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Sail Date: April 2019
We went on the Astoria in March 2019 and firstly the really good aspects: It went from our home port in Poole so no distance to travel. It is a nice size with not too far to walk to the restaurants and lounges, it is quite stable so ... Read More
We went on the Astoria in March 2019 and firstly the really good aspects: It went from our home port in Poole so no distance to travel. It is a nice size with not too far to walk to the restaurants and lounges, it is quite stable so although quite rough seas it didn't roll too much so no sea sickness. It had a cinema with recent releases being shown. They had a good speaker on board who shared his Vulcan experiences so being into aviation this was a nice surprise. The cabins were very well appointed with plenty of space for clothes etc. The staff were very friendly and we received good service. They provided shuttle buses at all the ports for independent travellers not going on the excursions so there weren’t the long walks that we have had on other cruise providers Next the not so good aspects The cabins were noisy and vibration from the engines could be felt all night long. We couldn't work out whether this was the location of our cabin - deck 4 mid ship but I suspect that it was throughout the ship but the beds were very comfortable so didn't affect our sleep. The general consensus was 'the more you pay the more you sway' .The service in the Olissipo restaurant was quite slow and the food average. We did treat ourselves to the steak bar and had an excellent 8 course meal although one of the steaks was too tough and went back. The schedules weren't kept to due to rough weather (not their fault) so we only ended up with 4 full days ashore and 4 half days. Our trip to the Scillies was cancelled which was disappointing. We felt that the information provided by the excursion team was poor for independent travellers. For instance when we went to Invergordon we were told that it was difficult to get the public transport into Inverness and that we should take the £25 ship transfer. In fact there was a bus that went straight into Inverness and cost only £12 return. Clearly they were more interested in selling the excursions. There were 2 sizes of wine on offer a large and small glass but despite repeated requests for a small glass, large ones (187ml) always arrived. So we ended up buying a bottle which was cheaper. Overall it is a good value boat and CMV are recommended as good organisers. We would go on Astoria again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ... Read More
I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ships). Of course it doesn't! Anybody who does the most basic of research should KNOW what they can expect of the Astoria. This is a 'travel experience' and all the better for i! Consider these facts; (1) Pretty straightforward arrival/departure arrangements at smaller ports (Poole in this instance); (2) Great destinations (because she's a small ship and can get into places that the leviathans can't); (3) ALL cabins have bath, bidet and shower (OK, possibly slightly tired - but more or less unheard of on newer ships); (4) Other reviewers' adverse comments made about the food are frankly PATHETIC (see later); (5) Friendly crew who appear to go out of their way to be helpful; (6) Sensibly-priced on-board drinks (billed in sterling) with a good selection; (7) Very acceptable leisure-facilities given her small size; (8) Unbeatable value for money as long as you are not expecting The Ritz. We paid just £492 each and achieved a 'one grade' upgrade to an outside cabin, which was a bonus - but the review wouldn't have changed even if we had been in the inside cabin that we had expected. Bear in mind that the basic 'real cost' will actually always be £7 per day each higher because of the addition of the 'automatic gratuity' - so in our case that made it £562 each. Allowing for our travel costs, car-parking (£100 in this case), four port-excursions and a drink or two each day, our holiday-cost increased to just a smidge under £1000 each. Where else can you get full-board accommodation and be transported around the country with organised excursions for just £100 per day? The food in Astoria's restaurant is EXCELLENT (and not at all bad in the buffet). I've not had better Beef Wellington or Fillet Mignon for example. We always push the boat out and have all five courses at dinner (OK, so the 'sophisticated' might say that this is not good form - but I don't care!) and the quantities are entirely adequate. I suppose that anybody paying the top-prices (we heard of some passengers who had paid a basic price of aproaching £1800 each) might feel perturbed that they had to 'endure' the riff-raff (not that there was anybody actually like that on our cruise - just 'normal' folk', expectedly all of age 65+) since there is absolutely no segregation (everybody eating the same food in the same restaurants, using the same bars, seeing the same entertainment and using the same ship's-tenders when transferring ashore from anchor-ports) - which is why the canny traveller will opt for the lower-priced deals. The entertainment-team work hard and their 'Round The World' show in particular was simply fun to see after our second-sitting dinner (a really nice table of 8 incidentally, with an excellent steward). The two guest-comedians (two shows each) generated a good number of laughs at each performance. There were a couple of intersting talks by a guest-lecturer in the room which doubles as a cinema (some good films were shown, but the time of showing did not suit second-sitting diners), - but again, don't expect an I-Max style experience. I genuinely believe that people of 'normal expectation' can have little grounds to fault this splendid old ship. My advice is to travel on her whilst you still can, with just the one caveat that those of impaired mobility might be better-advised to look elsewhere (getting on and off the ship itself - and especially on and off the tenders at anchor-ports - calls for a modest degree of agility). Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly ... Read More
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly Isles. At the start we only had half a day in both Dunkirk and Invergordon. At the end, the Scilly Isles was cancelled altogether because of rough weather forecast and difficulty of boarding tenders to go ashore. Indeed arrangements for getting passengers ashore were generally very unsatisfactory particularly bearing in mind that at least the half passengers seemed to have mobility issues. In many cases, apart from tenders it involved walking down a steep set of rickety steps. Not the best we have experienced. As Tresco was the only coach trip we had booked we and many others were bitterly disappointed. There were frequent shuttle buses at most ports of call though which were very good once ashore. The food was terrible. Breakfast was the best. Portions were minute. One roast potato, slice of carrot and piece of broccoli in the dining room. Matchbox sized portions of cheesecake. I actually lost 3lbs!!! The bar & wine waiter were obviously under instructions to ignore whatever the customer asked for and only to give large measures. We were going to tip our room steward extra but a couple of days before the end I asked for another toilet roll and was told it was rationed!!!! So no tip! All in all I am sorry to say I cannot recommend this cruise and based on what we had CMV either. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Last minute cruise with interesting itinerary; however travellers beware, you get what you pay for. The ship has limited facilities for pleasure on sea days; the entertainment was poor at the best of times. The excursions were not great ... Read More
Last minute cruise with interesting itinerary; however travellers beware, you get what you pay for. The ship has limited facilities for pleasure on sea days; the entertainment was poor at the best of times. The excursions were not great value for money and were limited. Excursion staff had limited knowledge and did not understand you as their English was limited. This also applies to the reception crew. If you wanted to lose weight on a cruise this is the one to go on; the food was extremely poor with limited choice and odd combinations of food were put together. What the chef described as a cheese and onion tart was in fact a slice of quiche served with parsley sauce. The chef obviously lacked imagination and flair and did not have an educated palette for flavours. I am well aware of food recycling to ensure budgets are met; however I think bread and butter pudding or a combination of different egg custards everyday can get boring especially when lacking flavour. The best meal of the day was breakfast; however even a microwave technician can cook an egg. On a positive note the superior outside cabin was comfortable and clean. Cabin boys diligent in their work ethic. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Having read so many bad reviews about Magellan we were very surprised and delighted that we enjoyed our cruise so much. The ship was a proper old fashioned, lovely vehicle and so much nicer than those ghastly things which look like a block ... Read More
Having read so many bad reviews about Magellan we were very surprised and delighted that we enjoyed our cruise so much. The ship was a proper old fashioned, lovely vehicle and so much nicer than those ghastly things which look like a block of flats on a barge. We found our cabin very adequate and it was kept scrupulously clean by our delightful steward Putu. Shower was excellent and endless clean towels. The food and service we found to be excellent and lots of choice and everything very crisp and fresh. We found all staff very very kind and helpful and cleanliness throughout the shop was faultless. We were not very interested in entertainment as we love sea watching and sky watching and reading so could entertain ourselves.The ship seemed very buzzy and fun though if one wanted entertainment. We would have liked more information about where we were at sea and maybe maps. We were not very happy with one of our excursions and found staff not very able to deal with this and the other people who complained. Dealt with now. A small complaint about an altogether great value and very very lovely cruise. Cannot wait for the next one already booked. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This cruise itinerary was great plus there was an excellent deal for solo passengers. I booked an inside and was upgraded to an outside cabin, L shaped beds, but a reasonable size, with shower, a decent size. It was set up for someone with ... Read More
This cruise itinerary was great plus there was an excellent deal for solo passengers. I booked an inside and was upgraded to an outside cabin, L shaped beds, but a reasonable size, with shower, a decent size. It was set up for someone with mobility issues, extra handles in the shower room and a pull down seat in the shower, but these didn't get in the way at all. Shower/hair gell and conditioner were in two containers in the shower plus small bars of soap were provided. A kettle with tea/coffee was provided in the cabin plus a TV (but no BBC world service just a French channel giving news in English?). There was no daily newspaper to catch up on the news available as I had always had on other ships. The first two days was open sitting at dinner time with no allocated table which a lot of people didn't like (I didn't mind), then I was allocated a table but given the time of between 6-8 pm so after people joining at different times, my table agreed a time for us all to come, so that worked well. For a solo there were a lot of get togethers but I found I met a lot of people, just by chatting to whoever sat next to me. The jacuzzi was always sociable. I did a couple of ship excursions which were well managed, as you would expect, and priced reasonably £38 for a half day. The shows were ok and due to the numbers on board, there was only the one around 9pm, then another entertainment around 10pm. Quizzes were generally at 9.30 and 4pm and well attended (It was obvious some people do lots of quizzes as they regularly won). We didn't have a message from the captain at noon, which I enjoyed on other ships. There was one gala night (usual shake hands with the Captain, photo then into lounge followed by introduction to staff) and another evening termed 'elegant' the rest were casual though most men wore shirts and trousers and ladies smart trousers and tops, or dresses. Sea days there was usually a lecture (I found them so so) a creative writing session (this was great fun, really enjoyed this), deck games and a fitness session, plus the quizzes and other get togethers. Embarkation seemed a bit mixed, after an eleven and a half flight, I just wanted to get on the ship and it wasn't clear whether we had to take our own cases from the coach or not. Disembarkation worked well. I bought the Premier package before boarding which paid for gratuities, most cocktails and other drinks on board (not speciality coffees) and a small bottle of water. There was also a bottle of wine as part of this. This was reasonably priced and just made things easy for me as a solo to have a drink when I wanted. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Leaving from Adelaide was the big attraction as the norm is a flight to the eastern states to catch a cruise. The smaller ship was ok but limited your choice of places to go and rest or a bar for a quiet drink. I have been on 8 cruises and ... Read More
Leaving from Adelaide was the big attraction as the norm is a flight to the eastern states to catch a cruise. The smaller ship was ok but limited your choice of places to go and rest or a bar for a quiet drink. I have been on 8 cruises and my experiences with the night entertainment has always been average to poor and the Astor’s takes the cup for the worst performances I have ever seen. And lastly a singer or singers with a guitar at various times night and day to listen to would have been great instead of a pianoist and violinist who were at best depressing. We took out the premium drinks package which to my surprise only included a Shandy beer or the most bitter beer I have ever been unfortunate to try Bitsburger, surely a mid strength or light beer could have been on the list. We drunk cocktails and spirits all cruise which cost a lot more than the beers were, that got me stumped how CMV came up with that idea. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have always wanted to visit Tasmania and this cruise was advertised at a reasonable rate in the Sunday Mail. As this is the final voyage from Australia of the Astor I was not expecting much. We were surprised pleasantly by the ... Read More
I have always wanted to visit Tasmania and this cruise was advertised at a reasonable rate in the Sunday Mail. As this is the final voyage from Australia of the Astor I was not expecting much. We were surprised pleasantly by the cabin size and ample storage. The water pressure and hot water availability was faultless. The waste system operated faultlessly unlike other cruises we have completed. The food was incredible. The bar staff were knowledgeable and hospitable. A special mention for the entertainment staff and in particular the extremely hard working dancers. The shows kept getting better. The Captain was a true gentleman and exceptional host. Housekeeping and general cleanliness was to a very high standard. The spa was a pleasure to visit. The sauna and co located internal swimming pool were immaculately clean and attended by staff. I wasn’t expecting much from an aged ship on a relatively minor shipping line but I was constantly surprised and delighted from start to finish. Thank you CMV. Read Less
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