Astoria Cruise Review by Hurricane2C
- Sail Date: April 2018
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
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).
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