15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
As first-time cruisers we weren't sure what to expect, or how a small ship like Astor compares with a 4,000 passenger monster. We were attracted by the bargain rate of $900 for two people for five nights. If the cruise had cost two or ... Read More
As first-time cruisers we weren't sure what to expect, or how a small ship like Astor compares with a 4,000 passenger monster. We were attracted by the bargain rate of $900 for two people for five nights. If the cruise had cost two or three times as much our post-voyage opinions might have been sterner. The ship was excellently maintained and operated. If there were grumpy crew members we didn't see them. I suspect that reviewers who harshly criticise crew are types who like confrontation and making complaints. The interior cabin was small but as described on the website. The only failing was an erratic vacuum toilet that sometimes left solid and liquid offerings unflushed, then later whisked them away at a time of its own choosing. Food was generally good. Some of it looked better than it tasted but the chef deserved more bouquets than brickbats. Unlike another reviewer we had no stale rolls or hard scones. Quite the opposite, both were excellent. The entertainers merited top marks for trying even though their cheesy dancing, cheesy singing and cheesy costumes weren't to our taste. A different show was presented each night. We excused ourselves from afternoon bingo, morning quizzes and other activities that would appeal to some. Life on board would have been cost-free if we'd been teetotal and hadn't bought one souvenir photo. For what we paid the cruise was extraordinarily good value for money. We began to feel a bit 'stir crazy' after three days. The cruise taught us that more of the same wouldn't be our next holiday choice, but that's the way we are and not a criticism of the Astor. Overall, a highly satisfactory and memorable trip. Near to top marks to the Cap'n and his capable, cheerful crew. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first cruise and we loved it Very clean room and common areas constantly being cleaned This was a short cruise but a great introduction whilst the Astor is small compared to others I see why many love her it's not ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we loved it Very clean room and common areas constantly being cleaned This was a short cruise but a great introduction whilst the Astor is small compared to others I see why many love her it's not shiny new and modern but warm and welcoming The crew were happy and very helpful maybe more signage on the ship would have been helpful This trip had a good mix of people but this is clearly not a ship for children limited activities The food was ok we dined in the Waldof resturant and the meals did become repetitive and average more choice in the Buffett and better desserts enjoyed afternoon tea there several times The drinks package was good value but the water package is not The nighttime shows did not meet expectations they need a lot of work I feel high school students could provide a better standard Lots of room around the ship for quite reflective time or if you prefer bars and music that's available also The use of the tender in Esperance was fast and professional and the volunteers in the towns were lovely and appreciated No tender required in Albany and a wonderful day was had I found the twin rooms very spacious the double rooms have less room to move about great storage in the rooms Highly recommend not sure I would like the modern ships will have to contemplate this Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Just back from the Christmas in Bali cruise on the MS Astor. This was our first cruise and we took a bit of a risk as we weren't sure cruising is really for us, but very glad we gave it a go. All I needed out of it an extended period ... Read More
Just back from the Christmas in Bali cruise on the MS Astor. This was our first cruise and we took a bit of a risk as we weren't sure cruising is really for us, but very glad we gave it a go. All I needed out of it an extended period of downtime with a good book and a deck chair, and that was delivered immediately and in spades. Yay! The cruise was basically a day and a half in Bali, and four sea days either side - more about the journey than the destination. Given you've done enough research to find this review you'll know by now the ship is small and a bit old-school style, it also does not directly cater to young children, I would not recommend this ship to young families unless the kids are abnormally self-sufficient. So this adds up to "an older crowd", even taking the cruise passenger stereotype into account. Which is certainly no criticism - consider honestly whether you'd rather share a confined space with a bunch of understimulated children and Gen-Y party animals? Yeah, me neither. There is a drip-feed of activities & entertainment, since that wasn't really what I was there for I can't offer much insight (other than that Bingo is an extremely serious business). Also: if television is critical to your emotional well-being you may wish to look beyond this ship. The food was not Michelin standard but if one were to actually take a moment to properly consider the logistics involved, what they did achieve was pretty spectacular. There were always plenty of options, there was nice fresh fruit available with every meal, and tea & coffee available all day. The staff were all amazing - every staff member I encountered appeared naturally cheerful and obliging, which is hopefully a sign that they're treated well. Many I saw appeared to work from pre-dawn well into the evening and still keep smiling, even when most were literally oceans away from their families at Christmas. Bless their socks, one and all. If I was really hard pressed to find something to complain about (as seems to be the fashion with this style of travel) I'd say the bar service was a little on the slow side; but you could easily look upon it as a sensible risk-management point when you have a few hundred elderly people on a multi-level moving surface with tripping hazards everywhere. (A word of warning to those with a delicate constitution, this ship has stabilisers but you very definitely do still notice it moving, and we had a couple of fairly rough nights.) Really the only off-notes of the 10 days for us was overhearing a couple of instances of embarrassingly rude and entitled behaviour from other passengers towards food service staff on totally spurious grounds (eg, availability of marmite and not vegemite, or possibly vice versa, as though this makes a difference to a person's life, good lord). Once we'd found the out-of-the-way spots on the ship, and learned the optimum times to avoid the rugby scrums at the buffet we were set. A fantastic chilled-out escape, time went niiiice and slow. Ace keen :) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
12/15 3 day cruise Fremantle to Fremantle Check-in at Fremantle Passenger Terminal was the first contact with the ship’s crew, very professional and friendly. Fremantle terminal is basic and dated! Oops, if you have trouble walking ... Read More
12/15 3 day cruise Fremantle to Fremantle Check-in at Fremantle Passenger Terminal was the first contact with the ship’s crew, very professional and friendly. Fremantle terminal is basic and dated! Oops, if you have trouble walking a mile, get help! We had an interior twin room lower deck 4 port side, room 506, very clean, well equipped but small. Bathroom very small but extremely clean, bright, well-appointed with lovely soft towels including pool towels. Even brought the glen 20 freshener, didn’t need to use it (tip from what to bring). The cabin was quiet and ocean movement minimally felt. Air-conditioning was good but when rushing around in the cabin you did warmed up, so a fan would have been excellent to have! I’m going again in January, so I will bring a desk fan (bring European adapter) Weekend weather was around 25 degrees c, what to wear, on board perfect temperature, I didn’t t need a cardie, outside was pretty warm too. Afternoon, yes a sea breeze happen but it depends where you are at, still not cold. I brought too much cool weather gear, not used on this trip. Two lovely dining areas to choose, one with table service and one buffet style, both gorgeously set so much attention to detail. Great service, immaculate dressed multi-tasking crew from all over the world and so many of them. Coffee was divine, choice of teas and water all available, no charge. Food was plentiful and fresh! Sweets, too many to choose from, including an ice-cream station. Loved the grill (barbeque) Saturday lunch time at the buffet. Drinks prices ok, a summary, soft drinks around $3.95, Beer $6.95+, glass of wine $8.50 (nice wine too), bottle of wine mid varieties $22-$38, of course top shelf is available. Upon entering the dining areas a hand sanitiser unit is available and encouraged to be used. Wellness centre with beauty treatments, hair, saunas, and heated swimming pool with aqua gear, dumb bells, and noodles is available and I had a great time. Staff excellent at the wellness centre! Of course they will marketed the goods to sell but that’s business as usual .Didn’t use to outdoor pool. Had a wedding party on board, so good to see the wedding fashion stakes at its finest and the party people, the crew very attentive! Entertainment, well I loved it! 3 different cabaret themes over the 3 night cruising with a talented multi-tasking crew. Best part is leaving the internet behind and meeting people! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first cruise, so we were not sure what to expect. The check-in procedure was smooth and once we were on board the staff were waiting to show us to our cabin, with our suitcases not far behind. Throughout the whole voyage the ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we were not sure what to expect. The check-in procedure was smooth and once we were on board the staff were waiting to show us to our cabin, with our suitcases not far behind. Throughout the whole voyage the staff and crew were absolutely fantastic, the service they gave was exemplary and they always smiled and said hello to everyone. We saw the very caring way that they looked after some of the less mobile passengers as well. Both the public areas and our cabin seemed to be newly refurbished and everywhere was spotless. We had a cabin with a window, and a sofa which was turned into a bed each night by our maid. The cabin had everything we needed, and well thought out for a small space. The food was excellent... I believe some reviewers thought the drinks expensive but I suppose it depends on where you come from. We did not find them unduly so. We were expecting to be given an early or late sitting for dinner but the ship did not seem to be full so we ate at any time. We went to all the evening shows, the standard of singing and dancing was very high, not to mention the fantastic costumes. We were not keen on the comedian who came across as quite old-fashioned... lots of the jokes had seen better days! Everything was very well organised, we had a daily itinerary given to us each evening with the next days schedule on. Being a small ship there was little in the way of shopping on board but there was plenty of onboard activities to keep most people happy although the weather kept us inside until towards the end of the cruise, and it was good to chat with other passengers as well. We had booked a selection of trips ashore and were glad we did as the time factor meant we did not have long in any of the stops. This was the main drawback for us, but we realise this is the nature of cruises and we already have plans to go back and spend longer in some of the places. To sum up, we thought it good value for money and would certainly consider another cruise on the Astor. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
This was our first cruise "a test" to see if we would enjoy cruising prior to booking overseas. We sailed from Fremantle to Esperance, Albany return. This is a four star ship but our whole experience was five star plus !! The ... Read More
This was our first cruise "a test" to see if we would enjoy cruising prior to booking overseas. We sailed from Fremantle to Esperance, Albany return. This is a four star ship but our whole experience was five star plus !! The staff, food, cabins, activities, cabaret shows were all first class. Nothing was too much to ask. The selection of food in all restaurants was amazing. The whole ship and cabins were spotlessly clean. The staff were very friendly and helpful. They had a variety of activities each day that catered for the majority - quizzes, crafts, quest speakers, sports and games. The majority of our passengers were older than us (average age 65+) but this wasn't an issue as they knew how to party like 20 year olds :-). There were a few families on board and although the cruise didn't really cater for families with activities - the families we spoke with didn't have an issue with this as they knew in advance that it catered for older age groups. The evening entertainment was great - the variety of shows in the Astor lounge were terrific and the musicians in the Captain's lounge and on the deck were fabulous. We didn't go on any shore excursions but chose to arrange a hire car in Esperance and Albany and do our own thing. We used the cheaper hire car companies (not the Avis and Budgets) and had a car for $45 / day which was perfect. Embarking and disembarking was very quick and easy. It seems that most people only put negative reviews but honestly we cannot think of one negative thing to say about our whole experience. We will definitely recommend Astor to family and friends and in particular this cruise is perfect for people being "first time cruisers". We would cruise with Astor again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I was just having a look at the reviews of the Astor and for the first time in my life had an urge to spend the time (which i treasure greatly) to sign up to a site so i could put my two cents worth. I was on the Astor from Freo to Bali ... Read More
I was just having a look at the reviews of the Astor and for the first time in my life had an urge to spend the time (which i treasure greatly) to sign up to a site so i could put my two cents worth. I was on the Astor from Freo to Bali and back for 10 days over xmas 2014 on my first cruise experience. When i saw that the Astor was here and having wanted to go on a short cruise to dip my toes i did a bit of research waited a month or two and booked at what i believe was a reasonable price. I was not expecting a five star experience and i didn't get one. What I did get was a very pleasant time at a very reasonable price. I am a not a complete skinflint but i am a sucker for value for money and if that gets your heart racing then I can recommend the Astor (although the experience may vary of course) I have spent a bit of time on the ocean and whilst the trip out of Freo was a bit rough it didn't last long and soon got to the point where one night I had to get up and go outside as i thought we were dead in the water. We were steaming at a steady rate and i couldn't feel or hear a thing. I didn't hear either of my neighbors except once when there was some shouting.which you would have heard in a crowded street. The public areas of the ship were deathly quiet most of the time and the only noises that could be heard at times was the waitstaff when they were asking for drinks orders or delivering them. The Staff were very friendly, they all spoke english (of varying abilities but you get that when you have to speak several languages), they were all polite, they were all courteous, they were all professional and every single one of them went out of their way to make sure I was looked after. The reception people looked a bit frazzled on occasion but i was still served professionally. The Captain is a good sort and the ship is clearly looked after. Our baggage was delivered to our cabin without issue and the room stewards were fantastic. I had a slight issue with a leaking shower and they sorted it out immediately by getting a maintenance guy in and cleaning up after he fixed it. The only issue I can say bug'd me was the constant apologizing while it was happening but after seeing some passenger behavior i can understand why they were doing it. After being in remote camps in the 80's and 90's the food was better than what I was expecting could be cooked for a crowd of 600 three times a day but I couldn't rate it versus other ships. I do however eat good food when at home and know when I am being fed rubbish, which this wasn't. The full service restaurant was a nice experience and I didn't mind a short wait in the Captains bar until a table was free as i was getting to be a bit of a fan of a cocktail and quickly got used to a pre dinner drink in the Captains lounge. Compared to a bar in Perth the drink prices were reasonable and less than I was expecting given I was very much a captive audience. I was not that keen on the idea of cruising and i might have been going out of my mind for the first three days trying to turn off after a hectic year but i did get to relax, mainly because the internet was next to useless for trying to get work done (it was sufficient for emails though and i was warned). I enjoyed the experience more than i thought i would, which the wife was eternally grateful for. Thank you Astor, Captain and crew, you set us up for a good start to the year.   Read Less
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