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67 P&O Cruises Azura Senior Cruise Reviews

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
Having read reviews about this particular cruise I am amazed at people's comments. The outward flight from Birmingham on 10th Dec was delayed over 2 hours but nonetheless there was no drastic delay. On the return journey, yes ... Read More
Having read reviews about this particular cruise I am amazed at people's comments. The outward flight from Birmingham on 10th Dec was delayed over 2 hours but nonetheless there was no drastic delay. On the return journey, yes we did receive notification the day before that there would be a 10 hour delay but P&O did their best and at least we were allowed a cabin (if not our original one) until 6.30 p.m. Whilst in the cabin on that Friday we received further written notification that the flight was delayed a further 2 hours but we could keep our cabin until 9.00 p.m. We left the ship at 1.00 a.m. (not 11.00 as someone quoted) and were given bottles of water. Unfortunately on arrival at Barbados airport there was nothing open but this was neither the fault of P&O or Thomson Airways. People should be aware that once through departure lounges personnel of P&O and Thomson would not be allowed as they would have no boarding cards etc. In effect, we gained an extra day in Barbados. This was better than being taken to the airport and left there for some 12 hours. We were free to eat in any dining room, attend shows, or whatever. At busy times in the self-service restuarants cups/glasses had all been utilised but just by asking one of the assistant waiters they would fetch some for you. However, many people did not say "please" or "thank you". The staff we came across were always very obliging. People moaned about the weather in the USA - weather is an act of nature and no-one can be responsible for this. In this day and age 90% of people seem to have access to internet; if they had looked at this they would have known that in December the weather is not always very good in Florida. I agree that drinks should not be allowed in the Playhouse. Often single seats were available but in the middle of rows. Perhaps a member of staff could be in attendance at the theatre and ask people to move up. We experienced the problem of not getting in for the 1st show we went to but on following evenings arrived earlier or went to the show at a different time. One night a group of ladies were singing (one from the Supremes I believe) and whilst the cruise director was calling them back on stage people were already going out - so rude!! The Headliners put on brilliant shows. Its very difficult on a ship with 3,500 passengers to suit everyone. Some of the shows were not to our taste e.g. we're not keen on Frank Sinatra tributers but, on the other hand, lots of people think he is great. Its a matter of personal choice but on the whole P&O did a grand job on the entertainment side. We were Freedom dining and had no problem whatsoever in getting a table for 4 provided we went before 7.30 p.m. I cannot speak for later in the evening as the only time we ate late was on New Year's Eve and if we went to the Verona buffet. We were fortunate on many evenings to have Shiji and Derick who were from Bombay and Goa; they were excellent and always made a point of coming and speaking to us when in the self-service at breakfast/lunch if they spotted us. Xmas decorations were very tasteful and the efforts put on for Christmas dinner and New Year were excellent. As we were Freedom Dining we had the choice on those two evenings of eating in the Sindhu if we wanted and we took this option on Xmas day as a change from our usual venue. All in all we really enjoyed this cruise and would certainly cruise on Azura again. Many people were comparing it with other ships etc. but we always take it cruise by cruise. This was our 16th cruise beginning with our 1st on an Airtours ship. Some ships may be well worn but we have found that the waiters/cabin stewards etc. on all the ships have been very dedicated and helpful. All have been enjoyable cruises in their own way. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Booked a cruise to get away from the UK winter.Was not to sure about sailing on a ship with 3000+ passengers.Need not have worried the P&O Azura was designed so that there was plenty of room on deck to find a lounger either around a ... Read More
Booked a cruise to get away from the UK winter.Was not to sure about sailing on a ship with 3000+ passengers.Need not have worried the P&O Azura was designed so that there was plenty of room on deck to find a lounger either around a pool or in a quiet area, we never felt that there was 3000+ passengers.Days in port were no problem getting on and off was easy and never had to Wait.On the last day when we had to go through immigration we have never had it so well organised or gone through so quickly. The food was excellent with plenty of choices and you could always ask or get more if you so wished.The shows in the evenings were some of the best we had seen on cruise ships and the comedians told clean jokes so that any one could go to see them with out being concerned about the content. Our cabin was comfortable and with a reasonable amount of room.The one possible down side was in the bathroom where the shower cubical was to say the least, small.I would doubt that someone of a larger size could get in and comfortably shower. The only other service which we say was not up to standard was the quality of the ships photographers.The standard of the photos especially on formal nights left a lot to be desired,in all the years we have cruised I don't think I can remember so many photos being left in the racks. If you wanted to have a little luxury spend a day in the retreat,but you have to book early as it is very popular. All in all we can say with all honesty that we were delighted with the ship and the crew who at all times went out of their way to be of help to ensure our cruise went without any problems.We enjoyed the Azura so much that we have already booked another cruise in the Caribbean for next February. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Azura A103A Caribbean 5th Feb - 21Feb 2011. Cabin B308. My wife and I have cruised the Caribbean with P&O five times now. MV Victoria (the old Victoria) Oceana, Adonia, and Artmis. We have also cruised other parts of the world with ... Read More
Azura A103A Caribbean 5th Feb - 21Feb 2011. Cabin B308. My wife and I have cruised the Caribbean with P&O five times now. MV Victoria (the old Victoria) Oceana, Adonia, and Artmis. We have also cruised other parts of the world with different companys. Azura is 289.6m long which is the same as 3 football pitches. Its breath is 36m. Contrary to other reviews I have read I like to think that this one is objective but not being critical about smaller points and criticising for the sake of it. The Azura is the biggest cruise ship we have been on. Sister ship to the Venturer, it is 289.6m long which is the same as 3 football pitches. Its breath is 36m. It takes a few days to find your way around. Our cabin was on B deck and unfortunately those who have cabins on C and D deck are over looked by A and B deck. Our Cabin was clean and comfortable and everything I expected from P&O. Breakfast was taken in the Restaurant and you are seated with other passengers. You can meet people who are cruising for the first time to others who have cruised for thirty years. Unlike the self service you don't have to find or wait for a table. Dinning on the second sitting in the Peninsular Restaurant table 111 with our other two cruising companions'. Our waiter's names were Wilson and Bickram you could not want a nicer pair to wait on you. The food was varied and enjoyable. Other reviews have criticised food portion size, we did not go hungry and at times that extra spoonful from the waiter was refused. At the end of the day its how you speak and interact with people that goes a long way. On sea days the deck areas around the pool was very crowded no more than you would expect. There were plenty of sun loungers available but not always where you would like them. In the Horizon paper detailing the day's activities there is a note about reserving sun loungers saying a towel or a personal item is not acceptable and the only way to reserve a sun lounger is to sit on it. Unfortunately the towel on the sun lounger appeared to be the unspoken rule. The service in the bars and around the pools / decks was very good and you did not have to wait long before you were being asked if you would like something to drink. The drink prices were reasonable and the selection was good. Entertainment was varied and something for everyone. We practically liked the Headliners Theatre Company who performed in The Playhouse. We attended the early performance 07.15 (19.15hrs) and afterwards giving us time for a drink and then into dinner. The Headliners were very entertaining and professional and the sets on the stage were excellent. You would have to go a long way outside the West End to find better. Please note as the cruised progressed the 07.15 show became more popular with the second sitting diners. We found the ship to be clean and the staff very polite and helpful. Generally everything lived up to our expectations with the P&O high standard. If you have read about The Retreat and you are thinking of using its facilities when you fist get on board the Azura go straight to the Oasis Spa (Deck 16) and book it before going to your cabin. It may appear a bit extreme but the chance of you getting a booking especially on a sea day is nil. The reason being there are only 47 beds in The Retreat half are available for booking for the first day arrival of passengers and the remainder are available for passengers arriving the second day. We went up to the Oasis Spa to book it a couple of hours after our arrival to be told that it was fully booked on sea days but we could have hour name put on the waiting list that was two pages long we declined the offer. Additional dining XVII (17) cover charges applies, book this restaurant if you fancy a special treat one evening, on your arrival day because the chances of a booking is slim if you leave it too long. We were told that the food was excellent, need I say any more. Remember there are 3000 + passengers on the Azura. Would we cruise on Azura again? no. But we will continue to cruise with P&O but on one of their smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
After several years cruising with Princess we decided to try the P&O new ship Azura so this was definitely a comparison exercise. In our opinion both lines were very similar but had a few differences which affected our holiday. 1. ... Read More
After several years cruising with Princess we decided to try the P&O new ship Azura so this was definitely a comparison exercise. In our opinion both lines were very similar but had a few differences which affected our holiday. 1. P&O food is definitely aimed at the British market, there was not the variety that there was on the Princess ships. Neither were there the themed menus which occurred in the main restaurants on Princess. 2. The select dining venues were excellent on P&O but you did have to book immediately you were on board to secure a place. Those who had sailed with P&O previously knew this, leaving us new recruits with very little opportunity. 3. Drinks were cheaper on P&O, affected by there being no service charge and you were also able to take alcohol on board to drink on your cabin balcony. A great advantage at sail-away! 4.Entertainment on the Azura was aimed at the British market and the British sense of humour. The Headliners troupe were also excellent. 5.We considered there to be too many formal nights on Azura(4 plus 2 semi formal). 6.The sunbeds were packed tightly together, especially on sea days, making it very difficult to access them. 7. Prices on P&O ships are in sterling and you are able to monitor your spending via the interactive TV, a major plus point. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
Sail Date May 2011
We went to Dublin, Iceland, Norway and Brugges on Azura on 18th June. Having taken an initial cruise with Royal Caribbean last year we thought we would try a different cruise line to make a comparison. Due to the ... Read More
We went to Dublin, Iceland, Norway and Brugges on Azura on 18th June. Having taken an initial cruise with Royal Caribbean last year we thought we would try a different cruise line to make a comparison. Due to the itinerary that was advertised we selected the P&O Azura. In hindsight this is the worst holiday decision that we have ever made. Embarkation was poorly organised. Checking passengers in was a quicker process than the security checks so on two occasions the process was suspended making the wait lengthy. We dined in the Oriental restaurant which is supposedly silver service. Our waiters half threw the plates at you. The food was indifferent and P&O's policy of providing the main course with two extra vegetables would be improved if the extra vegetables were not the same as the type already sitting on your plate. We took breakfast and lunch in the self service restaurants. Finding a table was never easy. These restaurants are far too small for the number of passengers and the staff are moody and unco-operative. After a few days we were so frustrated that we resorted to room service. The entertainment was appalling. Several clapped out comedians on for two nights each barely raising a laugh amongst the audience. A George Michael tribute act that was absolutely dire although to be fair to him he did appear two nights later as Freddie Mercury to achieve an even worse performance. We thought perhaps we could watch a film. The same few films were repeated all of the cruise. But no matter because we couldn't watch them as they were shown outside on the Seascreen (it seems that P&O couldn't care that we were in Iceland). We must applaud the one person that I saw watching the film at 11pm with his overcoat on and wrapped in a blanket he was obviously a much hardier soul than ourselves. Similarly swimming in the pool was also difficult as the pools are outside apart from the one that requires payment to use. All in all this was an appalling holiday experience and one we will not be repeating. So for our next cruise we will likely be back to Royal Caribbean as in our experience they provide much better facilities and service at a more competitive price. Read Less
Sail Date June 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 July 2011
This was our first cruise on Azura, although we had cruised with P&O some years previously. The ship was fresh and new. We enjoyed the art work on all of the staircases (climbing the stairs was good for the waistline too), and ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Azura, although we had cruised with P&O some years previously. The ship was fresh and new. We enjoyed the art work on all of the staircases (climbing the stairs was good for the waistline too), and although we didn't try all of the bars we liked the Glass House and the Planet Bar. The design of our cabin was a little different to the usual outside cabin. It seemed to be quite spacious, and the bathroom opened on to a walk-in wardrobe/dressing area which effectively created a separate sleeping space. The weather was not good in the early part of the cruise, and it was only on the final day that we were able to make use of the sun beds. We ate mainly in the Peninsular restaurant, but lunched on the first sea day on tapas in the Glass House and on the second sea day had Sindhu Nashti. No complaints about the food. Drinks prices were low compared to other cruise lines and the suggested tips (handed over in an envelope at the end of the cruise) very low given that the service we received was just fine - nice clean cabin and good food service. We visited Brest, in France. I am sure that it is very nice if its not raining and will be much improved when the road works, which have apparently been there for about a year, are completed. Our next port was Bilbao, on a grey Sunday. We visited the Guggenheim (again) to marvel at the building. We were luckily inside during the showers. In Cork the ship sailed past the usual(pretty and historic) port of Cobh and was berthed in the totally dull and boring freight or ferry port of Ringaskiddy which didn't even have an entrepreneurial Irishman selling shamrocks to attract the tourist Euro. We took the shuttle to Cork itself, which was a nice little town. We wandered around and found the English Market before the drizzle drove us back to our ship. Dublin was so busy!! We took a HoHO bus around the city and saw lots, accompanied by a witty commentary from our local guide. And it didn't rain!!! A bit more sun would have been good (P&O couldn't have done anything about that); overall we enjoyed the ship and the the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
From start to finish - the best holiday ever. Food wonderful, lovely table for 2 in Oriental Restaurant. Breakfasted in Peninsular and had some in cabin/ on balcony. Drinks on board not expensive at all. +Gorgeous cabin loads of room and ... Read More
From start to finish - the best holiday ever. Food wonderful, lovely table for 2 in Oriental Restaurant. Breakfasted in Peninsular and had some in cabin/ on balcony. Drinks on board not expensive at all. +Gorgeous cabin loads of room and such a comfy bed. Plenty storage space. Full size bath with lovely goodies in it. Nice extra touches such as the chox, champagne, fruit, canapes etc. Superior De-Luxe balcony, everything we expected and more. Most staff lovely. Enjoyed dining in17 twice, the food there was amazing. Sindhu not bad but husband not too keen. Glass house wine flight and small dishes fab. Renewal of Vows ceremony with Captain Dowds was so lovely as was the treatment we had from everyone, made to feel really special. Enjoyed our 3 one day passes for Retreat but thought it a bit pricey, lovely being in an empty pool tho! Paid to use Thermal suite but had not been told there was Sauna and Steam room in both male and female changing rooms - bit naughty.Some Port Info:  Madeira really pretty, cable car in Funchal is a must. Pretty town. The wine and cake worth sampling :-)Camel riding on Gran Canaria fantastic trip. Visited lovely beach too. Didn't go to the port. Day trip on Tenerife and to Mount Teide lovely but wish we could have stopped and gone up in the cable car. Lovely meal included in excursion and time in port. The tiny island of La Palma De Canaria was so pretty, trip in a luxury coach complete with on-board lounge. Stops along the way being served champagne by the accompanying waitress and stunning scenery. Another delicious meal included. Got back to ship with minutes to spare before departure!  All in all, this, our first cruise was wonderful. An experience worth waiting the 2 years we had to for it, due to deaths of both our Mum's and husband being diagnosed with cancer last year. We had to reschedule cruise from last Aug due to chemo sessions then he had massive surgery. Can't wait for next cruise - do we stay with the wonderful P and O or do we try another line!!!! Decisions decisions. Azura is beautiful xxxx Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our 14th cruise but, after my wife suffered a stroke last summer, this was our first in an accessible cabin as wheelchair users, and it was just as enjoyable as all the rest. For anyone in a similar situation I would definitely ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise but, after my wife suffered a stroke last summer, this was our first in an accessible cabin as wheelchair users, and it was just as enjoyable as all the rest. For anyone in a similar situation I would definitely recommend trying a P&O cruise, they really do try to ensure that your disability will not be a handicap to you having a good time. We had travelled down from Yorkshire the day before so were able to have a late breakfast before a leisurely drive to the port, arriving about noon. CPS, the car parking group, really do a great job helping to unload your luggage and ensuring you have everything to hand before swapping your car keys for a credit card sized receipt to retrieve your car on your return. Once in the Ocean Terminal we were directed to the mobility "holding" area and added our name to their list. After about 20 minutes we were taken to a special mobility check in and from here we went straight onto the ship. I missed the announcement advising that cabins would not be ready until 2:00pm, as a result we were in our cabin by 12:45, and fortunately it was ready... I knew that accessible balcony cabins were 50% wider than normal ones but had not realised how much bigger this would make them feel. The standard walk in closet/wardrobe on Grand Princess Class ships is missing and even though the bathroom is bigger than normal this still leaves an extremely spacious bedroom area. Behind the large door is a space large enough to park the wheelchair, then a 4 door wardrobe with 75% of it for full length hanging space with a shelf above and the other has about 5 or 6 narrow shelves plus the cabin safe. The rest of that wall has a counter with the tea and coffee equipment etc. with the fridge and a cupboard underneath and above it the TV. , then the kneehole for the vanity area; on the bedhead wall there are 2 four drawer units both with an open shelf under the units top. And if you can fill all these cupboards and drawers, then you are taking too many clothes on holiday. The bathroom has a drop down shower seat; there are grab rails on the 2 walls and a shower curtain round the open sides. There is very limited shelf space around the sink and no cupboards anywhere, about the only downside though, and the picture of a Ventura wheelchair cabin on the website does not really do justice to the size and quality of the bathroom. The balcony, of course, is also 50% wider and this certainly makes it feel roomier. Our cabin was on A deck but I am looking forward sometime to booking a C deck cabin which with its double depth and the extra length should feel very spacious. Getting around on the ship with a wheelchair does create additional problems but none are major, waiting for lifts is probably the worst especially at busy times, and you do need to plan your movements to ensure you reach the correct floor area to access the venue you want, promenade deck 7, and Lido deck 15, are the only public room decks which give full access from stem to stern, so these become your major motorway routes. My wife did complain that some of the floor joints were a bit bumpy, but she blamed my driving for this. We travelled with my Son, DIL and 8 month old Grandson so our sunbathing was mainly confined to deck 16 aft, not the easiest of places to get to in a wheelchair, but we managed. My wife's mobility out of the wheelchair is limited and very slow, but she was content to use the chair for her sunbathing and I am fairly confident that on our own we would be able to find many places where we could sunbathe. Going ashore was fairly easy and P&O had it well organised, at the gangway 3 staff would descend on the wheelchair and carefully manoeuvre my wife down the ramp, same thing in reverse on our return. At some ports P&O even arranged for wheelchair accessible buses to supplement the free shuttles. The dire warnings in the pre cruise package that large tidal variations could compromise wheelchair users getting ashore never materialised. We chose freedom dining which uses the Meridian dining room on deck 5 which is easily accessed from the midship lifts, my wife stayed in the wheelchair for all her meals, including any we had in the buffet or speciality restaurants. Fortunately all the tables easily accommodated the wheelchair and gave her a comfortable dining position; I imagine that would apply to most wheelchairs. As regards the standard of the food on board there have been a number of negative comments about declining standards of quality and choice recently but we found both to be at or above our recent Celebrity and Princess experiences; and quite improved from our only other P&O cruise on Arcadia in 2006. You would need to be a very fussy eater not to find something to your taste either in the MDR's or the buffet. The entertainment was of quite a good standard, and the headliners theatre group was probably the best we have seen on any of our cruises, but the highlight was undoubtedly Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising, a Freddie Mercury tribute act. One tip is that deck 6 has, in our view, the best seating area for wheelchairs, most of the rows have plenty of space at the ends for a wheelchair and my wife stayed in her chair while I sat alongside. One very pleasant surprise on this cruise was the age profile of the passengers, even discounting the children, this cruise had by far the lowest average age of any of our previous cruises, and I think that this no doubt added to our enjoyment. In addition to lots of young families there were also lots of young couples aboard, and it was wonderful to see them all dressed up in their finery on formal nights, as well as the men sporting jackets on the semi-formal evenings. Overall we were very pleased with just about everything on this cruise. The service in the MDR was in the main excellent and the tables in the buffet were constantly cleared and cleaned, our cabin steward did everything that we requested and kept the cabin clean and tidy. Bar stewards were plentiful but not too pushy and of course drink prices on P&O are much lower than on US cruise lines. But probably the most satisfying aspect was how well we coped with the wheelchair. We were able to enjoy virtually everything that we used to do previously, and it was much easier and far less stressful than we had anticipated. As a consequence we will certainly be continuing to cruise in future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
First - thanks to CPS parking, a pleasant, efficient service as before. So organised; drive up to terminal, take luggage out of car (wave goodbye to it, as next time you see it, it's in your cabin); hand over car keys to pleasant ... Read More
First - thanks to CPS parking, a pleasant, efficient service as before. So organised; drive up to terminal, take luggage out of car (wave goodbye to it, as next time you see it, it's in your cabin); hand over car keys to pleasant driver, walk into terminal. Arrived early, about 11am, as warned (by P+O e mail, thanks) that traffic may be heavy due to boatshow. relaxed in terminal with complimentary magazines. Fast, efficient checkin. on ship about 12. nice buffet lunch. cabin ready about 2.30. BUFFET - Venezia / Verona A lovely area with tasteful decor, lots of seating for various group sizes. very nice, well presented food, lots of choice usually. we especially enjoyed the cold cuts of various meats and salads. Unfortunately the actual food collection area is far too small, and often resulted in complete 'jams' as people tried to make their choices. Alcohol hand gel was available at the food collection area, rather than at the buffet entrance, many people didn't bother to use it, and nobody enforced it. Choice of different teas available, coffee not bad, juices incredibly sweet. Service pretty good, but apart from routine table clearing, we didn't see any staff offering any help to any passengers. The buffet is a busy place, but we always got a table. we did witness a lot of 'spreading out' with bags, jackets etc, to prevent table sharing - why do people do that? MDR we were on 2nd sitting (8.30 /8.45) in the oriental restaurant. table for 6, seated with 2 nice couples; (hi neil and julie, and gail and edward). food was good , service good, especially from assistant waiter. however we only ate there about 4 nights as we discovered the gem that is Verona by night! this side of the buffet transforms into a table service Italian restaurant in the evenings for no extra charge. highly recommend; great food, great service. ROOM SERVICE used this for breakfast twice, very good. DRINKS reasonable prices in all bars and restaurants AND we were able to buy a litre of whisky for £20 to enjoy in our cabin, ice and glasses also provided on request (big difference from royal caribbean, who make you feel like a criminal if they think your're drinking in your room)! CABIN obstructed ocean view, but plenty of light and reasonable view. no noise despite being beside aft lifts, and above manhatton show lounge. experienced a bit of rocking and rolling occasionally, but nothing too bad. a bit of ? mechanical noise at times. bed comfortable, but quality of bedding poor compared with RCI, CELEBRITY and PRINCESS. cabin steward, Louella, very helpfull. bathroom tiny, shower uncomfortably small with clinging shower curtain - we are average size - i had to step out of shower to shave legs. toiletries ok, but we would not descibe them as 'a luxurious pamper pack'!! ENTERTAINMENT generally good. lots going on at most times if you wanted it. seascreen, poor quality sound and picture, virtually impossible to watch during the day with the light on it; too chilly to watch it at night. Playhouse theatre - comfortable, well tiered for good vision. access poor (more about that later). no bar service. usually 3 shows a night so plenty of seats for all. Malabar - lovely show lounge with tastefull decor. bar service. Manhatton - nice show lounge, but lots of seats had obstructed or no stage view, so get there early! bar service. POOL AREAS generally noisy and overcrowded. loungers pushed together so tightly that you had to crawl on and off from the bottom. Terrace pool was supposed to be adults only ( the kids had the run of the rest of the ship), but often kids were in there, sometimes in nappies! What we didn't like! Azuras layout is dreadfull. we can't believe that she is a newly designed ship - by who?! she is full of dead ends. it is impossible to walk around her ( i really missed my daily 'proms'). the outer decks don't run smoothly, you have to go up and down several flights of stairs to get from A to B. the different banks of lifts only go to certain floors. the main access to the Playhouse theatre is through the Glasshouse bar / restaurant. the whole of the front of the ship on the upper decks is restricted to 'pay extra' passengers (The Retreat), creating a 'class' system; nobody else can even walk around the bow! EXCURSIONS as with most cruise lines, expensive. we booked an island trip in Vigo for £38 each - we were escorted, on foot, about 200 metres across the dock onto a catamaran, sailed 15mins to the island, left to do our own thing for 3 hours then back to ship. locals were catching the catamarans at a fraction of what we paid! DISEMBARKATION no problems, we were in one of the first groups off, no delays, luggage easily found, free trolleys to transport to car. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
well here we are back today (4/4/13) from barbados on board a very friendly ship. we embarked on our first ever flight from gatwick where,after an accident to my wife on the escalator we were fast tracked through the airport and looked ... Read More
well here we are back today (4/4/13) from barbados on board a very friendly ship. we embarked on our first ever flight from gatwick where,after an accident to my wife on the escalator we were fast tracked through the airport and looked after very well by very concerned staff at both the airport and on the plane,the 8 3/4 hrs flight was very enjoyable and we were well fed and watered throughout. bit of a bumpy landing but apparently any landing you walk away from is a good one.at barbados we were asked to sit tight whilst everyone was off loaded then we were directed to a private mercedes who transferred us to the ship. we didn't ask for any favours but thank both p & o and thompson for their concern over my wifes dilemma.getting on board was very easy and quick and as we had been on the ventura we knew the ropes and where to go so went straight to our room.the room we had we selected ourselves about 12months ago and was R748 RIGHT ON THE AFT END ON THE CORNER.A LOVELY CABIN THAT ATTRACTED THE SUN MOST OF THE DAY.the cabin steward (cagi) was first class and looked after us very well.the room was kept clean at all times and he was very thorough.we had freedom dining and were treated to a culinary feast most evenings.we ate in the glass house on one night and had the best steak i had tasted for a long while.i will add here that the service in the meridian was very polite and and acceptable but the waiting on several occasions was unnessasarily long.during the day and for breakfast we used the buffet dining and found something to suit our tastes on all occasions.the bars were very enjoyable and we spent the most time in brodies .as i am akin to a bit of karaoke.again we had some fun in there and made some nice aquaintences.p & o have their prices right in the bars so a very well done to them for that. the entertainment was quite good with a choice of variety.the azura orchestra was great peters band .that played for the dancers was the best i had heard for a long time.a vent act went down well as did a micheal buble tribute in the theatre.jet set suffered from jet lag most of the time. the girl singer .a very nice young lady with a voice that doesnt match her personality.the entertainment team pulled out all the stops for the great british sailaway in st.kitts where we gave an american crowd a taste of britain at its best . they were on a rc boat and pulled out before we did so giving us a chance to wave em goodbye.the best sailaway ive ever been too. most interesting speaker was ricky bastin who gave a series of talks on the life of concorde. very interesting. overall.we traveled with friends who were first time cruisers and had a damn good time. if i reflect positively i did not enjoy so many sea days.and this was the reason we picked this cruise.i would rather fly out and fly back than sail transatlantic.i would certainly recommend the azura and will be back soon for probably the fiords Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
After a very bumpy flight (lasting turbulence for an hour) we landed at Barbados at around half past four and were immediately loaded on coaches for the hour trip across the island to the port bypassing the normal immigration and customs. ... Read More
After a very bumpy flight (lasting turbulence for an hour) we landed at Barbados at around half past four and were immediately loaded on coaches for the hour trip across the island to the port bypassing the normal immigration and customs. We were held on the coaches until there was room in the warehouse for us to book in. Because we were late in the afternoon our cabins were ready so we could dump our hand baggage and go for a meal on at the buffet on the Lido deck. Because new rules say you must have your lifeboat drill before you sail and the ship uses its entire staff for this it was ten o'clock before we got our cases. Our cabin on D Deck was an upgrade for using their special pricing and it was very nice, it was almost two rooms with the beds in one part and a large settee / make-up bed in the other it even had two flat screen TVs, the balcony was also large with plenty of room for two recliners and foot stools and a small table. The was a large open wardrobe with loads of hangars also two dressing gowns and slippers, also a tallboy cupboard we shelves although the free safe took up one. There were four formal nights and four semi-formal (a jacket required) being free and easy we avoided both. This did not cause any problems outside the dining rooms when we went to the theatre and several lounges. Although we did go to the meridian dining room which was 'Any time' dining on a couple of nights, we went early which meant we had rapid service, still there was a lot of waiting between courses. The rest of the cruise we preferred buffet dining in the Venesia restaurant. This was mainly so we could get our own preferences and sample some of the others. The food on the whole was good, not fantastic, the main problem was the serveries at breakfast all the serveries were open, come lunch it was only the venesia on port days, with Verona opening on sea days. At dinner time the Verona became an Italian restaurant leaving just the venisia for dinner as you can imagine there were some long queues. In their favour you could get something to eat all the time. On top of these there was a grill and a pizza ere by the pools, also an ice cream bar (payable £1 for one scoop cone). There appeared loads of sun beds although most were sited in the sun. The entertainment team did not seem very professional as they were late at some of the activities and there were some problems with some of the quizzes, this was surprising as the ship has been going for a while now and you would have expected them to have cured and problems. The headliners troupe despite a lot of promoting was in our eyes was not up to the standard of other cruise lines we'd been on. One of the things that struck me was the atmosphere it was decidedly lacking. The waiting staff were efficient but lacked the friendly nature we'd become used to. As we had been to the Caribbean before, when in port we only went walking around the local area to get some exercise and get the flavour of the island. The weather throughout the cruise was excellent normally around 28/29C with mostly clear skies and almost calm seas, we encounter a little rolling and this was at night. The day before arriving back in Barbados we were given our boarding cards and low and behold they had split us up! I cannot understand as the aircraft coming out was chartered by P&O they couldn't have used the outgoing manifest as a template for the return, I admit some people might have decided to buy their return seats (£15 for a normal seat) but as most people did any pre-booking before the cruise I think it unlikely. Whilst on the cruise we visited Barbados and went ashore with just our ship ID card on the last day we had to fill in immigration and customs forms to be dumped at the airport, I'm surprised they couldn't put us in bond as they did on the way out and take us directly to the aircraft. Finally although we enjoyed the cruise on the Azure we did not think it was as good as other lines i.e. RCI or Princess. The flight home was again turbulent but we were on time landing at Manchester. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Azura A308N Western Med. Cruise April 2013 We travelled down from Yorkshire the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Botley Road, a perfectly acceptable modern budget hotel, but alas no central heating in the rooms and Easter ... Read More
Azura A308N Western Med. Cruise April 2013 We travelled down from Yorkshire the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Botley Road, a perfectly acceptable modern budget hotel, but alas no central heating in the rooms and Easter week 2013 was bitterly cold. The room heating is provided by an electric radiator which works only when the single key card is in the power slot, so the room cools down rapidly if you are not in it. Despite this we managed, and the included breakfast was well up to budget hotel standard and did include a hot section. Travel time to the Ocean terminal was about 25 minutes, including a short wrong turning. Because this was an early season cruise we had chosen a partly obstructed accessible cabin rather than a balcony. This was a very good choice as these E deck cabins are exactly the same layout and dimensions as the balconies, and the partial obstruction only covered the bottom half of the window and allowed in plenty of light; and it was £350pp less than a balcony. Over the first few days we felt that dining service standards had slipped significantly since our Ventura cruise in June 2012, but it was probably due to us comparing it with our last cruise in September on the Eclipse. Little things like Celebrity ensuring the freedom dining table was quickly filled, and only then would the waiter introduce himself provide menus and then give the table his views on the night's menu. Also the assistant Maitre D' would be constantly patrolling and ensuring things were running smoothly and sorting out any minor problems, and the sommelier (wine waiter) always within view seeming to have eyes in the back of his head.; and despite never feeling rushed service was maintained at a steady pace without any unnecessary delays. This cruise it felt a little like a school dining room, menus were given out immediately upon seating, no introduction by the waiter, no information on the choices unless you asked, and lengthy waits for the table to fill up, and between choosing and being served, as a result we missed the start time of several shows. In addition the wine waiter was seldom there when wanted and the assistant Maitre D was noticeable only by his absence. However by the end of the cruise things seemed to have improved or perhaps we had just become accustomed to the service level. It will be interesting to see if our perception of Celebrity standards had been rose tinted when we take our next Eclipse cruise in June. Which brings us to the standard of food presented; again I felt that although the choice was still quite extensive the quality, especially of the steaks, was well down on previous experience; but having said that it was still good and certainly much better than my own cooking at home. We did not use any of the speciality restaurants on this cruise, again probably Celebrity's fault, since after experiencing the location of their Tuscan Grill overlooking the ships wake from promenade deck level, Seventeen and Sindhu just do not compare. We mainly used the buffet for breakfast and an occasional lunch or afternoon tea; we found the quality quite good and always found a seat somewhere, even if we had to search for a while. However the design with two separate sides is not the best, we prefer to have a walk through central section which allows you to choose seating from both sides. However our cabin steward was one of the best we have had, nothing was too much trouble for him and he looked after the cabin very well and was extremely polite and friendly. The entertainment was enjoyable, the Headliners were up to the usual standard and there were good tribute acts, singers, and comedians. But the show timing was poor, theatre shows at 8:30 and 10:30, Malabar shows at 8:45 and 10:45 and Manhattan at 9:30 and 11:30, which made it a bit difficult to see two consecutive shows, that is if you wanted a seat. On Ventura last year most of the Headliner shows had a third one at 7:00 or 7:15 which, because we are freedom diners and my wife a wheelchair user, suited us far better. Trying to obtain an aisle seat on the ground floor level to sit next to my wife in her chair proved almost impossible at the 8:30 show and 10:30 is too late for us. However by the end of the cruise some seat back top covers had appeared on the aisle seats, which had printing on the back asking that the seat be reserved for wheelchair user carers, pity they had not been on from the start. We did not book any accessible port excursions, but decided just to do our own thing. Lisbon - it was still cool and a little damp in the morning and because of this, combined with a crew emergency drill at 10:00am which included the lifts being out of action and the fact we had been before and Azura was berthed way downstream from the tourist centre, we decided to stay on board. Gibraltar -- it was warm and sunny and there is a level walk into the town centre, which is relatively easy when pushing a wheelchair. There is one main shopping street and quite a lot of pavement cafes which enabled us to while away a couple of hours. Barcelona -- there is a shuttle to take you from the port to the world trade centre which is about 100yds from the bottom of Las Ramblas. For wheelchair users there was only one accessible bus, so you need to be prepared to wait and not be in a hurry. Ramblas is uphill but it is only a shallow incline, and there are interesting stops along the way, the market and a couple of squares with lots of pavement cafes. Valencia -- the shuttle takes you to the old town which has lots of charm, is quite pedestrian friendly and masses of old Churches and buildings to admire, as well as the ubiquitous pavement cafes. Malaga -- there was a shuttle bus into the centre but a short walk will take you into the town or to a local beach. We chose the latter and walked along the promenade and of course stopped for drink at one of the cafes, this time beach rather than pavement. Cadiz -- we had wanted to take a tour to Seville but P&O did not offer any accessible tours, so we wandered around the town and found Cadiz to be our favourite port on this cruise. Lots of narrow winding streets, a very pleasant park area and some nice beaches, as well as lots of old buildings including the cathedral which started life as a mosque back in the days of the Moorish occupation. This is all contained in a small peninsular which enables you to see most of the town easily in a full day stop. We have another Azura cruise booked for October this year, but for 2014 we will be on Princess and Celebrity, enough said! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We 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 September 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
Sail Date October 2013
I appreciate that different people have different views and priorities so I understand that not everyone will share my views of this 17 day Azura cruise around the Med. However here goes! A BIT ABOUT ME I am 63 year old male, from the ... Read More
I appreciate that different people have different views and priorities so I understand that not everyone will share my views of this 17 day Azura cruise around the Med. However here goes! A BIT ABOUT ME I am 63 year old male, from the UK, married to Lynne (60) and we have cruised 3 times before this one, on Independence of the Seas, Ventura and Eclipse. We can therefore provide some comparative debate to this review. THE SHIP Azura is in the 'big ship' class as are all the cruise ships we have been on so far and like all of them we struggled to find our way around even after several days onboard. Some of the signage is quite poor, particularly in relation to the location of public toilet facilities, restaurants and bars. You get a deck plan with your cruise card which is useful but it relies on you trying to work out which end of the ship you are facing at any point in time. Something we found difficult to do without a window reference. A bit more internal 'forward and aft' signage would not go amiss. Having said all this the ship is impressive with lots of activities, shops, bars and restaurants and is efficient and extremely well run. Air conditioning was a bit fierce in some of the restaurants and bars which meant some of us oldies were a bit chilly at times but we managed. The ship sailed well with little experience of movement even on the more choppy sea days and apart from the atrium on shop sale days it never felt overcrowded even though full (but see comment re theatre below!) Embarkation and disembarkation was virtually faultless, both took less than 30 minutes. THE CABIN See below STAFF Our cabin steward Avalax was the best we have ever had. Very attentive, remembered our names, always smiling and did great towel animals. The bar staff and waiters were also pleasant and efficient as were the officers when you saw them. SHOPS There was usual array of shops selling typical cruise items at inflated prices, although the 'everyday items you forgot to bring' shop was well stocked with useful stuff. Because it was a mainly EU cruise everything attracted a further 20% VAT and there was no duty free shop even on the last day. FOOD AND DRINK For us this is one of the key elements of a good cruise. We both like our food and we like the odd tipple (to excess some might say) but that's who we are and we are much more sensible at home - honest! We particularly liked the main restaurant food. It was varied, well cooked, hot and plentiful. Service was also efficient and friendly. In our view it is better that Eclipse which had too much of a fine dining element to it for our liking and also the Ventura where the food was sometime bland and cold. Our best dining experience however was when we sailed on the Independence of the Seas which was in our view exceptional. Not everyone we spoke to agreed with us, but we accept that food can be an emotive subject. The food in the self service was also the best we have experienced especially the curry and oriental themed night. It was busy at times but provided you were willing to share a table seating was not a problem. They were however sometimes a bit slow in clearing tables and hot drinks cups were occasionally unavailable. For us the big thing that P&O have got right is their drinks policy. There is a good selection of drinks in the bars all at reasonable prices and without a 15% gratuity added. Bottles of wine prices in the restaurants are also OK and you can buy wine packages at a discount. You are also allowed to bring alcohol on board for cabin consumption and you can purchase litre bottles of spirits (about '£22 each) through room service. The mixer cans are however a bit on the pricy side so buy on shore when you can. The steward will also replenish your ice bucket daily and provide fresh lemon slices if required at no cost. ENTERTAINMENT There was twice nightly shows in the theatre which is too small to accommodate those wanting to go. So you need to arrive at least half an hour before the start to guarantee a seat. This however has been common problem on all the ships we have been on. P&O used to do 3 shows a night but because of evening dining times they found the first show was virtually empty and the second two were still oversubscribed. Bigger theatres seems to be the only solution. Two of the bars also had stages and some of the acts were presented there. Again seating was a problem unless you arrived early. We are not big entertainment goers so the overcrowding did not bother us that much. Most of what we did see was of good quality except one comedian who will remain nameless. SHORE EXCURSIONS We booked three P&O excursions but one was cancelled for safety reqasons because of the weather (with full refund).The two we went on were a bit pricy but reasonably good. There are lots of taxis and opened topped tour buses in most ports of call if you want to do our own thing but make sure you get back in plenty of time. On at least two occasions the ships tannoy was employed at sailing time to try and find missing passengers and the ship does not wait. HEALTH SPA AND GYM. This is not an area we normally frequent on a cruise so we cannot really comment. We did walk through it on our last day at sea at it looked impressive but was pretty quiet. FELLOW CRUISERS. Before we sailed on our first ever cruise we were as bit concerned that it would full of 'posh' people. This has proved to be far from the truth. Most passengers are normal people just like us who are pleasant, friendly and looking for a good time. This time we were in the freedom dining restaurant and usually finished up on a table with four different people every sitting. We never had a bad experience and met some lovely people, unlike some of our fixed dining companions on previous cruises. This was our first freedom dining experience and it will definitely be the norm on any future cruises. We had a similar experience in the bars and buffet restaurant where people were more than happy to share a table and chat away. OTHER PLUSES Free laundry and ironing facilities on every cabin deck. Everything in £s so no need to contently mentally convert. Good selection of bathroom condiments regularly replenished. Ample sun beds even on sunny sea days provided you did not want to lay in the prime poolside area and no real evidence of sun bed hoggers. SOME NEGATIVES Time in port was limited in some places with a few mid afternoon and tea time departures. The public loos were a bit smelly at times and you did not see many attendants cleaning them. Coffee bar was too small for the number of passengers especially on sea days. It was however worse on the Eclipse. Price of connecting to the internet is extortionate but that's the case on most cruise ships. Same applies to ships mobile costs whilst at sea.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I appreciate that different people have different views and priorities so I understand that not everyone will share my views of this 17 day Azura cruise around the Med. However here goes! A BIT ABOUT ME I am 63 year old male, married to ... Read More
I appreciate that different people have different views and priorities so I understand that not everyone will share my views of this 17 day Azura cruise around the Med. However here goes! A BIT ABOUT ME I am 63 year old male, married to Lynne (60) and we have cruised 3 times before this one, on Independence of the Seas, Ventura and Eclipse. We can therefore provide some comparative debate to this review. THE SHIP Azura is in the 'big ship' class as are all the cruise ships we have been on so far and like all of them we struggled to find our way around even after several days onboard. Some of the signage is quite poor, particularly in relation to the location of public toilet facilities, restaurants and bars. You get a deck plan with your cruise card which is useful but it relies on you trying to work out which end of the ship you are facing at any point in time. Something we found difficult to do without a window reference. A bit more internal 'forward and aft' signage would not go amiss. Having said all this the ship is impressive with lots of activities, shops, bars and restaurants and is efficient and extremely well run. Air conditioning was a bit fierce in some of the restaurants and bars which meant some of us oldies were a bit chilly at times but we managed. The ship sailed well with little experience of movement even on the more choppy sea days and apart from the atrium on shop sale days it never felt overcrowded even though full (but see comment re theatre below!) Embarkation and disembarkation was virtually faultless, both took less than 30 minutes. THE CABIN We had a standard balcony cabin on C deck mid ships (double size balconies) which was pretty good as we booked a getaway fair and could have gone anywhere. The cabin whilst not the biggest was more than adequate for our needs with lots of drawer and hanging space. TV position was not the best however (left of the bed on a high shelf) and would be better fixed to the wall opposite the foot of the bed. Live TV choice was pretty poor but this seems to be the norm on cruise ships these days. You did however get an excellent choice of pre recorded programmes and films at little or no cost. You were provided with tea and coffee making facilities and a daily biscuit each which was nice and the air conditioning control was excellent. The bathroom was on the small side, with a shower only , but lots of hot water and huge towels. We have been in larger cabins with settees in the lounge area and bigger bathrooms but to be honest we rarely used the extra facilities they offered so we were happy with our lot. Balcony was good and as it was double size you had half in shade and half in full sun, which was ideal as I like to sun bathe and Lynne does not. We would have liked the recliner chairs to recline a bit more but could understand that this could create problems on the smaller standard size balconies. Sound insulation was good but unfortunately our cabin suffered a bit from cabin creak which was annoying at night (cabin C308 if you wish to avoid it!) STAFF Our cabin steward Avalax was the best we have ever had. Very attentive, remembered our names, always smiling and did great towel animals. The bar staff and waiters were also pleasant and efficient as were the officers when you saw them. SHOPS There was usual array of shops selling typical cruise items at inflated prices, although the 'everyday items you forgot to bring' shop was well stocked with useful stuff. Because it was a mainly EU cruise everything attracted a further 20% VAT and there was no duty free shop even on the last day. FOOD AND DRINK For us this is one of the key elements of a good cruise. We both like our food and we like the odd tipple (to excess some might say) but that's who we are and we are much more sensible at home - honest! We particularly liked the main restaurant food. It was varied, well cooked, hot and plentiful. Service was also efficient and friendly. In our view it is better that Eclipse which had too much of a fine dining element to it for our liking and also the Ventura where the food was sometime bland and cold. Our best dining experience however was when we sailed on the Independence of the Seas which was in our view exceptional. Not everyone we spoke to agreed with us, but we accept that food can be an emotive subject. The food in the self service was also the best we have experienced especially the curry and oriental themed night. It was busy at times but provided you were willing to share a table seating was not a problem. They were however sometimes a bit slow in clearing tables and hot drinks cups were occasionally unavailable. For us the big thing that P&O have got right is their drinks policy. There is a good selection of drinks in the bars all at reasonable prices and without a 15% gratuity added. Bottles of wine prices in the restaurants are also OK and you can buy wine packages at a discount. You are also allowed to bring alcohol on board for cabin consumption and you can purchase litre bottles of spirits (about £22 each) through room service. The mixer cans are however a bit on the pricy side so buy on shore when you can. The steward will also replenish your ice bucket daily and provide fresh lemon slices if required at no cost. ENTERTAINMENT There was twice nightly shows in the theatre which is too small to accommodate those wanting to go. So you need to arrive at least half an hour before the start to guarantee a seat. This however has been common problem on all the ships we have been on. P&O used to do 3 shows a night but because of evening dining times they found the first show was virtually empty and the second two were still oversubscribed. Bigger theatres seems to be the only solution. Two of the bars also had stages and some of the acts were presented there. Again seating was a problem unless you arrived early. We are not big entertainment goers so the overcrowding did not bother us that much. Most of what we did see was of good quality except one comedian who will remain nameless. SHORE EXCURSIONS We booked three P&O excursions but one was cancelled for safety reqasons because of the weather (with full refund).The two we went on were a bit pricy but reasonably good. There are lots of taxis and opened topped tour buses in most ports of call if you want to do our own thing but make sure you get back in plenty of time. On at least two occasions the ships tannoy was employed at sailing time to try and find missing passengers and the ship does not wait. HEALTH SPA AND GYM. This is not an area we normally frequent on a cruise so we cannot really comment. We did walk through it on our last day at sea at it looked impressive but was pretty quiet. FELLOW CRUISERS. Before we sailed on our first ever cruise we were as bit concerned that it would full of 'posh' people. This has proved to be far from the truth. Most passengers are normal people just like us who are pleasant, friendly and looking for a good time. This time we were in the freedom dining restaurant and usually finished up on a table with four different people every sitting. We never had a bad experience and met some lovely people, unlike some of our fixed dining companions on previous cruises. This was our first freedom dining experience and it will definitely be the norm on any future cruises. We had a similar experience in the bars and buffet restaurant where people were more than happy to share a table and chat away. OTHER PLUSES Free laundry and ironing facilities on every cabin deck. Everything in £s so no need to contently mentally convert. Good selection of bathroom condiments regularly replenished. Ample sun beds even on sunny sea days provided you did not want to lay in the prime poolside area and no real evidence of sun bed hoggers. SOME NEGATIVES Time in port was limited in some places with a few mid afternoon and tea time departures. The public loos were a bit smelly at times and you did not see many attendants cleaning them. Coffee bar was too small for the number of passengers especially on sea days. It was however worse on the Eclipse. Price of connecting to the internet is extortionate but that's the case on most cruise ships. Same applies to ships mobile costs whilst at sea.   Read Less
Sail Date October 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 December 2013
We recently completed (9 February) a 2 week Caribbean cruise on the P&O 'Azura', having previously had a similar, shorter cruise on the Silversea 'Silver Whisper'. Inevitably we were tempted to compare the two, but ... Read More
We recently completed (9 February) a 2 week Caribbean cruise on the P&O 'Azura', having previously had a similar, shorter cruise on the Silversea 'Silver Whisper'. Inevitably we were tempted to compare the two, but tried to have realistic expectations, given the vast different in price between them (a holiday on Azura is about half the cost of Silver Whisper). Despite that difference, our views of the quality of the Azura are fairly positive, in particular: i) the staff were mostly extremely friendly, helpful and efficient. On the few occasions they were not, it appeared to stem from their being over burdened. Our steward was lovely - kind, hard working and enormously helpful; thank you Remy! ii) the ship is kept spotlessly clean, and P&O appear to do all that is reasonably possible to eliminate the possibility of outbreaks of unpleasant viruses; iii) organisation and management on the ship was mostly excellent, with disembarkation arrangements being particularly impressive. Communications could, however, have been better: cabins have a neat messaging system transmitted via interactive TV, but the most important information seems not to be included. For example, we still have no idea what caused the fire on board, nor the electrical fault which caused the ship to stop mid ocean and, although we weren't alarmed by these, a good chance was missed to reassure passengers that all was well safety-wise. Strange. iii) the gym is good. Large enough for the number on board, and well equipped. Nice library and reasonable internet access, although the latter is too expensive. Lifts and loos are sufficient; iv) we only went on one excursion, which we felt was overpriced, so we usually made our own arrangements - satisfactorily. Taxi services in all the Caribbean Islands are reasonably priced and efficient; v) our major concern had been food quality and service, but this was good, given the low cost of the cruise as a whole. Having said that, meals sometimes looked grey and uninteresting, although puddings were usually excellent, and the Stilton-in-port was superb. All tastes and styles were catered for: casual, smart/formal dress in different restaurants; self service/waiter service both available; 24 hour availability of food; international cuisine; burgers and chips. Menu choice was quite wide in the 3 main restaurants; 5 courses with up to 5 choices on each. We were lucky enough to get the 'Freedom Dining' option, which we thought worked very well. If we wanted a table for 2 we usually had to wait around 30 minutes before being paged; if we were happy to join a table with others we could usually be seated almost immediately. The Italian restaurant was excellent, although we thought the booking arrangements were a little archaic. In summary, maybe not 5 star dining, but certainly a good 3 stars (we think comments that the food on the Azura is "dreadful" are just OTT/silly). For those wanting something more upmarket (which we rarely did) the 3 speciality restaurants seemed excellent, at a supplement of between £6-£30 a head. Onto the main negatives: a) we were disappointed with the entertainment. Although there were some very good/professional "Tribute" acts, and the resident bands (particularly "Changez") attained a high professional standard, the generality was fairly average. The "Show" dancers worked really hard and did pretty well, but the singers (although not the backing musicians) stretched themselves beyond their limits when trying to handle heavier rhythms (ie Tamla Motown, or even The Beatles); song choices were sometimes strange (ie a run through of the best musicals ignored "Hair"). We could live with that, were it not for the fact that the whole tenor of the entertainment was brought (dumbed) down by the Cruise Director and her team. Note to them all: YOU DO NOT NEED TO SHOUT AT GUESTS! ....... nor to preface every recommendation with "grab a cocktail"....... nor to repeatedly shriek that all the passengers, all the acts, everything on the Azura and all the Caribbean Islands is "fantastic/amazing/incredible". It really is reminiscent of Butlins/Hi-de-Hi at their worst: vulgar, inane, moronic (entertainment announcements were even shouted at guests at breakfast time) and - worst of all - monotonous. An on board choir (which we understood had been part of the offering on previous Azura cruises) might have helped to redress the balance a little; b) as for the non-musical entertainment, we would have expected more in the way of mental stimulation. We had hoped maybe for some musical/cultural/scientific appreciation/current affairs discussions; the little that there was (especially the excellent talks about "Concorde") was well attended and appreciated, but rather an oasis. Other talks were mostly sales pitches. As for sports coverage, no 6 nations rugby - sad; lots of football - yawn; c) the nature of the entertainment, plus the relatively low cost of the cruise, seems to have attracted a client group that largely, but by no means entirely (we met many interesting/fun people over dinner and during trips off the ship) we would not want to spend our time with. Specifically, there is a heaving lumpen-mass of overweight humanity which lollops by the 2 main swimming pools from sunrise to sunset, seemingly content to do little more than eat, drink and sit in the sun all day every day (leaving little room for others wishing to lie on deck), and then sing outdated 3 chord songs at the "Sailaway". If that is the client group which P&O wish to attract, and it does seem to be, then its cruises would not usually hold a great appeal for us, or for most of the other passengers we spent our evenings with. In summary, though, we think the Azura offers pretty good value for money, particularly for the more lethargic holiday maker: the cabins are spacious and well appointed (our balcony cabin was really nice), the food is good value for money, the drinks reasonably priced in a number of comfortable (though often overcrowded) bars, and the service is fine; but the entertainment is (mostly) poor.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Read many negative and positive reviews from people on the same cruise before I left o went with a totally open mind. This was my first cruise ever and I would definitely go again. Food had received many negative reviews but I can only ... Read More
Read many negative and positive reviews from people on the same cruise before I left o went with a totally open mind. This was my first cruise ever and I would definitely go again. Food had received many negative reviews but I can only say it was excellent. Lady on our table was gluten intolerant and staff went to no end of trouble to suit her. Food overall was uniformly excellent, well served by helpful, friendly waiters. Cabin was an inside one, small but adequate and clean and comfortable. Despite being at full capacity, there was never any lack of places to sit although the weather was not suitable for sitting round the pool. The two shore excursions were well organized and enjoyable. Arrangements for the Alfie Boe concert were excellent, everyone being given a specific show time and date. All in all a wonderful experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The booking in was by letters and in spite of trepidation it only took about half an hour . We found our cabin C635 on C deck it was comfortable with a deep balcony well cleaned by ANA our room maid. We soon settled in with the customary ... Read More
The booking in was by letters and in spite of trepidation it only took about half an hour . We found our cabin C635 on C deck it was comfortable with a deep balcony well cleaned by ANA our room maid. We soon settled in with the customary lifeboat drill out of the way we watched as we left port. We had sailed with Azura before and were used to the layout. After two days at sea we arrived in Lisbon, Portugal for our first port day. Here they charged for the shuttle bus at three pounds a trip I thought was excessive, if we'd selected our own cabin it would have been free. We continued the cruise visiting Lanzarotte, Gran Canaria, Palma, Madeira and Ferrol in Spain. We did no excursions but enjoyed the local towns. In Ferrol the town takes cruise ships seriously and the tourist were out in force with maps and advice they also laid on free shuttle buses into the centre which was well worth a look round. As we sailed out of the harbour an English re-inactment team laid on a display on an old fort. Most of the 'Hotel' crew were Indian and we found them not as friendly or efficient as the previous cruises with a mixture of Philippine's and east Europeans. The entertainment was O.K. with excellent comedians Piper and Rudi and the dance troupe in the playhouse theatre were good. There was only one Family game (mister and missus) and that was late at night and only a few quizzes. They showed films on the lido deck and also in the Manhattan Bar this was ridiculously small and it should have be shown inthe theater. The food in the buffet was poor with a predominance of 'Indian' food even on speciality nights. When we first arrived on board there were no cruet sets on the tables and it was a case of picking up small sachets at the servery. Another gripe was the cups, a good few times they ran out of clean mugs and had to use large cups - similar used by Costa Coffee shops - and on the day of disembarkation it was paper cups and pots of milk. The weather with the exception of one day was very good with lots of sun another plus point was the sea was smooth all the way.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My husband and I flew from Birmingham via the Dreamliner. We paid the extra £300 for the Premier seats. Well worth every penny. The Cruise itself was fantastic but what a pity P & O don't have a drinks package. Although we ... Read More
My husband and I flew from Birmingham via the Dreamliner. We paid the extra £300 for the Premier seats. Well worth every penny. The Cruise itself was fantastic but what a pity P & O don't have a drinks package. Although we don't drink a lot, it would have been good. We were upgraded to a Superior Balcony Cabin. Very nice. We had booked a Balcony Cabin but this had a little bit more space. Everything was very clean. The Evening Shows were very good. Food fantastic. Stilll trying to lose the 1 stone I put on. The ship to Shore Security was very good. The trips were fantastic. So good, we are going again, on the Azura, in June for yet another Cruise. Really hooked now. Would recommend Cruising to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We had a great cruise on Azura. All staff were most pleasant and friendly. The ship was very smooth. The cabin was adequate (E607) and well serviced by Wilson who was always very attentive and helpful and willing to talk cricket! There ... Read More
We had a great cruise on Azura. All staff were most pleasant and friendly. The ship was very smooth. The cabin was adequate (E607) and well serviced by Wilson who was always very attentive and helpful and willing to talk cricket! There have been comments about the cleanliness of the ship but we did not find this. Some carpets are due for renewal but we're certainly kept clean! The restaurant meals for dinner were varied with plenty of choice. I found the fish to be particularly tasty and well presented.. The speciality restaurants that we used ( Sindhu and The Trattoria) were excellent. The restaurants at lunchtime provided some excellent meals and always had a 'light choice' My only complaints would be the timing of shows which were so organised that it was difficult to fit in some of them being on late seating for dinner and the lack of early evening live music in the bars. There were a good variety of ports visited and it was easy to make prior arrangements for our own tours in most of the ports or join up with other passengers in local taxis when leaving the ship. All in all we had an excellent trip and the Caribbean and it's people were very welcoming, as usual! Walking off the ship on Grand Turk and stepping onto a paradise beach in minutes was amazing! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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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