5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Astor is an older, smaller ship, our preferred style of cruising. This trip was from Adelaide to Melbourne and Tasmania, an itinerary that suited our requirements. It all seemed perfect. Then we embarked. The Portside experience was ... Read More
Astor is an older, smaller ship, our preferred style of cruising. This trip was from Adelaide to Melbourne and Tasmania, an itinerary that suited our requirements. It all seemed perfect. Then we embarked. The Portside experience was quite efficient with queues managed well. However, once we embarked we were greeted by surly, non interactive security. The usual procedures of hand luggage X-ray and metal detector entrance was fine, but then, without any apparent cause and no request, my husband was body searched. This has never happened to either of us on any previous of around thirty cruises. Additionally, the search was well beyond the bounds of propriety. My husband immediately complained to management, including the captain and staff captain. No effective remedy was offered or action taken. It is apparently company policy. When we discussed the incident with numerous other passengers we found this was a common experience. Both men and women were regularly frisked on embarkation and on reboarding at every port. It was embarrassing to watch and must have been humiliating for the victims. The average age of passengers would have been over 70, the only items likely to be secreted on their bodies were artificial knees or hips. Clearly no effective risk assessment had been undertaken prior to implementing this policy. Our attitude to other elements of the cruise was coloured by this initial experience. For the price other aspects of the cruise were quite acceptable, and the overall crew service and food were relatively good. We enjoyed our port experiences and the one ship organised shore excursion we undertook was impacted by the weather, not the standard of the process. As the ship was fully booked and we had booked late we had a standard twin inside cabin. It was typical of ships of this age and had adequate storage and facilities. There was no body lotion provided, with the drying effect of ship air conditioning that would have been appreciated. Everything was very basic. Food was of a good average, although variety at the buffet for lunch was limited. Skim milk was not provided at tea and coffee stations or with cereal for breakfast. I believe it was available on request. Our favourite pastime on board, other than reading, is trivia. The quiz questions were good, not too hard with some teasers. There were no guidelines set down before the quiz, such as use of phones or numbers in teams, and question sheets were not exchanged prior to marking, not satisfying for serious trivia buffs. The library was quite good, better than some recent cruises I have been on. All in all, I will not use this company again, or any other line that has a similar approach to customer privacy and respect. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We travelled from Adelaide to Perth on the Indian Pacific and the Astor left a day after we got to Perth so we thought that would be an interesting way to return. The cruise started out badly discovering we had not got the cabin I ... Read More
We travelled from Adelaide to Perth on the Indian Pacific and the Astor left a day after we got to Perth so we thought that would be an interesting way to return. The cruise started out badly discovering we had not got the cabin I requested but that was the travel agents fault. The corridors are narrow but the restaurants were spacious enough. The service in the Waldorf was hot and cold. When you first sat down the drinks waiters couldn't wait to present you with the wine list and take your orders, but try getting a second drink if you didn't order wine. You could look directly at a drinks waiter and he would look away. They were each assigned a certain table and didn't seem to want to help any other table out. But, if you dined in the specialty Mediterranean restaurant it was like being on another ship! Service and food were both excellent. Even though some of the service was lax the food itself was pretty good to excellent. There is no facility where you can buy a good coffee except after 9am in the morning. My Wife likes a coffee first thing so she was not impressed. Another irritation was the fact they charged $10 a day in gratuities. I believe this contributes to the behaviour of some of the crew. We never saw our cabin steward once for the whole voyage. I am comparing them to the steward we had on our last Royal Caribbean cruise who always seemed to be available and wishing you good morning etc. Won't be cruising on this ship again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was a trial for us on a small ship, being used to the three Queens and a more formal style. The journey from Fremantle to Adelaide, Feb 2018, was rolling and pitching constantly, and not at all pleasant for a couple used to big ships ... Read More
This was a trial for us on a small ship, being used to the three Queens and a more formal style. The journey from Fremantle to Adelaide, Feb 2018, was rolling and pitching constantly, and not at all pleasant for a couple used to big ships and liners. However, that's what we wanted to find out, so small ships aren't for us. We booked a suite (110) and the room was large and comfortable. The bathroom and shower were very good. There were 2 floor to ceiling windows, one at either end of the cabin. Dining was just a terrible experience. We booked and were told by email that we were on early sittings, on a table of four, which suited us. Once on board, it was announced that there were no early or late sittings, just one "anytime" dining starting at 18:00. This of course created a queue outside for 10 or 15 minutes before opening time, with most couples wanting one of the rare tables of two. There were no crew supervising, and queue jumping was the norm. I can't believe the rouses people came up with to get to the front of the line 30 seconds before opening time! CMV's website quotes "For formal evenings many gentlemen wear a dinner jacket, although a lounge suit is quite acceptable. On these occasions ladies have a chance to dress up and opt for evening or cocktail dresses. On ‘informal’ evenings a suit or smart jacket and trousers, with or without a tie, is suggested for men and the ladies have further opportunities to look elegant in cocktail dresses, trouser suits and stylish co-ordinates." Well, on formal nights people in shorts and thongs were turned away, only to return in jeans and T-shirts. I felt out of place wearing a jacket, and disappointed that the staff do not enforce their own printed standards. On Valentines Day, the ladies were given a pink paper serviette folded to make a rose - how tacky! The food was just the worst. Fish and chips was universally described at our table of 6 as inedible, and all meals were very second grade. If you can't cook chips, you can't cook! Watching the "human chain" moving the luggage down the gangway by hand on disembarking was a comedy, and as the workers tired (it took 45 minutes) they found new ways to pass the bags, including "tunnelball", kicking them along the gangway, and letting the ones with 4 wheels career down on their own until they crashed into the sides! Unfortunately, selling drinks packages just ensures that those who buy them make sure they get their money's worth, and they start early and finish late in a poor state. It's fine if you want a cheap cruise with like minded people, but it isn't what you'll enjoy if you're used to cruising in style. The library was a shambles, with 2 rows of books, one IN FRONT of the other, on all the shelves. It was unmanned. We had one shore excursion, unfortunately by tender. They could only be bothered launching 1 tender, so delays were unreasonably long, and tenders overcrowded. They are stamped with "46 passengers" and we counted at least 70. We were glad to get off, and would never again go on a small ship or any CMV ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose to cruise on Astor to check the ship out on a short cruise while contemplating a longer cruise on it. The prominent marketing in Australia of this boat sailing out of Perth-Fremantle using "pay for one and the second person ... Read More
We chose to cruise on Astor to check the ship out on a short cruise while contemplating a longer cruise on it. The prominent marketing in Australia of this boat sailing out of Perth-Fremantle using "pay for one and the second person travels for free" was an inducement. The daily charge of $10 Aust per person turned out to be more than better ships that we have cruised on. This is an old German ship which doesn’t have up to date procedures; e.g. a huge key and fob for entry to the cabin and a swipe credit type plastic card to transact on board both to be carried at all times, long slow queue to disembark and hand in the key etc. The mostly European crew were surprisingly curt. The PA system was unintelligible resulting in passengers looking at each other puzzled and asking ‘what did that announcement say?’ We bought the drinks package for $34 per person per day. We could have saved about $100 by simply buying drinks as we went. There was no advice about how to ‘register’ for the drinks package before you ordered your first drink at embarkation and paid full price. There were too many exclusions in the drinks package and no clarity about what was included; e.g. coffee was not included. The same drink was a different price depending upon which bar it was bought at. There was a receipt to be signed every time a drink was purchased, only one drink to be purchased at a time resulting in not being able to buy a friend a drink on your drinks package card, but a separate cash receipt had to be signed with that charged to your on board account which was tiresome and petty. There are only 2 dining rooms, a dining room with waiters and starched table cloths, and a cafe. Both are reasonable depending upon what you want and whether you want to be served. Both are small and usually busy with queues at the only coffee machine. The food is average compared with other ships on which we have travelled. Passengers shared serving utensils at the buffet and breakfast which is a potential health hazard not found on other cruise boats. Before we embarked we understood we had arranged for our party of 8 to all sit together each evening, but the dining room concierge refused to honour this. They insisted that it was "free dining". The staff wouldn't let a couple sit at empty tables for 2 insisting that they join people at larger tables that were not full. This resulted in the newcomers at the table being ignored by the serving wait staff who had previously served those at the table who had arrived earlier. One night at the main dining room all but 2 of our group were at the restaurant door ready to be seated, but the concierge refused entry until all were present. This resulted in 2 ladies over 90 (one on a walking frame) having to stand for 15 minutes outside the door which was rude and discourteous. Some dining room staff (such as those clearing tables) went about their tasks oblivious to the diners, with the result that there was some ‘congestion’. The average age of the cruisers was about 75 and more than several had walking frames or wheelchairs. The ship is not set-up for these devices with door sill projections at the entrance to some cabins, toilets, and bars resulting in people having to step over them. They need ramps at each of these obstructions. There is no ramp at some ports so they use the ship's stairway. This is very difficult for those people who had difficulty climbing the steep stairway. The ship rolled about as it slugged its way South to Esperance. Several passengers were seasick. None of these experiences are particularly worrying, just tiresome, petty and inconvenient when you are on a cruise expecting it to be enjoyable and relaxing. A reconciliation of all expenses [fare, travel insurance, drinks package, on board expenses], associated with this 5 day cruise resulted in a cost of $770 a day. In hindsight, at this rate we would expect a better cruise experience than we had. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have taken 40+ cruises in the last 10 years and wanted to try the Astor as there are few options from Fremantle. We are used to very large Royal Caribbean ships but have also sailed with Princess, Celebrity, NCL, MSC and Cunard. We ... Read More
We have taken 40+ cruises in the last 10 years and wanted to try the Astor as there are few options from Fremantle. We are used to very large Royal Caribbean ships but have also sailed with Princess, Celebrity, NCL, MSC and Cunard. We went with an open mind as we knew this was a very small ship with limited facilities. However, this was more different that we expected and certainly not for us. Embarkation took 2 hours and was slowed by the fact they don't have credit card details at online check in stage. We had a Premium Suite on Atlantic Deck - it was clean and spacious and had a great full sized shower. The bed was comfortable and the room was our sanctuary away from everything else. The decoration was very dark - navy furnishings and dark mahogany wood everywhere so quite austere. It did make us laugh that we had a traditional room key and massive fob to lug around your Seapass (or whatever CMV call it) doesn't work as a door key.... never none that before! Food in the buffet was akin to school dinners - there were queues everywhere and food options were limited. None of the waiters wanted to help when I asked for cutlery. Not great, but edible. The hand sanitizer was not manned so fellow passengers were not using it which is not great when there are so many cases of Norovirus these days. Walking around the ship, it showed its age. The broken basketball net was a children's Fisher Price toy and sports equipment was past its best. The area around the outside pool was crowded with very few places to sit down and relax. The ship is tatty on the outside which is a shame. Deck space is very narrow. In fact, the whole ship is laid out with narrow and claustrophobic corridors which are made worse by the dark wood. Smears of greasy fingers were visible in many places. Anyone remember Fawlty Towers? It is a bit like that as you see the same staff everyone 10 minutes!! The queue for dinner was a farce - we were told to wait 5 minutes (reality was 20 mins) but as new passengers arrived, there was no system so those who turned up a long time after us went straight in. We had a table for 2, which was good, but service in the restaurant was slow and the waiters were not welcoming, more functional, and just asked what we wanted. Soup was cold and had to be sent back, I received the wrong salad so had to have it changed and the main courses (both lamb and beef) were lukewarm. This was a shame as it was beautifully presented. Dessert was ok but coffee/tea were never offered. We went to the theatre (a one deck show lounge) and listened to the act. The girl was a good singer and had an 80s repertoire. In fact, his really sums the ship up - stuck in a time warp and we felt like we had gone back in time. Notices around the ship, as well as drinks menu, were poor quality photocopies on cheap paper. Some claim this is a 4 star ship... 2 star is more realistic, possibly a low 3 star. The area around the entrance to the Spa on Deck 1 smells of smoke as this comes through from the staff area. Be mindful of this is you are looking to book a cabin on this deck and are a non smoker. The stateroom attendant barged into room whilst I was in the shower and never even knocked. We begrudge the $20 daily fee for gratuities when none of the staff showed any interest. We appreciate they have a hard job but they could at least smile and say hello to passengers. If you have children, there is absolutely nothing for them to do whether they are primary school age or teenagers. On departure morning, you have to be out of your room by 7am, complete with your luggage as there is no leaving it outside the cabin the night before.... so everyone turns up to breakfast with their luggage!! If you have never cruised before, the points raised may not be an issue. But if you are used to larger, newer ships with all the facilities and dining choices, you may be disappointed with the Astor. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I booked a night on the Astor to see what it is like as living in Perth there are few cruises to choose from. I cannot give a view on actual cruising on the ship as it was an in port celebration, so we didn’t actually ... Read More
My wife and I booked a night on the Astor to see what it is like as living in Perth there are few cruises to choose from. I cannot give a view on actual cruising on the ship as it was an in port celebration, so we didn’t actually leave the dock. I have also been on around 13 cruises with Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and Celebrity. The ship is small, built in the 80's and is getting on for a cruise ship. Embarkation was ok, we were given a group number and sat in the terminal till our group was called. We had arrived at 1130am and didn’t board till 1.30pm so a two hour wait in the passenger terminal. There appeared only 5 staff booking over 500 people hence 2 hour wait. After getting a 'seapass card' we walked on board. After getting on board we went straight to the room. We had booked a premium suite on Atlantic deck. Arriving at the door we realised there is no swipe or insert card entry. The door was unlocked, and two keys were on the desk. Given the ship had undergone an upgrade I would have thought electronic locking on doors to modernise it would have been a given. The suite was very good and extremely spacious and bathroom excellent. What let the décor down and also around the ship was the expanse of fake mahogany veneer everywhere making open spaces very dark and closed in. We had lunch in the buffet area which was average, Food was unimaginative, bland and lacked choice. There was also no staff member ensuring that people sanitized which given the increased risk of norovirus on ships I find amazing. We had a walk around the ship and given the size, deck space was at a premium. We checked out the indoor pool in the Wellness Centre at level one. I’m not sure Wellness Centre is appropriate as the area stank of cigarette smoke apparently from staff quarters. For dinner we went to the Waldorf restaurant and had to wait for a table. The waiting was not organised, and no queue was in place. The menu was good with lots of choice and presented very well. What let the service down was the food served in a luke warm state. After dinner we took in part of the show featuring singers and dancers. To be fair they do a very good job with the space they have to work in. On return to the cabin we had instructions that we were to be out of the cabin by 7am which I thought was very poor. During the night the noise from the funnel was loud and made sleeping difficult. In summary, the Astor I am sure caters for many people not wanting the frills / attractions / variety other larger cruise ships offer but I was not for me. I also think it is overpriced given the lack of facilites. 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
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
Astor Ratings
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