Having read reviews about this particular cruise I am amazed at people's comments.
The outward flight from Birmingham on 10th Dec was delayed over 2 hours but nonetheless there was no drastic delay. On the return journey, yes we did receive notification the day before that there would be a 10 hour delay but P&O did their best and at least we were allowed a cabin (if not our original one) until 6.30 p.m. Whilst in the cabin on that Friday we received further written notification that the flight was delayed a further 2 hours but we could keep our cabin until 9.00 p.m. We left the ship at 1.00 a.m. (not 11.00 as someone quoted) and were given bottles of water. Unfortunately on arrival at Barbados airport there was nothing open but this was neither the fault of P&O or Thomson Airways. People should be aware that once through departure lounges personnel of P&O and Thomson would not be allowed as they would have no boarding cards etc.
In effect, we gained an extra day in Barbados. This was better than being taken to the airport and left there for some 12 hours. We were free to eat in any dining room, attend shows, or whatever.
At busy times in the self-service restuarants cups/glasses had all been utilised but just by asking one of the assistant waiters they would fetch some for you. However, many people did not say "please" or "thank you". The staff we came across were always very obliging.
People moaned about the weather in the USA - weather is an act of nature and no-one can be responsible for this. In this day and age 90% of people seem to have access to internet; if they had looked at this they would have known that in December the weather is not always very good in Florida.
I agree that drinks should not be allowed in the Playhouse. Often single seats were available but in the middle of rows. Perhaps a member of staff could be in attendance at the theatre and ask people to move up. We experienced the problem of not getting in for the 1st show we went to but on following evenings arrived earlier or went to the show at a different time.
One night a group of ladies were singing (one from the Supremes I believe) and whilst the cruise director was calling them back on stage people were already going out - so rude!!
The Headliners put on brilliant shows. Its very difficult on a ship with 3,500 passengers to suit everyone. Some of the shows were not to our taste e.g. we're not keen on Frank Sinatra tributers but, on the other hand, lots of people think he is great. Its a matter of personal choice but on the whole P&O did a grand job on the entertainment side.
We were Freedom dining and had no problem whatsoever in getting a table for 4 provided we went before 7.30 p.m. I cannot speak for later in the evening as the only time we ate late was on New Year's Eve and if we went to the Verona buffet. We were fortunate on many evenings to have Shiji and Derick who were from Bombay and Goa; they were excellent and always made a point of coming and speaking to us when in the self-service at breakfast/lunch if they spotted us.
Xmas decorations were very tasteful and the efforts put on for Christmas dinner and New Year were excellent. As we were Freedom Dining we had the choice on those two evenings of eating in the Sindhu if we wanted and we took this option on Xmas day as a change from our usual venue.
All in all we really enjoyed this cruise and would certainly cruise on Azura again. Many people were comparing it with other ships etc. but we always take it cruise by cruise. This was our 16th cruise beginning with our 1st on an Airtours ship. Some ships may be well worn but we have found that the waiters/cabin stewards etc. on all the ships have been very dedicated and helpful. All have been enjoyable cruises in their own way.