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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
p AND o ARE THE 3RD different CRUISE LINE WE HAVE BEEN ON AND they are by far the best for wheelchair users. I slso want to say how excellent their care is. Whilst on the cruise I had a massive stroke. they got me to hospital and continued ... Read More
p AND o ARE THE 3RD different CRUISE LINE WE HAVE BEEN ON AND they are by far the best for wheelchair users. I slso want to say how excellent their care is. Whilst on the cruise I had a massive stroke. they got me to hospital and continued to support us as we were in hospital in another country trying to get home by air ambulance. Pleas understand thar due to my stroke I have severe difficulties using the computer, but I wanted to say how great the cruise was and how fabulous p and o are Embarkation was very smooth, and when our cabin was ready we were met by our steward who explained everything. We were in an adapted balcony cabin which was large and suitably adapted for my needs. We always have freedom dining or the equivalent and found this very easy. We ere given the option of dining alone or with others, we varied and found ourselves meeting some really interesting people. The food was superb. \we had booked special wheelchair user tours for Tallinn and St Petersburg. These were well worth the money. We had fantastic guides and drivers. One of the reasons we chose P and O was the fact that they did accessible tours. In addition, at every port where there were shuttle buses they had accessible buses. Whilst getting 3000 off at the same time for these buses was at times a little chaotic, with patience we all got there. On two previous cruises with other companies there were ports where /I had to stay on ship as no accessible shuttles. I cannot comment on all the ports or disembarkation as I was off the ship in hospital. But P and O collected my powered wheelchair from the hospital in Bruges and took it to the Britannia send sailed it back to Southampton with our luggage. They kept it in store for us and after we returned to the UK, my husband was able to collect it without sny fuss. P and O have kept in touch with us sine to make sure we arte ok. They have sent me a lovely dvd of highlights of the cruise. We will never cruise with any other company as we trust P and O to care for us and our belongings. I don't recommend having a stroke at the best of times but on holiday it is more difficult. The medical team on the Azura looked after me so well until we docked in Zebrugge and they got me to hospital and that saved my life. There is more I would like ti write but I am having difficulkty doing so and reading whst I have written Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
Two cabins were booked A520 an inside cabin and D602 a balcony deluxe cabin. The latter was upgraded from an outside balcony cabin. I have been on 6 previous cruises only one was a P&O ship the Artemis. The Azura was by far the ... Read More
Two cabins were booked A520 an inside cabin and D602 a balcony deluxe cabin. The latter was upgraded from an outside balcony cabin. I have been on 6 previous cruises only one was a P&O ship the Artemis. The Azura was by far the largest ship so I used Cruise Critic to prepare us for the experience. Some of the reports were very damning of the Azura and some reviews were very positive. So I decided to comment on my experience. One of our small group was disabled and used a wheelchair. We were told by P&O that electric wheelchairs could not be used on the ship in and around the restaurants or theatre for health and safety reasons. So we took a standard manual wheelchair. We were amazed to see other disabled passengers with electric chairs for access to all areas. Checking with the Reception Desk we were told that there are no such restrictions. The First Day We arrived at the terminal at 12:10. We used CPS to park our car. By 12:30 we were in the main waiting area for boarding. By 1:10pm we were having lunch on deck 15, How good is that? All the staff were welcoming and always pleased to help. At just gone 2:00pm an announcement was made that the staterooms were ready and we made our way to our cabins. Our cases were already waiting for us. Our first impression - the staterooms looked a good size, very clean and with better than the average artwork. The balcony was large enough for four to sit and have a glass of champagne which was already in the cabin. The first bottle of water was free, extra bottles were £1.85 for 2 litres. Each cabin had a fridge for the wine and water. We dined in the Peninsula Restaurant first sitting. Sam and SJ were our waiters, I cannot speak too highly of them they were very professional and just as importantly, friendly. They soon got to know our likes and dislikes. The first meal was excellent. Then we went to the show. Having a wheelchair user we entered first to the special area for wheelchairs and carers. The theatre was full with several people standing at the back. I feel sorry for the comedian who was the first act. He went down like a lead balloon. Well it had been a long day for most people and presumably too tired to respond to him. His second show was very much better and quite funny. My first day -I was impressed by the Azura including the lifts - no problems getting to the restaurant on the 6thdeck On the slow boat to Dublin Ship very slow, travelling at less that 10knots. Dined in the Verona for lunch. Buffet style with plenty of choice which was more or less the same each day. But good enough to have a different lunch each day of the 15 day cruise. Very impressed with the service. On with the show Day 2 the 45 minute show was the P&O resident Theatre Company - The Headliners. A very polished song and dance entertainment. The sound quality, lighting and special effects were excellent. We were to see them five more times during the cruise. Other entertainers ranged from the excellent - Tenor from New Zealand and a classical pianist- the mediocre -various singers, a group, another comedian- and the disappointing - a comedian past his 'use by' date. There was no real variety. One problem with a trip to the Arctic is the outdoor cinema was of little use. I did try to watch a film, they did provide you with blankets but they were of little use. Pity! The films could also be seen in one of the other entertainment areas. By Design The library was very tiny and also housed the internet computers (five of them). The room could comfortably have 10 people in looking for books or on the internet but no more. Tiny compared to the 3400 passengers. Yet the art gallery is very large. My suggestion is that the library and the art are switched. The internet was very expensive so after two sessions I decided it was a waste of money. The Lifts There are plenty of lifts - a totally of 15 for passenger use. But be warned getting from Aft deck 6 to the Peninsula or Atrium or from the Peninsula to the stalls in the theatre will result in frustration as you discover that you have to get to Deck 7 first. If you are over 60 it will take a 40 day cruise to get used to the layout. To be fair the lifts were never a problem and most of the staff were able to direct us. Disappointments The Sindhu was very disappointing, lacked flavour and presentation considering it was supposed to be 3*- even charged for the water. Up until the last night the food had been excellent. The last night I had lemon chicken. It was essentially a chicken wing with a piece of lemon and was not particularly tasty. I noted that this was just after we had handed in the assessment questionnaire of the cruise. The duty free shop as far as I could tell was not 'duty free'. I was told that the prices charged depended on the cruise. For example Gordon's Gin in the Med would be less than £10 (my last cruise it was £9.50). Duty on 1 litre of Gordon's Gin is £12 +VAT. So they would claim that the RRP for 1 litre of Gin to be £34. So P&O you did not take the duty off. Full price at Tesco is £19. But very often you will find it at around £16. So I settled for Martini Xdry @£6 per litre. Having said that the price of drinks on board was reasonable. Disembarkation - Fantastic, took only 25 minutes to get off and through customs. 50minutes and We were on our way home. I'll leave others to comment on Activities and Trips. Overall well done P&O very good value. We have booked again on the Azura for an autumn cruise - same cabins. PS. Forgot to mention Jitesh, my excellent cabin steward very friendly and could not be faulted. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
AZURA Baltic cruise, 26 May 2010 - Great people, but some real issues. First time cruisers though we did a "crossing" on the wonderful QM2 last year. I am a wheelchair user, my wife is a celiac, so some may find the feedback on ... Read More
AZURA Baltic cruise, 26 May 2010 - Great people, but some real issues. First time cruisers though we did a "crossing" on the wonderful QM2 last year. I am a wheelchair user, my wife is a celiac, so some may find the feedback on accessibility and food choice useful. What follows is we hope a balanced review which reflects a good holiday but equally suggests that P&O have not got everything right with Azura and some aspects will be very off putting for certain potential customers. Embarkation. We arrived early, had a 15 min wait in car park queue and 30 mins in the check-in hall at the bright and breezy Ocean Terminal. Disabled access is good here & you should go to the "mobility assist" area, it will pay off. We were onboard in 30 mins, were directed to deck 15 for lunch which was fine and in our superb (disabled) inside cabin by 2.30 as promised. All very smooth and well managed. Disabled stateroom L248 Lido Deck 15. Outstanding. Loads of room. One of the best designed disabled accessible bathrooms we have ever seen. Good wheelchair turning space, excellent wheel-in shower area with a very good large fold up seat and good access to wash basin. Toilet has grab rails on two sides but if you need three rails ask about this before booking. Cabin steward (Manoj) was excellent. All in all a very impressive accommodation. But....this is state of the art Azura, or that's what P&O tell you in the brochures. Two different people designed this ship. One did the disabled cabins, the other the rest of P&O's flagship. LIFTS. Appalling, simply appalling. After the absurdly poor safety briefing we waited 45 mins for a lift back to our cabin. It must have been a one off we thought....wrong. P&O have built a` ship the same size as Ventura but put 500 more passengers onboard. Most were 70+ and/or disabled. We were babies in our early fifties but we aged 10 years waiting for lifts on this cruise. It just doesn't work, too many people, and a lift service where only one lift seems able to stop on a deck at one time. Peak times it's a fiasco. You need to leave 30 mins before dinner to arrive on time. This is not OTT, the lifts are not able to cope and it can spoil your day, trust me, this is a serious problem and if you have no choice but to use the lift prepare for absurd waiting times. THE RETREAT. Again, appalling. We really wanted to use this innovative facility but on this brand new state of the art ship it is NOT accessible to wheelchair users or those who don't fancy climbing loads of steps. How P&O can justify this is beyond me but there is no lift inside the three-deck spa / retreat facility and access to the wonderful heated pool with its wave machine is up 3 steps, then 7 more, then down another 7. Crazy and hugely disappointing. And even the staff were embarrassed that this has been allowed to happen and spookily it isn't mentioned in the adverts.....indeed we had three calls before the cruise trying to sell us spa packages. THE FOOD. We were club diners in the Oriental, 1st sitting. We were so lucky to have a table of 6 superb companions. Great conversation and lots of laughter. Such superb company can and did make for some very enjoyable times. Food was generally good. A couple of ordinary meals but overall lots of good eating. Portions are a bit small at times but in truth there's always more if you ask. Service was good. We also tried "Seventeen" which is P&O's attempt at a celebrity restaurant without a celebrity and it is amazing. Really good and a steal at £20pp cover charge. "Sindhu" is fine dining Indian style and equally good. Subtle flavours and surprises between courses ! We loved our meal experience there and both this and 17 are worth the extra money. The Glass House was a favourite, great "taster" plates and really good turf and surf and very sweet wine ! Verona and Venetia were okish and we heard that the Italian trattoria was excellent. My wife is a coeliac and providing you make your meal choices the night before with the menu provided then you are pretty well catered for. Less well if you turn up unannounced at an alternative venue but even then they will try to sort things. ENTERTAINMENT. Very mixed. Headliners Company did 6 shows which were ok'ish but the lead vocalists lack "range" and the Playhouse gets absurdly crowded for the middle of three performances. Warning : there are just 6 disabled spaces in the Playhouse on deck 7 and 8 on deck 6. It's very poor this and given the huge numbers of less-than-mobile people on this cruise it's a real shame that P&O do not understand the issues this causes. The rest of the entertainment is made up of Tribute Acts and Comedy, and we thought much of this was disappointing. A couple of the singers were good and to be fair if some stopped describing the entertainment onboard as "west end" quality it would ease expectations. We got a bit bored on sea days in particular when there really isn't enough to do if the weather is poor. We mostly had great weather but try watching the disappointing "SeaScreen" in rain and a cold wind, it's not fun. TOURS. We did 5 disabled accessible tours. Very expensive but we found them to be outstanding vfm. Mostly it's just 4 of you and your professional guide. How good is that ? We enjoyed Tallin and loved St Petersburg and Copenhagen and Oslo were real highlights. P&O are the only company who can be bothered to help disabled customers in this way and they deserve great credit for so doing. If you need accessible transport then try these tours but note that in some ports like Stockholm there are free accessible shuttle buses. In a few like Oslo and Kristiansand you can walk in from the berth. OVERCROWDING. What can you say ? It's a mix of greed and poor planning added to inadequate design but for us Azura is simply not able to effectively cope with 3100 passengers. There is an extra deck of cabins and one lounge less than Ventura. It doesn't work, it's just too crowded in the public areas and the lounges (Manhatten and Malabar) are too full too often. And did we mention those LIFTS ? ! We met lots of very nice people, the staff were generally very good and the ship is pretty but flawed. We rested and appreciated the sun and the trips ashore and eat pretty well. Not a bad holiday by any measure but Azura is far from perfect and some of the problems are serious enough to surely impact on repeat bookings. If anyone wants more on the disabled access etc very happy to discuss ! Read Less
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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