13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We were quite impressed by Astor. For a small ship it punches above its weight. It is very well appointed and is really quite spacious. When it became apparent the Trivia sessions were so popular the venue was quickly changed to ... Read More
We were quite impressed by Astor. For a small ship it punches above its weight. It is very well appointed and is really quite spacious. When it became apparent the Trivia sessions were so popular the venue was quickly changed to accommodate the crowd. It was also spotlessly clean, we have cruised many times and this is definitely the cleanest ship we have been on, bathrooms were immaculate, cabins were smallish but functional. The activities offered were in line with most cruises, although not as frequent probably due to the availability of space. We enjoyed the variety of food offered at both the buffet and the dining room. The Cruise Director, Toby, was very versatile and did an excellent job, did everything from singing, voice-overs, panto, even took the Sunday religious service. The entertainment troupe was top class and they managed a full production each of the 11 nights, include in this the band and special mention of the violinist. All of the crew were very pleasant, friendly and eager to please. Disembarkation was a little congested and could be remedied by reducing the numbers in each group. We experienced some big sea swells which Astor handled very well. We found this to be a very relaxing, friendly fun cruise and would definitely consider sailing on Astor again. Also a big plus is the Femantle departure. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
MV Astor 19 December to 30 December 2015 Fremantle – Bali – Fremantle Christmas in Bali Cruise Our family group of 8 (our ages 7, 11, 19, 41, 44, 64, 70 and 77) have travelled together for many years… This is a review of ... Read More
MV Astor 19 December to 30 December 2015 Fremantle – Bali – Fremantle Christmas in Bali Cruise Our family group of 8 (our ages 7, 11, 19, 41, 44, 64, 70 and 77) have travelled together for many years… This is a review of the latest cruise we undertook aboard CMV’s Astor. Having previously cruised aboard the more modern mega cruise ships, this was our first trip on a smaller ocean liner and approaching the Fremantle Cruise Terminal, it was quite an exciting novelty to be greeted by the Astor’s smoke stacks peeking above the building in an elegant fashion, rather than a towering 15 story high floating city dwarfing the terminal below. This does not mean however that we found the Astor’s dimensions to be undersized. In fact, for the most part, we were greeted with plenty of space. The embarkation process was a little haphazard, but quite speedy. Though there were a few issues with our birth dates and particulars having been mixed up amongst our group. I for one quite enjoyed being 19 for the trip, though my eldest was a bit disgruntled at being labelled as 64 yrs old, and hubby being classed as 7 years old was amusing for all concerned. This card printing error caused no issues at all, and was easily fixed in the onboard system at check in. No new cards were required and the novelty was enjoyed. Once onboard we were guided towards the rear of the vessel. This is where the two restaurants Ubersee – casual buffet, and Waldorf – main dining room, are located, as well as the pool deck and the late night, intimate Hanse Bar. This is one of three relaxation zones onboard. The others being the large comfortable Astor (show) lounge, and the main bar – the centrally located Captains Club with its flanking corridor seating areas. Upon boarding we enjoyed a casual lunch in the Ubersee. The food is a main topic of conversation amongst our family group and other guests onboard, and is one of the things that you should consider if you are considering booking a cruise aboard the Astor. Food Compared to larger ships the options are limited, but certainly adequate and do vary enough to keep you satisfied. All meals are served in both the buffet and main dining room, with strict opening hours. While the presentation changes, for the most part the same food is served in both venues. As a general guide, in the Ubersee all meal times offer the following… A choice of cheeses and cold meats, 3 ready-made salads. 3-4 salad vegetables and accompaniments in a DIY section, a good selection of bread and rolls and always two choices of soup (hot or cold). Hot selections for breakfast are always bacon, eggs 3 to 4 ways, sausages, fried tomatoes, potato of some type, and an omelette station… A few other offerings alter daily. Lunch and dinner usually feature 2-3 meat/fish options, a vegetarian option and pasta, rice, mixed vegetables and potato. Dessert is approx. 3 options plus fruit salad. Fruit salad is always available, with ice cream offered at lunch time. Made to order, and pre-made Sub Sandwiches are available at lunch time. The Waldorf offers a very similar buffet style breakfast as that in the Ubersee, though definitely more stylish. This is a good option to consider to avoid the crowds. Lunch in the Waldorf is a different affair. There is a small salad/cheese/cold meat buffet on offer, but this is just for a light snack as you wait. You are instead offered a 5 course menu similar to that offered at dinner time. You can then pick and choose which course’s you wish to order… though this can cause some delays if your table mates order more courses than you. Dinner in the Waldorf is a fancy affair. Absolutely no shorts, no flip-flops, no bathers. While they are relatively casual (with an open seating policy), there is a standard to be maintained. On a normal night your menu consists of 5 courses, which are as follows: Appetiser – two choices. These are small tasting portions. Soup – two choices. Salad – one choice only which changes daily. Main – three choices. Meat, Fish and Vegetarian. Dessert – three choices. Cheese, Fruit Salad, and one other option. Please note that there is the option for grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and the Curry of the Day, offered in small print at the bottom of the menu if none of the offerings suit. The menu is listed outside the dining room each afternoon. We found it to be a good policy to check the menu early on, to ensure that the menu suited all of our party. A couple of our group, being more the meat and three vegetable types, chose on a couple of occasions to eat in the Ubersee, where they could focus on the more standard fare offered for the evening. It also bears mentioning that seating a large group is all but impossible in either the Ubersee or the Waldorf. Both restaurants cater for smaller numbers 2, 4, & 6, and we inevitably had to split between tables. Arriving early at Waldorf ensured we were well situated, however Ubersee was always very very busy during the breakfast and lunch meal times, and we often resorted to sending our party down in groups of two or three, holding the table for each subsequent group. It was normal for any spare seats to be snatched up by others hunting for somewhere to eat. This is great if you want to meet new people. This was however one of the only failings by the Astor team… they should have either made a greater effort towards encouraging use of the Waldorf for breakfast and lunch, or had the Ubersee open for a longer period to cater for the circling crowd. Beverage Package One of the most impressive features offered by the Astor team is the all inclusive drinks package. Offered at $29 per day per adult, this package well and truly pays for itself and is MUCH cheaper than other similar packages offered by other cruise lines. The drawback for us being that all people in a cabin need to purchase a drinks package including children ($19 per day). Master 7 thoroughly enjoyed the mocktail menu, and his 11 year old cousin was quite the knowledgeable party, learning the mocktail ‘drink of the day’ listed in each evenings Ship Newsletter. Normal consumption of soft and hard drinks comfortably covered the cost for adults, while some of our party far more than covered their (and everyone else’s) costs… and their livers will be punishing them for some time to come! There are three bars on the ship. The Captains Club, the main central bar.. the Hanse Bar, located on the 8th deck overlooking the pool deck, with a comfortable outdoor lounge area, and intimate booths inside… and the Pool Bar, which was only open during daylight hours. The restaurants do not offer bar service, but we found the waiters and waitresses were happy to supply cocktails/mocktails/spirits upon request which were sourced from the Captains Club. Occasionally, during peak periods, this lead to lengthy delays. The Cabins We booked this cruise only 8 weeks out, and as such did not get choice of cabins, but were still quite happy with what we ended up with. Located on Deck 5 (Atlantic), we were situated in cabin numbers 201, 204, 205 and 206. Of these, 206 was definitely smaller, with the angle of the ship culminating in less floor and storage space. All others were of a decent size and matched the pictures supplied on the CMV website. Be aware… most of the cabins aboard feature fixed TWIN beds only. Quite frankly, I doubt you could get around with a single Queen sized bed in the room. We were on the Christmas cruise… with children…. So had extra luggage for toys, decorations, and the usual. We ended up with three full sized suitcases in our cabin, none of which fit in the storage space under the single bed. We ended up pulling down the Pullman bed and using this as extra storage space. It worked well, but I do suggest that you measure the depth of your cases to ensure they will fit. The measurements are provided in the paperwork. In our searches prior to the cruise, we found no descriptions or photo’s of the standard cabin bathrooms, which led me to think the worst. I was pleasantly surprised. While not large, they were comfortably apportioned, a good sized rectangular shower cubicle with brilliant shower head/wand, great water pressure, a well-lit vanity mirror and a number of open shelves for storing all your various toiletries. The toilet button is on the wall above the vanity… a number of our party were left searching for some time to find the ‘hiding in plain sight’ button. Towels are white, and pretty standard. Not flash, but serviceable. Each room was supplied with white terry cloth robes for use by each guest. It was too warm for most, but my aunty did make use of hers on occasion and seemed quite happy with it. The biggest comment to make is about how incredibly spotless the cabins (and the rest of the ship for that matter) were… absolutely top notch! When we boarded, a good portion of the almost entirely European crew were finishing up their term of service, and the ship reeked of German precision and attention to detail. Amazing to see and enjoy! The ship dynamic did change somewhat after our sojourn in Bali, where I would estimate at least a quarter of the staff were replaced with their Asian and Indian counterparts, all staff continued to be friendly and accommodating, and if there were a few delays as new staff learnt the ropes, we weren’t in any rush, and happily excused the delays. We did have the opportunity to spend some time in the Astor Suite, and found the amenities to be fantastic. Well worth the extra cost if you can afford it. The massive balcony area would easily fit 50 people, and a party for 15 were comfortable in the lounge area, though seating was limited. Once again, all is very much as displayed on the CMV website. Our family of 8 would have been quite happy in the one suite! Entertainment There are three entertainment teams onboard. The main show team featuring, singers and dancers, plus the fabulous ship band, who provide a different cabaret performance most evenings at around 21:15. And two duo’s who perform throughout the ship. A singer and pianist, and a pianist and violinist duo. The violinist is outstanding… definitely make a point to attend at least one of her performances. In addition, the show team host various trivia, bingo, and game activities throughout the day. Not a massive schedule, and the second half of the cruise was quite limited, but if you bring a few books, head to the sports areas, or find yourself a comfy position on a deck chair, then you will be well situated. Please be aware that both pools, the indoor and outdoor are both only accessed via ladder. This restricted access for most of the elderly passengers, leaving the pool for the use of the younger element onboard. I suggest that anyone intending to cruise aboard the Astor should give serious thought to bringing a book or two to read, some cards, a board game, or some other form of entertainment suitable for your cruising group. This is a relaxing ship, and quiet entertainment prevails. That being said, it is also a very, very friendly ship, and you are sure to form a few friendships. Other stuff The onboard shopping is limited, and shops are only open for select hours. Cabins are accessed via a normal key, rather than electronic card slot. Your in room safe also requires an actual key… which you can get from Reception on Deck 5. If you are a smoker, there is only one area designated for your use. A section on the rear pool deck, starboard side, with a few tables, and chairs. This area was always well populated, and the smoking crowd seemed to have a great time getting to know one another. Children – there were less than a dozen children under 15yrs on our cruise, so there were no activities planned exclusively for them. However, as long as you came prepared with toys, games etc, (luckily Santa planned ahead for our two!), then they will be fine. There were always a few activities each day that were suitable for our pair to join in on (Quoits, Darts, Shuffleboard, craft sessions etc.) We noted two young (under 5yrs) children onboard… the parents were on-hand 24/7 with these two. Not a relaxed cruise for this family unfortunately. Be prepared for the chance of a lot of ship movement, with the smaller ship bobbing a lot more than the larger heavier vessels. The front of the ship had a good amount of vertical movement, whereas the rear of the ship wallowed into the swells at times, with some of the elderly passengers requiring a goodly amount of assistance to get around. This ship is NOT wheelchair friendly. You can get around if you are injured and have no choice.. but avoid this ship if you are in a chair permanently, it’s just not worth the struggle to get around. This should also be a consideration for people with heavy mobility issues. If you rely heavily on a cane or walker to get around, this ship with its heavy movement, and high door thresholds that need to be stepped over were quite dangerous for some less steady passengers. In summary... Astor is a lovely lady of the seas. Maintained to impeccable standards of cleanliness and functionality. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, the ship is elegant and refined, and anyone looking for a quiet, relaxing cruise should definitely consider booking a vacation aboard the Astor. While we enjoyed our cruise with children, and our kids did have fun, I agree that the Astor does not cater for families, and is most definitely geared towards those aged between 60 and a healthy 90 years of age. Overall a wonderful cruise, on a beautiful ship. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Hi , just a quick review , my partner and i have been on many cruise mainly all bigger ships , but due to needing a quick and cheap holiday we settled on the astor .. To start of with i will mention the food .. food was great for a ... Read More
Hi , just a quick review , my partner and i have been on many cruise mainly all bigger ships , but due to needing a quick and cheap holiday we settled on the astor .. To start of with i will mention the food .. food was great for a cruise , as i mentioned already we have been on quite a few cruise and the astor was one of the best for food .. i could not complain about the food , for the food i would give 5 stars alone . ( there are a few older fuddy duddys on the cruise that complained about the food , but due there Alzheimer they forgot what food taste like with flavor ) The drinks package is a must , for $29 a day all your can drink well it was well and truly worth it. cocktails are around $11 a day pre mixed drinks around the same price, so get the package well worth it The Spa i had a facial and my partner had a massage at the same time , my partner was very happy with the massage and the facial i loved , the lady that done mine was one of the nicest people i have meet on a cruise we talked the whole session . yes they do try t sell you stuff after the session but that is there job a simple no and they leave it at that and go back to taking lol was great so go to the spa the young Serbian lady done my facial will highly recommend her . Down side to the cruise i had .. was the entertainment .. yes they have there evening show , and they had bingo but was hoping for more , i know its a small ship but a little more during the day would have been great ( plus keep me out of trouble with the other half for 5 minutes lol ) And the downstairs restaurant was the same meals as the buffet up stairs every day , so was not worth going to the dinning hall . i asked about the fusion nights but they were not on this cruise as it was only a 5 night cruise so that was disappointing. The tv did have only the 2 channels for movies that replayed on a loop but i didn't go on a cruise to sit in my room and winge there was nothing on the tv .. my response to people that winge is get of your butt and go meet people , you didn't go on a cruise to sit in a room day and night !! All in the cruise on the Astor was great i would go on there again , it was a cheap holiday , and for the price you cant complain . Thanks to the crew for a great time aboard until next time happy sailing .. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
About the cruise from Fremantle to Esperance and return Departing From: Fremantle On: Mon 14 Dec 15 Returning On: Sat 19 Dec 15 Power: Nowhere on the web site nor did the travel agent say that the power plugs where ... Read More
About the cruise from Fremantle to Esperance and return Departing From: Fremantle On: Mon 14 Dec 15 Returning On: Sat 19 Dec 15 Power: Nowhere on the web site nor did the travel agent say that the power plugs where the European style plugs, our travel agent said that it was a British company and it would be the English plug. We went to the reception desk on the first day and asked if they had any adapters to convert from European style plugs to Australian plug they said no but when they found out that I had been booked on with a CPAC (Continuous positive airway pressure ) machine they seem to find one. The next morning the reception rang us to see if I was finished with the adapter, I found this very discerning as I was told that I could use for the whole voyage due to my health problems Food and Restaurants: To start the lack of variety between the Waldorf Restaurant and the Ubersee Club, the food was the same. The difference is that in the Waldorf Restaurant the waiter bought you the meal to the table ( emphases is on wait , several times sitting near the serving station we saw food bought out and after about five to eight minutes the food was served to our table) and one help oneself at the Ubersee Club. The coffee seemed bitter and very strong and it came from urn. After the first show we went back to the Ubersee Club for coffee and a snack but there were no snacks (Danishes, cake and biscuits etc.) The Web Site says that there is Afternoon teas and late night snacks. We could not find the late night snacks The variety of the meals did not very that much and there was only two Appetizers Soup Main meals where on other cruise ships there are three and four every one. No steaks chicken or any type of seafood Table setting lacked finesse as they had no soup spoons on the table in the Waldorf Restaurant instead they had desert spoons In the Waldorf Restaurant one evening as Appetizers they had Swedish Meat Balls advertised, when the dish arrive I surprised to find only one meat ball on the plate, several passengers made comments to the waiters that in the English language the plural means more than one yet in the Ubersee Club I was told that I could help themselves to as many as one wanted. After several trips other cruise ships around the world, we were disappointed in the standard off dress in the Waldorf Restaurant in the evening people came in thongs shorts and tee shirt and on the formal night some of the people weren’t dress up Security Several people that we talked to found the same problem with the cabin doors, we all expected the doors to lock when they closed as they do on other cruise ships, not so on the Astor, first evening we shut the door and short time later someone pressed the handle down and the door open, he blamed the ships motion. This is a Security problem; there is no notice to say that the cabin doors are not self locking. The doors could be fitted with slam locks (self locking) or notices placed on the back of the doors stating that the doors are not self locking under the lifeboat sign Damaged cases On our case we had an expensive address label when we handed our case over at the luggage area, on our way aboard we happened to see a luggage address label next to the Gangway, it just happened to be ours, When we arrived at our cabin we found our case and the pull up handle was damaged. When we landed we could not find our case in the area for our cabin number. We asked if all the case where off the ship and one of the staff just waved us off to another area and said damaged case where over there they made no effort to apologises about the damage to the cases. Where we found our case with a completely broken pull-up handle we had to use a strap to pull the case TV The range of TV movies was very poor and the selection of TV Channels also was poor , no channel with documentaries on or cartoons etc where on other cruise ships there are three and four channels with other forms of entertainment, on our TV on Channel 1 one could not read where the photos were taken Service The best way to describe the service: is the lack of service! If one was in the Astor lounge the only time where one could order a drink was about fifteen minutes before the evening show, no service in there at any other time of day. Even with the orange dot on the card that represented the drink package they still had to take the card and it took at time up to fifteen minutes before there returned with your drinks card and then you had to sign receipt. Even when I ordered two drinks on my card the insisted that they took my wife’s card, I could have been buying a friend a drink and then I do not know what would have happened. My wife went to the Spa area just before the life boat drill and asked about the Spa package that we had as she wanted to have her nails done; the lady there did not seem to be able to understand the English language and could not tell us about the Spa package. So the next day we went to the Reception desk to find out about the Spa package and by the time we went back to the Spa area we were told that there was no more time slots for nail packages. Yet they kept on advertising the different spa treatments the whole voyage. It seemed to us that most of the crew had a fair amount of difficulty in understand English; some of them had to get a supervisor to help them understand what was said The Company said that they had not had any complaints before Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Cabins were locked by old fashioned keys, as were the safes. The inside cabin we had (519) was very small, but it was clean. The single beds were bunk bed size and we were only able to fit a small suitcase underneath. The big suitcase ... Read More
Cabins were locked by old fashioned keys, as were the safes. The inside cabin we had (519) was very small, but it was clean. The single beds were bunk bed size and we were only able to fit a small suitcase underneath. The big suitcase had to be propped up against the bar fridge. There was a small TV - Channels 3 and 4 each played a different movie every day, but on a loop for the entire day. The $29 a day drinks package was good value, providing you did not mind "house" spirits, but many people were upset that it did not include bottled water - only water by the glass. The food was disappointing. The meat was generally overcooked and the three different daily salads were loaded with onion and seemed to have the same bland dressing. Tea and coffee were only available from 6.30am, unless of course you ordered from Room Service for a fee. Bread and rolls were stale and the scones were rock hard. Smokers were contained to the starboard side of the pool deck only and were allocated two tables and 8 chairs under the stairs catering for approximately 80 to 100 people. The Lido Bar on this deck closed at 6.00pm and drinks were only available from the deck above at the Hanse Bar. The service from these bars was extremely poor. Perhaps CMV should consider accepting non smoking cruisers only on such a small ship as the Astor, instead of extracting money from smokers and then denying them the same holiday enjoyment afforded to non smokers. The Library was only open from 9am to 10am and the shops also had staggered opening hours, apparently due to staff shortages. That was the same in the beauty salon where there was only one staff member performing massages and serving customers buying product. Tenders were used to go ashore in Esperance and the fumes from the engine were overwhelming. We won't be sailing on the Astor again. 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
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We sailed on the Astor from London to Auckland, New Zealand. The voyage was wonderful and the ship and crew exceeded our expectations . Boarding at Tilbury was average , but with only 505 guests it did not take lone really. The ... Read More
We sailed on the Astor from London to Auckland, New Zealand. The voyage was wonderful and the ship and crew exceeded our expectations . Boarding at Tilbury was average , but with only 505 guests it did not take lone really. The ship is not suitable for kids or wheel chair use , but we knew this before boarding. Disembarking at Auckland was just too easy. We were told there were 249 crew on board. The food and shows were of a very high standard for a small ship.Every single night brought a new show in the show-lounge. Many outstanding production shows as well as single acts. The crew could not have been better , always willing to help with a smile. Tips were included in the ticket and it was good not to have a 15% service charge added to drinks etc. We had a bonus of an up-grade which was nice. The Captain was amazing , always about the ship and joined in the singing and dances at times. Mixed with guests on shuttle buses etc.Of all the cruises we have done, he rates top in our book. The ship though old was in pristine condition through-out. Up keep of varnish work etc was non-stop and put bigger cruise ship operators to shame. The ports of call were all enjoyed and the ship charges for tours was very reasonable compared to other cruise lines. Though the smallest ship and maybe the oldest we have cruised on , we really did enjoy every da (and night) on board Astor Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Tilbury was our port of embarkation in October 2015 enroute to FremantleWA. Also, we were passengers on the Fremantle - Harwich voyage in April 2014 and it was a marvellous experience. Don't misunderstand, we enjoyed our time ... Read More
Tilbury was our port of embarkation in October 2015 enroute to FremantleWA. Also, we were passengers on the Fremantle - Harwich voyage in April 2014 and it was a marvellous experience. Don't misunderstand, we enjoyed our time aboard however, from day one we noticed the bean counters had been at work. The a la carte cuisine was not quite as sumptuous, but pleasant nevertheless. Our biggest complaint was that the ship was too often hours late into the ports we visited, which meant that we had little time to explore. The excuses given ranged from slowing for whales in the vicinity, lost time bunkering and heavy weather. Two former sea captains travelling as passengers dismissed the excuses as verbal tripe. Bunkering should have been factored into the ships schedule. Whales were well and truly out of the shipping lanes at this time of year and we had not experienced heavy weather.....Go figure! This, they said, was merely a relocation voyage to enable Astor to commence its season out of Fremantle. The real reason the ship was frequently late, they said, was that the ship had slowed to conserve fuel. Therefore, and unfortunately, Astors 500 passengers were short-changed and did not receive all they had paid for. Astor is 30 years old, 3-Star ship, but it delivers value if itineraries are met. The crew was so obliging and we thought the service from cabin steward to table and drink waiters was exceptional. At times, language barriers with drinks staff added levity to afternoon libations. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We lowered our expectations of this cruise compared to the likes of HAL and RCI but in many aspects we felt it was even better. Boarding was easy at Tilbury after taking the train from London then the free connecting bus. On board we ... Read More
We lowered our expectations of this cruise compared to the likes of HAL and RCI but in many aspects we felt it was even better. Boarding was easy at Tilbury after taking the train from London then the free connecting bus. On board we were escorted to our cabin where our luggage was already there. Most outside cabins have twin beds, unfortunately due to fitted furniture these cannot be made up into a double and one of them is also a sofa by day so less comfy. We viewed the inside suites and they were fabulous, about twice the size. Plenty of wardrobe space in the cabin and a decent sized bathroom with shower. Bathrobes were provided which was a nice touch. Dining was great, a non standard menu meant we were able to dine on different produce from the ports of call. A lovely tropical buffet out of Mexico and suckling baby pigs after Nuka Hiva. On a Gluten free diet the chefs went out of their way to be helpful and even cooked a couple of cakes to my own recipe. Many special functions were held out on deck which was lovely. On board most amenities are on deck 5 making it very easy to get around the ship. The showroom lacked a tiered system and views were often obstructed if you sat at the side. However the show team were fabulous and soon got to know people by name. A few had strong accents which made it difficult to understand during things like quizzes. Cruise Director Toby could, in our opinion and many others, have improved things by adjusting the times of certain activities. On long cruise people are less keen to be up late at night partying and having a disco that started at 11pm mean most people did not attend. Morning exercise classes were good, well attended but sporadic. There were some very interesting guest lecturers on board and being a long cruise there was plenty of chance to get to know them personally. The 4 lots of 7 days at sea were difficult for many people with some getting cabin fever but we really enjoyed that time. Ports of call were all good and the passage through the Panama Canal with guest lecturer was a highlight. With less than 500 passengers on board this was more like one big happy family than a cruise where you never see the same people twice. There were a few instance of people claiming "their seats" that causes a little friction but it was well dealt with. Highly recommended and excellent value. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
As we booked at last minute with a discount did not expect too much. Was pleasantly surprised, the Astor was very clean, staff worked so hard and had extras like coach transfers,when moored at docks, to city centres. Food was ok ... Read More
As we booked at last minute with a discount did not expect too much. Was pleasantly surprised, the Astor was very clean, staff worked so hard and had extras like coach transfers,when moored at docks, to city centres. Food was ok except for the breakfast bacon which was all off cuts and fatty bits. Cruise Maritime let themselves down with lack of info. I emailed before the cruise asking for information about the gift packages was told this was on back if cruise info booklet, it was not and emailed back am still waiting for a reply 4 weeks on. The first night on board we were having a pre dinner drink and waiting for our 8.15 sitting when told by another passenger that it was free dining with no sittings. We had not been told this and only just made it in time for dinner! I have emailed Cruise Maritime regarding this and am still waiting for an ackowledgement or reply 2 weeks on. It's a shame that the pre and after sales let the company down. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We found the Astor to be a 3+ star ship at a 2 star price on our three-day trip to nowhere. The service is exceptional, better than Cunard. Staff were friendly and efficient. The biggest table setting in the Waldorf dining room is six but ... Read More
We found the Astor to be a 3+ star ship at a 2 star price on our three-day trip to nowhere. The service is exceptional, better than Cunard. Staff were friendly and efficient. The biggest table setting in the Waldorf dining room is six but when we wanted a table for eight two tables for four were slotted together. The other exceptional feature is the cleanliness. The ship and cabins are well maintained and spotless. Embarkation and Disembarkation were particularly quick and efficient. This may have had something to do with the fact that there were no foreign ports involved. We appreciated the express disembarkation where you could just take your own bags, hand over your keys and with a swipe of your card proceed to the gangplank. The food is good, without being great. We preferred lunch to dinner and liked the fact that the serves were not too big. Drink prices were reasonable, mainly $30 to $40 for a bottle of wine, cocktails and mixers around $9 and beer from $6.50 to $8.50. One downside was that tap beer, especially from the bar overlooking the pool, was not cold enough. There are plenty of places on the ship where passengers can find their level of activity, from reading on the promenade deck lounges to the lively drinking set on the lounges and tables round the pool to the sports deck. There are the usual quizzes, bingo and a pleasant afternoon tea with cake, biscuits and scones. The Captain's Club provided a good atmosphere for pre and post dinner drinks. Entertainment, especially an ABBA revival, was good in the showroom. Our Ocean View twin cabin was adequate with two comfortable beds, plenty of hanging and storage space and a good shower with plenty of water. The walls between cabins are thin but once everyone realises this they tend to quieten down. We did not experience rough conditions so I cannot comment on the Astor's stability.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
The ship is about 28 years old but has been recently refurbished and for the size is quite modern and very comfortable. We did have very smooth seas for the cruise and everything ran like clock-work. There are two excellent main places to ... Read More
The ship is about 28 years old but has been recently refurbished and for the size is quite modern and very comfortable. We did have very smooth seas for the cruise and everything ran like clock-work. There are two excellent main places to eat, the Ubersees Club (casual buffet style) and the Waldorf Restaurant (more formal). There are also two small specialty restaurants, one Asian and one Mediterranean style - small surcharge applies) but I did not try either. This ship cruises mainly in Europe and caters to European passengers and the food reflects that. From the cold meats, cheeses and roll-mops for breakfast to the style of desserts on offer. All of the usual fare is available cereals, eggs and omlettes cooked to order, multiple bread choices and pastries, noodle and pasta dishes cooked to order for lunch and dinner. Lots (and lots) of pork is offered. Fresh fruit is a bit rare. There are Asian and European F&B staff. The Asian staff have a much better grasp of English and have willing smiles and seem to enjoy their jobs. Alas quite a few of the (Eastern) European staff struggle a bit with English and some are rather sour and surly and seem resentful when you ask for something. This was perhaps the only bad part of the whole Astor experience. The (few) sour and surly male staff. I did not participate much in the on-board activities but from all reports they were enjoyable and well attended. The age group of passengers on my cruise was mainly 60years plus. Not a ship to go on if you are under 40 and want lots of late night fun or take kids on. In fact I think it would be unwise to take children on this ship. I would travel on Astor again without hesitation. The bigger ships might have it all, the Astor has pretty much all you need if you're after a quite, relaxing, laid back cruise. The few sour and surly male staff notwithstanding. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I am a regular reviewer and I have never had to make a unkind review and I do not like complaining but I feel I have to warn potential passengers of my experience of cruising on the “Astor”. This was my fourth cruise this year and I am ... Read More
I am a regular reviewer and I have never had to make a unkind review and I do not like complaining but I feel I have to warn potential passengers of my experience of cruising on the “Astor”. This was my fourth cruise this year and I am an experienced cruise passenger. My problems started when I booked the cruise on-line from an advert in the West Australian Newspaper. The advert said; I should pay before a certain date because the price would go up. It didn’t the price went down. I wrote an email to the “Cruise and Maritine Company” to point this out and included the price difference. Their reply was trite, so I sent another email explaining my point of view. They did not reply. From the minute I entered the ship to the minute I left, the staff who were manly Eastern European were indifferent, distant and quarrelsome. Duty free bar prices I thought were steep compared to a five star hotel in Bali; for a cocktail (using cheaper brands of spirits) $10.95- a small draft beer $6.95 - a glass of house wine $8.50 The noise in the public rooms as well as the cabins was loud and the vibration from the engines was constant. The ship being small, took the full brunt of the Indian Ocean swell and pitched and rolled, thank goodness I do not suffer from sea sickness. The Astor was previously called “Fedor Dostojevski” and served the Russians. Straight out from a Gulag it would seem luxury, but for the average cruise passenger I would rate it less than two star. Therefore, if you expect only two star accommodation and service for a four star price this holiday is for you. When I picked up my suit-case on boarding the cruise it was damaged and security agreed that it was their porterage that was responsible. Later I was asked to see a receptionist and I thought they would solve the problem but they only offered me a paltry sum off my cabin account, which I declined. Because they admitted responsibility, I asked them to put it in writing so as I could claim off my travel insurance. The receptionist became aggressive and accused me of bringing the suitcase on board already broken so as I could defraud their insurance. I was too disgusted to argue and left. With their attitude I am not expecting an apology at any time soon. And finally when I got my Bank Statement they had taken my cabin account off twice, I could not believe it. They did reverse the transaction but I panicked when I seen what they had done, again no apology or explanation. I promise I will never set foot on the boat again.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We went on a 10 night Christmas cruise sailing from Fremantle to Bali and back again with a large family group. We had our 2 year old son with us and found the boat to be less than suitable even though we called and asked first. We knew in ... Read More
We went on a 10 night Christmas cruise sailing from Fremantle to Bali and back again with a large family group. We had our 2 year old son with us and found the boat to be less than suitable even though we called and asked first. We knew in advance there was no kids club and organized ourselves with craft and toys to keep him entertained. Honestly it was hard work. There were five children on board and only two high chairs, so meal times were a battle for the high chair. The outdoor pool is VERY deep and has only a ladder for entry / exit which was fine for our boy but none of the other children. The food was the same, day after day. Certainly not gourmet. I think they mainly cater for the elderly which is fair enough because that is 90% of the passengers. There is no babysitting available at all so every evening we had to retire at 7.00pm with our son. We did stay out one evening until 9.00pm, and the cabaret show featured fire jugglers - despite the constant warnings of the risks of fire on board. The curtains in the cabin may as well not be there, they do not block out any light at all. If you are not an early riser, make sure you book an inside cabin. Be sure to book a cabin in the centre of the boat, we were up the front and averaged three hours sleep a night. The rocking and noise was unbearable. Every time we hit a wave it was like a cannon going off. Our family in the middle of the boat didn't experience any rocking or noise though. We had to take our own bed rail for our son (they don't supply them) so make sure you get one before you go. Be sure to take your own pillow. I have never had a neck complaint in my life but after three nights sleeping on their pillows I had to visit the Hospital and have injections for the pain, and two physio visits since I got back. They didn't have any other pillows available. The staff were fantastic. Our cabin manager was brilliant and our room was always spotless. If you wanted to make it a "Booze Cruise" they offered a drinks package for $28 per person per day, where it was all you could drink house wines (which were actually very nice), spirits and cocktails. You had to sign up for the whole duration and everyone in your cabin had to sign up. The organized activities throughout the day were very popular and well attended, not suitable for kids though. The staff tried to organize one activity a day for the kids but it never worked out very well - they had one glue stick and one pair of scissors for five kids to share etc etc. I would rate this cruise honestly as two/three star, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you pay accordingly so wait until you get a good deal. It is not luxurious and not suitable for kids. Also, we packed our four bottles of duty free purchased on board in our luggage to be taken off by the porters, two bottles were smashed when we collected our baggage and there was not a soul to be found to report it to once off the boat and through customs. Pack very carefully anything they are moving for you! 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
Tilbury London Checkin was quick and efficient. Wonderful surprise on check in to be advised I had been upgraded to a suite. The suite was huge, King size bed, large bathroom and more wardrobe and cupboard space than I could ever want. ... Read More
Tilbury London Checkin was quick and efficient. Wonderful surprise on check in to be advised I had been upgraded to a suite. The suite was huge, King size bed, large bathroom and more wardrobe and cupboard space than I could ever want. The suite had a 3 piece lounge setting and was large enough to entertain a small nation! All for little me! Travelling alone I welcomed the solo traveller functions which quickly enabled acquaintances to be made. The entertainment staff went out of their way to provide a wide range of activities including art classes, crafts, card games, yoga, choir etc all good for a cruise with lots of sea days. The naturist guest lecturer, Michael Scott was particularly informative and his talks well attended. Much information on the sea and bird life as well as the flora and fauna on the shore tours. Dining was an exceptionally high standard. the dining room provided superb cuisine and service. Smaller portions enabled all 5 courses to be enjoyed. Iced water was always topped up and special requests met without issue. A minor dissatisfaction arose early in the cruise in that that we solo diners were expected to find somewhere to sit as the dining room which was all open seating for dinner. This meant scanning the room for a table who were not too far advanced into their meal. I noted my difficulty with this to the Maitre D , Marijan who thereafter took it upon himself to escort me to a suitable table. After a few days special arrangements were made such that a group table was available for those solo travellers who wished to sit there. The high (afternoon) teas served in the show room with music were delightful. I rarely ate in the buffet, preferring the elegance of the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner but noted the buffet offered a good range of fresh foods. The breakfast smoothies after gym were a great find. The gym was small and occasionally required a short wait for a machine to become available. Delightful that all fitness classes, stretch, yoga etc were free. The shows were entertaining, if perhaps a little less professional than the larger ships. The spelling and grammatical errors on the daily bulletin offered much amusement. Too much enjoyment was being had to worry about the use of their/there/they're or the apostrophe'd plurals! The overall service was personal and the crew soon anticipated our individual requirements. A very special thanks to my cabin attendant, Lubica who was faultless. We sailed with fewer than half the capacity of pax. This made us a small group who got to know each other and friendships were made. I can only echo John and Judy's comments that people of all nations, together on the high seas for up to 6 weeks can indeed reflect peace, harmony and tolerance. I was not expecting this high a standard of service and excellence on the Astor given her very reasonable price. I could not fault this cruise, received exceptional value for money paid. I enjoyed the ports, service and overall experience so much on the Astor that I have booked again for March 2016 and encouraged 3 friends to join me. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
my wife sailed to Oz as a ten pound Pom with her Mum and Dad and big sister in 1952, from Tilbury. I saw the advert for the Astor sailing to Freemantle, and so I booked for us both to relive the journey! Well the apprehension I had was ... Read More
my wife sailed to Oz as a ten pound Pom with her Mum and Dad and big sister in 1952, from Tilbury. I saw the advert for the Astor sailing to Freemantle, and so I booked for us both to relive the journey! Well the apprehension I had was soon dispelledl by the Ship and its crew and staff! I can honestly say the experience was amazing. The staff from the first day were superb, and the quality of food in all restaurants was superb! We will never forget this journey and I now understand how hard it must have been for the thousands of Europeans who made the journey back in those days, to an unknown country. How strong they were and when you are in the middle of these massive oceans we passed through, with no land or ships for a 1000 miles or more in any direction, the it puts into perspective why all of us insignificant little people fight and kill over some sort of"religion"! why can't we just live our short lives in peace and harmony????? Best regards to one and all! John and Judy Page   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
I had been tempted when I saw the offer of a one night Gala Cruise on the Astor as I was curious to look around that ship, but my wife was working and unable to go. However, just one week before the cruise, I received an email that told me ... Read More
I had been tempted when I saw the offer of a one night Gala Cruise on the Astor as I was curious to look around that ship, but my wife was working and unable to go. However, just one week before the cruise, I received an email that told me the price was now £99 with "no single supplement"! That clinched it for me, so I rang and booked it straight away. I agreed to pay an additional £15 for the coach transfer from Stansted, since that is where the included flight returned to, and where I left my car. Approximately 30 passengers were on the coach from Stansted to Harwich. Embarkation was smooth, we carried our own bags to our cabins and I was unpacked by 11am. I was very pleased to find that I had been allocated cabin 122 (a premium cabin up on the boat deck) in which the second berth had been made into a settee and had a picture window with clear views out to sea. I went to the Waldorf restaurant for lunch and only three tables were occupied. I was asked if I wanted a table on my own, but I said that I would rather share. One couple, on a table for four, immediately asked me to join them. Shortly afterwards, another solo traveller also joined our table and the buffet lunch was most enjoyable. We sailed at 12.30 and I joined a group of passengers who were being given a tour of the ship. I had never been on a ship with so few passengers and, when I asked how many were on board, I was told that there were less than 70 passengers ! I was very impressed with the cleanliness, the layout and the decor and the hip had a feeling of calmness and serenity. There were several groups of passengers who had boarded in Freemantle and were staying on board. Indeed, I met one Norwegian couple who had stayed on for three consecutive back-to-back cruises and were planning to disembark in Stavanger after being on board for almost 90 days!! They told me that they enjoyed the cruise very much. I then joined two other passengers for a complementary bingo session, in which some twenty others took part so the chances of winning were high. We attended the captain's cocktail party, which was less formal than usual. It was more like a family gathering and, instead of introducing all of the senior officers to us, Captain Emmanouil Psarrakis sang to us in italian. Five of us, who had met earlier, sat together for the gala dinner and had a great time. The food and the service could not be faulted. We attended the show in the Astor Lounge (popular Abba songs plus dance routines) and this was followed by a female singer and piano accompaniest. She sang german songs in recognition that the summer cruises out of Bremerhaven would commence the following day. The next morning we had be out of our cabins by 9.30am (which is the latest that I have known on any day of disembarkation). We docked and left the ship at 11.30am and were taken by coach to Bremen, where we had the day to ourselves. We were picked up by the coach in the evening for our Ryanair flight back to Stansted. In my opinion, this was fantastic value for £99. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
Having read a negative comment I felt I must write and give our experience of our 40 nights on board ASTOR. We have done many cruises on ships from 10,000 tonne " Funchal" to the larger " Independence of the Seas " and ... Read More
Having read a negative comment I felt I must write and give our experience of our 40 nights on board ASTOR. We have done many cruises on ships from 10,000 tonne " Funchal" to the larger " Independence of the Seas " and our cruise on Astor was one of the best, we thought the ship very stable, my husband is not a great sailor and had no problem on our 10 days at sea. We were very impressed with all aspects of the ship the crew were very pleasant and helpful, food excellent, a very nice choice at the buffet, and main restaurants, we did go to the Asian restaurant and the Mediterranean the presentation and food was excellent. Activities were amazing every exercise you could wish for, there was craft and Art classes on every sea day, you could have piano lessons, learn to read music, join the actors or choral groups, play cards or do jigsaw puzzles, quizzes etc. Helen the cruise director and all the entertainment crew were wonderful. Helen was always doing extra things to make the voyage enjoyable, Saturday afternoon tea dance, and special buffet lunch on Sundays with free champagne. As we celebrated Anzac Day and Easter during our cruise these events were given special attention, Anzac Day dawn service was a truly memorable experience. The general atmosphere on board was very friendly, we met some wonderful people and still keep in touch, one chap was on the return trip, he came to Australia on Astor spent 6 months here and was doing the return journey, and enjoyed every minute. I know you can't please everyone but we had a wonderful trip, met some beautiful people and had great fun so for us it was a wonderful experience and yes we would do it again.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
We didn't have very high expectations of this ship as we knew that it was fairly old and we couldn't find any reviews on her but on first inspection we were pleasantly surprised with her appearance. Everything was shipshape, ... Read More
We didn't have very high expectations of this ship as we knew that it was fairly old and we couldn't find any reviews on her but on first inspection we were pleasantly surprised with her appearance. Everything was shipshape, clean and not at all tired looking. The embarkation was seamless, however my suitcase on delivery, was very badly ripped all along the zipper and looked as though it could have been tampered with. I duly filled out an "Incident Report". Cabin: Despite assurances from CMV Australia when I booked that my cabin did not contain a sofa bed as part of the "twin bed" arrangement, we did in fact get a very uncomfortable sofa bed and the other single bed was only marginallly better. We complained and were given mattress toppers which helped a little. Others we spoke to were having the same problem. Otherwise the cabin was adequate but was very noisy. This may have had something to do with the cabin being in the aft part of the ship though others amidships had the same complaint. Food: Breakfast was always good. Lunch adequate but very repetitive. Dinner was disastrous. Unappetising presentation (grey looking meat) oversalted gravy with hardly a green vegetable in sight. They had two specialty restaurants which were free but I would have regretted going there if there had been an extra charge. In our opinion the asian specialty restaurant was the better of the two. Service was excellent. Drinks: Beer and wine prices were within the expected range but I ordered a Johnny Walker Red with ginger ale and it cost AUD $13.00 ($8-00 for the whiskey and $5-00 for the can of ginger ale!) which we considered exhorbitant. Johnny Walker black was AUD $10-00 with AUD $$5-00 extra for a can of ginger ale. Anything other than beer and house wine was exhorbitantly priced. We have been on many cruises but these were the dearest scotch and dry prices we've ever experienced. Entertainment: The shows were good with very talented singers and dancers but were let down by the venue. Large pillars obscured all but the lower level of the showroom (which is flat) and large tables surrounded by 6-8 chairs took up an inordinate amount of space. Everyone had to drag these very heavy chairs away from the tables to find somewhere to sit. Tenders: These tenders are antiquated, uncomfortable, claustaphobic and difficult to get into as once aboard you have to descend more steep steps to get down into the seats. Service: Our cabin steward (Maya) was faultless but the lack of training was very obvious in the restaurant and buffet in particular. The staff were mainly from Russia, Ukraine and Romania and could not have been described as warm and friendly initially, but by the end of our cruise in Capetown were a lot more familiar. General: The crossing of the Indian Ocean was not very pleasant, due in some part to a couple of days of fairly heavy swell, but mostly because the ship didn't seem to handle even the most moderate swell very well. If the ship had stabilizers it was not apparent or they were not deployed. Another passenger who had served on cargo ships for most of his life concurred with our observations. Obviously the pool had the be closed on rough days but we were also denied the table tennis/darts/tennis/basketball area as it was being renovated for almost the entire trip. There was one very unpleasant incident in Durban where guests were told they could walk out of the port if desired only to be prevented from doing so. So a hundred or more unhappy souls were then told a shuttle was organised and was on its way so then people stood around for another 45 minutes. Some silly people ignored the authorities and just walked through until they closed and barred the gate. By the time we all got the shuttle it was almost time to go back to the ship so there were a lot of unhappy campers! The number of passengers on board the ship was approximately 350; well short of its 650 passenger capacity. Due to the smaller number of passengers there was only one open sitting for the evening meal and this meant that the one entertainment show was attended by most passengers at the same time; this lead to some overcrowding. I would not like to be on this ship when it has its full complement of passengers as I feel that the breakfast and lunch in the buffet would be chaotic. A big problem was that the shows finished about ten o'clock and the tea and coffee facility in the buffet was removed at ten o'clock. Many passengers, myself included, found this to be a totally unnecessary inconvenience as many people like to have a cup of tea or coffee before returning to their cabins.To make the problem worse there are no tea of coffee making facilities in the cabins.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
10 days without sight of land and the activities during the day was non existent unless you want to do a quiz and win one golf ball between the table. Dont get me wrong I enjoy a good quiz but when thats about all there is it gets boring. ... Read More
10 days without sight of land and the activities during the day was non existent unless you want to do a quiz and win one golf ball between the table. Dont get me wrong I enjoy a good quiz but when thats about all there is it gets boring. We decided to play table tennis enjoyed that then the next day they decided to do maintenance on the floor there and on the basketball court. The outdoor pool was emptied for a few days. The average age on the ship would have been about 65 yet they put toy story on the tv and other movies where at least 15 years old. Saturday night entertainment was The marigold hotel at leas five years old. My husband loves kareoke they had that twice at 11.00pm everyone had gone to bed. The drinks where really expensive. The shop on boatd was so expensive no one ever went in it. Getting off the ship on the tenders was arranged for 9.00am the last tender left at 11.45am with strict instructions to return at 2.00pm from Mossel Bay. Each port of call there was problems making people late for the tours and some people had to cancel. I have to say the staff are very pleasant and helpful and the food was good but there was just to many other things against this cruise we left at Cape Town many others where going all the way to England.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
I was prompted to write this review after seeing a couple of negative ones. We were a group of 10 that went on the Astor in March 2014 for a 3 night cruise to nowhere (Busselton). My Comments: Boarding: was very smooth and quick. Took ... Read More
I was prompted to write this review after seeing a couple of negative ones. We were a group of 10 that went on the Astor in March 2014 for a 3 night cruise to nowhere (Busselton). My Comments: Boarding: was very smooth and quick. Took about 20 minutes from arrival at Terminal to cabin. Cabin: outside twin, very comfortable and very very clean Meals: overall would rate 4 out of 5. Good food and service, with a great wine list including western Australian wines. The boat: is what I would call boutique – a small vessel with about 600 passengers when full. The public areas had a really nice feel and our favourite spot was the Captains Club bar. Having been on a few P and O boats, by comparison this one is cosier, and very clean – the public toilets spotless as well. Entertainment: again very enjoyable, though the sound system was not balanced promptly on the 2nd night’s performance. Disembarkation: probably my main criticism was the queue to drop off your cabin key, confirm you have paid the bill and retrieve your passport/photo ID – this took about 30 – 40 minutes. Disabled access (wheelchair) – as with many ships of this style and age – I noted the corridors are not ideal (not wide) for wheelchairs, and the lift takes ages. Would I recommend to others? Yes   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
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 ... Read More
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! Read Less
Astor Ratings
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