Azura to the Fjords: Azura Cruise Review by geraintwales
Overall Member Rating
Azura to the Fjords
Destination: Baltic Sea
We had an inauspicious start: it took, Friday lunch time, two hours to drive last 20 miles to Port. Main cause of delay was road works at entrance to Port - don't know if ABP or Council, but minor works with two men with "stop / go" signs at Port gate next to traffic lights - the lights went green, men showed "stop", lights went red, then, obviously, "go". We had planned lunch in Southampton, so had plenty of time, others did not. The departure of Azura had to be delayed.
We had booked car parking, and despite VERY surly staff (who had probably suffered 100's of people complaining about traffic delays), the service was really efficient - luggage moved by staff to conveyor within seconds of parking. You then enter terminal and within twenty minutes were on board.
First impression was vastness of the ship. Second was how nice our cabins were, stewards introduced themselves and were simply More excellent throughout our stay. We cannot fault the accommodation or service of stewards. We had full range of towel sculptures, including one I haven't seen mentioned before, the "angry child" - makes sense when you see it! Waking up, going onto balcony in a new (and beautiful) location will live with us forever.
We had booked 6.30 dining and again, staff and service excellent, and food between very good and excellent throughout. We pre-booked wine package and thought good value - same price or marginally cheaper than UK restaurant. Drinks throughout were UK pub (not Wetherstone's though) prices. We did Sindhu on last night (20 per head supplement) and that WAS excellent.
Pools, public facility and entertainment, including Jimmy James (as in Jimmy James and the Vagabonds) could not be faulted. Did raise an eyebrow on last sail away party where we were extolled to waive Union Jacks and sing the "Dam busters" at the passengers of adjoining German cruise ship, but hey ho. The stampede through common areas between different performances was probably as funny as any onboard comedian.
The only onboard negative: wife and daughter tried to book Spa treatments, to be greeted by a rude, disinterested member of staff, who thought they would try sarcasm by S L O W L Y spelling out words as you might to someone with learning difficulties or who couldn't speak English. We all have bad days, but how pathetic - all they wanted to do was spend money at this quite expensive offer. Money saved, P&O reputation tarnished.
Excursions. We did Rauma Railway and Glacier Trip, neither cheap but both very fair value for money, and both recommended. In Bergen we followed advice from here and booked Funicular railway tickets from tourist office by fishmarket. This cost 280 kroner, not only big saving on pre booked tour, but staff at tourist office suggested, successfully, how to time visit to avoid queue. In Stavanger the ship has a mooring right next (literally) to the Old Town. Things like Cathedral and Oil Museum both easy ten minute walk. Quite a few people we spoke to had independently made same arrangements and shared our thoughts.
We did the "carry off" disembarkation. At 07.15 there was massive queue, at 07.30 there was none. We were in car and out of Port before 08.00. Back home in Cardiff by 10.15.
We loved this cruise, will cruise again and with exception of bad experience at Spa recommend every aspect of our experience to others. Less