Just returned from a 2 week Caribbean cruise on the Azura. We initially thought we were on a Saga holiday at the airport -- average age about 65! The ship's "entertainment" reflects this age group, so if you are under 60 and thinking about booking then you need to bear this in mind!
The itinerary was fantastic, however, the service on board left a lot to be desired. Bad tempered waiters, initially rude head waiters and then totally over the top, after they probably realised this. Reception staff like robots -- rigid and inflexible and gave us wrong information 3 times!!! Really unhelpful. Even the cabin steward and shop staff called them incompetent! No banter with the waiters or bar staff what-so-ever, which really is not what we are used to on a cruise! Wrong information given by Oasis Spa staff, which ruined our Retreat booking and no manager available to address complaints. Simply a shrug of the shoulder in response to our concerns and off the pretty little spa receptionist toddled! P&O seriously need to sort out their customer care training -- urgently. Also, very unhygienic toilets in the spa -- we booked The Retreat for 2 sea days and the toilets were not cleaned all day. Absolutely filthy by late morning and extremely unhygienic. No wonder they had an outbreak of Norovirus in late 2012 if their cleanliness standards are anything to go by! I couldn't help but take note of other public toilets from that point -- unfortunately not much better. Numerous toilets in bar areas not cleaned under the rim -- urghhh!
Kids in the adult only Planet Bar. Staff are quick enough to ask you to leave if you are not wearing the correct attire but when challenged about this, they simply chose to ignore it and walk away. Unbelievable!
We pre-purchased a wine package, however, it took us 3 days to get our first bottle due to an error with Reception! Food - very British and basic. Roast potatoes offered with every meal - even a curry!
P&O claim that the Azura can accommodate 3,100 passengers. Possibly in their cabins this is the case but certainly not in the public areas. During our second week when the ship was apparently full, we were unable to get a table in the buffet restaurant during breakfast and lunch times. Also, after dining in the evening we were unable to get any seats in the Theatre (even when arriving 15 minutes before the show) and also at any of the bars showing entertainment. We heard numerous other passengers complaining about this, so we were not alone. Therefore, clearly the ship does not have capacity for over 3,000 passengers in the dining and entertainment areas. Also, the sun decks during sea days -- "sardines" spring to mind!
We are not in the habit of complaining and, particularly when on holiday, can normally take things on the chin and move on. However, we feel strongly that both the service on board and cleanliness are sub-standard and P&O need to address this if they want to maintain their claims of providing "exceptional choice and service". We had booked our cruise 10 months in advance and had really looked forward to cruising with P&O, as we had enjoyed all of our other cruises with other companies ranging from Celebrity X, Royal Caribbean to Thomson and even Costa and, as it transpires, all of whom gave better service. We will not be booking a P&O cruise again.