Our first taste of a P&O Cruise, with Azura our ship for this 14 day trip to the Canary Islands, Maderia, Spain and Portugal.
The ship is well presented and the cabin was modern and spacious with plenty of open hanging space and a reasonable size bathroom with compact shower with curtain, however compared to Celebrity Eclipse where the shower had a glass door and room for two!!
This was not our first sailing out of Southampton however our fellow passengers appeared to be totally from the UK. Clearly the major companies selling bulk cabins had done well with many Scots most of whom travelled on the chartered train and many from the North East who came by coach. This gave a holiday camp feel or an all inclusive hotel in Spain, and we were surprised at the number of school age children despite it not being school holidays.
We had a early sitting and the food was good albeit very English, however that's what P&O do promote. The speciality restaurants were very good and worth the extra cover charges. The self-service restaurant was lacking in space around the servery and lack of seats, when Azura gets a refurb P&O would be wise to rethink these areas.
Staff are mainly Indian and we noted their customer service ethos was not as good as those from the Philippines or Indonesia. In fact the support to those who needed extra help due to disability or being of senior years was lacking and the eye contact of staff was not evident.
The entertainment staff were excellent and the show team very professional, this approach of having contracted show teams is a winner. This however means you have to get to the Theatre early to get a seat.
The ship is old style shaft and propellers, this gives the stern a waggle (a problem in the rear restaurant especially for those with motion sickness). Th pitch and roll was quiet noticeable and the cavitation caused by the air getting to the propellers created much noise and waggling. This was unexpected for a ship launched in 2010. Compare this to the Celebrity Eclipse that doesn't seem to move even in rough seas of the North Sea and Baltic, maybe the azipods do make the difference.
In summary a good cruise but we won't be back on P&O or Azura for a while, however we have heard the Arcadia is a nice ship and goes to great ports around the World.