Azura Cruise Review by Norman Holden: Instant converts to Cruising
Instant converts to Cruising
Being unable to get out preferred holiday to Cuba, the agents tempted us with a cruise. At less than half what the Cuba holiday would cost, we thought what have we got to lose.
From check-in at Liverpool to embarkation in Barbados, everythinh went like clockwork. The whole of the Thomson plane was laid out for premier seating,i.e. 2+3+2 across with p[lenty of legroom;films,games and TV shows were available on the in-seat TV, and with complimentary food and bar, what was not to like?
No doubt familiar to regulars, leaving the plane and getting straight onto a bus, with cases being delivered to your cabin, took a lot of the hassle out of flying.
Our cabin was as expected, sub Travelodge, but with everything that you needed.
It was kept immaculate and tidy by our busy steward, Abdul.
We were allocated to the Peninsular Restaurant, first sitting. The quality of food and the silver service was excellent; 6 courses (if you could manage them all), with at More least 4 choices for each course. A good selection of wine was available from £10/11 to £16 a bottle.
With the quality of food available, we did not see the need to pay the small supplement for select dining, but did try the Indian (Sindhu) for lunch, which was well worth the small(£5) cover charge. The buffet style restaurants which are available 24/7, had good quality, but the ambience was not up to the club dining. The amount of food available, meant that we did not try the afternoon tea nor the midnight snacks.
The choice of entertainment was such that you could not fit in everything that you wanted to see, even when the shows/entertainers had 2 or 3 shows a night. The highlight for us was the Playhouse, whose production standards and ability was equal to any West End show. They did 9 different shows over the 2 weeks, with 3 shows a night. Day time activities ranged from Bridge to Bingo, historical talks to horse racing, and Art and Dance classes.
Being first time cruisers, we booked our Island tours with P&O. We may have been able to do it cheaper ourselves, but we were happy with the quality provided. Our favourite island was St. Maartens, particularly the French side.
We were pleasantly surprised at the prices of drinks in the bars and restaurants, and even with room service we could buy a litre of Baileys for £12. We could even bring drinks on-board, which I believe is almost unique to P&O.
Negatives:- Too many toilets were out of order, which created queues, particularly of an evening when everybody was about. It was too cold to sit for 2 hours at the out door cinema on the top deck.
Since we came back, we have been haunting our travel agent, to book another cruise! Less
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Cabin review: LCP217 Outside Stateroom
P217 was on P deck (deck 5), one up from the embarkation deck(4).It is the last but one cabin on the starboard side. Did not hear any noise either from the ship or from other cabins. Being low down, if there is any rough weather, will tend to move less. The corridor leads to the main forward lifts and stairs. If you stay on P deck. you will walk through the Art Gallery, and arrive at the Atrium, which extends from deck 5 to deck 7. Decks 5,6 and 7 have all the main entertainment and select dining venues, so this cabin is very handy to reach everything without getting lost!
Port and Shore Excursions
Arriving back at Southampton, disembarkation was well organised, and the coach back to Liverpool straight forward.
The afternoon tour took us over to the French side, where we had a lovely meal (Rosemarys), and then spent a couple of hours on a lovely beach.
Hope you don't get our driver. As we went through each town/settlement, he would give us chapter and verse on every business that we went past.