Just back from the Christmas in Bali cruise on the MS Astor. This was our first cruise and we took a bit of a risk as we weren't sure cruising is really for us, but very glad we gave it a go. All I needed out of it an extended period of downtime with a good book and a deck chair, and that was delivered immediately and in spades. Yay! The cruise was basically a day and a half in Bali, and four sea days either side - more about the journey than the destination. Given you've done enough research to find this review you'll know by now the ship is small and a bit old-school style, it also does not directly cater to young children, I would not recommend this ship to young families unless the kids are abnormally self-sufficient. So this adds up to "an older crowd", even taking the cruise passenger stereotype into account. Which is certainly no criticism - consider honestly whether you'd rather share a confined space with a bunch of understimulated children and Gen-Y party animals? Yeah, me neither. There is a drip-feed of activities & entertainment, since that wasn't really what I was there for I can't offer much insight (other than that Bingo is an extremely serious business). Also: if television is critical to your emotional well-being you may wish to look beyond this ship. The food was not Michelin standard but if one were to actually take a moment to properly consider the logistics involved, what they did achieve was pretty spectacular. There were always plenty of options, there was nice fresh fruit available with every meal, and tea & coffee available all day. The staff were all amazing - every staff member I encountered appeared naturally cheerful and obliging, which is hopefully a sign that they're treated well. Many I saw appeared to work from pre-dawn well into the evening and still keep smiling, even when most were literally oceans away from their families at Christmas. Bless their socks, one and all. If I was really hard pressed to find something to complain about (as seems to be the fashion with this style of travel) I'd say the bar service was a little on the slow side; but you could easily look upon it as a sensible risk-management point when you have a few hundred elderly people on a multi-level moving surface with tripping hazards everywhere. (A word of warning to those with a delicate constitution, this ship has stabilisers but you very definitely do still notice it moving, and we had a couple of fairly rough nights.) Really the only off-notes of the 10 days for us was overhearing a couple of instances of embarrassingly rude and entitled behaviour from other passengers towards food service staff on totally spurious grounds (eg, availability of marmite and not vegemite, or possibly vice versa, as though this makes a difference to a person's life, good lord). Once we'd found the out-of-the-way spots on the ship, and learned the optimum times to avoid the rugby scrums at the buffet we were set. A fantastic chilled-out escape, time went niiiice and slow. Ace keen :)

Perfect Relaxing Break!

Astor Cruise Review by MLiz

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Just back from the Christmas in Bali cruise on the MS Astor. This was our first cruise and we took a bit of a risk as we weren't sure cruising is really for us, but very glad we gave it a go. All I needed out of it an extended period of downtime with a good book and a deck chair, and that was delivered immediately and in spades. Yay! The cruise was basically a day and a half in Bali, and four sea days either side - more about the journey than the destination.

Given you've done enough research to find this review you'll know by now the ship is small and a bit old-school style, it also does not directly cater to young children, I would not recommend this ship to young families unless the kids are abnormally self-sufficient. So this adds up to "an older crowd", even taking the cruise passenger stereotype into account. Which is certainly no criticism - consider honestly whether you'd rather share a confined space with a bunch of understimulated children and Gen-Y party animals? Yeah, me neither.

There is a drip-feed of activities & entertainment, since that wasn't really what I was there for I can't offer much insight (other than that Bingo is an extremely serious business). Also: if television is critical to your emotional well-being you may wish to look beyond this ship.

The food was not Michelin standard but if one were to actually take a moment to properly consider the logistics involved, what they did achieve was pretty spectacular. There were always plenty of options, there was nice fresh fruit available with every meal, and tea & coffee available all day.

The staff were all amazing - every staff member I encountered appeared naturally cheerful and obliging, which is hopefully a sign that they're treated well. Many I saw appeared to work from pre-dawn well into the evening and still keep smiling, even when most were literally oceans away from their families at Christmas. Bless their socks, one and all.

If I was really hard pressed to find something to complain about (as seems to be the fashion with this style of travel) I'd say the bar service was a little on the slow side; but you could easily look upon it as a sensible risk-management point when you have a few hundred elderly people on a multi-level moving surface with tripping hazards everywhere. (A word of warning to those with a delicate constitution, this ship has stabilisers but you very definitely do still notice it moving, and we had a couple of fairly rough nights.)

Really the only off-notes of the 10 days for us was overhearing a couple of instances of embarrassingly rude and entitled behaviour from other passengers towards food service staff on totally spurious grounds (eg, availability of marmite and not vegemite, or possibly vice versa, as though this makes a difference to a person's life, good lord). Once we'd found the out-of-the-way spots on the ship, and learned the optimum times to avoid the rugby scrums at the buffet we were set.

A fantastic chilled-out escape, time went niiiice and slow. Ace keen :)
MLiz’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin
We had an oceanview cabin on the starboard side, probably 5 or 6 from the bow - it was a lovely and quiet little sanctum, we heard exactly no noise from the engines or from the cabaret lounge above. As above we did feel the motion of the ship but in fact it gently rocked me to the best 10 nights' sleep I think I've had in my life!

Cabins are obviously small, basically like a Hong Kong hotel room, but big enough, bathroom was spick and span, water pressure out the wazoo and my partner and I had a whole wardrobe each.