Hi everyone. Hubby and I, along with my brother and sister-in-law, have today just returned from our cruise on P&O Azura I want to write this review whilst everything is still fresh in my mind. I am going to give you information that ... Read More
Hi everyone. Hubby and I, along with my brother and sister-in-law, have today just returned from our cruise on P&O Azura I want to write this review whilst everything is still fresh in my mind. I am going to give you information that I only wish that someone had written before we left for our cruise. Hopefully this information will give you an advantage of what to expect in the way of the whole ship experience of the Azura. So hope you are sitting comfortably, got your slippers on, your cup of tea, coffee or glass of wine to hand and don't fall asleep on me!!
For those who have never cruised with P&O before, I can tell you that our first impression when we alighted from our 5 hour journey by coach to the port of Southampton was one of great admiration at the new P&O Terminal. Very impressed indeed again at how organised everything was. It was a relief to know that we didn't have to worry about our cases in the Coach hold as these were taken care of and the next time we would see them would be outside our cabin within the hour. We were able to take our hand luggage containing of course the necessary documents, ie passports, E-Tickets and valuables etc.
As you enter the Terminal, passengers are allocated into groups of 100 or so with a ticket with a letter of the Alphabet and you sit there until your letter is called. (about ten minutes at the most). You then make your way to the security desks (loads of them so no waiting) where your passport and E-ticket is scrutinised and your photo taken. you and each of your party will then be given a boarding card which is very important as you will need it every time you embark or disembark the ship at each port. The boarding card is also the key card to gain access to your cabin. (will go into this in a moment). You then make your way on board via the gangplank (as I call it). This was the our first close up sight of the Azura and my goodness, we were quite overawed at the sheer size of the ship itself. After cruising with Thompson ships prior to this, our first P&O cruise, it was absolutely massive !!
We were given a map once on board showing the way to the deck and cabin we had been allocated and there were ample lifts to take us there. Once outside our cabin, one of us slid the card into the cabin door which opened it, then we put the same card into another slot just inside the cabin door which operates the lights. Now I appreciate that some reviewers have been rather scathing about the quality of the ship, its surroundings and the cabins but let me reassure you as one of the most fussiest women on this planet, you have absolutely NOTHING to worry about with regard to your cabin. I was very pleased indeed at the quality of everything in that room, from the bed, bedding, furniture and the shower room which we had. Our steward came along and introduced himself. lovely man, couldn't have been more helpful. All the stewards are the same, they cannot do enough for you.
There is a telephone in your cabin. if you need reception it shows the button to press, also your steward, and especially room service which operates 24 hours and is completely FREE ! your breakfast if you wish to have it in your cabin instead of going to the restaurants is also FREE! although it is a continental breakfast only with fresh orange juice, tea or coffee, croissants, muffins etc. pitfall.....we only used it once for Free coffee to be delivered, as did brother and sister-in-law but found although delivered in very nice silver pot with milk jug, the coffee wasn't hot enough for us so didn't bother after that. There is of course tea, coffee, sugar, milk etc with electric kettle already in your cabin which is replenished every day by your lovely steward. There is a hairdryer but no Iron !! they don't like you to bring an iron with you either and insist rightly that if you use any electrical item you must take it out of the plug before leaving your cabin.
The showers are heavenly with easy to use switches. (wish I could have brought it home with me) lol. What else can I tell you about the cabin? the beds are lovely and comfortable with two soft pillows each. Oh, almost forgot, there is of course the television with remote control. it has the Ships webcam (channel 1) showing the view from front of the ship, it also has a channel so you can listen to all messages from the bridge and the weather forecast etc. but more importantly it has Sky News (channel 6) BBC International News (channel 5) and Sky Sports News (channel 7) and Sky Sports (channel 8) which hubby was chuffed about because he was able to watch his team Arsenal play.
Finally on this subject of the cabin, you will have been left in your cabin, your allocation to where you will be eating if you wish waiter service. the choice is The Meridian Restaurant or the Penninsular Restaurant, we were allocated freedom dining at the Meridian Restaurant. This means that we could choose to eat in the Meridian restaurant anytime between the hours of opening by just going along and asking for a table for just ourselves or if you don't mind, sharing with others. We preferred a table just for four so were happy if one not available, to be given a pager and called when table was free (never more than twenty minutes and an excuse for us to retire to the nearest bar for pre-dinner drink!). If you have been allocated club dining, this means you have the same table, the same time, in the same restaurant with the same waiters for your cruise. Most have the freedom dining I believe but not sure.
You also have the choice to eat at the self-service restaurants (2) called the Verona and the Venezia, both which are located on deck 15. All the food served in all the restaurants are the same high quality so don't hesitate to mix and match. You also have a Pizza take away on deck 15 by the second pool. The only restaurants where you have to pay a surcharge if you wish to eat in there are the Sindhu (indian) the Glasshouse (Wine bar) and Epicurian (fine dining)
So to the rest of the ship...... Honestly now, even after 9 days, I was still confused about the layout of the ship. I guarantee you will be too !!! Deck 18 is the Planet Bar but the bloomin main lifts only go to the 16th deck which was very confusing. Apparently one can only access deck 17 and 18 by going along to the back of the ship and getting into the lift on deck 6 which takes you to the two elusive decks. Ho Hum.
16th Deck has an outside bar with loads of sun loungers and tables/chairs. I promise you, there will be no fighting for sun loungers on this ship. They have loads of them all over the ship. For all you smokers, you can enjoy your smoke here as long as you stay on the left side of the way the ship is sailing. Ha, no use telling me port or starboard, I don't know my left from right, anyway, all the tables have ashtrays on them so it won't take you long to find your table. You can smoke anywhere on the left the way the ship is heading as long as it is an open area
15th Deck - here you will find two swimming pools, the outside cinema screen, hundreds of sun loungers, an outside bar, The grill bar which is open all day and most of the evening offering chips, burgers and hotdogs (Free) a Pizza bar (Free), Dessert fridge (Free) and an Ice Cream Parlour (Free). it is also where the two self-service restaurants are located.
There are numerous bars all over the ship, also several Costa Coffee Shops. which you have to pay for the coffee £2.40 for a medium costa latte but...... make sure if you buy a coffee you ask for the free pastries or muffins that go with your coffee. You only get them if you buy a coffee though. ( I note that they don't exactly publicise the fact !! LOL.)
There are numberous decks where you can buy a costa coffee.
The Casino and Brodie's Bar (the pub) is on Deck 5. In here is where most men go to watch the matches on several huge television screens all over the place. If your man goes missing, try here first !!!
I hope the above has been of some help to those who are taking their first cruise on the Azura. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with the plentiful entertainment for both adults and children. Please don't worry about any bad reviews. You will really enjoy yourselves on here and believe me, the food is to die for, my waistline will vouch for that !! enjoy your cruise. Read Less