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17 P&O Cruises Azura Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Europe - British Isles & Western

We selected a 7 night cruise on P & O Azura to fit round my working commitments, my wife being retired. We chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off nice and early at 5am even though it was a Saturday ... Read More
We selected a 7 night cruise on P & O Azura to fit round my working commitments, my wife being retired. We chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off nice and early at 5am even though it was a Saturday sailing. Traffic and conditions were favourable so we had a great trip and were in Southampton for 9am so stopped at Tesco and COSTA Coffee and arrived in the CPS car park at 11am. That was very efficient, close and soon we were seated in the terminal. We awaited the embarkation process which commenced, as last year for Ventura, just before 12 noon and was as efficient as last year. Once on board we made our way to the buffet for a spot of lunch. Whilst in the buffet they announced that cabins were ready early so we made our way to Australia Deck, deck 12 and A223, our home for the 7 nights. A wonderfully clean and bright balcony cabin on the front starboard side of the ship with a very comfortable bed, arm chair, small but adequate TV and an ample bathroom. We met BB, our cabin steward who was excellent in the way he took care of everything brilliantly without being noticed at all. The cases arrived quickly so we unpacked we decided to check out the ship and found it most pleasurable and almost a copy of both Crown Princess and Ventura. We were also pleased to see we have been allocated Freedom Dining unlike last year and this we enjoyed. We were allocated the Peninsular Restaurant and the service was excellent in all areas that we got seated during the week. We really prefer to be on a table for two so had this option every meal time which was great. We had nice meals in every evening, so much so my thought of booking Sindhu and Bay Tree evaporated. The food was a notch up here to that on Ventura last year. Breakfasts were always taken in the restaurant and were of an excellent standard. We did the emergency drill on time and sailed almost on time. We had a nice sea day on the Sunday and of as it was a hot day it was busy on the outer decks with everyone taking advantage. We availed ourselves of most bars over the cruise but as we are not huge drinkers so it was more for a change of scenery than anything else. We enjoyed two of the three production shows (missed the last as we were late in the restaurant) that the Headliners cast put on and both were enjoyable, WE3 were a fantastic act, Tucker enjoyable. In other lounges the singers and bands were good, the second comedian, Tom Binns, in our eyes poor but of course entertainment is very subjective. We enjoyed the port stops and also the warm weather. We don’t book ship trips but made our own way without spending silly money. We enjoyed Hamburg & the layover in Amsterdam and did city tours at each and after dinner walked around Amsterdam taking in the sights on the second night when we had better weather than the rain of the previous evening. Second sea day was spoiled by a sea mist all day but that's no the fault of the ship or company. Le Havre was quiet, we walked round, visited a couple of churches plus some shops and if I went again I would take some form or tour or hire a car to get out and see the surrounding parts. The night sail back to Southampton was very pleasant without helicopter medical emergency as last year on Ventura. The captain was excellent and efficient in telling you about the cruise, the interactive map on the cabin TV could be better. My wife was disappointed with the Pilates class but that was a minor negative in a week of positive. Disembarkation was first class, we chose to take our own luggage off and literally had breakfast and walked off the ship, no customs issues or waiting in lounges for times to leave and we were in the car hitting the road back North by 8am. Despite some average to poor reviews I have seen recently on various sites I thought Azura was probably on balance the best of the three P & O trips we have had and I would not hesitate in booking again. I would mark this as a 4.5 / 5 (you have to choose 4 or 5 on here so I have put 4 but it was above that but not a 5) to be honest and chatting with many others on the cruise I think most had a good time and would hope they would also offer a positive review. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise for a fun hen party of 30, we had all ages from 20-70 and found the ship and staff catered extremely well to entertain all age groups. We enjoyed the food, hot tubs, pools (i was pleased to find there were separate ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a fun hen party of 30, we had all ages from 20-70 and found the ship and staff catered extremely well to entertain all age groups. We enjoyed the food, hot tubs, pools (i was pleased to find there were separate pools and entertainment areas for children), this allowed a much more serene and relaxed experience when enjoying the leisurely spa. entertainment and brugge itself. I didn't love that the dinner staff wouldn't leave our bottle of wine on the table. Or that you have to be out of the room at 8am following formal night. Generally speaking the cruise and entertainmemt staff were great and i would give them five stars for value of money. Unfortunately in my experience the dinner staff and cabin staff really let doen the ship. I also found the personal hygiene of some of the staff working with food disconcerting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise because the date suited us and we had never been to Lisbon city centre, Cherbourg town or Oporto, We cruised extensively over the last few years but mostly with American-based lines, ie Celebrity, Princess, Disney ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the date suited us and we had never been to Lisbon city centre, Cherbourg town or Oporto, We cruised extensively over the last few years but mostly with American-based lines, ie Celebrity, Princess, Disney and RCL and also with Viking Oceans, and I had slight reservations about whether we would find this ship 'too British'. It undoubtedly is very British in ways in which others are not, ie decent tea served, kettles in cabins, British bacon and probably more curries on the menu, but nothing I would regard as a negative. After reading the Cruise Critic's P&O forum, I was also a bit concerned about fellow passengers because many on there are very vocal about removing automatic gratuities. standards of dress on formal nights etc. I wish that P&O would include gratuities in the fare for the UK market to put an end to this nonsense and to prevent me from feeling that I am helping to make up the short-fall from those who remove them but say they are tipping their cabin steward and waiters in the Main Dining Room (MDR). What about the others who assist you? This cruise was at the tail-end of the staggered Easter holidays and we met more than one couple of moaners who told us they would not have booked had they realised that! I have no idea why they objected because almost every child we saw on this ship was well behaved and well dressed for the dining room. Okay so we got in one lift after two teenage boys fled only to discover that all the floor buttons had been pressed; I am sure they thought they were the first ones ever to do this but it was soon sorted by a couple of presses of one button which cleared them! Hands up, it was my husband who did this and I don't know which button. Our cabin, B534 was centre-aft, and was kept in very good order by Wilton, our cabin steward who was one of the most efficient we had had and was tipped extra for his excellent service. The cabin was good and the bed comfortable. I liked the private wardrobe/dressing area but did not care for the shower curtain, but then again, the bathroom is so small, it is probably a necessity, and a trade-off for the wardrobe arrangement. We did have some very rough weather one evening, just before we entered the Bay of Biscay and I was pleased to be close to the centre of the ship and have a good supply of medication for the event. This was our second of five cruises this year, (we did five last year also) and each other time we have chosen to have the variable dining time option but on here we opted for early seating fixed dining and we were happy with our choice on account of being allocated a table for two next to a partition and with a good space between us and the next table. We did share tables for breakfast and lunch and so did meet a good number of our fellow passengers; most of whom were good company and interesting (and not moaners!). We were happy with food on most occasions, and when we weren't it was generally because one of us had not chosen well. I had read previously that you are given more veg on a P&O ship and I would agree with this, so a big tick for P&O on that score. There was a difference in the level of presentation of the food on the Azura and the other ships we have been on, in that presentation is not rated as highly in my opinion. One meal in particular made me smile - it was turkey, gravy, roast potatoes, and carrots and it was plated up just as I would have done at home! Not a criticism by the way, just an observation. My roasties would have been better and the cranberry sauce not of a pouring consistency, but otherwise, the taste was fine. The service in the dining room was a tad slow and our waiters were just okay but nothing special, so they were not tipped extra and that is unusual for us, because although we do variable dining on other ships, we usually end up on a table we like after a day or two and stick with it and the same servers for the rest of the cruise. I loved that a MDR was open for lunch each day, including port days, which has not been the case on other lines. Probably the weakest aspect of the Azura was the buffet area, which we used only twice and at quiet times, but even so, there is little room to move around the areas where you get your food, so it must be real chaos when it is very busy. I was surprised not to have a choice of a soft drink to accompany a meal, only water. The entertainment was a bit disappointing because one cast show had to be cancelled because of the bad weather and a film was shown in the theatre that evening, which was fine, but I would have hoped that the missed show could have been performed the next day, which was a sea day. The guest speaker, Eileen Goulding, who spoke on topics such as 'Mystical Systems and Signs of the Ancient World' and was a bit monotonous if you did not find the subject fascinating, which we didn't. However, the Utterly Revolting Science show (performed in the theatre but aimed mostly at children) with Stefan Gates and an assistant was great fun and informative to boot! We were not interested in the art talks or anything else aimed at parting you from your money. Which remind me, P&O owe me money and I have not had a reply to my complaint made 7 days ago. I had OBC and checked my account mid-week, although my spending for the full week amounted to two coffees, two alcoholic drinks, one alcohol-free cocktail and a day's internet use. I purchased nothing else. Very easy to keep track of when you are not spending loads. However, my final bill showed £7.70 allegedly spent in the Oasis Spa - where I had never set foot! I of course went straight to the front desk and the young man told me twice that *if* there was an error, it would be corrected. I told him twice that it *was* an error, but here we are 9 days after the cruise ended and it has still not been returned. Oh and they have charged a mystery £1.65 to my credit card which is not even show on my bill. So watch your bills is my advice! I was very impressed that the shuttle buses were included in the price we had paid and used them in Lisbon, Oporto and Cherbourg. We did not take any excursions on this trip because it was the city/town centres that we actually wanted to see. We had been to Vigo in November and both times we caught a service bus (C1 I believe) from across the road and does a circular tour for 1.30 euros. This cruise we were in Vigo on a Sunday and so we saw more on the bus than when it was busy on a weekday, and also there was a festival happening not too far from the ship. It rained heavily in Oporto but we still enjoyed our walk around although did hear people express their disappointment with this port. We did not share this view and if the weather had been better would have walked down to the river. I went on this cruise thinking that P&O would be a 'one-off' for us, but whilst on board I realised that it would be great for my grandsons and so we are likely to be with them again, with the family next year. Really, I hesitated between the three dot 'average' and the four dot 'very good' because just a few little things would have elevated it for me. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We just arrived home from a 5 night cruise from Southampton due to call at Amsterdam and Le Havre. We did not end up docking in port at Le Havre, due to a local protest. Which is fair enough, although strikes at this port in particular ... Read More
We just arrived home from a 5 night cruise from Southampton due to call at Amsterdam and Le Havre. We did not end up docking in port at Le Havre, due to a local protest. Which is fair enough, although strikes at this port in particular are an ongoing issue, and the unions do post a schedule of strikes arranged. So in all honesty I am not sure why they even attempted to dock. Aside from the changes to our itinerary; not being able to dock in France and getting an extra half a day in Amsterdam due to wind conditions preventing our disembarkation (Amsterdam was great by the way), I have several concerns and reservations about the standard of cruise that P&O offered. Where to start... Dirty. Once you navigate away from the main atrium the conditions on board slip -substantially. Old, worn out, shabby decor. Add to that the fact that the whole of deck 7 smelt of sewerage. The one night we got into the lift from the atrium up to deck 15, we were greeted by a pair of extremely soiled pants which had just been taken off and discarded INSIDE the lift! Overall the standard on board is no better than a 3 star hotel. Dirty and discoloured carpets. The stagnant smell of cigarettes. Tatty and old tables and chairs in the dining area. Dirty window cills. Dirty Cutlery. Wet and stained carpets - that they were constantly trying to dry out - to no avail. Cold food. Bad smelling public toilets near Malabar. Plastic cocktail and pint glasses. The only reason I have given the overall rating of 2 stars, is because of the staff. They work ridiculously long hours are always happy to help and quite frankly put up with rude, intolerable and haughty guests on board. Would I cruise with P&O again, no. I am so glad that we booked very last minute and paid the saver rate. If we had paid full price for this cruise, I would have formally complained. One last thing, the only drinks that come in your all inclusive package are; tea, coffee and water, no juice. Which I think is totally ridiculous. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We booked this 2 day cruise for our grand daughters birthday treat. Checking in at Southampton was a long tiring affair, taking almost an hour and half. We had a balcony cabin as we like watching the world sail by. As usual the cabin was ... Read More
We booked this 2 day cruise for our grand daughters birthday treat. Checking in at Southampton was a long tiring affair, taking almost an hour and half. We had a balcony cabin as we like watching the world sail by. As usual the cabin was clean and functional, the cabin Stewart was very efficient as he cleaned the cabin twice a day. At reception a sign said the ship was fully booked, a mix of families and hen do's. The pool area was very busy with certain groups taking over the jacuzzis all afternoon, drinking using real glass's rather than the plastic ones everyone else had to use. They used the sides to place their glasses and bottles. There were groups of people drinking to excess and jumping in the pool wearing their outdoor shorts, there was no one to stop them. The staff were more concerned in selling them more alcohol. Ordering drinks was a long affair as there wasn't enough staff to serve everyone. The restaurant was no better, trying to get a bottle wine was a long time, we had almost eaten our dinner before we got our wine, even when we pre booked it on the wine channel. The food in the restaurant wasn't up to much, portions have been reduced and much less choice. The choice on the formal night was pretty dire, coming out Lukewarm. One of my grand daughters is a vegetarian and the starter choice was goats cheese and the main course was also goats cheese. When we asked if there was anything else, we were told no, we should have ordered it 2 days previous , which would have been hard as we weren't on the ship then. The staff were slow and uninterested. Having been on the azura seven times before, I can honestly say this was my last time. I think they should just name these cruises booze cruises because it seems p and o are not interested in families, just groups who drink as much as they can in the shortest time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
The itinary was the main reason for booking but.... The whole cruise was a let down. We sailed on this ship in March of last year(2016) and could not really fault any aspect of the cruise, however this time it was a complete let down. The ... Read More
The itinary was the main reason for booking but.... The whole cruise was a let down. We sailed on this ship in March of last year(2016) and could not really fault any aspect of the cruise, however this time it was a complete let down. The so called entertainment team lacked drive,enthusiasm and talent even looking bored when hosting on board activites. The food was of a poorer standard too. The sea days of which there were 7 extended from 6 as we could not dock at Reykjavik were boring, listening to passengers comments there was nothing to do apart from spending the little amount of on board credit, in the shops,bars or casino. I can say few positives on this occasion apart from two guest entertainers Julian Smith and Manuel Martinez who where very good. Resident band Jet Set should have a higher profile too and bin Accent. This may result in been the last cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We traveled as a group of 17 for the weekend from Southampton to Bruges to celebrate my mother's 75th birthday, while we had a great time this was rather in spite of the cruise experience than because of it. At check in we were ... Read More
We traveled as a group of 17 for the weekend from Southampton to Bruges to celebrate my mother's 75th birthday, while we had a great time this was rather in spite of the cruise experience than because of it. At check in we were left to carry our own luggage to the room and also left to find the room ourselves with no directions, which is less straightforward than you might think. The only thing to greet you on board is a man insisting you use handsanitiser - a pretty obvious precusor of what was to come. The lifts are woefully inadequate for the number of people so be ready to lug your bags up and down multiple floors or have a long wait - a very long wait. The cabins were a pleasant surprise, although of dubious cleanliness. Water was provided the first night but not the second - personally I would drink nothing from the taps and wash hands at every opportunity. Before dinner we had the safety talk which was fine and tried on our life jackets - then explored the ship. Top deck had all the activity late afternoon and was heaving. Two small pools and a few hot tubs - if your thing is getting very drunk and watching status quo from a hot tub along with a few hundred others then good luck. There were a lot of hen parties and it seemed perfect for this. The walk around the top deck was quite short and totally uninspiring. The tennis/football extremely small and full of a lot of well oiled men playing football. Golf nets? Forget it. Gym on the other hand was well sized, quite empty and in a prime location on the ship. We had to go early to dinner (6.30pm) as we were a large group, if you came later there was quite a wait. The food choice was probably about what you expect - prawn cocktail and steak and chips etc. Portions were small and the food mediocre to poor. A pub serving this would struggle. Service is slow - but we were a large group. Wine selection is again poor and at cheap end. After dinner saw the ollie murs tribute band - singer was pretty good, atmosphere was lacking and ollie murs doesn't really have enough hits to sustain a tribute band. Tried to go to Karaoke, but it was too busy. Retired to bed. One of our party was up all night being sick, probably from the food - I think this is almost inevitable with a group of our size on a ship like this. Be ready to be woken at about 7am (6am UK) with a huge shuddering as the ship slows and then an announcement telling you about disembarking for Bruges. Breakfast in most restaurants finishes at 9.30 - 8.30am UK so very easy to miss, not that you are missing much. One restaurant stayed open until 10am (9am uk) - very overfull and queue for poor food. Scrambled eggs from packet, no fresh milk, revolting bacon - surely P&O can do a little better?? My wife dropped her toast on the floor and when she picked it up it was covered in hair, not one or two a matting of hair - this boat is not clean. Our day trip to Bruges was a coach to the city and then 3-4 hours to walk around "at our own pace", well as there were 5000 others it was not really at our own pace, more the pace at which you are drifted along by the huge crowds. Also for a return coach I think c.£30 per head is extortion, I can fly for less - get a taxi quote...Bruges was a pretty city but too busy and very touristy. Chocolate is of course delicious and a good purchase. Back on the boat re-embarkation took about 40 minutes! Sitting on coach and standing in queue - thank goodness we are only doing this for one day. We researched supper more diligently and went to the Glass House - a dinner requiring a supplementary charge (worked out about £10-15) per head. Well worth it as the food was good. Sitting 17 was a challenge, so we arrived early - but the waiter managed it and took it all well. It was 30 minutes though before we were seated with a drink. We were all in black tie as were a lot of other passengers which was a nice touch. Armed with the knowledge of the previous night a small group left dinner early to get a table in the karaoke bar. Spent the rest of the evening subjecting the bored looking passengers to our terrible singing - great fun! Woken again at 6.45am and need to vacate cabin by 8am. Even my 19 year old son arrived fully dressed at 7.20am demanding that we leave ASAP - first time I have seen him before noon for a while. Overall, fun for a hen or stag night - although be prepared to deal with waits and crowding - otherwise go if you a curious about what a cruise on a 3000+ vessel is like as it's about as short as they come and you never have to go again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Never travelled by P&O before & decided to celebrate my wife's 70th by inviting 23 of her family(incl partners)...many younger group had never cruised before. Embarkation was reasonably swift ,embarkation times carried out ... Read More
Never travelled by P&O before & decided to celebrate my wife's 70th by inviting 23 of her family(incl partners)...many younger group had never cruised before. Embarkation was reasonably swift ,embarkation times carried out according to cabin deck alphabetical nos from priority for suites,balcony,etc to inside cabins..Ours was 3.30pm which by the time embarkation was complete for all of us,it left little time for our party to familiarise themselves with the ship,let alone get ready for the 1st sitting at 6.30pm.!-I was disappointed the we had requested a double for our cabin C211 & had 2 singles-pity! The Oriental main dining restaurant was spacious & well designed.We were sat on 3 adjoining tables rather than 2 of 12 & 10 (as indicated by our cruise agent),however the wine service ok & table service generally good.Regrettably ,although the menus was variable ,2 dishes of beef on our table had to be returned as overcooked.To redress the situation these were promptly replaced with requested prime steak ,which was excellent. Overall I was impressed with the design of the ship & in particular P&O seem to have excellent facilities for children & my grandson was well entertained, as his parents reported having a really relaxed time!! The biggest gamble on these type of cruises is the possibility of hen or stag parties being near in the adjoining cabins,but this can be outweighed by the absolute value for money v's staying in a British Hotel with a party this large.Plenty to do in Bruge for the day & bus/taxi wise only around 15-20mins away from dock. Finally overall great fun mini cruise with all close family taking the opportunity to catch up & enjoy each others company in the may entertainment areas on the ship. I final critique which I know many passengers are now balking at & that is the increased tipping fee automatically added to the bill without CLEARLY advising passengers they have the alternative to request envelopes at reception to tip those that deserve this having attended to passengers over & above the norm call of duty(.£6p/p per day) or £12/cabin p/d)-Thomson include this in their overall cruise prices,so whu cant other cruise lines????? Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We were a party of 7 and took this cruise to celebrate our parents diamond wedding anniversary. P&O FAQ's don't seem to apply to the "2 day" cruise (actually 1 day and 2 nights) and this caused consternation when ... Read More
We were a party of 7 and took this cruise to celebrate our parents diamond wedding anniversary. P&O FAQ's don't seem to apply to the "2 day" cruise (actually 1 day and 2 nights) and this caused consternation when we arrived by car. The terminal was packed and a two hour wait ensued. Also, the formal night gala dinner is advertised as a 5 course meal, we were only offered 3. The food was good, but not exceptional. The muster was held in a room that could not adequately hold the number of passengers that were there and did go on far too long. The staff - downright rude. From the Sunday afternoon it was clear that they were preparing for the next cruise and couldn't wait for us to leave. The exception to this was our cabin steward who was a real delight. The cabins were well appointed, spacious and clean. Our first cruise experience and certainly our last with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I've always disagreed when people describe cruising as 'Butlins at Sea'. I still disagree, it was far worse than that. The ship was huge - which of course we already knew, but didn't really appreciate the impact of ... Read More
I've always disagreed when people describe cruising as 'Butlins at Sea'. I still disagree, it was far worse than that. The ship was huge - which of course we already knew, but didn't really appreciate the impact of that. The staff at mealtimes were nowhere near as efficient and polite as they used to be. The meals were no better than we would get in our local pub and no longer had that 'wow' factor. Meagre helpings and hardly a vegetable in sight. The entertainment was the most disappointing. Instead of the West End type shows we have been used to in the past, we had an OK singing group, a few tribute bands and an ageing 'comedian'. That's in inverted commas as he wasn't even funny 40 years ago. Then all the acts were repeated another night. If you didn't enjoy them first time round you didn't want to see them again. We had planned this trip as a 40th birthday treat for our daughter who had not cruised before. Her comment was 'It's not very glamorous is it?' Bilbao as a port of call is a waste of time as there's nothing in its favour apart from the Gugenheim and that's quite ugly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We are regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We thought it was time to try P & O. We booked a mini cruise to Guernsey. We were so excited about travelling on a different ship. Check in process was smooth after a hour ... Read More
We are regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We thought it was time to try P & O. We booked a mini cruise to Guernsey. We were so excited about travelling on a different ship. Check in process was smooth after a hour wait. As soon as we were on board we decided to look for the self serve cafe for lunch. So Surprised how dark and enclosed it felt. No staff offering us anti bacterial gel at the enterance to the food area. As we were early we had no problem finding a table. Not able to serve our selves tea/coffee, hubby had to wait in a queue. Felt like we were back at the school cafe! The food was not great. Not much variety compared to the other cruises we have been on. We then explored the ship. We were astonished to see glasses left from the night before all over the top deck area. Cigarette ends were blowing around on the floor! Not the best start. Checked out the pool areas. One pool was filthy and had a large area of dirt at the bottom of it. Off to our cabin, perhaps it would be better. OMG it was disgusting. Thick dust all around the cabin. Stains on the bed linen. We decided to report this at the reception area, we were advised that a cleaner would be back to sort it out. Guess what they never arrived!. Evening Meal. We were shown to our table and meet our fellow passengers. Our waiter did not introduce himself!. The food was served quickly and the quality was better than the lunch time episode. Again no sight of any anti bacterial gel. We found this odd as the Captain did express to all passengers how they regard hygiene as so important. He even recommended that we do not use the public toilets. On other cruises that we have been on there is always staff cleaning bannisters, glass and door handles. We never saw anyone cleaning the public areas. We were not able to get off in Guernsey as the weather was not great for tender. Not much to entertain us on this sea day!. Spent £1.99 on a film that was years old! To sum it up ~ would never ever go on a P & O Ship again. Dirty, unfriendly and lacks the wow factor. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We recently returned from a 7 day cruise on P&O Azura to La Corunna, Bilbao, La Rochelle and Guernsey. For all of our party of 6 (3 generations of a family) it was the first cruise and we were all absolutely thrilled with it. We older ... Read More
We recently returned from a 7 day cruise on P&O Azura to La Corunna, Bilbao, La Rochelle and Guernsey. For all of our party of 6 (3 generations of a family) it was the first cruise and we were all absolutely thrilled with it. We older ones had been very sceptical about cruises, thinking they'd be like floating coach tours. These fears were quickly dispelled and we can't wait to go on another cruise next year. Maybe we were spoilt because we had 3 suites, but we're sure we would still have enjoyed it with a balcony cabin -- sorry, we couldn't settle for anything less. We had a butler who covered 9 cabins and he was marvellous, especially with our 2 year-old grandson who loved the room service. One night he brought us all the full 5 course dinner menu from the restaurant. Another perk with the suite was being able to have breakfast in Seventeen, one of the feature restaurants. Service was superb. Evening meals in the Peninsular, one of the Club dining restaurants, were also great with a fabulous choice. Some our group tried Sindhu, the Indian restaurant, as well as Seventeen in the evening and were very impressed. An alternative option at no extra cost was Trattoria, an Italian restaurant which was OK but service was slow. The place to avoid was Venezia, the 24 hr buffet restaurant, where the food was bland and the piled up plates of some of the diners quite off-putting. We went ashore at each of the ports. We only once used an official tour -- to Santiago di Compostela from La Corunna. It was well worth a visit and the coach was probably the most convenient way of getting there, but the guide insisted on giving a running commentary all the way there and back. At Bilbao and La Rochelle we used the shuttle buses. We were rather concerned on the Bilbao bus. It was just like an airport bus and lots of us were standing for the 20 minute journey and they piled passengers on including a wheelchair that was put in the aisle. We complained to Azura reception about this but haven't had any feedback. The other downside of the shuttle buses was that everyone seemed to want to catch the bus back at lunchtime and we had to queue for up to 30 minutes in the midday sun. The ship anchored in the bay at Guernsey and the tenders used to ferry us ashore were a lot more efficient than the buses. We hired a car to tour the island and it worked out a lot cheaper than the P&O tours. On the "at sea" days we sunbathed for a few hours each day and were agreeably surprised by the availability of sunbeds in lots of different areas of the boat. We only saw one argument over leaving towels on the beds. One of our party used the Oasis gym and found the facilities equal to any he had used in London. The kids clubs were also very good. Yes, we shall definitely go on a cruise again and, quite probably, on the Azura. We've been on all kinds of exciting holidays in the past, notably Cape Town, Dubai, Las Vegas and New York and 5 star hotels in the UK, and whilst this may not have had spectacular destinations, it was amongst the top for sheer comfort and holiday experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
had high expectations of this ship, but sadly we were dissapointed in the main. for us one of the cruise experience highlights is the food/wine in the evening & we were badly let down by so-called award-winnig chefs who ... Read More
had high expectations of this ship, but sadly we were dissapointed in the main. for us one of the cruise experience highlights is the food/wine in the evening & we were badly let down by so-called award-winnig chefs who couldn't win much for the 3 star food with proper wine list only provided on last night! Token Veg with main course & potatoes in addition to potatoes done differently to add. 5 a day not easy on the azura! In the main dry British food with no sauces hardly (i can get this at home) expected special food but just run of the mill staples with some meat & a few fish options - bread potatoes & ice cream - (that'll fill em up!) so off we went i night to try the " Italian" restaurant alternative.Like the rest of ship staff were Indian so had heard good report of this secret option Ital;ian food by Indian staff? Well Brushetta was basically Cheese on toast I asked for Spaghetti Pescatore but waiter did not understand this so when I said with seaffod it worked - the ish was creamy & very little seafood & not nice so asked for alternative - Napolita just Tomato sauce mmm a child may be happy with this?? but we expected more! Entertainment mainly 2 comedians taking rise out of front row audience was quite funny as long as it wasn't you in the hot seat! Young dancers theme nights very good The free shuttle buses to the destination ports were good Cabin Steward exceptional from Goa thing is he left when we did for a better offer? from Royal Carribean, a wise man! Cabin Toilet faulty flushing experience awaiting P & O response on this & hope they cure the fault for future passengers soon. Overall a 3 star experience the food being particularly poor spoilt it for us compared with Princess food this was not great/ Sam old films showing & timing of films inside not right for inclement weather hardly anything to do quizzes were low on the ground. more Entertainment direction & forethought needed. Get tips from the Cruse director/staff on Independence they were funny themselves AND kept you occupied! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
P&O Azura A116 - 15th to 22nd July 2011 Introduction We booked this cruise following two very enjoyable trips with Princess to the Mediterranean (2009) and Baltics (2010) and thought it would be interesting to write up a review of ... Read More
P&O Azura A116 - 15th to 22nd July 2011 Introduction We booked this cruise following two very enjoyable trips with Princess to the Mediterranean (2009) and Baltics (2010) and thought it would be interesting to write up a review of our trip and include some comparisons between P&O/Princess and the ships themselves (Azura and Grand Princess) Embarkation We were asked to arrive at Ocean Terminal no sooner than 1pm for embarkation. Having not much else to do, and from previous experience, we drew up at the terminal just before 11, where our luggage was offloaded and taken away, swiftly followed by our car courtesy of CPS. On entering the departure hall, we were given our embarkation cards (E!!. Wonder what time A-D arrived!!!!), completed the health questionnaires and waited. Complimentary magazines seemed to help the hour pass before registration was opened at 12. After a quick credit card registration and photograph we passed security and headed down the gangway The Ship Upon arrival onboard, we were advised that our cabins would not be ready until. 2:30pm but that the buffet was open. This was our first encounter of a difference between P&O and Princess. On our previous cruises, we have always been able to head straight for the cabin even at this early time. A wander around the ship was made easy by the fact that Azura and Grand Princess are built from the same basic template. The decor was more Contemporary than the Grand and had a fresher feel to it but, to be fair, the comparisons I make are prior to the Grands refit. What was extremely disappointing was that our luggage was not delivered to the room until 16:30 which meant a mad rush for sailaway.? Over the week, several differences would become apparent both with the ship and on-board culture: There was no way to access the area above the bridge as this was through "crew only" doors You could not walk completely around Promenade deck as there was no way to get around the nose of the ship on that deck. From the deck plans you would have to go up one deck and out doors at end of corridor which we didn't try. You could walk around the front of the ship above the bridge area, starting on the starboard side but the port side was blocked by cabin balconies. The Manhattan venue located at the rear of Promenade was the ships nightclub (as opposed to the Planet Bar or, as was, Skywalkers on the Grand. this seemed a good decision as it was always busy until about 2am, leaving the Planet Bar as a quieter location for drinks Azura has two dining rooms for fixed dining and one for freedom dining whereas the Grand had two freedom and one fixed. I was slightly surprised at this as i thought freedom dining was gaining popularity Both top deck centre pools are open to the elements whereas the Grand has one covered Azura has 3 staggered layers of decking which can be used to view the seascreen (aka movies under the stars) Azura outer doors onto decks are largely automatic (helps on those blustery days) Cabins have tea/coffee making facilities In-cabin tv has the facility to view hour bill making reception (as its called on Azura) a much quieter place Azura only had one ping pong table whereas it could have done with four as this was a very popular activity amongst teens Tipping on Azura was set at £1.60 per person per day for restaurant staff through an automatic charge and a recommended £1.50 per day for cabin steward. At £3.10 per person per day, these charges compared very favorably to Princess who charge d $10.50 (£6.56) Shuttle buses from the ship to the town centre in each port were free. Princess charge approx $10 for each person return trip Drinks were very reasonably riced. The very agreeable house white wine was priced at £11.95, Princess cheapest were near $20 (£14). Two beers was £6.40, again not too bad. All prices were what you paid, i.e. No 15% gratuity visible on top (not to say its not built in somewhere) Strangely, P&O seem to miss a trick in the main theatre by not offering drinks, whereas Princess had waiters in the theatre who were very attentive. On port days there is no water or soft drinks to take ashore, albeit this may change from cruise to cruise. Shop prices excluded VAT so you had to remember to add 20% to all prices The popcorn on Azura for Seascreen was not free There is no unlimited kids drinks card with P&O. coke was £1.50 or £1.75 a glass but you could buy a 20 drink package for £30 which was a bit pricey considering the base cost of these mixers. However, to sweeten the deal a little you could add a 20 ice cream card for £10. Both cards were identical and any many staff would not have noticed an ice cream card passed for a drink. Ethics aside, useful for those trips which turn out to be less sunny than expected. Ice-cream is of the soft whippy type served in a nice thick chocolate tipped cone. This type of Ice-cream was free in Princess Breakfast - largely a full fried breakfast and could really have done with more fruit/smoked salmon a la Princess. Compared to the waffle station on Princess, the Azura failed badly with no cream, almonds or fruit. Dinner - food was very good but portions of the main part (beef etc) were quite small and fleshed out by veggies. At one sitting the waiter offered another portion as "the chef was not giving big portions". Good for the water to do it but shouldn't be necessary. However, on the flip side I hate wasted food so tough to call. Besides Formal and Smart Casual, P&O have a semi-formal dress code some nights. I found this a real pain as I didn't mind bringing formal and casual but just didn't like to have to bring a jacket for one night. Personally, I don't see the need for this and think that P&O should get rid of semi-formal Buffer venues - three serving stations as opposed to the Grands two which alleviated the queues although not the dash for tables!!!! the ship was 90% UK passengers with slightly less observing formal evenings than I saw on Princess Photo prices were high i felt - £15.95 for portraits and £6.95 for casual prints. Printed books containing 5 portraits could be bought (and printed) on board - not a bad deal as you also got the hard copy prints free. However, this compared very badly to the Panraven book i ordered on Princess last year which worked out at 100 pages for £40 and you could fill the book with all your own photos and any you had bought, the only downside being you did this when you got back and required some effort. P&O do not offer any type of Ultimate Tour experience. The Captain advised that they had considered it but, in his opinion, it was down to security. This is understandable in todays world but doesn't explain why another line under the same Group differs in opinion.. All in, I believe that both cruise lines offer a great experience but the drink prices, free shuttles and lower tips result in P&O offering better value fr money. On a weeks long cruise, i would expect a family of four to save £250 plus ($400) by traveling with P&O. Ports Brest At this port, the shuttle stopped at three points - maritime museum, town centre and "marina". Docking on a Saturday, we were very surprised at how quiet the town centre was (we are talking ghost town here at 11am) so we didn't stay long. We hopped on the shuttle to the "marina" which seemed to comprise of some very poor cafes and industrial buildings. Very poor and we would certainly not get off the ship at this location again. We were back on boat in less than two hours and were not the only people by any means and throughout the cruise there were various jokes we heard about how bad the port was.?I appreciate it can be tough deciding on ports and that you cant please everyone but this port definitely felt like a "filler" to me. Bilbao Split into two areas (old and new town), we found this port to be very pleasant. Unfortunately we docked on a Sunday which meant that most of the new town was closed but a pleasant walk down by the river and across to the old town soon had us in a bustling and vibrant area. After a pleasant stroll around the old town, we returned to the new town area and wandered until we came across a nice park and, in particular, a servery selling possibly the largest ice cream cones I have ever seen... yum yumm!!! By the time we headed back to the shuttle bus, a queue had formed around the corner and down the street but this very quickly moved and we were heading back to the ship in under 20 minutes. Cork Azura docked at Ringiskiddy which meant we had a nice 20-25 minute through the countryside to arrive in the centre of Cork (thank goodness the shuttles are free!!).?Cork is a typical city with many of the same shopping brands as here in the UK. ?We opted for the "dual" city bus tour which encompassed an inner city tour and an outskirts tour, each lasting 45 minutes. The dual tour was good value at only 6 euros more for a family of four than either of the single tours. The inner city tour was narration was prerecorded but the outer tour brightened things up with an amusing and pleasant driver adding his unique and tongue-in-cheek comments to the proceedings. Dublin Undoubtedly the cream of the ports we visited, the town centre was a short drive from the port. The shuttle buses dropped us in the centre of this architecturally beautiful city.?There are two main bus tour companies (CitySightseeing and Dublin bus) and this competition was to prove fruitful for us. Our shuttle dropped us right in front of the CitySighseeing tours which were doing a roaring trade. However, a very short walk around the corner was the Dublin Bus. Although seeing the prices displayed (�60 for the four of us), i opted to play it a little dumb and ask how much. Pleasantly surprised, the guide confessed that the other tour company had got prime spot and offered us the tour for �28 which was even cheaper than if we had pre-booked online and got 20% discount!. With Dublin Bus being state run, it turned out a good decision and the tour was informative and stopped at the main attractions. The rest of the day was spend meandering along o'Connel street and into St.Stephens Green which was very pleasant. Entertainment I felt the onboard entertainment was very very good - particularly the onboard Headliners shows a not to be missed and surprisingly a young classical act whom was superb. The comedians onboard were nothing to shout home about as they had the same old jokes i have heard in the past three years!!. I understand the need to use venues for rehearsals etc but when the weather is poor, I would have hoped that the company used the main theaters more for movies etc to keep both adults and children occupied.?It is fair to say that, similar to Princess, the daily schedules follow the same base structure with a few features changing each day. Room & Cleaning On our previous trips, we had sailed in a balcony cabin on C deck with a larger balcony.?This trip, we opted for an inside cabin for the four of us due the upgrade costing an additional 50% of what we paid. The cabin was very clean and functional with a surprising amount of hanging and shelf space. The four of us comfortably managed to enjoy the week in the room but I would add that (as with any cabin) organisation and tidiness are the key. ? The cabin was clean and well decorated with the mirrors used to good effect to make the room seem much larger than it actually is. ??The one difference with the interior was that due to the layout of the cabin the top bed ladders could not be put at the bottom of the bed but were put down at the side, meaning they crossed each other. On more than one occasion I did almost trip over them whilst walking between the beds. Room cleaning was friendly, extremely fast and efficient, everything you want it to be. ?I actually have no idea how the room was cleaned within the time we were out of the room! Captain We were lucky enough to be early for photos with the Captain and he was extremely approachable with excellent people skills. Now, in my limited experience this is a rarity as they are often engrossed in their jobs and don't like to be seen front of house. The Captain was happy to spend ten minutes chatting about experiences onboard, the Grand, our prior cruises etc... Very pleasant and a credit to the company Summary Another excellent trip, slightly let down by the weather and the first port (but hey, thats why we cruise to learn). I feel that P&O/Princess would do well to study each others onboard operation and take the best bits from each. Thats not to say they should retain individuality but i do think both sides could learn from the other. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first cruise on Azura, although we had cruised with P&O some years previously. The ship was fresh and new. We enjoyed the art work on all of the staircases (climbing the stairs was good for the waistline too), and ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Azura, although we had cruised with P&O some years previously. The ship was fresh and new. We enjoyed the art work on all of the staircases (climbing the stairs was good for the waistline too), and although we didn't try all of the bars we liked the Glass House and the Planet Bar. The design of our cabin was a little different to the usual outside cabin. It seemed to be quite spacious, and the bathroom opened on to a walk-in wardrobe/dressing area which effectively created a separate sleeping space. The weather was not good in the early part of the cruise, and it was only on the final day that we were able to make use of the sun beds. We ate mainly in the Peninsular restaurant, but lunched on the first sea day on tapas in the Glass House and on the second sea day had Sindhu Nashti. No complaints about the food. Drinks prices were low compared to other cruise lines and the suggested tips (handed over in an envelope at the end of the cruise) very low given that the service we received was just fine - nice clean cabin and good food service. We visited Brest, in France. I am sure that it is very nice if its not raining and will be much improved when the road works, which have apparently been there for about a year, are completed. Our next port was Bilbao, on a grey Sunday. We visited the Guggenheim (again) to marvel at the building. We were luckily inside during the showers. In Cork the ship sailed past the usual(pretty and historic) port of Cobh and was berthed in the totally dull and boring freight or ferry port of Ringaskiddy which didn't even have an entrepreneurial Irishman selling shamrocks to attract the tourist Euro. We took the shuttle to Cork itself, which was a nice little town. We wandered around and found the English Market before the drizzle drove us back to our ship. Dublin was so busy!! We took a HoHO bus around the city and saw lots, accompanied by a witty commentary from our local guide. And it didn't rain!!! A bit more sun would have been good (P&O couldn't have done anything about that); overall we enjoyed the ship and the the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Well we tried P&O about 4 years ago - Oceana - not inpressed. Having booked a family suite on RCs Indepence of the seas for the end of the year, we were at a loose end , so we decided to book a cruise from Southampton it inculded ... Read More
Well we tried P&O about 4 years ago - Oceana - not inpressed. Having booked a family suite on RCs Indepence of the seas for the end of the year, we were at a loose end , so we decided to book a cruise from Southampton it inculded Ireland, France and Spain. Our hope was that it would be better than Oceana. saddly not. For five days we had sewerage coming out of the WC in our cabin . We complained to the desk - they came to the cabin 4 times said they had fixed it. Not so - we had to eventually go to purser's desk and cause a major fuss asking to speak to the executive purser - told he was in a meeting until 5pm - the time was then 12pm . well we went to a bar and dicovered him there. When we spoke to him he was totally unhelpful - just denied every think 'No probs on the ship' . When we told him we had met others with the same prob (giving him their cabin number-names) he ran away saying he would get back to us - he did not. Later in the evening a purser found us saying they would try and sort it. It took another 3 days. we asked for compensation we got £330 which in no way really compensated us, having previously asked for them to fly us home.As people who do cruises a lot we always try the specialty restaurants well the Indian was not as good as a sainsburys take away box. 17 is ok but expensive compared to restaurnts on other ships. Our conclusions are that the ship is undermanned, the public areas far too small. The ships ok if you should want Butlins on sea. As for the so-called Executive purser - he is unhelpful , will admit to nothing, blindly supports his staff and we hope we never have to the displeasure of meeting him again. We feel that this is a truthful account of our time on Azura and are very saddened to write this account having never done the like before Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
It came to pass that the Mighty P&O did invite all Portunus Gold Tier Members to a Walkabout tour of the latest addition to their Family . The Azura. The Pilgramage led 1500 of this august band to the impressive Ocean Terminal. And ... Read More
It came to pass that the Mighty P&O did invite all Portunus Gold Tier Members to a Walkabout tour of the latest addition to their Family . The Azura. The Pilgramage led 1500 of this august band to the impressive Ocean Terminal. And there she was resplendent in the Southampton Sun.These lovers of The Crows Nest,Andersons,el et assembled two by two waiting for embarkation.Old friends from bygone Cruises renewed aquaintances as they waited.Wise men Shepherds and Masons waited patiently.We were kitted out with our Boarding Pass swinging jauntily from a natty Lanyard.Ours was Green.The wife did say that it it did not match her shoes or bag but I assured her that no one noticed. So.After much sercurity checks we finally got a first real look at Azura. First The Atrium . Where have I seen that before ? Up and Up and Up to Decks 15,16 and 17 and The Coral Pool and Bar.Nice enough I suppose but nothing special.Except those Sun Loungers.Blue and Brown even I could appreciate that it would be difficult to match accessories.Then The Oasis Spa and The Retreat.It looks an absolute picture.Wicker Sun Loungers,Cabbanas all sheltered under a Canopy similar to that at Goodwood Races.All well and good I hear you say but how much ? Well I heard figures of £10/20 pp per day bandied about and that was just for entrance to this exclusive area.So boys if 'They' insist it may mean only single G n Ts for the duration of your Cruise.Many of the pieces of Equipment in Spa area looked painful but I am reliably informed by one who knows that it was the latest.So what do I know . The Accomodation.Starting at the top . The Suites.If Camelot does its duty I'll have one of these.Well equipped furnished and appointed.I might have trouble negotiating a path to the Thunder box for my nocturnal calls of nature but must say I liked this.Smashing Bose Stereo tucked away.On to the head [naval jargon for bathroom] expensive looking Seperate Shower Enclosure Spa Bath. Could just imagine the good lady scrubbing my back as the Bose belts out a bit of Ole Blue Eyes.'Strangers In The Night' Dooby Dooby Do.Did have a bit of a problem with the Balcony.Why on earth did P&O choose to showcase a Luxury Suite with a balcony that has a steel pillar protruding floor to ceiling.Try again. Nearly forgot the Walk In Wardrobe doubt if even she could fill this but no doubt she would give it her best shot. Balcony/ Outside. Again Well furnished nicely appointed.Walkin Wardrobe of sorts but practical .Smallish Bathroom usual facillities.Room for Biscuits and Tea and Coffee makings.Reasonable Drawer Space for the smalls etc. Overall very good but on the small side. Inside: Its OK but it is Inside and on the small side . Appointments Furnishings and Fittings similar to the Outside cabins.Small Bathroom you would have to take turns for your ablutions . Bars Etc.Have you been on Vetura ? Do you remember,how could you forget The Havana Club. Well they have done it again and called it Manhattan this time with Blue Strip Lighting.Reminded me of a Tanning Studio.And those Partitions high enough to test Red Rum.Poor sight lines.Not for me. Just along from Tan U like there is an Oasis of Calm and Serenity The Sindhu Restaurant.Very tasteful and if the food is as good as the surroundings you could be in for a treat . Next door we are transported to Morroco and The Malabar Night Club and bar.She didn't like the chairs but I felt a bit like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca but in colour.Room to cut a rug if you fancy a bit of Strictly.Just a pity about the constant flow of people passing through. Now The Glass House : A modern Wine Bar which I think also serves food.Will the P&O Grandees ,Dotties and old dears take to it?.I wonder. Then there is Brodies Pub Named after one of P&O Founders.Quite brash shares the area with The casino has a small stage big enough for say a Trio.I am not one for Pub Style Bars on ships but it is what it is . Certainly not the place for a quite drink.But I am more of an Andersons Man myself.It was a pity that we did not have time to see all of the Bars and facilities but I hope that I have given you a flavour of Azura. With our time running out we only had time to pop into The Playhouse Theatre.On three tiers similar to Ventura's Theatre.Looked to have good sight lines. The PA system announced that lunch was about tobe servered in The Meridian Restaurant. Like many of the features of Ventura Azura is very similar.The Meridian is no exception almost identical to The Cinnamon Restaurant on Ventura.Glass Partions tables for 2,4,6and 8.We were to be fine treated to a very meal so future Azurains you should have no complaints.The lady chose Atlantic Cod.No comment. I settled on a Smoked Salmon Platter followed by Lobster Scallops and King Prawns and just to be sociable a rather nice cheese board.To accompany this excellent fare we quoffed a couple of pleasant little wines.A Cheeky Chilean Shiraz[don't mention the Aussies] and a Saucy Pinot Grigo. During the course of this excellent lunch P&O's MD Carol Marlow gave a short speech. She explained that Azura had been designed with the Traditional P&O Passenger in mind and there would be Formal Semi Formal and a few Casual nights on all Cruises. Let us hope that that this is enforced. Although the speech was politely recieved I felt that most of the audience may have preferred a new Aurora or Oriana,but we do have The New Adomnia to look forward to and the jury are still counting the votes for Arcadia. But what of Azura. Overall she is very similar to Ventura perhaps the decorations are more subdued and I must say that the Carpetting throughout the ship is nothing short of spectacular particulary in the passenger corridors. The service in The Meridian was very good, not fast but unobtrusive and the waiters were excellent.Would I cruise on Azura Errrrr. One last point then I'll leave you to post your rude remarks.On our way from Azura we were presented with a Pen as a momento of our Visit.Think P&O must have bought them off the QVC shopping channel. Read Less
Sail Date April 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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