sums it up - and so disappointing when one has so looked forward to a relaxing break with a bit of pampering.....I would not recommend this company, nor would I use them again - which is really sad as she is an attractive ship with so much potential. 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
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