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
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We choose this cruise for the destinations, embarkation was simple and quick in Avonmouth. The cabin was bigger than expected and kept nice and clean, by the helpful cabin steward.The entertainment was very good for the facilities at their ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the destinations, embarkation was simple and quick in Avonmouth. The cabin was bigger than expected and kept nice and clean, by the helpful cabin steward.The entertainment was very good for the facilities at their disposal, the team worked very hard. Not enough seating around the ship internally, as weather was very bad you could not go outside on deck. The food was quite nice, but nothing special, the portions were minute, and if like us you were on early sitting you had nothing to eat until breakfast. We have never been so hunger on a cruise before, no tea or coffee after midnight either. Breakfast was alright so long as you didn't want hot food, it was always Luke warm, but cold meats and cheese were fine. Excursions were very expensive, it was a fraction of the price to do the trip independently. Ship old and well worn and had loud engine noises throughout the cruise, making it difficult to sleep. This is not a cruise for anybody under 70 years old. We sailed in terribly rough conditions force 9 and 10 gales, furniture, crew and passengers were being tossed around the ship, we were like a cork in a washing machine, very dangerous, serveral passengers were seriously injured and had to be flown home. A really awful experience, were we feared for our lives. We missed out on two ports due to weather conditions, I have it all on video, please watch and see for yourselves, as Cruise and Maritime, did not take my comments seriously and trivialised our complaint. I have been as fair and accurate in this review as possible. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I have cruised with many major cruise lines over several years, including twice with Cruise and Maritime before. Whilst we accept that they are not the largest or the most modern ships and make allowances for this, ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised with many major cruise lines over several years, including twice with Cruise and Maritime before. Whilst we accept that they are not the largest or the most modern ships and make allowances for this, nevertheless we were disappointed with our latest experience with CMV. It's the first time we have left from Liverpool and we arranged to park at the cruise terminal. The instructions were inadequate and I had difficulty finding the car park when I had dropped off my wife and the luggage a the terminal. In fact, even after asking the way, I had to drive around and then back to ask again. The Azores was 67 years old and I think that this was her last season with CMV. However she was clean, well furnished and comfortable. We were uprated to a Junior suite and the cabin was very nice although it was one deck above the waterline, with portholes which had to have their deadlights screwed down when we encountered some choppy weather. My main complaint was about the attitude of quite a few members of the crew. Both girls on the reception counter were curt, unfriendly and unhelpful. Our table waiter seemed to resent our presence and dinner time was not to be looked forward to. At our first breakfast in the restaurant we were kept waiting for twenty minutes for a simple bowl of porridge which was finally delivered after we had asked three different waiters. There were some very nice and helpful waiters/waitresses also, but a chain is as strong as its weakest link and even a small cruise ship can equal the service on the main liners. The food, whilst acceptable, was not outstanding, although dinners (service excepted) were of a better standard than the other meals. Particularly the buffet lunch was disappointing in that there was no fish, boiled ham, chicken, cold meats or other choices to eat with salad, just mozzarella or garlic sausage slices and the choice was far worse than other cruises we have been on. Like all our cruises, we chose this one for the destinations and these were superb. Half were only accessible by tender, but this is fine for most passengers. Activities and entertainment were second rate compared to larger ships but full marks to the crew who did so much to fulfil so many different roles and do it well. For most of the crew, English was not their first language and there were occasional difficulties in understanding them - or they us - but we got by. The final ordeal was disembarkation, we were supposed to leave the ship at 12.30 and duly assembled for that time. Our actual departure was at 13.15, we had to wait for some of our luggage to arrive in the shed and then had to retrieve our car from a car park 1,000 metres away and bring it back to pick up the luggage. The worst thing however was that we had to vacate our cabin at 10.00 hours and there were only three public wc's and no gent's urinals for the entire number of passengers. A very uncomfortable waiting experience and one which I will not endure again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We travelled from Hull to Liverpool visiting the Faroes and Scottish Isles. We couldn't stop in Skye but we stopped everywhere else. The positive: We had a double bed The food is excellent throughout The ships internal ... Read More
We travelled from Hull to Liverpool visiting the Faroes and Scottish Isles. We couldn't stop in Skye but we stopped everywhere else. The positive: We had a double bed The food is excellent throughout The ships internal lounges and dining areas are beautiful and clean The ports we visited were excellent The crafts, lectures and activities were of a very high standard The staff walking around the ship all smile and say hello The ship feels very stable, even with high swells We found the ship to be quiet The size of the ship means every cabin is convenient with little distance to walk anywhere The negative: The access in and out of the ship is via a steep set of metal steps from deck 4a. They felt treacherous and every time off the ship and back on again felt scary and we are not old. The captain only spoke twice over the tannoy and this was followed by a woman repeating every word that captain spoke - most bizarre. We had no idea of temperature, wind factor, where we were - nothing. The meal times are very precise. When it is exactly 1:30 food stops regardless of how hungry you might be or how late your excursion got back. Room service - £9 for a sandwich? Nothing free. Really? Staff cannot communicate with each other so the staff argued and bickered and some were extremely rude. We were told that only 4 original members of staff from the entertainment team remained as everyone else had left and had to be replaced and others were planning to leave in Liverpool. We also saw two members of staff holding hands and kissing when they were on duty so we were made to feel uncomfortable. High costs. Although the cruise can be good value, by the time you have factored in the high excursion costs, the high bar bill, the high room service, the high spa costs and whatever else you like to do on holiday, the cruise is not as good value as P and O. In conclusion: There was plenty that was good about the cruise, but with much room to improve on we would be tempted to sail on the Azores again as the port is more convenient than down south, but the treacherous steps are enough to put us off. If you are more sure-footed, I wouldn't let anything else put you off. If the ports are where you want to go, there is plenty of positives here. NB. This is referred to as an adult only cruise ship but there were children on our cruise. Not many and certainly nobody was running about or causing any problem, but it was still not an adult only ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Embarkation went smoothly except for treacherous outside steps up to deck 4, even for the fit and able, with little evidence of staff to assist those with a mobility problem. The cabin was very clean and one of the best suites,as far as ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly except for treacherous outside steps up to deck 4, even for the fit and able, with little evidence of staff to assist those with a mobility problem. The cabin was very clean and one of the best suites,as far as lay out is concerned, that we have had on any other cruise ship we have been on. Unfortunately , because the ship is old there were a lot of banging and creaking noises within the cabin in rough seas we had 4 nights of little sleep.All other areas on the ship were clean and well looked after and it was easy to find your way around. The ships daily programmes were adequate but the resident show performers were very good indeed. The swimming pool on the other hand was "out of action" for the duration of the cruise. Having had one lunch in the cafeteria where the "hot" food was just warm and the queues long, we ate in the restaurant for lunch and dinner for the remainder of the cruise. The food was varied and plentiful. We had breakfast in our cabin which was good. All cabin, restaurant and bar staff were very good and only too ready to please. We bought a drinks package which was good value for money but it would have been nice to have more than one choice of house wine. Coffee and water was excluded from the package. Just prior to sailing the advertised itinerary times in Orkney (8am-5pm) had been changed to 8am -2pm and Honfleur had been changed from 8am -8pm to 1pm -10pm without any apologies or explanation. The first port of call was Mull where I had arranged for Alan Robson www.mulltaxi.co.uk to provide a private tour tailored to suit our needs.This was to include a visit to the distillery.The weather was overcast and the sea slightly choppy so we were anchored way off Tobermory to be told that the captain was waiting for the weather to improve and an announcement would be made in an hour to let us know what was happening before making a decision. This did not happen and I was kept up to date by our taxi firm who told me that the harbour master had been told that the ship had decided not to tender passengers off to the harbour! Alan also cancelled our distillery tour for us.Two hours later an announcement was made informing us all that not only Mull was being cancelled but also Stornoway. We were sailing straight to Orkney and would arriving there a day earlier than planned. As I had arranged for www.hebrideanexcursions.co.uk to provide another tailored tour of Harris and Lewis for us and Orkney Taxis to meet us (now a day earlier) at the pier in Orkney I was now left to sort this out without a mobile 'phone signal. Clare the receptionist suggested that it must be my network provider at fault and that I should go as high as I could on deck to try and get a signal.It was now raining and blustery on deck. I know from past holidays in the Western Isles that mobile 'phone reception is very poor. I eventually asked if I could use the land line and was given the codes on how to get an outside line and was told that the first minute was free and after that it was £4 a minute.The land line did not work and after a long discussion and a flat refusal from Clare to do anything personaly to help, the ships communication officer, who had been asked to sort out our 'phone, contacted TG the guest relations officer who eventually agreed to send an email to Orkney taxis for me. As a seasoned cruiser I had never come across such an unhelpful attitude from those who were supposed to be there to help the guests, especially when none of the changes were of our own doing. My previous experiences with other cruise lines have always been very positive with staff who have a "can do" approach to their guests. Donald and Gail of Orkney Taxis met us at the pier and we had a wonderful day being shown around the Island by a local guide with so much knowledge of the Island. Nothing was too much trouble and we were able to stop whenever we wanted to.The time ashore was now 8am to 10pm. I managed to eventually get a signal and let John ,Hebridean Excursions know what was NOT happening. See Tripadvisor reviews of this company. A half day( 8am -2pm) in Invergordon was substituted at late notice for the loss of the other two ports of call. This is a repair port for the oil rigs and has little to offer. Two, expensive,organised tours were offered and no information was available for independent travellers as to how they could get around the area. We arrived in Honfleur at 12pm, (46 hours later) and had to wait until 2pm before we could get off the boat to get a shuttle bus into the town.We were "allowed" to get off earlier but would have to walk for at least 20 minutes before we were near to the town. I had a local taxi firm number obtained in the UK but the codes were confusing, again Clare refused to even try and find out for me what the codes were and suggested I walk to the harbour ofice to get a taxi. Again Independent passengers were kept waiting until the organised tours were all off the ship. There was also a problem at St. Mary's in as much that the ship was anchored a good 30 minute tender journey each way thus delaying and prolonging the time getting us off board, again priority was given to the organised tours. As the sea was choppy when we arrived I was waiting for an announcement that we would not be going ashore . However the boatmen of the Scilly Isles tender passengers on and off all the ships and know all the tides etc. They could not understand why we were so far off shore. DJ Cabs St. Mary's met us at the pier and we had an excellent tour of the island, stopping off whenever we wanted and had first hand knowledge of the Islands history, flora and fauna. The excursions are expensive and I would recommend the above mentioned private taxi firms to anyone, all were good value for money and even those that we did not meet up with have been in contact with me hoping that everything had gone alright for us and that we had enjoyed our cruise. Disembarkation went smoothly but again the steps were appalling with no help from the crew.The port staff were very helpful. This cruise was not cheap and unless the attitudes of some key customer services / guest relations personel change we will not use this cruise line again. Read Less
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