A friend and I took a short cruise on the Azura to Bruges, Guernsey and Sark. Embarkation seemed to take an age, one felt rather like cattle being herded and it's difficult for some to have to stand in line for what seemed an age in a very stuffy 'hangar'.
We booked a twin cabin with balcony, which was fine, and thankfully quiet, and we had a super sunny balcony on Saturday when the sun shone. However night 1 I couldn't open the balcony doors and when I asked our cabin boy the following day about this, he took hold of my shoulder and said push like this to open it = correct, but I was tempted to tell him to 'unhand' me. I travel a great deal to India and have never before had anyone there take hold of me, without permission.
Getting into Bruges was a bit tricky ie bus, train, taxi, but the train (3 tiers) was interesting and actually we found we had more time than we thought in Bruges as we got a taxi back to the ship, tho @ a cost of 50euros! A pity the ship couldn't arrange transport directly there and back @ less cost.
However, our trip to Sark was good value and luckily both the weather, and sea, were favourable, and I think this excursion was very good value, and I'm glad we didn't opt for just Guernsey only to find out, at the last moment, that in fact the shops would be closed, it being a Sunday!
Also, our tickets were not delivered to our cabin, but we were able to get duplicates.
The meals in the Peninsular restaurant were I thought good, nothing like the ones on the month long cruise, but one has to bear in mind the good value of this short break.
Some of the crew however were a little forward rather than friendly ie when I asked for hot toast for breakfast I was informed - hot like you Madam! Hmmm.
And toasters in the dining room would be very useful, or at least covered toast, as is done for breakfasts taken in the cabins, ie would then be warm at least! One always gets the feeling of being rushed, but are aware of how much the crew have to do in a day, they do work very hard indeed.
This was a 'transition' break and very good value though I heard some moans about things not being as good as on a 'normal' cruise, or as good as the Royal Caribbean line, but I believe one can't have it all @ such a low price and I loved this break!
If ever you want a stowaway, let me know!
I spent a month on the Ventura over Christmas and New Year in 2010 cruising around the Caribbean and preferred that ship ie the Tapas bar in particular, and the crew, though our table captain was, as on that cruise, excellent.
I think the Captain could have a discreet word with the crew and try to explain the difference between friendly and forward, as I found the crew on the Ventura wholly respectful at all times, though daresay there were one or more women who egged the unsuspecting young crew on rather too much on the Azura!
I also had need to visit the ship's doctor and he was great.
Also, I must say I wss glad to find the passengers far more decorous than those on the Christmas cruise, many of whom were the worse for wear most of the time, and very loud with it. This was far more restful.
Disembarkation was swift, thankfully, and well-executed.
Oh! And my friend enjoyed Charlotte and Jonathan very much though felt seats should have been reserved for 1st timers as we knew some had come for the 2nd and even 3rd show, perhaps their cards could have been swiped to prevent this happening again?
All in all, very enjoyable thank you!