Entertainment varies depending on the cruise. There is a large choice of daytime activities and evening shows on most cruises, but our two-day mini-cruise offered only a limited range consisting mostly of quizzes and films. Longer cruises would have dance classes and enrichment classes such as digital photography and crafts, with talks about the ports of call.
There are 12 bars, including the Glass House, but the other main hang-outs are Brodies, a cross between a sports bar and traditional pub but with a small casino attached; Planet Bar, a very smart nightclub-style affair; Malabar, which has live bands, and Manhattan, where you'll catch the tribute bands and dancing until "Late". Brodies had Premiership Football matches on its three or four screens during the day, with a pub quiz, house band and Karaoke at night -- and some surprisingly good singing from the passengers. It's a good-fun, down-to-earth bar and a million miles away from the cool Planet Bar, which not only has a dress code but transports you around the world with a wall of changing photographs taking you from one continent to another, which can be a bit disorientating after a few drinks.
Drinks on Azura are extremely well priced, with wines selected by expert Olly Smith. You can buy a bottle of Pinot Grigio or Shiraz for £12.95, or various beers for £3. Daily promotional drinks included a Caribbean Cruise cocktail for £3.95 and mocktail for £1.94.
The quieter Blue Bar has a pianist in the evening but if you want lively entertainment then the Art Deco-inspired Manhattan is the place to go -- the Freddie Mercury tribute singer created the perfect party atmosphere -- although Malabar, with its spicy Eastern decor, is fun too. The School Disco Party Night from 9:45 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. ticked a lot of people's boxes.
Then there's The Playhouse with two shows a night (8:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.). We were taken back to the 1970s with Blame It On The Boogie, a lively celebration of disco, motown and teenybop bands but sadly no discernable plot. That didn't stop most people from enjoying it, though.
Those who stayed onboard during our one day in port could enjoy organised get-togethers for solo travellers plus deck quoits, shuffleboard and table tennis. Reasonably new films were played in the afternoon in the Manhattan bar and there was a Social Whist Drive and afternoon quizzes for those who had returned from Bruges or an organised excursion to Brussels, Ghent or the surrounding villages. Longer cruises would include deck parties around the pool, particularly in the summer, when sports equipment such as the Golf Nets and Sports Court would come into their own.