Embarkation @ Southampton was brilliant. Cabin F235 ok for 2, very clean, you do need earplugs. We pre-booked speciality dining for 4 nights this was not necessary as we were given 8.30 dining we sat with 4 wonderful people. The food was fabulous much better than NCL which after 3 nights was still the same choice. The choice of menu was brilliant, so to the service. Basically no matter where you dine the food & service is fabulous. Entertainment bit like FAME. However, during sea days there was quite a lot to do, dancing lessons, cinema, board games, deck games. Some of the evening shows were in the disco area. On our ship we had around 200 children all well catered for with the Creche and special teas for them. Lots of small swimming pools, the ship was almost to capacity but as there were 200 little ones there was never a shortage of lounges. I did complain to the DJ Steve on the Tuesday evening by 10.30pm there were perhaps only 30 people in the bar he decided that he wanted an early night I think and basically gave up. When I asked him to liven up the music he said' what is the point, there are only few people in the bar', my answer "If the bar is open until 2.00pm then play the music until the last guest leaves' he was not happy. Basically Steve you need to smile a bit and give the impression that you like your job!
Ports La Coruna, just take a walk for a couple of hours. The ship docks 10 minutes from the Old Town. If you want to see the Lighthouse' then you need the tour bus.
Oporto. we had the guide, very interesting 3 hours non stop walking some of it up hill, near the end of the walk you will be shown the shop to purchase your Port. Tell the guide to carry on without you. The guide took us down the hill spoke to us briefly then said meet me back here in 40mins. so we had to walk all the way up the hill to buy the Port, then back again to meet the bus. When you buy the Port take it out of the box and check to see if you have a vintage date on the bottle to ensure value for money.
Cadiz had to miss out you can only do one of them. Seville, fabulous but over 2 hours drive to get there, then only 3 hours to sightsee. But well worth going.
Lisbon, great docking area 20 minutes to the Old Town and the Monastry but it is UP HILL we booked the tour to Estoril, a long way for 1 hour. We drove PAST the the Belem Tower then had 10 MINUTES at the Monument of Discoveries which was the only reason we booked this trip. When you dock you can pick up a taxi and drive perhaps 10 minutes to the M of Discoveries. My advice take the taxi.
We left Lisbon on time to sail to Guernsey, beautiful evening. All of the 'Sail Aways' except Southampton we left late so the Sail Away party was a flop!
Back to Lisbon, after we had been sailing for about 2 hours the Captain announced that a passenger was ill and that the ship was going to have to turn back to Lisbon. We sailed back waited for the ambulance boat and it was similar to a fishing boat, I would not have to be lifted off the ship and sailed back to the shore in a oversized dingy. Forget the helicopter, if you think you need 999 then do it before you embark! We waited nearly 2 hours for this to happen. Then we sailed. The captain then had to attempt to make up the time 6 hours in heavy seas.
At 8.00am all was going well so we thought. Then at around 11.00 am the Captain announced that Guernsey was off due to lack of time. Many people were annoyed especially as they were not allowed to spend in the duty free shops. Why did he not inform people earlier? He went on AND on about the fact that it was beyond his control. We gather from his tone that many people had complained to him. OK but did he have to announce that he was the Captain and that on his ship 'HE WAS GOD' come on Captain, I accept you have a very important job but with all respect you are NOT GOD!
Just to say sorry to disappoint everyone would have done. Buy the way nothing as yet from P & O. One lady had tried 3 previous cruises with P & O and all had failed to dock in Guernsey. When we looked into the figures it is almost impossible to sail from Lisbon to Guernsey get everyone off the ship into small boats and do the tours. One other passenger packed her bags when she heard and stayed in her cabin!
Yes Guernsey was a pain but to Azura's credit ie the entertainment team especially Ailene ( Wonderful talented lady ) gave us extra shows so we made the best of it.
Disembarkation a pain. We did leave on our allocated time 10.15am by the time we got to the baggage claim we were then in a long line for the taxis. Due to the poor design of the taxi rank only 2 taxis can take on passengers, it just needs a few line painted and it would allow at least 1 extra taxi. We then took 55 minutes to get to the main road. Nightmare road design. If you get 2 ships in then there is only a single road to get out of the port. We live 20 minutes from Southampton but it took us 2 hours to get off the ship and get home! Glad we were not taking a flight home!
Would we sail with P & O again, yes. Sailed with NCL 3 times the no flight is wonderful.
Thanks to Tamesh, Sylvia and Rose ( waiters ) and Ailene, good luck.
PS Booze is very cheap. Lots of people took a bottle each of whiskey etc in their baggage we also saw many people after their tours arrive back with bottles and they did not have to check them in until the end of the cruise. We bought the wine package 'Commodre' good value. You can take the wine to the bar areas BUT you have to tell the wine waiter in the restaurants to arrange this