ASTORIA, THE SHIP:
Astoria is the world's oldest active oceangoing passenger ship and was originally built and launched as MS Stockholm in 1948. Her capacity is around 540 passengers making her quite an intimate vessel.
SIRENES BAR is the “meeting place” on the ship. It’s a small area above the reception desk, holding around 150 guests. The drinks are reasonably priced (see menu shots), and you can purchase additional packages, depending on your circumstances. We picked all-inclusive (CMV Premium) and I think we were better off.
In this bar it’s sometimes difficult to attract waiters, and it can take 10 minutes or so to get your drink. I think the fact that the bartender makes and pours all drinks means that the waiters can be waiting to serve their guests.
The bar is cosy, but could need a little attention to the chairs upholstery,.
LOTUS POOL BAR is the outside bar serving the pool and rear deck. In September this wasn’t open at night.
CYCLOPES AUDITORIUM is the cinema and presentation theatre. There are 2 films a day in here, and presentations on various topics.
CALYPSO SHOW LOUNGE is the main theatre, holding around 500 guests. Again, drinks are waiter service. The shows, for such a small ship, are very entertaining, being performed by the ship’s hard working “repertory” cast.
ENTERTAINMENT as above, is first class from the small team of 4 singers and 4 dancers. They put on some very entertaining shows, ranging from Les Miserables, to Rock and Roll and Wartime Favourites.
Special mention to the cruise director, Jon Dulson, who makes sure all entertainment in all bars is top notch.
A special mention is also due to the resident band. They are a group of really talented players, some of whom are classically trained and they provided outstanding live music (Unlike some bigger cruise ships where the entertainment is driven by LED displays and recorded soundtracks).
THERE ARE MANY OTHER nooks and crannies, such as the library, card room, cigar lounge etc, and of course there is a small gym and spa centre. There’s also a small casino, chapel and medical centre.
SHOPPING – you probably aren’t going on a ship like this for the shopping experience, but there are small shops, a jeweller and the obligatory photo shop (although now with a touch screen instead of row upon row of photos on shelves)
THE STAFF were always friendly and very helpful.
CRUISE SPECIFIC – ours was the Fjords cruise in mid September. Unfortunately we had storms Ali and Bronah to contend with and 2 fjord stops were cancelled due to adverse open sea conditions, prior to getting there, and we were give £50 per cabin compensation for this. The size of Astoria really does mean, in our opinion, that the 7 metre waves we battled against meant a couple of nights very unpleasant sailing, with sick bags in the corridors and advice to the ladies not to wear high heels in the swaying conditions.
Also, the presentations on the ship’s trips were very specific in mentioning, for example, the 3 steps onto the Flam railway train, but didn’t mention the very steep gangway needed at some stops, to get onto the jetties. These steps were problematical for some of the elderly passengers.
THE CABINS (we were on deck 5), are spacious and ours had tea and coffee making facilities, but I don’t think this applies to all cabins on all decks. We also had a window onto the Promenade Deck. There was a bath with shower, hair dryer etc.
The hanging space in the double wardrobe is a little compromised due to half the space being taken by the (free) safe on its plinth.
Cancelled due to poor weather
Very beautiful town
Do the funicular and the Ice Bar!