The new Astor set sail on her 69-day maiden voyage to the Caribbean, South America and Mediterranean on February 2, and is selling very well, according to Gerorge Brauer, president of Interworld Tours, the U.S. sales agent. Len Wilton, a former P & O executive is behind the operation in London, Brauer said.
Designed for the upscale market, the 21,000-ton Astor accommodates 650 passengers and a staff of 250 Britons, Germans, other Europeans and Mauritians. She was built in Kiel, West Germany, and registered in Mauritius. Amenities include an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a dining room, entertainment lounges, and conference facilities. A private dining room also is available.
According to Brauer, the ship is being marketed mostly in Europe, with the majority of passengers coming from England, France and Holland. There is also a "sprinkling of Canadians."
Despite limited marketing in the United States, many Americans have expressed interest, he reported. "Many people know about it because of the popularity of the Astor I," Brauer commented. Additional interest was created when the ship was shown in Miami prior to embarking on its maiden voyage.
The majority of inquiries have come from the Sun Belt, and senior citizens are the primary targets. Brauer believes the itineraries are a major draw. "Nothing like this has been done for a long time," he said.
On her maiden voyage, the Astor will call at 32 ports throughout the Caribbean, West Africa, Iberia and the Mediterranean before arriving in Genoa. Other itineraries include voyages to the Greek Islands and Egypt and Jerusalem. These sailings are doing "surprisingly well," Brauer reported. "They seemed to pick up the overflow from the.American lines that pulled out of this area," he said.