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79 P&O Cruises Azura Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

This was our first experience of P&O having previously cruised with Disney (4 cruises), Cunard (2 cruises) and Royal Caribbean (1 cruise) so I am likely to use these as a comparison. The cruise was a 2 night taster cruise to Zeebrugge ... Read More
This was our first experience of P&O having previously cruised with Disney (4 cruises), Cunard (2 cruises) and Royal Caribbean (1 cruise) so I am likely to use these as a comparison. The cruise was a 2 night taster cruise to Zeebrugge and we had a booked a suite. Embarkation - Parking with CPS was fine and our baggage was taken from us outside the terminal. As we had priority boarding we were guided to the check in line which was surprisingly long considering it was only 11:30. This took almost 30 minutes so not very impressive for priority (we had friends travelling and regular check-in took less time than that, which they found amusing!). Most of the check-in desks were already manned but they were idle which seemed odd when they could have cleared the line quickly. We went straight from check in the queue to board to were on the ship around 12:10pm. After being directed to the buffet on deck 15 we had a discussion with the P&O crew member and were directed to Sindhu as the priority lounge. At around 1pm I asked what time our cabin might be ready and as they answered 2pm I decided to go and make my wife's spa reservations and speciality dining bookings. Even at 1pm she was unable to get the spa appointments that she wanted but we did get the restaurants booked. If I waited for our butler I doubt we would have managed to get any bookings later in the day. We met up with our friends at around 1.30pm as we still hadn't seen the butler or been told that they cabin was ready. We had some wine flights in the Glass House and went to find our suite around 2.30pm. Suite/Cabin - We have previously stayed in a Queens Grill suite on the QM2 and although very similar we preferred this one on Azura. The only disappointments were lots of little things that I would have expected from staying in a suite. Sorry if they seem a bit petty but as we have 3 children we can only get away on short trips alone now and again, so pay the extra to have the extra benefits. With other lines the champagne would have been waiting on ice in the cabin, ours was in the fridge and we never got any ice until I asked later in the evening. All other lines we have been on have had the ice kept topped up right through (maybe this is a P&O thing). When we eventually met our butler he was reluctant to bring extra canapes that evening as we were having friends over for drinks. Then later again (when he delivered a fruit bowl) he tried to talk us out of having tea/coffee/danish the next morning as he said that we had breakfast in Seventeen so wouldn't need it. Maybe we are odd wanting tea and coffee in our cabin before going up before breakfast. We only saw the butler the next morning when he brought tea and that was it. He never asked if we needed anything booked etc. Although the suite was nice we were maybe left with a feeling that we didn't really get any benefit from the extras that supposedly accompanied it. I am sure on a longer voyage that the service may have been better but as this was a taster you could argue that they should be trying harder to impress to try to solicit future business. Food - On the first evening we ate at Sindhu and the food/service was excellent. My only comment was that I asked for 2 desserts from the menu as I couldn't decide. This for me has always been a highlight of cruising with other lines that you could sample other dishes and it has never been a problem. It was an awkward moment when the waiter went into shock and wasn't sure he could do that. He did then agree but I did feel that I might have committed a terrible faux pas. Again this might be a P&O thing. The 2 desserts were excellent BTW! The next morning we ate at Seventeen and knowing that we would be eating dinner there later in the day were a little worried about the service and attitude we encountered. The service was slow and we didn't get offered tea/coffee until around 15/20 mins into breakfast by which time we were on fruit and toast (before cooked items arrived). After that we had a top about every 60 seconds! For lunch we decided to try the Glass House and thought the small plates were very good. At the time that we went it was very quiet and was a very enjoyable place to sit and relax. As I mentioned earlier we had booked Seventeen for dinner and need not have worried that the breakfast service would carry over to dinner. We had pre-dinner drinks at the Planet bar and wandered down around 8.30pm. Although the food and service was very good I would say I preferred the food at Sindhu a little better. We had another awkward moment upon leaving the restaurant when my wife took her half full glass of red wine with her as we had decided to go back to the Planet bar. We got to just outside the restaurant and the waitress ran after us and said she couldn't take the wine with her! This was a little embarrassing, then we were half way up the stairs and she ran back and gave it back to her. Very odd as on other lines it is fine to wander from bar to bar with drinks or back to your cabin. Again this may be a P&O thing. Entertainment - we did visit most of the venues for a drink and see what it had to offer but didn't really sample any of the set entertainment. As it was a 2 night cruise is was a bit of a party feel and I guess the entertainment was there to match. Overall we had a great time due to the good food and the company of friends but you may think from some of my comments that we didn't. It may that some of the issues are not P&O policy as such but maybe down to staff inexperience. On balance I think we would travel with P&O again but maybe not in a suite on a shorter cruise as the benefits were almost non existent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was a four night cruise, Southampton to Southampton, calling at Guernsey and Bruges. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the ship was fantastic as was the entertainment team, the dining and cabin staff. There was a friendly, fun ... Read More
This was a four night cruise, Southampton to Southampton, calling at Guernsey and Bruges. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the ship was fantastic as was the entertainment team, the dining and cabin staff. There was a friendly, fun atmosphere throughout the ship. The food was good in both the restaurant and the buffet with more than enough choices. The entertainment was good with two full theatre productions. The sail away parties were the best at sea! The highlight of the cruise was Russell Watson's performance. Tickets were allocated and delivered to our cabins to ensure every passenger had a chance to see him. As soon as he walked on stage the atmosphere was electric, his personality, friendliness and true professionalism just shone through. Guernsey. We walked from the ship to a bus stop (about 10 minutes) and caught the local bus which took us a one and a half hour trip around the island. The driver gave a commentary. It cost £2. Well worth it. Local buses also ran to the War museum, War hospital etc. there really is no need to do an organised ships tour. Bruges. We took the free shuttle from the ship to the railway station, caught the train into the centre of Bruges. It cost us about £5 for a return ticket. It was comfortable, easy and quick and trains were every half an hour.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I will try to keep this review short and to the point. We booked this cruise on the Azura with P&O direct, no problems there but had to wait till 2 weeks before the cruise to be given our cabin number as we had booked a G class cabin. ... Read More
I will try to keep this review short and to the point. We booked this cruise on the Azura with P&O direct, no problems there but had to wait till 2 weeks before the cruise to be given our cabin number as we had booked a G class cabin. Compared with previous G class bookings with other cruise lines this was a bit frustrating but I suppose it added a bit of mystery. The embarkation process at Southampton went really smoothly and we were on board within 30 minutes of being dropped off at the front of the terminal. The cabin was ready as promised at 2pm. It was very clean and compact and the balcony was a very good size. We were wary about reviews that the clothes hanging space was right out side the bathroom and did not have a door but we found this to actually be more convenient. The lay out of the ship left a lot to be desired and like ourselves a lot of passengers were still having problems finding their way around even on the last day. Not being able to walk all around the ship on any one deck seemed very unusual and led to many conversations with other passengers as to the best route. The entertainment was first class but sadly the venues were not large enough and led to standing room only 10 minutes before the start of nearly every performance. Late sitting for dinner was a mistake as every meal had to be timed to get to the venue early. The buffet restaurants when they were open were like cattle markets with every one being herded through a narrow gateway to stand in line for what turned out to be a very limited choice although most of the food was not too bad. The staff there were the biggest let down as although they were not rude they did not speak unless they really had to and the officers made us feel like we were a much lower class and totally ignored everybody. Definitely the worst passenger/crew relationship we have ever come across in fact you just would not expect it anywhere. The main restaurant was a little better but not as good as expected, the food was average (better in the buffet) and the service was polite but no more. Please do not expect P&O to be better than their main competition as is in our opinion they fall way down the list. We may try P&O again but not on the Azura and not if another cruise line is going to the same destinations at the same times. However we did enjoy our holiday to Norway with its stunning views and we met a lot of really nice fellow passengers more so than on other cruise lines we have been on and and the evening dress code with P&O was respected more. We would rate this cruise about 5 out 10 but only kept that high by the Itinerary and the Entertainment. Kentwood Cruisers   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
First time with P&O, recommended by Travel Agent for this short break. We imagined Azura was a flagship, although we did foresee her not being on par with,say, Celebrity.Still, surprised at how bad things were with this ship. The ... Read More
First time with P&O, recommended by Travel Agent for this short break. We imagined Azura was a flagship, although we did foresee her not being on par with,say, Celebrity.Still, surprised at how bad things were with this ship. The cabin was small, okay but no style and noisy from the deck above(Lido). The cabin steward was lovely and helpful. The lay-out of the ship is confusing, particularly if going from bow to stern or even mid to stern, where quite a few amenities are placed. The decks are too crowded with sunbeds and the promenade deck is short sides, not around. No running track. The self-service food halls were pretty abysmal, smelly, crowded and also confusing with two separate restaurants(why?)with weird opening times.The service and the food there was on par with the general impression.The restaurant dining was better but not great, only the "gala night" rose to something approaching acceptable. We dined at Sindhu once,full marks. A bright part of our experience on Azura were the surprisingly affordable prices of drinks and wine.--Also a point: why sail to St Peter Port on a Sunday - 95% of the shops were closed. Now the awful fact is we have booked to sail with Azura next year, too expensive to cancel.Perhaps some clink of light will appear. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
A friend and I took a short cruise on the Azura to Bruges, Guernsey and Sark. Embarkation seemed to take an age, one felt rather like cattle being herded and it's difficult for some to have to stand in line for what seemed an age in ... Read More
A friend and I took a short cruise on the Azura to Bruges, Guernsey and Sark. Embarkation seemed to take an age, one felt rather like cattle being herded and it's difficult for some to have to stand in line for what seemed an age in a very stuffy 'hangar'. We booked a twin cabin with balcony, which was fine, and thankfully quiet, and we had a super sunny balcony on Saturday when the sun shone. However night 1 I couldn't open the balcony doors and when I asked our cabin boy the following day about this, he took hold of my shoulder and said push like this to open it = correct, but I was tempted to tell him to 'unhand' me. I travel a great deal to India and have never before had anyone there take hold of me, without permission. Getting into Bruges was a bit tricky ie bus, train, taxi, but the train (3 tiers) was interesting and actually we found we had more time than we thought in Bruges as we got a taxi back to the ship, tho @ a cost of 50euros! A pity the ship couldn't arrange transport directly there and back @ less cost. However, our trip to Sark was good value and luckily both the weather, and sea, were favourable, and I think this excursion was very good value, and I'm glad we didn't opt for just Guernsey only to find out, at the last moment, that in fact the shops would be closed, it being a Sunday! Also, our tickets were not delivered to our cabin, but we were able to get duplicates. The meals in the Peninsular restaurant were I thought good, nothing like the ones on the month long cruise, but one has to bear in mind the good value of this short break. Some of the crew however were a little forward rather than friendly ie when I asked for hot toast for breakfast I was informed - hot like you Madam! Hmmm. And toasters in the dining room would be very useful, or at least covered toast, as is done for breakfasts taken in the cabins, ie would then be warm at least! One always gets the feeling of being rushed, but are aware of how much the crew have to do in a day, they do work very hard indeed. This was a 'transition' break and very good value though I heard some moans about things not being as good as on a 'normal' cruise, or as good as the Royal Caribbean line, but I believe one can't have it all @ such a low price and I loved this break! If ever you want a stowaway, let me know! I spent a month on the Ventura over Christmas and New Year in 2010 cruising around the Caribbean and preferred that ship ie the Tapas bar in particular, and the crew, though our table captain was, as on that cruise, excellent. I think the Captain could have a discreet word with the crew and try to explain the difference between friendly and forward, as I found the crew on the Ventura wholly respectful at all times, though daresay there were one or more women who egged the unsuspecting young crew on rather too much on the Azura! I also had need to visit the ship's doctor and he was great. Also, I must say I wss glad to find the passengers far more decorous than those on the Christmas cruise, many of whom were the worse for wear most of the time, and very loud with it. This was far more restful. Disembarkation was swift, thankfully, and well-executed. Oh! And my friend enjoyed Charlotte and Jonathan very much though felt seats should have been reserved for 1st timers as we knew some had come for the 2nd and even 3rd show, perhaps their cards could have been swiped to prevent this happening again? All in all, very enjoyable thank you! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Azura Mini Cruise to Zeebrugge and Guernsey.Embarkation was slick and painless apart from the overzealous security,why an 80+ years old lady should have anything threatening in her flat shoes is beyond me.The ship was very clean and ... Read More
Azura Mini Cruise to Zeebrugge and Guernsey.Embarkation was slick and painless apart from the overzealous security,why an 80+ years old lady should have anything threatening in her flat shoes is beyond me.The ship was very clean and despite what a previous reviewer has stated our cabin was immaculately clean and very well equipped. Freedom Dining in the Meridian was very enjoyable with good quality food well presented and hot,the staff though very busy were attentive and professional. The "Seventeen" fine dining restaurant was worth every penny of the £58 surcharge and was an experience to treasure.Sindhu was a little disappointing in that the food though good was served by a bored,tired Waitress and was not worth the £40 surcharge. 72 for 2 people to take the coach to Brugge was bordering on usury,so we took the free shuttle bus to Blankenberg station and for the princely sum of 11Euros 80 return for 2 tickets we enjoyed the 15 minute journey to Brugge and a had a very nice time exploring this very pretty but very busy town. Guernsey was a bit of a disappointment as we arrived on a Sunday and it was shut! Entertainment on board was varied and ranged from awful to brilliant with Charlotte and Jonathan being brilliant. All in all a nice relaxing break on a well run very hard worked ship at a great price and we wholeheartedly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Another quick 2 nighter cruise from Southampton to Guernsey. Departed on time. Check in opened at 11am and we were quickly processed and on ship by 11:45am. We went to look at our room and it was ready for us!! The Steward was there ... Read More
Another quick 2 nighter cruise from Southampton to Guernsey. Departed on time. Check in opened at 11am and we were quickly processed and on ship by 11:45am. We went to look at our room and it was ready for us!! The Steward was there and said we go in - Fantastic... The ship is big and you can get easily lost on going up and down the stairs to find the bar you actually wanted to get too. The public areas were clean and well staffed. We opted for a balcony room on the Riveria Deck (Deck 14). The room was large enough for 2 with a comfy bed and loads of hanging space. What I felt disappointed with was that we went on the Ventura a few months ago and the Azura is the same? Albeit newer but layout the same. It didn't feel that we were on a different ship.... The Tender to Guernsey was ok and well organised. All in all a good cruise on a good ship. Staff could do with some charm school teachings though. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We are regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We thought it was time to try P & O. We booked a mini cruise to Guernsey. We were so excited about travelling on a different ship. Check in process was smooth after a hour ... Read More
We are regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We thought it was time to try P & O. We booked a mini cruise to Guernsey. We were so excited about travelling on a different ship. Check in process was smooth after a hour wait. As soon as we were on board we decided to look for the self serve cafe for lunch. So Surprised how dark and enclosed it felt. No staff offering us anti bacterial gel at the enterance to the food area. As we were early we had no problem finding a table. Not able to serve our selves tea/coffee, hubby had to wait in a queue. Felt like we were back at the school cafe! The food was not great. Not much variety compared to the other cruises we have been on. We then explored the ship. We were astonished to see glasses left from the night before all over the top deck area. Cigarette ends were blowing around on the floor! Not the best start. Checked out the pool areas. One pool was filthy and had a large area of dirt at the bottom of it. Off to our cabin, perhaps it would be better. OMG it was disgusting. Thick dust all around the cabin. Stains on the bed linen. We decided to report this at the reception area, we were advised that a cleaner would be back to sort it out. Guess what they never arrived!. Evening Meal. We were shown to our table and meet our fellow passengers. Our waiter did not introduce himself!. The food was served quickly and the quality was better than the lunch time episode. Again no sight of any anti bacterial gel. We found this odd as the Captain did express to all passengers how they regard hygiene as so important. He even recommended that we do not use the public toilets. On other cruises that we have been on there is always staff cleaning bannisters, glass and door handles. We never saw anyone cleaning the public areas. We were not able to get off in Guernsey as the weather was not great for tender. Not much to entertain us on this sea day!. Spent £1.99 on a film that was years old! To sum it up ~ would never ever go on a P & O Ship again. Dirty, unfriendly and lacks the wow factor. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We returned from our mini cruise on the Azura a few days ago. It was our first cruise with P&O, having sailed with Royal Caribbean, NCL and Princess previously, we couldn't help but compare. Embarkation -- We arrived at the ... Read More
We returned from our mini cruise on the Azura a few days ago. It was our first cruise with P&O, having sailed with Royal Caribbean, NCL and Princess previously, we couldn't help but compare. Embarkation -- We arrived at the Ocean Terminal just before noon, picked up our letter card and waited about an hour before we were called to check in. Actual check in took about 5 minutes and back in the queue we went for the scanners. Food -- Knowing the cabins would not be ready so early we headed to the buffet restaurant. Having been on the Crown Princess before we knew the layout of the ship well and the buffet looks exactly the same with the same decor. However, what was different was that each section of the buffet serving area was split in half with the food repeat on either side. This made the already limited selection even smaller. The actual food was fine, very nice lamb curry. But the service in the buffet has to be the worst I have experienced so far. As soon as we sat down we were asked what we would like to drink. I asked for a glass of water and was told to get it myself because they only take paid orders! This has never happened before on other ships! And the speed at which they whisk the trays and plates away before you have even finished is just too efficient! Similarly the service in the Peninsular dining room was the worst we have encountered. The waiters never introduced themselves or the menus, not even on the first evening. Instead they hand you the menu and hover behind you until you place your order, you don't have time to read the menu properly as you feel pressured to order quickly. The quality of the food was also not great. Much of it was overcooked and not presented well. On the last evening we were presented with "all the menus", this did not include the menu for that evening. We were told we couldn't have it because they had to use them for 2nd sitting guests. Such environmentally friendliness should be applauded, I guess... On the pool deck we tried the pizza and that was fine. But the ice cream section remained closed every time we passed it. Room -- We had an aft balcony on E deck and it is a fine cabin. Although it is directly above the Manhattan lounge, there was never any noise. We had a very big balcony, about twice normal size. We had expected an obstructed view as we had read about there being a pillar in the aft balconies, but there was none. Our cabin steward was ok, kept our room clean and tidy. On debarkation morning we went up to the buffet to have breakfast and on returning to our cabin found that the bed had already been made. Again, a bit too efficient! We had to be careful not to mess up the bed while we packed the remainder of our belongings! Enetertainment -- This has to be the first cruise where I have no idea who the cruise director was. We saw him briefly at the beginning of a show one evening and that was it. The shows are not up to standard with other cruise lines. There are too many tribute acts and the comedian on the last night was absolutely awful. Making fun of the Indian staff onboard was particularly bad. Ports of call -- We visited Zeebrugge and St Peter Port and we did both ports on our own. Return train fare to Brugge for Eur3.80 and £1 round island bus fare on Guernsey were both incredible value for money! Debarkation -- Since our bed was already made, it sure helped to get us out of our cabin quickly! We were off the ship before 8. Having our key cards taken away at the end of a cruise was also a first. Summary -- This was a 3 night mini cruise, so maybe it is not a good representation of a normal length cruise on a P&O ship. However, we have experienced better on all the 8 ships we have cruised on so far and therefore it is most unlikely we would book another cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Following an easy approach to the port and seamless courtesy parking we had a superbly organised embarkation. Once on board all public restaurants and public areas were operational until staterooms were ready (within the hour. Having ... Read More
Following an easy approach to the port and seamless courtesy parking we had a superbly organised embarkation. Once on board all public restaurants and public areas were operational until staterooms were ready (within the hour. Having treated ourselves to an upgrade to luxury balcony cabin to celebrate my wifes birthday we were disappointed to find that we had to ask for the promised :- Flowers (a fish bowl of 2 orchids was supplied the following day) Bathrobes (told that they would be delivered either that evening or the day after - it was the second afternoon after repeated requests that they were delivered! Bowl of fruit - 1 apple, 1 banana, 1 orange and 3 grapes were left in the room on the second day. We also had to ask for housekeeping to look over the room again due to lots of dust and pencil marks on and around the tea and coffee making area. Such omissions and having to make a number of repeated requests certainly takes some gloss off the 'extras' that are paid for and which should be in place on arrival. Food on board was available at a number of outlets and we found, in contrast to sister ship Ventura last year, that the food in the buffet restaurants to be very greasy at all meals. The freedom dining option in Meridian was fully booked and tables had to be waited for (up to 45minutes at a time) on a number of occasions. The food and service here was of a high standard apart from the poor selection of sweets offered along with an extremely limited cheeseboard. Evening entertainment was variable in quality with excellent tributes (Elton John and Annie Lennox) and live acts (Clem Curtis from the Foundations).The main theatre comedian was rather poor with a very dated act in comparison to another comedian in Manhattan showbar who was topical and an excellent ad libber. The in house troupe were enthusiastic but lacked some sparkle, particularly the male vocalists. Day time entertainment, whilst available, was very low key often dominated by quizzes which, in turn, were dominated by larger groups of almost 'professional' quizzers giving the occasional attenders little or no chance of winning. The ports of call (Stavanger, Flam, Geiranger and Bergen) were excellent and certainly helped by the weather. P&O offered trips at inflated prices and the proximity of many trip services in Port made this even more exasperating for some who had booked on board The return journey was slowed by an issue to one of the propulsion engines giving a 3 hour delay in docking in Southampton. Whilst the fault could not have been foreseen the lack of organisation at disembarkation surely should have been - it was a shambles! The early self help disembarkation was, it appeared, to be massively oversubscribed. The overcrowding of passengers with luggage wishing to get off early was disorganised and ill conceived with little communication from staff in the various lounges (many 'trapped' in the theatre with several suitcases). When the doors finally opened the ensuing scramble of many fractious passengers ensured that politeness went overboard and a number of quite threatening exchanges took place as those who had waited patiently in hot, cramped conditions were kept at bay whilst many opportunist latecomers jumped the queues add to frustrations - all this in complete contrast to the superb organisation of embarkation, please learn some lessons from this as there were 2 days to prepare. However, believe it or not, we did have an enjoyable cruise and find P&O remain good value for money with on board charges being in sterling and without the unfounded addition of a 15% service charge on every purchase Again on disembarkation the CPS parking service were exemplary offering a quick exit from the dock area. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We recently returned from a 7 day cruise on P&O Azura to La Corunna, Bilbao, La Rochelle and Guernsey. For all of our party of 6 (3 generations of a family) it was the first cruise and we were all absolutely thrilled with it. We older ... Read More
We recently returned from a 7 day cruise on P&O Azura to La Corunna, Bilbao, La Rochelle and Guernsey. For all of our party of 6 (3 generations of a family) it was the first cruise and we were all absolutely thrilled with it. We older ones had been very sceptical about cruises, thinking they'd be like floating coach tours. These fears were quickly dispelled and we can't wait to go on another cruise next year. Maybe we were spoilt because we had 3 suites, but we're sure we would still have enjoyed it with a balcony cabin -- sorry, we couldn't settle for anything less. We had a butler who covered 9 cabins and he was marvellous, especially with our 2 year-old grandson who loved the room service. One night he brought us all the full 5 course dinner menu from the restaurant. Another perk with the suite was being able to have breakfast in Seventeen, one of the feature restaurants. Service was superb. Evening meals in the Peninsular, one of the Club dining restaurants, were also great with a fabulous choice. Some our group tried Sindhu, the Indian restaurant, as well as Seventeen in the evening and were very impressed. An alternative option at no extra cost was Trattoria, an Italian restaurant which was OK but service was slow. The place to avoid was Venezia, the 24 hr buffet restaurant, where the food was bland and the piled up plates of some of the diners quite off-putting. We went ashore at each of the ports. We only once used an official tour -- to Santiago di Compostela from La Corunna. It was well worth a visit and the coach was probably the most convenient way of getting there, but the guide insisted on giving a running commentary all the way there and back. At Bilbao and La Rochelle we used the shuttle buses. We were rather concerned on the Bilbao bus. It was just like an airport bus and lots of us were standing for the 20 minute journey and they piled passengers on including a wheelchair that was put in the aisle. We complained to Azura reception about this but haven't had any feedback. The other downside of the shuttle buses was that everyone seemed to want to catch the bus back at lunchtime and we had to queue for up to 30 minutes in the midday sun. The ship anchored in the bay at Guernsey and the tenders used to ferry us ashore were a lot more efficient than the buses. We hired a car to tour the island and it worked out a lot cheaper than the P&O tours. On the "at sea" days we sunbathed for a few hours each day and were agreeably surprised by the availability of sunbeds in lots of different areas of the boat. We only saw one argument over leaving towels on the beds. One of our party used the Oasis gym and found the facilities equal to any he had used in London. The kids clubs were also very good. Yes, we shall definitely go on a cruise again and, quite probably, on the Azura. We've been on all kinds of exciting holidays in the past, notably Cape Town, Dubai, Las Vegas and New York and 5 star hotels in the UK, and whilst this may not have had spectacular destinations, it was amongst the top for sheer comfort and holiday experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Travel To Port of Embarkation & parking: Always traffic on M3 into Southampton but set off a bit earlier. Arrived at port about 12:00. CPS Parking are pricey but very professional and would use again. The ease of embarkation was ... Read More
Travel To Port of Embarkation & parking: Always traffic on M3 into Southampton but set off a bit earlier. Arrived at port about 12:00. CPS Parking are pricey but very professional and would use again. The ease of embarkation was superb and better than both Royal Caribbean (RC) and Celebrity. Everything was smooth and well organised by P&O. Ship Info: The first impressions of the ship are good. It still feels new with a large focus on relaxation rather than lots of activities. There are lots of private areas to curl up with a drink and/or a book. Ports: The Fjords are simply stunning. Bergen was ok but Andalnes and Olden will take your breath away. Recommend you go there before the larger ships are stopped from travelling there. P&O put on courtesy buses at some of the ports which was a bonus. However, we tended to stay on the ship apart from odd trips out at the ports. Activities: Azura has the usual facilities and activities including a nicely kitted gym and various quizzes and talks during the day. These are much more low-key than RC and Celebrity but this suited us and made for a relaxing holiday. Worth noting that the only heated pool is within a paid for area of the spa (The Retreat - cost of approx £12 per day on port days). Seascreen is a fantastic treat so dress up warm and head out in the evening to experience it - you have to experience watching a film under the setting sun cuddled up under a blanket with the sound of the sea in the background. Brilliant! Service: Service on the whole was excellent. The cabin steward (Simon) was excellent and although we hardly saw him, our room was immaculately maintained and every request tended to. The dining room staff (particularly the head waiter Kalpesh) are also friendly and very professional. These guys work so flaming hard to keep us happy! If you have a birthday then be sure to order a cake and enjoy the waiter's sing-song! One of the group did have a bad experience from a stylist in the spa but upon complaint to the spa manager a full refund was provided. Stateroom: Balcony stateroom was lovely and an essential for the Fjords. We were at the end of a corridor (at front) which meant less foot traffic past the door which was nice. Deck 11 was perfect as the balcony was covered and others below were more exposed to the elements. Shower is small but what do people expect? Dining: The food is excellent in the dining rooms but a bit more conservative than RC and Celebrity. I suspect this is to suit the British palette and suited our group's less adventurous tastebuds (including one vegetarian). Sindhu deserves a special mention as the meal and experience were well worth the extra cost per head. The buffet restaurants (Verona & Venezia) are huge but a little disappointing. The food was average with limited choice - as each area simply duplicated others. The poolside grill is lovely with pizza, burgers, chips all available and tasty (for no charge). The ship has a Costa Coffee which was lovely but coffees being chargeable. Entertainment: Entertainment (including shows) was ok but we didn't rate the main performers that highly (Headliners). Celebrity and RC both exceed P&O here by quite a way. Disembarkation. The Freddie Mercury tribute was good though. Summary: P&O Azura is absolutely up there with some other ships we've sailed on. The ship seems tailored for British passengers and a very relaxing experience. Staff and unobtrusive but helpful when needed. P&O are a cheaper alternative to RC and Celebrity and would absolutely recommend this trip! Be sure to book a balcony and be as high up as you can. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
June 9, 2012. Ports: La Corona (one star); Bilboa (three stars); La Rochelle (three stars); Cherbourg (two stars; bad weather forced the cancellation of a trip to St Peter Port, Cherbourg was a lack change of port. Southampton ... Read More
June 9, 2012. Ports: La Corona (one star); Bilboa (three stars); La Rochelle (three stars); Cherbourg (two stars; bad weather forced the cancellation of a trip to St Peter Port, Cherbourg was a lack change of port. Southampton arrival: Due to sail at 4.30 pm we eventually sailed during dinner at 8.10 pm, however, this did not affect our cruise. Check in was very busy, but very efficient. We arrived by car, we queued in car lines for 30 mins, but still managed to be in our cabin within the hour. The excitement of a first cruise, in our case, cannot be exaggerated and the delay in sailing only enhanced our first experience. We spent time in the cabin clicking cameras, watching the world, and cruise ships pass by . . . memorable times. Oh, before I ramble on. My own personal disappointment was the influence the weather had. The Bay of Biscay can, evidently, be a very inhospitable place, luckily for us it only reared a fraction of its ugly head, but it was enough to give my wife sickness problems twice. I do question the cruise itinerary, our next cruise (and yes there will be a next!). Will to guaranteed sun somewhere. Now to summarise: Entertainment was at times dazzling, Dusty Springfield and Freddie Mercury tributes were just remarkable, standing ovations. Comedians likewise. The show we witnessed, Swing, only verged on average and sadly was disappointing, the setting, in an 800-seater theatre, was stunning. Bars: Varied and reasonably priced. No complaints. Food: What can I say? More than we expected, staff were courteous and very efficient and the menus catered for, I believe, every person in the restaurants in which we ate. Conversation included this statement: 'It's like eating in a top London restaurant every night'. And yes, it is possible to eat 24 hours a day. Amenities: check out the P and O website. Three pools, jacuzzi, the list goes on. Service: Five star. Ship: Huge! The deck layout caused some confusion, especially with some of the 'mature' passengers. Nutshell to finish: Cruise itinerary questionable. All else fabulous. Oh, I forgot the room service, try it please . . . spoil yourselves. Time to close our book and begin saving. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We've had 3 cruises with Princess and thought it was time to try a change so opted for a week on Azura. Embarkation was excellent. We were checked in very efficiently and were on board very quickly. The cabins weren't ready for a ... Read More
We've had 3 cruises with Princess and thought it was time to try a change so opted for a week on Azura. Embarkation was excellent. We were checked in very efficiently and were on board very quickly. The cabins weren't ready for a couple of hours but that wasn't a problem we went and had lunch in the buffet and explored the ship. When we did get into the cabin we were pleasantly surprised. The cabin was bigger than the one we had had on Princess and more comfortable. The cabin steward introduced himself and we were soon unpacked and looking forward to the week ahead. Unfortunately the weather wasn't with us for most of the week but we were determined to make the best of things. We were a little disappointed with the daytime activities, the entertainment crew were conspicuous by their absence most of the time. Crew members would pass you and blank you which is not something we have been used to when travelling with Princess. The crew were generally at best unhelpful and sometimes downright rude. We opted for anytime dining and only had to wait for a table on one evening and that was only for 15 minutes which we thought was very good. The food was ok but it didn't have the wow factor and the menus a little repetative. There was a free shuttle service in ports where necessary. The ports we visited were La Coruna, Bilbao, La Rochelle and Cherbourg. We enjoyed the evening entertainment and the sailaways. Disembarkation was well organised apart from the baggage hall where it was a bit of a bun fight to find your cases. All in all we did enjoy the holiday and the ports visited and the actual ship is lovely it's just such a pity little things that could so easily be put right let P&O down. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
well here we are back today (4/4/13) from barbados on board a very friendly ship. we embarked on our first ever flight from gatwick where,after an accident to my wife on the escalator we were fast tracked through the airport and looked ... Read More
well here we are back today (4/4/13) from barbados on board a very friendly ship. we embarked on our first ever flight from gatwick where,after an accident to my wife on the escalator we were fast tracked through the airport and looked after very well by very concerned staff at both the airport and on the plane,the 8 3/4 hrs flight was very enjoyable and we were well fed and watered throughout. bit of a bumpy landing but apparently any landing you walk away from is a good one.at barbados we were asked to sit tight whilst everyone was off loaded then we were directed to a private mercedes who transferred us to the ship. we didn't ask for any favours but thank both p & o and thompson for their concern over my wifes dilemma.getting on board was very easy and quick and as we had been on the ventura we knew the ropes and where to go so went straight to our room.the room we had we selected ourselves about 12months ago and was R748 RIGHT ON THE AFT END ON THE CORNER.A LOVELY CABIN THAT ATTRACTED THE SUN MOST OF THE DAY.the cabin steward (cagi) was first class and looked after us very well.the room was kept clean at all times and he was very thorough.we had freedom dining and were treated to a culinary feast most evenings.we ate in the glass house on one night and had the best steak i had tasted for a long while.i will add here that the service in the meridian was very polite and and acceptable but the waiting on several occasions was unnessasarily long.during the day and for breakfast we used the buffet dining and found something to suit our tastes on all occasions.the bars were very enjoyable and we spent the most time in brodies .as i am akin to a bit of karaoke.again we had some fun in there and made some nice aquaintences.p & o have their prices right in the bars so a very well done to them for that. the entertainment was quite good with a choice of variety.the azura orchestra was great peters band .that played for the dancers was the best i had heard for a long time.a vent act went down well as did a micheal buble tribute in the theatre.jet set suffered from jet lag most of the time. the girl singer .a very nice young lady with a voice that doesnt match her personality.the entertainment team pulled out all the stops for the great british sailaway in st.kitts where we gave an american crowd a taste of britain at its best . they were on a rc boat and pulled out before we did so giving us a chance to wave em goodbye.the best sailaway ive ever been too. most interesting speaker was ricky bastin who gave a series of talks on the life of concorde. very interesting. overall.we traveled with friends who were first time cruisers and had a damn good time. if i reflect positively i did not enjoy so many sea days.and this was the reason we picked this cruise.i would rather fly out and fly back than sail transatlantic.i would certainly recommend the azura and will be back soon for probably the fiords Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
had high expectations of this ship, but sadly we were dissapointed in the main. for us one of the cruise experience highlights is the food/wine in the evening & we were badly let down by so-called award-winnig chefs who ... Read More
had high expectations of this ship, but sadly we were dissapointed in the main. for us one of the cruise experience highlights is the food/wine in the evening & we were badly let down by so-called award-winnig chefs who couldn't win much for the 3 star food with proper wine list only provided on last night! Token Veg with main course & potatoes in addition to potatoes done differently to add. 5 a day not easy on the azura! In the main dry British food with no sauces hardly (i can get this at home) expected special food but just run of the mill staples with some meat & a few fish options - bread potatoes & ice cream - (that'll fill em up!) so off we went i night to try the " Italian" restaurant alternative.Like the rest of ship staff were Indian so had heard good report of this secret option Ital;ian food by Indian staff? Well Brushetta was basically Cheese on toast I asked for Spaghetti Pescatore but waiter did not understand this so when I said with seaffod it worked - the ish was creamy & very little seafood & not nice so asked for alternative - Napolita just Tomato sauce mmm a child may be happy with this?? but we expected more! Entertainment mainly 2 comedians taking rise out of front row audience was quite funny as long as it wasn't you in the hot seat! Young dancers theme nights very good The free shuttle buses to the destination ports were good Cabin Steward exceptional from Goa thing is he left when we did for a better offer? from Royal Carribean, a wise man! Cabin Toilet faulty flushing experience awaiting P & O response on this & hope they cure the fault for future passengers soon. Overall a 3 star experience the food being particularly poor spoilt it for us compared with Princess food this was not great/ Sam old films showing & timing of films inside not right for inclement weather hardly anything to do quizzes were low on the ground. more Entertainment direction & forethought needed. Get tips from the Cruse director/staff on Independence they were funny themselves AND kept you occupied! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
P&O Azura A116 - 15th to 22nd July 2011 Introduction We booked this cruise following two very enjoyable trips with Princess to the Mediterranean (2009) and Baltics (2010) and thought it would be interesting to write up a review of ... Read More
P&O Azura A116 - 15th to 22nd July 2011 Introduction We booked this cruise following two very enjoyable trips with Princess to the Mediterranean (2009) and Baltics (2010) and thought it would be interesting to write up a review of our trip and include some comparisons between P&O/Princess and the ships themselves (Azura and Grand Princess) Embarkation We were asked to arrive at Ocean Terminal no sooner than 1pm for embarkation. Having not much else to do, and from previous experience, we drew up at the terminal just before 11, where our luggage was offloaded and taken away, swiftly followed by our car courtesy of CPS. On entering the departure hall, we were given our embarkation cards (E!!. Wonder what time A-D arrived!!!!), completed the health questionnaires and waited. Complimentary magazines seemed to help the hour pass before registration was opened at 12. After a quick credit card registration and photograph we passed security and headed down the gangway The Ship Upon arrival onboard, we were advised that our cabins would not be ready until. 2:30pm but that the buffet was open. This was our first encounter of a difference between P&O and Princess. On our previous cruises, we have always been able to head straight for the cabin even at this early time. A wander around the ship was made easy by the fact that Azura and Grand Princess are built from the same basic template. The decor was more Contemporary than the Grand and had a fresher feel to it but, to be fair, the comparisons I make are prior to the Grands refit. What was extremely disappointing was that our luggage was not delivered to the room until 16:30 which meant a mad rush for sailaway.? Over the week, several differences would become apparent both with the ship and on-board culture: There was no way to access the area above the bridge as this was through "crew only" doors You could not walk completely around Promenade deck as there was no way to get around the nose of the ship on that deck. From the deck plans you would have to go up one deck and out doors at end of corridor which we didn't try. You could walk around the front of the ship above the bridge area, starting on the starboard side but the port side was blocked by cabin balconies. The Manhattan venue located at the rear of Promenade was the ships nightclub (as opposed to the Planet Bar or, as was, Skywalkers on the Grand. this seemed a good decision as it was always busy until about 2am, leaving the Planet Bar as a quieter location for drinks Azura has two dining rooms for fixed dining and one for freedom dining whereas the Grand had two freedom and one fixed. I was slightly surprised at this as i thought freedom dining was gaining popularity Both top deck centre pools are open to the elements whereas the Grand has one covered Azura has 3 staggered layers of decking which can be used to view the seascreen (aka movies under the stars) Azura outer doors onto decks are largely automatic (helps on those blustery days) Cabins have tea/coffee making facilities In-cabin tv has the facility to view hour bill making reception (as its called on Azura) a much quieter place Azura only had one ping pong table whereas it could have done with four as this was a very popular activity amongst teens Tipping on Azura was set at £1.60 per person per day for restaurant staff through an automatic charge and a recommended £1.50 per day for cabin steward. At £3.10 per person per day, these charges compared very favorably to Princess who charge d $10.50 (£6.56) Shuttle buses from the ship to the town centre in each port were free. Princess charge approx $10 for each person return trip Drinks were very reasonably riced. The very agreeable house white wine was priced at £11.95, Princess cheapest were near $20 (£14). Two beers was £6.40, again not too bad. All prices were what you paid, i.e. No 15% gratuity visible on top (not to say its not built in somewhere) Strangely, P&O seem to miss a trick in the main theatre by not offering drinks, whereas Princess had waiters in the theatre who were very attentive. On port days there is no water or soft drinks to take ashore, albeit this may change from cruise to cruise. Shop prices excluded VAT so you had to remember to add 20% to all prices The popcorn on Azura for Seascreen was not free There is no unlimited kids drinks card with P&O. coke was £1.50 or £1.75 a glass but you could buy a 20 drink package for £30 which was a bit pricey considering the base cost of these mixers. However, to sweeten the deal a little you could add a 20 ice cream card for £10. Both cards were identical and any many staff would not have noticed an ice cream card passed for a drink. Ethics aside, useful for those trips which turn out to be less sunny than expected. Ice-cream is of the soft whippy type served in a nice thick chocolate tipped cone. This type of Ice-cream was free in Princess Breakfast - largely a full fried breakfast and could really have done with more fruit/smoked salmon a la Princess. Compared to the waffle station on Princess, the Azura failed badly with no cream, almonds or fruit. Dinner - food was very good but portions of the main part (beef etc) were quite small and fleshed out by veggies. At one sitting the waiter offered another portion as "the chef was not giving big portions". Good for the water to do it but shouldn't be necessary. However, on the flip side I hate wasted food so tough to call. Besides Formal and Smart Casual, P&O have a semi-formal dress code some nights. I found this a real pain as I didn't mind bringing formal and casual but just didn't like to have to bring a jacket for one night. Personally, I don't see the need for this and think that P&O should get rid of semi-formal Buffer venues - three serving stations as opposed to the Grands two which alleviated the queues although not the dash for tables!!!! the ship was 90% UK passengers with slightly less observing formal evenings than I saw on Princess Photo prices were high i felt - £15.95 for portraits and £6.95 for casual prints. Printed books containing 5 portraits could be bought (and printed) on board - not a bad deal as you also got the hard copy prints free. However, this compared very badly to the Panraven book i ordered on Princess last year which worked out at 100 pages for £40 and you could fill the book with all your own photos and any you had bought, the only downside being you did this when you got back and required some effort. P&O do not offer any type of Ultimate Tour experience. The Captain advised that they had considered it but, in his opinion, it was down to security. This is understandable in todays world but doesn't explain why another line under the same Group differs in opinion.. All in, I believe that both cruise lines offer a great experience but the drink prices, free shuttles and lower tips result in P&O offering better value fr money. On a weeks long cruise, i would expect a family of four to save £250 plus ($400) by traveling with P&O. Ports Brest At this port, the shuttle stopped at three points - maritime museum, town centre and "marina". Docking on a Saturday, we were very surprised at how quiet the town centre was (we are talking ghost town here at 11am) so we didn't stay long. We hopped on the shuttle to the "marina" which seemed to comprise of some very poor cafes and industrial buildings. Very poor and we would certainly not get off the ship at this location again. We were back on boat in less than two hours and were not the only people by any means and throughout the cruise there were various jokes we heard about how bad the port was.?I appreciate it can be tough deciding on ports and that you cant please everyone but this port definitely felt like a "filler" to me. Bilbao Split into two areas (old and new town), we found this port to be very pleasant. Unfortunately we docked on a Sunday which meant that most of the new town was closed but a pleasant walk down by the river and across to the old town soon had us in a bustling and vibrant area. After a pleasant stroll around the old town, we returned to the new town area and wandered until we came across a nice park and, in particular, a servery selling possibly the largest ice cream cones I have ever seen... yum yumm!!! By the time we headed back to the shuttle bus, a queue had formed around the corner and down the street but this very quickly moved and we were heading back to the ship in under 20 minutes. Cork Azura docked at Ringiskiddy which meant we had a nice 20-25 minute through the countryside to arrive in the centre of Cork (thank goodness the shuttles are free!!).?Cork is a typical city with many of the same shopping brands as here in the UK. ?We opted for the "dual" city bus tour which encompassed an inner city tour and an outskirts tour, each lasting 45 minutes. The dual tour was good value at only 6 euros more for a family of four than either of the single tours. The inner city tour was narration was prerecorded but the outer tour brightened things up with an amusing and pleasant driver adding his unique and tongue-in-cheek comments to the proceedings. Dublin Undoubtedly the cream of the ports we visited, the town centre was a short drive from the port. The shuttle buses dropped us in the centre of this architecturally beautiful city.?There are two main bus tour companies (CitySightseeing and Dublin bus) and this competition was to prove fruitful for us. Our shuttle dropped us right in front of the CitySighseeing tours which were doing a roaring trade. However, a very short walk around the corner was the Dublin Bus. Although seeing the prices displayed (�60 for the four of us), i opted to play it a little dumb and ask how much. Pleasantly surprised, the guide confessed that the other tour company had got prime spot and offered us the tour for �28 which was even cheaper than if we had pre-booked online and got 20% discount!. With Dublin Bus being state run, it turned out a good decision and the tour was informative and stopped at the main attractions. The rest of the day was spend meandering along o'Connel street and into St.Stephens Green which was very pleasant. Entertainment I felt the onboard entertainment was very very good - particularly the onboard Headliners shows a not to be missed and surprisingly a young classical act whom was superb. The comedians onboard were nothing to shout home about as they had the same old jokes i have heard in the past three years!!. I understand the need to use venues for rehearsals etc but when the weather is poor, I would have hoped that the company used the main theaters more for movies etc to keep both adults and children occupied.?It is fair to say that, similar to Princess, the daily schedules follow the same base structure with a few features changing each day. Room & Cleaning On our previous trips, we had sailed in a balcony cabin on C deck with a larger balcony.?This trip, we opted for an inside cabin for the four of us due the upgrade costing an additional 50% of what we paid. The cabin was very clean and functional with a surprising amount of hanging and shelf space. The four of us comfortably managed to enjoy the week in the room but I would add that (as with any cabin) organisation and tidiness are the key. ? The cabin was clean and well decorated with the mirrors used to good effect to make the room seem much larger than it actually is. ??The one difference with the interior was that due to the layout of the cabin the top bed ladders could not be put at the bottom of the bed but were put down at the side, meaning they crossed each other. On more than one occasion I did almost trip over them whilst walking between the beds. Room cleaning was friendly, extremely fast and efficient, everything you want it to be. ?I actually have no idea how the room was cleaned within the time we were out of the room! Captain We were lucky enough to be early for photos with the Captain and he was extremely approachable with excellent people skills. Now, in my limited experience this is a rarity as they are often engrossed in their jobs and don't like to be seen front of house. The Captain was happy to spend ten minutes chatting about experiences onboard, the Grand, our prior cruises etc... Very pleasant and a credit to the company Summary Another excellent trip, slightly let down by the weather and the first port (but hey, thats why we cruise to learn). I feel that P&O/Princess would do well to study each others onboard operation and take the best bits from each. Thats not to say they should retain individuality but i do think both sides could learn from the other. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first cruise on Azura, although we had cruised with P&O some years previously. The ship was fresh and new. We enjoyed the art work on all of the staircases (climbing the stairs was good for the waistline too), and ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Azura, although we had cruised with P&O some years previously. The ship was fresh and new. We enjoyed the art work on all of the staircases (climbing the stairs was good for the waistline too), and although we didn't try all of the bars we liked the Glass House and the Planet Bar. The design of our cabin was a little different to the usual outside cabin. It seemed to be quite spacious, and the bathroom opened on to a walk-in wardrobe/dressing area which effectively created a separate sleeping space. The weather was not good in the early part of the cruise, and it was only on the final day that we were able to make use of the sun beds. We ate mainly in the Peninsular restaurant, but lunched on the first sea day on tapas in the Glass House and on the second sea day had Sindhu Nashti. No complaints about the food. Drinks prices were low compared to other cruise lines and the suggested tips (handed over in an envelope at the end of the cruise) very low given that the service we received was just fine - nice clean cabin and good food service. We visited Brest, in France. I am sure that it is very nice if its not raining and will be much improved when the road works, which have apparently been there for about a year, are completed. Our next port was Bilbao, on a grey Sunday. We visited the Guggenheim (again) to marvel at the building. We were luckily inside during the showers. In Cork the ship sailed past the usual(pretty and historic) port of Cobh and was berthed in the totally dull and boring freight or ferry port of Ringaskiddy which didn't even have an entrepreneurial Irishman selling shamrocks to attract the tourist Euro. We took the shuttle to Cork itself, which was a nice little town. We wandered around and found the English Market before the drizzle drove us back to our ship. Dublin was so busy!! We took a HoHO bus around the city and saw lots, accompanied by a witty commentary from our local guide. And it didn't rain!!! A bit more sun would have been good (P&O couldn't have done anything about that); overall we enjoyed the ship and the the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
The cruise was last week and took us from Southampton to Brest, Bilbao, Cork and Dublin. The weather was very poor and through the Biscay we had a force 7/8 wind. It was choppy but we thought the ship rode well.Check-in was fairly quick, ... Read More
The cruise was last week and took us from Southampton to Brest, Bilbao, Cork and Dublin. The weather was very poor and through the Biscay we had a force 7/8 wind. It was choppy but we thought the ship rode well.Check-in was fairly quick, about 40 minutes from arrival to boarding the ship but nowhere near as quick as Cunard in New York and Princess in Florida. Security is rather over the top particularly the x-ray checks every time you get on board.Our cabin was excellent, a very good size with a good balcony. The cabin steward was very pleasant.We dined in the Peninsular Restaurant and had a table for two. Had good service from the waiters. Food is not as good as it used to be and the portions seem to be very small. Breakfast in the Peninsular every morning was good and we had afternoon tea once which we thought was very good.Had lunch in the self-service once but did not bother after that because of the scrum and lack of tables. Generally thought the bread served on board was of very poor quality even the baguettes for lunch from the deck burger stall.Dined in the specialist Indian retaurant Sindi at an extra £15 per head which was excellent and had an absolutely superb meal at 17 for an extra £20 per head. Once upon a time the ordinary dining on P&O was much nearer to what you have to pay extra for now. Anyone remember the superb seafood buffets they used to serve at lunch time once or twice a cruise? The little things such as the quality of the menus and the paper on which the cruise log is printed are nowhere near the quality of the past.Bars generally seemed crowded, entertainment was not as good as on previous P&O cruise, quite a few loud and ill mannered people on board and many not bothered about dress codes.Port visits apart from Brest which is a waste of time where good with efficient shuttle bus transfers laid on. Did not have to wait more than 15 minutes despite the ship being full.Would think long and hard before going P&O again. Last time we went Berlitz rated the ship Premium and 4 star+. They seem to rate P&O standard and just 4 star. I think they are rapidly becoming 3 star and that it is only the quality of the relatively new fleet which keeps them four star.P&O have a lot of large ships which they need to fill and as a result are cutting the quality of the experience to make the prices competitive. Getting on for 50% of those on the ship were first timers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Parking & Embarkation: P&O parking is managed by a third party who insist on them parking your car for you where they take ownership of your keys and car for the duration of the cruise. Generally this has been a very slow ... Read More
Parking & Embarkation: P&O parking is managed by a third party who insist on them parking your car for you where they take ownership of your keys and car for the duration of the cruise. Generally this has been a very slow process as you are forced to wait in organised queues while you are finally directed to offload your luggage just outside the terminal. I am not a fan of this procedure as this does tend to add waiting time of approximately up to 1 hour before embarkation plus in the past on returning to my car there was damage to the rear panel. Heads up - parking with P&O means that you sign and agree that any damage cannot be claimed on behalf of the parking company! That's in the T&C!. Contrast this with Royal and Celebrity where you self park your car where you just walk to the ship in a fraction of the time. Embarkation was slow and while there was organisation to boarding we were at the back of the queue for quite some time. Previous cruises with Royal and Celebrity we were directed to the front of the queue. On this occasion we were placed in a waiting area. We arrived on time according to the boarding time of 2pm where we waited over 45 minutes. We eventually got on board but there was quite a rush before we had to attend the muster station drill. Cabin: Nice interior and smart although I was expecting the bathroom to be a alot bigger. I was amazed that on the latest ship that P&O still make use of a plastic moulded bathroom interior including a plastic moulded sink! The bathroom was the smallest I have been in including the most smallest walk in shower I have experienced! It felt more like some kind of cryogenic chamber that han solo fell victim to in Star Wars! In fairness there was good water pressure and plenty of hot water. In contrast Royal and Celebrity had much more lavish large bathrooms especially on the new Celebrity Eclipse with a proper walk in glass shower and wooden vanity units - not exactly plastic! As for the rest of the cabin it was spacious but lacking a sofa. TV was small although was a flat panel but the choice of TV channels were very restricted! The cabin suffered from severe vibration and so did the entire ship during our cruising. One night as I was going to sleep my body was literally vibrating from head to toe! Ship: Nice ship (from the outside!). Interior decor felt dated with over use of wood and brass! and the interior was alot more plastic than other ships such as Celebrity. Layout was interesting and not the best ship Ive been on. Lots of the decks felt cramped and compacted especially the buffet restaurant where the deck height to the ceiling was the same as in my home cottage lounge!! Serving stations in the buffet were alot more compact than other P&O ships where people seemed to be on top of each other. Hot and cold food stations were literally staggered next to each other. The centre of the ship focused around the Atrium and the shops area. I was expecting this to be alot more open and spacious but compared to other ships such as Aurora the amount of open space felt limited in comparison. Contrast this to Celebrity where several decks are open as one massive spaces. The ship also experienced severe vibration at several intervals during the cruise and was consistent making it very uncomfortable. The retreat is a nice touch to this ship but why do passengers have to pay £12 each per day! On Celebrity they offer the same sort of thing and this is FREE! Food: Food was excellent in the restaurant although the amount of food served to you appeared to be alot less than on previous P&O cruises. Clearly P&O has engaged on a cost reduction exercise. Food in the buffet was good but the choice was limited at times. Service: A polite service was offered by waiters but in comparison to previous P&O cruises and other cruise lines such as Celebrity we found the service to be average. Sometimes it was difficult to get served a drink during lunch in the buffet restaurant. We did experience on one night in the main dining room a very rushed meal where the waiter was literally grabbing the unfinished plates from the table. In fairness the overall food was good and the option of freedom dining was a nice touch!! As for the cabin our stateroom was clean and maintained well by our cabin steward although it would have been nice to have had a formal introduction by him! 1st time with P&O where the cabin steward failed to knock on our door to make himself known on the day of sailing. Excursions: We enjoyed the excursions offered and was good value for money compared to other cruise lines which seemed to be of a similar price. Entertainment: What entertainment?? We were shocked and very disappointed by the entertainment which was offered on board Azura during our cruise. This is the flagship vessel and during Easter bank holiday weekend and the highlight of the entertainment was a guy from Tizzwazz! Not exactly the entertainment we came to expect from P&O. No guest speakers nor anything special for the Easter weekend. We had better entertainment in Butlins! Other: I really don't like the formality of P&O on formal nights. While I do respect and appreciate the need to dress up and pretend to be something I'm not. P&O does tend to take this way too seriously. While on these nights I do tend to take my suit, but on this cruise being soo short I decided to leave my suit at home and to take some smart clothes instead. The only formal night on our cruise we decided to stay up in the top open buffet restaurant which was fine but later that night I popped up to the Planet bar for a casual drink. I walked in wearing a smart black shirt, tie and black trousers and shoes and I was acknowledged by two waiters. I sat at the bar and ordered a drink and the person who served me did not mention that I was lacking a jacket! So I took the drink and sat in a different part of the bar. The same waiter approached me and asked me to sign for my drink. 15 minutes later the same waiter came back and said "oh I'm sorry Sir. You don't have a jacket so please leave!" I was shocked! I said to him that he saw me walking in and he served me! and now he wants me to leave? I was disgusted by his attitude and the formality nonsense of P&O. I can understand if I walked into the bar in t-shirt and jeans! In annoyance I refused to leave and continued to sip my cocktail. I am amazed that P&O take this attitude when this is not the case on a 5 star cruise such as Celebrity on their formal nights! Disembarkation: This has always made me chuckle with P&O. Basically your cruise is over and you cant but help feel or made feel by P&O that they have had your money and now its time to go! Got up early on disembarkation day and they wanted you out of your cabin by 8am! We were running a bit late and the cabin steward was jumping in the cabin as we were wrapping up packing. P&O also insist on you leaving the ship by group colour unless you take the self disembarkation option at something stupid at 7am in the morning! Other cruise lines such as Celebrity offer a much more relaxed and casual disembarkation service. Value for money: Well I used to think that P&O offered good value for money but after sailing with Celebrity and Royal I can no longer stake the same claim. This time last year we took our first trip on Celebrity Eclipse and the cost was the same as P&O on this trip! Bearing in mind that celebrity is 5 star! but in fairness to Celebrity you don't get the 5 star pom pus nonsense! There are ordinary folk on board as found on P&O without the bull associated with it. Conclusion: We have been devoted P&O cruise passengers for a good number of years where we have travelled on a number of their ships. We have had some good holidays with P&O but as of last year we decided to try a different cruise company - Celebrity Cruises. It is a little unfair to start comparing these two cruise companies as Celebrity is 5 star and well... P&O isn't! We are not snobs but come from a hard working class family however as someone said to us on a former P&O cruise 2 years ago. They said to us "You go with Celebrity and you wont want to go back with P&O!" Sadly this was true! In every detail Celebrity cruises out strips P&O in every detail from service, food, entertainment to the ship and the features within it. We weren't expecting celebrity status on P&O but since Azura is the flagship we felt very disappointed by the overall experience. Sorry P&O but that was the last cruise with your company as we will be sticking with Celebrity. They have far nicer ships, more luxurious cabins and decor and the quality of service is simply faultless! They certainly wouldn't have spoken to me in the same manner as that waiter did during that night in the Planet bar. P&O needs to get their act together. If you haven't tried Celebrity yet then give this fantastic cruise company a go! You wont be dis-apointed and you will be glad you did! Well why not? because you are paying the same money! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I'm not in the habit of writing holiday reviews, but before we boarded I had read some reviews that pulled the Azura apart and I was quite concerned that I had made a mistake in booking. Thankfully, I now realise some people just ... Read More
I'm not in the habit of writing holiday reviews, but before we boarded I had read some reviews that pulled the Azura apart and I was quite concerned that I had made a mistake in booking. Thankfully, I now realise some people just moan and whinge about everything....so read on if you want an honest opinion!We sailed on P&O Azura from Southampton on Good Friday 2011 on a short 4 day cruise, heading for Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre. First impressions were very good. From arriving at the Ocean Cruise Terminal to plonking down on a sun longer was no longer than 1 hour 15 mins, which was also well before our original 1pm slot. The embarkation process was faultless, allocated a 'letter' when we arrived, then called in alphabetical order (we were G so not long to wait!) to the desk to confirm details and off we went. We also took advantage of P&O allowing you to take your own wine etc on board to drink in our cabins.Moving on, the ship is very nicely decorated, cabins are comfortable (we had got a free balcony upgrade) and well appointed. After all, who goes on a cruise to sit in the cabin! Making a comparison, I would say the Arcadia is a little more grand in decor. Plenty of public lounges and all finely done out along a theme. I was a little concerned that the presence of children may spoil the holiday, as my previous cruise was on the adult ship Arcadia, but fears were unfounded. The families with children tended to gather around the 2 main pools, so we just stayed away as we wanted more peace and quiet. Only small niggle would be that the adult pool area was situated very near to a kiddies pool, so some noise there, but the kids were having fun, so not a moan!Staff all pleasant and helpful, our personal waiter 'Om' was happy to get us anything we asked for, that might not have been on the menu - such as chips!! Very friendly and keen to find out about us and tell us about himself if we asked. Cabin steward great, asked her once for ice and then found that she took it upon herself to make sure we always had a bucket full in the fridge. Touches like that are great!Went on one excursion, as I felt they were a little on the pricey side. Great day out, very informative guide and enjoyed very much. Watched whilst 7 passengers arrived back very late and missed the ship's sailing! Oops, the captain waited 45 mins but they got left on the dockside....let that be a lesson for anybody who dawdles!Drinks prices were brilliant.....no more than the local pub for anything, so a weight off your mind if you are on a spends budget. Also, we took a glass of wine with us from our cabin and it was never commented on by any staff in the bars we sat in.Entertainment was very good, I'm sure it is better in the West End, but then those seats are not free night after night! They also put on a 7.30pm show so that 2nd sitting diners did not have to go to the 11pm show if they didn't want. Perfectly watchable 'Headliners' Theatre Group and some other specialty acts too, such as pianists, rock bands and singers. There was a film on each day, we watched 'The King's Speech' one afternoon. Films were also on in the evening on the sea screen.All considered, a very nice time on the Azura....yes I could moan that my key card stopped working a couple of times or that the food in the buffet was similar each day, but I don;t care about things like that. The food was lovely and plenty of it to keep us going. There was enough choice to have different lunches/dinners each day and pizza/burgers whenever you wanted a snack. I ate whenever I felt peckish and it was always gorgeous!Azura was great for us 'normal' people.....P&O all the way for us in the future! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
First time with P & O so we were not sure what to expect, arrived around 11 am to check in, once this was completed we board around 12 noon. Cabins would not be ready till 14.30 but not a problem as we had lunch then went to explore. ... Read More
First time with P & O so we were not sure what to expect, arrived around 11 am to check in, once this was completed we board around 12 noon. Cabins would not be ready till 14.30 but not a problem as we had lunch then went to explore. Plenty of bars to choose from, we liked the planet bar and Glass house best . We ended our evenings at the Java bar, listening to a very good group, when they finished a piano player carried on, which we could still hear as he was on the floor above in the Blue bar. Manhattan very good for entertainment if you could get a seat!, theatre was more easy but only went once as so much choice of entertainment and you just cannot do it all. We had a table in the Oriental restaurant, good choice of food, waiter service could have been better, felt as if we were thrown our menus then immediately asked if we were ready to order. Wine waiter was very good though. Would suggest that P & O put more signage up as this restaurant not that easy to get to, would choose any other one but this one another time. Cabin steward very helpful, he kept everything very clean and tidy. Disembarkation went well although chaos in the dining room as everyone wanted to eat at same time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our 5th Cruise with P and O, and first time both passing through the new Ocean Terminal,and embarking Azura. Check in was overstretched and only just keeping on top of the situation: a problem we have not encountered previously. ... Read More
This was our 5th Cruise with P and O, and first time both passing through the new Ocean Terminal,and embarking Azura. Check in was overstretched and only just keeping on top of the situation: a problem we have not encountered previously. The new Queen Elizabeth had been named by Her Majesty a mere three days earlier: perhaps this was why we were subjected to more stringent Security screening than any Airport we have passed through. The belts upon gentleman's trousers had to be removed, shoes with buckles taken off and screened, etc. I wear Orthopaedic footwear, complete with steel shanks: and I did not appreciate the staff who were conducting the screening, drawing unfavourable attention to my mobility problems. Having been sat upon a chair whilst my shoes were scanned, insult was added to injury by telling me that I would have to walk through the machine bare footed. This I cannot do:which is why shoes are hand made to support me. Had this been my first experience of Cruising, it would have been my last.However, once we were allowed on board the Ship, the enjoyment of the voyage began. The Atrium is stunning; and we squeezed into one of the scenic lifts to ride up to Lido Deck, where Lunch was available in both of the Self Service Restaurants:Venezia and Verona. (Verona becomes an Italian Trattoria with Waiter Service, in the evenings.) Cabins would not be ready for occupation until 2-30pm, so after we had finished our meal, we made our way down to the Manhattan Night Club on Deck 7, at the Stern. This is a vast, beautifully decorated , and most comfortable room. And so to our Deluxe Balcony Stateroom on 'D' deck: immaculate! Clean, welcoming, and with a fantastic Steward, named Jude. Champagne, chocolates, and flowers as a special touch. We settled in like Ducks in a favorite pond: and the 3 nights on board went far too quickly. Another week would have just what the Doctor ordered! A word of warning regarding the Balconies on D Deck: they are completely open to the elements. No shade at all: and are overlooked by C Deck above, and both A & B Decks above that. This we discovered when we went outside with our Champagne to listen to the Jazz Band Sail Away, which was great fun. We ate First Sitting Dinner in the Oriental Restaurant, at the rear of the Ship; only accessible from the back set of lifts. (Azura has several 'dead ends' to overcome.) The food was mouth watering, with our Waiters Prayson and Nishi very pleasant and eager to be of service. Some tables for two are sited very close to one another, as was ours: but we had friendly neighbours in the shape of Jill and Rita, whose conversation enhanced our Dinner Times. Our fellow passengers whom we shared tables with at Breakfasts and Lunches were all friendly, and the common gripe amongst us was too few lifts for the number of people on board. Azura is huge, and it wasn't possible to explore her fully across 3 nights. We paid a visit to the Spa on our second afternoon, and paid for access to the Thermal Suite. The Aromatic Steam Rooms and spray showers are great: but there are only 5 heated Ceramic Loungers to go around when one wants to relax, afterwards. And once reclining upon one of these, it would be oh so easy, to doze off for ages. Other participants warned us that the supposedly specially heated Oasis pool, was malfunctioning: and the water was stone cold!! Another point to make about the Spa:there are not enough lockers, in the Ladies Changing Room. Spoiled for choice for Bars and Entertainment, but we are not Night Owls, and didn't get the most out of all that was on offer. Met some ladies whose Cabin was above Manhattan: they stayed up until 2-30 a.m, because the noise from both the Nightclub, and the Ship engines far below, meant that they hadn't been able to sleep, the night before! All in all, Azura gets the thumbs up from us; and pleased to conclude by saying that disembarkation went like a dream. Our colour coded card was timed for 10-00am, but we were called at 9-10. Very sorry to leave the Ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Day 1 Southampton Paid for the trip down from Yorkshire on EAVESWAY coaches which is a winner, cheaper than driving down and parking fees, then into the new ocean terminal to book in this seemed to take longer than the last time in ... Read More
Day 1 Southampton Paid for the trip down from Yorkshire on EAVESWAY coaches which is a winner, cheaper than driving down and parking fees, then into the new ocean terminal to book in this seemed to take longer than the last time in Southampton on Arcadia but we were still in our cabin by 2 pm and at lunch in the Venezia restaurant shortly afterwards, a very nice buffet on deck 15 aft Later we took a guided tour around the very expansive spa complex which include the new concept on AZURA the Retreat We were impressed enough to book the retreat for the full 7 days We had the usual sing-along as we departed but it was poor compared to when we were on Ventura, just drab rod Stewart music That evening we had dinner in the meridian restaurant which is for those who have chosen freedom dinning its exactly the same as the 2 club dining restaurants peninsula and oriental, accept you can have dinner any time between 6pm and 9pm, rather than the fixed 6.30pm or 8.30 pm on the ship you can always get something to eat as there is always one of the other grills or dinners open, for example, the Venezia and Verona between them serve a full English breakfast from 0700 to 1200 and then remains open until 930 pm with a buffet and later Verona as an Italian restaurant and late snacks until breakfast The Venezia has a breakfast from06.30 to10.30 lunch from 12 to 3 then afternoon tea at 6 to 930 there is always a speciality buffet ie Indian Chinese Italian etc There are also as I mentioned the 3 main restaurants aft that must seat between 300 to 500 each and the 2 speciality pay extra 'cover charge' restaurants plus the glass house a wine specialty restaurant which does food but at a price later we did not go to the main show just wandered around the many bar's and live entertainment available Day 2 At sea Breakfast in our cabin as usual, this is a long tradition, and therefore stops the 'full English' syndrome I went to a cookery demonstration would you believe, but this was somewhat different, it was Atul Kocchar famed Michelin star'ed Indian chef accompanied by wine expert Olly Smith very interesting and informative Atul was funny too Chilled out in the Retreat then it was the 'Gala Reception' which we gave a miss too but did accept the wine, decide on dinner in the meridian restaurant as it was the first 'Formal 'night, we did not want to share tonight and so we had to wait for 15 minutes on a table for 2 but they give you one of those 'bleeper' things that scares the hell out of you when it goes off to inform you that your table is available. We had an excellent 6 course meal with exceptional service from our waiter of the evening, I had the lobster Again gave the main show a miss and wandered around the many bar's and live entertainment available a bit disappointed because I am not a big fan of ballroom dancing(in 2 locations), karaoke in the British bar, pianist in 2 or a rubbish magician, nor do I wish to throw money away in the casino Day3 Dublin Dublin late arriving no gangway open until midday, large crowds milling about in the Atrium, maybe if we had made more than 10knots getting here we may have been on time Sat on the balcony and watched as we 'rotated 'about in her own length within the confines of the harbour and berthed stern too, quite a feat considering Azura's length and size but having seen Venture and Constellation carry out similar it doesn't impress us any more The weather looks dodgy so we had lunch first before catching the free shuttle bus into town, getting into town at 3pm was easy but queuing up to get back with several hundred others, on the cities crowded pavement, another thing entirely, it was total chaos. Any way back to the ship and it rained Note; - from my experience of holidays here the republic of Ireland has always expensive but the drop in the euro has made Dublin very expensive indeed Evening checked the menus on the interactive television and decided to go to the Verona restaurant which turns into an Italian restaurant in the evening, this was a good choice as we had an excellent meal with the usual exceptional service from our waiter of the evening, note if you decide on this option go early it was very popular and they were giving out the dreaded bleepers after 7 pm Next stop the Malabar for 8.30 to listen to Lynda Radford singing she was pretty good then along to the Manhattan to listen to a tribute to Phil Collins by rob Lewis again if you want a seat get in 30 minutes early, it was packed out by the start with standing room only in the entrance it was 6 deep but what a good show he put on very very good sounded just like the real thing A good evening, on the down side tonight the dress code after 6.00 was semi formal and some men idea of 'smart shirt and trouser with a jacket' left a lot to be desired, jeans and a tee shirt hardly fitted the concept of smart, particularly when their partner had obviously made an effort, then may be its me Day 4 The town of Cobh for cork Azure berthed at the cruise terminal adjacent to the little train station that operate a service to cork, Cobh is a nice little town with an imposing cathedral and many shops and bars, it trades on the fact that both the titanic and Lusitania left here to be sunk and that a little Irish girl left here to be the first immigrant through Elis island, all told its cheaper and nicer than Dublin We did not do any trips as the trips are expensive and I had no wish to kiss the blarney stone any way So back to the ship and up to the Retreat for a few hours it was a pity that it was quite chilly or I could spend all day up there During the morning they had a 'man overboard' exercise me being a cynic, thinks it's a doddle in harbour with the ship stationary and a flat calm sea, 'when I was a lad' we did the exercise doing 25 knots in a rough sea and after the "figure of eight turns" to get back to the dummy that had been thrown over we had to launch the sea boat and collect the 'survivor 'then recover the sea boat, sorry I digress, back to Azura Checked out the daily ships paper 'horizon' looks like tonight is a repeat of the second evening ie ballroom dancing(in 2 locations), karaoke , motown memories and its back to the good old days of the 60 and 70, I was there in the 60s it wasn't that great I also notice that the sailaway starts at 5.15pm yet the gangway does not shut until 5.30pm, it wasn't a bad sailaway accept that it finished before we sailed away, they could take lessons from Ventura's entertainments team on how it's done We had a very good Indian buffet in the Venezia restaurant a large selection well presented and nice table layout, I must say that the foods throughout all the restaurants on Azura are of a very high standard As I suspected the evening was a total wash out the entertainment is very poor catering for a minority this is not up to P&O's usual standard Day 5 At sea In order to getter a full picture on dinning on Azura I decide to forego breakfast in our cabin (a martyr to the course) and checked out breakfast in the Venezia and Verona restaurants, again spoilt for choices and with the 6 buffets split up into about 24 separate segments so there little or no queuing, open for full English or continental until noon There is also the choice of going to the 2 club dining restaurants peninsular and oriental for breakfast but they close at 09.30 We gave the Retreat a miss today as we are doing 16 knots and its very windy and the Retreat is very exposed, it's alright out in the Caribbean but not the bay of Biscay Again checked out the daily ships paper 'horizon' looks like tonight is a repeat of yesterdays evening i.e. ballroom dancing, a ballroom dancing demonstration, 2 karaoke , a classical concert, 2 pub quiz's and a Simply Red tribute, Still I went to the British bar called Brodie's and listened to attempts to get passengers up to sing, no takers, so finally the entertainment guys got up to sing and I left Day 6 Bilbao checked out breakfast in the Venezia and Verona restaurants, again only there was an exercise on for the ships crew and they had closed the larger Venezia which created queues in Verona still it wasn't to bad you had to shunt around abit to get what you wanted because they kept on running out of items, not quite as bad as my daughter's experienced last week on Arcadia but close and it should not happen with P&O and on a ship of this size. They also closed the kids club which upset some of the passengers The same thing happened at lunch time but they closed Verona this time, Maybe they thought everyone would be ashore, wrong We stayed on board because we knew from previous experience, that in Spain, on a Sunday, everything would be closed and the reports coming back supported this, why we could not be at sea on a Sunday is beyond me. Had dinner in Venezia which was an oriental theme and it was excellent then down to the British bar called Brodie's and listened to quite a good group singing ballads Day 7 Brest Arrived along Starboard side too for a change [our side] adjacent to a dry dock and warehouses the cruise terminal here is very poorly positioned, stuck out in the middle of nowhere, it's a feature of this cruise that all the ports of call except Cobh were 20 to 40 minutes from civilisation We took no organised trips because they were all too expensive so it was back to the shuttle but appears that a lot of others had the same idea, so we had to wait until the horrendous long queues for the shuttle got manageable and then we took one into the town centre ,we were not impressed with what we saw in the town and so stayed on the bus and returning to the ship Again queues to get off the ship and queues to get back on board seem to be a feature of this ship not enough gangways being provided, there were only 2 for the 3000 odd passengers, to get on and off the ship, this is not good enough, you do not expect this kind of sloppy unprofessionalism when you have paid a lot of money to a supposedly top end cruise company plus there were no proper dedicated gang way for the disabled Had lunch on deck with a burger from one of the 2 fast food outlets on the pool deck had a glass of pimms and watched the sailaway which by this time the entertainment team were getting pretty good , they must have been practicing, We are giving the meridian restaurant a miss tonight because the buffet in the Venezia appears to have a better menu [you can check out all the menus on board on the flat screen TV in your cabin] In comparing Like For Like her sister ship Ventura is better organised, slicker at passenger comfort and welfare, is far friendlier in her crew to passenger relationship, better entertainment, better shops, better library, freedom dinning is slicker whereas Azura probably wins on quality in the food stakes but has a lot to learn, elsewhere The entertainment on azura is very much a cross between, East Enders and Strictly Come Dancing with quiz's,and bingo thrown in And so back to Southampton and a pretty slick debarkation and to our EAVESWAY coach and a good trip home Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Embarkation Arrived at Southampton and was immediately faced with an enormous queue. Took about 1hr 20 mins for us to finally get on board as opposed to previous cruise in May with RCI which took only 20 mins. Thought P&O would have ... Read More
Embarkation Arrived at Southampton and was immediately faced with an enormous queue. Took about 1hr 20 mins for us to finally get on board as opposed to previous cruise in May with RCI which took only 20 mins. Thought P&O would have had this down to a tee by now but obviously not. Stateroom Had a superior deluxe balcony cabin on deck 9. Room was long but quite narrow, nicely appointed though with a good size settee plus a table and 2 small chairs. Room also had 2 televisions (not sure why though some may find them useful). Bathroom was compact but again nicely appointed and fine for a cruise, taller people may find the shower a problem as you would need to be under 5 foot 2 inches to stand under it without stooping. Storage space was fairly good with plenty of hangers plus cases could be stored under the bed. Had champagne, chocolates and flowers in room on arrival, with the use of binoculars + world map, umbrella, gowns and slippers . I wouldn't say I was wowed by the stateroom but certainly not disappointed by it and thought it was worth the price paid. Food Breakfast in the buffet was fairly good, not quite as much choice as other cruise lines but still more than enough. You could also get freshly made omelettes and poached eggs from a separate station which was very welcome. Usual crowds of people but that is to be expected with buffet dining so either go early or try for a table just outside as they seemed to be rarely used. Lunch was probably the most disappointing part of the food experience on Azura. The hot meals never really looked very inviting or had that much variety with a lot of repetition over the week. Desserts were disappointing with very little taste. I think P&O have done quite a bit of cost cutting at lunch. Fortunately you could always get a nice salad with cold meats etc so not all bad news at lunch. Afternoon tea, again disappointing with tasteless cakes, dry scones and tiny portions of whipped cream. The only highlight for me was the one occasion they served bread and butter pudding which was moist and tasted delicious. Main Dining Room Dinner Fortunately this was much better! I found the choice of food to be very good. All of the meals were of a high standard with a good selection of vegetables with each meal. The meals on formal night were of an even better standard, well done P&O! Always managed to get a table for 2 each night, sometimes with a small wait for a table but never more than 15 mins. My only complaint with the dining room was the staff, who nearly all seemed indifferent almost to the point of rudeness. Nowhere near the level of service received on other lines where staff seemed genuinely pleased to help you. Speciality dining Where do I start. 17, Sindhu and the Glass house were all fantastic. Excellent food, good service and nice surroundings. This for me is what dining is about. If you can afford the extra cover charge then this is definitely the way to go, as dining in any of the above restaurants was far superior than any main dining room meals. Best to reserve early as after a couple of days 17 and Sindhu were fully booked. Drinks and Wine Very good value all round, could not fault this in any way with reasonable prices in all the bars and wine prices to suit all budgets. The house wine being a very good example! Entertainment Definitely the best entertainment I have had on any cruise. The main P&O cast called The Headliners were absolutely brilliant with shows that would not be out of place on a London stage (have heard this claimed before but not witnessed it till now). Very good tribute acts Phil Collins and Mick Hucknell who not only looked like their famous counterparts but sounded really good too! Female vocalist Lynda Radcliffe was fantastic as well. Good piano music to be found in various locations around the ship. In my opinion P&O have got this absolutely right with some great venues for these shows at the Playhouse Theatre, Malabar and Manhattan Bar. The stage, sound and lighting are second to none. The shows are also on 2 or 3 times a night giving everyone a chance to see them. Also worth a mention is Planet Bar at the top of the ship for a sophisticated pre dinner drink or cocktail. Disembarkation First of all I should mention that P&O need to get a better system for this at some of the ports visited. For instance Brest in France had quite a short stop planned, by the time we docked and several hundred passengers dawdled off the boat to join lengthy queues for the shuttle buses there was hardly anytime left at the port. I appreciate that getting the vast number of people onboard a large ship ashore is no easy task but surely P&O should be able to handle this by now? Fortunately disembarkation at the end of the cruise went very smoothly with everyone getting off about an hour before the scheduled time. Overall an enjoyable cruise with room for improvements. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Azura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.8

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