I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ... Read More
I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ships). Of course it doesn't! Anybody who does the most basic of research should KNOW what they can expect of the Astoria. This is a 'travel experience' and all the better for i! Consider these facts; (1) Pretty straightforward arrival/departure arrangements at smaller ports (Poole in this instance); (2) Great destinations (because she's a small ship and can get into places that the leviathans can't); (3) ALL cabins have bath, bidet and shower (OK, possibly slightly tired - but more or less unheard of on newer ships); (4) Other reviewers' adverse comments made about the food are frankly PATHETIC (see later); (5) Friendly crew who appear to go out of their way to be helpful; (6) Sensibly-priced on-board drinks (billed in sterling) with a good selection; (7) Very acceptable leisure-facilities given her small size; (8) Unbeatable value for money as long as you are not expecting The Ritz.
We paid just £492 each and achieved a 'one grade' upgrade to an outside cabin, which was a bonus - but the review wouldn't have changed even if we had been in the inside cabin that we had expected. Bear in mind that the basic 'real cost' will actually always be £7 per day each higher because of the addition of the 'automatic gratuity' - so in our case that made it £562 each. Allowing for our travel costs, car-parking (£100 in this case), four port-excursions and a drink or two each day, our holiday-cost increased to just a smidge under £1000 each. Where else can you get full-board accommodation and be transported around the country with organised excursions for just £100 per day?
The food in Astoria's restaurant is EXCELLENT (and not at all bad in the buffet). I've not had better Beef Wellington or Fillet Mignon for example. We always push the boat out and have all five courses at dinner (OK, so the 'sophisticated' might say that this is not good form - but I don't care!) and the quantities are entirely adequate.
I suppose that anybody paying the top-prices (we heard of some passengers who had paid a basic price of aproaching £1800 each) might feel perturbed that they had to 'endure' the riff-raff (not that there was anybody actually like that on our cruise - just 'normal' folk', expectedly all of age 65+) since there is absolutely no segregation (everybody eating the same food in the same restaurants, using the same bars, seeing the same entertainment and using the same ship's-tenders when transferring ashore from anchor-ports) - which is why the canny traveller will opt for the lower-priced deals.
The entertainment-team work hard and their 'Round The World' show in particular was simply fun to see after our second-sitting dinner (a really nice table of 8 incidentally, with an excellent steward). The two guest-comedians (two shows each) generated a good number of laughs at each performance.
There were a couple of intersting talks by a guest-lecturer in the room which doubles as a cinema (some good films were shown, but the time of showing did not suit second-sitting diners), - but again, don't expect an I-Max style experience.
I genuinely believe that people of 'normal expectation' can have little grounds to fault this splendid old ship. My advice is to travel on her whilst you still can, with just the one caveat that those of impaired mobility might be better-advised to look elsewhere (getting on and off the ship itself - and especially on and off the tenders at anchor-ports - calls for a modest degree of agility). Read Less
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
Booked this cruise European Canals, Rivers and Cities, then looked at reviews just prior to sailing and found the Astoria was the oldest cruise ship in the world, plus some reviews were a bit worrying, especially about the cabins and ... Read More
Booked this cruise European Canals, Rivers and Cities, then looked at reviews just prior to sailing and found the Astoria was the oldest cruise ship in the world, plus some reviews were a bit worrying, especially about the cabins and crew.
Ok will deal with cabin 464 later. The food throughout was excellent both in the Restaurant and in the Bistso, the quality quantity and service was very good. Our waiter in the Restaurant was superb in sorting out my wife's dietary requirements.
Asked for first sitting, got second, so didn't use Restaurant as much as usual.
One point on catering, The toaster in the Bistro (and I use the word advisedly) was as much use as a chocolate fire guard, . I put my toast through upto 5 times and it never browned, the queue was miles long. It should be dropped overboard at the earliest possible moment, and in a deep a water as possible.
All the crew were smart, polite efficient and helpful at all times and they all seemed to get along well with each other.
The ship considering her age was extremely smart, and very clean, no tired looking furniture, carpets etc.,
Entertainment in the Show Lounge considering the size of the stage was excellent. A really lively group. The ships band was really professional
We have cruised with CMV since 2010 (our first cruise). Since then Marco Polo (5), Magellen (1) Colombus (1) and enjoyed everyone.
The Captain seemed a bit anonmous, I don't doubt this competence , but I missed the morning briefing as with the Colombus last year when the Captain gave an update on speed, weather , distance etc and the time from his (Very expensive watch!!!), plus he walked the deck and said" Hello" to whoever he saw.
Embarkation and dis embarkation were faultless, really speedy.
Looking forward to our next Astoria cruise. Read Less