Azura Cruise Review by daveb4: Azura First Time Cruise
Azura First Time Cruise
Firstly thank you to other reviewers who helped so much in making our decision to go on a cruise and therefore I have to help others out in a similar fashion.
Great Value for money - Lucky enough to get a decent cabin C612 although we did pay little more on a Getaway price than some others - C level does get the slightly larger balcony. A fjord cruise with very good weather so this also helped. Average age probably midto late 60's although probably 25% under 50. A large proportion of cruisers from the Midlands upwards with numerous from as far as away as Wales and Scotland and only a very small proportion of International guests. Scenery was stunning only went on one trip to the Briskdal Glacier which was excellent but as per other comments, cost was too much, although you do have to take into consideration a cup of coffee in Norway is £5! - P&O need to make money on this side though I suppose as the prices for the cruise are so cheap! More
Freedom dining - younger people generally had this option. Just about everyone happy with their choice. The option of when to go to dinner is very useful - we were a little concerned of the issue re joining people at a mixed table rather than having a table of two but it was definitely worth meeting other passengers to chat and find hints and tips as well as what they had been up to during the day. Tables for 2 apparently were very rushed and usual wait 30-40 minutes. If you can try and get a table after 7.30 staff seem to rush you less. Before this time 5 courses in 1.5 hours can be rushed (especially when you have probably eaten far too much earlier in the day!). Freedom dining was full on our trip and very late bookers had to go on a fixed time. Sorry forgot - food was excellent value for money and do not forget if on freedom dining you can have breakfast/lunch in Peninsular or Oriental restaurant - upstairs Verona and Venezia is very Cafe style and a bit of a 'bun fight'!
A difficult one this and i will appear a very snobby Southener! To be fair though this is backed up by most of the under 55 group. It is dated! - far too 'Hi-Di'Hi'! If you enjoy going down the pub and doing quizzes, watching comedians, bands and playing darts then you will love it. Cheering the entertainment staff depending on where they come from and constantly being asked to shout louder because they can't hear you, is not my cup of tea, but to the vast majority of people it was enjoyed - the Theatre group were very 'ok' but again we are lucky enough to go to a local theatre showing London shows on a regular basis and they are not up to this standard - hash yes but it is my only comparison. P&O may need to watch out as this entertainment is not what the youngsters want and at 49 we include ourselves in this as far as cruising is concerned but their audience will change over the next ten years and they will need to as well.
Lovely Balcony - as mentioned the C level does get you a bigger balcony approx 9 foot by 9 foot - overlooked yes, but not the first 4 foot if this is such an issue to you so you can still hide under the above balcony. Looked after superbly by Menino - do these guys ever go to sleep! - Always cleaning and tidying cabins, each twice a day (during breakfast and dinner) and saying hello whenever he saw us. The room itself was plenty big enough for two - plenty of hanging space for all our clothes, very surprising!- bathroom tight with a shower, toilet and single smallish sink but it is perfectly adequate - if you want a bigger bathroom pay for a larger cabin I suppose!
Excellent -People who criticise these staff should try and find out how much these staff earn and consider what sort of service they would provide for that money! - They work very hard and sometimes we experienced some small issues but nothing major and overall if dinner appeared rushed this is P&O telling them to move customers through quickly not the individuals themselves. They were nearly always happy and if you needing anything they always tried their hardest to make it happen. In bars you did not have to purchase drinks and were left alone if you wanted to, but as soon as you thought you wanted a drink a waiter would be stood next to you! - three cheers for all the service staff who made the holiday almost perfect.
Southampton - so easy - luckily we live on outskirts of Southampton so taxi at 12.30 and were having lunch at 1.30 in Verona restaurant! - don't worry newbies, it is busy, it is a little overwhelming as the restaurants are packed until at about 2.00 when the cabins become available, but it does get much better when the rest of the ship opens.
Bergen - plenty to do around town no real need to do trips - bus from ship drops you off near the large park in Bergen - 500 meters to the front and 700 metres to the Venicular railway - do it yourself if you can walk that far.
Aldesnes - get up early and watch the the Fjords go by!
Olden - same as above and better - we did trip to the Briskden Glacier which was excellent
Stravanger - Not a bad little place but an industrial town with a nice old town to walk around and some shops near the port - 3 hours walk about is probably pushing it.
Hope this helps and happy to answer in questions Less
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Cabin review: JCc612 Balcony Stateroom
C612 - Lovely Balcony - C level does get you a bigger balcony than most, approx 9 foot by 9 foot - overlooked yes, but not the first 4 foot if this is such an issue to you so you can still hide under the above balcony. approx third the way along from aft and between the aft and midships lifts which keeps through traffic noise down. The room itself was plenty big enough for two - plenty of hanging space for all our clothes probably 6 foot. Plenty of storage space for baggage under beds. two small side cabinets and another full height one by clothes rail including safe. Plenty of mirrors and dressing table. Decent size fridge for smuggled on drink! Bathroom tight with a shower, toilet and single smallish sink but it is perfectly adequate - if you want a bigger bathroom pay for a larger cabin I suppose!