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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I liked the size of the ship , not too big, embarkation was much faster (10 min queue) rather than for Britannia (2 hours queue). But the whole ship needs a total refurb , all the chairs and sofas are incredibly low, some almost ... Read More
I liked the size of the ship , not too big, embarkation was much faster (10 min queue) rather than for Britannia (2 hours queue). But the whole ship needs a total refurb , all the chairs and sofas are incredibly low, some almost impossible to get out of, in the dining rooms you felt like a child sitting at the tables and a lot of people made the same comment. Our superior balcony was quite spacious with a sofa which could become a sofa bed and tables and chairs, 2 , 24” flat screens TVs one facing the bedroom the other facing the sitting room, limited shows and movies and sometime didn’t work due to poor signal. We had a bath and dressing gowns and slippers they provide basic toiletries and there is a small fridge which you pay if you use anything in it. We got complimentary :a bottle of champagne, a bowl of fruit, a box of chocolate, 2 small sparking and one large plain bottled water. There is a kettle , tea , coffee and milk sashes which they renew every day, you also have a turned down service in the evenings, which they clear up any rubbish replace used mugs, glasses and open the bed with a small chocolate on the bed for each. There is only 2 UK sockets ( plus one for the kettle) and one American socket .I phoned up before departure to ask what kind of sockets they use & was told European & Uk. But no European in the cabin and funny enough the hairdryer ‘s plug is American ! The queue for breakfast is massive and no where to sit, so we ordered free of charge room service breakfast, which was sufficient and if you look on line it includes sliced cheese & meat but NO IT DOESN’T. Food is generally just acceptable not as good as Cunard. I has a very good shoulder, neck & back massage twice at the Oasis spa. 50 min of absolute bliss for £72 each session, the second one I had as a couple massage with my husband which we paid on the day we booked 3 days before but they charged us again on the day too and it took us a lot of explanation, back and forth to the spa and reception to get e refund. It ruined the experience. There is The Oasis swimming pool for adults only, if you look on line it says it has a currant that you swim against , but no it doesn’t and thank goodness. However it is not heated and I was only able to use it when it was a warm sunny day which was only one day during the whole 7 day cruise and on the last port day (Fri) the pool was closed and empty of water. Very disappointing there are 2 jacuzzis on either side of the pool but they didn’t work one day as they were doing maintenance why they couldn’t do that during the night god knows ! There is a sauna and steam room as well which have good temperatures. Evening entertainment is very basic and mainly comedy , Madonna tribute was in a bar with limited stage background and she was out of tune.the last evening they showed “Astonishing” which we saw on the Britannia last year, we thought they would change it , but unfortunately it was exactly the same magic show with exactly the same tricks, very disappointing. On the 5th night the Captain announced that the is sea a bit rough on the Bay of Bisque and he was going to detour to avoid it, but it could still be a bumpy ride so hold on to the handle bars and be careful. A Bumpy Ride?!! The whole ship was rocking from side to side then from the front the back making awful sounds as if it was falling apart it started at 10 pm and became worse from mid night to 4pm the next day. But still very very unstable even after that with huge 10 metre high waves hitting the side of the ship. It was a very uneasy experience and we felt very unsafe. Another night we were woken up by the Captain at 5.30 am to say there was a very unwell passenger who had to be helicoptered to a hospital in France , he asked us to stay in our cabins and not even go on our balconies, but we saw it from our patio door coming towards the ship & leaving , later on we found out there is no helicopter pad on the ship so the patient had to be lifted up to the helicopter by a cable ! Scary . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat ... Read More
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat exclusively in the Buffet Restaurant Venezia, so that she could select food to suit her. There was too much emphasis on curries and Indian dishes, very little variety with few cooked vegetables and food not always as hot as it should have been. Venezia restaurant always crowded as only half the space open most of the time. Coffee machine not working for the whole of the cruise, fruit juice only available at breakfast and pineapple juice only available 3 mornings out of 12. The milk dispenser often not filled and you were expected to use UHT milk sachet instead, Drink P & O are new to the drinks package idea but do not have the price right. A drinks package for two for 12 days would be £960 when in fact our bar bill was under £100. You would need to be an alcoholic to get your money’s worth. Their soft drinks package would have been £480 compared to Norwegian on the Epic at £138. Service The cabin service was very good but in the restaurant there seemed to be a lack of willingness to help and when service was given it was very slow, when ordering drinks they often arrived halfway through the meal even when ordered right at the beginning. Tables not cleared as quickly as they should have been. Entertainment I understand that P & O have won an award for entertainment and goodness knows why. The entertainment was very poor with a few second rate comedians and singers and no shows. The standard was so low that the highlight of the week was the entertainments manager doing an Elvis impersonation. Cost We opted for the saver fare as opposed to the select fare and consequently were only allocated a cabin a week before we sailed and then treated as second class citizens in dining room allocation and having to pay on the “free” shuttle buses. An example of the shuttle bus cost in Lisbon was £4.00 per person per journey a total of £8 each way compared with a taxi cost one way of 6 Euros. The cost for the internet package was very high and so we did not use it. P & O should rethink this policy in this interconnected electronic age. Not a very good move to encourage future bookings on P & O. Ship The Azura started operation in 2010 and is now in desperate need of a refit. Certain areas such as the Malabar and deck 7 midships smelled of sewage all the time and one passenger reported black mould under the toilet seat which was not immediately rectified. The satellite TV was not working for most of the cruise. P & O’s standards have dropped considerably and are now below an acceptable level and do not compare well with rivals such as CMV. Shore Excursions We did two P & O excursions, one to La Palma for Whale watching. 3½ hours on a small boat in heavy seas and saw no whales nor dolphins, in fact not even a fish and no compensation for this. We also did Lisbon by land & river and this was very good with a tour of Lisbon by coach and then a very pleasant river cruise. We also did three excursions by Cruising Excursion The first at Madeira where we were left stranded on the top of a mountain and had to return to the ship by taxi. The second to Tenerife where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes at the foot of Mount Tiede and the third to Lanzarote where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes on a visit to Fire Mountain. All the excursions by both companies are vastly overpriced. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Food, entertainment and cabin were excellent. Was looking forward to the Grand Cayman anchorage and had Stingray trip booked. The captain refused to anchor due to strong winds. There were 3 other ships at anchor, including the much smaller ... Read More
Food, entertainment and cabin were excellent. Was looking forward to the Grand Cayman anchorage and had Stingray trip booked. The captain refused to anchor due to strong winds. There were 3 other ships at anchor, including the much smaller Disney Magic. These ships were ferrying passengers ashore using the large local Cayman double-decker tenders. There was no explanation as to why these tenders were not used. The compensation for a day lost? - a glass of white table wine. We Brits are suckers I guess, I'm not sure if American cruisers would have been treated thusly? Lunch and diner in the main restaurants was first class. Plenty of variety and freshly cooked. The waiters were real pro's, super efficient and amazingly friendly. We preferred the buffet for breakfast, mainly due to the immense variation on offer. The only downer was the factory-made toast. It was cold, bullet hard and impervious to liquids of any sort. If the Titanic had been plated with Azura toast, it would be sailing today. The entertainment was by far the best we'd experienced on 6 ships and 3 cruise lines. A fantastic itinerary, plenty of variety and true pros. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Back Boxing Day from the fabulous Caribbean, cruised many times but this time was not so good, flight ok going out but awful on the way back, Azura was just like Butlins or Benidorm the tv programme not the place. The food had gone down ... Read More
Back Boxing Day from the fabulous Caribbean, cruised many times but this time was not so good, flight ok going out but awful on the way back, Azura was just like Butlins or Benidorm the tv programme not the place. The food had gone down hill, the little nice touches had gone, cabin steward was great. days at sea terrible to many people in one place , sun beds so close you could smell the deodorant of the person next to you , the beds were touching each other, and of course were reserved from 6am and the staff do nothing about it, some saved sun beds and then went out on an excursion. The dress code was totally ignored in the buffet in the evening and quite a few turned up in the swim wear shorts and flip flops they had on all day. The rudeness of some passengers was awful, I was almost knocked to the floor by an old chap in the buffet and my food knocked on to the floor, no sorry at all the waiter was furious. But could do nothing, in the casino on two occasions drunks were arguing with the staff and shouting out (get me a drink) again older guys not the youngsters both times security arrived calmed them down and asked them to leave, of course they were not happy about it. This is just a snap shot and my and my husband opinion, but such a shame how much it has changed and how holiday camp it all felt Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Ship showing signs of age and lowered standards. In dining rooms lights not working and paint peeling on ceiling, stateroom carpet needed a good wet clean. However dining staff and room cleaners worked very hard, were obliging and ... Read More
Ship showing signs of age and lowered standards. In dining rooms lights not working and paint peeling on ceiling, stateroom carpet needed a good wet clean. However dining staff and room cleaners worked very hard, were obliging and pleasant. Food and entertainment generally good. Unfortunately, ship crew were short staffed and uncaring. Typical cost saving measures in Gibralta on 20th October 2015 proved how uncaring p & O had become. On this day rain was torrential all morning and my wife and I became drenched and very wet from flooded roads and returned to ship. Three gangways were in position but only one in use. Two x ray machines available on the one gangway but only one in use. This meant long queues (30 minutes plus) in torrential rain to get on board. No attempt to provide shelter and no hot drinks to welcome one on board (I shall stick to American ships in future). I imagine the crew had a good laugh at the poor customers waiting to get on board - no point in using other gangways as crew could get wet. However we did not let these declining standards spoil our holiday which we enjoyed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first P and O cruise. We travelled by coach to Sourhampton. Embarkation was fairly quick and we were soon on board. I liked the way you were given a card showing where you were on the wait yo board. There were plenty of people ... Read More
This was our first P and O cruise. We travelled by coach to Sourhampton. Embarkation was fairly quick and we were soon on board. I liked the way you were given a card showing where you were on the wait yo board. There were plenty of people carrying out the hoarding process and issuing your card. Our cabin was ready so we dropped off our luggage and headed to buffet for lunch. The way the buffet, in both areas, is set out does not lend itself to a smooth flow of people. People enter from either end. There is an exit in the middle but many exit where people are entering. Food in the buffet was ok but a bit monotenous. It was often difficult to find a table and your food would be cool by the time time you did. We had early sitting in the Oriental Dining Room. Service was much slower than we had experienced on other cruises. The waiters now have to take drinks orders. They also seem to have more people to attend to. Food was fine with a reasonable choice each evening. We also ate breakfast there. The menu was the same each day with a daily special. There was no way you could get any of the specials if it was not the correct day. Why oh why can cruise ships not make decent toast? It was hard and cold. Our cabin was fine but the carpet was a disgrace. There was a huge stain below the coffee table and a big black patch outside the bathroom. Apart from the carpet the steward kept the place very clean. I liked the tea and coffee making facilities. We like to go to the shows in the theatre. This became more of a problem as the cruise went on. People were going earlier and earlier to ensure a seat. If you were not there half an hour before the start you might not get in. Most of the shows were good but we were not impressed by the Headline Group. The singers were screeching not singing. We only went once to see them. For several days there was a problem with one of the main doors to the theatre. That entrance was closed meaning most people entered by the other door. The early people sat near this door meaning those who came later had to push past a whole row of people to get a seat at the other side. No staff were to be seen. Surely some staff could have organised seating better? Apart from anything else this could have been a huge problem had their been a fire. Nobody ever told us what the problem with the door was. There was also entertainment in the lounges. It was often difficult to get a seat there. There were over 3000 people on board and it did not appear there were enough places to sit. A syndicate quiz was held each evening in the Karmala room. This room was a disgrace and people should not have been expected to use it. There were leaks all over and buckets placed to catch the water. Industrial blowers were in place to try to dry it out. It was not a pleasant place to be. The entertainment staff worked hard. The pools were often closed. When open I saw children in swim nappies using them in spite of a notice saying they were forbidden. Nobody ever checked. The ports were excellent. None were tender and only in Lisbon was it slow to disembark. The Captain was very personable and always said he would soon have us ashore with the speed of a thousand gazelles! We did not take any ship's excursions. Disembarkation was. Nightmare. Nobody gave information as to what was happening. Eventually we left the ship 45 mins late and our coach left over an hour late resulting in traffic hold ups and a very late return home. Passengers were seldom given information on what was happening which I felt was not good. The ship was just out of dry dock. There were new carpets in dining rooms, stairs and passages. Why, if not replacing those in the cabins, did they not shampoo them? Many people had problems with leaks and water. This was our first P and o cruise. Would I go again? Maybe if the price and itinerary were right. However I will not be rushing back to sail with them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
Wouldn't it be great if we could take the best bits from each cruise line and combine them into one? This was our second time on Azura. The first time she was only 6 months old and I was waiting for a knee operation and felt I ... Read More
Wouldn't it be great if we could take the best bits from each cruise line and combine them into one? This was our second time on Azura. The first time she was only 6 months old and I was waiting for a knee operation and felt I couldn't find a comfortable seat anywhere on board. So, it was with some apprehension that we decided, because the price was right, to choose to spend Christmas with her. This time it was somewhat better comfort-wise. Basically, I feel Azura is a badly designed ship - in several ways. The two main entertainment venues - the theatre and Manhatten - are at opposite ends of the ship. Visibility of artists in Manhatten is poor and therefore guests leave the theatre before the end of the show to scurry along right to the other end to get a reasonable seat in Manhatten. However, this doesn't always work. We didn't go to the theatre one night and arrived in Manhatten three quarters of an hour before the comedian was due to come on - and still couldn't get a reasonable seat. Every showtime many people have to stand. There are only 3 ladies toilets outside this busy venue which meant that every night there is a queue. There are no places in the theatre to put your drink should you have one. The Glasshouse, where people can be eating, is one of the thoroughfares to get to the theatre and I wouldn't like streams of people coming through if I was eating. The pub, Brodies, is in the same space as the Casino and can therefore be noisy. The two buffet serving areas are rather small and this creates congestion, especially as P&O only open one at lunchtime. To get to the dining room from some venues you have to go up 2 decks to go down 1! Azura, like many ships, uses the atrium as a venue - mainly for dancing. This is a poor venue as there is very little seating and the dance floor is very small. Food-wise it was unfortunate for P&O that we had cruised on Celebrity Eclipse the month before and, of course, were bound to make comparisons. On the Eclipse the food was exceptional - every piece of meat was first rate. Sadly, Azura could not compete. Our travelling companion sent a steak back twice before deciding to opt for the lamb. In the buffets Eclipse had so much more choice and it was easy to get around. On Azura on several occasions they ran out of decaff coffee and tea and were slow to restock desserts. There was no choice of drink other than water at lunch time (unless you paid). The waiters in the MDR were very pleasant but on several occasions forgot to bring something we had asked for. The entertainment on this particular cruise was rather disappointing though the Cruise Director was great and very hands on and his team were up to the usual P&O standard. Christmas Day was a sea day, of course, but the lecture was about the execution of Ruth Ellis - hardly an uplifting subject. The cabaret artists were not up to the usual standard either. Our main grumble, however, was about the loud music we were constantly bombarded with. In this day and age of personal music systems why do P&O feel it necessary to play loud music on the open deck and in the buffet areas. On Christmas Eve there was a deck party, scheduled to finish at 12.15 am. Our cabin (B402) was 3 decks below and all we could hear was the thump, thump, thump of the music - the bass must have been on full. At 12.10 I phoned down to reception to see how long this would go on and to ask if It needed to be quite so loud as we couldn't get to sleep. The receptionist was very dismissive, saying it WAS Christmas Eve and she couldn't do anything about the volume. In the event, it was 1 am when it all ended and we managed to get to sleep. One night there were only 4 of us on the open deck, trying to concentrate on a game we were playing and the music was blaring out then - so we had to move. Although we had some showers, as you can expect in the Caribbean at this time, the weather was good and Azura sailed through what little swell there was with ease. Embarkation, immigration and disembarkation were made very easy for us. Arrival at ports of call were on time and formalities were soon completed so that passengers could go ashore. We didn't use the shore excursions offered by the ship but from past experience P&O are usually good organisers. Of the ports of call on this cruise, our favourites were Curacao and Bonaire. If we visit St Lucia or Dominica again (having been to both several times) then I think we would stay on board ship. Castries and Roseau are very disappointing. Flights were with Thomas Cook. The flights themselves were comfortable, the food adequate and the legroom ok for us. We now both, however, have streaming colds due to the person sitting behind us coughing most of the way home! We have now had two charter flights with Thos Cook and, with these 2 flights have spent a total of 14 hours at Barbados airport! Three years ago we spent 9 hours waiting and this year 5!! Passengers apparently took their frustrations out on the crew. As we landed in Manchester the pilot said "to those of you who felt it necessary to take out your frustration on the crew - I hope you feel better for it"! At one time, years ago, the customer was always right - now we're just the butt of sarcasm!! On the whole, it was enjoyable. It was good to get away from the cold weather at home. Our accommodation was well maintained and, if rather on the small side, was at least comfortable. Our first choice, however, with P&O would be an adult only ship. Parents were allowing their children to run full length of the accommodation corridors - so don't waste your time trying to get an afternoon nap!. Children tended to take over the swimming pools and on Azura there is no adult only pool. The depth of all the pools means if you're 5ft 2in, like me, you won't be able to stand up in any of the pools. Although there are clear signs saying no diving or jumping, these signs are ignored. Ignored also are the requests that passengers do not reserve sun loungers. Nothing is done about it by the cruise line so this will persist.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
This is now about the 8th or 9th cruise review that I have created, and 3 of these were on Azura and Ventura, so you might think there was little more that could be said, unfortunately for P&O that is not the case because IMO there is ... Read More
This is now about the 8th or 9th cruise review that I have created, and 3 of these were on Azura and Ventura, so you might think there was little more that could be said, unfortunately for P&O that is not the case because IMO there is quite a lot to say about their declining standards. But for all their faults we did enjoy the cruise because even with reduced standards a cruise is still a very enjoyable way to spend 17 days in pleasant accommodation, with all meals provided, plus a wide variety of sometimes quite excellent entertainment. Where I make comparisons with Celebrity Eclipse this is purely because that is the only other line we have sailed on recently. The cruise was 17 nights from Southampton to Venice and back, with port stops in Cadiz, Messina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Malta and Lisbon. The best bits included an excellent cabin steward who really did keep our cabin clean, as well as providing a very prompt and efficient service for any requests we made. The entertainment was very good, including the best tribute act at sea, Steve Larkin as Freddie Mercury, some excellent Headliners shows with very good singers, one of the best party bands at sea in Catch 22 fronted by a superb female singer, two very good young dancers in Joanne Almond and Leighton Jones performing exhibition dances in the Atrium as well as teaching latin dance classes and culminating with Craig Revel-Horwood, Darren Bennett and Lylia Kopylova featuring in the Strictly Come Dancing finale. Interestingly we had two Cruise directors on board until Neil Oliver disembarked in Venice and left Liam-Jay in sole charge, and the entertainment staff certainly do put on some excellent sailaway parties. The accessible shuttle service in Venice was first rate, the buses were in easy walking distance of the ships gangway, at the coach park in Tronchetto we were met by a P&O guide who led us down to the Vaporetto landing stage and pointed us in the direction of the ticket booth, then advised us that he would be there or at the car park on our return. But the best bit was that the fare, a return trip down the Grand Canal to St Mark’s Square was Euro 2.60 for my wife in her wheelchair whilst I, as her carer, travelled free. But this is where the bad bits start for P&O. They also offer an accessible shore excursion in Venice complete with Venetian guide, but as far as I can see this tour offers very little extra from our own DIY experience, other than a guide who, according to P&O’s excursion information provides only minimal assistance and cannot stop at any monuments to give any historic or cultural information, but P&O charge £90pp for this tour. The following attachment takes you to the P&O on line info. and if anyone can see the extra £88.89 value in this tour please let me know. https://ask.pocruises.com/help/PO/on-shore/cu_access_shorex The one ships excursion we did take in Malta cost £60pp, which sounds pricey but with only 10 or 12 passengers in total, in a specially adapted vehicle with a driver and a full time guide for the 4.5 hr. trip, is probably in line with most other accessible shore excursions. Our other complaints on Ports of call were the lack of accessible shuttles in Corfu and Dubrovnik both of which require a shuttle to reach the town centre. Whilst I accept that P&O is limited by what the local agents can offer, in Corfu at least some of the local transport buses do have a central ramp access, so why cannot some of these be hired, and what pressure, if any, is being applied to these ports to provide some wheelchair access vehicles. Poor service in the dining room is probably our major complaint, there appeared to be more than enough waiters in the Meridian freedom dining room, but service was very erratic with sometimes quite lengthy waits between courses, and this slow service led to several people either opting to skip the desert and coffee, or miss their chosen show. Possibly the problem is in the galley, if so someone should be seeking improvements, but we never had a table visit from a head waiter or assistant Maître D’ in our MDR during the entire cruise, but we did dine in the Oriental dining room one night with friends and the service there was much better, not rushed just a reasonable pace, and the assistant Maître D’ visited us twice to check if things were OK. Similarly the table clearing service in the buffet was also erratic, and again although senior staff were present and sometimes helping to clear tables, there seemed little or no management being exercised, unlike our experiences on Celebrity where the head waiters actively encourage the staff to clear any used crockery, and ensure that service standards are maintained at a high level. The general cleanliness standards in the public areas were also well below Celebrity levels, as an example I never saw a dirty lift button on Celebrity, on Azura I seldom saw a clean one. Probably the other major complaint was the quality of the food in the MDR; meat standard in particular was well below even our previous P&O cruises, and several stars below Celebrity. The presentation on the plate was often very amateurish and quite a lot of the main course dishes were too cold. Maybe the proposed change to plated meals will improve both the serving temperature and help make the vegetables a better match to the main dish. However I do hope they improve the quality, it started badly for me with a rather tough and stringy sirloin steak on embarkation day, complete with tasteless savoy cabbage and what looked like Tesco everyday value croquettes. The “shaped” roast potatoes, P&O’s description, looked as though they had been sliced from a long stick of frozen reconstituted potato and for the first week they were undercooked. The mushy peas served with most fried fish dishes looked as though they had been measured in a tiny egg cup, much less than one mouth full. Rack of lamb was one rather tiny lamb chop and 2 small thin slices of rather fatty lamb which might or might not have been from the leg. I could go on but you get the drift; it wasn’t all bad but certainly not up to past standards. However we had no complaints about the quality of the food in the buffet, although we only ate breakfast and an occasional lunch or afternoon tea there. The choice for breakfast was extensive and should satisfy most people, lots of fresh fruit, a large selection of cereals and porridge, along with croissants, Danish pastries and toast as well as my choice of good old British bacon and eggs; and for afternoon tea the freshly baked warm scones with jam and clotted cream take some beating. There are some things on P&O that are better than Celebrity though, the lighting in the cabin bathroom with a light over the shower area, a washing line in the shower and better drainage around the roll in shower area, but Eclipses bathroom has more cupboard and shelf space around the sink, and looks to be better quality. However the P&O cabin has far better wardrobe, drawer and shelf space than Eclipse, their coffee mugs are also much better than Celebrity’s tiny glass cups, but the cabin furnishings and quality of bed linen on Eclipse are better; and, other than C deck on Azura, the Eclipse standard balconies are more spacious than P&O. Overall for wheelchair users Celebrity’s Solstice ships are much better than P&O’s Grand class ships. The cabin doors have powered entry and exit, and all the doors on the public areas have automatic openers, and the toilets also have powered push button access. Most of the floors on the public decks are carpet free including the sun deck, which makes pushing a wheelchair much easier than over a carpet. Hopefully Britannia will have lost those silly lengths of carpet on the sun deck, surrounded by rubber beading which makes wheelchair travel very difficult; and they perhaps they will also mark out a walkway which could be kept clear of sunbeds. Port Information. Cadiz – this is one of our favourite ports and easy to DIY, even with a wheelchair, you exit the port straight into the town itself. The old Town area has some semi pedestrianized shopping streets, and an interesting market building with a fascinating sea food section. Messina – again you exit the port straight into the town and only a short distance from the Cathedral with its animated clock tower which has a daily show at noon. This is possibly the only attraction in Messina for wheelchair users, as the streets inland get progressively steeper, and P&O do not offer any accessible excursions here. Corfu – As commented earlier there are no accessible shuttles or tours here and the area around the commercial port is not at all pretty, we found a reasonable café about 1km from the ship but that was the extent of our touring. Dubrovnik – Unfortunately there was torrential early morning rain here and all the ships tours were cancelled by the operators for safety reasons, which was a pity as we had a tour booked and this was the only place we had never visited. Again there was no accessible shuttle offered and since it continued to rain most of the morning, although not as severe, we stayed on board rather than risk taking a taxi. Venice – I covered this earlier but should stress just how easy it was for us to use the Vaporetto (water bus) even though my wife is a full time wheelchair user when outdoors. The boats manage to berth at each stop without any gap between boat and dock and, although the boat does move up and down a bit it is easy to get on and off as long as you pull the chair backwards. You board in the centre of the boat and there is seating fore and aft, all on the same level with spaces next to the boarding area especially for wheelchairs. Malta – We had planned to DIY here using the new lift, which is only 200 yds. from the berth, to take us up to the upper Barack gardens and then into Valetta itself, but swapped our Dubrovnik tour for one here instead. The tour was to Mdina but also took in a visit to a newish Roman Domus museum just outside the walls. The Saturday traffic jam, plus problems with the wheelchair lift in the Domus reduced our time in the old walled city, but our very amusing guide kept us entertained throughout. Lisbon – We were berthed down river at Alcantara which meant we needed a shuttle to take us into town. There was quite a long wait for an accessible bus on the way into Lisbon, but fortunately no wait at all on our return. The area the shuttle drops you is quite central and includes a couple of large squares and a pedestrianized street with lots of sidewalk cafes and plenty of shops to browse. This part of Lisbon is still near the river and quite flat and is relatively easy for wheelchair users, but further inland the streets become steep and quite unsuitable for wheelchairs.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea. Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed to ... Read More
We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea. Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed to restaurant to get food and drink whilst waiting for an announcement about availability. This came relatively quickly and we entered a clean reasonably spacious balcony cabin on Barbados Deck Starboard side, The first thing that hit us about Azura was that you could not walk all around the Promenade deck because the bow end was blocked off by superstructure. Secondly that no matter where you went on the ship it seemed very busy - with great difficulty finding seats in other than the Planet Bar or the Glass House. The Theatre was always completely full for first show at least 30 minuted before curtain up and started to emply 5 mintes before the end of an act so that Wacky Races could be performed by a combination of Walker aids, zimmer frames, wheelchairs, and disabled scooters as people zoomed off to claim seats for another show lounge. We felt that Manhatten lounge was dangerous when full because isles were frequently blocked and the lounge vista was not helped by huge pillars keeping the roof up. We dined on first sitting in the Oriental restaurant. The food was OK as was service but it was nothing to get excited about, especially the puddings. The show lounges were in my opinion quite poorly laid out and Brodie's Bar which we frequented for Quizzes was quite the most unwelcoming and uncomfortable bar I have ever encountered on any ship. It was in the same room as the casino and with regular clientelle on the noisy fruit machines it made for interesting quizzes with questions often having to be repeated The cruise itinerary was we has hoped going to be exciting especially cruising the Dardonelles and the Bosphorous, however both transients of the Dardonnelles were late at night and one of the Bosphorous was very early in the morning. This left us feeling distinctly short changed. We were unable to call in at Myteleene owing to rough seas, however I have been tendered by other cruise lines in much worse conditions. whoever planned the itinerary at Carnival want to be given a talking to. To dock on a Sunday morning in Vigo - when they must have know the port was virtually closed was disgraceful. Especially as we had been as sea for 5 days. Why could we not have called at Gibraltar or Cadiz on a Saturday? Passengers were not happy to discover a virtual lock down of Vigo. Tours we booked were for the most part OK although the Odessa guide was a joke. Taking us on a half hour stop to a Ukrainian bank to get local currency to use in local toilets and then telling the us the bank required to see our Ukrainian passports. What an idiot.. However the most disappointing aspect of the whole cruise was the attitude of more mature passengers. They were often very rude and intolerant. One example being to start booing and slow hand clapping in the theatre because the show was 7 minuted late in starting. DSS investigators need to get on one of these ships - the benefits bill would drop alarmingly. People was supposedly could hardly walk could suddenly sprint when a lift became free Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
The cruise was last week and took us from Southampton to Brest, Bilbao, Cork and Dublin. The weather was very poor and through the Biscay we had a force 7/8 wind. It was choppy but we thought the ship rode well.Check-in was fairly quick, ... Read More
The cruise was last week and took us from Southampton to Brest, Bilbao, Cork and Dublin. The weather was very poor and through the Biscay we had a force 7/8 wind. It was choppy but we thought the ship rode well.Check-in was fairly quick, about 40 minutes from arrival to boarding the ship but nowhere near as quick as Cunard in New York and Princess in Florida. Security is rather over the top particularly the x-ray checks every time you get on board.Our cabin was excellent, a very good size with a good balcony. The cabin steward was very pleasant.We dined in the Peninsular Restaurant and had a table for two. Had good service from the waiters. Food is not as good as it used to be and the portions seem to be very small. Breakfast in the Peninsular every morning was good and we had afternoon tea once which we thought was very good.Had lunch in the self-service once but did not bother after that because of the scrum and lack of tables. Generally thought the bread served on board was of very poor quality even the baguettes for lunch from the deck burger stall.Dined in the specialist Indian retaurant Sindi at an extra £15 per head which was excellent and had an absolutely superb meal at 17 for an extra £20 per head. Once upon a time the ordinary dining on P&O was much nearer to what you have to pay extra for now. Anyone remember the superb seafood buffets they used to serve at lunch time once or twice a cruise? The little things such as the quality of the menus and the paper on which the cruise log is printed are nowhere near the quality of the past.Bars generally seemed crowded, entertainment was not as good as on previous P&O cruise, quite a few loud and ill mannered people on board and many not bothered about dress codes.Port visits apart from Brest which is a waste of time where good with efficient shuttle bus transfers laid on. Did not have to wait more than 15 minutes despite the ship being full.Would think long and hard before going P&O again. Last time we went Berlitz rated the ship Premium and 4 star+. They seem to rate P&O standard and just 4 star. I think they are rapidly becoming 3 star and that it is only the quality of the relatively new fleet which keeps them four star.P&O have a lot of large ships which they need to fill and as a result are cutting the quality of the experience to make the prices competitive. Getting on for 50% of those on the ship were first timers. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
If you book this ship make sure you are not allocated cabin R746 or its opposite number on the port side.The deck above this cabin is the area of the external self service restuarant and the continual movement of tables and chairs from ... Read More
If you book this ship make sure you are not allocated cabin R746 or its opposite number on the port side.The deck above this cabin is the area of the external self service restuarant and the continual movement of tables and chairs from opening at 0630 and all other meal times causes a scraping noise to reverbarate through the roof and the only way you can sleep is to be totally drunk.We contacted reception on 4 occasions and had visits from Hotel management but nothing was done.We also reported an external door slamming adjacent to our cabin and it took from the Saturday to the Wednesday to get the door mechanism replaced.The two self service restuarants are too small and getting a seat is like winning the lottery.The staff are unhelpful and do not clear the tables.The only positive comment I can make is that thae drinks are UK bar prices or less.Give me Celebrity or Royal Carribean anyday----P&O no more for me. 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 3.1
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.8

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