It was time for my spring cruise on this fabulous ship. In 2017, they had a short cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp. This year was double, but again, it was the first after a winter lay-up. Cruise and Maritime Voyages share chartering this beauty with Rivages du Monde, who have her usually from May and during summer. Before resuming service, she was being prettied up in dry dock, leaving it on the 2nd March and Lisbon on the 5th.
Two days before departure, CMV called late morning to say Astoria would now arrive Friday the 9th due to weather delaying her Lisbon departure. Amsterdam was cancelled and would be refunded. They were also giving £50 onboard credit and any you don’t use, she said, they were looking at refunding. Any out of pocket expenses should be emailed to them. In my case there was a hotel it was too late for free cancellation, more expensive one booked and outbound coach ticket. They later sent out a text.
It buggered up a lot of plans but at least they let people know in time to hopefully alter them.
My new hotel was a stone’s throw from Victoria Coach Station. Having been a regular National Express coach user since 1987, I knew the area pretty well and where to find food. After settling in, I went for a little wander.
Tilbury is quite difficult to get to without a car or living in Gravesend, but CMV have a coach transfer to and from Victoria Coach Station. I was impressed with it last time so booked it again. As with 2017, it was at 11am. Originally, I had a coach booked from Southampton at the crack of yawn (hence booking a hotel since the buses wouldn’t get me into town on time) and would change in London. This at least gave me a bit of a lie-in.
As with last year, it went smoothly. The CMV rep arrived around 10am, highlighted our names and handed out the health questionnaire and revised itinerary. Boarding was from Gate 2 as Gate 1 was closed for work. I saw Carol, who I’d met on the transfer last year and met Rob Guest from Facebook.
We arrived just before 1pm. Due to my parastomal hernia returning and Ileostomy, they allowed me to do priority check-in with Carol. The queue was absolutely horrendous. We were on at 1.15pm. Lunch! It was much better organised than last year but maybe due to so many in the terminal.
Muster was scheduled for 2.30pm but was 15 minutes late. Broadcast broke off three times and we didn’t go to the lifeboats, probably due to rain. Sailaway was slightly delayed due to traffic.
I went to reception about the onboard credit and discovered they day missed was non-refundable like the £50. That’s not good when you’re not a big spender like me and a lot of money to lose. The receptionist told me there had been a lot of complaints and they had emailed the finance department.
Dinner was good. Peter Knego managed to get us all a table together so I went from table 66 to 6. Our waiter was excellent and replaced my supposedly bell pepper free Thai salad with one that had none. Then we saw the show which the cruise director took part in too. Then it was time for bed after a long day.