We have cruised only once before and planned a second 2 week cruise later this year with the same company - Celebrity. We also wanted a short family holiday with our teenage sons and thought that a mini cruise would be ideal and found this P&O 4 night trip which seemed to fit the bill. Calling at Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre it seemed to hold sufficient interest for all of us without time for the younger members of our group to get bored.
Azura is a new ship going into service just a year ago. It is comfortable and the sort of facilities that one might expect. The inside stateroom was small but perfectly adequate and very comfortable. The steward was willing and helpful if a little unsure of himself.
The bars were good and prices amazingly cheap compared with Celebrity. We enjoyed the ports of call and took one pre-arranged trip which was good if pricey. Shuttle service at the other ports were just fine and the disembarkation/embarkation arrangements slick and quite painless.
Unfortunately aspects of the cruise were far less enjoyable; the food and the standards of service. We had chose 'freedom dining' and our main meals were taken at the Meridian Restaurant. The food was served in quite small portions and of a very poor standard. On one occasion I sent back the sea bream because it was overcooked and tough (the flesh had actually turned brown). If anything the replacement was worse. On the other hand the food in the buffet was good with a varied choice and well presented and nicely cooked.
With some exceptions the staff seemed disinterested, unhappy and on a couple of occasions rude. I felt that morale was very low and this certainly left a negative impression on all of us.
Disappointed I guess is the best description. This experience has I'm afraid put us off travelling with P&O in the future.