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10 P&O Cruises Azura Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

We loved the idea of spending Christmas away so having done 2 cruises preciously the Caribbean seamed perfect. The flight was perfect mainly down to the new Dreamliner, I can honestly say we felt refreshed even after a nine hour flight. ... Read More
We loved the idea of spending Christmas away so having done 2 cruises preciously the Caribbean seamed perfect. The flight was perfect mainly down to the new Dreamliner, I can honestly say we felt refreshed even after a nine hour flight. We opted for an inside cabin which was perfect, the steward Ebison was very good. Great location on deck 12. We choose the 6.30 dinning in Peninsula, shared a table of eight. The waiters were great, worked extremely hard and always served you with a smile. The food was great, and the wine was particularly good value. The waiting staff made Christmas Day very enjoyable and the Turkey was lovely. The entertainment was generally good, my only suggestion would be to have more comedians and less singers but that's a personal thing. The Headliners are superb, very talented performers. The cruise director, Neil Oliver was very good especially at the sale away parties. Being very patriotic I loved the great British sail away. I choose to do the behind the scenes tour which included a 3 hour guided tour of the ship. This involved a visit to the print room, engine control room, storage areas, galley, theatre and culminated in half an hour on the bridge with the captain then champagne and canapés. We spent time in all the ports however we chose to arrange trips ourselves, the P&O trips were quite expensive. We heard a number of people complaining about various things however I think you need to understand you don't pay 5 star money to travel on a P&O cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We flew from Manchester on 13 December to join Azura. We were in Premier seating and the cabin was only one third full. Excellent flight out and met at the plane by the coaches to whisk us off to the ship. No immigration, no cases to ... Read More
We flew from Manchester on 13 December to join Azura. We were in Premier seating and the cabin was only one third full. Excellent flight out and met at the plane by the coaches to whisk us off to the ship. No immigration, no cases to collect. On the ship within 1 hour of landing and straight to our mid ships balcony cabin. When we booked this cruise 20 months ago we had opted for an outside obstructed view cabin but PO looked after us as loyal and regular passengers and upgraded us to this balcony cabin. We ate in the Meridian restaurant on Freedom Dining which suites us. Same menu as both Peninsular and Oriental restaurants but we could eat when we wanted to rather than being dictated by times. The food was very good and the choices vast. This is not fine dining but better than pub grub. We also chose to eat in the select dining restaurants and also Verona the Italian Trattoria. I do not eat meat so registered as a fish eating vegetarian. The special diet waiter brought me the main menu and the vegetarian menu for the following evening round each night. He took my choices and these were specially prepared. The entertainment was very mixed. Having seen most of the Headliners shows we gave all but one of them a miss. We did not enjoy the star entertainment of the cruise P. P. Arnold but many did so it just shows that you cannot cater for everyone. On Azura there is a great choice of entertainment available each night. The crew panto was excellent entertainment. The ports were all very good even though we had visited them before on cruises. They were all old favourites and we would choose to cruise to them again. The crew on board were all excellent and couldn't do enough for us. The passenger base was very mixed with both young, middle aged and elderly on board. There were approx 200 children of various ages and they made the cruise special at Christmas with their nativity play. The children we met were all well behaved and a credit to their parents. My only criticism of this cruise was the pre cruise experience from the Southampton shore based staff. We booked our flight seats as soon as they were available as we wanted 2 seats together at the rear of the Thomas Cook aircraft. 3 days before we travelled we were informed by e mail that these seats did not exist and we were seated on a row of three. We refused these seats and eventually had to change planes and pay £500 extra for premium seating to ensure we were sat together on a row of 2 seats. Even then this info had not reached either the airport checking in system or the on board flight officer. Luckily we had it in writing that we had booked these seats and these were honoured but only after having to go out of our way to ensure this result. If only the Southampton based staff were trained as well as the ship based crew then our cruise experience would have been excellent.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Technically, this was my second cruise with P&O-but the first was on the Canberra in 1992 so I can't really compare this trip to any P&O ships. This was my ninth cruise and also my 50th. birthday cruise. To say I was a little ... Read More
Technically, this was my second cruise with P&O-but the first was on the Canberra in 1992 so I can't really compare this trip to any P&O ships. This was my ninth cruise and also my 50th. birthday cruise. To say I was a little disappointed would be an understatement. I have been planning this for nearly two years and I was really looking forward to it, but as the trip started, I became aware of a few problems. These were minor glitches, but they made the trip less enjoyable. As with my previous reviews on this website, I am going to split the review into catergories starting with.... Embarkation/Disembarkation. P&O (along with Princess) have this process down to a fine art and all of the details had been worked out beforehand. I travelled on a scheduled flight from Gatwick and had to recalim my baggage in Barbados but the charter flight passengers from Birmingham and Manchester had their baggage handled by P&O so the next time they saw their bags, they were outside everybody's cabins onboard. After passing through Barbados Immigration, we were taken to a large shed-like building to get our cruise cards. All of the P&O staff were extremely helpful, the entire process was very quick and I was on the ship in no time at all. It was the same in reverse..Superb arrangements with P&O taking your bags to the airport with loads of very helpful and friendly staff to guide you on your way. If only all of the cruise companies were like this. Brilliant! Demographics. According to who you spoke to, the average age of the passengers was around 66. In my opinion, I would put this figure a little lower to around late 50's/early 60's. There were several families with children aboard but not many-I estimate that there were less that fifty kids (I don't count teenagers-only under 12's). The ship was not fully booked. Azura can carry 3,600 but again depending who you spoke to, there was about 2,750 onboard. This meant that the ship was around 76% full meaning that almost two decks were unoccupied. This was comfimed by my cabin steward (Inacio) who told me that of the cabins he was responsible for, almost a third were empty. This resulted in the ship being very quiet and one of the reasons I was disappointed with the trip. I will elaborate in my section "Conclusions" at the end of this review. The passengers were exclusively British. Apart from the crew, I only heard one foreign accent. I would have expected a few Americans or Europeans but Azura is targeted at the British market. The only foreign voice I heard was a German Swiss guy called Paul who sat at the same bar as me. The ship and it's staff. This ship is big! A little too big in my opinion. As I have said in "Demographics" above, this made the ship feel empty. When we docked in St. Lucia, I was on an excursion and when we got up in the mountains looking down at the main town, the biggest thing we saw was the ship. In fact it was the biggest thing on the entire island! I think that cruise companies need to rethink their policy of building bigger and bigger ships and start building smaller, more intimate cruise ships. P&O have another ship coming online in 2015. This ship is the "Britannia", and at 142,000 tons, will be P&O's biggest-Azura is 115,000 tons. The lower order of the crew (waiting staff and cabin crew) were almost all Indian with a handfull of Filipinos. Additionally, the Indian crew were (almost) all male. I only met a few female crew members who were Filipino. I was told by some of the senior staff that because of the recent tornado in the Philipines, a high percentage of the Filipino staff went home to look after family members who had been affected. The staff were extremely attentive, very helpfull, very friendly but they seemed to be a little stand-offish and didn't seem to want to interact with the new passengers. The ship itself was spotless. The decor in the public areas was in neutral colours-beiges, muted browns/reds/blues etc. and in my opinion a little too beige. The decor in the main public areas needed to be spiced up a little with a splash of colour here and there. My own cabin was an Oceanview with a partially obstucted window. This made the cabin very light and airy and was kept immaculate by my cabin steward. Also, throughout the entire cruise, the main public areas of the ship had piped music fed through the ships speaker systems. This music was Reggae. I am aware that the overiding type of music in the Caribbean is Reggae, but how many times do I have to listen to "Young, Gifted and Black" played at mealtimes? Food and drink. The food on offer was top notch. I was in the Oreintal restaurant on traditional dining first sitting at 6.30pm. I was on a table of eight. Two gay guys George and John, Two Welsh sisters, a mother and daughter, a bloke called Jeff and me. They were very friendly and we had a great time. The fly in the ointment was Jeff. He is a Brummie who now lives in Hartlepool. All Jeff did was talk all of the time about anything and nothing. We wouldn't have minded, but his speech was very blurred and most of the time we couldn't understand a word he was saying. On the last night before we all left, Jeff didn't turn up and we all breathed a sigh of relief (it later turned out that Jeff had gastrointestinal problems). On the first sitting, the restaurant was virtually empty all of the time. I estimate that over 50 tables were unoccupied the entire trip-and that was just on one side of the restaurant. The second sitting was a little better with around three quarters of the tables full. An alternative was the "Freedom Dining" restaurant Meridian. There was always a queue to get a table and I heard of waiting tilmes of over an hour. The menus were exactly the same as the other two resaurants, So why didn't P&O put some of the "Freedom" diners in the other two restaurants? It makes sense to me. The buffets-Verona and Venesia-also had great grub. Lunch and dinner offerings were very varied and very good food indeed. One part of Venesia turned into a trattoria in the evening offering Italian cuisine with a (very small) charge on some of the menu. My only complaint on the buffet was breakfast. This was permanently "Full English". Just how many fry-ups can you eat in two weeks? There was cereals/fruit/yogurts and kippers/smoked fish on offer as an alternative but a little variation would have been welcome. The beers on offer were Stella, Carling and Boddingtons on draught with a large, varied selection of premium bottled beers, along with all of the usual spirits, cocktails and champagne. Prices were a little dearer with the Stella at £3.75 a pint. In my local, I'm paying £2.90 for Carling. Refreshingly, there was no "automatic gratuity" added to your drinks bill. On past cruises, an automatic tip of 15% was added to your purchases and there was nothing you could do about it. P&O don't do the automatic tip-Hurrah! It's about time the rest of the cruise lines did the same. There were three speciality restaurants-Sindhu (run by Michelin starred chef Atul Kotcher), the Glass House and XVII-appropriately on Deck 17! There were cover charges of between £15/£28 per person depending on which restaurant you went to. I had first-hand reports of these restaurants and all of them were very good to fantastic. Entertainment. There was the usual in-house troupe "Headliners" doing musicals etc. in the Playhouse Theatre. I didn't see a show-I'm not a show person. Reports from those who did were all "very good". There were a number of guest acts onboard. I'll start with Miss Gemma McDowall-a Liverpool singer with a very powerful voice and at only 20, has a bright future in front of her. She mainly did 60's/70's songs and her shows were very well attended. BUT, inbetween all of the songs, she carried on talking a bit too much. Apparently, she was a resident singer at Ricky Tomlinsons' club (of The Royal Family fame) and all she kept on saying was "..I was a singer at Ricky Tomlinsons.." and "..Ricky Tomlinson said this.." and "..Ricky Tomlinson said that..". Additionally, she kept on about Cilla Black trying to compare herself to Cilla with "..do you think I look like Cilla?..". And to cap it all off, she rattled on about her boyfriend all of the time and the fact that she was on "Stars in their eyes" or "Britains got talent" or some other TV talent show-I didn't need to know any of this. People were starting to complain. All I can say is that Miss McDowall needs curtail her comments about Ricky Tomlinson, her boyfriend, Cilla Black and the TV shows she was on-she kept calling Cilla a "chipmunk". Miss McDowall does not look like Cilla-Cilla has red hair for starters. There was a Neil Diamond tribute act. I did see one of his shows and he does look and sound the part. However, the singer kept on saying things like "Neil Diamond wrote the next song for.." and "Neil Diamond wrote this in..." We know that Neil Diamond wrote the songs you're singing-you're a Neil Diamond tribute act. I wouldn't expect a song by The Stranglers or "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" by The Smiths! Acts like this just need to get on with the songs-I for one would have enjoyed the show a lot more. There was a Kenny Rogers singer along with a Dolly Parton tribute. The Kenny Rogers guy was good but I can't comment on Dolly Parton. There was also a magician/comedian-again I can't comment as I didn't attend a show. The highlight of the entertainment was a Mr. Pete Finlay. Mr. Finlay is a retired Flight Engineer on the Concorde aircraft and has flown countless times on Concorde all around the world as the Chief Flight Engineer. He gave four lectures on Concorde-the development of the plane, the crash of the Air France Concorde, the rival planes that other airlines tried to produce and the future of supersonic passenger aircraft. On this last lecture, Mr. Finlay outlined a British company-Reaction Engines-who are currently developing an engine to power a Hypersonic (that's Mach 5 or beyond) passenger aircraft to get from London to Australia in four hours! Reaction Engines have got the financial backing of the EU and the European Space Agency and expect to be producing a prototype engine in a couple of years. Mr. Finlay is an extremely articulate lecturer and is a delight to listen to-P&O need to get more people like Mr. Finlay onboard. His lectures were very well attended with "standing room only" on some occasions. The islands and excursions We visited St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Grand Turk, Tortola-British Virgin Islands, Grenada and of course Barbados. We were supposed to visit Antigua but due to quite severe weather conditions including a 60/70 mph. crosswind, the captain couldn't get the ship in port and after five or six attempts decided not to try again. Antigua is unique in the Caribbean as the entrance to the main port has a deep water channel which is only 90 metres wide. The ship is around 40 metres wide which means there isn't a lot of spare room to manouvre. The excursions I chose were quite enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the Concorde Exhibition in Barbados, a rum distillery in St. Lucia and botanical gardens in St. Vincent-despite the fact that in St. Vincent we were caught in tropical rainstorm and got drenched. The rest of my trips were Best of/Highlights of various islands. P&O (like other cruise companies) make a daily charge to your account. This is for gratuities for the staff. In this case it was £3.50 per person per day (including kids). I had mine stopped as I don't like to be told who/when/how much I'm tipping. Additionally, as I am a "cash only" passenger, I placed around £900 on my account at the start of the trip. The day before Barbados, I asked when I could close my account only to be told it was already too late as I had to close my account by 6.30 pm. I did argue that I was a "cash" customer but the reception assistant was adamant. I eventually spoke to a deputy Pursar who extended my time until 10pm. I went to reception at around 9.45 to close my account only to be told by another assistant that "I could close it anytime" so I left my account open. I did go back at 10.45pm. and spoke to (yet another) assistant who then said that 6.30pm. was the original time and that the rest of my deposit was "lost". By now I'm getting angry (I'm not a patient man). I suggested-quite loudly and forcefully-that if I didn't get my money back (around £260), that when I got back to the UK, I would sue P&O in the Small Claims Court in my home town. I also suggested that I would be looking for damages and costs for this action. This did the trick and I got my money back. A warning to "cash only" passengers-P&O will make your life difficult. Make sure you get your money back as they won't hesitate to keep it. On a personal note, as the ship wasn't full, I asked if I could upgrade to a better cabin-even a balcony- only to be told that this "wasn't possible". Considering that I knew that a lot of the balcony rooms were unoccupied, I thought that it was a little unfair. Why leave them empty if they're not being used? I know that a lot more passengers also asked for an upgrade only to be told the same thing. Also, as I have to plan things well in advance due to my work shift pattern, I was disappointed to hear of all the offers-P&O calls them "getaway prices"-to get people on the cruise. As a single traveller, I have to pay a lot more than two or more occupying a cabin. I heard of passengers paying £600 to £900 for the cruise including flights! Conclusions. All things considered...4 out of 10. P&O must do better. The fact that the ship was not fully booked didn't help. The cruise didn't have the fizz or buzz of a busy ship and the atmosphere onboard wasn't there. It seemed as if the staff were "going through the motions" and didn't seem to be interested. This spoilt my trip and as I have previously mentioned, I had been planning this for nearly two years, and I was very disappointed. Would I reccommend? Errrrmm...No. P&O need to try a lot harder. I WILL give P&O another chance in the future, but it won't be on the Azura. As a Post Script to this review, two or three days before the end of the trip, we were hearing rumours about the Christmas cruise which sailed on December 14th. Apparently the ship was fully booked BUT there were 700 (THAT'S SEVEN HUNDRED) kids onboard. Anybody that booked the Christmas cruise hoping for a quiet trip has made a huge mistake. I for one (along with a great many of my fellow travellers) were delighted to get off the ship before all of the kids showed up! An update to this Post Script (I wrote this review in December with additions in January)....Since writing this review, I have been contacted by several people who travelled on the Christmas cruise which left Barbados on December 14th. They tell me that the number of kids on this cruise numbered at only around 200-250. The rumours (and the staff) on the cruise I was on said 700 and yet the passengers who were actually on the trip said 200 to 250. I will leave the reader to make up their own mind.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We have just returned from a fantastic holiday on Azura with my daughter and her husband who were first time cruises. I must say that almost everything about it was enjoyable and positive. All the ports of call were very good, even Ocho ... Read More
We have just returned from a fantastic holiday on Azura with my daughter and her husband who were first time cruises. I must say that almost everything about it was enjoyable and positive. All the ports of call were very good, even Ocho Rios in Jamacia, have since my last visit 12 years ago made a very conscious effort to make the tourist feel welcome and safe. Dominica, well what can I say. Many on board said don't bother getting off the ship it's not worth it. How wrong they were. We went on an island tour with the most friendly and informative couple (sweetness her husband called her) that you could ever wish to meet. It was extremely enjoyable and the memories will stay with me. We went up into the mountains, saw the water falls, hot springs and local life. After that we asked them to take us to a beach for snorkeling, they took us to champagne cove, which is not a beach as its very rocky, but in the water, well you realize why it got its name, there are lots of hot springs in the water and it bubbles up like champagne. Bonaire, Aruba, Grand Turk, St Maarten, Antigua and St Lucia are what you would expect from mostly commercialized islands. On these islands we done our own exploring taking local buses, which can be an experience in itself and taxis to more out of the way beaches for snorkeling and swimming with sting rays. We sat at local bars and beach huts for lunch and had a wonderful time. I thought the ship itself was very clean and tidy. I was a little worried about our cabins at first because I read that it was noisy on Riviera deck. We never heard a thing and neither did my daughter and her husband and two of us are light sleepers. We had an inside cabin this time and it was more roomy than I thought it was going to be. There was a proper hair dryer which to us ladies is a blessing, tea and coffee making facilities which you don't get on all ships and a launderette which was free, just buy washing tablet from reception. Can't complain about any of the food. We dined on late sitting in Oriental, our waiters were very competent and always smiling. If you are on second sitting go to the show at 7pm much better than the late one after dinner. Seventeen restaurant was excellent {went for daughters 30th birthday} Our two men said it was the best steak they have ever had in their lives and they have eaten some good steaks!!! Sindu was moth watering as well. Got my daughter champagne breakfast in bed for two on her birthday which was delivered at the exact time she ordered it and was enough for four. My final comment is, the buffet restaurants do get busy and it takes time for the waiters to clear the tables because they don't just clear them but have to sort the waste as well. Don't be afraid to give them a hand and take you dirty dishes to the service point, I did, after all I would take my dishes to the sink at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having cruised on Ventura we decided, my disabled son, myself and a friend, to give Azura the once over. Before you go P&O send a brochure for wheelchair users about suitable excursions, although personally we did not use it. We ... Read More
Having cruised on Ventura we decided, my disabled son, myself and a friend, to give Azura the once over. Before you go P&O send a brochure for wheelchair users about suitable excursions, although personally we did not use it. We traveled to Southampton by car arriving at the designated time. As soon as we entered the cruise terminal P&O staff escorted us to a small waiting area for wheelchair passengers. We were soon processed and on board. Our cabin was ready so after dropping some of our bags there we made our way to the buffet for lunch. Our stateroom was roomy and spotless the wet-room well equipped and spacious. The access to the balcony is a bit weird with a drop down ramp (the same as Ventura)so care is needed to make sure the door is fully open and the ramp in the down position before venturing out! Our cabin steward soon introduced herself. During the cruise she was helpful and courteous. When we needed to have the upper bunk mattress on the floor she was a bit thrown but after making a special note of our request carried on as normal As we had 8 days at sea there were things going on all over the ship. Our travelling companion was keen to brush up on her bridge skills so went along to the classes for improver's, she found the tuition excellent and even won one of the afternoon games. This left my son and I to do our own thing, which is I think the real advantage of being on a cruise. There were quizzes and talks, films. port presentations etc. besides the outdoor activities (when the weather permitted) Not sure the Seascreen is worth losing the retracting roof for, not much good in wet weather or in daylight. The staff were beyond reproach from the Captain to the wheelchair assistants on the gangways, nothing was too much trouble. One of the main reasons we go with P& O is the service they provide from the time you get to your departure point until you arrive back home. If you are wheelchair confined all the help is there (not personal care of course)On the flight home the crew of the 'plane were just as helpful. The entertainment on board is variable, but generally good, especially the resident Headliners who were professional and energetic. Entertainment is very personal but there is something for everyone at some time. We chose Freedom dining, the choice of food was excellent although we did notice the 'always there' options had disappeared. The waiting staff were always willing to help. When my son ordered something he discovered he did not like they changed it for an alternative. At other times we ate in the Peninsular restaurant for lunch or the buffet, the food was always first class. I can honestly say we never had any problem with finding a seat. At the end of our cruise we waited on board until our flight was called, another reason for going with P & O , on other lines you have to leave the ship and wait around all day for your flight. Overall although there are ups and downs (literally!) P & O are tops for us. The ship layout can be confusing but there are signs all over the place to help in getting around, there is even a wheelchair lift to get to deck 17. Our only problem with Azura is with the changes to deck 17 and the Oasis pool. on Ventura these spaces are open to everyone not just the 40 who pay £20 a day for the Retreat. As this is the adult only pool and the Jacuzzis have fewer steps my son spent most of his time there when on Ventura. The covered shaded area on deck 17 is taken up with the Retreat and covered cabanas for spa treatments, what a waste as the views from there are superb and the shade very welcome in the Caribbean. For this reason we will not be going on Azura again, as Ventura and Azura are the only P&O ships with adapted cabins for more than 2 people we will have to go where Ventura goes! I would agree that the behavior of the minority is appalling, bad language litter, smoking where they please and general disregard for other passengers. No one seems willing to ask these people to comply. Is P&O in danger of going downmarket? Sadly I think it is Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We've just returned from Christmas and New Year on Azura. It was wonderful. A lovely ship with lots of alternative dining options at VERY reasonable prices, although lots of people complained that all food wasn't free. The Glass ... Read More
We've just returned from Christmas and New Year on Azura. It was wonderful. A lovely ship with lots of alternative dining options at VERY reasonable prices, although lots of people complained that all food wasn't free. The Glass House and Sindhu were fabulous and well worth the extra money. The Headliners Theatre Group were definitely the best we've ever seen on board ship and the fact that they did a 7.15.pm show meant we didn't have to rush to get to see a show after dinner. Lots of sunbeds were available and we always managed to find a quiet spot to relax in the sun. After a few days of going to the restaurant for breakfast we decided to give it a miss as we were fed up listening to other passengers complaining about the most trivial things!! After that we got a couple of Costa coffees 'to go' and took them back to our cabin. Amuch more pleasant start to the day. Can't wait to get back on board Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
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
I was so much looking forward to sailing on Azura but the first impressions were disappointing.Too many passengers cared for by too few staff:the deck activities were mainly "non-hosted" and there was a feeling of over crowding ... Read More
I was so much looking forward to sailing on Azura but the first impressions were disappointing.Too many passengers cared for by too few staff:the deck activities were mainly "non-hosted" and there was a feeling of over crowding at certain periods especially the needless queueing to gain a place in the theatre which often resulted in bad words and scraps by certain passengers.Although the ship was clean it was not exactly welcoming with sun loungers jammed too close together and a lack of suitable shade at times.Why pay extra for Costa coffee and ice creams during the day:it is a long hike to the cabin and the life saving coffee maker or to the NAAFI style canteen for their tea and coffee.The food quality was similar to a city cafe or pub:nothing really special and not too appealing either.The breakfast buffet had bacon and eggs swimming in fat and not too appetising as a result.Afternoon Tea in the Venezia cafe was forgettable:always remember certain other lines make the tea a spectacle with cakes and excellent service. Why was there no hand steriliser outside the main restaurants in the evening? The few children on board needed supervising especially by the pools where notices indicated that diving and jumping were not allowed.Really it went on all the time with nobody to control a situation which may have been dangerous at times. The entertainment was frankly pathetic with too many tribute acts by talentless nonentities and even poor old Des O'Connor was past his sell by date.Tom O'Connor was good on Christmas Day:a real professional.Third rate comedians and so called entertainers made up the rest of this month cruise on a much hyped ship. I have written to P&O to state my complaints and comments as well as saying that I have already cancelled a forthcoming cruise on Azura and am prepared to lose the deposit.Azura? Never again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Like about 98% of the passengers on this cruise, we had booked it in April 2009 at a price that you would pay for a cruise of half the duration, and we had upgraded flights. As we had already been on the Ventura and we knew that the Azura ... Read More
Like about 98% of the passengers on this cruise, we had booked it in April 2009 at a price that you would pay for a cruise of half the duration, and we had upgraded flights. As we had already been on the Ventura and we knew that the Azura was very similar in layout, we had no misgivings about what we were in for regarding the size and style of the ship and we were looking forward to the cruise immensely, even though we had not previously spent so long on a ship. Our flight from Manchester to Barbados was good and check in to the ship was fine. Our luggage arrived without too much delay. So we had a quick look around the ship, something light to eat and then bed. Our balcony cabin was on B deck, port side. It was virtually the same as that on the Ventura. Tons of storage space and we had 62 coat hangers!!!! Comfy bed and quiet - you could not hear anything from next door or the corridor. Our cabin steward, Moses, efficiently kept the room clean and tidy, serviced twice a day. We hardly ever saw him. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas - lots of trees in the public areas and lots of festoons - what a contrast to the previous Christmas on Celebrity when there was one miserable tree in the Atrium, a bit of bunting only on Christmas morning and that was it. For preference, for sunbathing we sat on deck 19 at the back of the ship - nice and quiet. Sunbeds generally were still an issue but not as much as on the Ventura. The ship's blurb says that there are enough beds for all passengers. Yes, this is probably true but if everyone took a bed there would not be enough room for them all on deck. Not everyone wants to sit or lie cheek by jowl with a total stranger. We like some personal space. We were able to achieve this on deck 19. We were freedom dining and never had a problem getting a table straight away as we were always prepared to share a table - this can be a nice way of meeting people. The food in the Meridien varied. What you could say was that the plates were boiling hot. The starters, soup and desserts were probably the best. Mains varied. What really got up my husband's nose was that you were served one roast potato each - OK if you asked you could have more, but isn't this a bit mean? On one occasion someone got 4 chips! We also ate in the speciality restaurants: twice in 17 and twice in Sindhu both of which were superb, twice in the Glasshouse which was excellent and once in the Verona (evening waiter service) which again was excellent. My husband had the sizzling steak in the Verona and said it was superb. We cannot recommend these restaurants highly enough. The Venezia/Verona buffets were what we expected and the food at breakfast was fine. We preferred to go here rather than wait to be served in the sit down breakfast in the Peninsular restaurant. We did not bother much with lunch and tried the Venezia once in the evening for dinner (Thai) and were not impressed. We had afternoon tea in the buffet restaurants - yes on occasion you had to share a table with someone else but we didn't mind. The only problem was the amount you ate - all those calories!!!!!!!! We had good service in all the bars and commented on the large number of staff waiting to take your order. We thought the drinks prices were very fair -for example, £2.75 for a pint of Boddingtons, cocktail of the day £2.50 and around £12 - 15 for a bottle of wine and no 15% extra on the menu price. We liked the Glasshouse for a pre - dinner drink. We like its ambience and the wine and the staff were nice too. The only slight problem was at certain times, a queue would form for people waiting to go into the theatre and then conversely there was a lot of activity with people coming out of the theatre. The entertainment varied as it always does. Some of the acts were excellent and got standing ovations. Others were so-so. We heard that the ship's company, the Headliners were very good but we did not see them as we are not really show people, prefering instead to see the act on in the Manhattan.Tom O'connor was good and he gave extra performances as he could not get off the ship at Grand Cayman due to bad weather. On balance, we thought the entertainment we saw was better than on any of our previous cruises. As previously mentioned this ship is almost a copy of the Ventura but I think the Atrium is different. They had ballroom dancing on the ground floor here but people who did this said it was like performing in a goldfish bowl and it put them off. Yes, it is like a goldfish bowl - like all Atriums!! We never found the gym, the spa or the Retreat and we never used Costa Coffee - why pay extra for something you can get for free on deck 15 or in your cabin??????? We also never sat around the pools and only went there for the sailaway parties or for New Year's Eve. NYE was superb and apparently there were 2,000 people at the party on deck around the Coral Pool. We staggered away about 02.00 and it was still going strong. But the next morning you would never know anything had taken place - all the sunbeds were back in place etc. There were some children on the ship. However, you would never have known. Deck 16 keeps them happy and out of the way!!! The one thing we did see whilst walking past one of the pools was the SeaScreen. Is this of any benefit? One night there were people huddled in towels watching a film - each to his own I suppose. The itinerary was interesting - with ports in Florida, 2 days in New Orleans and the rest in and out of the Caribbean islands. We did 2 ship's trips - one to Kennedy Space Centre which we thougt was excellent and one to the Everglades. In New Orleans we had booked our own steamboat cruise with lunch at a third of the price that the ship was charging. We had also booked an evening meal at a restaurant in the French Quarter and then went on to a jazz pub - Fritzells in Bourbon Street - wonderful. Bad weather stopped the ship from docking in Grand Cayman which was a shame. One of the ports was Montego Bay which is definitly not suitable for a port of call. Really threatening to walk around in the daytime and we were warned on about 4 occasions by local people to be careful. The main topic of conversation during the first week was how did you pack for 7 formal nights, 4 semi formal nights,17 smart casual nights and all your day clothes within 23KG each? With great difficulty is the answer. Consequently the launderettes were probably the most used facility on the ship. There were stories of people being charged for extra luggage at the departure airport - £15 per kilo seemed the going rate, people being told to repack their bags at the airport - whilst others got away with being overweight and did not get charged at all. Of course, coming home, no one bothered with weights of cases as you don't check in. A word of caution - check your onboard account carefully. We had 4 overcharges on ours which were all sorted out but we heard of others who had been overcharged by £100s. Finally, about the moaners on the ship - and there were many. A lot were seasoned cruisers (this was our 7th cruise and we were novices compared with some) who had taken advantage of a really cheap price to get this cruise. Being seasoned P&O cruisers they knew what to expect from P&O but they moaned about everying - the size of the ship (which they knew about before they booked), the food, the service - you name it - it was a cause for a moan. They even moaned about the weather as if it were P&O's fault. If I had heard one more time from someone saying they wished they were on the Oceana or the Oriana - I would have screamed. When we were in St Lucia, the Oceana was also there and your felt like saying to these people - there she is - go and jump ship. So did we have a good time? Yes!! It was superb value for money, we met some nice people and it was relaxing and we were away from the horrible winter weather at home!! Would we go on Azura again? Yes. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We were looking forward to cruising the Caribbean on P&O's new ship the Azura- what a disappointment! Ship was OK but nothing special. The food choice was abysmal compared to other cruise lines - food itself in the restaurant ... Read More
We were looking forward to cruising the Caribbean on P&O's new ship the Azura- what a disappointment! Ship was OK but nothing special. The food choice was abysmal compared to other cruise lines - food itself in the restaurant was reasonable but the waiters were running around like headless chickens as they obviously has too many tables to service - we waited 1/2 an hour between courses and some people were waiting even longer- just too many passengers and not enough staff.This was also evident in the bars etc and in the glass house -we waited 1 hr 40 mins for a meal to be served - excuse was there were a lot of people eating that particular night. The self service restaurant- choice very limited typical bar type food pie and chips etc very few healthy options and a lack of fresh fruit. Entertainment too samey 3 tribute acts, a couple of comedians and the ships staff more or less what you would expect at a holiday camp. A large proportion of passengers had booked last minute at vastly reduced prices but it appeared from speaking to many passengers that the up graded cabins were given to the people who had booked late and paid approx half the cost of the people who had booked months before - This was our 8th cruise with P&O and were we offered an up grade NO were we offered on board credit as we had paid a high price NO WHAT DID WE GET FOR OUR LOYALTY TO P&O? 'RIPPED OFF'- A HIGH PRICE FOR A SUB STANDARD CRUISE! Never again Read Less
Sail Date November 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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