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7 P&O Cruises Azura Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Mediterranean

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
Very disapionting.Ship sailed 2 days late due to technical problems.booked for a 14 day holiday ended up with 12 days. We sailed Sunday late afternoon with another 3 DAYS at sea before reaching Barcelona.Missing out Cadiz and Naples. We ... Read More
Very disapionting.Ship sailed 2 days late due to technical problems.booked for a 14 day holiday ended up with 12 days. We sailed Sunday late afternoon with another 3 DAYS at sea before reaching Barcelona.Missing out Cadiz and Naples. We had a total of 7 DAYs at sea out of a 12day holiday.Not what we would have booked for. Food in the Buffet Restaurant looked very nice,however it would have been great if the Hot Buffet.was infact Hot!!The rest of it Salad etc was very nice. The only good thing...Our Cabin steward Alex was great 100% nice guy . The ship overall was very untidy.For those who smoked on deck15 it was hardly ever cleaned,cups,drinks litter etc. Outdoor cinema screen poor.Deck carpets on decks 16 & 17 lifting,17 deck completly lifted and not fixed.(trip hazards) Glad to get back Home,Will NEVER GO ON ANOTHER CRIUSE AGAIN! Not a trip to look back on with any WOW factor..A lot of money Wasted. NO COMPENSATION !!Unless you take another criuse with P&O then you get a 10% discount WOW !!! "O" They did say sorry Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
When we arrived at our cabin, there was blood on one of the pillows. Also, the ship did not appear to have been deep-cleaned. P&O do not seem to cater well for those with disabilities. It was difficult for my wife to get around ... Read More
When we arrived at our cabin, there was blood on one of the pillows. Also, the ship did not appear to have been deep-cleaned. P&O do not seem to cater well for those with disabilities. It was difficult for my wife to get around the cleaning trolly using her walker. This was because the towels stuck out from the sides. When we docked at Tenerife, the gangway was far too steep for my wife to use her walker to disembark. This resulted in her feeling extremely frightened and having a panic attack. She had to be carried down by three of the stewards. Our holiday was completely spoiled by the men painting the ship. We could not go out on deck. The paint fumes were spread throughout the ship via the air conditioning. This is the third ship we have been on this year and the worst. We loved the Ventura. My wife and I had to visit the ship’s Doctor and several weeks after returning home I am still on medication and this is under review. As previously indicated we are both filled with sadness and extreme disappointment that the holiday we had both looked forward to for a long period of time was completely and utterly ruined because of this unfortunately timed paint job. They did state at reception that it was safe but if it were safe then why were the workmen wearing protective masks? Also the bar staff seemed on edge and this resulted in a tense environment. However, this does not reflect upon the bar staff who were very good indeed. I would never eat a steak anywhere else on board except the glass house. However, this cost us extra each time we had a meal there. The cruise cost enough money, so surely people should be able to eat anywhere on board? Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We liked the ports of call Lisbon, Cadiz. Barcelona, Ibitha and Gibralter as some we had never been to before. Embarkation was fast and well organised, the ship was beautiful, very clean and staff very helpful. been on lots of other ... Read More
We liked the ports of call Lisbon, Cadiz. Barcelona, Ibitha and Gibralter as some we had never been to before. Embarkation was fast and well organised, the ship was beautiful, very clean and staff very helpful. been on lots of other cruises waiting staff good but never smiled, they were from india and pakistan area. Food good with plenty of choice, never had to queue at any meals. Shore excursions we thought were expensive, worst of all we had to pay for transfers from ship to towns and these were £4pp each way which we thought was a rip off!. Our room was always cold the air conditioning didn't seen to alter. Also the playhouse and the evening entertainment venues were also very cold. Entertainment was excellent except the group Pulse often sang off key and screeched a lot. Sorry the area for dancing was not bigger as this was done in the atrium and always too many people to dance in the small area. Overall we had a fantastic time and would certainly choose this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat ... Read More
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat exclusively in the Buffet Restaurant Venezia, so that she could select food to suit her. There was too much emphasis on curries and Indian dishes, very little variety with few cooked vegetables and food not always as hot as it should have been. Venezia restaurant always crowded as only half the space open most of the time. Coffee machine not working for the whole of the cruise, fruit juice only available at breakfast and pineapple juice only available 3 mornings out of 12. The milk dispenser often not filled and you were expected to use UHT milk sachet instead, Drink P & O are new to the drinks package idea but do not have the price right. A drinks package for two for 12 days would be £960 when in fact our bar bill was under £100. You would need to be an alcoholic to get your money’s worth. Their soft drinks package would have been £480 compared to Norwegian on the Epic at £138. Service The cabin service was very good but in the restaurant there seemed to be a lack of willingness to help and when service was given it was very slow, when ordering drinks they often arrived halfway through the meal even when ordered right at the beginning. Tables not cleared as quickly as they should have been. Entertainment I understand that P & O have won an award for entertainment and goodness knows why. The entertainment was very poor with a few second rate comedians and singers and no shows. The standard was so low that the highlight of the week was the entertainments manager doing an Elvis impersonation. Cost We opted for the saver fare as opposed to the select fare and consequently were only allocated a cabin a week before we sailed and then treated as second class citizens in dining room allocation and having to pay on the “free” shuttle buses. An example of the shuttle bus cost in Lisbon was £4.00 per person per journey a total of £8 each way compared with a taxi cost one way of 6 Euros. The cost for the internet package was very high and so we did not use it. P & O should rethink this policy in this interconnected electronic age. Not a very good move to encourage future bookings on P & O. Ship The Azura started operation in 2010 and is now in desperate need of a refit. Certain areas such as the Malabar and deck 7 midships smelled of sewage all the time and one passenger reported black mould under the toilet seat which was not immediately rectified. The satellite TV was not working for most of the cruise. P & O’s standards have dropped considerably and are now below an acceptable level and do not compare well with rivals such as CMV. Shore Excursions We did two P & O excursions, one to La Palma for Whale watching. 3½ hours on a small boat in heavy seas and saw no whales nor dolphins, in fact not even a fish and no compensation for this. We also did Lisbon by land & river and this was very good with a tour of Lisbon by coach and then a very pleasant river cruise. We also did three excursions by Cruising Excursion The first at Madeira where we were left stranded on the top of a mountain and had to return to the ship by taxi. The second to Tenerife where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes at the foot of Mount Tiede and the third to Lanzarote where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes on a visit to Fire Mountain. All the excursions by both companies are vastly overpriced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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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