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32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Our first cruise on the Azura and last! We flew from Gatwick to Barbados and joined the ship there. We had to wait hours for our suitcases to be delivered to our cabin and then it was a rush to attend the muster drill and go for ... Read More
Our first cruise on the Azura and last! We flew from Gatwick to Barbados and joined the ship there. We had to wait hours for our suitcases to be delivered to our cabin and then it was a rush to attend the muster drill and go for our evening meal. We visited three islands on the first three days, two excursions booked directed with P & O prior to the holiday. Although the beaches we went to were fantastic (especially Tortola), the half day was not long enough and I could not understand why this was not offered for a full day. We had 5 days at sea travelling to the Azores and found the ship could not cater for over 3000 people during the day. There were not enough sun loungers and those there were crammed in tighter than sardines. There were four areas where you could lay; noisy, smoking, children's/family and only two small areas which were peaceful (these were always full). The Retreat is adults only but you have to pay for the privilege! Our cabin C418 had a balcony, unfortunately it was in the shade until mid afternoon). The bathroom smelt of stale urine if you switched the light/extractor fan off so therefore we left it on 24/7. On the last day we docked at Southampton at 6.30am but unfortunately there was no water to the cabins and we could not wash our hands, shower, brush teeth or indeed flush the loo. Although I had read that the ship had been refurbed a year prior, our room was a little grubby. The most amazing thing was on the last day we had to leave the cabin by 8am so we duly went for breakfast at 6.30am leaving our belongings on the bed etc and when we got back our bed had been changed ready for the next guests and our belonging placed back on the bed! In all of the years and all of the holidays we have taken not one hotel has used this practice and I found it very poor. The food and service in the restaurants were fantastic until the last night when the staff actually "switched off", the service was extremely poor, the meals came out with items missing, unless you asked for the cheese board you were not offered, it was as though tips had been given so bye bye were ready for the next lot of passengers! If you wanted to eat breakfast outside (which could have been a great start to the day), the only areas with tables and chairs which were near the restaurants were all smoking areas, so if you like a fag with your early morning cuppa .... yippee! Our overall experience of days at sea (8 in total) were picturing one of the most deprived run down council estates with a bargain booze, McDonald's, pizza place, bookies and a Wetherspoons with a kids fun annex and voila it's the Azura! Although we paid full price and therefore our expectations were high thus so disappointed, I would recommend you seek out the special offers if you want to have a glorified booze cruise on the Azura transatlantic cruise as you may get more of a value for money experience than we had. Overall we would go to the Caribbean again and the Azores was lovely BUT never on a P&O ferry/booze cruise! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise. We were on P & O Azura for 15 nights from Southampton to Barbados. We had a great time definitely one of our best holidays. From the moment we arrived at the Southampton ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise. We were on P & O Azura for 15 nights from Southampton to Barbados. We had a great time definitely one of our best holidays. From the moment we arrived at the Southampton cruise terminal we were greeted by a genuinely cheery porter who took our suitcases and directed us into the terminal. We arrived earlier than our allotted time slot so expected to sit and wait but there was no queue and they were more than happy to allow us to board. Our outside cabin was lovely and clean our cabin steward, Sailesh, could not be more attentive if he had tried. We were close to the Art gallery which we thought was a great location it was quiet but close to the amenities. We were allocated second sitting for dinner, which was 20.30 hours most nights, this suited us. Our table was for 10 people however there was only ever 6 of us for dinner. We had a great table and really enjoyed the company so much so that only ever dined in the Peninsular despite initially thinking we would try the specialty restaurants. The crossing over the Atlantic was a little rough I found it added to the excitement but a few on board found it difficult. We were a little concerned we would find the sea days hard going, but no we had a great time. I attended the Art classes each morning ran by Alex Davidson. This was great having never painted, apart from at school, Alex had us all, as he promised, painting by the end of the sea days. Thank you Alex and the others on the course who made it such fun a really did have fun. We both went to the social whist in the afternoon, again we were new to this and I was a little apprehensive, but there was no need again the people were lovely very welcoming. Our first Port of call was the Azores we had booked a P & O trip to the Crater lakes. This was really disappointing the cloud obscured all the views so was pointless. Other passengers jumped on the local train/tourist bus or horse and cart around the town for only 5 Euros each much better value, never mind. Our second port of call was St Maartin. I had booked a 2 tank dive with Cruise excursions as we are both Padi divers. This was paid up front in English at a cost of just under £150 for both of us. I was a little worried as we didn’t get into Port until 0830 which is the time we were supposed to be a the Little Divi Bay Resort. We arrived at 0915 at the resort but this wasn’t a problem. We were on a dive boat with 4 other divers, a captain and guide diver. This was great, the sea was a little rough and the currents strong but we saw a reef shark, turtle, lobsters and of course plenty of fish all around ship wrecks it was great. Our third Port was St Kitts. We had booked to do a 4 x 4 off road with a rainforest hike with Greg Safaris. This was booked online but we didn’t have to pay anything until the end of the trip US$ 65 each. Unfortunately there was a little mix up and Greg said he couldn’t honor the trip until the afternoon as we were the only people that had booked it. This wasn’t too much of a problem we ended up taking a local bus to Brimstone Hill Fort which cost US$5 for both each way, although the walk up to the Fort from the bus stop is not for the faint hearted it’s a steep hill and takes about 20-30 minutes in the Caribbean heat!. We then went on our Tour into the Rainforest in the afternoon. This was fantastic we had our own guide who really knew about the forest it was hard work but we needed to burn some calories from all the food we had eaten. Fourth Port, Antigua. We hadn’t booked anything so we took a local bus from the bus depot costing US$5 each way per couple along with another couple from our dining table. We went to Darkwood beach which is a beautiful Caribbean beach on the Caribbean side of the island. We were greeted by a male calling himself “Too Tall”. It costs US$25 for 2 sunbeds, an umbrella and an ice cold bucket of 6 beers. The bus back was great fun very crowded but the locals were really cheery and kept asking if we were all okay they seemed to have a great sense of responsibility to all the tourists. Fifth port was St Lucia. We had booked another island tour following online recommendations with Cosol Tours again the cost of US$75 each was not payable until end of the tour. This really was a full day tour, great value for money. We had a great time seeing the Pitons, volcano, waterfall, banana plantation, beach via speed boat. Several pit stops including a wonderful local feast for late breakfast, hot bread with cheese for late lunch, also stops with a mobile bar offering rum punch, beer and soft drinks. This really was a fun day out. Last port was Barbados. We went to the beach again with our dinning companions this time we took a taxi to The Boatyard for US$5 each. This was a really lively beach with the softest of sand. The entrance cost was US$15 each which included sunbed, umbrellas, a free rum punch, and taxi ride back to ship. This really was a party beach most of the crew were there. They had a rope swing from the pier into the sea – great fun. This was our only night in a port so after our final dinner our whole table decided to go out into town for the night. We went to The Harbour Lights which was an outside nightclub costing US$20 each which included all drinks until 3AM!!!! Again lots of crew could be spotted. Taxi was US$5 per person each way I haven’t really mentioned the food onboard we thought it was fantastic the service was always good and the choice excellent. If you didn’t like the evening choices you could always have steak or chicken breast. Drinks were inexpensive UK pub prices and P & O were happy for passengers to take drink on board at all ports to be consumed in your cabin. Our only criticism of the cruise was that the gym was not open until 0800 hours which meant there was a queue. This should have been at least 0700 bearing in mind the clocks went back several times whilst crossing the Atlantic. There were several machines out of order and if you went to use the machines whilst they had a yoga class you were not allowed to use half of the machines. Maybe they should find another room for the yoga classes. The Entertainment was good I liked the tribute Acts Neil Diamond, Queen and Tom Jones there were also some comedians one was not very good but the other 2 were great. Thank you P&O for a wonderful holiday your staff are amazing you should be proud and a big thank you to all the wonderful people we met and who made our holiday.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We flew on a Thomas Cook plane from Manchester to Barbados and the flight was pretty good - chair back tv screens, free drinks and a reasonable meal. On arrival in Barbados we were bussed to the ship - a distance of around ten miles ... Read More
We flew on a Thomas Cook plane from Manchester to Barbados and the flight was pretty good - chair back tv screens, free drinks and a reasonable meal. On arrival in Barbados we were bussed to the ship - a distance of around ten miles through territory I wouldn't necessarily wish to return to on foot, but on arrival at the dockside, we joined a queue to get our photo taken for the on-board card you need to pay for items and get through security. The ship seemed enormous, and our superior balcony cabin was lovely, with the only downside being that the balcony is completely overlooked by all the decks above it. Two tv screens, full sized bath, coffee/tea facilities and fridge. The tv is nothing to get excited about however, as you get Sky News/Sky Sports/ BBC World News, one terrible channel full of wannabbee Madonnas in LA, and then a few channels flogging the P & O DVD, Tanzanite jewellery, and repeats of the lectures given in previous days. Most of the staff are Indian - our waiters (2), wine waiter, and steward were all from India. They gave us fabulous service. We went on the fixed dining (first sitting) and were allocated the "Peninsular" restaurant.The food was excellent and service superb. If you wanted to eat in the top deck buffets, at peak times it was pretty full and you might not find a free table. It was disappointing to find that cabins don't have internet access, and to use the computers in the library costs 50p a minute, which is horrendously expensive. The bar waiters are on commission, so they are constantly looking to get orders for drinks - prices are similar to British pubs, and you don't feel ripped off. The majority of the cruisers were in the 50+ age group, with very few children on board. On the 9 day sail back to Southampton, I did get somewhat bored with the same daily entertainment schedule, and the lack of variety - apart from one night when Eddie Large gave a talk, there were a series of lectures on a daily basis about Concorde, a few films were shown (some several times over the 13 nights), and quite a few dance lessons. They organise daily Bingo, which again, isn't cheap - £10 for 3 tickets covering five games. The idea is to build up a "snowball" for the last day, so that they sell hundreds of tickets, and presumably, make a mint. Some of the shows are very popular, but I preferred to watch a guitar duo called "The View" who appeared in "Brodies" pub type bar. Duty free shops sell limited ranges of goods, and prices of spirits can be extremely good value - £12 for two litre bottles of Teachers whisky seems good to me.On arrival at Southampton, we were efficiently directed onto a smart "Eavesway" coach taking us back to Manchester airport, and setting off at 9-10am, with a 45 minute stop at the Motorway Services, we arrived at T2 Manchester at 1-50pm - brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
Being unable to get out preferred holiday to Cuba, the agents tempted us with a cruise. At less than half what the Cuba holiday would cost, we thought what have we got to lose.From check-in at Liverpool to embarkation in Barbados, ... Read More
Being unable to get out preferred holiday to Cuba, the agents tempted us with a cruise. At less than half what the Cuba holiday would cost, we thought what have we got to lose.From check-in at Liverpool to embarkation in Barbados, everythinh went like clockwork. The whole of the Thomson plane was laid out for premier seating,i.e. 2+3+2 across with p[lenty of legroom;films,games and TV shows were available on the in-seat TV, and with complimentary food and bar, what was not to like?No doubt familiar to regulars, leaving the plane and getting straight onto a bus, with cases being delivered to your cabin, took a lot of the hassle out of flying.Our cabin was as expected, sub Travelodge, but with everything that you needed.It was kept immaculate and tidy by our busy steward, Abdul. We were allocated to the Peninsular Restaurant, first sitting. The quality of food and the silver service was excellent; 6 courses (if you could manage them all), with at least 4 choices for each course. A good selection of wine was available from £10/11 to £16 a bottle.With the quality of food available, we did not see the need to pay the small supplement for select dining, but did try the Indian (Sindhu) for lunch, which was well worth the small(£5) cover charge. The buffet style restaurants which are available 24/7, had good quality, but the ambience was not up to the club dining. The amount of food available, meant that we did not try the afternoon tea nor the midnight snacks.The choice of entertainment was such that you could not fit in everything that you wanted to see, even when the shows/entertainers had 2 or 3 shows a night. The highlight for us was the Playhouse, whose production standards and ability was equal to any West End show. They did 9 different shows over the 2 weeks, with 3 shows a night. Day time activities ranged from Bridge to Bingo, historical talks to horse racing, and Art and Dance classes.Being first time cruisers, we booked our Island tours with P&O. We may have been able to do it cheaper ourselves, but we were happy with the quality provided. Our favourite island was St. Maartens, particularly the French side.We were pleasantly surprised at the prices of drinks in the bars and restaurants, and even with room service we could buy a litre of Baileys for £12. We could even bring drinks on-board, which I believe is almost unique to P&O. Negatives:- Too many toilets were out of order, which created queues, particularly of an evening when everybody was about. It was too cold to sit for 2 hours at the out door cinema on the top deck.Since we came back, we have been haunting our travel agent, to book another cruise! Read Less
Azura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.8

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