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13 Canary Islands Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Pick up from airport was hassle free, once we put our luggage on the bus we did not touch them again as they were delivered to our cabin. Our cabin number 1020 was fab lovely big cabin and lovely and clean. Our cabin steward Bagus was ... Read More
Pick up from airport was hassle free, once we put our luggage on the bus we did not touch them again as they were delivered to our cabin. Our cabin number 1020 was fab lovely big cabin and lovely and clean. Our cabin steward Bagus was amazing he kept the place spotless. There a numerous bars on board all with very good entertainment the cruise director Taylor and his team did a fabulous job in ensuring that everyone has a good time. If I had to pick something it would be that the Broadway shows could be better. Bars staff are amazing and work extremely hard, staff that should out forme were Jodie and Roland in the Wave bar. Food was ok the sirens was by far the best place to eat, the worst was the Orion I expected better for a waiter served restaurant. We had steak one day and I asked for it medium rare only to be told it comes one way, having heard my parents rave about to food in this restaurant I was expecting better. The chocolate extravaganza was not like it used to be in fact it was very poor. If I had to make a recommendation it would be to open the Sirens in the evening and allow guest to access one of the 3 Alcarte restaurants free of charge during their stay. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This is a port-heavy cruise ideal for those whose primary goal is to get their first taste of the amazing Canary Islands as efficiently as possible and at an affordable price. The crowd was mostly 60+ and Spanish, with a sprinkling of ... Read More
This is a port-heavy cruise ideal for those whose primary goal is to get their first taste of the amazing Canary Islands as efficiently as possible and at an affordable price. The crowd was mostly 60+ and Spanish, with a sprinkling of other Europeans, however, all announcements were made in both Spanish and English and all staff could speak at least some English. Horizon is an older, mid-sized, refurbished ship, but everything was clean, everything worked properly and service was excellent. Food was plentiful and more than adequate in quality. A large selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages was already included in the cruise cost. Entertainment and activities were limited and often in Spanish only, but with so many hours in the ports, we did not really need them. The islands are amazing, but one must get out of the ports to appreciate their beauty. In Lanzarote, a ship-organized tour of the Lunar Landscapes of Timanfaya is a must. Other islands are best explored by taxi which are affordable and plentiful. Those who do not speak any Spanish would benefit from reserving English-speaking drivers ahead of time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Choose this cruise because of destination and price for our party. Getting there was a bit of a nightmare because of the bad weather and closure of Dublin airport. We elected to book alternative flights from Belfast which did get out and ... Read More
Choose this cruise because of destination and price for our party. Getting there was a bit of a nightmare because of the bad weather and closure of Dublin airport. We elected to book alternative flights from Belfast which did get out and we got to Tenerife in time to embark. We had inside cabins on deck 7 which were clean and very pleasant throughout our cruise. We did have 1 night when the water was off for maintenance but this was no problem as work took place late at night. We ate at buffet restaurants for breakfast and lunch and at Orion in the evening. We did try kora la the Asian restaurant which was excellent. Would have liked to try the others but couldn’t get booked. The choice of food at all restaurants we ate at was excellent and served every taste. We had the all inclusive drinks package and didn’t feel the need to upgrade as it was adequate for and offered cocktails, wine, prosecco and spirits as choices. Entertainment while not west end show standard, was good and we thoroughly enjoyed the visiting artist Mark Daniels. We enjoyed the evening game shows which required the involvement of passengers - they were good fun. There was always live music in the different bars. Thought the option of the card room and quiet room with jigsaws was good. The coffee bar explorer was a popular spot and we never got to use it as it was always too busy for our group of 6 to get a seat. The ports were excellent - especially Madeira. Wasn’t keen on Agadir but the bad weather probably didn’t help.we did miss out on las Palma because of delay in getting all passengers on board but this wasn’t a problem. Everyone got on board credit as compensation which we found most generous. We did take ships excursions at Madeira and Agadir. Found everyone from our cabin steward to the ships officers to be very pleasant and always smiling - happy to stop and chat or give direction as needed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This is the worst cruise we have ever had in all our days of cruising. The first 2 nights our room thermostat was broken and it was freezing, when it was fixed it went the other way and was really hot, finally a new one was put in. ... Read More
This is the worst cruise we have ever had in all our days of cruising. The first 2 nights our room thermostat was broken and it was freezing, when it was fixed it went the other way and was really hot, finally a new one was put in. The 4th night the toilet overflowed and raw sewage was all over the floor. Our cabin was on deck 7 and at the rear of the ship, wow the ship just vibrated and everything in the room just vibrated all night, the only time it stopped was when we were in port. We were right under a nightclub, and fair enough the band stopped at midnight, then it was the turn of the disco till 3-4 in the morning, if you go stay away from that area. When the ship was in port most days the crew would do there duties, like painting and so forth, but a needle gun chipping the old paint off and a angle grinder making all that noise, it was like being at work. The worst bit for me was on the morning we had to leave the ship, I must have eaten some thing odd, we left the ship at 8-30 and our flight back was at 12-40, we took off and I couldn't wait to go to the toilet, I spent most of the journey home in the toilet being sick and diarrhoea, spent 4 days in bed and the doctor said it was food poisoning. This was all told to TUI in a e-mail and the reply back was what I expected, in so many words of quoting " the terms and conditions" nothing can be done, SO SORRY, and you can get sick on holiday, so they say. My advice stay away from TUI . cheep yes but can be nasty James Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We are seasoned cruisers and have sailed with Thomsons before so we are well aware of the standard or thought we were This ship it is rumoured will be going out of service later this year and it really is not before time. She is very ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and have sailed with Thomsons before so we are well aware of the standard or thought we were This ship it is rumoured will be going out of service later this year and it really is not before time. She is very tired and unloved and left us with a feeling that as Thomsons know it is its last season they really don't care. That being said the cabin stewards are absolutely brilliant and keep the cabins as clean as is practical but you cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear I had specifically paid a booking fee so we did not have a restricted view and guess what our view was 98% restricted by a lifeboat unfortunately as the ship was "full" we were unable to change and Thomsons did refund the booking fee but we would have preferred to get what we had paid for. The food was good the service was ok when you consider the time scale and amount of passengers they have to cope with but the portions are inconsistent as is the quality I paid extra for a steak one night and it was okay but not cooked as I requested. Entertainment was repetitive and the show team again was hit and miss we walked out of two shows as the singing was flat and an insult to the original artists they just seem to think we have a captive audience so it doesn't matter The resident bands were all excellent so they are capable of getting good entertainers and as it was Christmas/New Year you would have thought they would have made a special effort What saved the entire holiday were our fellow travellers we met some amazing people and found the majority to be friendly and full of fun which saved the entertainment staff some effort as they took over and really made the game show nights - shame on Thomsons for the prizes surely you can make more of an effort even your staff were embarrassed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise specifically because it was promoted as just that: a music festival at sea. Not everyone on board knew that. Which did, in the event, cause some grumbles. Embarcation was fine. On this occasion we had booked a ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically because it was promoted as just that: a music festival at sea. Not everyone on board knew that. Which did, in the event, cause some grumbles. Embarcation was fine. On this occasion we had booked a higher grade which did reduce the waiting. Our cabin was a mini suite which we had chosen because, having travelled on this ship once before, we knew it to be of a good size, design and decoration. If you think that you will use your cabin for more than just sleeping in, then we believe that in this ship the considerable extra expense is worth it. But it is does cost a lot more. On Aurora you can chose between one of two seatings for dinner, or freedom dining. We chose the latter and after a few initial delays by way of queues and non-working bleeper things, it worked out quite well, with little more than a few minutes wait before being assigned to a table. The service and food was on the whole good given the numbers to be catered for. Some people might prefer having the same waiter throughout the cruise. But overall we enjoyed the food and the company, different each evening. Now, for the entertainment. This was one of three Music Festivals at Sea organised by P & O. This comprised of a number of fifty minute presentations in both theater and the smaller show lounge, by a variety of musicians and singers. Hosted by Kevin Whatley of Morse and Lewis. With respect to him Mr Whatley is not a musician. But he is an actor and a consumate one. On one occasion he gave a masterly Shakespeare performance. The events started with short examples of each musician's or singer's talent. Later, each principal gave an individual recital with piano accompanist. The variety was stunning. The talent of these people was outstanding. All of them, without exception. The choice diverse, covering everything from Franck and Poulenc to Elgar to Gershwin and Rogers and Hammerstein, but each of the highest calibre. The very highest After the recital by the brilliant young Slovenian violinist I was shaking. Elgar's Nimrod on the marimbas still runs through my mind. 'Oh what a beautiful morning', sung by the Canadian baritone while walking down the aisle to the theatre stage had real drama. It was prepared and directed magnificently by the lady who has done so, I believe, since the outset of these festivals and this was the 32nd such. Long may she continue to do so. Call this a music festival at sea? It would have been a music festival of class anywhere in the world. This was class. For us, this lifted cruising on a ship to a quite new dimension. But not everyone shared this view. Apart from the festival artists, the standard ship entertainment went on, with a comedian, singers and the ship's dancing troupe. Some passengers complained that there was too much for the festival and not enough for others. And they did have a point: due to some publicity difficulty, many people were unaware that it was a special cruise until receiving an email from P & O ten days before sailing. And some did not receive even that. As to the ports of call, we had never been to the Canaries or Madeira and we loved it all. But our more experienced fellow travellers said that the weather was poor, and no doubt they were right because I got utterly soaked walking through a rain forest in La Gomera. But it was worth it. If you like really high quality performances by top grade musicians and singers, this cruise may be for you. It certianly was for us. We have booked for next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Delays are every part of life, and this also includes sailing off into the so called Sunshine for a Christmas, New Year Cruise. Unfortunately there was a 5 hour delay leaving Tilbury, due to apparent bad weather on the English ... Read More
Delays are every part of life, and this also includes sailing off into the so called Sunshine for a Christmas, New Year Cruise. Unfortunately there was a 5 hour delay leaving Tilbury, due to apparent bad weather on the English Channel.!!! Our first port of call was to be Gibraltor on Boxing Day. But, again there was the apparently bad weather excuse to sail across the Bay of Biscay. So our first port was Antwerp, at the cost of not visiting Lanzarote. ( seems strange, it was to bad to sail out across the Bay of Biscay, but not too bad to sail back.) We did however pick up the wife and son of a Senior member of the Ships bridge up at Antwerp, and they disembarked at Lisburn as not too endure the almost dangerous weather on the Bay of Biscay. We had one evening we will never forget whilst sailing back across the Bay of Biscay when Waiters were thrown about and almost everything was thrown of the dining tables. Later that evening we was treated to Air Sea Rescue, air lifting a passenger/Passengers off the ship. Even though this was predomently a British passenger cruise over the Christmas/ New Year period, there was very little Christmas spirit given by any of the entertainment staff. No Mince Pies, Christmas Cake or Christmas Pudding. Christmas Dinner comprised with one and Half Brussels Sprouts.....there was NO Christmas tradition on board this ship. Only real highlight to this cruise was the lovely people we met and the New Year Fireworks spectacular in Funchal Maderia. I felt the entertainment was very very poor indeed, and didn't seem any real direction or participation from the cruise director who seemed more preoccupied with other things. Although myself and wife spent nearly a year looking forward to this cruise, I'm afraid we will never sail on this ship again or possibly with the Cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We took this cruise as it was convenient to our home and needed a break. We have cruised for 20 years and have never experienced such a miserable cruise. 5 hours late in departing which we understand can't be helped. The ship then ... Read More
We took this cruise as it was convenient to our home and needed a break. We have cruised for 20 years and have never experienced such a miserable cruise. 5 hours late in departing which we understand can't be helped. The ship then went back to Antwerp which they said was due to bad weather. We were due to go to Gibraltar and therefore missed out Lanzarote. We picked up a lady and a child who were family cruise members. The ship is advertised as child free! I was told that they would only be allowed in crew areas but they went anywhere in the ship and disturbed guests.Trades description! The cruise was supposed to be festive. The Christmas dinner was disgusting and no one had heard of mince pies or Christmas pudding. Decorations were non existent. The staff worked hard but were restricted by the appalling management. The cruise home was through the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 gale. Necessitating the use of a helicopter to lift off injured folk. Many folk, including the child and mother had left in Lisbon as they were aware that the Bay was going to be very rough. In fact folk had been leaving throughout the cruise as food and entertainment was the worst we have ever experienced. Cruise Maritime refused to accept that it had been a disastrous cruise and wanted folk to go through the trouble of ABTA because they know that guests were so fed up they couldn't be bothered. I can only sum up by saying that it may have been a one off terrible cruise. They knew it was well below accepted standards and should have held up their hands and apologised. I would never cruise with this company again. After cruising with most companies I feel able to classify thus company as deceptive and having no care for their guests. My advise is just don't trust them. They want your money but not are prepared to provide the basic services. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first Fred Olsen Cruise although we have cruised previously with P&O. The food was excellent and superior to any we have had before from the point of view of variety, quality, temperature and service. Although ... Read More
This was our first Fred Olsen Cruise although we have cruised previously with P&O. The food was excellent and superior to any we have had before from the point of view of variety, quality, temperature and service. Although people's opinion of food can be rather subjective we could not fault it in any way. The waiters were efficient, cheerful and friendly as were the rest of the crew who almost invariably made a greeting when passing by. The ship appeared clean and well maintained. Our cabin on 3 deck was small but adequate however we did find it rather warm and stuffy. The portholes did not open of course so the only ventilation was a faint air flow through the one vent. Other passengers also commented on this and some complained to reception but it seemed to have no effect. The narrow single bunks are also a factor if one is used to sleeping together in a double bed. The cabin stewardess kept the cabin spotless. We were part of a walking group so often had two showers a day and the towels were then all changed twice daily even though we did not request it. On one occasion our cabin WC ceased to flush from the early hours of the morning until just after breakfast. I reported this to reception twice, once each by phone and by personal visit. On each occasion I was met with inscrutable politeness but little information. When I asked if any WCs were working I was directed forward to the Neptune Lounge when it turned out that they were working right there by reception! I served as a chief engineer at sea and I am well aware of the difficult and unpleasant nature of sewerage system faults but a little more information at the time would have helped. The Captain's subsequent announcement was rather after the event. The drinks prices were at the top end of reasonable. We did not have the drinks package at £10/person/day and overall our drinks bill worked out almost the same as if we had. This is obviously depends on one's consumption and some people on the package got their money's worth! We prefer to drink less but better quality wine and this started out at about £17/bottle upwards. The house wine was £3.95 for a 175 ml glass and was OK but the cost of nearly £8 for 2 glasses meant that when we fancied a glass each with lunch we often didn't bother. The entertainment in the Neptune Lounge was very good and we enjoyed the cabaret and the theatre company whose enthusiasm and professionalism was self evident. The lounge itself is not brilliant as the seating is cramped and there are pillars blocking some views of the stage but the staff worked hard to find everybody a seat. We only had 750 passengers and if the ship had been fully loaded I think it would have been very crowded. Our fellow passengers were nearly all affable and easy to get on with. We are in our sixties and were at the younger end of the age spectrum so at times it seemed a little like being in a care home but that was probably our problem. Watching the crew attempting to get some very frail and disabled passengers onto the shore tenders in a heavy swell was interesting. Overall would we go again? Yes but only if we upgraded to a better cabin. The Fred Olsen brand based on a providing for elderly UK passengers with friendly staff and high standards but a lack of pretentiousness works for us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
After reading several mixed reviews about the Anthem of the Seas, we didn't know what to expect. However, everything about this new ship is spot on. Boarding was very quick (about 10 minutes). Our balcony stateroom was on deck 12 had ... Read More
After reading several mixed reviews about the Anthem of the Seas, we didn't know what to expect. However, everything about this new ship is spot on. Boarding was very quick (about 10 minutes). Our balcony stateroom was on deck 12 had plenty of room for the two of us and the balcony was also quite large, too. The entertainment was first class throughout the cruise with the highlight being the 'We will rock you' show which was delivered to a West End standard. The two 70 area at the back of the ship delivers stunning views of the sea during the day and then at night transforms into an amazing technology entertainment area. We went on the ships 'North Star' which delivers panoramic views of both the ship and the sea. We opted for the dynamic dining having pre-booked restaurants and times and everything worked liked clockwork. The food in all of our four chosen restaurants was of exceptional quality with a large choice daily menu. The service of every member of staff on board was excellent at all times and nothing was ever too much trouble. Would we travel on this ship and with Royal Caribbean again? Yes, without a doubt! We had fantastic weather throughout our cruise with very calm sea conditions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first P&O cruise, and probably our last. The ship has a lovely decor, plenty of different spaces/places to go to, we had an excellent itinerary and to top it all it was a Strictly cruise. However, I cannot help but be ... Read More
This was our first P&O cruise, and probably our last. The ship has a lovely decor, plenty of different spaces/places to go to, we had an excellent itinerary and to top it all it was a Strictly cruise. However, I cannot help but be disappointed with P&O's flagship. Firstly the good bits... The cabin decor was finished to a high standard and in tranquil colours. There was plenty of storage space for our clothes and cases. Yes, it is smaller (in width) compared with the cabins we have had on Royal Caribbean, but during the day it was perfectly formed. There was a large fridge and tea/coffee making facilities and at least 3 easily accessible UK sockets. The TV was flat screen and wall mounted. Although we didn't watch them, there were a number of films and other TV programmes. The shower was massive and the bathroom well planned. The balcony is smaller again than we are used to but enough room for the two of us on the slightly reclining chairs, and the table doubled up as a footstool. The sun deck with the main swimming pools was popular. The grab and go (breakfast snacks, sandwiches, salads, desserts and the odd hot pasty/samosa) was a nice touch if you wanted a break from over eating at lunchtime. The pizza and burger bars situated here were also popular for a quick snack (and they did do salad there too). My son loved the ice cream bar, which was a reasonable price (magnums were £1.80, calippos £1 and ice cream £1.75 for 1 scoop up to £2.25 for 3 scoops). They also did ice cream milkshakes and costa coffee for the parents. As I mentioned above, it was a Strictly cruise and there was a full programme of events from professional demonstration shows to fashion shows, passenger competitions and question and answer sessions. On board, we had Kevin and Karen Clifton, Aljaz Skorjanec and his partner Janette Manrara, then for the second week we had Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup. We were also joined by Russell Grant and Arlene Phillips. This was in addition to the usual onboard teachers, 4 daily lessons whilst at sea and nightly dancing to a live band. If you love dancing, this was certainly the cruise for you. In fact, the whole entertainment schedule was packed with plenty to do. Unfortunately, you sometimes had to make a hard choice and miss out on something, but c'est la vie. The Beach Hut. If you go on Britannia, do not miss this place! There is a £5 cover charge per person and additional £1.95 or £2.95 for some of the main courses. The food was excellent. The service was up there with the best I have had on any cruise ship with the waiters interacting with all the guests and setting puzzles for the kids with sugar packets between courses. My only negative point - I wish we had discovered this earlier in the cruise. There was a wait every night if you didn't go at the opening time, so get there at 6.30pm (even so, we still had to wait until 6.45pm before we were seated). On to the bad... The cabin at night was a nightmare. We travelled with our son and booked a GB cabin with a sofa bed. Unfortunately, when the sofa bed is out, you cannot access the fridge, hairdryer or the balcony. The sofa bed takes up all the room between the wall and the dressing table, with perhaps an inch or so to spare. To access the fridge or the hairdryer, you have to lift the sofa bed up, and it then gets stuck on the coffee table when lowering it. The tea/coffee making facilities is also in this corner so you have to go without first thing in the morning, which is when you are usually gasping for a cuppa, or lean over the bed and risk scalding yourself or the bed occupant. Poor design P&O. Many people have commented on the lack of a central staircase and this was a big issue, especially on port days as the gangway was inevitably midship when coming back to the ship. Most people also used these lifts to access the freedom dining restaurants, theatre and bars and shops around the atrium. Whilst there are forward and aft lifts/staircases, it was only on deck 7 that you could walk through to the back of the ship, so this really is a poor design feature. It is also quite a big ship with a large 'older' clientele (especially considering this was a school holiday cruise), so I think this should have been thought about more carefully. On the subject of the atrium, this didn't really provide a focal point and lacked in atmosphere. This was a problem in many areas of the ship, whilst it was nice it just lacked a je ne sais quoi. Some of this, I suspect, was related to the indifferent service. On most ships poor customer service is an exception. Unfortunately, on Britannia it was the rule. No-one was rude but they just didn't seem to care. There were exceptions to this - the Beach Hut bring one, a couple of waiters in the dining room and a barman in the Crystal Room - but it really wasn't what I expected. I also visited/spoke to reception about a couple of minor issues. Their response on every occasion was that it wasn't their fault it was someone else's department. Whilst this is true, a better way of dealing with these issues might have been 'Thank you for bringing this to our attention, unfortunately I cannot resolve this but I will pass it on to someone who can' rather than a blame attitude. The ultimate outcome was the same, but I was left feeling that I was being chastised for raising the issue and dissatisfied with my interaction. Food was also not quite up to the standard I would expect. Someone needs to teach the chefs how to cook eggs as they were usually undercooked with unset whites or uncooked centres in the omelettes. The buffet menu choice was limited, although every day there was salad, carvery and themed dishes. There were waiters taking drinks orders and pouring tea/coffee at breakfast and evening meals. However, on many occasions we would be able to eat all our meal and dessert without being asked if we wanted a drink.on the one occasion we did manage to order, my son had finished his meal and dessert before it arrived. It is far easier to get your own. As far as being a family friendly ship, it is certainly less so than Royal Caribbean. The kids club shuts for 1 hour at lunchtime and teatime, and doesn't start until 10am. This can make attending activities without kids in tow difficult as often these would start at 10am or 2pm and you might be queuing up to sign into kids club for 10 minutes or so when it first opens. Kids cannot sign themselves in or out until they are 13. Also, you cannot leave the kids on board in kids club whilst you go ashore. We had a lovely wander around Cadiz, but ended up curtailing it because our son got a bit too hot, tired and bored. It would have been nice to have taken him back to the ship, and then gone back for a couple of hours. Just means we need to plan a long weekend there whilst he stays with the Grandparents... Finally, for a ship that big, the dance floor in the Crystal Room is far too small. In summary, lots of good points but plenty of bad too. The British have a reputation for moaning, and we heard plenty of comments particularly about the lack of central staircase and level of service. The design issues are not major problems and could be overcome with information (and we worked our way around the central staircase issue by going forward or aft). I wouldn't have booked the cabin grade that we had, had I known about the bed issue, and I would have paid more for a higher grade cabin so that we could be. Ore comfortable in the cabin at night. However, it was the general ambience and poor service that let it down for me. There were people who seemed to love it, but also many who didn't (more who seemed to say they would go back to another P&O ship rather than Britannia, but then we do like to moan). It is a bit of a marmite ship. I don't think Britannia was for us. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was my 3rd Celebrity cruise and about my 20th cruise on any line. It was also my 8th cruise traveling with a large, positively focused spiritual group. My first cruise with the group was a Celebrity Cruise in Alaska and the absolute ... Read More
This was my 3rd Celebrity cruise and about my 20th cruise on any line. It was also my 8th cruise traveling with a large, positively focused spiritual group. My first cruise with the group was a Celebrity Cruise in Alaska and the absolute highlight of the trip was dancing every night. The intervening cruises were on other lines but I was really looking forward to being back on Celebrity and dancing for hours in the Sky Lounge. Unfortunately it seemed the ship had no idea of the energy level of positively focused people. There were about 450 of us. We attempted to find dancing venues where we could dance and enjoy ourselves (and use the fun form of exercise to work off the food consumption) but found the venues were either designed for the young crowd that wants techno music or the very old who want slow ballroom dancing most of the time. We were quite excited one night when the Sky Lounge advertised Motown but disappointed to find it was mostly a show with a brief period of dancing following. I've cruised with this group eight times. I know how much fun it can be to dance until the wee hours with them. We booked their Sydney/Fuji group cruise for next year and I am still considering booking an upcoming one to the Caribbean in March (both on Celebrity) but really hope they actually plan dancing opportunities for the crowd. On the 1st Celebrity Cruise with this group in Alaska '09, they had a band in the Sky Lounge that did stop early but after that they provided a DJ that kept us rocking until the wee hours. On Holland cruises with this group there was a venue with a DJ that went until about 2 and they allowed us to hook up an iPod and continue dancing after the DJ went to bed. The Sky Lounge is the best dancing venue on the ship. The one near the dining room felt closed in and cramped. Beyond the dancing, we were very pleased with the cruise. Our cabin came with a Butler and Glen was wonderful--he made our morning breakfasts on the deck and our afternoon teas very special and gladly provided any services we requested. We had dinner in the Tuscan Grille three times and were very pleased with it. We had dinner once in Murano but changed our 2nd reservation there to Tuscan Grille. We had chateaubriand and the chateaubriand offered in the Moonlight Sonata with no upcharge the next night was better. The aspect we least cared for in Murano was that we wanted to enjoy one another's company during dinner and they made such a presentation of the food that it kept interrupting the flow of conversation. Perhaps a couple with nothing to say to one another would enjoy it more? I do not have a need to watch a waitress cut my chateaubriand and find conversation far more interesting. Some friends loved Murano so to each his or her own but it was not what we wanted. We ate in Moonlight Sonata the nights we did not dine in a speciality restaurant and found the food to be fine and service was nice. The ship was beautiful and clean. Our cabin spacious. We actually had two large drawers and several shelves in the closet that we did not need to use. Staff were friendly and helpful. We prefer to do our own thing in port so we did not book any excursions. Except for the lack of a place where we could dance for long periods of time we found the cruise to be very nice. We were not the only ones who were disappointed with the dancing. The first two nights of the cruise we had a group moving from venue to venue attempting to find good music for dancing and we finally gave up opting for conversation and drinks in Ensemble. We arranged all our own transportation and used Smithsforairports.com from Heathrow to our pre-cruise hotel. We were very pleased with this service as well as the early check-in the Meon Valley Marriott provided upon our arrival from an overnight flight. That may be because we are at their highest reward point level so I'm not sure if they will do that for all guests who arrive mid-morning. We were in the aft of the ship on level 12. I love the aft view. Neither of us have motion sickness. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
P&O Cruises - 175th Anniversary Cruise - AZURA (Canary Islands). With 7 ships expected to arrive and depart in Southampton on the same day, and the movement of some 15,000 passengers, we decided to come to the city a day earlier ... Read More
P&O Cruises - 175th Anniversary Cruise - AZURA (Canary Islands). With 7 ships expected to arrive and depart in Southampton on the same day, and the movement of some 15,000 passengers, we decided to come to the city a day earlier just in case of traffic problems on the 3 July 2012. We managed to find a hotel room after much searching at the Southampton Park Hotel. The hotel is adequate for a one night stay. It is handy to the city centre and a short taxi ride to the cruise terminal. The hotel is clean and comfortable but is in need of update and re-decoration in some areas. The breakfast served is good. Tuesday 3 July 2012 - "The day of the Grand Event." We left the hotel at 10.45am for the Ocean Terminal at Dock Gate 4. Traffic was fairly heavy, but the experienced taxi driver used side streets to get us to our destination. Whilst the terminal was busy, our luggage was immediately taken from us and we moved inside the building for check-in. From the time that we arrived at the terminal, checked-in, went through security, we were on board the ship at 11.50am. Well done to P&O - this is an area where they excel. (Embarking and dis embarking passengers) Cabins were still being serviced, so guests were invited to have lunch and to wait for an announcement when cabins would be ready for occupancy. This announcement was made at 2.00pm. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 15 Lido deck. The cabin was on the whole clean and tidy, there were however some ledges that obviously had not been dusted for some considerable time- chairs and power sockets in particular. There were a number of stains on the carpet and the balcony furniture could have done with a good scrub. The bed configuration was as requested. The bed was extremely comfortable. Some area of the cabin looked tired. The fresh flower had already wilted, possibly because there was no water in the vase. The cabin was well laid out with ample storage and all the main electrics were working. It is a pity that P&O do not provide bathrobes for all grades of cabins. Whilst the cabin attendant was extremely pleasant, he did just the bare minimum in keeping the cabin tidy. We had to ask each day for ice, sometimes we got it, mostly we didn`t. I cut myself shaving and during the night, a slight bleed stained the pillowcase. It was noticeable but the pillowcase remained unchanged for several days. Towels on occasions were threadbare and often not replaced... Midway during the cruise, one of the lights in the bathroom started to "blink" - despite mentioning it to the cabin steward, which he could see for himself, nothing was done to fix it - it only needed the bulb changed. The same thing happened with a second light bulb. However a quick call to reception on each occasion, soon had this sorted out. Soon it was time for the Grand Event, the seven ships of the P&O fleet leaving Southampton at the same time Unfortunately the weather had gone from bad to worse and we were advised that the appearance of the Red Arrows display team had been cancelled, this was a huge disappointment but understandable. It was truly remarkable to see the seven ships in convey as they sailed down Southampton Water. The firework display was good and after the salute, taken by the Princess Royal, the ships headed in different directions on their various itineraries. The Azura itself is a beautiful ship and one that is easy to find your way around. The Public areas are spotlessly clean and well maintained and there are lots of fresh flowers everywhere. Staff on the whole, were very pleasant and willing to assist passengers, there were some however who were confrontational and obviously had not undergone the P&O - C.R.U.I.S.E. Training programme or if they had it must have been a long time ago and it is time that they attended a refresher course especially to be educated in courtesy and respect to passengers. There was a very noticeable lack of visibility of senior officers around the ship - many passengers also made comment on this. For dining, we had chosen Freedom Dining in the Meridian Dining Room. - The average waiting time each evening for a small table was around 30 minutes. Without exception all meals in not only this restaurant, but in all the restaurants including the Lido buffet were excellent. Menus were varied; the food was well presented and was extremely tasty. Service in the main dining rooms be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner was of the highest standard. This was our 34th cruise with P&O and without doubt, the best food ever. The Gala Event Dinner was interesting. There was an comprehensive menu, with a free glass of champagne. The menu brought back memories of the standard, variety and quantities of food which were actually presented during my first cruises with P&O on-board the Canberra and the old Oriana. The Cruise Overview - "Your Cruise Highlights not to be missed", which was in our cabin on boarding, perhaps summed it up - other than telling us of each evenings dress codes and how to book for Spa treatments and speciality dining options at a supplement - the only two events listed were - The Grand Event Sailaway and when the Round World Cruise Winners would be announced - there was nothing else- nothing in regard to what entertainment would be available for this Great Event Cruise.. There was an entertainment programme which was lacking in thought, especially in relation to the timings and venues chosen for particular events... The programme was disappointing especially during sea days - thanks goodness for Wimbledon! Being a Grand Event Cruise, most passengers were expecting some well-known "star" to make a guest appearance or indeed a celebrity guest speaker - there were none! It was just the typical normal entertainment on a basic 11 day cruise. The Headliners-the on-board entertainers - singers and dancers were good - occasionally some of the singers struggled to reach the notes. These shows are "loud". Unfortunately more than once some of the singers lost the microphone transmission connection with the speakers which caused awkward pauses. Having been on Azura two times previously in the past few years, it is time for change insofar as the production shows are concerned. We particularly, on Formal nights, having made the effort to dress up, like to go and see a production show on formal evenings. Not on the Azura, not one production show was presented on such evenings. Formal evenings are supposed to be something special. The Cruise Director and staff were energetic in their approach and were highly visible throughout the ship. Stateroom television was disappointing - especially the presentations by the Entertainments staff - these was amateurish. Films on stateroom television too are drastically in need of change - same old - same old. One channel is devoted to the ships log and in particular "Meet the Officers" - the only officers featured are the deck officers - no mention is made of the Engineering department nor the hotel department. Location information, weather reports etc. were often not updated on some occasions for up to 24 hours. Events which were held on the first couple of days were re-run again and again on the cabin television. PORTS OF CALL - La Coruna, Madeira, La Palma, Tenerife, Lisbon & Oporto. Shore Excursions offered at each of the ports were varied, professionally organised and were reasonably priced. It is pleasing that P&O still offer a complementary bus shuttle service from the ship at ports where such a service is necessary. The many bars on-board offered a wide variety of drinks and cocktails, full of flavour and again reasonably priced. The on-board photographers were everywhere. At least when you said No - they left you alone. Their prices are far too expensive. Almost £10.00 (GBP) for a single photograph - lower your prices and you will sell more photographs. The shops stocked a wide variety of goods and the sales assistants were pleasant and helpful. The staff on duty at the reception desk were always courteous and professional in their approach. SUMMARY. Probably the best way to summarise is to divide the summary into two parts - The Grand Event Cruise and P&O Cruising. The Grand Event Cruise. A remarkable and unforgetful Sailaway - However, it takes more than a few balloons and union jacks to class something as a Grand Event and even these disappeared after the first couple of days... After the Sailaway and other than the Grand Event Dinner, nothing could be described as being "Grand" - It was as if, right that's that over, now let's get on with our normal cruise programme. We left feeling that the Grand Event was nothing more than a very successful publicity stunt by P&O, paid for by the passengers on these particular sailings. It`s a pity but this was the feeling felt by many of the passengers on-board. P&O Cruising. P& O Cruises have a well-defined and excellent product - well they have 175 years of experience in this regard! They offer something for everyone - from the choice of ships, the various itineraries, the duration of their cruises and voyages, together with excellent food and normally very good and varied entertainment. As with many other cruise lines, cutbacks are obvious on-board, just be careful not to go too far in this regard - it's the wee things that passengers notice. In all, leaving aside the disappointment that the "Grand Event" theme was not carried out and executed for the duration of the cruise, we did enjoy this cruise despite some of the things not being completely up to standard as on previous P&O cruises. The cruise on this occasion fell short of meeting our expectations and certainly did not exceed them. There was a noticeable lack of attention to detail in many aspects - which is a pity. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012

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