The small passenger
ship Astor is not a frequent visitor to Asia, in which her last calls
were already four and nine years ago. In March 2007, she came to Hong Kong
with three more cruise ships in port together. During her two-day stay, she
had to berth at China Merchants Wharf at Kennedy Town on the first day, and
anchor at the sea centre on the second day.
The vessel underwent a complete
makeover in 2010 summer. Her company name was also changed from Transocean
Tours to Transocean Kreuzfahrten. The "new" Astor set sail on her
2010-2011 World Voyage in November from Nice in France. This 124-night full
world cruise covers Europe, the Americas and a large number of ports in
Oceania and Asia. She visited Kaohsiung on 4th February and Canton two days
later. Since it is prohibited by law for ships to sail directly between
Taiwan and China, Astor made a technical call at Hong Kong, which was
just a three-hour short stop at North Lamma Anchorage at night of 5th
After the call to Canton, Astor finally arrived in our city at 07:00
of 7th February. She moored at Ocean Terminal for overnight, with the other
side of the terminal being Artemis of P&O Cruises. I was happy to be
offered with a tour onboard with a colleague and would like to thank
Stefanie Bauriedl for the arrangements. This was my first cruise ship visit
which was not organized by travel agencies. Instead I sent the request to
the public relations department of cruise line directly through email.
The tour started at 10:00. Since
could not use the terminal's telescopic gangways, we had to embark on the
ground level. After passing through the security check and receiving the
visitor passes, we met the crew Imke Matuszewski who escorted us around the vessel to take
pictures. She showed us almost all the public facilities and two passenger
After an hour of walk, she invited us to have a cup of tea in Hanse Bar,
aft of Deck 8. We appreciated much for her further introduction on the ship.
Finally we disembarked at 12:00.
Although the ship is already over twenty years old, she is still
well-maintained and does not look too outdated because of the recent
upgrades. The cabins were all refurbished with new furniture, whereas the
public amenities were also adorned with new decorations and colours.
Nevertheless, many past objects of the ship's former identities could still
Astor departed from Hong Kong at
22:00 of 8th February. She will continue with her journey to Keelung, then
Southeast Asia, Africa, and finally be back to Europe in April.