The Calypso Show Lounge is the ship's main performance venue. On our cruise, it spotlighted a troupe of truly talented singers, dancers and musicians who staged crowd-pleasing revues, such as "Bohemian Rhapsody," a Queen tribute, and an international song-and-dance show.
A second large venue, the Cyclops Auditorium on Deck 5, sports plush theatre seats and a big screen for movies shown most afternoons and evenings. (There's a movie marathon on sea days.) The auditorium is also the venue for topical lectures, which are offered on sailings of six or more days.
The cruise staff hosted not one, but two daily trivia games on our sailing. Other hosted competitions included bingo and a rebus game. Among unhosted activities designed to bring like minds together was Knit and Natter and card games.
Onboard activities on sea days ramp up, with diversions such as a cooking demo, a stretching class, Zumba, Spanish lessonsand, on our sailing, a lecture from a cruise historian on the ship's fascinating backstory.
In a nod to our cruise's Mexican locale, a lively group of mariachis serenaded poolside on many evenings. The resident Astoria Show Team also performed poolside after dinner on some nights, encouraging audience participation during Latin- and country-western-themed parties.
The compact Circe's Casino on Deck 4a has two gaming tables and 24 slot machines.
Other after-dinner options: a pianist performs in the Sirenes Lounge, the ship's main bar area. Or, you can take in a movie in the Cyclops Auditorium. Still energetic? Head to Muses Nightclub for dancing and karaoke.
Sirenes Bar (Deck 4a): The ship's main bar/lounge, open from 7 a.m. until late, is bisected by a central staircase, with comfy seating on both sides. A black laminate bar is on one side and a baby grand piano dominates the other. This is where passengers gather for predinner drinks. In the evenings, a pianist performs. In the mornings and afternoons, trivia buffs flock here to compete. It's also HQ for other staff-led games. Daily cocktail, mocktail and coffee drink specials are offered here, as well as in the other bars.
Elpinor Bar (Deck 4a): The nautical-themed pool bar just outside the Lotus Grill is partially covered, so it's usable in bad weather. Bartenders serve up sours, fizzes, liqueurs, aperitifs, shots, Champagne … you name it. For beer drinkers, there's Bitburger on tap. A two-for-one drink of the day happy-hour special is offered from 5 to 6 p.m.
Calypso Bar (Deck 4a): This show lounge bar is open only during performances.
Muses Nightclub (Deck 5): The disco draws an energetic late-night bunch. (The DJ doesn't start spinning until 10 p.m.) It has a nice-size dance floor surrounded by comfy upholstered chairs and chrome-and-glass cocktail tables. Nightly two-for-one drink specials are served from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Aeolos Bar (Deck 6): This outdoor bar was not open during our sailing, which made it a quiet spot to sit and read in one of its wicker-look chairs on warm afternoons.
A small pool on Deck 4a is 2 meters deep. (No diving allowed!) It's surrounded by cafe tables and is a popular hangout spot on fair-weather days and an entertainment venue on some evenings.
If you require climbing walls, putting greens and water slides to make for happy sailing, this isn't your ship. Recreational pursuits are more classic, such as Ping-Pong and darts on the pool deck.
The Observation Deck (Deck 7) has a spacious lounge area with plenty of chaises. It was never crowded during our cruise.
Deck 4 houses the reception and shore excursion desks; a chapel, complete with wooden pews, an organ and a lovely stained-glass window; an inviting library with comfy seating and four computer stations (bring your own computer); the Azores Lounge, a second small gathering nook; a nine-table card room; the Captain's Club, which has a small, unstocked bar area; the photo shop; and Emporio Boutique. The boutique stocks the usual shipboard fare -- T-shirts, perfume, jewellery. Our favourite item: bottles of the Acaia olive oil that is served in the restaurants.
Wi-Fi packages are available for purchase, starting at £9.90 (about $15).
The two-treatment-room Aphrodite Spa and Beauty Salon on Deck 7 (open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) offers a range of massages, facials and body treatments. But, book early. By the time we inquired mid-cruise, the facility was fully booked. An adjoining two-chair salon is staffed by a stylist and also offers manicures and pedicures. There also is a coed sauna and steam room.
The small gym, located behind the spa on Deck 7, delivers the basics. Equipment consists of a treadmill, stationary bike, cross-trainer and multifunction weight machine. There's also a ballet barre and yoga mats. There are no classes, though on our cruise, a free stretching class was offered on at-sea days in the nightclub.
A jogging track on Deck 5 circumnavigates the ship. Six laps equal 1 mile.
The Astoria is a child-free ship. Ages 16 and older are permitted with an accompanying adult, but there are no programs or facilities that cater to families with children.