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26 P&O Cruises Azura Spring Break Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as my husband wanted to see the Fjords and photograph the landscape. I read all reviews prior to going on the cruise. All I can say is that I think we must have gone on a different cruise to everyone who had ... Read More
We chose this cruise as my husband wanted to see the Fjords and photograph the landscape. I read all reviews prior to going on the cruise. All I can say is that I think we must have gone on a different cruise to everyone who had negative comments about Azura. Our cabin was spotless (a balcony cabin), the cabin steward was excellent and cleaned the cabin twice a day. Couldn't complain about him. The Freedom Dining restaurant was very good with excellent wine choices. Only negative about the food was the buffet restaurant on Deck 15. The behaviour of some of the passengers who used that restaurant is questionable and the state of the tables was not nice. We didn't see much entertainment as that isn't our thing - we did see a couple of singers and had drinks in the Brodie and Manhattan bars. The service from staff was, on the whole, very good. They had to deal with some very annoying passengers so I think that they handled situations with professionalism. Well done to all of them. We enjoyed the gala night and the opportunities to dress up. Some people didn't embrace this and made no effort whatsoever - I think that the staff should have informed people about this. On the whole - it was a good experience. We will definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Have travelled on Azura before in Caribbean and Loved that experience. I was disappointed on this cruise. I expected the weather to be grim and knew the ports would be basic. Bearing in mind shops were shut on Sunday in Cherbourg and ... Read More
Have travelled on Azura before in Caribbean and Loved that experience. I was disappointed on this cruise. I expected the weather to be grim and knew the ports would be basic. Bearing in mind shops were shut on Sunday in Cherbourg and ciesta in Spain. Disembarking and embarking in Guernsey was an inconvenience, having to queue for about 40 mins to use the tendor . Getting off and getting back on board . Generally standards have dropped. Even noticed the lower brand of biscuit in the cabin. Used to get a good old hob nob, now a Marie biscuit. ....Maybe because lack of staff, the buffet tables need to be cleared quicker. Often walked around looking for a table to sit at. Buffet food very basic. Only ate breakfast there and found that not very appetising. Peninsular restaurant on the other hand, very good. .... Cabin was depressing due to complete view of lifeboat taking up all off the view, would have preferred an inside cabin. No complaints regarding our steward Rex who was always accommodating. Entertainment was pretty good. Not sure I’m happy with the dance area around the shops and costa, continually being used for classes. Would be nice to have a bit of free style dancing there as well. Personally I will try another cruise line now to compare. Which is disappointing as up until this holiday I could only have praised P&O for ensuring an enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just returned from the Azura cruise to Cherbourg, La Coruna, Santander and Guernsey A911. The weather was not brilliant but generally not too bad apart from our return crossing on the Bay of Biscay. We had winds of 55 Knots, Waves of 9 ... Read More
Just returned from the Azura cruise to Cherbourg, La Coruna, Santander and Guernsey A911. The weather was not brilliant but generally not too bad apart from our return crossing on the Bay of Biscay. We had winds of 55 Knots, Waves of 9 Metres and a 5 Metre swell. to say the ship was moving a lot would be a massive understatement. Some people spent the night in the Atrium wrapped in blankets because they were too scared to go to bed. The entertainment on board was superb, apart from one singer in the pulse band. she seemed unable to remember the words to most of the songs without having to keep looking at her tablet/phone and she quite often messed up. Fair play to her for giving it her best shot though. Unfortunately there seemed to be a foul smell of raw sewerage most days and this was especially noticeable during port visits. I think I heard the captain mention something about maintenance being carried out on the water system during the cruise. It was a pretty horrible smell. We had a bit of an issue with our balcony cabin door. Every time we opened it we had a loud whistling coming from the broken seal at the end of the door frame. I did report this to the cabin steward, but it didn't get fixed. Can't say it was that much of a problem though. Our bed was failrly uncomfortable. It was quite hard, but the pillows were very soft. Can't really complain because that combination might suit other people. Just didn't suit us. The standard of food was generally very good, although in the Penninsular MDR the food on the first night was not great, as the days went on, the food standard seemed to improve. On the last night, I think I had the best staek that I had ever eaten. It was lovely and pefectly cooked. The televison was a bit of a waste of time. Very restricted amount of channels and although we didn't intend spending our holiday watching TV, there was the occasional day when we just wanted to chill out in our room and put the TV on. Soon changed our minds about that, because the programmes shown were really old repeats. We decided to use the laundry to clean two loads of washing, but unfortunately after the wash cycle had finished on both, there was a horrible smell of what I can only describe as stale water. We only took two washing pods with us so we were unable to wash them again. We had to wash everything again when we got home. I know we should have gone to make a complaint but decided not to bother as it wasn't the end of the world. I managed to go swimming a couple of times during the cruise, but the pools were really cold. good in one way, because it meant not many people were using them, but it did mean that I didn't feel like staying in there for very long. On the day we visited St Peter Port I decided this would be an ideal time to go for another swim as there would probably be nobody in the pool. I was right. Trouble was, the pool had been emptied, so nobody could use it anyway. Very strange time to empty a pool. I know there seems to be a lot of negatives, but these are just from our experience. I do need to point out that even with these negatives, we still thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and certainly would not let it put us off. We are already looking at booking a cruise for next year, but we might try a different cruise line, just to get a comparison from another line. I do have to say at this point, that I felt the service from all the staff was excellent and my hat goes off to all of them. They work tirelessly to ensure the passengers enjoy the experience. I just hope they get paid a decent wage for the hard work they do. The Embarkation and disembarkation was really smooth and although it does take quite a while to get off the ship during disembarkation, it's really not that bad because you can chill out with a coffee after breakfast and wait for your group to be called. Overall, a lovely holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Well, we have been home for a week now so time to look back on our 7 night Norwegian Fjord Cruise on Azura. By way of background, just to say that we travelled as a 50 something couple, with no children. We like to do our own thing on ... Read More
Well, we have been home for a week now so time to look back on our 7 night Norwegian Fjord Cruise on Azura. By way of background, just to say that we travelled as a 50 something couple, with no children. We like to do our own thing on cruises and we don’t tend to go to the theatre for the evening shows as they generally don’t interest us. We are happier enjoying a nice meal and a cocktail or 2 with quiet music. We tend to cruise for a mix of the ship and the location, to explore new places. We always like a nice balcony – though we prefer a mix of sun and shade. We don’t tend to bother too much with the day time activities as we are usually out and about. This was our first cruise on Azura and having spent 17 nights on Ventura (a ship we didn’t particularly enjoy) we were a little concerned about the bad press that Azura was getting before we left. We knew that she was due for a refurbishment, so were expecting the worse. Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong. We had an absolutely fabulous time! From the moment we stepped on to our coach transfer to the moment we stepped off it again the service was faultless. First and foremost the best part of this cruise was the crew. Apart from 2 (who stood out like a sore thumb) the entire crew were friendly, professional, proficient and just seemed so happy to be doing what they were doing. We wrote 6 outstanding comment cards at the end but it could have been more. The Captain seemed pleasant and was seen out and about the ship chatting with passengers and crew. Service was equally good in all bars, in the buffet restaurant and in Sindhus (thank you Yogesh). The Glass House wasn’t quite as good, but was not bad…. if that makes sense. Well done to all of them – they were a credit to the company. The cabin. On Ventura we had had cabin D114 – a superior cabin – and we really did not like it at all. At the recommendation of other Cruise Critic members we opted for aft cabin B749 on Azura – one of the aft balcony cabins that is on the ‘corner’ of the ship. Though the cabin décor was looking tired it was spotlessly clean and the balcony was wonderful. It was completely covered and private. As the cabin was at the end of a small corridor it was very quiet. It was next to a crew door but this never caused a problem. We did feel some vibration as we sailed and when docking there was sometimes a lot of vibration, but this has been the same on all other ships we have been on in aft cabins. We have booked a cruise on Ventura (to give her another try) and have booked this cabin again on her. The cabin steward, Karol was excellent. The food was a mixed bag. On our first night we ate at Sindhus and it was an excellent meal and wonderful way to start the cruise. Loved the ambience of this restaurant and we had a lovely table for 2. The food was very good and they catered well for me as I do not particularly like spicy food. We also ate at the Glass House. Funnily enough, though this had been the only part of Ventura we had really liked we did not find the quality of the food in the Glass House on Azura as good. It wasn’t bad, just didn’t seem to have the ‘wow’ factor and I am not sure we would have eaten there again. The food in the buffet area seemed good. We only ate there for breakfast once and it was good. Other times we had cabin service and this was always punctual and the orders correct. The food that came out at 3pm in the buffet was very good and to us there was a really good variety. We tended to go there after excursions and there were always a good selection of finger roll sandwiches, cakes, cold meats, salads and hot foods. We found the service in the Main Dining Room to be about the best we have had a for a number of cruises – including Celebrity. The Podium Manager, Amit, at our freedom dining restaurant, The Peninsular restaurant was brilliant and so accommodating. If we asked for a specific area he always accommodated this request, ok we had to wait but we were happy to do this and it helped us to develop a good relationship with the waiters in that area. There were some lovely tables for 2 in some parts of the restaurants and this made a massive difference to the horrid long padded seating area that we disliked so much on Ventura. Thanks go to our Waiter, Rupesh for excellent service. Our Wine waiter on this cruise was named D and I have to say we think he is probably about the best Wine Waiter we have ever had. Friendly, polite, knowledgeable and he always remembered what we wanted. Like our waiters he was always happy to take the time to ask about our day and show an interest in what we were doing. Thank you Dolreich. The quality of the wines we had was excellent and the price at an average of £20 per bottle was excellent. Anyone who complains about the cost of drinks on P&O probably hasn’t been on an American cruise line! On our last day we did a Wine Tasting with the lovely Maria and found that to be excellent value for money at £10 per person. We had the chance to taste 5 different wines and this was accompanied by a sizeable selection of canapes. Now the not so good bit re the food. In many ways the food in the Main Dining Room was good – an excellent choice, nice menus (excellent ones on the formal nights). Personally, we found that it lacked seasoning. Do they not use salt when cooking at all? I wouldn’t say it was bad, but not the best we have had on P&O by a long way. The ship itself. We much preferred the layout to that of Ventura, particularly the open decks. The 2nd outdoor pool area if MUCH better than the covered one on Ventura and for some reason we just loved walking around her decks. It really did not feel like the same ship at all ! I can imagine that it would be even busier in the Summer months, but nicely thought out. Surprisingly, we were impressed that the sea screen was not too intrusive, and we may have been converted to having one on a cruise ship! One thing we were disappointed about is that, unlike Ventura, passengers are not allowed to go on the promenade area right at the front of the ship. Before we went on the cruise we had read reports that there was a strange smell on the promenade deck mid ships. Just to confirm that these reports are right and we had no idea what it was. It didn’t spoil things too much though, but I would have expected them to look in to it. The musicians on the ship were of good quality. On the last night there was a duet – a young couple – who were excellent. Just a shame we had only discovered them then. Other vocalists were good and keyboard players etc of a high standard. The formal nights were well observed and to us they are always that extra bit special. Other major pluses for the cruise – the location and weather We had never been to the Fjords before and were expecting to take our snow boots, hats, gloves and scarves. How wrong we were! It was the Easter weekend and the weather was exceptionally warm. I think we left Southampton at 25 degrees and beautiful blue skies. Well this weather followed us up the North Sea and around Norway for more or less the whole week. Even our worst day had blue skies and apart from the last 5 hours of the cruise (as we approached Southampton) the sea was like a mill pond. The Fjords were just beautiful with the ports of call being Stavanger, Olden, Alesund and Bergen. Out of all of them we loved Olden and wished that there had been another port where we had sailed up a fjord rather than being a more coastal port. The excursions we did with P&O varied and ranged from good to outstanding. The scenery was stunning wherever we went and, yes the weather made a massive difference to the whole cruise experience. To be in Norway feeling like you were in the Mediterranean in June certainly brightens the mood and there were a lot of very happy cruisers enjoying every second of the sun and scenery. I suppose those who dislike Azura would say that with the sort of ‘fluke’ weather we had and the location anyone would have been happy in a rowing boat. I can see their point, but Azura was so much more, we loved our time on board and would return in a heartbeat before or after her refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
In the past we have sailed on P&O cruises through recommendation, Our first, on the Oriana was excellent, the next time, it was good, lots of cutbacks, ie. silver service in restaurant, food selection in buffet resturants, and dining ... Read More
In the past we have sailed on P&O cruises through recommendation, Our first, on the Oriana was excellent, the next time, it was good, lots of cutbacks, ie. silver service in restaurant, food selection in buffet resturants, and dining rooms. This last P&O cruise on the Azura was a real disappointment, on the first night in the restaurant, the gentleman next to me asked the waiter for an extra scoop of ice cream and got a point blank NO!, then it turned into a bit of a row, as the customer insisted several times, that is what he wanted, and eventually got it. Several of the staff seemed sloppy throughout the trip. Next I went to the hair salon to get my hair done, that was a nightmare, after telling the lady exactly what I did not want, she proceeded. 2 and a half hours later, hair washed, blow dried straight, cut ( or should I say savaged ) half curled, to witch the lady asked delightedly, " Do you like ?" to which I said "NO", it was what I had asked her "NOT" to do, so she started off again, to then turn my hair into "Ringlets", I am 71 and looked like " Shirley Temple", I got up off the chair and walked out and went to lunch with my husband, and as we had lunch, my husband " Your hair is going straight as we speak!". I then asked reception if they could do this, and said I had to go back to the salon, this I did and was asked if I would the same lady to fix it " NO ", I did get my money reimbursed, but had to go around looking like " a street beggar" The shore trips were same old, same old, and ridiculas prices for what was on offer, very dissapointed indeed. Then the dreaded "Noro Virus" hit the ship. On the last night I got it, and we had to be out of our cabins by 8.00am, I was feeling really rough, and still recovering from a fall on the elevator as we were boardind, and I asked an officer who cane into the buffet resturant if there was a chance of getting a wheelchair, as I did'nt fell i could walk very far, "have you ordered one?", "No" i replied, then I could not have one and off he went. Thank goodness the trip was over, not quite, when we came to the disembaking ramp, I asked if there was a lift, and again was given a "NO, you can walk down the ramp!" Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have just returned from a 12 day cruise on Azura to Canary Islands from Southampton and wish to share our experience of a first cruise with P and O, after having sailed with Princess each year since 2016. The contrast between the two ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12 day cruise on Azura to Canary Islands from Southampton and wish to share our experience of a first cruise with P and O, after having sailed with Princess each year since 2016. The contrast between the two companies is frankly alarming despite there being no difference in the prices we have paid, like for like. We have stayed on Lido deck forward on three occasions; twice in an outside partially obstructedand once in balcony and up until now and despite some rough seas off Cadiz, have not been unduly bothered by that location. This time we stayed in L101, which I will comment on shortly. We have also stayed on deck 12 on Crown Princess at the rear but the vibration from below was terrible. Embarkation was excellent and we were able to gain access to our room quite early, but once on deck it was apparent that all was not good. As we passed through the automatic doors from the outside deck to our corridor we were greeted with a tatty, very worn carpet which didn’t improve much all the way to our cabin at the end. There were also numerous scrapes on the walls. First impressions were bad and didn’t get better in the cabin which also had a worn grubby carpet but worst of all a horrible configuration with the bed back against the window leaving about a foot all around to maneuver. We had to move the table under the clothes rack and were unable to use it. Annoyingly the rooms either side had the bed against the side-wall and far more space all round. The TV was a joke, Not only tiny, but positioned on a shelf high above the coffee making area which made it impossible to view unless you were standing up. That didn’t really matter because there was no signal for TV for most of the cruise (and even in Southampton), and the film choices were terrible. The maps for showing the position of the ship looked as if they had been drawn by a 5 year old. The young girl steward, Misty worked tirelessly keeping our cabin clean and neat given the poor state it was in and was the only person on the ship we found worthy of a tip. We went to the buffet where we found the hot food was the same temperature as the cold stuff. It resembled what you would expect to see in a works canteen. I had a stone cold curry and rice. We thought this might be just a changeover day problem but it was the same the next day. In fact lunch was pretty well the same every day, often cold, repetitive and bland. Having enjoyed some great sail aways from Southampton on Princess we were expecting something similar but this one was totally dead with little effort from our entertainment team and bar staff who looked as if they had just heard gratuities were being removed next month. In fact far from being the friendly, attentive, happy people, mostly from the Philippines, we had experienced on other cruises, this bunch were in many cases morose or doing their best to pretend we weren’t there. In fact for the entire cruise we found many staff to be indifferent. At the front desk, staff often chatted to each other or looked at computers rather than acknowledge us. I lost my glasses and reported that to the desk along with a detailed description of case etc and this was noted down with a promise to inform me if found. A few days later I called at desk and identified them. Nobody had bothered to check or inform me. Why would they when they can’t even be bothered to acknowledge a guest standing waiting in front of them? Who trains these people in such basic customer skills? I now turn my attention to various areas of the ship in the vain hope that somebody might actually take note of my observations. The buffet at breakfast was probably the worst aspect of the cruise. The scramble for tables was horrendous with guests reserving tables with various discarded items such as handbags or coats and even books. Once secured those guests would often remain there chatting over numerous cups of tea regardless of the poor souls trying to find somewhere to eat. Staff struggled to clear tables and the jostling for food was really annoying. Staff looked particularly irritated if asked to make poached eggs, omelets or pancakes. What was also annoying was the closing of one side of the buffet, which had the effect of compressing the already large volumes of people into less space. Trying to get a table that wasn’t occupied or reserved (people like to occupy outside seats or diagonally opposed or even place bags on unoccupied seats to discourage/prevent others from sitting down, such is their selfishness) was difficult bordering on impossible. Welcome to the 2 star holiday camp. This was also apparent in some bars and the theatre where you had to arrive 30 minutes early or risk not getting a seat or being split up courtesy of everyone leaving one spare seat next to them. The bars all had their own character. The Planet bar on the18th level was like a care home. Where Princess have skywalkers disco with late night dancing, a happy hour and a place for those still willing and able to enjoy a decent club atmosphere, P and O had Beth and James, A piano and guitar duo you could get a good nights sleep listening to. What a waste of a great venue that actually looked good. The Atrium was a massive disappointment as it was not only compact but devoted almost entirely for the whole cruise to ballroom dancing where the same usual suspects were in attendance showing off nightly. The so called Brodies bar which also housed the casino had the best choice of drinks but often the worse choice of entertainment and guests. If this is P and O’s impression of a British pub they need to get ashore more often. Most of the quizzes were held there along with bowling on the Nintendo Wii, bingo, darts and live football (satellite reception permitting). This was where Benidorm meets Jeremy Kyle and having to listen to one large family singing loud Liverpool football chants was definitely a low point. Incidentally the quizzes of which I attended a few were decidedly hit and miss with themes such as breeds of dogs, for gods sake or fish. The prize for such huge efforts was laughable. You could win a gold star (great if you are in primary school, but not particularly exciting if you were much older but sadly the P and O faithful embraced the idea. I accumulated a couple of the coveted stars and after great difficulty, managed to locate a prize redemption area at the end of the cruise. The prizes actually weren’t bad but it would have been so much easier just to give a prize to the winner at the time. The Glass house was another rest home for the elderly enjoying crosswords, sudoko or a nap. The Blue bar at the Atrium was popular for pre dinner drinks but just ok. The Malabar looked smart with fancy red lighting and Palm trees outside but on approach absolutely stank of sewage. The smell was disgusting and it never subsided. Some people commented on it, some ignored it, and some didn’t seem to notice, such was the diversity of clientele. It had nightly music, usually the resident group, Authorised or Pulse who popped up all over the ship for sail aways or filling in. I can honestly say that whoever is booking these bands either never heard them or needs a hearing aid. The girl singers were terrible and managed to either murder songs or sing them in a way that made even the most popular and well-known song sounded unidentifiable. The other main bar was called Manhatten and was used as a secondary venue for shows which were mostly Tribute acts or comedians. Head and shoulders above the rest was Jeff Dingle as Bruno Mars who really rocked, closely followed by an Adele act and the inevitable Beatles. The Bootleg Beatles are still the bench mark but this band did a fair job whilst actually looking nothing like them. What was really annoying in Manhatten however was the family that sat boozing whilst their two young daughters ran around the bar for hours annoying other guests until midnight. Staff as usual did nothing as they did when same girls were running around the pool ‘bombing’ earlier. On a plus note, and there aren’t many, the Headliners shows were good and clearly a lot of effort had gone into them and the guest speaker Stephen King commanded huge audiences with his insights on the music industry. With regard to one of the more important aspects of cruising, we were on freedom dining which is supposed to mean that you were free to dine anytime between 6pm and 9:30pm. Sadly this was not the case. It did not take me long to figure out that they we working a ‘sitting’ operation. At 5:30 a queue started forming, that was 60 strong at 6pm opening time. Many guests were opting to dine table for 2 and were accommodated. Once full, buzzers were given out and you would think they would be called in as tables became vacant. Not so. We witnessed whole lines of tables empty and not being filled. Eventually when all tables were empty buzzers were going off all over the place and in came sitting number 2. Finally around 8.30, in came sitting 3. We noticed a keenness to move us swiftly through courses on sitting 1. On sitting 2 staff became a little overwhelmed and waits between courses extended. As sitting 3 progressed they began clearing up vigorously. Menus in restaurants looked impressive but the reality was not always so good. Some meals were good, notably slow cooked lamb shanks, but then that’s not rocket science. Starters were small and often basic and bland. Deserts were also just okay with watery custard and rather tasteless or ice cream. Some staff made the effort whilst others just looked bored. Front of house seemed much happier. I walked around the ship one day to see what was on offer. The sports deck was an absolute disgrace. There was a large open deck area covered in green matting completely unused. No putting green or bowls here. Two members of staff were playing basketball and the golf net was just a small, tented area and a bag of clubs fit for the bin. The whole area was an absolute disgrace, totally neglected and abandoned. Deck 16 housed Breakers bar, an area almost totally given over to smokers. Down on 15 smokers were again occupying one side of the deck next to the pool. They had slowly on a daily basis been able to extend even further along the deck and when you were going to and from the buffet you had to pass through a wall of smoke. Congratulations to who ever came up with this positioning. The one table tennis table was squeezed into the other corner outside the buffet area. Clearly P and O put greater emphasis on accommodating smokers than people who wish to engage in sporting activities. I have reserved a few final comments for the cruise director and staff. Again on previous cruises with Princess we knew and recognized him and his staff who connected with passengers and seemed to always be around. I’m afraid I found Chris to be conspicuous by his absence and I would fail to pick him out in a line up. His merry men (and girls) were equally grey and seemed to only pop up briefly for quizzes before fading away into anonyimity. Their stupid holiday camp style dancing on deck sailaways left me cringing. This might be Butlins or Haven but it sure wasn’t expected on what I thought was going to be an upmarket holiday. P and O are clearly targeting the mass market in order to fill cabins. There was one other trauma that deserves a mention and also was the pivotal point in my deciding never to book P and O again. One evening we identified a few things to see. One was billed as an Elvis show. What transpired was possibly the stupidest and most pathetic rubbish I have ever seen. Unbeknown to us ‘Elvis’ was not a tribute act but cruise director Chis dressed in a silly costume and making stupid noises. He asked if there were any Elvis fans present, to which there were a few affirmatives including an elderly Welsh couple seated next to us. He then proceeded to make silly wheezing noises and stupid mimicry of Elvis which clearly offended said couple who promptly stood up and walked out. I personally am not an Elvis fan but I felt sorry for them and we did likewise. This man acting the fool on stage was being encouraged by quite a few of the crowd who would definitely not be candidates for Mensa and reinforced my feeling I was on the wrong ship. Fortunately we were able to make it to Manhatten for the Adele tribute singer who actually had some talent. In summary we had a highly disappointing holiday on a tatty ship, with average food and entertainment, constant queuing and a firm conviction that Brits will often accept this. If this had been full of Americans or even Germans, staff would have been overwhelmed with complaints because they expect and demand better standards and get them. Would P and O be our first choice when booking another cruise? Not likely if this one is anything to go by. We will just have to pay more for Celebrity or find a Princess ship going out from Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Nice to enjoy warmer weather, although mixed sun and cloud. Surprised how many children were on board in term time. All were well behaved, but some of the Dads made nuisances of themselves, jumping and bombing into the swimming pools ... Read More
Nice to enjoy warmer weather, although mixed sun and cloud. Surprised how many children were on board in term time. All were well behaved, but some of the Dads made nuisances of themselves, jumping and bombing into the swimming pools and frightening toddlers. Lunchtime Buffet service rather limited. Shellfish never varied, shrimps in cocktail sauce and mussles every single day. Volume in the playhouse far too loud. I actually saw two people wearing noise cancelling headphones. Rather a lot of ‘we need to keep you entertained’. Activities and a great mant quizzes. Excellent Captain’s Welcome aboard evening.. a great pity that some passengers are rude enough to carry on conversations whilst the captain is speaking. Most people dressed appropriately in the evenings but some did not and no action was taken by the crew. As usual, the crew were friendly and hugely polite. A pity some passengers do not give the crew the same respect. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a seven day Southampton to Southampton cruise, Embarkation was quite quick and efficient. We were soon on the ship but it did seem to take a while for the cases to come, but it is a big ship with a lot of passengers so it was only ... Read More
This was a seven day Southampton to Southampton cruise, Embarkation was quite quick and efficient. We were soon on the ship but it did seem to take a while for the cases to come, but it is a big ship with a lot of passengers so it was only to be expected. The ship didn't feel very full, there were a lot of spaces in the MDR and the theatre was never full. The cabin was a good size with a good size balcony, we have been on Azura and Ventura before so knew what to expect. The food in the MDR and Buffet was good and the service in the MDR was excellent. Theatre shows were good and well performed as were the shows in the Bars. It is just a shame that P&O insist that all Brits want to have quizzes during the evening that disrupt the flow of musicians. Dis-embarking was very quick, we chose to take our own cases off and this worked very well. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Where to start... Embarkation smooth.Cabin an inside, bog standard but clean and tidy so no issues there.The cabin steward was friendly and tried to sell us water and the mini bar as soon as we got in our cabin.So before muster off to ... Read More
Where to start... Embarkation smooth.Cabin an inside, bog standard but clean and tidy so no issues there.The cabin steward was friendly and tried to sell us water and the mini bar as soon as we got in our cabin.So before muster off to Malibar for a drink,we sat down,3 guys at the bar necking shots at 3.30 in the afternoon swearing like troopers!Not a single member of staff said a word,waiter took our order,30 minutes later our drinks arrived!! So we had to drink them sharpish....off to muster,sailaway indoors because of inclement weather,No problem with that you'd think, you'd be wrong,15 minutes for waiter to arrive,then another 30 minutes for drinks to arrive! Groundhog Day!! And so it goes.. Off to dinner, peninsula restaurant,service efficient if impersonal,wine waiter efficient,food standard,well pretty rubbish... I've cruised with P@O 12 times,last cruise was 4 years ago but boy have they destroyed in that time the quality of the food and choice...seared tuna starter with noodles,3 pieces of translucent tuna,so thin it must have been sliced with a razor blade, overcooked and cold,main,king prawns on stale ciabbata....prawns ok.dessert average, they've removed the always available range....cheese board,a joke, choice of 3 distinctly rubbish cheap cheeses...No stilton.....So all in all not good...Continual sales pitch about the pay restaurants etc....Room service was always included in your fare,not anymore! They now have a tray charge of 7 pounds per person for room service!!!! 14 quid for 2, utterly disgraceful ,I cannot believe they actually justify this way of basically ripping off passengers for every conceivable penny they can get away with, evening entertainment distinctly average,and the first time I've cruised where they've had bouncers on the ship in case of drunken trouble,this is a family ship by the way!! P@O have a responsible drinking policy so that passengers are not troubled by other passengers...This policy obviously doesn't include 2 night cruises or Azura for the ship was quite happy to continue serving people who were clearly very very drunk!! Abusive language abounded...it was no different at all to midnight in your local city's centre....Not a single officer of rank was to be seen anywhere...Public toilets were disgraceful,flooded and stank... Time in port was ok,usual trip into town and did our own thing.Gala dress up night,food in restaurant was anything but special...Marco Pierre white menu,well if he's happy to put his name to that he's obviously skint! Beef wellington...this consisted of tough beef in raw pastry,the pastry was soggy and inedible,the starter consisted of a piece of translucent salmon,I know there's a theme here! With half a quails egg... Wow, not! And the same behaviour as the night before in the lounges and Manhattan's...Removed our tips because of the utter garbage cruise...had to fill a form as to why...it wasn't big enough,P@O charge a tip of 14 pounds per passenger per day!! So a 2 week cruise will cost you an Extra 300 odd quid on top of your holiday fare and bar bill,if you manage to get a drink in 2 weeks and on top of your 14 quid per time if you want someone to walk up to your cabin with a plate of rubbish cheap processed food from the self service restaurant! Which I hasten to add had run out of beans and toast by 0830 this morning......I used to love P@O... but the innuendo it's a luxury great experience is well frankly about as short as pinnochios nose!!! If you want to go back to the days of the 80s drink filled booze cruise on a ferry then P@O Azura will fit your bill perfectly,if you want even half decent service, edible food,good entertainment,and a decent holiday experience without being robbed blind then book a trip with another cruise line.. .It really was that bad.... Sorry P@O... you've lost me after 20 years,I'm sure your not bothered though... Don't waste your hard earned money folks.... I've never been happier to be home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Embarkation was great, no problems there (Southampton) The ship Very confusing layout. From Aft (back) of ship to get to restaurants(5/6) you have to go to level 7 then to midships then down stairs or lift. Not good for disabled. ... Read More
Embarkation was great, no problems there (Southampton) The ship Very confusing layout. From Aft (back) of ship to get to restaurants(5/6) you have to go to level 7 then to midships then down stairs or lift. Not good for disabled. Most ships you can go down to level you want. Lifts are a pain and slow to get waiting 4 mins asifts hours past your level contantly. Lack of toilets and broken toilets towards end of cruise. Dirty in some cases. There are not enough open spaces it all felt claustrophobic. This is by far the worst cruise ship. Food Food was below average in buffer and sometimes cold or like warm. I'm sure on Oceana there was more choice than this and was better quality. Only had 3 choices to choose from. Trying to get a seat was nigh impossible. Felt sorry for disabled and elderly who had no help from staff. Trying to get cups at breakfast was difficult. When asking staff they said you go to other buffets to get cups. That's not helpful especially for elderly or disabled having to walk between buffets and then losing your seat. Food in freedom Dining was OK. Nothing special not as good as couple of years ago. Layout if buffet was odd and always really busy Service Service in buffet was bad, never enough cups and they really couldn't be bothered to go get some either even when asked to do so. Getting asked a drink was quick but actually getting the drink was really slow and having to ask where it was after 15 mins. In main restaurant they asked us to sign for our drinks when we serving our starters, (very odd as we wanted another during main course) they normally get you to sign bill at dessert or when getting coffee.. Not when your trying to eat your starterm Entertainment Evenings were good. Nothing really to do during day though. It was a about spending money on board. On sea days they were showing films on sea screen which is not good when it's bad weather. Runaround kids were really great and illusionist Philip hitchcock was great too. Cabins We had aft cabin b750 was clean. And a suppose upgrade although we had a steel girder coming through and blocking our view. But as we didn't go outside much because of bad weather It wasn't a problem. Cabin steward was really helpful and kept cabin nice and clean. Didn't do shore excursions we just went out and did our own thing. We will be trying other cruise lines out next. Our last cruise was with celebrity eclipse which was far superior ship than this. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this Azura cruise because we had been on the Azura twice previously and enjoyed almost everything about the experience.I will try to be fair and form an opinion on experience as a whole before choosing a score for the whole ... Read More
We chose this Azura cruise because we had been on the Azura twice previously and enjoyed almost everything about the experience.I will try to be fair and form an opinion on experience as a whole before choosing a score for the whole cruise. Of course the crew members were mostly charming and well mannered and they work hard. The captain was approachable and seemed excellent at his job. Individually entertainers were good or not good; that is a matter of taste. Our cabin was clean and our steward was hard working so no problems there. I will focus my comments on what I know and what I feel has changed since we last sailed on the Azura. The atmosphere on board, created by the entertainment director and his team, was so different and more" Butlins and Hi de Hi " than our previous Azura cruises which had catered more for "grown ups". The entertainment in the Theatre was usually of a good standard but the Elvis spoof by a deputy entertainment manager in the cabaret lounge was infantile and amateurish and smacked of cost cutting by not paying a professional. We had a constant general uneasiness that standards had slipped due to a cost cutting exercises and this view was expressed to us by many passengers. The Peninsular Restaurant menu was samey and after a few nights aboard I was aching for other food. Is the repetitive menu a PandO ploy to force you into another restaurant at extra cost? The Verona and Venetia restaurants lunch menu was not to my liking but I am prepared to accept that sliced processed sausages and slippery cheese are modern taste, I just happen to prefer sliced real cold cuts with a simple salad for lunch. Absolutely every day we found crockery in the cafeteria which was substandard. Cracked mugs, chipped mug rims and boken handles. Blue staining on the outside of the cups (undissolved detergent) day after day. Multiple tea and coffee stains inside the mugs, one instance of crystallised sugar at the bottom of a mug, two instances of what looked like thick coffee milk skin over a sizeable area of the mugs. On returning the mugs to a waiter I picked up another and found it had lipstick around the rim. On each occasion I returned the mug and reported it to the waiter as well as showing it to any bystander. Now for the cutlery. I usually made my tea and after stirring, placed the spoon in the "used" tin. On one occasion I accidentally left the spoon in my cup only to find later that it had sponge pudding stuck on it. Think about it. I had stirred my tea with a spoon that had been in someone else's mouth and not properly washed. I was also given a knife that had dried egg on the blade and on another occasion a knife had food of different colours all the way along the blade. Finally, three supervisors and a higher authority were involved in checking the offending unhygenic cutlery and crockery and were most attentive on seeing the proof. I suggested the dishwasher water wasn't hot enough. They were apologetic. They gave me a bottle of wine for bringing them the offending items and almost immediately put the matter right. We noticed a lovely shiny feel to mugs the following day. Thank goodness the supervisors admitted what I showed them was substandard and acted upon it or readers might be tempted not to believe the frequency. The night before our cruise ended we found a letter (not in a sealed envelope) outside our cabin regarding gratuities. It stated all the reasons why we should be giving gratuities and not opting out. It left a whole reverse side of A4 paper to state the reasons why we had not added any gratuities to our bill. THEY WERE WRONG. We HAD donated gratuities and after I pointed out their mistake we received an apology from the accounts department. But I have to say that I totally support the right of passengers to give or not give gratuities. It is up to the individual. For goodness sake, PandO, be honest. If you want the staff to have the gratuities, state the full cost of the cruise before passengers step on board and do not intimidate or embarrass them into giving more money once they are captives on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was not our first cruise with P.O. but definitely the worst, Cabin kept perfectly by Edward and were given all the attention needed. Entertainment mixed plenty to watch but the venues are stretched across the ship, and ... Read More
This was not our first cruise with P.O. but definitely the worst, Cabin kept perfectly by Edward and were given all the attention needed. Entertainment mixed plenty to watch but the venues are stretched across the ship, and people wanting to watch more than one programme per night had to traverse nearly the length of the ship. The theatre was very well built for the viewing of the shows/talks etc NOW the food, Having read the other reviews about the food being served I can qualify the remarks, I even saw the captain and commented about the uneatable FOOD being served and not a lot help was forthcoming, I then contacted the restaurant manager and arranged an appointment to speak about the matter, He was very polite and listened to the comments from myself and other cruisers, The sauces , custards gravies etc that were served was unbelievable just water and a colour of what it was supposed to be, Mint, Cranberry, Mornay, diners were refusing to have the sauce (water) put onto their plate. The creamed potatoes were at least 1/2 days old grey and when cut stood up like teeth.The manager said that the chef in charge had just come from another ship, he either needs retraining and the chefs beneath him need to be taught the correct way to make up the sauces, they forget that people will talk and comment about the food . The waiters in general were pleasant but some needed to retraining, some were leaning over another guest to retrieve the plate of another person who had finished his meal. We fortunately had two great ones, Garry and Ace, they attended their area with speed proficiency courteously.. Library was another nonentity with very little reading matter although a daily paper and crossword was published for the cruisers. Shopping was on three floors but expensive as usual. Our last time on the Azura after cruising on many other lines this was a complete let down. PattieJ Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
chose this as not sailed with p & o before,easy to book had a good deal, free parking and on board spend,went to canary islands, Madeira Lisbon and viga, boarding was smooth and quick,had a balcony cabin on deck 10 would recommend this ... Read More
chose this as not sailed with p & o before,easy to book had a good deal, free parking and on board spend,went to canary islands, Madeira Lisbon and viga, boarding was smooth and quick,had a balcony cabin on deck 10 would recommend this deck as the balcony is much bigger then the other decks, cabin was fine and clean, we only like buffet dining and on this ship was a little disappointing compared to other cruises we have been on,what i mean by that is they have theme nights every night,and if you do not like that type of food there is no alternative, also very little choose for special diets like low sugar,entertainment was fairly good something for everyone found the poolside entertainment was good when there was some but to long with out any even background music, the sea screen was in a poor condition with loads of dead pixels would be nice if it was bigger to. the cruise overall was ok but the ship looked very tired in need of a refit, things kept breaking down or did not work Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Always wanted too see the Fjords so took the plunge. I went solo as my husband will not go on a cruise ship. Embarkation was smooth and efficient.Cabin as was the rest of the ship was very clean. I sat with a group of 7 other solo ... Read More
Always wanted too see the Fjords so took the plunge. I went solo as my husband will not go on a cruise ship. Embarkation was smooth and efficient.Cabin as was the rest of the ship was very clean. I sat with a group of 7 other solo travellers for club dining.Would do my own thing if I went again as by the end of the week it gets very tiring maintaining conversation etc.Wide choice of places to eat and I liked the grab and go option and Venezia self service during the day. Food was good on club dining but at times the puddings lacked taste. Loved the Oasis spa and saw only one show which was very good indeed. Highlight was seeing the magnificent Fjords, such wonderful scenery. Disembarkation equally smooth and efficient. I admit cruising is not my scene but one can fit it to adapt to what you want as there are so many choices and options on Azura. It felt like Azura ran like a well oiled cog. Captain Robert Camby runs a tight ship and he also has the bonus of being rather easy on the eye. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
It all started so well. Just a short break to celebrate my retirement. The journey from our home in Somerset was one of the best we have ever had as it was Easter Sunday and there were no shops open! We arrived at Southampton and ... Read More
It all started so well. Just a short break to celebrate my retirement. The journey from our home in Somerset was one of the best we have ever had as it was Easter Sunday and there were no shops open! We arrived at Southampton and joined the lengthy queue for CPS parking. After about 30 minutes we were processed and heading for embarkation in the Mayflower terminal. We had been given a check in time of 3.00 p.m. and this is the time we were given. We had over an hour to wait. The terminal was complete chaos with disgruntled passengers trying to find seating. There is one only vastly overpriced venue to purchase refreshments. At least at an airport there is a choice. There were constant announcements about not blocking the check-in queues and to wait in the seated areas. We eventually reached check-in at 3.25 and then the trek through security. On board at last, we tried to get a beer only to be told the bars were shut because the safety drill was about to take place. Some joke – there were still dozens of people waiting to embark. Our cabin was very nice surprise. A superior balcony on D Deck. A spacious cabin with defined lounge area. Perks included robes, slippers and towels that were actually big enough plus a bottle of champagne and a box of chocs. Our mood lightened until Safety Drill. Our muster station was the Glass House. The stewards on the stairs really didn’t seem to know where to send people. We attempted to get through to the Glass House, only to be told to go down one more deck, which we knew was wrong. We were then sent back up again only to be told again we were in the wrong place! We made our way to the Glass House and were ordered to stand on the carpet outside as the place was so packed. The muster drill was as chaotic as the Mayflower terminal. It simply isn’t feasible to ram so many people into such a small space; all brandishing life jackets. Despite being told not to put jackets on some people did which made space tighter than ever. I hate to think what would happen in a real emergency. We had been assigned Freedom Dining and on the first night had a table for two but after that shared with others since again the queues were endless. The food is all plated and portions are small. The days of taking a photo of your plate to send to your friends are well and truly over as far as P & O are concerned! Service was slow and noisy in the restaurant –presumably through understaffing. On the last night I had to send calves’ liver back because I couldn’t cut it! We had early room service continental breakfast, which was good. We went to the buffet later on and the choice was limited to typically British. Lunch. We ate in the buffet – mostly on salad because the cooked fare was very processed. One good addition is the Grab & Go servery on deck, where you could get a filled roll and a pudding. We ate in the Glass House once which was mediocre and in the Beach House were the cover charge of £7.50 each was well worth it and we had excellent fillet steaks. Drink. This time we found drink prices expensive. Two glasses of Shiraz at lunch came to over £13 in the buffet – in plastic glasses to boot! Ports. At La Rochelle there were not sufficient shuttle buses and it was taken over an hour queuing in the cold wind, so we reluctantly gave up Bilbao. The ship docked at Getxo which is quite a long way from Bilbao and there was a free shuttle. We have been to Bilbao several times and hoped to we be dropped off nearer the old town but we weren’t and were left in a back street not close to anything of interest. So we caught the bus back and regretted not taking a local service for 8 euros into Getxo which actually looked quite inviting. La Coruna. A firm favourite with us. Always something new to discover. We decided on a local circular tour at 15 euros each and then went to El Rey del Jamon for the most amazing serrano and cheese. Entertainment. If you’ve sailed with P & O before, nothing much changes. There were a lot of children on board, who monopolised the pools but this was to be expected at Easter. Weather. On the whole was good except approaching La Coruna and leaving when at one point the wind got up to Storm Force 10. The Azura creaked and groaned all night and we did not get any sleep. Our overall opinion. Having been on Arcadia at New Year and experienced similar embarkation difficulties and not really having anything good to review, we now feel our disillusionment with P & O was not limited to Arcadia. We feel that P & O are stuck in a time warp and relying on past passenger loyalty. Sorry to report that we are finally about to jump ship and continuing our cruising with other more progressive cruise lines, where there is genuine concern for passengers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We were on board the ship within 30 mins after arriving at mayflower dock. Our cases and car taken and boarded with no problems. We went straight to our cabin and our cases were already inside! Brilliant service. We had booked 4 ... Read More
We were on board the ship within 30 mins after arriving at mayflower dock. Our cases and car taken and boarded with no problems. We went straight to our cabin and our cases were already inside! Brilliant service. We had booked 4 cabins next to each other and each was clean and welcoming and our cabin steward Marana kept it that way thoughtout the 14 nights. The cabin was plenty big enough with lots of storage for us both. We had booked 1st sitting for evening meals which was 6.30. This was the ideal time for us. We went from the oriental restaurant to see the show most evenings. The entertainment was good. Not brilliant, but we enjoyed what we saw. It was a strictly come dancing cruise and although none of our party are dancers we really felt it was an added bonus to meet the stars and see the costumes from the show. We enjoyed watching films on the sky screen at night. Wrapped in a blanket drinking cocktails, under the stars, brilliant! Films were good too. We found the food in the oriental fantastic. There was plenty to choose from and the quaility was excellent. Our waiting staff were very attentive and we had excellent service. Thank you Mav and Wilbur. The wine waiter was also very good. Not too pushy To make a sale! The pool and deck always had plenty of sun beds. We had great weather so we spent most of the sea days on deck. We did find the deck bar staff a bit slow and quite disinterested ! We ate during the day in the Verona self service which was always good with plenty of different things to eat. We enjoyed all the ports of call. We did 2 excursions. Rome on your own and explore the rock, in Gibraltar. Both good. All in all we had a brilliant cruise. Since coming home we have spoken to other member of our party and we all agree, a great time was had by all !! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We needed a break in the sun and this cruise suited us - dates and location. Fist time with P&O. We enjoyed it very much but potential customers (and P&O) need to be aware of several niggles. Firstly although part of the same group ... Read More
We needed a break in the sun and this cruise suited us - dates and location. Fist time with P&O. We enjoyed it very much but potential customers (and P&O) need to be aware of several niggles. Firstly although part of the same group (Carnival), you get no credit for previous Princess Cruises (we have done 6) although Princess give you credits for P&O cruises! Bizarre. While embarkation and disembarkation was very good, Thomas Cook overhead baggage allowance is a measly 6KG. That is absurd. Use a light weight bag that meets the dimensions they allow (documentation from P&O actually says 5Kg) Generally the food is good but the buffets are only average - often on the cold side. Excursions - shambolic. The excursions themselves are OK but Princess cruises do it much better. With Princess you do not have the situation where folks turn up at the excursion bus without their ticket. Nor is there a mass exit (queueing) at the same time for excursions. Unless Princess Cruises have changed since last year, they are a good example to follow. Service is OK (at times very good) and the cabin as we expected. The steward was very good. One minor gripe - why no bath robes? We had to ask and got them but I do believe they are not standard. The entertainment was disappointing. One particular gripe, all we got in the atrium was the same old singer every night on his piano - Princess actually use the Atrium in a better way with varied acts each night. Ironically the layout of the atrium is very good compared to similar class Princess ships. Crisp, bright and modern. There were many positives hence the 4 star rating but when on a full ship the number of crew is at least 100 less than that which can be accommodated, I sense cost cutting. Quite often I heard the comment it was better with P&O in previous years. p.s. I can use the running machines in the gym without needing a hard hat! They have raised the roof in the gym to accommodate us tall people... Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Our 3rd cruise with 3 different cruise lines and it has to be said that the food and service was below standard, especially the waiter service in restaurants, making it the least desirable cruise we have been on. Not sure I will cruise ... Read More
Our 3rd cruise with 3 different cruise lines and it has to be said that the food and service was below standard, especially the waiter service in restaurants, making it the least desirable cruise we have been on. Not sure I will cruise with P & O again!! If you are employed to be a waiter, why don't you know how to wait on a table? Very poor service throughout the cruise, except for the odd one or two evenings/waiters. The food was average, some dishes were served barely warm, not great. Wine waiters had no idea about wine, let alone how to pour wine. Head waiters didn't seem to care, not interested in putting things right. The entertainment was very good, catering for all tastes. Roy Walker was superb, Rietta Austin was amazing, Victoria and Accent were energetic to the end, and a joy to behold. Some of the top deck entertainment was a little loud and tiring, bordering on school playground, which needs tailoring to the clientele a little more. The gala evenings were a big disappointment. Not much happening anywhere on the ship, following on from great performances in the theatre, it all felt a bit of a high became a crashing low!!! In summary. Sort the quality of the food. Throw the waiter staff overboard and replace with waiters who know how to wait on tables, know how to smile and know how to engage with customers. Until then, I think I would avoid P & O. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Holiday camp at sea.Azura. Thats just what our cruise on Azura was.There is supposed to be a dress code on P&O cruises on black tie nights,there were people walking through the atrium at 10oclock at night in sportswear shorts and ... Read More
Holiday camp at sea.Azura. Thats just what our cruise on Azura was.There is supposed to be a dress code on P&O cruises on black tie nights,there were people walking through the atrium at 10oclock at night in sportswear shorts and flip flops !!!.Asked reception about this,they said dress codes are for dining rooms.surely dress codes on a P&O ships is after 18.00hrs everywhere everyday. There were children running about the entertainment rooms all night long and around people's tables the parents just let them do as they wanted.The entertainment acts had to ask them to sit down,also they quoted to somebody on black tie night are they your formal denims!!! just what you would see at a holiday camp. The buffet was complete chaos,food all over the carpets,in the tea coffee area waiters just left the wet floor cones there when they cleaned up somebody just made another mess.We felt so sorry for the waiters having to deal with all this. So I'm afraid P&O Azura your score for this cruise is 1 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Fjords Cruise, Azura, April 30th 2016 This was our first cruise with P&O as we usually travel with Royal Caribbean. However the itinerary, dates and last minute price of £440 pp for an inside cabin was too good to miss. We ... Read More
Fjords Cruise, Azura, April 30th 2016 This was our first cruise with P&O as we usually travel with Royal Caribbean. However the itinerary, dates and last minute price of £440 pp for an inside cabin was too good to miss. We arrived early at the Mayflower Cruise terminal, Southampton. There was a large lounge with cafe facilities to wait. The embarkation process was impressive, very speedy, and within no time at all we were on board. Our cabin was an inside , deck 11, B203. We were impressed with the layout and there was plenty of storage. My cases were already there .....though Pete did have to go looking for his.....seemingly his label had come off, so his case was ar reception......future hint , put a sticker with mobile number on case !!! We soon made our way up to the Venezia, where buffet style food is served. Lots of choice though some problems with seating. There are plenty of venues to eat at though so do look at the ship Horizon leaflet were you will find all information about food venues. We wandered down to the Glass House Bar for a drink. This is one of my favourite bars. Very impressive decor and best selection of wines, though they do offer other drink selections. All guests have to attend the muster drill, so at 5pm, armed with our life jackets we made our way to our muster station, which for us was the Playhouse theatre. This was the most thorough drill I've ever attended-rather intense We then had a walk around to get to know the ship a little better. We headed for the upper deck, and champagne in hand we waited for the sail away party. There was a lively, friendly atmosphere as we sailed out of Southampton. The dress code for the evening was smart casual. So after a quick change it was time to spend our first evening onboard. We had been allocated Freedom Dining in the Peninsula Dining room. This meant we could eat anytime to suit ourselves between 6pm and 9pm. We usually prefer traditional dining but wanted to give Freedom dining approach. You turn up at the restaurant when you want, join the queue and wait for a table. If you are prepared to share a table then it is straight forward. However those who want a table for two usually have to wait. The menu had a selection of options to choose from and the meals were served in a timely manner. After dinner we walked along to Brodie's Bar, which is connected to a small casino . Brodie's is a sports bar with televised matches for those who can't bare to miss again. It is also the venue for many of the quizzes which we enjoyed. You can also participate in darts, killer pool, etc.....or just lounge near a porthole with your book ! There is plenty of entertainment onboard the ship. The first night we went to the theatre for the entertainment crews show "Curtain Up" . This was a tribute to the musicals with songs from Blood Brothers to Les Miserables. I have to say the standard of dancing and singing was very high. There are two shows one at 8-45 and one at 10-45. ( which I personally found a bit late). I was really expecting the North Sea to be a bit rough. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was really still, with just a few ripples. We headed for bed around 1am and you wouldn't even know we were at sea! Sunday 1st May Our first full day at sea. We had to put our watches forward an hour. The Captains morning announcement came through to tell us of clear skies, 10 degrees, and a very calm sea. What a bonus. We headed for breakfast at the Venezia. We had no trouble finding a table and making our breakfast choice. Full English for me, though Pete was disappointed as he likes to have fresh salmon for brekkie.....sadly not on this cruise!!!! After breakfast we set off to explore the ship. We went out of the doors at the back of the Venezia and the sun was beaming. It was a real sun trap!!! So we sat down for a couple of hours to make the most of it. There are plenty of loungers for everyone. It was lovely to watch the sea as we sailed up the North Sea. We did pass a few oil rigs on the way though. At noon it was back though to the Venezia for a lunchtime snack. Cruising soon becomes about the food and drink !,,, After lunch we wandered down to Brodie's bar so Pete could watch the Liverpool football game, whilst I read my book. As we walked along we went past the Manhattan bar where there was a cha cha cha dance class in progress.....such fun We then walked along to the Blue Bar for the quiz.....bit of a general knowledge 14/20.... Rubbish.....lol As tonight is the Captains Gala black tie event it was time to return to our cabin to put on our glad rags. I just want to mention the staff on the ship. (Our cabin attendant was called Edwin.) He works really hard to keep the cabins on our deck clean. Anything we asked he sorted....great guy. The staff all over the ship are so committed to make sure people have a good holiday. I really believe that you get what you give.....if you treat people properly then you are treated well in return. We didn't have any issues with staff. All dressed in our black attire we took the lift down to deck 6 and were greeted with complimentary champagne.....very nice.... After a lovely dinner we headed to the Malabar for a soul and Motown night with the group Accent.....This group were outstanding and had everyone up dancing . Following this we venture to the Manhattan club for a Gary Barlow tribute act. Again this was fabulous entertainment. Monday 2nd May Arrived in Skagen with an overcast sky, rain and wind. Not what we wanted but hey !!!! The ship docks right in the town, so after breakfast we made our way ashore. You can walk along the harbour but as you look around there are very steep cobbled street lined with white Norweigian houses....very picturesque. We walked into the local shopping area and found a lovely cafe bar set in traditional style with wooden bar and tables.....and wifi, for those that can't live without connecting .... It cost around 60 kroner for two coffees. We had changed some currency before we left home so his was useful. We didn't book a tour, but right outside we saw hop on hop off buses for 230 kroner per person which is about average for anywhere! The souvenir shops are certainly not cheap, and it was hard to find any small gifts at a reasonable price....shoppers.be warned ! We made our way back to ship and had lunch in the dining room. Again no complaints. Afterwards we made our way to Brodie's bar and found a comfy area near a window.....ideal place to relax and read your book. They did have a quiz on food and drink- 14/20 for us...... The skies started to look more overcast as we sailed away it was raining. We decided to change and head down for another quiz? This was more of a general quiz....sometimes I'm surprised at how much we do, or don't know !!!! Another 14/20! There started to be a sea swell and some movement of the ship. Pete joined in a free card lesson in the casino.....however by now Pete had lost his sea legs and we decided to return to our cabin.....that was goodnight from him !!!!!! Tuesday May 3rd It was much calmer this morning as we sailed into Alessund. We were up on deck taking photies by 7-30 am This really was a picturesque place. We jumped on the hop on/ off bus paying 260 kroner each. It was raining so we thought this was best. We stayed on up to the top point which looks over the town. Great for photies. There is an alternative which is to walk up over 400 steps for the fit and the brave ! We then got the bus back to the town and had a walk around the shops. We found a lovely cafe and stopped for coffee.....expect to pay around 100 kroner for two.... Pete went to take some photies, and when I was ready I went up to the Planet Bar, deck 16, for a cocktail and to watch he sail away from inside....much more sensible ( cocktails range from £5.90 onwards, bottle beer is from £3.90, vodka and coke is £5.50 and a bottle of wine fron around £30) The are lots of additional venues where you have to pay additional costs....for example food in the Glasshouse, Costa Coffee cafe, Beach Bar, Sindhu Indian Restaurant and the Epicurean ( £28 per person for fine dining ) There are plenty of free seminars to attend such as beauty therapy, acupuncture, skin care, healthy lifestyle......but after the seminar there is a charge for the services. The Spa is run by Elemis and you are looking around £70-£100 plus for a treatment. There were very limited dance classes- we did have cha cha cha, line dancing, and learn to waltz and each night in the Atrium there was the chance for couples who like to practice their ballroom techniques....sadly that is not us !!!! The Blue bar is another nice bar with a pianist for those who like to listen to the pianist Wednesday May 4th.... Welcome to Olden If you are a keen photographer then it is a must that you get up for the sunset as we sail into Olden through the Ffjords. The beauty is undescribable. With snow on the mountains and houses randomly set back in the hillside. At Olden the ship docked and after stepping off it was easy to access the hop on bus and the small train. There was some disappointment with accessing the glacier though due to conditions. There is very little to do without going further afield. You can book trips onboard the ship but expect to pay more than if you arrange your own tour ashore. So we had a coffee at the cafe, a walk around the souvenir shops before getting back on board. Showing on the cinema screen was Star Wars......so we spent a relaxing time watching a movie. There are daily movies shown around the ship, both indoors, and on the outdoor screen where you can cuddle up on a sun lounger with a blanket.....this was really popular. The sail away from Olden must be seen. It is quite breathtaking and there is 60 miles to travel through. The air felt really clean....though the winds soon got up as we sailed back into the North Sea...40 mph Force 6-7...so you could really feel the ship move. We ate early and we're back in the cabin by 9-30....As our cabin was the furthest forward I'm sure we could feel the movement more than those midship, or so they say ? Thursday May 5th....Happy Anniversary Jean and Pete 11 years since we were married X Arrived in Bergen by 8am, although it was 10 degrees it was not raining....bonus....we walked along from the ship and into the town. At the centre spot we stopped for a latte and spoke to a nice couple who had been to Bergen before, and so pointed us in the right direction. We made our way to the indoor fish market, smaller than I had imagined but still a sight to see !!!! The fish soup was about 99k and a salmon and scrambled egg roll, with a bottle of water and a smoothie came to 284 kroner.....they add 25% tax to your bill !!! As we have said before nothing is cheap in Norway.... We walked through a shopping centre, very upmarket shops such as Gucci, Pandora, Michael Korrs etc....but they were closed as it was some sort of holiday. At the end of the shops we found a statue of Grieg and a lovely lake with a fountain, nice for a photo stop. Again there are the hop on hop off sightseeing buses. These work out at 260 k each, and there is a small train to hop on which is slightly cheaper There were limited souvenir shops....beware, you will pay around 100 kroner for a tea towel and 50 k for a fridge magnet.... The Troll is a very popular folk lore and you will see them everywhere. You can buy these too though expect to pay 200 k plus ! Bergen is a beautiful place though and will definitely be returning here one day Back on board and headed to Brodie's bar for the 2 pm quiz....today's theme was true or false.....we ended up with a cool 12/20..... As it was our anniversary we had booked into the Epicurean specialty restaurant at 6.30 pm . This was a wonderful evening of fine dining.....we had chateaux briand washed down with Lanson !!! Very nice too....The attention to detail, and the quality of service made for a wonderful evening......however again there were Force 6 winds....so we could really feel the ship moving on deck 16! We had our photo portrait taken though I'm a bit disappointed with the quality....It was £17.95 for a 6x8 picture As Liverpool were playing in the semi final we made our way to the sport bar, and the evening was perfect with a 3-0 win to LFC.....X Friday 6th May We awoke to sunny skies and calm sea. There was a full packed itinerary for a day at sea. After breakfast we sat outside in the sunshine....it was a perfect sailing day. We had a walk around the ship, from the shops, to the art gallery, across the sports decks, past the spa.....I must comment that there are lovely fresh flowers all around the ship and some very modern artwork. I attended a talk on the crown jewel diamonds which was interesting....and even had a game of bingo £15 for a set of books..... We decided to go to the 8.30pm show which was called "when swing was King" this was really good entertainment We then went to the pub quiz and have to say we managed 34/40....... Not bad. Our cruise was certainly value for money.....there were some things we liked, and others that we felt could be improved. I enjoyed our P&O cruise....though I'm not sure they would be my first choice in the future Sat 7th May We were up bright and early for disembarkation.....really straight forward and we were off the ship by 9am. The Captain said "It can be said that travel is the only thing that you can buy that makes you a little richer...." I fully agree Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Flew out of Birmingham on a Dreamliner (excellent start) with the knowledge that our luggage would not be seen again until delivered to our cabin upon our arrival. Travel from airport to ship was interesting in a people carrier as opposed ... Read More
Flew out of Birmingham on a Dreamliner (excellent start) with the knowledge that our luggage would not be seen again until delivered to our cabin upon our arrival. Travel from airport to ship was interesting in a people carrier as opposed to a coach through the back streets to the ship. Embarkation was fairly quick and painless. Went to cabin which was a good size and well equipped, bathroom a bit small but adequate (underneath of toilet seat badly stained). The linen etc, looked a bit tired and could do with replacing. All staff very helpful and seemed cheerful during all of our time on the cruise. There were four sea days which created a problem with people putting them out early and then disappearing for some time and no staff checking the ships own policies regarding this issue. The loungers were so close together you could not step in between them to get on or off, but you had to get of the end (deplorable). We used Freedom dining so we could choose what time we ate which was useful in respect that if you wanted to see one of the entertainments such as a show you could make your eating arrangements to coincide with the time of the show. Having said that each show in whichever theatre or bar during the earlier part of the day was filled and no seats available for any extra people (too many passengers on ship to accommodate). Food available in restaurants was of a good standard, but did not match quality or variety of other ships we have been on. Buffet menu was not very varied but OK but very samey. Shows were on the whole OK with the guest artistes being very good(that's if you could get in to see them). Overall a good cruise but would not go with P & O again if this is the quality which we thought they would provide, other cruise lines we have used give better quality and service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Just returned from a p & o cruise on Azura disappointed as we cruised on Oceana seven years ago and were expecting the same, how things have changed with p & o, franchises on board for coffees and ice creams so cost of cruise will ... Read More
Just returned from a p & o cruise on Azura disappointed as we cruised on Oceana seven years ago and were expecting the same, how things have changed with p & o, franchises on board for coffees and ice creams so cost of cruise will go up to indulge in these. On Princess which we've done six times, we used to looked forward to a speciality coffee in the atrium café after an excursion and any kind of pastry or dessert was on offer. We are happy to pay for coffee, the difference being P & O you have to pay for the coffee to have food but on Princess the pastries etc are available all day and you don't have to buy the coffee, also the P & O café closes at 5 pm! Breakfast buffet bit of a scrum, be better if all sides were open. Film choice on the Seascreen was awful and nothing shown during the day, agree with other reviews, often went to the theatre after dinner to find standing room only, didn't miss much though. Food was great though and we ate at Sindhu which is well worth the extra cost. We found the ship very clean but staff not that friendly also agree with others about the sunbed saving saga, too close together as well. We will book with Princess in future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Another quick 2 nighter cruise from Southampton to Guernsey. Departed on time. Check in opened at 11am and we were quickly processed and on ship by 11:45am. We went to look at our room and it was ready for us!! The Steward was there ... Read More
Another quick 2 nighter cruise from Southampton to Guernsey. Departed on time. Check in opened at 11am and we were quickly processed and on ship by 11:45am. We went to look at our room and it was ready for us!! The Steward was there and said we go in - Fantastic... The ship is big and you can get easily lost on going up and down the stairs to find the bar you actually wanted to get too. The public areas were clean and well staffed. We opted for a balcony room on the Riveria Deck (Deck 14). The room was large enough for 2 with a comfy bed and loads of hanging space. What I felt disappointed with was that we went on the Ventura a few months ago and the Azura is the same? Albeit newer but layout the same. It didn't feel that we were on a different ship.... The Tender to Guernsey was ok and well organised. All in all a good cruise on a good ship. Staff could do with some charm school teachings though. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
During the cold days of winter there is no better place to recharge your batteries than the Caribbean. Over the past few years my wife and I have cruised in the Caribbean at this time of the year eight times so we are fairly familiar with ... Read More
During the cold days of winter there is no better place to recharge your batteries than the Caribbean. Over the past few years my wife and I have cruised in the Caribbean at this time of the year eight times so we are fairly familiar with the islands most ships visit. Also one of the easiest and economical ways to visit the area is to use P&O' s cruises from Barbados. Other cruises entail going through a USA gateway which are generally more expensive, and involve the dreaded passport control/immigration . You also have the need to have a hotel stay with the hassle of transfers etc. Much better to fly from a local airport direct to Barbados, miss going through passport control on arrival and with no need to touch your luggage until it arrives in your cabin some 4/5 hours after you land. Step off the charter plane [from Manchester this was an Airbus 330 -- very comfortable with plenty of leg room in the standard seats -- no need to lash out on Premium seating as you don't get much extra for your money]. Step off the plane at Barbados, walk 20 paces and board an air conditioned bus for the 45min drive to the ship. Depending on other planes arriving the task of getting on board ship can be somewhat time consuming as the arrivals area is a converted shed with only two luggage scanners. Once aboard you are directed to your cabin, glass of bubbly in hand. Time then to have some food either on deck with a barbeque or in the Venezia cafeteria. The Ship's design. We find that in general terms the design of the ship is very good. Obviously other people will place a greater or lesser view on the following comments. The location of the various rooms/areas on-board the ship is very good. One area flows seamlessly into the next without the horrible bottlenecks one can experience on other ships. However there are two or three areas that do not work so well. Deck space is a problem in that sunbeds are not only packed tight in together, but on the Lido Deck 16 three lines of beds leave only room for one person to use the walkway -- there is no such thing as a running track! Also the food servery area in the cafeteria is lacking in circulation space. This would not suit anybody who has claustrophobia. On a more positive note other areas of the ship work well including the aft deck where we had breakfast every morning, the Planet Bar on Deck 18 where you could view some terrific video scenes from around the world on linked screens whilst having a pre-dinner drink, the central three story atrium where bands played and people could either dance or just people watch, the Playhouse theatre giving virtually everyone a decent view of the stage. The other two main entertainment lounges were in the main OK but were always compromised between daytime seating requirements and evening stage type activities. Cabins We had a balcony cabin on Australia [Deck 12]. Experience has taught us to be careful when accepting a cabin on Deck 14 which is just below the Lido deck for a number of reasons. If you are located at the aft end of the ship directly under the Venizia cafeteria you can be woken up in the early morning with noise from the kitchens. If you are located below the central pool area you have the problem that the Lido deck cantilevers over your balcony thereby shading you from the sun. Also you may be disturbed in the early morning or night with the crew washing down the deck or laying out the sunbeds. One tip is to select a cabin close to any of the lifts. You will not experience any lift noise and overcome that often tiresome walk along busy corridors often stacked with cleaning trollies. The cabin layout is OK but could just do with more drawer space. The best thing about the design is the open wardrobe hanging space -- much better access than on other ships which have opening or sliding wardrobe doors. We were fortunate in that our adjacent fellow cruisers were non-smoking so did not have the problem of smoke entering our cabin. If the sun is on your side there is no better place to get away from the crowds than on your balcony. One further tip is when cruising from Barbados try to get a cabin on the starboard side as we find that they give the best views when in most ports. We did not use room service but were appreciative of the in cabin tea making facilities. Our cabin steward was very efficient if a little on the dour side! Food An important element of any cruise is the food. We were fortunate in getting Freedom Dining. We had heard that other passengers who had booked late were on a waiting list of 200. We would have been very disappointed if we had been allocated early Club Dining -- 6.30pm is much too early and you would miss the sail-a-ways. We do like meeting new people and Freedom Dining [if you opt to share a table] does give you the opportunity to meet more new people in 2 weeks than you would in a whole year at home! Food quality wherever you dined was of a high standard -- indeed we thought that it had improved slightly since our last cruise on Azura. We dined in the Glass House which was OK for lunch, Venezia self-service for breakfast, Sindhu --the Indian for a treat, and the Verona Trattoria which is well worth a visit if only for the fillet steak which you cut up and cook to your liking on a hot stone -- great! We decided not to visit 17 which at a cost of £28/ head was too expensive given the high quality of the food in the Meridian Freedom Dining Room. We thought that the Freedom Dining option was very well organised by the restaurant staff in that even at the busiest times [just after the early show had finished for example] we were only offered a bleeper twice and that was both for a wait of only 10 minutes or so. A previous cruise on Celebrity Silhouette had been a disaster regarding Freedom Dining in that they appeared to allow more passengers Freedom Dining than the restaurant was capable of handling, especially at the peak time of 8.00 -- 8.30pm. This was made worse by the fact that they did not have a bleeper system. Staff Most staff were courteous which was OK but we felt that some of the bar staff were 'just doing the job' and did not 'engage' with us as for example on Celebrity. The exception was the Meridian dining staff who did work extremely hard -- never forgetting who had ordered which dish. Guest Relations were always helpful and the Entertainment staff were always cheerful. Entertainment An important element of the cruise for myself and my wife is the entertainment side of the cruise. Overall the guest entertainers were varied and the resident bands and singers very good. We had seen a number of the shows before but still enjoyed them. My wife went to Line Dancing held on sea days which was always well attended. We twice went to the cinema -- once in the excellent theatre and once outside -- under the stars. As the passengers were almost 100% Brits the entertainment was aimed squarely at us. As usual the sail-a-ways were well attended -- which are a feature of P&O ships -- especially if you have another cruise ship docked next to you. For some reason there did seem to be a lack of cruise ships in our part of the sea which was a good thing when visiting ports where popular beaches etc. can be very crowded. Ports and Tours The ports visited varied from islands that were relatively flat and uninteresting to lush and mountainous. The ships tours were as usual rather on the expensive side and for those cruisers wanting a scenic tour you are better off organising your own on the dockside. There are usually plenty of taxi drivers offering their services and you can make it cheaper it you team up with others in a car or mini bus. If you want to try some of the more adventurous tours such as snorkelling you are better off signing up for a ships tour as all transfers [if needed] are arranged and you are always assured that the ship will not go without you if there is a hold up. Conclusion As with anything you only get what you pay for and whilst certain elements on a cruise are better on other cruise lines you need to decide whether the package offered by P&O is for you and does it offer value for money. Our conclusion is that this type of cruise ticks many boxes and does satisfy the criteria of good value. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
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 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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