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25 P&O Cruises Azura Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

My wife had a specific diet entitled a "thick pureed diet" and we sent all relevant documentation before we booked and p & o customer services sent them direct to the azura who replied that this diet would be no problem so we ... Read More
My wife had a specific diet entitled a "thick pureed diet" and we sent all relevant documentation before we booked and p & o customer services sent them direct to the azura who replied that this diet would be no problem so we booked. The first evening meal the soup was served with bits of leaves in it directly against directions in this diet and it then went from bad to worse! On two evenings she was served a bowl of water that stank of fish! The thick puree should stand in its place when served if you place a fork on top of it it should leave an imprint of the fork in the food and you should be able to eat the food with the fork without it falling through the tines of the fork. So how can a bowl of smelly water comply with those instructions? The instructions we sent showed how to make a thick puree diet how to thicken it up or thin it down if need be to get the right consistency. This was never done in all meals for 9 days! By this time my wife was starving so we went to the buffet each night to see if there was anything she could eat there like soft deserts with custard! The meals served were too thick one day or like water the next or had very large lumps in it or garnishes or leaves all against the instructions we sent! It was just as if the chefs on board could not be bothered or it was done out of spite! The only other conclusion is that it was incompetence or not one chef on board knows how to prepare a thick puree diet. Obviously we rate the dining as nil/zero absolutely awful. Entertainment was ok but its time jimmy james retired! I enjoyed the quizzes but I always do. The manahement were appalling re the food issues. They did nit help at all! Overall very poor and we will not travel with P & O again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise to med due to no flight and husbands disability’s needed wheelchair, unable to take scooter as booked wrong cabin so had to push husband around for a fortnight , annoying because scooter smaller than wheelchair , ... Read More
We chose this cruise to med due to no flight and husbands disability’s needed wheelchair, unable to take scooter as booked wrong cabin so had to push husband around for a fortnight , annoying because scooter smaller than wheelchair , explained this to p&o but not sympathetic , we had s superior deluxe balcony cabin plenty of room for scooter which we explained breaks up for ease. Therefore husbands independence totally ruined, also other passengers very mean and rude when we were in the lifts , lots of tutting, the nights turned into some sort of snob based black tie affected rude and ruthless ordeal , difficult to get seats in playhouse , entertainment low standard was strictly cruise not enough dance shows interview with type shows no variety second rate singing groups , we dined at sindu restaurant waitress rude , felt very rushed by her , food not that great, 1st and last cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
A travellors we wanted to try the Caribbean & I would confirm this was not a great introduction I feel I must start with the bad. While booking our cruise I completed an accessibility & Medical Assistance ( 4 pages ) form as ... Read More
A travellors we wanted to try the Caribbean & I would confirm this was not a great introduction I feel I must start with the bad. While booking our cruise I completed an accessibility & Medical Assistance ( 4 pages ) form as my Father In law ( 84 )was coming with us. As you can guess nothing was provided. We flew from Gatwick to Bridgetown Barbados with transfers to the ship, I arranged a wheelchair at Gatwick, also at Bridgetown to the coach & to the ship also a wheelchair on board. The holiday was Barbados sailing to St lucia, St Kitts, Antigua 5 days at sea, Ponta Delgada in the azores & 3 days to Southampton. Due to Hurricanes in 2017 this changed to returning to Barbados to resupply & 8 days at sea to Southampton which was not amusing. At St Lucia My wife & I went Quad biking with ATV & it was fantastic. At St Kitts My wife went Kayaking/Snorkling & my Father In Law & I went with a Land rover Island Tour & Beach break. Firstly the sea was so rough the Kayak excursion should have been cancelled, my wife a strong swimmer ended in the sea & had to be rescued. the beach we went to, a mixture of sand & volcanic ash with a slope to the seas edge & with each step you sank & fell into the sea. My Father In law tried, but strong waves just turned him over. The aforementioned is relevant as on arriving home he was rushed into Torbay hospital with bad stomach pains ( Trachia Virus ) & my wife with a bad cough to the doctors ( Essex ) & both given antibiotics. A week later while writing this review my wife still coughing & Father In law is contacting the paramedics again. Back to Azura. We dined in the buffet for breakfast & lunch & the Meridian Restaurant for dinner. The buffet was good standard fair & the Restaurant food & service Excellent. Whilst on board we took advantage of the Brunch & Galley tour. we toured the galleys speaking to the Chefs & staff. From the Meridian after the galleys we collected the freshly prepared starter then Dinner & followed with dessert. an amazing experience. Being a retired engineer & Father In Law a retired LLoyds Registry Ship Surveyor gave us an insight into maintenance issues. we initially noted water stains on a foreward carpet, ceiling tiles in the theatre were water stained & at a guess longer than 12 months old. Leaving the ship noted 3/4 large rust patches starboard side just painted over. Deck 15 ladies toilets no paper & bins full even though 2 men in whites looked after adjacent mens & ladies. Ash trays on deck 15 on 4 occasions left full all day. Our balcony port side had rust spots, though father in Laws on starboard side was clear. This ship cannot be far from refit. In conclusion the Meridian restaurant waiters & cabin stewards for B101 & B218 are a credit to P & O Azura. Remember if you holiday in the Caribbean, Do Not Drink The Sea Water. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The original itinerary was changed by the hurricanes to substitute Guadeloupe for the destroyed Tortola in British Virgin Islands. As Hurricane Irma, Harvey, Maria and Katia barrelled their way round the Caribbean in the Autumn of ... Read More
The original itinerary was changed by the hurricanes to substitute Guadeloupe for the destroyed Tortola in British Virgin Islands. As Hurricane Irma, Harvey, Maria and Katia barrelled their way round the Caribbean in the Autumn of 2017, we became very worried about whether there would be enough left standing for us to enjoy. It was a needless concern, because we visiited nine islands and saw no damage. Boarding our P&O chartered Thomson's Dreamliner at Gatwick, we hopefully waved au revoir to our cases and settled in for eight hours of reading, announcements, meals to be eaten like a praying mantis and, of course, funny smells. It was a pleasant flight; the Dreamliner being what it is, we had to keep looking out the windows to make sure the engines were turned on because it was quiet enough to hear people scratching. Luckily, the driver found Barbados in the middle of nowhere and we duly landed to be greeted by a wall of heat and friendly faces. The forty minute coach trip to the P&O Azura was fascinating. Barbados is quite a flat island (the only one in the Caribbean that wasn’t made by a volcano) and so the loveliest scenery is mainly around the beaches. Our first trip to the Caribbean and the things we discovered. • Most places have taxi marshall's outside the welcome terminal. They will manage which taxi (minibus) you get in, leaving only when full (but at least they leave the AC on!). You pay at the end of your return journey after they pick you up at the appointed time. • Take US dollars and Euros. Don’t bother with Eastern Caribbean Dollars and be careful you know which “dollars” you are being asked for. Make sure your change is in US dollars. • Everywhere you go there is music. If you don’t like reggae, go somewhere else, because that is the theme running through most islands. • Rum Punch is often quite strong. Two will make you tipsy, and don’t mix it with their Carib beer at 5.2%, something I learned rather than heard. • Caribbean people are friendly, vibrant, kind, church-going Christians, happy and bring their children up really well. They seem to have proper family values and standards. They don't have drug problems - they have drug-trafficer problems because of their unfortunate geographic location between grower and user. • Wherever you stop, there is a terminal area with markets, shops, stalls, music and bars where you can buy duty free goods. These are invariably more expensive than in the town. Antigua (Pronounced “ANTEEGAH” - saying “ANTEEG YOU AH” singles you out as a “newbie”) A gorgeous and spectacular island, the inhabitants of which are 99% church-going Christians, and all of whom are lovely friendly souls. We went on the “Best of Antigua with Lobster Lunch” excursion for the best lobster I have ever had! Apparently another excursion with a lobster lunch was not nearly so good, so be careful which one you choose. This one visits Shirley Heights, Nelsons Dockyard (Lobster Lunch), the spectacularly beautiful rain forest and finally Mitties Bar by the beach. Verdict - Lovely island and people, safe as houses. Mitties Bar rum punches are stronger than you think. I know that now. St Kitts and Nevis A pretty little island with lovely laid back friendly people. We did the train journey round the island which had some lovely surprises, rattling and rolling it's way round that central mountain. Others did the beach and thoroughly enjoyed their day. The shops near the ship were great fun, as were the bars. Smashing friendly people. "Don't worry ...... be happy" Amber Cove - Dominican Republic This is a shopping and recreation centre built by Carnival Cruises as a clean safe oasis in the Dominican Republic. If you've been to Disney-World, it's a bit like Main Street USA. We didn’t find anyone who did the Puerto Plata (nearest town) excursion and enjoyed it on account of the fact that it seemed to be a tour through landfills. Nobody said they felt safe in the town and, outside Amber Cover, you can pay for a day at the hotel and beach next door. Those that did, didn't seem very happy with it. This Amber Cove “Carnival Cruises oasis” is clean, safe, ringed with steel fences and very well appointed. There are pools, loungers, bars, shops, water features and views, most of it being free. I loved it but others thought it was false and man-made. Which it was. I still liked it though. You don’t have to spend anything if you don’t want to. Unfortunately all telecoms were down so nobody could use the free WiFi or pay with cards. Rickshaws take you from the ship to the entrance.. It’s free, but a $2US tip per trip is gratefully received. Martinique (Actually, France, and therefore Europe) Much nicer than Guadeloupe. This was more up-market - the currency is Euros, very few take dollars. We did what most people do and took the boat from the dock to Pointe de Bout ($7 return per - person pay on board). From here you can walk to the right to a pretty, exclusive and expensive beach. Drinks here, especially on that little bar in the water, are shockingly expensive. Alternatively, walk straight on from the jetty through the lovely shops and bars (normal prices) to the big more popular beach. The boats also go to other nearby beaches which we didn’t visit. The people are lovely, friendly and helpful. And French. Yes I know. All the reviews about rudeness are unfounded. The boats are backwards and forwards from the dock every half hour. Some people walked round the town instead and reported it to be very pleasant, although a lot were closed because it was a Sunday. Guadeloupe (France again) Not our favourite stop. Use Euros and not dollars, try and speak some French if you can. We did the excursion called “Highlights of Guadeloupe” which might have been wishful thinking because some felt the highlight was getting back to the ship again. The waterfall was underwhelming, the botanical gardens a muddle and the plantation and distillery a health and safety nightmare. The rum shop was good though - every rum product you can imagine, so that made the trip worthwhile. People who did the excursion “St Anne’s Beach on your own” had a much nicer time and said it was quite safe and very pretty. Wish we'd done that! I’d like to be able to say all the people we met were friendly. Do not wear jewellery or use your mobile phone in the street. Some passengers didn’t take that advice, regrettably. Our tour guide advised us not to walk anywhere that has buildings above three storeys. Scary! The capital Point de Pitre is like downtown Marseilles. We wouldn’t walk round it, something the Captain advised over the ships tannoy before we docked. The reason that P&O haven’t been to this island for the last twenty years was no longer a mystery. Grenada Paradise. Take the water taxi from near the berth to the beach. $10pp return, $20 for a luxurious sunbed and very large brolly. A bucket of six beers, surrounded by ice costs $15 and is served by waiters who will come round to see if you need anything. Lovely beach for swimming and just chilling out. Water taxis are travelling backwards and forwards all the time. The island is safe and friendly, the people lovely, sand clean the landscape gorgeous. It used to be British. St Lucia Beautiful port, lovely friendly people. The terminal area is a chaotic mass of taxi drivers and tour sellers trying to sell you something. Just walk on, they have nowhere else to tout for business - it’s just not very well organised. People loved the beach trips and the kayaking. We found the people friendly and fun. The terminal building has shops on two levels. Whatever you do, make a point of going upstairs to Shirley's shop. She and her shop are wonderful! If you walk out of the terminal area, turn left and go to the local market a little way on the left. We had such a great time there laughing with the ladies and buying bits and pieces. If someone approaches you and hands you a handmade object or anything else, don’t take it because they will only accept money and will say you bought it by taking it. This isn’t dangerous, it’s just a nuisance. A couple went to Vigie Beach by bus. It cost $18 each return and everything they did was very expensive - umbrellas, chairs, drinks. They said they hadn’t expected to pay so much for a day at the beach and that facilities there were very basic. We were late leaving St Lucia and the Captain advised us not to venture into Castries after dark. It used to be French. St Vincent and the Grenadines A lovely friendly safe pretty island that’s almost more British than Britain. We went to the botanical gardens by taxi - $20 return. Very peaceful and beautiful place to spend an hour. Oddly, we spent two or three hours behind some beers in the terminal area which was totally the opposite of St Lucia - probably because of the people, the music and the beer! With reggae music in the background, and $3 for a local beer, why go anywhere else? Some people went to Bequie island by water taxi, where the beaches are beautiful, but there are no seats or umbrellas for non-residents. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise for our 50th Anniversary, we've been on the Azura before & enjoyed ourselves. Our cabin was lovely, food & entertainment fantastic, The Entertainments Team lead by Benne worked so hard, so much ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 50th Anniversary, we've been on the Azura before & enjoyed ourselves. Our cabin was lovely, food & entertainment fantastic, The Entertainments Team lead by Benne worked so hard, so much energy. The Sail Aways were exciting & got people into the swing of things. Staff all very helpful & understanding. Great choice of food in the Buffet, so much. Varied menu in the Dining Room, always steak or chicken available if menu not to choice. We enjoyed getting off of the Ship & seeing the lovely places. We didn't go on any excursions this time & just did our own thing. We didn't manage to go ashore at Santorini as on that day we were very tired, w saw the donkey's waiting to take people up the steep trail to the top and the cable car but having read that Santorini isn't very suitable for wheelchairs, thought best not to attemp it. Went to Art Classes on the Ship on Sea Days which was fun. Steve Richards the Artist wad great & very willing to share his knowledge. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The journey through the Norwegian Fjords was stunning. The itinerary was excellent and the ports were easily accessible - important for my wife who is disabled. All the staff were helpful and friendly and we were very well served by our ... Read More
The journey through the Norwegian Fjords was stunning. The itinerary was excellent and the ports were easily accessible - important for my wife who is disabled. All the staff were helpful and friendly and we were very well served by our excellent cabin steward. The accessible cabin was roomy enough for my wife to easily turn her walker and the wet room was both essential and excellent. The balcony was fine. Being overlooked was not a problem as generally people only came as far as the rail [ which they would need to do to see us from above] at sail away times and then they were more interested in the stunning scenery than watching their neighbours. The cabin could not have been closer to the lift which was ideal for my wife. The cabin was well soundproofed and we were not disturbed by noise from the lift or other cabins. The ship itself was generally well kept and, other than the buffet restaurants, we never had a problem of getting a seat in one of the bars. We didn't go to the Playhouse where the main shows took place but were impressed with the entertainment and background music in the bars. All in all an excellent cruise and I would have awarded 5 stars except for the following. - the lounge area in the cabin was wonderful for relaxing and watching the scenery in some comfort. However, the curtains, both main and net, were well past their sell by date and ill fitting, spoiling the ambience of an otherwise nice area. Generally this area of the cabin needed refurbishment. -there were two televisions in the cabin but both were small and past their sell by date. There was little of interest on offer through the TVs so, on sea days, we would have welcomed seeing a newly released film. The only location where this was possible was on an open sea deck with blankets as cover from the wind and cold of the North Sea. We think it would have been reasonable to show a film or two in the comfort of the Playhouse for those of frailer disposition. - we opted for freedom dining and the Meridian restaurant did not disappoint. We enjoyed all the meals we had in this location. The buffet restaurant was more hit and miss - excellent cold meat salad but disappointing Beef dish where the meat was tough, and breakfast bacon full of fat from cooking. Our main problem with the buffet was the scrum that ensued to get your meal. My disabled wife gave up the struggle as it was almost impossible for her to manoeuvre through the throng of people. As always staff offered help but part of the experience of the buffet is to see what is on offer. Getting food was only half the problem. One then had to, often, walk some distance before finding a table to share by which time food was getting cool. I'm sure that overcrowding in the buffet is a real irritant, not just to disabled, but also the able bodied. Despite these issues we thoroughly enjoyed our trip and would travel with P and O again Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There ... Read More
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There was a lovely member of staff in the Verona restaurant, the staff in The Beach House were brilliant, the cabins are nice, the Electric Avenue show was good and mum loved the cocktails.The team running the tenders were lovely and looked out for the travellers with disabilities.The large number of hen parties even sang in tune........... All of that couldn't make up for the sarcasm from the member of staff who did the life jacket demo in muster station D, the lack of food & drink availability when we arrived and very few staff. Just someone to say welcome and then no one. Just a blip I hear you say, must have all been getting the ship ready to sail. And so I thought....until breakfast in the buffet restaurants was chaos and then a two hour wait to get off of the ship (after the busy time they told us to avoid). Take a ticket and sit an wait til called. All stuck in one of the lounges for two hours with no offers of drinks. Told to stand by the side of the room and constantly being told to be patient as they have 3000 to get off of the ship. Surely, you say, they knew how many people they have on the ship and would have thought about this.........Eventually got into St Peters Port at about 12.30 and only stayed a couple of hours as last tender leaving at 5 and they have to get the 3000 people back! Went to The Beach House and paid £10 extra each as not impressed with food in buffet restaurant. Food was good and apparently the extra money buys you the service you should expect anyway.. Didn't even see our cabin steward but they must have been around because we got a chocolate every night. Disembarkation was just another dose of totally disorganised splendour. People had kept their luggage with them rather than trust P & O with it but had to be out of their cabin by 8am. So off they went in the lifts to the buffet restaurants which mean't we couldn't get lifts down to get off the ship. This was meant to be a lovely birthday treat for my dad, who is now 80 and has lost his sight. Have been on cruises with Thomson so thought that he would receive the same consideration and pampering as we have had with them. Made sure that we let P & O know about dad's disability but, other than a scrappy A4 sheet of paper on the first day with large print of the excursions, nothing. Unfortunately dad had a fall whilst getting of the tender but no one bothered to check this morning to see if he was ok. So considering that surely a taster cruise is the 'shop window' for more cruises with P & O, would I ever travel with them or recommend them? I'm sure you can guess.......... Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
itinery P&O reputation Just returned from this cruise what a let down. Tired ship,and crew.. Food in Oriental not of a good standard they cant do potatoes and get them hot, had to return a few dishes. The waiters were ... Read More
itinery P&O reputation Just returned from this cruise what a let down. Tired ship,and crew.. Food in Oriental not of a good standard they cant do potatoes and get them hot, had to return a few dishes. The waiters were unskilled clearing places whilst people were still eating and reaching across people to reach plates. The wine waiter was brilliant. We had an adapted cabin L248 avoid if you want a quiet night theres a constant gurgling. The cabin steward was o.k but not perfect. The itinery was marred by not being able to dock in Rekyavik [high wind] so no whale watching trip. No refund of mooring fees letter to P&O on the way. Entertainment disappointing not a lot going on on sailing days. The buffet food was at best luke warm never hot enough. . Isaford is a complete waste of time. There were 3 of us and luckily the above did not spoil our fun. This is the first and last P&O cruise. When we got back to Southampton we were taken off at a different terminal and had to pay for a taxi to get to our car. All in all very disappointed and not good value. I will be writing to P&O CEO to complain We had booked the Belfast tour and Titanic museum but P&O couldn't help us get an adapted taxi despite promises so we ended up staying on board Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose to drive and received free parking. The parking arrangements were amazing We handed over our keys and our luggage were gone in one foul swoop! NEVER have we had a hassle free parking like it. Return was the same. So easy!! ... Read More
We chose to drive and received free parking. The parking arrangements were amazing We handed over our keys and our luggage were gone in one foul swoop! NEVER have we had a hassle free parking like it. Return was the same. So easy!! Embarkation was also very very smooth, i am less-abled and I bonding the boat was looked after first class. Our room was R403 which is an inside larger, We loved the room so much, it was spacious and kept well looked after. The theatre was really comfy and of high quality! We loved the sea screen and watched loads of films, the staff covers the cushioned sun loungers with covers with fitted pillows, there are lovely blankets to put over you to keep the breeze off too. The pixels were a little broken in places, mostly this didn't bother us...Films were great too. We chose freedom dining, The restaurants were really nice and the food first class. If you shared with others you had to wait until all dinner were ready before you got yours so the down side was waiting, We didn't mind at times as it was rather nice to get chatting to different people. The swimming pools were fun and there was an adult only pool which is nice if you don't want to kids around. The hot tubs were lovely and hot. Plenty of towels available! The buffet...Not great I'm afraid to say! Many people said this is deteriorating each time they sail on the Azura! This is our second cruise, our last cruise was a bit more expensive and you could really tell by the few hitches.... the service was by fare not brilliant on the Azure in comparison and the buffet food wasn't up to scratch, We have booked to sail again next year to Iceland with my mother in law who will love this typically British ship. Good price in comparison to other cruises Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The main reason for choosing the cruise was the itinerary (Gibraltar, Ajaccio, Civitavecchia, la spezia, Monte Carlo, Marseille and Cadiz). Due to being a Powerchair user our previous cruise resulted in us missing out on accessible ... Read More
The main reason for choosing the cruise was the itinerary (Gibraltar, Ajaccio, Civitavecchia, la spezia, Monte Carlo, Marseille and Cadiz). Due to being a Powerchair user our previous cruise resulted in us missing out on accessible shore excursions to Rome, Pisa and Florence for this reason we decided to go to the same ports. This time prior to the cruise we decided to contact p&o cruises and arrange the shore excursions for these particular port. Due to us having a large party the accessible excursions were not suitable for 7 of us. This was no problem for p&o cruises there gave us all the information we needed and provided us with private excursion options, although the private excursions were expensive it made the difficulties of being a wheelchair user in a foreign country stress free. In both civitavecchia and la spezia a private mini bus was waiting port side and available to us for duration of the day. A guide was offered to us but we did not take up this option we wanted to explore by ourselves. Having been on previous p&o cruises we sort of knew what to expect and having been on the azura's sister ship Ventura we were use to the style of the ship. Azura's was a nice ship but simple things made navigating the ship in a wheelchair more difficult, for example only forward lifts were available to deck 16 and with no toilets on this deck numerous trips along the decks and up and down lifts during the day. another example was our restaurant was on deck 6 at the back of the ship we would regularly meet at the front of the ship in Brodie's bar also on deck 6 this resulted in us before our meal having to use the lifts up to deck 7 across and back down to the restaurant as one of the kitchens on deck 6 is in the way. This was not a big problem but did make navigating the ship more difficult. During the day the number of open bars was very limited most were closed till 5 in the afternoon making the bars congested and difficult to find a table. Other than that the bar service was to a good standard but the limited number of waiters did make waiting for a drink that little longer. On a whole this wasn't the best p&o cruises experience we have had, having been on the Ventura in 2011 and Britannia last year it is natural to compare standards of how it was last time and what has changed. But on a whole the main restaurant staff, friends and family, weather, entertainment and the private excursions made the cruise a fantastic experience. As the cruise was a strictly come dancing themed cruise many events were available for people to attend such as live shows with dancers from the show, dance lessons and autograph sessions were available but this was not in your face. If you didn't fancy these events you didn't have to go there was plenty of others things to do and see. The live shows were free and tickets were allocated to the cabin giving everyone the opportunity to attend if the wanted. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Review Our cabin was On the Lido deck no L 248,an inside cabin, it was the last assessible cabin available when we booked. The cabin I must say was very comfortable, a good size, where the wheelchair could be used. Our cabin steward, ... Read More
Review Our cabin was On the Lido deck no L 248,an inside cabin, it was the last assessible cabin available when we booked. The cabin I must say was very comfortable, a good size, where the wheelchair could be used. Our cabin steward, Agnelo, from India was a gem. Being on Deck 15 was very convenient, as the Buffet Restaurants, pools, sail-away parties were all on deck 15 The theatre, The Playhouse was huge and had a designated area for wheelchair users on level 7 but the great disappointment was that the view of the stage was very restricted because of a long bar which really spoilt the view ( wonder if it serves any purpose ) the place for wheelchairs in the Theatre "Playhouse" on deck six were really good. We had to get there about half an hour before the shows started because the theatre gets packed and there are a number of people who stand throughout the shows!! The shows were very enjoyable and we made it a point to go every evening. We enjoyed the 'Headliners" and Ben Makisi's voice was super. We had opted for Anytime Dining so had dinner at the Meridian. Good food excellent service. The Buffet Breakfasts were overcrowded on port days. The served breakfast at the Penninsular Restaurant were always good. First port was Belfast and we opted for the P & O tour to the Giant Causeway. Left by coach just after 9am and returned by 3:30. The coach stored the wheelchair in the hold. My husband was able to climb up into the coach with a little assistance. At the Causeway Visitors Centre we took the wheelchair to the shuttle bus that goes down to the Causeway stones, this bus was wheelchair friendly and had a ramp so my husband stayed in the wheelchair. At the Causeway where the bus dropped us he could get a good view of the stones too. Had coffee and sandwiches at the Visitors centre cafe which was overcrowded. It was an enjoyable day with beautiful views. The ship crew were very helpful with the disembarkation and embarkation each day. Our next port of call was Stornaway. It was a tender port. We were told by the crew that the tender ride was long and the waves made the crossing difficult. As we did not get bookings for the P&O excursion that we wanted to go for he opted to rest that day. All the executions to the ports get taken up quickly so it is essential to book the trips at least three months before departure. We booked The Golden Circle tour with P&O in Reykjavik. This was the top excursion on my list and I am so happy to have done it. The weather was quite nice and we walked from the coach to the amazing continental divide. The view point was easy for the wheelchair to get to but it was not suitable to go down to the actual ridge. Next onto the Golden Falls. This was great to do even in the wheelchair and we had super views of the grand falls. We then went to see the geyser that erupted twice while we were watching. The steaming earth was a good site. We then went to see into the mouth of a volcano, Pesi too came and we had a good view. Returned to the ship for a good dinner and skipped the night entertainment and headed to bed. We got up early to go for breakfast and enjoy the gorgeous views as we entered the tiny town of Isafjorour. It was very beautiful. We had booked a tour, which drove us through some beautiful country side, enclosed by snow capped mountains. We had coffee and pastries at a small pretty cafe, visited a church, heard Icelandic Music and went to lovely little garden. After a lovely trip we were caught in a light shower while waiting to return to the ship. On Monday 27th June we were in Akureyi, a beautiful little town of North Iceland. Our tour with P&O started as a gorgeous bright sunny day. We visited the wonderful Gooafoss waterfall, a good view from the Coach so did not have to take the wheelchair out. Next we visited Lake Myvatn and a crater. We had a coffee and cake stop at a little cafe. We have been amazed that even the tiny places had wheelchair Assessable toilets!!! These places have a population of only 30,000 people, spread over vast areas. Next we visited the Lava fields with the lava castles at Dimmubergir, this was not assessable by wheelchair but had a good enough view from the coach and our last stop were the thermal fields with boiling hot gurgling purple and yellow cauldrons. Then the rains started as we headed back..... Luckily it stopped when we were to embark the ship. Great dinner and entertainment before we headed to bed. Two restful days at sea but not much to do. Roamed around the ship. Eat drink and be merry! Tomorrow another port. Lerwick..... Lerwick was a tender port. A bright sunny day and that too in Northern Scotland!! Got ashore and took a taxi ( cost us £45/- per hour for a van for 6 persons) for a three hour ride on the most beautiful costal route to Sumburgh Head. Every view took our breath away. Then at the end we saw such lovely puffins, most were nesting in burrows near the coast and we had super sightings. Next we went to a beach to watch seals. They were all sunbathing. It was a wonderful excursion. Next port was Kirkwall. Booked an excursion to Orkney Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Well we are back from our Azura Christmas cruise (flew out 25th Dec from Manchester on the dreamliner). I was going with an open mind as we usually do, we have sailed on Ventura and oceana and a few other cruise lines prior to p&o. I ... Read More
Well we are back from our Azura Christmas cruise (flew out 25th Dec from Manchester on the dreamliner). I was going with an open mind as we usually do, we have sailed on Ventura and oceana and a few other cruise lines prior to p&o. I was hoping we would like Azura as we loved Ventura. I have to say that this was the best cruise by far for us, it even beat our cruise around the Caribbean for our honeymoon 10 years ago, and we had our two young children and my mum with us. I have to say the age range of the passengers was great a real good mixture and there were also 300 children on board which it never seemed that many. There was a great atmosphere on board and we made friends with young and old. While on board we renewed our wedding vows to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary, as we did want to marry at sea. Captain Camby was lovely, funny and really chatty guy and I love his thoughts of the day. Kids had a ball in the kids club, my daughter is disabled but she had an amazing time too, both got really upset when leaving. They put on a little nativity play which they all did really well remembering their words. I felt 99% of kids were well behaved, there were a few 'on the loose' with no parental supervision and some of them were 16/17 and getting into a spot of trouble but nothing to spoil our holiday. By the time we arrived Christmas day and got on board we were too tired to get off so decided to dump our hand luggage in the cabin and take a mooch around and register the children at club. As were were club dining we could eat at either 6.30 or 8.30pm on the first two days but we decided to do our own thing until the formalities set in on first sea day. Quick drink up top deck to watch the sunset and off to bed. The next day we got a taxi to Harbour lights in Carlisle bay (wanted to do boat yard last time but didn't get round to it and didn't fancy taking the children). I knew I wanted to find the guy who takes you out to snorkel by the turtles and snorkel over the ship wreck. This was an amazing trip, turtles swimming under me, the kids enjoyed it too. Tortola we paid for a ship excursion to Jost Van Dyke, all I can say for the brief few minutes we were there it was beautiful, I was gutted we had to leave asap, as my mum had a caught her leg on a sun bed and lost quite a lot of blood. Spent the next couple of hours in medical while they stitched her up. Amber cover we used the new facilities, what a lovely port area.The water park was amazing, my kids didn't want to leave, plenty of sunbeds too, Captain told me they always try and make sure only one ship is in with them, it would have been crowded if two ships were in. St Maarten was new years day, we wanted to go to Maho last time we were there but never got round to it. We took a cab to Mullet bay first which is a 10 min walk from maho. The beach is stunning but the waves and current are very dangerous for small children, even we got knocked down by them trying to keep hold of the children. We walked to maho and spent a couple of hours at driftwood bar the opposite end of the busier bar. We missed the klm coming in well we saw it from mullet, but witnessed the klm take off, now I wasn't standing in the jet blast and still got blasted with sand and stones and bare the bruises on my tummy, how these people can stand directly in front of it I don't know. Antigua we took a walk to the bus station and took the bus to turners, originally it was going to be Ffryes but the lady at the bus station said it was a far walk. We weren't disappointed with turners it was a lovely beach. We got a taxi back St Kitts, mum stayed on the ship and the kids went to club. We wanted to see what ship wreck bar was like on South Friars and just go for a walk. We asked the driver to stop at timothy hill to get a pic. The weather wasn't great here, at one point we were running from a storm/rain cloud ha ha. Loved ship wreck bar too. Little Adonia joined us and we had a good blast off as she left. Martinique we didn't book anything we were planning on getting the ferry across to one of the beach but the weather wasn't great so we just had a little walk in port, brought some rum and back on ship. I was hoping to make use of an empty ship and sunbathe but ended up doing the hokey cokey with my bags getting them under cover every time it rained! I was ok sitting on a lounger in the rain though! We have been to St Lucia before and did a trip to the pitons, so we decided to stay on board as I knew St Lucia isn't the best for beaches. The children were very tired so we let them sleep in until the woke up. We just sat on the balcony so I was gutted when we had the container side ha ha! Once the kids got up they wanted to go to club so we sat on top deck and had 2 hours peace before picking them back up. Then spent the afternoon with the children in the pool. Grenada is our favourite port, we did a bike ride 10 years ago with ocean village then went to a lovely beach morne rouge. This time we booked the rhum runner, mum felt up to it and the kids were looking forward to the dancing. I knew I wanted to get off and get my spice necklaces and spices first so we did that in the morning while mum came to our cabin while the children slept. The Rhum runner was so much fun, very loud and lots of laughs and dancing not to forget lots of rum. The children had some coke (their first time) and told me it was their best drink ever, they won't be having it again. An officer was waiting for us from the ship to hurry us all along. The captain was on the bridge and we all gave a good wave and he waved back. The trip is a must do - so much fun. Pity it is at the end of the holiday though when you need to pack!!! We booked the taster menu in the Glass house £30pp and 6 glasses of wine to accompany the food. Really good food and really good wine. Loved the glass house and really recommend, but you have to book quick as the places are limited. We ate in the buffet twice for dinner and once for lunch. We had 8.30pm sitting in Oriental, our waiters were great and we had a wine waiter which we weren't sure about as we had read that p&o had got rid of them. Our manager came to me every night with the menu the next day to pick my food as I am a vegetarian. I had to send food back once as I had mould on my yorkshire pud, I told them to take the yorkshire away and to keep the rest of my food as I was enjoying it, but they said they couldn't. Because they rushed my course to get it out it was all under cooked and not very enjoyable so I just told them to take it away in the end which I was gutted as I was enjoying it originally. Food was good generally but we have noticed a decline over the years, both in main dining room and the buffet, this was just an observation after cruising with P&O before, it certainly didn't spoil our holiday. We used the pizzeria and grill a fair bit at lunch and the grab and go next to the grill, some nice salads and sandwiches. Breakfast we mixed it up between buffet, restaurant and room service depending when the children woke up and what mood we were in. We have always found the entertainment not to be the best for our age range but we enjoyed what we did see this time. We had Jon Fisher as Gary Barlow, he was brilliant, Freddy Mercury tribute was brilliant, a ventriloquist who was so funny, we couldn't stop laughing all way through the act. We loved accent on top deck too. We didn't use any of the other bars as we were mainly in breakers or up on top deck while the weather was lovely. New Years Eve on top deck was brilliant, unfortunately our dinner service wasn't very good in Oriental which meant the kids didn't eat until 10.10pm and no one come to tell us that they had over cooked the food and started again, it was only when we told them we were a bit disappointed. This meant we got up to top deck late and there were no seats. We sat with a family we made friends with and had to get the chairs that recline to be able to sit down, but everyone was doing this. Darcey Bussell was on board and on stage with the captain and we let the new year in. Overall a brilliant cruise and our best by far. We usually put down a future down payment while on board but we decided not to as we want to come to the Caribbean again but I find it hard fitting it in with the kids holidays except over Christmas, they wanted £10k to go this year on Britannia, but I need to pay some of this cruise off first, so it will be a land based holiday for us for a year or two and maybe going back in two years. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Excellent trip.highlights ville France, ajaccio and cadiz was 5 star food in restaurant's very good, more choice required in cafe restaurants. Sindu restaurant excellent. Entertainment and bars excellent, shows in theatre like the ... Read More
Excellent trip.highlights ville France, ajaccio and cadiz was 5 star food in restaurant's very good, more choice required in cafe restaurants. Sindu restaurant excellent. Entertainment and bars excellent, shows in theatre like the West end but shorter. Would recommend the private train to Rome. Waiters and staff very helpful and happy. Cabin cleaned every day and towels changed twice aday. Boarding the ship was a bit long and tedious, but to be expected with the amount of people to board. Sail away days on deck very good and entertaining. Only complaint some of the lifts kept being taken out of use and when they tested the generator no lifts worked Read Less
Sail Date September 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 2015
This was our first cruise on P&O as we have previously cruised with Carnival, Thompson and Princess. We chose to go from Southampton this time as Mum has recently moved in with us, after losing Dad in January this year and we wanted ... Read More
This was our first cruise on P&O as we have previously cruised with Carnival, Thompson and Princess. We chose to go from Southampton this time as Mum has recently moved in with us, after losing Dad in January this year and we wanted to give her the cruise experience. Mum has never flwon before so we reluctantly opted for P&O from Southampton. Well we had a fantastic time. The ship is spotless (only a couple of years old) and our disabled cabin was amazing. We had a disabled balcony cabin (C302) on deck 10 and it was a really large cabin with a great wet room style bathroom, plenty of wardrobe space and tea & coffee facilities, which Mum loved and a huge balcony space. Entertainment and food was faultless and ports of call were amazing. We have booked our 2nd P&O cruise for 2016 in April for mine and Mums birthday, this time on the Ventura and cruising the Canaries for 2 weeks, however we are also off to the Med at Christmas with MSC, so Mum is taking her first flight!!! Who knows where we will end up if she enjoys flying!!! Definately recommend this ship and P&O. The only neg I can think of is the crew were a bit less "attentive" than we are used to on other cruise lines, but all in all a fab holiday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
From the early booking stage, the forms now sent by P&O, for all disability and wheelchair users are easy to fill in and now are in a format that can be completed on the computer and returned via email. We booked a flight from ... Read More
From the early booking stage, the forms now sent by P&O, for all disability and wheelchair users are easy to fill in and now are in a format that can be completed on the computer and returned via email. We booked a flight from Birmingham Airport and we had to talk to Thomson airways to confirm they could take the power chair, as there is a limited amount of space on the aircraft, and I was able to discuss if there was any further information they needed before we departed. I had to purchase an air safe key, to disable the power chair for the flight, and this cost £12.00 off eBay. I was also advised to get to the airport a bit earlier due to the amount of time needed to check in. Check in at the airport take a little while as the power chair has to be checked but having the manual and all the relevant data helps to speed you through check in. Then off to check in with the ground staff who would help with getting on the airplane and storing the wheelchair on the airplane. Then off to the waiting area were you have to report to the disability area half an hour before gate opening and then wait to be called. Once at the gate all the disabled are take down the skyway and helped aboard first. Pre booked seat are a must one less hassle. Arrival at Barbados, which was late in the evening and dark, proved to be the first problem with a standard taxi being supplied and the staff on the ground saying they could put the wheelchair in the boot of the car. No chance, as the chair does not fold up, and it weighs some 80+kgs. Although there was a mix up the guys decided to put the chair in the baggage compartment of the bus after folding the seat back down and two of the guys lifted aboard. Then off to the ship and check in with the wheelchair to follow although this could have been a major problem if I could not have been able to transfer to a taxi. We make sure a request for an adapted vehicle is made on the disability form we send to P&O. We resolved this problem for the return by going to the reception, on board the ship, and they contacted the ground staff to book the relevant vehicle for the return journey. We missed the embarkation photo and garland as we had to go a different way through the security check all those done it on board the ship. We had been on the ship before, although not with the electric wheelchair, and we knew that access was best from the forward gangplank and perhaps I should have been told which gangplank to head for. One thing I have to say is every time we embarked and disembarked there was staff to help me up and down the gangplank with a bit of banter and a smile. Because of the wheelchair I did not want to drive through the food area of the self service of the restaurants so I parked the chair and walked in with two sticks. Help was offered to carry a tray and put food onto a plate and then carried to my table, but my wife always fetched and carried for me. There is some problems when the restaurant are full as it was difficult to sit at a table of four and often the larger, which are round, people would not always sit on the fixed seating. For anyone who could not get out of the chair the staff will remove a chair and make space for the wheelchair. Busy times are the worst but we found most people would make space and shuffle around to make room. We had booked freedom dining which suits us best as the early sitting is too early and the late too late. We found that a table for eight is about as big as one can communicate with all the people but an optimum size we found was six. We met some nice people and had a variety of different conversation and not all are about what, how many and who one has cruised with. I wanted to walk to the table and was able to park the wheelchair outside buy the reception desk and we were always allocated a table within a short walking distance. If one had to stop in a chair they would make sure you had easy access to the table. Lift were not a problem as when empty I could drive in and turn around so I could drive out. Most passengers were helpful making way for me to get in and out of the lifts and we had some good banter when the lift was full. There are always one or two people who try and get into the lift as I tried to reverse out and both I and the wife told them off and although we had some dirty looks no one complained. I have seen several reports of people complaining about the number of scooter on the ship and I only saw three and only one about the ship but several manual wheelchairs pushed about by partners. We saw some people who used a wheelchair only to transfer to and from the airport yet were able to walk long distances into town when visiting ports. Cabins are ok with enough room to drive a wheelchair and to turn around and with access to the balcony but the drop down section that fills the gap for in between the sliding door could do with a method of lifting the infill section without sticking your fingers underneath to lift up. Cabins on B deck have a narrow balcony which would be difficult to get a wheelchair out onto. Those of C deck have a lot larger balcony and would easily allow the wheelchair access and be able to turn around. The shower is large with a good size seat to sit on and can easily accommodate a wheelchair and lots of handrails around the toilet and shower area but the wash hand basin is set at a standard height as are the mirrors and sat in a wheelchair it’s difficult to use. Access from the cabin to other areas of the ship was easy as the lifts were right outside the door and the communal decks were easily got to with good walkways even when busy. Getting to deck 15 is along a short corridor and through manual operated double glass doors and then electric wooden doors. I only came across a cleaning trolley once and was able to squeeze by. Everyone I met in this corridor gave way by stepping into the doorways and allowed me to pass. Once on deck to get a bed to sit in the sun was always a problem on sea day, as is on any ship, but is more difficult when you are in a wheelchair and have to park it close to the bed so I could get out of the chair. I don’t want the cruise ship to allocate an area for wheelchair users yet it would be helpful if the end beds on a row could be allocated for wheelchair users how you police it I have no idea. Access to the theatre is good up a double dogleg ramp and an area for 3 wheelchair users per side and there partner/carer but the chairs are too low for the partner/carers to see over the wooden balustrade. Either the chairs need to be higher or the balustrade removed. The staff on duty each evening at the theatre will instruct non wheelchair persons who sit in these chairs to move so don’t be afraid to seek help to gain a seat. The return transfer was faultless with the correct vehicle waiting. There was a minor hitch on boarding the airplane as the ground crew were not aware of what a flight key was or how it worked.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This is now about the 8th or 9th cruise review that I have created, and 3 of these were on Azura and Ventura, so you might think there was little more that could be said, unfortunately for P&O that is not the case because IMO there is ... Read More
This is now about the 8th or 9th cruise review that I have created, and 3 of these were on Azura and Ventura, so you might think there was little more that could be said, unfortunately for P&O that is not the case because IMO there is quite a lot to say about their declining standards. But for all their faults we did enjoy the cruise because even with reduced standards a cruise is still a very enjoyable way to spend 17 days in pleasant accommodation, with all meals provided, plus a wide variety of sometimes quite excellent entertainment. Where I make comparisons with Celebrity Eclipse this is purely because that is the only other line we have sailed on recently. The cruise was 17 nights from Southampton to Venice and back, with port stops in Cadiz, Messina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Malta and Lisbon. The best bits included an excellent cabin steward who really did keep our cabin clean, as well as providing a very prompt and efficient service for any requests we made. The entertainment was very good, including the best tribute act at sea, Steve Larkin as Freddie Mercury, some excellent Headliners shows with very good singers, one of the best party bands at sea in Catch 22 fronted by a superb female singer, two very good young dancers in Joanne Almond and Leighton Jones performing exhibition dances in the Atrium as well as teaching latin dance classes and culminating with Craig Revel-Horwood, Darren Bennett and Lylia Kopylova featuring in the Strictly Come Dancing finale. Interestingly we had two Cruise directors on board until Neil Oliver disembarked in Venice and left Liam-Jay in sole charge, and the entertainment staff certainly do put on some excellent sailaway parties. The accessible shuttle service in Venice was first rate, the buses were in easy walking distance of the ships gangway, at the coach park in Tronchetto we were met by a P&O guide who led us down to the Vaporetto landing stage and pointed us in the direction of the ticket booth, then advised us that he would be there or at the car park on our return. But the best bit was that the fare, a return trip down the Grand Canal to St Mark’s Square was Euro 2.60 for my wife in her wheelchair whilst I, as her carer, travelled free. But this is where the bad bits start for P&O. They also offer an accessible shore excursion in Venice complete with Venetian guide, but as far as I can see this tour offers very little extra from our own DIY experience, other than a guide who, according to P&O’s excursion information provides only minimal assistance and cannot stop at any monuments to give any historic or cultural information, but P&O charge £90pp for this tour. The following attachment takes you to the P&O on line info. and if anyone can see the extra £88.89 value in this tour please let me know. https://ask.pocruises.com/help/PO/on-shore/cu_access_shorex The one ships excursion we did take in Malta cost £60pp, which sounds pricey but with only 10 or 12 passengers in total, in a specially adapted vehicle with a driver and a full time guide for the 4.5 hr. trip, is probably in line with most other accessible shore excursions. Our other complaints on Ports of call were the lack of accessible shuttles in Corfu and Dubrovnik both of which require a shuttle to reach the town centre. Whilst I accept that P&O is limited by what the local agents can offer, in Corfu at least some of the local transport buses do have a central ramp access, so why cannot some of these be hired, and what pressure, if any, is being applied to these ports to provide some wheelchair access vehicles. Poor service in the dining room is probably our major complaint, there appeared to be more than enough waiters in the Meridian freedom dining room, but service was very erratic with sometimes quite lengthy waits between courses, and this slow service led to several people either opting to skip the desert and coffee, or miss their chosen show. Possibly the problem is in the galley, if so someone should be seeking improvements, but we never had a table visit from a head waiter or assistant Maître D’ in our MDR during the entire cruise, but we did dine in the Oriental dining room one night with friends and the service there was much better, not rushed just a reasonable pace, and the assistant Maître D’ visited us twice to check if things were OK. Similarly the table clearing service in the buffet was also erratic, and again although senior staff were present and sometimes helping to clear tables, there seemed little or no management being exercised, unlike our experiences on Celebrity where the head waiters actively encourage the staff to clear any used crockery, and ensure that service standards are maintained at a high level. The general cleanliness standards in the public areas were also well below Celebrity levels, as an example I never saw a dirty lift button on Celebrity, on Azura I seldom saw a clean one. Probably the other major complaint was the quality of the food in the MDR; meat standard in particular was well below even our previous P&O cruises, and several stars below Celebrity. The presentation on the plate was often very amateurish and quite a lot of the main course dishes were too cold. Maybe the proposed change to plated meals will improve both the serving temperature and help make the vegetables a better match to the main dish. However I do hope they improve the quality, it started badly for me with a rather tough and stringy sirloin steak on embarkation day, complete with tasteless savoy cabbage and what looked like Tesco everyday value croquettes. The “shaped” roast potatoes, P&O’s description, looked as though they had been sliced from a long stick of frozen reconstituted potato and for the first week they were undercooked. The mushy peas served with most fried fish dishes looked as though they had been measured in a tiny egg cup, much less than one mouth full. Rack of lamb was one rather tiny lamb chop and 2 small thin slices of rather fatty lamb which might or might not have been from the leg. I could go on but you get the drift; it wasn’t all bad but certainly not up to past standards. However we had no complaints about the quality of the food in the buffet, although we only ate breakfast and an occasional lunch or afternoon tea there. The choice for breakfast was extensive and should satisfy most people, lots of fresh fruit, a large selection of cereals and porridge, along with croissants, Danish pastries and toast as well as my choice of good old British bacon and eggs; and for afternoon tea the freshly baked warm scones with jam and clotted cream take some beating. There are some things on P&O that are better than Celebrity though, the lighting in the cabin bathroom with a light over the shower area, a washing line in the shower and better drainage around the roll in shower area, but Eclipses bathroom has more cupboard and shelf space around the sink, and looks to be better quality. However the P&O cabin has far better wardrobe, drawer and shelf space than Eclipse, their coffee mugs are also much better than Celebrity’s tiny glass cups, but the cabin furnishings and quality of bed linen on Eclipse are better; and, other than C deck on Azura, the Eclipse standard balconies are more spacious than P&O. Overall for wheelchair users Celebrity’s Solstice ships are much better than P&O’s Grand class ships. The cabin doors have powered entry and exit, and all the doors on the public areas have automatic openers, and the toilets also have powered push button access. Most of the floors on the public decks are carpet free including the sun deck, which makes pushing a wheelchair much easier than over a carpet. Hopefully Britannia will have lost those silly lengths of carpet on the sun deck, surrounded by rubber beading which makes wheelchair travel very difficult; and they perhaps they will also mark out a walkway which could be kept clear of sunbeds. Port Information. Cadiz – this is one of our favourite ports and easy to DIY, even with a wheelchair, you exit the port straight into the town itself. The old Town area has some semi pedestrianized shopping streets, and an interesting market building with a fascinating sea food section. Messina – again you exit the port straight into the town and only a short distance from the Cathedral with its animated clock tower which has a daily show at noon. This is possibly the only attraction in Messina for wheelchair users, as the streets inland get progressively steeper, and P&O do not offer any accessible excursions here. Corfu – As commented earlier there are no accessible shuttles or tours here and the area around the commercial port is not at all pretty, we found a reasonable café about 1km from the ship but that was the extent of our touring. Dubrovnik – Unfortunately there was torrential early morning rain here and all the ships tours were cancelled by the operators for safety reasons, which was a pity as we had a tour booked and this was the only place we had never visited. Again there was no accessible shuttle offered and since it continued to rain most of the morning, although not as severe, we stayed on board rather than risk taking a taxi. Venice – I covered this earlier but should stress just how easy it was for us to use the Vaporetto (water bus) even though my wife is a full time wheelchair user when outdoors. The boats manage to berth at each stop without any gap between boat and dock and, although the boat does move up and down a bit it is easy to get on and off as long as you pull the chair backwards. You board in the centre of the boat and there is seating fore and aft, all on the same level with spaces next to the boarding area especially for wheelchairs. Malta – We had planned to DIY here using the new lift, which is only 200 yds. from the berth, to take us up to the upper Barack gardens and then into Valetta itself, but swapped our Dubrovnik tour for one here instead. The tour was to Mdina but also took in a visit to a newish Roman Domus museum just outside the walls. The Saturday traffic jam, plus problems with the wheelchair lift in the Domus reduced our time in the old walled city, but our very amusing guide kept us entertained throughout. Lisbon – We were berthed down river at Alcantara which meant we needed a shuttle to take us into town. There was quite a long wait for an accessible bus on the way into Lisbon, but fortunately no wait at all on our return. The area the shuttle drops you is quite central and includes a couple of large squares and a pedestrianized street with lots of sidewalk cafes and plenty of shops to browse. This part of Lisbon is still near the river and quite flat and is relatively easy for wheelchair users, but further inland the streets become steep and quite unsuitable for wheelchairs.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
First time crusie from Southampton - I was impressed how easy this was. Booking of the trip via a travel agent was not good. In the end I delt with P & O direct. I booked this 4 night cursie for myself and my disable mother. ... Read More
First time crusie from Southampton - I was impressed how easy this was. Booking of the trip via a travel agent was not good. In the end I delt with P & O direct. I booked this 4 night cursie for myself and my disable mother. Getting on the ship was great, no problems. Cabin was great, but not very clean. Air Con did not work well, we were always feeling cold. Butler service was very poor, only saw him once and then on last night he was looking for us so we could tip him. Entertainment was very poor, in fact we were so board on sea day, we just walked around the deck for most of the morning. I used the self service option for every meal. Food was good but service was so poor, table never wiped clean, service to clear tables very slow. I will never use the self service option for breakfast ever again. Too many people, no clearing of tables. Staff at times were very rude, I had overherd a converstion a member of the entertainment team were having with a passage, It was so bad i complained, nothing was done about that member of staff. If i had spoken to a customer in that way, i would have lost my job. Most of the staff were unfriendly, no greetings, no smile. Even the captain. The one exception was the staff in the spa. I would never travel on the Azura again, perhaps i may try a smaller P&O ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Azura A308N Western Med. Cruise April 2013 We travelled down from Yorkshire the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Botley Road, a perfectly acceptable modern budget hotel, but alas no central heating in the rooms and Easter ... Read More
Azura A308N Western Med. Cruise April 2013 We travelled down from Yorkshire the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Botley Road, a perfectly acceptable modern budget hotel, but alas no central heating in the rooms and Easter week 2013 was bitterly cold. The room heating is provided by an electric radiator which works only when the single key card is in the power slot, so the room cools down rapidly if you are not in it. Despite this we managed, and the included breakfast was well up to budget hotel standard and did include a hot section. Travel time to the Ocean terminal was about 25 minutes, including a short wrong turning. Because this was an early season cruise we had chosen a partly obstructed accessible cabin rather than a balcony. This was a very good choice as these E deck cabins are exactly the same layout and dimensions as the balconies, and the partial obstruction only covered the bottom half of the window and allowed in plenty of light; and it was £350pp less than a balcony. Over the first few days we felt that dining service standards had slipped significantly since our Ventura cruise in June 2012, but it was probably due to us comparing it with our last cruise in September on the Eclipse. Little things like Celebrity ensuring the freedom dining table was quickly filled, and only then would the waiter introduce himself provide menus and then give the table his views on the night's menu. Also the assistant Maitre D' would be constantly patrolling and ensuring things were running smoothly and sorting out any minor problems, and the sommelier (wine waiter) always within view seeming to have eyes in the back of his head.; and despite never feeling rushed service was maintained at a steady pace without any unnecessary delays. This cruise it felt a little like a school dining room, menus were given out immediately upon seating, no introduction by the waiter, no information on the choices unless you asked, and lengthy waits for the table to fill up, and between choosing and being served, as a result we missed the start time of several shows. In addition the wine waiter was seldom there when wanted and the assistant Maitre D was noticeable only by his absence. However by the end of the cruise things seemed to have improved or perhaps we had just become accustomed to the service level. It will be interesting to see if our perception of Celebrity standards had been rose tinted when we take our next Eclipse cruise in June. Which brings us to the standard of food presented; again I felt that although the choice was still quite extensive the quality, especially of the steaks, was well down on previous experience; but having said that it was still good and certainly much better than my own cooking at home. We did not use any of the speciality restaurants on this cruise, again probably Celebrity's fault, since after experiencing the location of their Tuscan Grill overlooking the ships wake from promenade deck level, Seventeen and Sindhu just do not compare. We mainly used the buffet for breakfast and an occasional lunch or afternoon tea; we found the quality quite good and always found a seat somewhere, even if we had to search for a while. However the design with two separate sides is not the best, we prefer to have a walk through central section which allows you to choose seating from both sides. However our cabin steward was one of the best we have had, nothing was too much trouble for him and he looked after the cabin very well and was extremely polite and friendly. The entertainment was enjoyable, the Headliners were up to the usual standard and there were good tribute acts, singers, and comedians. But the show timing was poor, theatre shows at 8:30 and 10:30, Malabar shows at 8:45 and 10:45 and Manhattan at 9:30 and 11:30, which made it a bit difficult to see two consecutive shows, that is if you wanted a seat. On Ventura last year most of the Headliner shows had a third one at 7:00 or 7:15 which, because we are freedom diners and my wife a wheelchair user, suited us far better. Trying to obtain an aisle seat on the ground floor level to sit next to my wife in her chair proved almost impossible at the 8:30 show and 10:30 is too late for us. However by the end of the cruise some seat back top covers had appeared on the aisle seats, which had printing on the back asking that the seat be reserved for wheelchair user carers, pity they had not been on from the start. We did not book any accessible port excursions, but decided just to do our own thing. Lisbon - it was still cool and a little damp in the morning and because of this, combined with a crew emergency drill at 10:00am which included the lifts being out of action and the fact we had been before and Azura was berthed way downstream from the tourist centre, we decided to stay on board. Gibraltar -- it was warm and sunny and there is a level walk into the town centre, which is relatively easy when pushing a wheelchair. There is one main shopping street and quite a lot of pavement cafes which enabled us to while away a couple of hours. Barcelona -- there is a shuttle to take you from the port to the world trade centre which is about 100yds from the bottom of Las Ramblas. For wheelchair users there was only one accessible bus, so you need to be prepared to wait and not be in a hurry. Ramblas is uphill but it is only a shallow incline, and there are interesting stops along the way, the market and a couple of squares with lots of pavement cafes. Valencia -- the shuttle takes you to the old town which has lots of charm, is quite pedestrian friendly and masses of old Churches and buildings to admire, as well as the ubiquitous pavement cafes. Malaga -- there was a shuttle bus into the centre but a short walk will take you into the town or to a local beach. We chose the latter and walked along the promenade and of course stopped for drink at one of the cafes, this time beach rather than pavement. Cadiz -- we had wanted to take a tour to Seville but P&O did not offer any accessible tours, so we wandered around the town and found Cadiz to be our favourite port on this cruise. Lots of narrow winding streets, a very pleasant park area and some nice beaches, as well as lots of old buildings including the cathedral which started life as a mosque back in the days of the Moorish occupation. This is all contained in a small peninsular which enables you to see most of the town easily in a full day stop. We have another Azura cruise booked for October this year, but for 2014 we will be on Princess and Celebrity, enough said! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We have cruised for the passed 5 Christmasses so when P&O Azura was cruising to the Canaries on 15th Dec for 12 nights we thought we would book the cruise. Embarkation at Southampton went very smoothly and preference was made for ... Read More
We have cruised for the passed 5 Christmasses so when P&O Azura was cruising to the Canaries on 15th Dec for 12 nights we thought we would book the cruise. Embarkation at Southampton went very smoothly and preference was made for scooter and wheelchair users. The balcony cabin was a good size, big enough for the scooter but the balcony, although large, was very dark due to the top being covered by the deck above. Very little daylight. The cabin steward, Rony, was excellent and tried his best to find me a stool for the shower to no avail. Being disabled it is hard for me to stand in theses small showers. Having had Neurovirus on board on the previous sailing the use of hand wash was enforced during the first few days but seemed to rely on passengers to do it voluntary with no supervision after that. Resultently it reappeared during the cruise. The food and service was excellent up to Xmas Eve but seemed to fall apart after that. Fortunately we elected to dine in the Sindu restaurant on Xmas Day and had a marvellious meal. The passengers who used the dining rooms were not as fortunate. Poor service and shortages in the various courses. The atmosphere on Xmas Day was like a morgue. Other than a show for the children on board and the officers putting on a bit of a panto in the theatre for an hour there was no further evidence of Xmas spirit. We expected Carol singers to circulate around the ship. No such luck. In the Atrium they were giving a Samba lesson for half an hour after lunch. That was it. The waiting staff, in the dining rooms and cafes and bars took all the time to crack a smile. The entertainment, on the whole, was good. Only one bad comedian spoilt it. Disembarkation was smooth enough. Last time with P&O I'm afraid. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 14th cruise but, after my wife suffered a stroke last summer, this was our first in an accessible cabin as wheelchair users, and it was just as enjoyable as all the rest. For anyone in a similar situation I would definitely ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise but, after my wife suffered a stroke last summer, this was our first in an accessible cabin as wheelchair users, and it was just as enjoyable as all the rest. For anyone in a similar situation I would definitely recommend trying a P&O cruise, they really do try to ensure that your disability will not be a handicap to you having a good time. We had travelled down from Yorkshire the day before so were able to have a late breakfast before a leisurely drive to the port, arriving about noon. CPS, the car parking group, really do a great job helping to unload your luggage and ensuring you have everything to hand before swapping your car keys for a credit card sized receipt to retrieve your car on your return. Once in the Ocean Terminal we were directed to the mobility "holding" area and added our name to their list. After about 20 minutes we were taken to a special mobility check in and from here we went straight onto the ship. I missed the announcement advising that cabins would not be ready until 2:00pm, as a result we were in our cabin by 12:45, and fortunately it was ready... I knew that accessible balcony cabins were 50% wider than normal ones but had not realised how much bigger this would make them feel. The standard walk in closet/wardrobe on Grand Princess Class ships is missing and even though the bathroom is bigger than normal this still leaves an extremely spacious bedroom area. Behind the large door is a space large enough to park the wheelchair, then a 4 door wardrobe with 75% of it for full length hanging space with a shelf above and the other has about 5 or 6 narrow shelves plus the cabin safe. The rest of that wall has a counter with the tea and coffee equipment etc. with the fridge and a cupboard underneath and above it the TV. , then the kneehole for the vanity area; on the bedhead wall there are 2 four drawer units both with an open shelf under the units top. And if you can fill all these cupboards and drawers, then you are taking too many clothes on holiday. The bathroom has a drop down shower seat; there are grab rails on the 2 walls and a shower curtain round the open sides. There is very limited shelf space around the sink and no cupboards anywhere, about the only downside though, and the picture of a Ventura wheelchair cabin on the website does not really do justice to the size and quality of the bathroom. The balcony, of course, is also 50% wider and this certainly makes it feel roomier. Our cabin was on A deck but I am looking forward sometime to booking a C deck cabin which with its double depth and the extra length should feel very spacious. Getting around on the ship with a wheelchair does create additional problems but none are major, waiting for lifts is probably the worst especially at busy times, and you do need to plan your movements to ensure you reach the correct floor area to access the venue you want, promenade deck 7, and Lido deck 15, are the only public room decks which give full access from stem to stern, so these become your major motorway routes. My wife did complain that some of the floor joints were a bit bumpy, but she blamed my driving for this. We travelled with my Son, DIL and 8 month old Grandson so our sunbathing was mainly confined to deck 16 aft, not the easiest of places to get to in a wheelchair, but we managed. My wife's mobility out of the wheelchair is limited and very slow, but she was content to use the chair for her sunbathing and I am fairly confident that on our own we would be able to find many places where we could sunbathe. Going ashore was fairly easy and P&O had it well organised, at the gangway 3 staff would descend on the wheelchair and carefully manoeuvre my wife down the ramp, same thing in reverse on our return. At some ports P&O even arranged for wheelchair accessible buses to supplement the free shuttles. The dire warnings in the pre cruise package that large tidal variations could compromise wheelchair users getting ashore never materialised. We chose freedom dining which uses the Meridian dining room on deck 5 which is easily accessed from the midship lifts, my wife stayed in the wheelchair for all her meals, including any we had in the buffet or speciality restaurants. Fortunately all the tables easily accommodated the wheelchair and gave her a comfortable dining position; I imagine that would apply to most wheelchairs. As regards the standard of the food on board there have been a number of negative comments about declining standards of quality and choice recently but we found both to be at or above our recent Celebrity and Princess experiences; and quite improved from our only other P&O cruise on Arcadia in 2006. You would need to be a very fussy eater not to find something to your taste either in the MDR's or the buffet. The entertainment was of quite a good standard, and the headliners theatre group was probably the best we have seen on any of our cruises, but the highlight was undoubtedly Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising, a Freddie Mercury tribute act. One tip is that deck 6 has, in our view, the best seating area for wheelchairs, most of the rows have plenty of space at the ends for a wheelchair and my wife stayed in her chair while I sat alongside. One very pleasant surprise on this cruise was the age profile of the passengers, even discounting the children, this cruise had by far the lowest average age of any of our previous cruises, and I think that this no doubt added to our enjoyment. In addition to lots of young families there were also lots of young couples aboard, and it was wonderful to see them all dressed up in their finery on formal nights, as well as the men sporting jackets on the semi-formal evenings. Overall we were very pleased with just about everything on this cruise. The service in the MDR was in the main excellent and the tables in the buffet were constantly cleared and cleaned, our cabin steward did everything that we requested and kept the cabin clean and tidy. Bar stewards were plentiful but not too pushy and of course drink prices on P&O are much lower than on US cruise lines. But probably the most satisfying aspect was how well we coped with the wheelchair. We were able to enjoy virtually everything that we used to do previously, and it was much easier and far less stressful than we had anticipated. As a consequence we will certainly be continuing to cruise in future. Read Less
Sail Date August 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 June 2011
Well I appoligise for the writing I have catteracts so writing this review is difficult along with most passengers we had booked 18 months in advance at what we thought was a once in a life time oppertunity 28 nights on the AZURA in ... Read More
Well I appoligise for the writing I have catteracts so writing this review is difficult along with most passengers we had booked 18 months in advance at what we thought was a once in a life time oppertunity 28 nights on the AZURA in caribean and USA at what we thought a bargain taking in Christmas and the New yearof £2500 pp . Before I start I am not hard to please I had thought 28 days away from the UK climate was reason enough to take this cruise The AZURA had no wow factor ship was always full of people rushing or in the case of getting to the Playhouse Theater stamppeading or queing there was no where to sit quitely inside as every venue was a walk thru The first thing you notice was the major cost cutting in all areas Both breakfast and dinner buffets where of cafe style quality with no taste or smell and then again a stamppead to find a table The evening meal could be good if it served before it was cold this was caused very slow service from kitchen to waiters Now the entertainment the Headliners where wonderful but as for the rest the entertainment budget must have been non existant the was several acts one called the mentalist useless, a majician you could see how he preformed the tricks a comedian who laughed at his own jokes good job as no one else did, a supreme tribute act who screached for half an hour then introduced them selves at least three times in all the worse act I had ever seen no I have not mention elton john and geoge michael tribute acts well they were no tribute so bad they could empty a room in 10 minutes There were other acts but in all only passable pub acts the ones you would expect to see at you local WMC. We were treated to two famous performers wait for it Tom O Conner and Des O conner both I was told were 78 years old Everyone I met were fed up with the cheap entertainment provided well the Christmas film shown on the seascreen on Christmas day was Meet me in St Louie this summed it up a ship bulit for the masses with cheap corney entertainment p&O CAN SAY NO EXPENCE WAS SPARED ON THIS CRUISE NO EXPENCE AT ALL Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Boarding: Took approx 30 mins from leaving the car with CPS to boarding the ship. Smooth and well organised. Cabins: We had 2 Deluxe Balcony Cabins, mid ship on A Deck. First impressions were of a clean, conservatively decorated cabin ... Read More
Boarding: Took approx 30 mins from leaving the car with CPS to boarding the ship. Smooth and well organised. Cabins: We had 2 Deluxe Balcony Cabins, mid ship on A Deck. First impressions were of a clean, conservatively decorated cabin with a couple of touches of colour in the cushions and bed runner. The walk in wardrobe does make the cabin feel smaller but will be appreciated by those with longer dresses and those who prefer a little more privacy when getting dressed. No sofa, just two chairs. Good interactive TV with around 7 channels plus dozens of on demand TV shows and films most of which were free. You can order room service using the TV and can check the restaurant menus in advance to influence where you may wish to eat which was helpful. Balcony was small but functional with two reclining chairs, a table and a footstool. As has been debated many times, Balconies on C deck are deeper however its a toss up between the extra depth and the loss of privacy given that there are three decks above who can look down on you. The Riviera deck above from mid ships to aft has an overhang which will limit sun for most of the day. This overhang actually impacts on A and B decks to some extent too meaning the sun has to be lower in the sky to catch the rays from your balcony. Our cabin Steward was excellent, very friendly and kept the cabin immaculate. We had an annoying creaking noise from the ceiling and after the third night spoke to reception who sent a maintenance chappie that hacked away at the wood trim that adjoined the ceiling. It solved the problem but I'm not sure P&O would be too happy with the damage he caused to the wood trim in doing so. Bathroom was compact but perfectly usable. Some complained about this but how long do you spend in the bathroom? Food: We had breakfast mainly in the buffet. An excellent choice of hot and cold food, and no traffic jams in accessing the buffet. Yes you had to look for a table but we could usually find a table, especially in the Verona Buffet toward the rear. We tried the sit down breakfast in the Oriental Restaurant which again was fine but we preferred the convenience, choice and speed, of the self service. The buffet at lunchtime was a bit disappointing. Food was a bit repetitive and at times canteen like. We tried the pizza place by the pool deck and thought the Pizzas were excellent. Freshly cooked and with thin and crisp bases. The hot dog and burger outlet served a limited range of food but again this was good although their tendency to handle everything by hand including grabbing handfuls of fries to plate up after just preparing beef, chicken and prawn wraps with the same hands was a bit off putting and certainly not veggie friendly. We chose freedom dining for our evening meals having used RCI's version of this the year before and enjoyed the flexibility. If you are prepared to share a table then there appeared to be no waiting but if you wanted a table to yourselves then this could incur a wait especially as the Playhouse shows ended. We were given a buzzer on 3 out of 10 nights and had to wait no longer than 10 minutes before a table for four came available. It's a shame you cannot reserve a time each day as on RCI but not a major issue. The choice was ok but did become a little repetitive with dishes whose name changed but really they were the same core meals. Lots of Beef, Pork and Lamb, some fish and one choice for Veggies in each course although nowhere on the ship are desserts marked up as suitable for vegetarians. Ice cream in the main dining room was said to be veggie but not that in the Verona Trattoria which seems a little strange. One of us was veggie and they found the vegetarian dishes to be rather poor and always on the small side. Nice to have lots of fresh vegetables but more salads would have been appreciated. I have to mention the soups. After a week we gave up ordering them. We all like soup but the ones we had were disappointing including on one night one which was so salty none of us could get past the first spoonful. However overall we always walked out of the dining room full. I have to mention the service. Now we can only compare this with RCI but we were not overly impressed. Yes it was functional but it varied considerably. It was as though the waiters were under pressure to turn tables so didn't have time to build any rapport. On one night we went from sitting down to having coffee in 45 minutes which was very rushed. On another night it took 1 hour 50 to complete our meal. I'm not saying that the service was bad, it just wasn't done with any flair. On RCI the waiters made recommendations and if you didn't finish a plate they were genuinely concerned and desperate to get you something else that would suit you. On Azura they just took the plate away. We often sat down to butter dishes that were empty and missing glasses and trying to get a second bread roll often meant several minutes of trying to get someone's attention. A couple of times we were seated next to a waiter station and they just appeared fed up. I hope it's not the case but we felt as though the waiters know they are getting their tips so don't try too hard. Perhaps in Club dining the experience may be different but on RCI we always were made to feel special in the main dining room. Speciality Restaurants: We tried them all and I've commented elsewhere on this forum about them so will just say that we were not impressed with Sindhu or Seventeen. Portions in Sindhu were small and under-flavoured and our meal in Seventeen took an eternity from start to finish (almost 2 hrs 30 mins from sitting down to leaving). Also our well done lamb came pink and our new potatoes were hard. My duck terrine was horrible and had a strip of raw duck through the centre surrounded by duck fat. Obviously everyone's experience is subjective but we were disappointed with both of these venues and thought they offered more style than substance. However, many raved about them so each to their own. Sindhu was usually very quiet but we had to book 4 days in advance for seventeen. We liked the Glass House. It's a lovely venue for just sitting and having a drink and the bistro type food is excellent and good value. This wasn't very busy as I think many preferred the venues with live music but we thought it was a superb space. The Verona Buffet turns into an Italian with waiter service in the evenings. You don't book and we tried it twice and had lovely meals. Plentiful and well prepared and as the cruise progressed this got very busy as more people discovered it. We had a room service breakfast for our sail into Venice and this was pretty good. Public Rooms: The atrium isn't huge and doesn't have a wow factor but it serves well as the hub of the ship and was never overwhelmingly busy but after experiencing RCIs Royal Promenade this was more like a hotel foyer. The bars on board are excellent, from Brodies pub to the cabaret bar Manhattan. All were a good size and very nicely decorated. Drink prices are reasonable and the choice is wide. Service in the bars was superb. The main dining room has 84 different bottles of wine to choose from! The layout of the ship isn't very user friendly and you did need to consult the maps to work out how to get to a certain area. For instance to get from the Planet bar to Reception you had to take a lift down to Deck 7, walk through this deck to the Atrium and then take another lift down to Deck 6. Deck 7 is the only Deck you can walk through although outside on this deck you cannot circle the ship entirely as the front section is for crew only. There isn't a natural flow to the ship however I have to say it swallows its passengers very well. On cloudy sea days you could always find somewhere to sit and the ship never felt overly busy perhaps because the public rooms are so disparate. This is despite the ship being full. Similarly up on deck you cannot get from fore to aft without a fair bit of up and downing. In fact there are rather a lot of steps to navigate the different levels from the Lido Deck up to the Sports Deck and the different levels around the Seascreen. However again because there were so many different areas we could always find somewhere to rest even on the hottest days. We didn't try the retreat. It never looked very busy, possibly because only a handful of the beds are in the sun, the rest sit under the big canopy to the front. I'm not a fan of having 'upgrade' areas like this. Surely it would be better to have this part of the ship for the benefit of everyone as on Ventura rather than limit it for the enjoyment of a small minority who are prepared to pay for it? We used the gym a lot and it is well laid out. We didn't use the Spa for any treatments but thought them very expensive. Entertainment: The Entertainment team worked extremely hard and the program of activities was very full. Again it's personal taste but we didn't enjoy the evening entertainment in the Playhouse. The Playhouse itself is a bit bland and lacking in warmth and the stage looks small in proportion to the seating area. We saw 2 Headliners shows but they were not to our taste. Many seemed to love them but we found them to be clichEd. The one featuring west end musicals was a let down as they chose lesser known songs from the featured shows. Strange when they have so much well known material to choose from-maybe a royalty issue? We didn't bother going to any more of their shows after this. If the headliners were not on it generally seemed to be different comedians and there is a lot of repetition with acts being on for 2 nights with a few days in between. The Seascreen was a novel touch and we did watch a couple of films whilst enjoying the sun but the films were repeated too often and you needed to be fairly brave to endure an evening showing in the Med in May. Ports of Call: We enjoyed the ports we visited, especially Venice, and if you are booking a balcony then go for one on the Starboard side as the sail into Venice at 7am is simply stunning. Where a shuttlebus was required there was no charge which is a nice touch. We took two tours from the ship which we thought were reasonably priced and well organised. Overall: We enjoyed the cruise. Azura doesn't have the wow factor. It's a nice ship with good facilities, is nicely decorated and does most things well. However we didn't feel it did anything exceptionally nor did it have any specific outstanding features but as a venue to cruise to different ports it's very comfortable. It takes a fair amount of time to get to grips with the layout which is far from logical but this isn't a bad thing as long as you like to explore. It feels very swish and many who had been on Ventura said this was like being on the same ship but with a bit more class. I still don't understand the marketing for Azura. It has been aimed at previous cruisers and couples but has the same capacity for kids and for entertaining kids as Ventura. There were only a handful of kids on our cruise so the kids facilities and the area they take up surely are wasted most of the time? Why didn't P&O keep Azura for adults and Ventura for families? Still can't get my head round P&O's marketing objectives. There really isn't anything about Azura that would draw us back for another cruise on her as there are there are many alternatives we would like to try. As this was only our second cruise we can only compare this with our previous cruise on the IOTS. We took a vote on our way home and all voted the Independence as the better of the two. 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
Sail Date May 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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