Azura Cruise Review by sailor1962: Azura - Good to great - till disembarkation
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Azura - Good to great - till disembarkation
Following an easy approach to the port and seamless courtesy parking we had a superbly organised embarkation. Once on board all public restaurants and public areas were operational until staterooms were ready (within the hour.
Having treated ourselves to an upgrade to luxury balcony cabin to celebrate my wifes birthday we were disappointed to find that we had to ask for the promised :- Flowers (a fish bowl of 2 orchids was supplied the following day)
Bathrobes (told that they would be delivered either that evening or the day after - it was the second afternoon after repeated requests that they were delivered!
Bowl of fruit - 1 apple, 1 banana, 1 orange and 3 grapes were left in the room on the second day.
We also had to ask for housekeeping to look over the room again due to lots of dust and pencil marks on and around the tea and coffee making area.
Such omissions and having to make a number of repeated requests certainly takes some gloss off the More 'extras' that are paid for and which should be in place on arrival.
Food on board was available at a number of outlets and we found, in contrast to sister ship Ventura last year, that the food in the buffet restaurants to be very greasy at all meals. The freedom dining option in Meridian was fully booked and tables had to be waited for (up to 45minutes at a time) on a number of occasions. The food and service here was of a high standard apart from the poor selection of sweets offered along with an extremely limited cheeseboard.
Evening entertainment was variable in quality with excellent tributes (Elton John and Annie Lennox) and live acts (Clem Curtis from the Foundations).The main theatre comedian was rather poor with a very dated act in comparison to another comedian in Manhattan showbar who was topical and an excellent ad libber. The in house troupe were enthusiastic but lacked some sparkle, particularly the male vocalists. Day time entertainment, whilst available, was very low key often dominated by quizzes which, in turn, were dominated by larger groups of almost 'professional' quizzers giving the occasional attenders little or no chance of winning.
The ports of call (Stavanger, Flam, Geiranger and Bergen) were excellent and certainly helped by the weather. P&O offered trips at inflated prices and the proximity of many trip services in Port made this even more exasperating for some who had booked on board
The return journey was slowed by an issue to one of the propulsion engines giving a 3 hour delay in docking in Southampton. Whilst the fault could not have been foreseen the lack of organisation at disembarkation surely should have been - it was a shambles!
The early self help disembarkation was, it appeared, to be massively oversubscribed. The overcrowding of passengers with luggage wishing to get off
early was disorganised and ill conceived with little communication from staff in the various lounges (many 'trapped' in the theatre with several suitcases).
When the doors finally opened the ensuing scramble of many fractious passengers ensured that politeness went overboard and a number of quite threatening exchanges took place as those who had waited patiently in hot, cramped conditions were kept at bay whilst many opportunist latecomers jumped the queues add to frustrations - all this in complete contrast to the superb organisation of embarkation, please learn some lessons from this as there were 2 days to prepare.
However, believe it or not, we did have an enjoyable cruise and find P&O remain good value for money with on board charges being in sterling and without the unfounded addition of a 15% service charge on every purchase
Again on disembarkation the CPS parking service were exemplary offering a quick exit from the dock area. Less
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