Astor Cruise Review by RCI Veteran
- Sail Date: January 2018
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
Embarkation took 2 hours and was slowed by the fact they don't have credit card details at online check in stage.
We had a Premium Suite on Atlantic Deck - it was clean and spacious and had a great full sized shower. The bed was comfortable and the room was our sanctuary away from everything else. The decoration was very dark - navy furnishings and dark mahogany wood everywhere so quite austere. It did make us laugh that we had a traditional room key and massive fob to lug around your Seapass (or whatever CMV call it) doesn't work as a door key.... never none that before!
Food in the buffet was akin to school dinners - there were queues everywhere and food options were limited. None of the waiters wanted to help when I asked for cutlery. Not great, but edible. The hand sanitizer was not manned so fellow passengers were not using it which is not great when there are so many cases of Norovirus these days.
Walking around the ship, it showed its age. The broken basketball net was a children's Fisher Price toy and sports equipment was past its best. The area around the outside pool was crowded with very few places to sit down and relax. The ship is tatty on the outside which is a shame. Deck space is very narrow. In fact, the whole ship is laid out with narrow and claustrophobic corridors which are made worse by the dark wood. Smears of greasy fingers were visible in many places. Anyone remember Fawlty Towers? It is a bit like that as you see the same staff everyone 10 minutes!!
The queue for dinner was a farce - we were told to wait 5 minutes (reality was 20 mins) but as new passengers arrived, there was no system so those who turned up a long time after us went straight in. We had a table for 2, which was good, but service in the restaurant was slow and the waiters were not welcoming, more functional, and just asked what we wanted. Soup was cold and had to be sent back, I received the wrong salad so had to have it changed and the main courses (both lamb and beef) were lukewarm. This was a shame as it was beautifully presented. Dessert was ok but coffee/tea were never offered.
We went to the theatre (a one deck show lounge) and listened to the act. The girl was a good singer and had an 80s repertoire. In fact, his really sums the ship up - stuck in a time warp and we felt like we had gone back in time.
Notices around the ship, as well as drinks menu, were poor quality photocopies on cheap paper. Some claim this is a 4 star ship... 2 star is more realistic, possibly a low 3 star.
The area around the entrance to the Spa on Deck 1 smells of smoke as this comes through from the staff area. Be mindful of this is you are looking to book a cabin on this deck and are a non smoker.
The stateroom attendant barged into room whilst I was in the shower and never even knocked. We begrudge the $20 daily fee for gratuities when none of the staff showed any interest. We appreciate they have a hard job but they could at least smile and say hello to passengers.
If you have children, there is absolutely nothing for them to do whether they are primary school age or teenagers.
On departure morning, you have to be out of your room by 7am, complete with your luggage as there is no leaving it outside the cabin the night before.... so everyone turns up to breakfast with their luggage!!
If you have never cruised before, the points raised may not be an issue. But if you are used to larger, newer ships with all the facilities and dining choices, you may be disappointed with the Astor.
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Clean and spacious
Comfortable bed and pillows
Lots of power points
Large sofa and desks
Bathrobes and slippers provided
Dark colour scheme
Excessive funnel noise at night and floor vibrates because of it
Toilet seat lid broken and fell off 4 times in 24 hours