9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Have just returned from the Scotland and Faro Island cruise on board the Astoria, first of the itinerary, it included the Orkney's, the Shetlands the Faro Islands and mainland Scotland, for me the highs were the trip to Scapa Flow, ... Read More
Have just returned from the Scotland and Faro Island cruise on board the Astoria, first of the itinerary, it included the Orkney's, the Shetlands the Faro Islands and mainland Scotland, for me the highs were the trip to Scapa Flow, the Loch Ness trip and the stunning scenery, these are places that I have not really thought about going but it is well worth the trip. now about the rest, the ship is old, it can be a bit noisy, it is also very small so some things you take for granted on a cruise were not there, prime example no dressing table in the cabin, all these things you get used to, the cabins are not a bad size and most have manged to fit a bath and bidet in the en-suite, the beds are 2 singles pushed together but we did discover there is a slight list on the ship so my mattress tended to slip, but again I got used to that, the food was good in both the restaurant and buffet, the drinks were a very reasonable price as were the cocktails. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful, they did not constantly push you to buy drinks ect as on most other ships, the photographer always asked if you wanted a picture taken and if you said no that was fine. The ship is charming and this seemed to put people very at ease, the passengers were all very friendly as well which on some cruises never happens! We had the backed Alaska dance by the waiters, something I have not seen for quite a while, but I have to say a big well done to the cruise director and his team, they were amazing, the shows quizzes and extras they did were fantastic. We did have a few rough days, but they offered free travel sickness pill to anyone in need, this ship takes you back in time, if you want bells and whistles this is not the ship for you, if you want traditional friendly and very relaxing I highly recommend. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I'm not sure what drew us to the cruise the most, the ship or the itinerary. Both were really interesting and so different to anything we’d done before. A ship of just 550 passengers ensured that queues were just about non-existent ... Read More
I'm not sure what drew us to the cruise the most, the ship or the itinerary. Both were really interesting and so different to anything we’d done before. A ship of just 550 passengers ensured that queues were just about non-existent and the people we met were some of the friendliest we’d ever encountered on any cruise. Most were very well travelled and very few had a “whine list”, understanding that a small ship sailing to the Faroes in April might well be rather less stable than an August Mediterranean cruise. Sea sickness did take its toll, however, on many passengers. Due to an adverse weather forecast, we decided to have a couple of days in a hotel beforehand and found the Stifford Hall Hotel very pleasant and reasonable. Had we known, we may well have parked our car here rather than at Tilbury, they do special rates (either stay and park or a fiver a day) and a taxi is around £15 each way. Our scheduled departure was 2pm, however, this was delayed by a bout of norovirus, so we sat chatting to other passengers in the terminal (being offered tea, coffee and fizz!) until the ship had been deep cleaned. We were kept well informed - our scheduled boarding was 11.20am, but we boarded at about 1pm and were delighted to find that the main restaurant was open for lunch – something lacking from other cruise lines. Our previous cruise was on the Celebrity Millennium and we both thought the food onboard the Astoria was much better, as, by and large, was the service. Perhaps a smaller budget means that the chef had to be more creative, or perhaps it was more geared to a UK palate. We both thought it nice that the portions weren’t huge and there were a few gaps in the dining timetable (although if you wanted to eat 24 hours a day, it was possible with paid for room service) – and of course, you could have more than one course – and visit the buffet as much as you wanted! It’s a lovely touch that at dinner you can see what the courses look like, they were displayed in the breakfast buffet area. Our waiters, Yakesh and Milan were brilliant and our dietary requirements were dealt with superbly at dinner. There is a small extra fee restaurant, and people who used it were very complimentary. Although we’d asked for a large table, we were sat on a table for four, and luckily got on exceptionally well with our dinner partners who enjoyed the cruise as much as we did. Entertainment onboard was also unexpectedly better than we’d imagined for such a small ship– and with just two sea days, it meant that most days were spent exploring some very interesting places. The ship’s excursions were all well organised and interesting, although it would have been nice to have had earphones, now a common thing on some ships, especially smaller river cruises – the Astoria has much more the feel of an intimate river cruise than even a small liner. We’d booked the ship’s excursions in most places, but were pleased to see that free shuttles existed in most ports. It is, however, worth considering that people with mobility issues might find it quite difficult getting on and off the ship in some ports as the ladder is quite rickety and the stairs rather steeep. For such a small ship, we were surprised how good the evening entertainment was, although it’s a shame that the “Around The World” evening still ends with White Cliffs of Dover and There’ll Always Be An England. For a nation that gave the world so much music, why we have to hark back to the days of War and Empire. What a shame we couldn’t have John Lennon’s Imagine, perhaps, or even celebrate one or more of our Eurovision wins. We booked an inside cabin and on boarding, were escorted to 422 – one of the largest cabins we’ve ever had onboard, including a bath and bidet, but unfortunately no tea making facilities. The cabin was very comfortable, however, there was an intermittent clanking noise every minute or so, which our earplugs (or the rehearsals from the show lounge above!) didn’t muffle sufficiently. After a couple of days trying to work out what was causing the noise, the people on the desk couldn’t have been more helpful and moved us to a smaller cabin, but with a porthole (252) – when the boat rolled, it also had quite a noise as if something moved over the ceiling, but this was masked enough by our earplugs, although there was significant noise when docking or leaving a port which lasted around 45 minutes. Again, the cabin had both a bath and a bidet. For no real reason, we booked the VIP package which confused some of the waiting staff, more used to the premium package. The house wine perfectly acceptable, and to be honest, with so few sea days, we didn’t really get our money’s worth, but it was nice to be able to order a cuppa in the bar, although the buffet was just next door, with tea/coffee freely available. Unfortunately, personal commitments prevented us from staying on the ship for their next adventure. It’s the first time I can remember that my husband wasn’t ready to come home and would have happily stayed onboard. We both hope that we will have the pleasure of sailing on the Astoria at least one more time before she is finally decommissioned, which will be a huge loss to the world of cruising. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
The good: really interesting destinations; unbeatable value. The not so good: the ship is chartered and shows some upkeep-issues; a small number of the very attentive crew let themselves down by being offensive to the nose! This ... Read More
The good: really interesting destinations; unbeatable value. The not so good: the ship is chartered and shows some upkeep-issues; a small number of the very attentive crew let themselves down by being offensive to the nose! This slightly-tired cruise-liner should be seen as a floating-base from which passengers can access little-visited ports. We thought the Faroe Islands to be one of our best-ever cruise-destinations. We took three shipboard excursions (all very good) and enjoyed a drink with our (excellent) dinner each evening - and the total cost (including car-parking) still worked out at only just over £90 each per night. That's pretty amazing value - especially when one considers that we benefitted from an upgrade to a more comfortable and spacious category of outside cabin. I'm not quite sure how the arrangement works, but CMV charters its ships from Global Cruise Line. Over the summer months, the Astoria (probably with a different name) operates out of France via a different chartering company. Who therefore is actually responsible for keeping the ship fully up together? Small things like broken/unlit glass-globes on the rear open-deck (these are a very nice 'period' feature of the 'Astoria' with the pole-mounted globes clustered in groups of three) do not convey 'care and attention', Cunard, P&O etc. would not let this happen on their ships (which they own). The featured facility of the outdoor swimming pool was never available (but in fairness the weather was mostly chilly anyhow), the equipment in the (small) gym was not all working and every day the library was closed according to the daily programme - although actualy it seemed to be open, but with almost zero books on the shelves (maybe they had been removed - for disinfecting - because of norovirus issues on the immediately-previous cruise??). Note for CMV Officers with responsibility for the stewards and waiting staff in the restaurants: PLEASE reinforce with your crew the need for impeccable personal hygiene. I know that the crew work really hard, but a small minority need to either change their shirts more frequently or use much better soap and deoderant. It is EXTREMELY unpleasant to be greeted by wafts of body odour as one is served dinner - or just as they pass by whilst eating. Don't expect an all-singing, all-dancing cruise-experience on the Astoria - but if you value the opportunity to visit great places, enjoy excellent food (in the restaurant at least) and don't want to pay the earth, then this ship is firmly recommended. Propsective travellers with impaired mobility should be aware that the steep gangway makes access to/from the ship something of a trial. The ship's smaller size also means that rougher sea conditions are more noticeable (we had two days of quite 'lumpy' seas with expected rocking and rolling). Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Myself and my wife are first time cruisers (is that the right terminology???) and chose the CMV trip to the Shetlands, Faroes, and Orkney islands in April this year. The ship itself is both incredibly old, and incredibly small. I know a ... Read More
Myself and my wife are first time cruisers (is that the right terminology???) and chose the CMV trip to the Shetlands, Faroes, and Orkney islands in April this year. The ship itself is both incredibly old, and incredibly small. I know a few people have criticised this, but for us it simply added a bit of old-world charm to the cruise. And with only 550 passengers - and no screaming kids - it was quite pleasant. We never had to queue anywhere for a seat in the bar or restaurants, and the ship never felt crowded. We did hear quite a few other passengers moaning about the size of the boat, the limited entertainment, how poor it was compared to other cruises etc, but as the days at sea went on we realised these people were pretty much cruise-snobs who saw it as a competition almost comparing with each other how many cruises they'd been on, how big the ships were, blah blah blah. Boring people in other words. Let's face it....CMV give people enough information about what they are embarking on prior to travel.....so don't book it if all you are going to do is complain. Staff were superbly attentive (apart from our room attendant who rated "okay"), food was very good, and the entertainment was more cheesy than a cheese fondue - but it was fun. Don't expect big budget entertainment on a ship that is smaller than a cross-channel ferry. The stopovers were the highlight of the cruise....all three islands are absolutely stunning. My only issue is that I could have stayed a lot longer on each one - I'll go back to the Faroes independently for sure. All-in-all we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. However, there are a few things that could be improved: 1) on the Atlantic deck the air-conditioning is pumped into the cabins from what seems to be a tobacco plant. The deck stank of stale cigarette smoke, as did the cabins because of this. Not very pleasant for non-smokers, and I'm sure breaching a few health & safety regulations. 2) shop prices (including ship photo prices) are a total rip-off. Some pieces of jewellery I was looking at getting my wife were half-price in UK stores. And a bag of Skittles for over £6 ???? There really is no excuse for this unless there is a world-wide shortage of skittles that I am unaware of. 3) CMV themselves are a bit of an embarassment to deal with. I asked them a few awkward questions about their tipping practice (in their £27 drinks package it's inclusive and CANNOT be deducted from the bill). So tipping - which by definition is VOLUNTARY - is not on a CMV cruise. CMV repeated refused to answer my pre-cruise enquiries about this practice. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem tipping - so don't anyone start with your holier-than-thou tipping rage which I've seen elsewhere - BUT I will not be dictated to over something voluntary. CMV should just man-up and call it what it truly is, rather than try and send passengers on a guilt-trip to make up for CMV obviously not paying staff a fair wage. And 3) above is why I won't book with CMV again, which is a shame because we had a great time. It's a buyers market out there and there are plenty of other firms who will happily take my holiday money...... Read Less
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
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
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
61 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
There is no other ship like this. Launched in 1947 for the Swedish American Line as their transatlantic liner for the Goteborg - New York run, the largest liner ever built in Sweden. Pivotal in one of the most dramatic sea disasters of the ... Read More
There is no other ship like this. Launched in 1947 for the Swedish American Line as their transatlantic liner for the Goteborg - New York run, the largest liner ever built in Sweden. Pivotal in one of the most dramatic sea disasters of the 20th Century. Twenty five years a holiday ship for deserving East German workers. Completely redesigned in Genoa in the 1960s as a state of the art Italian cruise ship. No other cruise ship has a history like this. No other cruise ship looks like this. Embarkation in Tilbury was flawless. Easy parking at the terminal, a scheduled building of considerable interest. A bit of a wait, with ample explanation, on board on schedule and guided to our cabin. In practical terms, what is this ship like as a cruise ship? She is among the smallest. Her decks have a marked sheer. That is the decks rise towards the bow and to the stern. There are thresholds to cross to access the decks. Some of the stairs are quite steep. To go ashore, the steps can be very steep indeed - the ship uses her own companion way and if the tide is in, the deck will be high above the quay. Not easy if you have mobility problems. The exterior reflects her age and the shape and design of the era. In her Atlantic heyday she was known as the White Yacht. Her interior dates from the 1960s and was the brainchild of Dr Quiriconi of Genoa. Despite numerous name changes, what you see today is very much as this Italian owner and his team designed her. Described then as refined and elegant. A matter of taste, but I share it. But a serious matter: engine noise. With an upgrade, we had a deluxe junior suite amidships on deck 4. A very pleasant spacious cabin, plenty of room with two big windows, and a large bathroom with working jacuzzi, bidet and marble floor. But noisy. Engine noise seemed to be transmitted up through the floor and through the pillow. Really quite noisy. Some people on this deck complained. What it was like on other decks I do not know. earplugs perhaps, if this might worrry you. Food in the restaurant - two sittings for dinner - was overall quite good. Not exceptional but then on the whole, we thought, quite fair. Many chose the £17 per person per day drinks package. You can get quite a lot for that. There was adequate comfortable public space and attentive service. We found, as with other ships of this line, service throughout to be friendly from a multi national crew. The only non committal members were the security team. They looked tough and perhaps just as well. Entertainment was limited. But this is a small ship. For a six day cruise we had one speaker, an elderly comedian, and a young and vigorous singing and dancing troupe who did their very best. A lot better than some. And the ship's band lead by their female keyboard player was competent and enthusiastic. Fine soloists. Individual or duo musicians in the bars. Plenty of quizzes and such. Basic cruise entertainment. The real gem of this ship is where she can get to. Amsterdam along the North Sea Canal is always fun, but Ghent is rare - not many cruise ships visit this splendid town. And Rouen, well up the River Seine is as magnificient as the river itself. And if you are just a little bit of a ship enthusiast - we had some on board - this small ship is not as nimble as her younger but larger sisters such as the Harmony of the Seas. She needs a bit of help when berthing. The tug handling can be a real joy to watch. Even at Honfleur she needed a tug to push her onto the quay in the very early morning. This was an experience very different from the standard cruise. This was a real adventure on a real ship. I doubt there will ever be another like the Astoria. 69 years old, even her enormously strong riveted steel hull cannot last forever with increasing regulation. Of the twelve different ships we have been on in the last two years this was the one I was looking forward to and she did not disappoint. If you like the sound of it, we were told that this was to be her last limited UK season, shortly ending. But she has been reprieved for at least one more two month UK season next year. So there is still a chance. I give this ship 5 stars for what she is: unique. Because she is worth it. A survivor. Different. A joy. 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
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
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
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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Due to bad weather the departure port and date were changed three days prior to departure, no information about the new departure port "Portland" was provided and there was none on the website. I was assured that as I had to ... Read More
Due to bad weather the departure port and date were changed three days prior to departure, no information about the new departure port "Portland" was provided and there was none on the website. I was assured that as I had to arrive at Portland at 14:00 (due to travel availability) there would be facilities to leave luggage on arrival, there was no sign of a representative from Cruise and Maritime until 17:50 when boarding started, there was no priority boarding and it was a total shambles. Although the cabin was excellent, the standard of cleanliness left a lot to be desired and our cabin steward appeared to prioritise fancy towel folding above basic necessities. On the evening of Day 5 the Aurora was visible but no announcement was made, as this was a "Northern Lights Cruise" I would have expected a watch to be kept from the bridge and sightings to be announced, many guests were disappointed when they found out the next day. The lights on the observation deck were only turned off on one occasion to improve viewing conditions. On the Tromso shore excursion we were directed to the wrong coach and consequently had very limited time at the Cathedral and at Alta on our return the guide dropped us off in town and told us the shuttle bus stopped at the same place, six of us waited over an hour in the cold to eventually find out that the bus stopped at the bus station the other side of the shopping complex. Our cabin should have had a DVD player in it but there was none provided until we insisted. The sirloin steak I was served in The Steak House Restaurant was one of the worst I have ever been presented with when eating out. On day 11 we were without water in the cabin from 15:30 for about two hours and when the supply was restored the water was dark brown until the next day. All of these problems when reported seemed to be met with a total lack of "Customer Care", the service provided was well below that which should be expected but nobody seemed to want to accept any responsibility. No problem with the entertainment team, they were excellent. Not worth the £6,859 price tag and no refund from the company after taking their 28 days allowed by ABTA to respond! They were obviously very busy as they took 27 minutes to answer my phone call on one occasion, I would certainly not recommend the company to anyone. Read Less
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