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23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My husband & I have taken around a dozen cruises with various lines inc. P&O Royal Carribean, CUnard, Celebrity, MSC & Fred. We took this short cruise to determine how we felt about the ship and cruise line before thinking of ... Read More
My husband & I have taken around a dozen cruises with various lines inc. P&O Royal Carribean, CUnard, Celebrity, MSC & Fred. We took this short cruise to determine how we felt about the ship and cruise line before thinking of any longer duration. We fortunately caught the cruise coach from London Victoria to Tilbury - we had no delays and went straight to check-in on arrival at the port, unlike many other passengers, many of whom waited over an hour & a half simply to get into the car park, after having done battle with the M25 traffic. So far, so good. We arrived at our cabin, deck 6, at the rear of the ship - quite large in size - slightly surprised with the twin bed formation - but we got used to it - apparently we were told there are only 10 'Queen' beds on board. However, the beds were comfortable and the pillows, small but reasonable too. However there were no tea-making facilities in cabin which is surprising for a cruise line that prides itself on a traditional British cruise - we need our tea!! Also you need adaptions to use the plugs, again unexpected. The shower curtain however was a real pain! It's about 2 inches too short to reach the floor, so the bathroom floor gets wet and the curtains will insist on sticking to you when trying to shower. Don't get me started on the noise!! I've never heard such a din - not just the usual drone but banging, clanking and high whining vibration especially when starting the approach to a port - so 5am wake-up call was to be expected. Food was good, tasty although portions were not large, but with a potential 5-course menu - it wasn't necessary to go hungry and if you fancied trying an extra of anything our waiter was very happy to oblige. Our Wine steward was also very helpful and pleasant and it was a very nice touch that a complimentary drink was offered on the last night on the Company" -cheers!! There was one formal night, and most dressed appropriately however there were an odd few who only managed to sport a tea-shirt and jeans. One big complaint - I only drink Soya milk, which was available on the Buffet at breakfast but unavailable anywhere else on the ship for a coffee - it was quite a task to actually take a cup of milk from breakfast and ask one of the Baristas to make me a Latte using it. Afternoon tea was fairly standard - buffet style but one day had lovely raisin scones with jam and cream - this was followed the next day by Cheese scones still offered with jam and cream - different.!! Late night snacks were brought round the lounges on the 1st & 3rd night, unfortunately there were not enough to go round on the first evening - or some folks got more than their fair share! Middle night of cruise saw a "Magnifique Buffet" with ice sculptures and carved fruit/vegs - lots of sea-food available, much to my husbands delight. The entertainment team were good, shows were of reasonable standard, especially the ABBA inspired show. But the best was the Cabaret provided each night by members of the Entertainment team. We enjoy dancing - this was not as good on the ship as others we have experienced. The dance floor was on the small side but the main problem was the musical duo couldn't seem to maintain any sort of tempo throughout a song, so what initally appeared to be a rumba or cha-cha would slow down or speed up and then the inevitable key-change so just went on, & on ..... We both experienced some treatments in the Spa and really impressed by both our therapists - very good treatments, really relaxing and reasonably priced. What a shame that the tannoys are not turned off (or at least down) to prevent the sudden announcements fro breaking into the relaxation time. However one of the biggest gripes of the whole expereince was the first Port - Ghent - 8 shuttle buses for everyone who wanted to take themselves independently into Ghent - a 26 min drive away (hour- round-trip). We had been waiting for a shuttle for around 40 minutes when the crowd were told there was an hour delay - so taking the hour round trip into account, we (together with a considerable number of others) gave up and spent the rest of the day on-board. Many people were very unhappy with this situation and the cruise director got quite a bit of stick for this. Next stop at Amsterdam was better - just a 10 minute walk into the centre. We never saw, or even heard the Captain, or indeed any of the Senior Staff, which was unusual. All announcements were made by a the Passenger Director (or something).A large number of the crew were from Ukraine, according to the information in the ships bulletin, who tended to be rather off-hand, with smaller numbers of Indonesian and Filipino waiters who were as attentive as ever. We docked 2 hours late on our return to Tilbury as a result of the adverse weather conditions experienced overnight. We were in quite a storm. However, after nearly a dozen cruises, including across the North Sea, the Baltic, Fjords, Bay of Biscay and a Transaltantic - this was the worst experience I have had, pitching and rolling and in fact, the first time, ever - I succumbed to the sick-bag (sorry) . We were amused to watch the usual window washing whilst in port - this consisted of a hose-pipe fitted with some shower-like attachments being dangled over the side and swung from side to side - ingenious! We met some very nice people and have answered our question - would we go with them again - Sorry - not for us. We like smaller ships but this was not really up to speed in our opinion. Fred do small much better, as do some of the other smaller ships available with other lines. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife and I chose this cruise to the Baltic and St Petersburg because we wished to enjoy the experience of visiting the ports to which the ship was destined - in particular St Petersburg, which we had never visited. As my wife is ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise to the Baltic and St Petersburg because we wished to enjoy the experience of visiting the ports to which the ship was destined - in particular St Petersburg, which we had never visited. As my wife is disabled and dependent on a manual wheelchair to move around, it was important that at each port of call we would be able to go ashore and to journey around that location, even though we understood that we would not be able to make us of the various coach trips offered, as none of the coaches would be wheelchair-accessible. We took care to ascertain that at each port the ship would berth alongside, so that nowhere would disembarcation involve having to use a tender to get ashore, and also that the 'Marco Polo' had side loading ports through which the quayside could be reached by appropriate gangways. Let me first say that the facilities aboard were superb, and we were highly delighted with both the cuisine and the accommodation provided (we had booked an accessible cabin, one of only two such aboard the ship, having explained the nature of my wife's disabilities). We were pleased with everything aboard the ship, including the friendliness and help provided by all officers and members of the crew. The cabin was excellently and comfortably equipped, and both the cabin stewards and the catering staff provided exemplary service throughout the voyage. Because this is an elderly ship, the thresholds from one part of the ship to another were sometimes rather prominent and thus difficult to cope with in a wheelchair, but we accepted this as an inevitable consequence of the ship's construction. We have been on other cruise lines' ships in the past, and found that the 'Marco Polo' compared well with our previous experiences aboard P & O and Thomson. The grave problems which emerged, and resulted in our having to give an 'average' raing to the cruise in spite of the excellent features mentioned above, is that we found it impossible for my wife in her wheelchair to disembark from the ship at either St Petersburg (our primary reason for choosing this cruise) or at Stockholm. The reason was that at both ports, instead of a ramped gangway which we could have negotiated, and which was used at the other four ports of call during the cruise, at these two ports mentioned above the ship deployed a stepped ramp which could not be negotiated in a wheelchair, even with my own assistance. Thus we were unable to make the planned shore excursions together, and my wife was compelled to remain aboard the ship at both ports throughout their stay, and was unable to go ashore either in Russia (where we had pre-booked a private tour of the Hermitage) or in Sweden. As the only passenger who was dependent on a wheelchair for getting around, she became the sole person aboard who was denied any opportunity of disembarking from the ship at either port. It is thus clear that this ship, while it has adequate facilities for the disabled passenger in the two disability-eqipped cabins aboard, is totally unsuitable for any person who is dependent upon the use of a wheelchair for going ashore, even with the full-time assistance of her (or his) spouse or carer - a total disappointment which ruined our holiday. What makes it worse is that we were given no warning of this eventuality until six weeks before the sailing day, at which there was no opportunity to cancel the holiday without losing all that we had paid (we had paid the costs for the cruise entirely by the end of the previous December), and even then we were only told that use of the stepped ramp was a possibility, not a likely scenario. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We are a middle aged (50s and 60s) Australian couple who took back to back cruises, first to Iceland, second to Russia etc in April and May this year. We chose these two cruises for the destinations offered and the fact we were able to ... Read More
We are a middle aged (50s and 60s) Australian couple who took back to back cruises, first to Iceland, second to Russia etc in April and May this year. We chose these two cruises for the destinations offered and the fact we were able to pick up a 2 for 1 offer, very attractive as we have to factor in the cost of airfares to fly to Europe. We have cruised 10 times previously, on a number of lines, in a number of regions, including two long cruises of similar timeframes as the two we are reviewing on Magellan. Overall, we would rate the experience as two and a half. As the second cruise offered exactly the same food, daytime activities and production shows, we were able to compare. Embarcation in Newcastle was fine for the first cruise, a muck up on the second (no-one appeared to know how to deal with passengers who were staying on; the Reception staff were clueless). Lifeboat drill has been discussed previously in the Reviews: it was certainly the most informative we have sat through but, as stated by other reviewers, the procedure to follow would cause chaos. Thankfully, we did not have to go a second time. Cabin 5015 aft was large, light, plenty of hanging space, but more drawers would have been appreciated, particularly bedside. The shower was as hot as you liked, with excellent pressure, the best ship shower we have encountered. It was so quiet, which is a blessing as nothing can ruin a cruise more than a noisy cabin. Even with the huge seas we encountered on the Iceland cruise, the cabin did not rattle, creak, bang... and the cabin steward went about his job quietly and efficiently. Ice was requested at 6pm each day and it appeared as requested each day without fail. However, the cabin was terribly hot and as stated by many reviewers, it is impossible to change the cabin temperature, you can only change the air flow. This will need to be addressed before the world cruise as it would be unbearable to try and sleep in a cabin when cruising in the tropics, Asia and northern Australia. Production Shows These were the best we have enjoyed over all our cruises, yes, better than the wizzbang American ships. The costumes each night were amazing, and the singers and dancers could not be faulted. Some of the American ships would benefit from seeing what is achieved by this group of singers and dancers. Birthday We often cruise when one of us has a birthday and on every other ship you can buy a cake, flowers, balloons, blah blah. As they are grossly overpriced we don't bother. Magellan gave us a wonderful surprise; a cake delivered to the cabin, a card, and a printed birthday message from 'your cabin steward' who shyly handed it to the recipient. All free, totally unexpected. Well done Magellan. Ship tours were expensive, as they are on all ships, but the ones we did were well organised and we have no complaints. Food Abysmal. The worst we have seen offered on a cruise ship. Quality control in the kitchen needs serious attention. There was enough food in the buffet - soups, salads, hot dishes, cold dishes, desserts, cheeses, but the quality of so many dishes was very poor. The soups and salads, bread rolls, pizzas and daily roasts were mostly okay, however, the hot dishes - pasta, rice, meat dishes, fish, vegetables - and the desserts were a real hit and miss affair. Lamb dishes were old mutton dishes, chicken dishes were poor quality bone in cuts, rice was cold, pastas were bland, vegetables were either mush or hardly cooked, and the fish dishes inevitably contained fish full of bones.for example, one of us had sword fish and raved about it, the other took a piece and it was like eating rubber. As for the dining room: on the Iceland cruise the Dover sole was melt in your mouth, on the Russia cruise we recommended it to our table mates and it was inedible as the pieces had not been completely scaled, and fish bones abounded. One waiter was too over the top and annoying, the other was morose and glum. Lectures On the Iceland cruise, 12 nights, we had two speakers who gave a variety of talks on diverse but interesting topics. On the Russia cruise, 14 nights, we had one man who gave four lectures, all about a group of tigers in India, and his lectures consisted of showing photo after photo of the tigers. One maybe two lectures would be okay, but FOUR lectures about the same tigers? Entertainers The old comedians on both cruises were well received by the predominantly older aged passengers. The violonist and pianist were excellent, the singer in the Captains Club has a strong loud voice like Janis Joplin, which does not work at all with quieter songs. Activities To be expected, and geared to the age and physical condition of a large segment of the passengers, who enjoyed them. To sum up, there were a lot of very happy passengers who are obviously the target group for this particular ship. The destinations were very interesting to us, the price was very good, however, we would not cruise on Magellan again. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a ... Read More
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a small ship was a bit of a squash at meal times especially breakfast, we had the all inclusive drinks package of £17 per person per day which was good value and the drinks were good quality, entertainment sadly was not very good at all the nightly show was too short and very amateurish and quiz games disorganized and hard to follow, also the choice of music needs up dating... Our cabin was small which I expected on a ship but was clean and the service from our steward Yuri was excellent but I did begrudge paying £2.20 for a bottle of water in our room and should be included in the drinks package.... All in all an enjoyable week but don't think cruising is for us as we found it to confining and Norway is beautiful.... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Unfortunately Magellan isn't much better than Marco Polo. The seating on Deck 10 around the pool resembled a works cafeteria and was very uncomfortable. The food... I'll pass on because where do I start. There is no heating in ... Read More
Unfortunately Magellan isn't much better than Marco Polo. The seating on Deck 10 around the pool resembled a works cafeteria and was very uncomfortable. The food... I'll pass on because where do I start. There is no heating in the cabins which was awful considering we sailed out of Tilbury in the sea of winter. Now smokers beware every time the ship bunkers they stop smoking on the open decks but bunkering can take 8 hours and they won't tell us in advance. I have travelled on nearly every ship that leaves Southampton and there is no one else that imposes that including Fred Olsen whose ships are no bigger than Magellan. They will only let you buy cigarettes in their shop but you can't have them until the last night of the cruise. My friends and I booked the world cruise for 5 January 2017 and have just read in the booklet "please note that any alcohol and cigarettes purchased ashore will be kept in a safe lock up and returned to you on the night prior to your fine destination". In other words you can only buy from their bars for the duration of 4 months. The fact they don't have your brand is tough luck and of course they ran out of the more popular brands in February. I rang today to be told it is down to the customs officials in other countries... what a croc... they only have a problem if you bring cigarettes or contraband ashore, not if you bring them onto a ship that is in fact cruising in international waters. Cruise & Maritime are holding you to ransom over having to make your purchases on board at their inflated prices. If you are thinking of travelling on Cruise & Maritime I urge you to reconsider. They are dangling 2 for 1 deals which look very appealing but the Amazon cruise was full of pax who, having bought the drinks package, were determined to get their monies worth and were roaring drunk every night. One particular alcoholic actually bent over his chair, was sick all over the floor, and promptly stayed where he was and carried on drinking!!! A majority of those on deck were Irish and we were subjected to shanty singalongs nearly every night. It's all very well dropping prices but then you cannot control the calibre of guest that comes on. It was like a booze cruise... but for 6 weeks! Also there are no fridges in the cabin. I only drink soda and I couldn't get a cold drink until the bars opened at 9.00am. They wanted to put my medication in their fridge which meant if you needed them in the night you had to get up, get dressed, and go to reception. We were hoping for good things in the refit in December but find the only difference is to Scotts Bar which is being changed into a themed British style pub called Scott's Tavern & Nightclub. We were promised a launderette but this is now not happening. Instead C&M have offered us a free fortnightly 'laundry bag' but that is only for people on the whole world cruise sector. The ports of Oranjestad, Aruba and Acapulco Mexico have been shortened. Our stop in Rarotonga has been cancelled. Our stop at Jakarta has been cancelled and because they have changed the Suez transit times we now lose our stop at Piraeus. I don't want an extended two day stop in Safaga which is only beneficial to their tours office selling spaces to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I chose this cruise because of the port stops. Because we are at sea for 4 months it doesn't give the cruise line a right to hold us to ransom over everything they want to enforce. They are emptying the pools at every port, once again this is the only cruise line that does this. If you want to stay on board you can't swim!! On the Amazon transit we were without the pool for 8 days, that in temperatures upto 105 degrees. I don't want to go on this cruise but I wasn't allowed to cancel without huge canx charges and the point is that some of this information has only just been released. i.e we knew about visas to India and Australia but now have just been told that we need them in Indonesia, Vietnam, Maldives, Oman, Egypt, and Jordan and although they are done for you on the ship there are a load more fees to pay, monies we didn't know about in advance. The only thing worth the money was the entertainment staff who worked themselves to the bone (they didn't have a choice). We had the Nora virus onboard (which has happened on every C&M ship I've ever been on and the Ents team had to do deep clean duty. They had to be up and cleaning at 7.00am even though some hadn't finished work until 1.00am Anyone who has mobility issues take heed if you haven't book a adapted cabin you cannot bring a scooter or any mobility aid on board. If you turn up at Tilbury with one you will be denied boarding. Cruise & Maritime have gone a step too far. I thought I was booking an exotic holiday not a stay in a detention camp. They seem to have forgotten that the British still have freedom of speech and freedom of choice. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first cruise on the Astor, but our second cruise in three years. Our first cruise was on RCL Voyager of the Seas, so absolutely cannot compare these two vessels. The Astor is an old girl, as reflected in the decor and ... Read More
This was our first cruise on the Astor, but our second cruise in three years. Our first cruise was on RCL Voyager of the Seas, so absolutely cannot compare these two vessels. The Astor is an old girl, as reflected in the decor and furnishings, and also she's quite noisy. Lots of creaks and groans but she's well kept and maintained at least on the surface. Although the carpets are well worn and stained in parts, she's kept VERY clean. The Cabin: we were in cabin 480 on Baltic deck. Had a small window view. Yes the cabin is small, but it has plenty of storage for the two of us. No coffee/tea facilities which was disappointing but had a bar fridge. Small TV with limited channels. Bed was two singles put together against one wall left not a lot of room for moving about, but we requested a double bed and that's what was available. There was a constant noise from vibrations, rattles and the like due to the age of he ship, and that was annoying, especially when trying to sleep. But our biggest complaint was with cigarette smoke. Somehow cigarette smoke made its way into our cabin an a daily basis. And it was particularly strong in the hallway. I complained twice but it kept happening. Food: we ate like kings every night and put on 3 kg! So not complaining about that. Like every good restaurant, there were good and bad days, but in general food was great. Service: our cabin steward Agus, was a delightful man that cared very well for us and the cabin. Nothing to complain about. As for the rest of the crew, they are all very hard workers from other parts of the world. Yes their way of speaking is different to us Aussies, but they do their best to accomodate every request. Some of you may take offence at their tone and briskness, but it's just a different culture and they are not speaking in their native tongue. Entertainment: BRILLIANT! The singers and dancers rehearse several times a day and it shows with very professional shows. The Ship: An oldie but a goodie, but having said that, there are a lot of trip hazards due to the build of the ship. You constantly have to step over a lip to enter the toilets, and access the decks. Ok if you are fit and able, but not if you use a wheelchair or Zimmer frame. The lifts.....only fit 4-6 people (at a squeeze) at a time and there are only 3 on the whole ship. Thats a real pain! Cigarette smoke: if you are a smoker you'll love his cruise ship as it seems you can smoke anywhere and get away with it. If you hate cigarette smoke (like me) then pick a cruise line that is smoke free, or at least has very limited and isolated smoking areas. We got sick on this cruise, a head cold, but had to stay n cabin for 2 days, But all in all we enjoyed it. Probably wouldn't sail on the Astor again, because we were spoilt on Voyager of the seas for size etc. Astor is great value for money, if you enjoy good food, great entertainment and excellent service. If you want a luxury cruise with plenty of onboard activities for kids and teens then look elsewhere. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We booked Back to Back cruises on the Magellan, for a grand total of 56 nights and only got home yesterday the 16 of February 2016. The Christmas and New Year cruise was without doubt our worst ever , and although the ship can't ... Read More
We booked Back to Back cruises on the Magellan, for a grand total of 56 nights and only got home yesterday the 16 of February 2016. The Christmas and New Year cruise was without doubt our worst ever , and although the ship can't be held responsible for the weather, there were just so many things wrong. Once we did get away many hours later than scheduled, and informed that the ports of call had changed , which then meant that we would be in Gibraltar one day late and we had planned to meet someone there , they failed to turn up on the 27th and that cause a few problems, the crossing both away and returning home was awful, and it appears that the ship struggles with rough seas. The result was people falling out of chairs, lifts being turned off and glasses falling out of the cabinet behind the bars and leaks coming through the roof of the Captain's lounge. The cabins are fine, but there is not enough seating for all when in the buffet or the lounges and most of the time only half of the lifts were operational. The meals were not that good and the dinners at Raffles the buffet were limited on selection. The entertainment was provided by the regular staff and only one external artist was shown in the whole of the two weeks....very poor as I was song and danced out after about 10 days.The entertainment team, done what they could, but their employer needs to take a good look at itself ! The result was that apart from the magnificent New Years eve overlooking Madeira and the fireworks display, the whole cruise was sub standard and then we had the 42 night cruse to the Amazon and West Indies to look forward to ! To be fair the second cruise was better and although we both went ill on the way back, and so many people ended up in the infirmary with coughs and breathing problems, it still was a case that the Christmas cruise was so poor and I would not go on the Magellan again, for anything over 14 nights as it did not match up to others that we had both been on.Even then it would have to be an offer that we could not refuse. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
MV Astor 19 December to 30 December 2015 Fremantle – Bali – Fremantle Christmas in Bali Cruise Our family group of 8 (our ages 7, 11, 19, 41, 44, 64, 70 and 77) have travelled together for many years… This is a review of ... Read More
MV Astor 19 December to 30 December 2015 Fremantle – Bali – Fremantle Christmas in Bali Cruise Our family group of 8 (our ages 7, 11, 19, 41, 44, 64, 70 and 77) have travelled together for many years… This is a review of the latest cruise we undertook aboard CMV’s Astor. Having previously cruised aboard the more modern mega cruise ships, this was our first trip on a smaller ocean liner and approaching the Fremantle Cruise Terminal, it was quite an exciting novelty to be greeted by the Astor’s smoke stacks peeking above the building in an elegant fashion, rather than a towering 15 story high floating city dwarfing the terminal below. This does not mean however that we found the Astor’s dimensions to be undersized. In fact, for the most part, we were greeted with plenty of space. The embarkation process was a little haphazard, but quite speedy. Though there were a few issues with our birth dates and particulars having been mixed up amongst our group. I for one quite enjoyed being 19 for the trip, though my eldest was a bit disgruntled at being labelled as 64 yrs old, and hubby being classed as 7 years old was amusing for all concerned. This card printing error caused no issues at all, and was easily fixed in the onboard system at check in. No new cards were required and the novelty was enjoyed. Once onboard we were guided towards the rear of the vessel. This is where the two restaurants Ubersee – casual buffet, and Waldorf – main dining room, are located, as well as the pool deck and the late night, intimate Hanse Bar. This is one of three relaxation zones onboard. The others being the large comfortable Astor (show) lounge, and the main bar – the centrally located Captains Club with its flanking corridor seating areas. Upon boarding we enjoyed a casual lunch in the Ubersee. The food is a main topic of conversation amongst our family group and other guests onboard, and is one of the things that you should consider if you are considering booking a cruise aboard the Astor. Food Compared to larger ships the options are limited, but certainly adequate and do vary enough to keep you satisfied. All meals are served in both the buffet and main dining room, with strict opening hours. While the presentation changes, for the most part the same food is served in both venues. As a general guide, in the Ubersee all meal times offer the following… A choice of cheeses and cold meats, 3 ready-made salads. 3-4 salad vegetables and accompaniments in a DIY section, a good selection of bread and rolls and always two choices of soup (hot or cold). Hot selections for breakfast are always bacon, eggs 3 to 4 ways, sausages, fried tomatoes, potato of some type, and an omelette station… A few other offerings alter daily. Lunch and dinner usually feature 2-3 meat/fish options, a vegetarian option and pasta, rice, mixed vegetables and potato. Dessert is approx. 3 options plus fruit salad. Fruit salad is always available, with ice cream offered at lunch time. Made to order, and pre-made Sub Sandwiches are available at lunch time. The Waldorf offers a very similar buffet style breakfast as that in the Ubersee, though definitely more stylish. This is a good option to consider to avoid the crowds. Lunch in the Waldorf is a different affair. There is a small salad/cheese/cold meat buffet on offer, but this is just for a light snack as you wait. You are instead offered a 5 course menu similar to that offered at dinner time. You can then pick and choose which course’s you wish to order… though this can cause some delays if your table mates order more courses than you. Dinner in the Waldorf is a fancy affair. Absolutely no shorts, no flip-flops, no bathers. While they are relatively casual (with an open seating policy), there is a standard to be maintained. On a normal night your menu consists of 5 courses, which are as follows: Appetiser – two choices. These are small tasting portions. Soup – two choices. Salad – one choice only which changes daily. Main – three choices. Meat, Fish and Vegetarian. Dessert – three choices. Cheese, Fruit Salad, and one other option. Please note that there is the option for grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and the Curry of the Day, offered in small print at the bottom of the menu if none of the offerings suit. The menu is listed outside the dining room each afternoon. We found it to be a good policy to check the menu early on, to ensure that the menu suited all of our party. A couple of our group, being more the meat and three vegetable types, chose on a couple of occasions to eat in the Ubersee, where they could focus on the more standard fare offered for the evening. It also bears mentioning that seating a large group is all but impossible in either the Ubersee or the Waldorf. Both restaurants cater for smaller numbers 2, 4, & 6, and we inevitably had to split between tables. Arriving early at Waldorf ensured we were well situated, however Ubersee was always very very busy during the breakfast and lunch meal times, and we often resorted to sending our party down in groups of two or three, holding the table for each subsequent group. It was normal for any spare seats to be snatched up by others hunting for somewhere to eat. This is great if you want to meet new people. This was however one of the only failings by the Astor team… they should have either made a greater effort towards encouraging use of the Waldorf for breakfast and lunch, or had the Ubersee open for a longer period to cater for the circling crowd. Beverage Package One of the most impressive features offered by the Astor team is the all inclusive drinks package. Offered at $29 per day per adult, this package well and truly pays for itself and is MUCH cheaper than other similar packages offered by other cruise lines. The drawback for us being that all people in a cabin need to purchase a drinks package including children ($19 per day). Master 7 thoroughly enjoyed the mocktail menu, and his 11 year old cousin was quite the knowledgeable party, learning the mocktail ‘drink of the day’ listed in each evenings Ship Newsletter. Normal consumption of soft and hard drinks comfortably covered the cost for adults, while some of our party far more than covered their (and everyone else’s) costs… and their livers will be punishing them for some time to come! There are three bars on the ship. The Captains Club, the main central bar.. the Hanse Bar, located on the 8th deck overlooking the pool deck, with a comfortable outdoor lounge area, and intimate booths inside… and the Pool Bar, which was only open during daylight hours. The restaurants do not offer bar service, but we found the waiters and waitresses were happy to supply cocktails/mocktails/spirits upon request which were sourced from the Captains Club. Occasionally, during peak periods, this lead to lengthy delays. The Cabins We booked this cruise only 8 weeks out, and as such did not get choice of cabins, but were still quite happy with what we ended up with. Located on Deck 5 (Atlantic), we were situated in cabin numbers 201, 204, 205 and 206. Of these, 206 was definitely smaller, with the angle of the ship culminating in less floor and storage space. All others were of a decent size and matched the pictures supplied on the CMV website. Be aware… most of the cabins aboard feature fixed TWIN beds only. Quite frankly, I doubt you could get around with a single Queen sized bed in the room. We were on the Christmas cruise… with children…. So had extra luggage for toys, decorations, and the usual. We ended up with three full sized suitcases in our cabin, none of which fit in the storage space under the single bed. We ended up pulling down the Pullman bed and using this as extra storage space. It worked well, but I do suggest that you measure the depth of your cases to ensure they will fit. The measurements are provided in the paperwork. In our searches prior to the cruise, we found no descriptions or photo’s of the standard cabin bathrooms, which led me to think the worst. I was pleasantly surprised. While not large, they were comfortably apportioned, a good sized rectangular shower cubicle with brilliant shower head/wand, great water pressure, a well-lit vanity mirror and a number of open shelves for storing all your various toiletries. The toilet button is on the wall above the vanity… a number of our party were left searching for some time to find the ‘hiding in plain sight’ button. Towels are white, and pretty standard. Not flash, but serviceable. Each room was supplied with white terry cloth robes for use by each guest. It was too warm for most, but my aunty did make use of hers on occasion and seemed quite happy with it. The biggest comment to make is about how incredibly spotless the cabins (and the rest of the ship for that matter) were… absolutely top notch! When we boarded, a good portion of the almost entirely European crew were finishing up their term of service, and the ship reeked of German precision and attention to detail. Amazing to see and enjoy! The ship dynamic did change somewhat after our sojourn in Bali, where I would estimate at least a quarter of the staff were replaced with their Asian and Indian counterparts, all staff continued to be friendly and accommodating, and if there were a few delays as new staff learnt the ropes, we weren’t in any rush, and happily excused the delays. We did have the opportunity to spend some time in the Astor Suite, and found the amenities to be fantastic. Well worth the extra cost if you can afford it. The massive balcony area would easily fit 50 people, and a party for 15 were comfortable in the lounge area, though seating was limited. Once again, all is very much as displayed on the CMV website. Our family of 8 would have been quite happy in the one suite! Entertainment There are three entertainment teams onboard. The main show team featuring, singers and dancers, plus the fabulous ship band, who provide a different cabaret performance most evenings at around 21:15. And two duo’s who perform throughout the ship. A singer and pianist, and a pianist and violinist duo. The violinist is outstanding… definitely make a point to attend at least one of her performances. In addition, the show team host various trivia, bingo, and game activities throughout the day. Not a massive schedule, and the second half of the cruise was quite limited, but if you bring a few books, head to the sports areas, or find yourself a comfy position on a deck chair, then you will be well situated. Please be aware that both pools, the indoor and outdoor are both only accessed via ladder. This restricted access for most of the elderly passengers, leaving the pool for the use of the younger element onboard. I suggest that anyone intending to cruise aboard the Astor should give serious thought to bringing a book or two to read, some cards, a board game, or some other form of entertainment suitable for your cruising group. This is a relaxing ship, and quiet entertainment prevails. That being said, it is also a very, very friendly ship, and you are sure to form a few friendships. Other stuff The onboard shopping is limited, and shops are only open for select hours. Cabins are accessed via a normal key, rather than electronic card slot. Your in room safe also requires an actual key… which you can get from Reception on Deck 5. If you are a smoker, there is only one area designated for your use. A section on the rear pool deck, starboard side, with a few tables, and chairs. This area was always well populated, and the smoking crowd seemed to have a great time getting to know one another. Children – there were less than a dozen children under 15yrs on our cruise, so there were no activities planned exclusively for them. However, as long as you came prepared with toys, games etc, (luckily Santa planned ahead for our two!), then they will be fine. There were always a few activities each day that were suitable for our pair to join in on (Quoits, Darts, Shuffleboard, craft sessions etc.) We noted two young (under 5yrs) children onboard… the parents were on-hand 24/7 with these two. Not a relaxed cruise for this family unfortunately. Be prepared for the chance of a lot of ship movement, with the smaller ship bobbing a lot more than the larger heavier vessels. The front of the ship had a good amount of vertical movement, whereas the rear of the ship wallowed into the swells at times, with some of the elderly passengers requiring a goodly amount of assistance to get around. This ship is NOT wheelchair friendly. You can get around if you are injured and have no choice.. but avoid this ship if you are in a chair permanently, it’s just not worth the struggle to get around. This should also be a consideration for people with heavy mobility issues. If you rely heavily on a cane or walker to get around, this ship with its heavy movement, and high door thresholds that need to be stepped over were quite dangerous for some less steady passengers. In summary... Astor is a lovely lady of the seas. Maintained to impeccable standards of cleanliness and functionality. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, the ship is elegant and refined, and anyone looking for a quiet, relaxing cruise should definitely consider booking a vacation aboard the Astor. While we enjoyed our cruise with children, and our kids did have fun, I agree that the Astor does not cater for families, and is most definitely geared towards those aged between 60 and a healthy 90 years of age. Overall a wonderful cruise, on a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We only booked this cruise because we both wanted to see Jersey and Guernsey, unfortunately that didn't happen. We choice to park at tilbury and this was a brilliant service the staff at the car park were very helpful and gave ... Read More
We only booked this cruise because we both wanted to see Jersey and Guernsey, unfortunately that didn't happen. We choice to park at tilbury and this was a brilliant service the staff at the car park were very helpful and gave clear instructions. We noticed there that the other passengers seemed older than us. (We've just turned 60) most people were well over 70+ Embarkation was fast and on the ship we were met by staff and a very nice lady showed us to our cabin. The food was not of the best quality but there was plenty of it. The soups and the bread were very nice. Afternoon tea was very strange Apple crumble and custard and small hard scones with artificial cream and dry cake. We bought the drinks package even though we are not big drinkers, but it was well worth it as the cocktails were very nice and included brand name soft drinks as well. We both enjoyed Amsterdam and Zeebrugge and looked forward to the Channel Islands, but unfortunately the Captain announced that because of the high swell we wouldn't be going and instead were going to Cherbourg and Rouen instead. We and lots of other passengers thought this strange and more likely to do with the age and disabilities of the other passengers.( the weather so calm and sunny) as they would have to use tenders in these ports. We felt let down as we wouldn't have booked a cruise around France, so will never use this company again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
This is a lovely Little boat. At 46,000 tons it is towards the top of the Small category. For a vessel of this size the cabin quality is good (4/5), but it is a little crowded. This was now our 12th cruise and certain factors ... Read More
This is a lovely Little boat. At 46,000 tons it is towards the top of the Small category. For a vessel of this size the cabin quality is good (4/5), but it is a little crowded. This was now our 12th cruise and certain factors disappointed. We prefer ‘Freestyle Dining’ and dislike being stuck on the same table with the same handful of guests every night. We are happy to share a table if necessary, but not for 6 nights in sequence. In consequence we switched our system to tracking down a good lunch meal ashore and skipping the evening dinner. The on-board alternative, the ‘Bistro’ was convenient, but the standard of food offered there was poor. (1/5). The standard of food in the main dining was well below expectation (2/5) and is our one major criticism. Had we tried this more often we might have met a better meal, but were unwilling to take the risk. The vessel has an Engine problem. It behaves like an old car. Very under-powered when ‘push’ is needed. It was extremely noisy when pulling away from the dockside or travelling in a river, probably against the water flow. We complained and the problem did disappear, but at the cost of very low speed running. To take 4 hours from Amsterdam to the river estuary indicated that the engine(s) were running at low power. Any faster and the vibrations would make the cabin furniture rattle. Coastal running over short distances worked well, but it might prove to be too noisy on a long, (Transatlantic ?) run. I await further comments. (If it was a horse I would shoot it.) The passenger mix favours the elderly, supported by the relatively low cost per person. We found the number of ‘wheelies’, Zimmer frames and wheeled walkers, motorised chairs, crutches and walking sticks surprising and soon realised that the Captain would not be able to offer the ‘Ship to Shore’ transfers using the lifeboats as tenders. It would have been extremely dangerous to even try. This was probably why the visits to Jersey and Guernsey were cancelled and replaced by Cherbourg and Rouen. I would congratulate him on this choice. We also wanted to go to the Channel Islands, but realised that it could not be done safely. CMV will have to rethink some of its itineraries or this will often arise Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Hello. We have just come back from a short cruise on the Marco Polo. This is our second cruise on the Marco Polo. The Long term parking and check-in at Tilbury is really quick and easy.The staff very helpful with all aspects of the ... Read More
Hello. We have just come back from a short cruise on the Marco Polo. This is our second cruise on the Marco Polo. The Long term parking and check-in at Tilbury is really quick and easy.The staff very helpful with all aspects of the boarding process.The ship is small,but has every thing you require.The food is very good and the drinks are of a reasonable price.The cabins are teat and tidy and kept clean as is the whole ship.The entertainment is limited but is ok.The shore excursions will very well done, no problems.The access for wheal chair user's is not as good as the more modern ships, but you can still get around. The disembarking was one of the quickest we have seen,well organised.We would recommend the Marco Polo to the seasoned cruise traveller. Graham & Julie Gilbert Read Less
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