We have just returned from our 3rd cruise and thought the following may be helpful to others. Travelled as a couple, no children (this time) We were disappointed in Azura and the service on board, however it will not stop us cruising with P&O again. Here goes..
Negatives: Balcony staterooms are smaller than on other ships (eg Arcadia), ship lacks WOW factor (particularly the atrium). Dining room waiters were often sullen and unhelpful (although there were exceptions. Frequently impossible to get a set in either Malabar and Manhatten bars when shows commence, simply no space available. Children's Club is wonderful (if you have children) but not so good if you want some peace and quiet on a sea day - we had sunbeds in the Terrace Pool area (adult only) but this is immediately adjacent to the Kids Club areas and we frequently had the children being paraded through by the Sea Rangers whilst singing loudly, cheering and woo-hooing - fantastic for them but not so for us. On a sea More
day there is virtually no room on deck (think sardines in a can!) and if you leave your sun-bed for a swim it is swiftly taken by someone else (despite leaving personal belongings on it). The Verona and Venezia buffet areas were dreadful, the worst we have ever encountered, poor selection, dreadful layout, cramped and dirty. We met numerous other passengers who were unhappy and the names used for this area ranged from "smash and grab" to "The Piggery". We opted to eat in the restaurants for breakfast (Peninsular and Oriental) and each day the guests using the instead increased. In addition unfortunately sonme of the passengers behaviour left a lot to be desired (drunk, rowdy, embarrasing) but this seemed to be overlooked by staff.
Positive: Cabin stewards are wonderful, rooms very nicely appointed and comfortable. Food was excellent (although not fine dining as promoted). Wonderful itinerary. Headliners Theatre Company fantastic with some great shows (although the other Entertainment crew were a bit Hi-di-Hi for us).
Overall : If you have cruised before and know how to escape to quieter areas you will be fine. If you are part of a family group you will have a great time too. This ship is certainly more suited to families looking for a party/good time rather than a couple looking for a relaxed holiday in an 'upmarket' environment. Based on this info we would not consider a family ship again and would stick to the 'Adult only' ships. Less