5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted a taste of river cruising so this seemed ideal. Embarkation at Poole was quick however a little back to front, you picked up your cruise card at the port, then got on the ship to "check in", have passports checked etc, ... Read More
We wanted a taste of river cruising so this seemed ideal. Embarkation at Poole was quick however a little back to front, you picked up your cruise card at the port, then got on the ship to "check in", have passports checked etc, then were taken to your cabin where your room keys were waiting for you. We booked last minute so the only available cabin was "Inside Guarantee" which was surprisingly larger than expected although really disappointed that the beds could not be put together to form a double. No kettle/tea/coffee making facilities. Bath in bathroom was a bonus. Entertainment was pretty basic, don't get me wrong, the all worked really, really hard but don't expect any Broadway type shows! We found the menu in the Restaurant quite limited and basic, and the portions fairly small. Staff were really helpful and friendly, no long waits at either bar or restaurants. Cocktail of the Day was a nice touch. No "snacks" available late night or if you miss breakfast (which ends at 930am) Due to bad weather most out door areas were mostly closed and the crossing both there and back was the worst I've ever experienced, sick bags and sickness pills were in plentiful supply! Both stops (Honfleur and Rouen) were really pretty, we did not book excursions but visited the areas where the shuttle bus dropped you. Casino was a bit of a waste really, only 1 member of staff to run a Blackjack Table or Roulette Table alternatively between giving out tokens for the slots. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this cruise, The British Isles , as the Astora was cruising to the Orkney, Shetland , Tobermory then after Ireland ,The Scilly Isles . The only place on the schedule that we managed to dock/tender was Ireland. This was extremely ... Read More
Chose this cruise, The British Isles , as the Astora was cruising to the Orkney, Shetland , Tobermory then after Ireland ,The Scilly Isles . The only place on the schedule that we managed to dock/tender was Ireland. This was extremely disappointing, after suffering bad weather at sea not able to see places we wanted. The ship was not stable enough and too old for the job. The service on board was excellent......the Captain ( Mr Invisible ) rubbish. I cannot fault the food or service of crew, but we think that the Captain must have known about the adverse weather conditions before we left Tilbury , which had we had the choice we would not have continued with the cruise. We left Cork and were told that we were not travelling to The Scilly Isles or Guernsey , went to Falmouth and Portsmouth instead. I would not choose to sail on this ship again. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
What ruined this cruise for me was having a cabin directly above the show lounge. So thudding bass shaking the furniture and every song audible - rehearsal before dinner, then early show, then late show till well after 11 p.m. Forget ... Read More
What ruined this cruise for me was having a cabin directly above the show lounge. So thudding bass shaking the furniture and every song audible - rehearsal before dinner, then early show, then late show till well after 11 p.m. Forget about sleep or relaxing. Staff agreed very noisy but as fully booked no possibility of change. If I was booked into any cabin from 501 to 530 I'd cancel now. The ship also seemed very rocky in rough-ish seas. Though the lounge areas were cosy and chairs more comfortable than beds ... For some reason the tables in the buffet were Formica-topped with no raised edges, so glasses and crockery regularly slid off and smashed on the floor. For that matter, why have china instead of non-breakable alternative? Maybe why the mugs regularly ran out. The other issue was Bristol - advised to take taxi from Temple Meads 6.5 miles, cost £37 partly because the postcode on the guidance sent the satnav up the wrong side of the inlet. But coming back still charged £15 to Avonmouth, less than ten minutes. I think the port and the taxi company must have an "arrangement" which rips off passengers. And you need adaptors for plugs, which they don't tell you. Otherwise, it was cheap and that showed - high charges for water, wi-fi (which didn't work till halfway through), drinks etc etc. Food better at dinner than lunch, but wine service intermittent, and coffee mugs regularly ran out. A lift broke. The gangplank was rickety. The daily news sheets ceased partway through. I believe many of the staff were new, and think they were overloaded - relatively few compared with other companies. Excursions not great, but the weather didn't help - maybe April is a bit early for Spain, Portugal, Azores. Madeira was the only warm place. And a bit odd having a formal dinner on the last night when you have to put your suitcase out by 11 p.m. So you get what you pay for, or in this case not - personally I'd prefer to pay a bit more upfront for comfort and service. And peace and quiet. It could have been a good cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Cruise and Maritime Voyages missed 40% of the itinerary on their Easter 'Scottish islands and Emerald Isle' cruise in March 2016. Despite the title of the cruise, on Astoria, the company failed to deliver anybody to a Scottish ... Read More
Cruise and Maritime Voyages missed 40% of the itinerary on their Easter 'Scottish islands and Emerald Isle' cruise in March 2016. Despite the title of the cruise, on Astoria, the company failed to deliver anybody to a Scottish Island.There was no notice, no contingency and no substitute, no apology, and no compensation of any kind, (for failing to reach Mull, Iona and Lewis), and there was absolutely no recognition of the disappointment i.e. that many passengers choose cruises solely for the itinerary. I think most reputable companies would have offered a partial refund for failing to deliver the service for which their customer had paid in good faith. The company's response is in their 'terms and conditions' (which are sent AFTER paying a deposit) and which apparently cover changes to the itinerary. Bad weather happens of course, but the way in which a firm treats its customers IS in its control and on this occasion CMV left hundreds in dismay, cancelling a visit to Mull (and Iona Abbey) on a sunny Good Friday morning when everybody had tender boarding cards and picnic boxes in hand, ready to go ashore. One passenger was reported to have said this was the third time CMV had failed to deliver to a Scottish island; I would not give them a second chance, let alone a third. We have cruised many times before and have never missed a port, so obviously we were unlucky on this occasion, but I do question the wisdom of the itinerary; is it wise to attempt Scotland in March? Is this the reason other shipping lines do not go there other than in the summer? The cruise cost £1600 and a week's annual leave and turned out to be a very expensive way to visit Belfast, Dublin and Glasgow (which were the three successful stops on the itinerary), as well as Ullapool (which was the substitute for Stornaway, Lewis). Apart from that boarding was good, the food was fine (provenance felt poor quality), bar service at dinner was so bad people went to the bar to get their own drinks, the staff were lovely, our cabin steward actually was excellent, and the ship overall was not bad. The Christian team (this was Holy week) were wonderful and saved the day. Excursion to Giant's Footsteps was very good. Dublin we wandered around but our trip was cut short because of the weather (bright sunny day, why?). I cannot comment on any other excursions because of course we did not reach the island excursions we had booked for....... Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The best aspect of this cruise was, without doubt, the entertainment - which was good fun. The onboard-team were so full of energy and enthusiasm and were accomplished dancers and singers - so that was good. The speakers were interesting - ... Read More
The best aspect of this cruise was, without doubt, the entertainment - which was good fun. The onboard-team were so full of energy and enthusiasm and were accomplished dancers and singers - so that was good. The speakers were interesting - however, I was rather taken aback to find that the theme of a few of the speakers talks seemed to be around their Christian beliefs.....there was no mention upon booking that the cruise was to have a Christian element. This did not especially perturb me, I just feel that mention should have been made of this in the information prior to booking. Other aspects of the cruise left a great deal to be desired........particularly in the catering department....the food was just acceptable (in my opinion, and I overheard many others expressing similar views). The meat was almost always tough (I had to send some beef back because it was literally unchewable) the fish seemed like a more acceptable option. The quantities of food at dinner was small - I never felt totally satisfied after an evening meal; very little in the way of veg. and the food all came plated so you could not help yourself to veg. The sweets were poor - generally rather synthetic creamy cakes, or minute portions of ice-cream, and don't even mention the cheese and biscuits! What a joke! A couple of thin slices of 2 different cheeses with a couple of ritz-type biscuits, half a dozen grapes and that was that! Disgraceful really! Lunch-time salads were better. The trouble with lunch-time was the free for all in the buffet-lounge (well, not just at lunch-time, at all meal-times it was like Paddy's market!) Not a great deal of choice andfrequently food would run out - only to be replaced after a long wait, then plates, or cups would disappear, and a queue would form, whereupon 4 cups would be brought out, and a couple of plates! Breakfasts had all the usual fruit and cereals, etc and some very nice omelettes cooked for you if you wished, the rest was rather over-cooked, dried-up bacon, baked beans, tomatoes and hash-browns - not a lot of variety. The biggest criticism of all of the food was that it was served luke-warm and sometimes cold - at all of the meals. The milk was UHT - yuk! For me a big issue was that there was no food in the evening after dinner - we ate at 6.0pm, so by 10pm I would have loved a snack (or, as on other cruises, a buffet) but there was not a thing! No crisps or nuts in the bars, nothing! Each evening the "What's on" bulletin advertised "refreshments in all of the lounges" - but when I enquired at reception I was told that if I wanted something to eat I must use room-service! I thought that the attitude was rather penny-pinching. There was a bottle of water in our cabin on arrival which I opened and drank - to find that that was charged at £2.20p! To use your computer cost £40 for I can't recall how many hours - but,surely that should be included in this day and age? Apparently a whole new crew had been taken on prior to this trip, and it showed! No-one seemed to quite know what was happening - and the more senior staff were reprimanding the newbies in public....."don't pour the drink like that, do it like this....." unprofessional! Shambolic sums it up - and so disappointing when one has so looked forward to a relaxing break with a bit of pampering.....I would not recommend this company, nor would I use them again - which is really sad as she is an attractive ship with so much potential. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was called Scottish islands and Emerald Isle. We sailed from Bristol Avonmouth; getting there was easy (train and taxi) and embarkation was very smooth. We were upgraded to a promenade deck cabin ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was called Scottish islands and Emerald Isle. We sailed from Bristol Avonmouth; getting there was easy (train and taxi) and embarkation was very smooth. We were upgraded to a promenade deck cabin with a bath, and our cabin steward offered to change our beds from two singles to a double which we preferred, so all started well. We were also manage to change our table for four in the restaurant to a table for two, second sitting. However we felt that despite the chefs' best efforts the provenance of the food itself was very poor. Getting a drink at dinner was very difficult - most passengers gave up and went to the bar for their wine. A poor deal for those with drinks packages. The cruise had a Christian theme as it was Holy week and the team here were excellent. The only shore excursion we went on was to the Giant's Causeway which was good. So far fair enough. However things went wrong when poor weather prevented us from going to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis. This meant we could not go to the Isle of Harris either. We went to Ullapool instead, a poor substitute. The following day, with clear blue skies, glorious sunshine, and tender boarding cards and picnics in our hand the captain announced that we would not go to Mull or the Good Friday excursion to Iona either, because of poor weather forecast later in the day. There was no apology and no compensation, not even a free drink or free on board spend. Instead we spent the day at sea with more bar quizzes for entertainment and little else. For me the whole point of the cruise was negated. I had been to Ireland before and my sole interest was the Scottish Isles, but here we were on a ship that failed to reach any Scottish island, 40% of its itinerary. For some reason the hours in Dublin were also cut short, leaving at about 3.00 pm instead of 5.00 pm, so yet more shore time lost. In summary we felt badly let down by Cruise and Maritime, we felt that with better scheduling and contingency planning the passengers' obvious disappointment and in some cases open tears, could have been avoided. Similarly a kinder more empathetic approach to customer services might have helped alleviate the acute dismay at the failure of the trip, instead of which we actually felt that the ship's management treated us with little more than contempt. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Yes, it is a small ship, but it was very well fitted out and we boarded with high hopes. Soon dashed by discovering we had been 'upgraded' from a Superior Cabin of 16 sq m to a Standard Cabin of 11 sq m! Apparently being a few ... Read More
Yes, it is a small ship, but it was very well fitted out and we boarded with high hopes. Soon dashed by discovering we had been 'upgraded' from a Superior Cabin of 16 sq m to a Standard Cabin of 11 sq m! Apparently being a few decks higher and having a view of the bottom of a lifeboat for a week counts as an upgrade. We had two single beds with a tiny cupboard between., and an (unwanted)fridge with a fixed TV on top, No other surface on which to put ANYTHING. Small wardrobes meant keeping some clothes in the case under the bed. Food? Acceptable. Shop? Selling left-over souvenirs from the last trip - to Norway!! No items reflecting where the ship was going, perfumes of the Lady Gaga, celeb-type, no clothes - never saw a guest in there. Tea in restaurants comes via hot water in flasks and teabags. No tea-making facilities in cabin. Bottle of water? That'll be £2.20, thanks. Their idea of 'activity' on board - quiz after quiz and standing in a corridor throwing bean bags around. On the plus side - bathroom excellent with super shower (might have been more comfortable than the cabin), boarding and disembarking best we have come across, very good cabin steward - rest of the staff suddenly improved on the last day when people were thinking of cancelling their £5 a day tips! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We embarked at Avonmouth (Bristol) for a 12 night cruise to the Iceland via Stornaway and The Faroes. The weather could have been better and the stabilisers (if there were any) did little to dampen the ship's motion. Our cabin was ... Read More
We embarked at Avonmouth (Bristol) for a 12 night cruise to the Iceland via Stornaway and The Faroes. The weather could have been better and the stabilisers (if there were any) did little to dampen the ship's motion. Our cabin was truly excellent, the best we have had in the 6 cruises we have so far had and consisted of a large bedroom (double bed) and a separate living room. There was a TV in each. We had a Jacuzzi bath and bidet in our bathroom. As we had a delux suite, canapes in our cabin were complimentary every evening. That's the good part --- now the bad. Our Jacuzzi bath had a thick layer of brown scum on the water when we first turned it on. This slowly got better during the trip but on the penultimate day was dreadful. My wife wanted to wash her hair but this water would have dirtied it. If I could find a way of downloading a photo on this site I would do so. Next. Our captain was an invisible one, both in sound and in vision. On all our other cruises we have had a captain's briefing every day advising us of the weather, sea state, e.t.a at next port etc. Our captain was silent apart from 2 announcements throughout the 12 days. Any announcement that was made was made by a junior officer (we think) and could only be heard if you happened to be in a public area at the time. So anyone in their cabin would not hear anything. On our first 'formal' evening the captain did put in an appearance and sat on the next table to ours. One lady that we knew had already written to him regarding his non-appearances and was told he was 'too busy on the bridge' to reply. The food was mediocre, very repetitive, particularly breakfast, but at least for the most part the waiters were quite attentive, particularly on the last day when they were hoping for a tip. We are charged automatically £5.00/pp/day for tips but like some other people we struck that off and gave tips to those people who in our opinion deserved them. Day-time entertainment consisted of bean-bag throwing, quiz, lecture, craft ideas and film. The gym consisted of 2 CV machines and 1 weights machine. Not very inspiring! Some of the excursions were OK (but all expensive). The crew who boated us ashore in the tender seemed rather incompetent. When we were brought back to the ship on one occasion, we crashed into the side of the ship. Later on it took them 4 tries to attach themselves to the davits for the boat to be lifted up. I do not think that I would trust them one bit in an emergency. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
it started badly by itinery being altered meaning only one night in Iceland, no apparent reason for this. Avonmouth is not conjusive to cruising. it is a warehouse facility. Embarkation was a joke, total free for all rather than ... Read More
it started badly by itinery being altered meaning only one night in Iceland, no apparent reason for this. Avonmouth is not conjusive to cruising. it is a warehouse facility. Embarkation was a joke, total free for all rather than scheduled boarding. The ship is very tired and in much need of a facelift. Food at dinner was good but breakfast very poor quality. Only one four slice toaster, only two sections worked, so long queue. Usually only one tea/coffee station so again long queues. The cabin. We opted for a Premium Ocean View Grade 12. Sounds splendid but no- it was one of the smallest cabins on the ship, no space for a chair, no dressing table, one socket hidden behind a bed, dirty carpet. Only thing Premium was the price. On FIVE separate occasions engineers had to be sent to clear the toilet vacumn system, two electricians had to check our cabin as we received electric shocks from door handles and switches. One port we were taken ashore by tender. It was obvious as soon as we left the ship there was a steering problem but we continued following a zig zag course to shore. The windscreen wipers were useless and a crew member was dispatched to stand on the bow and point out the direction to go. After three unsuccessful attempts to dock we were finally secured to the side of another tender and towed to the dockside. Thank goodness this was not an emergency situation. Captain was conspicuous by his abscence and lack of communication. The general staff were mainly very pleasant and the entertainment was good. In all a ship to avoid Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Eclipse and Northern Lights cruise. Bad start as embarkation involved a long queue, despite being told that it would be phased to avoid queuing. The ship is 67 years old and had been 'refurbished' but was very basic. Originally ... Read More
Eclipse and Northern Lights cruise. Bad start as embarkation involved a long queue, despite being told that it would be phased to avoid queuing. The ship is 67 years old and had been 'refurbished' but was very basic. Originally booked in July 2014, the main attraction being the possible viewing of the Total Eclipse near the Faroe Islands, we were disappointed to be advised of changes to the itinerary a few weeks before setting sail. On the excursion briefing, it transpired that all port dockings were far away from those originally planned, whilst an overnight stay in Iceland was cut short, with an extra day 'at sea', whilst the Faroe Island port was changed from the Capital at Troshaven to a small ferry terminal miles from anywhere. We missed the Shetlands due to bad weather, a cruising hazard, but spent a welcome extra night in the Orkney's at Kirkwall. It would have been helpful if we had been told that the berth was a purpose built cruise terminal, as we had expected to berth in the harbour, not another 20 minute bus ride from behind the shipping containers (again!). On to Stornaway, where again we were expecting to berth in the harbour, but were 'at anchor' (not mentioned in the brochure or original itinerary!) and eventually transferred to the island by 67 year old 'Tenders'. The ship is not built for rough seas, as in these northern waters, with many people, including myself, suffering from acute seasickness. On the positive side, the Northern Lights were magnificent, appearing on two nights off Iceland. The entertainment was superb and the crew and restaurant/bar staff/ cabin stewards could not be faulted. The food was good, apart from the breakfast, which resembled a cold war regime with appalling bacon and inedible sausages, if you like a good breakfast as in an hotel, forget it. Avonmouth is not a good place to start a cruise, the terminal is a fruit and veg warehouse, departure is very reliant on the tide with a large lock from the commercial dock and the dirty water of the Bristol Channel. It was certainly an experience to be on a ship so full of character, but I would not recommend for a first cruise. May be better in warmer climes.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was a specific cruise with the intention of being in the ultimate place for the Eclipse. Sadly whilst the ship was in the correct place so were the clouds! Obviously totally out of the hands of the cruise line. Looking at the ... Read More
This was a specific cruise with the intention of being in the ultimate place for the Eclipse. Sadly whilst the ship was in the correct place so were the clouds! Obviously totally out of the hands of the cruise line. Looking at the previous reviews I can identify with lots that have been said: we had booked a 'deluxe junior suite' double. On arrival it was 2 singles and were told it couldn't be changed then as we disembarked we noticed that it had! The window leaked and despite numerous complaints nothing was done other than a final apology with a complimentary bottle of house wine! Electrics were loose and the tea making facilities were interesting - milk had to be brought from the restaurant and to put the kettle on you had to unplug the TV - only one socket on that wall the other 2 being behind the beds. We have cruised extensively but never been in a cabin that creaked as much and also the mattress slid off the bed in the (regular) inclement weather. I would agree with previous comments about the lack of presence of the management despite our room being opposite the hotel director, few were seen. We have never seen as little of a captain as we did this one. Waiting and serving staff were exceptional and the entertainments team were brilliant. Food was good and our table companions were pleasant albeit we are not keen on fixed time dining or being told who we sit with! Embarkation seemed chaotic as whilst we were promised priority there were no signs or information to action this. Disembarkation was almost as bad with delays for no apparent reason. This must have been the most consistent problem on board - the lack of communication - nobody (management again) announced what was happening with the exception of the Cruise Director who seemed to be a lonely voice. It was also interesting when the Captain did occasionally make an announcement it was then re-read by the Guest Services Manager word for word - why? To summarize we went on this cruise specifically because of its destination but were disappointed with the 'cruising' side of the trip. Read Less
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