It was to be just a short break. A group of women (30) with a hobby in common (scrapbooking) on board the MS Astor for a few days out of Fremantle doing what they love best. Embarkation was confused, but I'll put that down to the group organisation rather than the cruise line and get to what I really want to say - about the cruise itself.
The food ranged from ordinary to poor. There was one really nice roast duck, but other than that ... I mean how do you make a cheese and herb omelette tasteless? And availability of food was extremely poor. Outside of set meal hours, there was nothing to be had.
We were doing back to back - 3 nights cruising and then a 4th night in port. So on the morning of the first section, we were just going about our normal activities. We weren't disembarking with the rest of the passengers. We didn't know that they were expecting us to go through all the checkout procedures. We did know that we would have to change cabins (why for one night?) but didn't realise the trouble this would cause. They issued us with new ID cards, but that meant that the computer system couldn't find us because it still had us in the old cabins on the old ID cards.
What we (by this time only 2 of the original group of 30) didn't know that that the breakfast service was being shut down at 8:00am (instead of 9:00) and that there would be no further food available anywhere on board until lunch at 1:00pm!! We were lucky to find a spot where an urn and some tea bags were available to make a cup of tea!!!
On the Sunday evening, I booked for a massage - I asked for 15 minutes head and shoulder. When I got back to my room I found that I had been booked for a 30 minute massage, but thought OK let it go. When I went for the massage, it seems that I fell asleep (as do many people during a massage) and when I woke up they charged me for 60 minutes ($186!!). No amount of trying to reason with them was of any use. No amount of trying to talk to someone at the Reception Desk was any use. It is a SCAM people. I discovered that I was not the only one they did this to.
When I went to disembark on the final morning, they couldn't find me in the computer - one hour to reconcile between my original embarkation and my disembarkation because of the back to back. No one available to take my (very heavy) bags full of scrapbooking gear off the ship because the majority of passengers were overnighters and had only 1 small bag. And then when I finally got to the last security check point, they can't find me in the computer either and tried to send me back to Reception yet again.
I'm not going to keep going - to talk about the engine noise, the claustrophobic inside cabin that felt like a cell, the paper thin Cabin walls, the hip bath sized pool, the very poor layout of the ship.
On the plus side - the Entertainment in the Astor Lounge each night was really good. And that's about all the plus side!