On the P&O website one of their fliers state "P & O Discover a Different World " after a 2 day "taster cruise " this statement is very acurate.
We are seasoned cruisers mostly sailing with Cunard ,Holland America,Celebrity and RCI having done 10+ cruises in 6 years we thought we would sample what P&O had to offer on this 2 day mini cruise to Bruges .
We travelled down from Cheshire to Southampton on the day before our cruise and stayed in Ennious Boutique Hotel near to Ocean dock we did,nt know at the time but this overnight stay was the highlight of this short break (this was a loverly small hotel with nice rooms good service and a excellant italian restaurant which has just been voted 7th best in the uk )
The cruise terminal was very busy and was not the normal cliental you expect to see on a cruise mostly "hen parties and stag nights" very loud and starting to get merry even before they had boarded this was the norm for our time on the Azura.. However the embarkment was very orgainsed and after roughly 1 hour we were in our cabin.
The cabin was very nice and we had a nice size balcony the room steward introduced himself and was very pleasent and cleaned the room to a very high standard . The layout of this ship is very confusing and this being so everywhere had the feel of everywhere being overcrowded leading to queues for most things on board. We assembled in the "breakers bar on deck " for the Sailaway at 4 as instructed where champagne was being sold at £6.75 for half a glass then after watching the hen parties and stagnights enjoying thereselves the Captain annouced routine maintinance had put back sailaway till later .(we actually left at 9 oclock this also added to the confusion .I.ll now give you a quick list of pros of this short cruise
Shindu (specialty dining ) very high standard although £25 suppliment in most ive ever paid
Drinks very reasonable with wine at good price
Tips on drinks
Main restaurant (food good standard ) but service a bit fast
cabin and cabin staff
Entertainment in the bars
Confusion ruled on the ship first nights program left in the stateroom said the clocks were going forward ! hour at 2 pm this didnt happen and ship stayed on uk time this was annouced late morning by the captain after people were turning up 1 hour early to get off and to dining areas .
There seemed to be a lack of staff no one cleaning stairways toilets had a smell of urine and were not up to normal standards
Was there a Cruise Director >??? most annoucements where made by the Captain
Unfriendly staff who looked demotivated
Ships officers who only looked happy when they were partying with the Hen nights in the Manhatton bar till the early hours
Disenbarkation was a joke given time to leave but it was a free for all passengers leaving when the felt like this again leading to large queues there was one officer trying to control this to no help from any other staff
STANDARDS I Saw things on this cruise ive never experenced before gangs of young ladies the worst for drink in fancy dress outfits carring blow up dolls having water fights with water pistols etc etc etc Most alarming was the dress code even on formal nights around the ship .i could go on and on but i,d be writing all day needless to say P&O NEVER AGAIN