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469 Southampton P&O Cruises Azura Cruise Reviews

For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a ... Read More
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a proportion of the affected passengers. This is a factual description of our experiences. Facts: 1. The Captain had warned P&O 3 years ago not to include Monaco in any itinerary during the annual 4 day Monaco mega yacht show (which this year was 25 -28 September 2019). This is because all hotels in and around the area are completely booked, areas are closed, the Monte Carlo pier and tendering is not available, taxis are not available, buses are limited, it is packed and you have to pre pay 280 Euros to walk in the harbour promenade; 2. The Captain informed us that 2 weeks before our sailing, they tried to change the port to Villefranche, but 2 other ships were already there; 3. The Monte Carlo tender port is notoriously choppy and unpredictable and a quick scan of the forums shows how frequently the tender port is cancelled or has to be suspended; 4. Google states that in 2003 a modern cruise ship pier was opened to prevent the need for tendering in the known unpredictable swells. So why do some cruise companies still not pay to use it and instead choose to tender? 5. Upon questioning by the passengers the Captain revealed there is a written P&O protocol and procedure for exactly what to do when tendering has to be suspended and passengers are stranded – the 1st thing is to acquire hotel accommodation. This was never going to be available during the yacht show. A simple, common sense, uncomplicated risk assessment by a layperson would reveal that no ships should ever tender during the yacht show and the P&O protocol could never be accomplished; 6. Monaco offered P&O a tender area adjacent to Monte Carlo called Fontvieille and P&O / Carnival took the risk, that despite there never being hotel availability and P&O not being able to fulfil step 1 of their emergency protocol, that they would tender there; 7. The Captain’s weather forecast was for “good boating” that day. We got on the tender at around 9.10am. We have always loved tender ports and are excellent sailors. We noticed how many passengers could never have fulfilled the compulsory “step” test and were being lifted into the tenders. There were many wheelchairs and scooters. Our tender was choppy and many passengers were bumping their heads and being thrown around in their seats. Other passengers said how later this became progressively worse and the tender operation was extremely slow and interrupted; 8. When we joined the enormous, return tender queue at 14.15, passengers told us that the tender operation was suspended and apparently had been for some time, hence the vast queue. We considered going back into town, but it is a long, hilly walk into Monaco Ville from Fontvieille and I could not physically repeat it. We opted to wait…..and wait……and wait. The queue must have had 400-500 passengers by 15.00hrs and then the excursion coaches arrived at around 17.00. I overheard the Intercontinental excursion man, upon meeting the guests, informing them not to join the queue and to go to the nearest shopping centre to use the toilets, get refreshments and rest. The queue had not been told to do this. Information was extremely minimal i.e. it was passed down the line that they were still trying to resume tendering. Meanwhile, the water canisters ran dry and there were no toilet facilities that were open and we all remained standing in the Monaco sun. In the Q&A meeting the hotel manager claimed, as per protocol, that there was plentiful water at the tenders. She had clearly not been informed that this had long ran out. And anyway, the exceedingly patient, compliant queue did not move from their spots to walk the 100-200 meters to where the water containers would have been. At one stage, as the queue was right in the sun, the excursions department manager and a colleague carried what was left of the water along the queue until it was empty. After the risk of heat stroke and dehydration, the sun went behind the buildings and the wind whipped up. It quickly became very cold and of course we were all in strappy T shirts and shorts; 9. At 18.00hrs, all the staff in the queue were gathered together and debriefed. At 18.10, these various staff members went along the enormous queue. We realised something was up, because suddenly the previously unmoving queue all moved to the right and into 2 tiny restaurants / pizzeria and a bar. Eventually we were told we could spend up to 20 Euros per person for food / drinks, which would be refunded. By the time we got this information, the small eateries were full. The 18.10hrs message also stated that there would be a further announcement at 18.30. There was no way we could get food anywhere within that time, so we stuck with the queue as did some others. There never was a further announcement, but staff did go along the line at approximately 19.30 hrs asking if anyone had any priority needs, e.g. medications. I have a brain tumour, which I volunteered and was invited to go to the front of the queue. As I look relatively young, fit and well, I knew (as indeed happened) I would get dagger stares for moving to the front and so I declined, but the staff member escorted me; 10. At the front the brilliantly assertive senior nurse, who happened to be on shore leave, was organising the immediate priority group 1 and the 2nd priority group, where I was put. We waited and waited and we then boarded 1 of these 2 tenders. It was extremely rough. Again, many passengers who could barely walk and certainly not unaided, were being lifted into the tender. There is no way that they would have been able to fulfil the “step” test. 70 passengers were in our tender, but then the exits of the tenders were completely blocked by numerous wheelchairs, scooters and buggies. The 2 tender crew had to keep climbing over them. The voyage to the ship began at approximately 20.30hrs in the pitch black of night. We have never experienced such a rough tender ride. Passengers were having panic attacks, some screaming, crying and virtually all were vomiting. We have never seen so much vomit and we are hospital / medical professionals. Our tender was unable to get up alongside the ship, as tender priority 1 had to abandon unloading half way through, as it was far too dangerous. Passengers on the ship watched in horror and disbelief at the extreme rolling and pitching of the tenders. After approximately 45 minutes of these awful conditions we got back to the quayside, but we could not go alongside, as there were 3 empty tenders parked alongside. We, as passengers, had to tell the crew to move the empty tenders, so we could dock and be unloaded. It appeared that the entire tender crews and officers on the jetty had no control and were floundering. Eventually we unloaded and stood right on the jetty water’s edge, in the pitch black, back at the front of the enormous queue. We stood there for some time and then the safety officer in a quiet, sheepish voice, barely heard by most said “the police and authorities have taken over”. We were all led for a 15 – 20 minute walk to a sports centre, attached to the football stadium; 11. This whole time we had no information and no clue what was going on. It was now approximately 22.15 hrs and we had queued for 8 hours without seats, toilets, food, water, or shelter. We were all exhausted; 12. Most passengers were led into the basketball arena with had massive, steep, concrete steps to climb, without rails, to the plastic arena chairs. 1 elderly lady face planted down these steep steps and was taken away to hospital. We found 2 chairs in the hall. Some wonderful, off duty, non-officer staff were sharing the foods they had purchased for their personal use; 13. Eventually, the tender crews managed to collect some boxes of biscuits, dry crackers, nuts, tortilla chips, bottles of water, towels and blankets – anything that could be thrown from the ship into the tender. We later found out this food supplies mission had to be abandoned at 23.30hrs as a crew member fell from the tender pontoon, into the sea, between the ship and the tender, sustaining multiple head bangs. Clearly, any food transit had to be abandoned. Thankfully, we can now tell you, that the crew member survived, but the Captain told us that as it was a near fatality, the entire ship’s crew were naturally very shaken; 14. At the point when the snacks, towels / blankets arrived the calm, pleasant, courteous P&O passenger characteristics changed into 2 groups……- the considerate, selfless, carers group and the self-centered, just look after yourself group. Whereas I took 1 biscuit, others were seen hoarding entire, large, wholesale packets; 15. The senior nurse demonstrated strong leadership skills, effectively prioritising those with life threatening needs. There was still no information; 16. At approximately 22.45hrs, a policeman, of which there were loads, asked us if we needed a bed? Of course, we did need one, but we thought others showed greater need, so we declined; 17. At around 23.45hrs, a sudden surge of police and Red Cross staff arrived. A policeman came to us and instructed us “follow me, bed”. We were led into the basketball stadium, down the extremely steep stairs and into a further hall that had been set up with 100s of stretchers as makeshift “beds”. The majority were barely off the floor, narrow and metal and were of the type seen on TV news during earthquake / person evacuation / disaster zones. It was at this point we realised we were there for the night. There was still no P&O information. It was a complete disgrace and a total failure of communication; 18. The influx of police and Red Cross volunteers formed a human chain, passing more stretchers into the hall, which they then assembled. We were given a “couverture de survie” – a life saving foil cover. In a way we were lucky to get 1 of these orange evacuation metal stretchers, as we found out from passengers the next day, that they had to rest on the cold floor, on tables, or on broken up boxes, or sit all night in the arena plastic bucket seats, which must have been even more truly awful. However, these passengers told us that they had seen many passengers hoarding 5 towels as pillows or multiple blankets. 1 passenger at 3am saw an empty blue camp bed with a neatly folded blanket on it. As she took the blanket, the nearby man shot up and shouted at her to leave it, as it was “taken”. A few hours later she returned and saw the same empty camp bed and neatly folded blanket. In our hall there were many Red Cross workers who gave out the tin foil covers, some table cloth type covers and some duvet type sleeping bags, which we used to soften the hard, metal of the evacuation stretchers. The Red Cross went around the hall all night, checking on people and covering them with the tin foil, however all passengers will relay how exquisitely irritating the noise of this foil was – it became a torture noise in our sleep deprived state. Some passengers managed to sleep, but the extreme snoring, was for most, a further noise torture. For me, the worst torture was the bright overhead fluorescent lights that were left on, so any rest was futile and broken by foil / snoring / fluorescent light and the hardness / narrowness of the stretchers; 19. At no time were any hot drinks available from the Red Cross, which was a surprise to us, as hot drinks are commonly used in any emergency first aid crisis. However, there was now plentiful water obtained from the ship and at 3am we found some other snacks in the main basketball arena. During this time we spoke to a shore side food and beverage man that happened to be visiting the ship. We asked him if there was any information and were told that we were going to be got up at 5am, to leave by bus at 6am, to go to the Monaco train station to get a train to Villefranche, to join the ship. This information had not been communicated to anyone outside the basketball arena, so at 5am we asked the officer in charge – the customer service manager to announce it to our hall and other areas where passengers were. My husband also asked him if the ship was actually in Villefranche, as it would be ridiculous for us to leave shelter with toilets, snacks and water to be left stranded in the outside, without any facilities. He replied “that’s the plan from above”. My husband suggested to him that he should confirm with the ship that they were in a position to sail to Villefranche, before any of us left the sports centre. He remained silent and did not move, so my husband went upstairs to the basketball arena and found the food and beverage man from before and explained that there were whole areas that had not been made aware of the plan and announcements needed to be made. The ship’s food and beverage manager officer then came to our area, but no one could hear him, but, as before, passengers followed other passengers’ lead. We tried to stay, but were told to leave. We now know, that at this stage, as we predicted, it was still not possible for the tenders stranded at the quayside to be loaded back onto the ship. A ship is legally not allowed to move without the tenders in place and yet the passengers still had to be moved from the shelter of the sports centre; 20. We were put in queue groups for public buses, which did not have many seats and were taken by police escort to the train station. We personally got the 7am train which arrived at Villefranche at 7.15 (there were 3 trains 6.30, 7 and 7.30). A further 15 minute walk took us to the newly reassembled, enormous queue, which we personally arrived at, at 7.30. We saw the ship sailing towards us in the distance, but by the time it arrived, anchored and dispatched the tenders, we had had to stand for another 2 hours, without seats or toilets, in a totally sleep deprived state, before getting on a tender; 21. At 7.07, whilst on the train to Villefranche, some passengers received a text from P&O, but most phone batteries were now dead. The text read “Good morning. We have now started the bus operation from the stadium to get you back to Azura. If you are not at the stadium, please make your way to Villefranche cruise terminal without delay”. A further text arrived at 7.45 “Good morning and thank you for your patience. Azura will shortly be at anchor and we plan to start the tender embarkation as soon as possible. Thank you once again”. When this arrived all 1000+ passengers were standing in the queue. It was noted by passengers how P&O had failed to send any texts of information until this point; 22. Whilst we were in this final 2 hour queue, we came across the Events Manager and I sarcastically asked him how this event had gone. Unforgivably, he replied “very well”!!! 23. We arrived back at the ship at 10.00hrs and were told to go to a particular restaurant for breakfast. We went via our cabin to wash our hands and found a letter of apology from the Captain, which included a statement “we will be refunding you a full day of your cruise (on a pro rata basis). Also, a gesture of £50 per person will be automatically placed in your onboard account today, for you to enjoy”. The letter stated that there would be a 16.00 hrs Q&A session and that we would be contacted to confirm the venue. Notification of the venue came in a letter around 14.00hrs, when most of the affected passengers were asleep and therefore did not know! 24. We attended the 16-17.00hrs meeting and the general, overwhelming themes were: a) complete failure of communication, b) failure of senior staff to manage, control, or lead the situation, c) the 1 day offer was insulting, as we were already on day 2 of impact and for the majority, it would take additional days to physically recover and a lot longer emotionally and d) the £50 “gesture” is empty if it is on board credit, as the money goes straight back to the company. Already flown in from shore side and present at the Q&A session, were a representative from guest experience and a representative from guest relations. It is interesting that despite the passengers having been given no information that P&O managed to coordinate 2 shore side staff members to be flown in to meet the ship. There was positive recognition and thanks of some P&O staff who were fantastic, particularly the non officer junior staff, who showed the greatest empathy and kindness, when they were also stranded in their off time. Summary P&O blame this event on a force majeure, however as outlined, we strongly feel this was a completely avoidable crisis. We should never have tendered during the yacht show as a risk assessment would clearly have demonstrated that there would never have been an ability to execute their emergency protocol (for hotel accommodation) in the event of tender difficulties, in an area of proven track record for unpredictable sea conditions and aborted / delayed tender operations. This was a foolhardy gamble that went wrong and could easily have resulted in crew and passenger fatalities or serious injuries. In this regard P&O were extremely lucky. Goodwill Gesture / Refund and Financial Remuneration: 1. The promised refund of maximum 20 Euros per person was applied as on board credit at an exchange rate of 1.25, giving £16 non-refundable OBC, therefore the money went straight back into the pockets of P&O. The Bank of England rate on the day was 1.12 = £17.86. Monaco is one of the most expensive places to eat and drink, so 20 Euros would not adequately cover a meal; 2. The one day refund was never increased, despite the shore side guest experience representative saying that they would reconsider it, so we personally got £117 per person simply for the loss of 1 day on the ship. There was never any recognition for the extreme suffering, physical and emotional distress, sleep deprivation, stress and disappointment and for us, the ruination of the entire 2nd week of the cruise and therefore half of the holiday; 3. A letter was received in the cabin to claim on insurance for the loss of the port in Corsica. As an additional point of note, this incident happened after the major news event of day 5, when the ship rescued 17 migrants floating on a dinghy. This 10 hour rescue meant that we could not reach Barcelona as planned; 4. A few days after the incident a bottle of Prosecco was brought to the cabin; 5. On arrival home an unimpressive, small hamper was delivered with a message “A warm welcome home for all to enjoy. From P&O cruises”. Lessons learnt for tender ports: 1. Before the cruise, research on forums the specific tender ports to establish if they have a history or strong likelihood of being aborted, delayed or cancelled; 2. Do your own risk assessment and assess the sea conditions before and on the tender out and immediately return if it feels unusually choppy; 3. Take emergency provisions for that and the next day – food, water, warm clothing, sun protection, inflatable pillow and mattress, spare phone batteries and chargers and most importantly any medications for that and the next day. Consider the need to carry all this in a carry-on luggage wheelie suitcase; 4. Captains’ weather forecasts can be seriously flawed – supposedly calm, good conditions can adversely and extremely change. Are you prepared to take the risk? 5. Beware that P&O itineraries still have tender ports at Monte Carlo during yacht shows in future years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Petroni on Azura - Embarkation and Cabin - Azura cruise A925 sailing 21st Sept 2019 Also Search for Petroni for info on food, wine and our adventures - rescuing migrants, Monte Carlo 'disaster' trapping 1400 ashore and ... Read More
Petroni on Azura - Embarkation and Cabin - Azura cruise A925 sailing 21st Sept 2019 Also Search for Petroni for info on food, wine and our adventures - rescuing migrants, Monte Carlo 'disaster' trapping 1400 ashore and a bunch of funny (and some not so funny) incidents Embarkation – brilliant! Slick and well organised. It would be hard to think of any way to improve on it. Well done! Cabin – gave it a ‘once over’ with an ultraviolet torch and it was pretty good, clean and tidy The usual over priced water offering (5 x 1.5l bottles for £10.50 with a 6th one thrown in for free). For the same price my local Lidl would give me 66 x 2l bottles, but hey, this isn’t Lidl. Bathroom functional and clean but not much else to say. Needed extra clothes hangers which were readily provided from the steward Television frequently not working as the satellite signal keeps getting lost as you rock when at sea but tends to work pretty well when in port. Could do with a larger selection of films as I had seen pretty much everything there was. No music on offer. These days you cannot get access to your account from your room and have to ask for a printout from reception instead. So much for progress with technology. Safe works easily. Storage space is adequate. Suitcases fit under the bed or on the shelf above the hanging wardrobe. Breakfast in bed is available (free) and many room service options (chargeable) are available. There is a phone in the cabin. Each deck is numbered and lettered so, for example, if you want to phone cabin A123 (deck no.4) you would dial 4123, cabin B123 would be 5123 and so on. Beach towels are provided (two per cabin) but, you should ask for extras if you intend sunbathing. You will need two per lounger. The smoke stacks/funnels spit out a fair bit of soot and any loungers down wind of the stacks can get dirty. So pop to Poundland, and get yourself a couple (each) of the big plastic clips that hold the towels on the loungers (as it can get very windy) and never sit on a lounger without a protective towel if you value whatever you are wearing. If you do end up with soot marks on your clothes, go to reception and they will give you a FOC (Free of charge) laundry clean but the item will be gone for 2-3 days. There are two 500ml bottles of water free when you arrive. To augment the water supply, you can either bring back a glass with you when you return to your cabin from any food area or, you can boil water in your cabin and when cool, refill the 500ml water bottles. Or you can pay the £10.50 (but I am too mean to). The mirror in the bathroom tends to get very misted up if you have a shower. Quick tip – rub a bar of soap onto the mirror and then clean it off with a small hand towel. The soap will clean the mirror up nicely as it dries leaving you a better chance of doing your hair, gel, wig etc. The tea coffee tray has the basics but if you need fresh milk, gluten free, skimmed etc you can ask the steward for some. Similarly, if you prefer a fruity tea, peppermint tea etc you can grab a couple from the self service buffet deck 15 and use them in your cabin. We take a bottle of gin and a couple of bottles of tonic and have a G&T as we get ready for dinner each night. Don’t forget to bring a little bottle of lemon or lime with you if you do the same. Avoids the need for knives, fruit etc. You can ask the steward for extra glasses for your cabin so you have some for the G&Ts and others for your water. There are laundries on every deck with washing machines and driers. We have never used them but they appear to be free. There are ironing boards and irons available there too. Washing powder/tablets/capsules are available on deck 5 (I was told) so you do not need to bring anything yourself. I hope this helps Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
P&O has done a Marks and Spencers act. It has ignored customer demand and gone for max profit. This cruise proved it. We ate onshore as often as possible. We are tired of the same corporate menu, cruise after cruise. No ... Read More
P&O has done a Marks and Spencers act. It has ignored customer demand and gone for max profit. This cruise proved it. We ate onshore as often as possible. We are tired of the same corporate menu, cruise after cruise. No imagination, no food uploaded along the route - so no local produce.(To ensure quality - we are told.) To ensure max profit is probably fact. We chose the cruise to visit Corsica - it never happened but for acceptable reasons. However P&O food gets worse each cruise. Every turn demands money - the only smiling staff for the 1st two days were those demanding money! The music has got louder and less appropriate to each venue. Azura appears to have no quiet area for relaxing. The staff are great but corners are being cut everywhere. If you like massive loads of average food, loud music everywhere and family movies like Dumbo - you will love P&O Azura. It is not for us - we do not go on holiday for endless loads of poor quality food, for over loud music and below average entertainment. Aurora was ok but even so, did not match RCI for food quality or entertainment. RCI per day was half the price too! Maybe we got a good deal but - 50% cheaper - that is something to consider even at full price! Better food by far, better entertainment and a more caring company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was the infamous cruise which left 1200 passengers (including me and my wife) stranded in Monte Carlo. We even made the papers. Don't believe the stories about the weather getting worse and the passenger couldn't be ... Read More
This was the infamous cruise which left 1200 passengers (including me and my wife) stranded in Monte Carlo. We even made the papers. Don't believe the stories about the weather getting worse and the passenger couldn't be tendered back to the ship. The weather was just a light breeze and the transfer of passengers should have been perfectly OK. The problem was that their was an excess of large boats in the area due to the annual boat show. They caused the wake which made conditions in return back to the ship difficult for the able bodied and impossible for most of the elderly passengers. Communications were poor. After up to a 7 hour wait, the local police and on shore crew members guided us all to spend the night in Monte Carlo's basketball stadium. Sleeping on top of a cardboard box (after evicting the dead cockroaches) on the floor of the stadium was memorable. We were eventually tendered back to the ship the following day. A special mention must be made about the work done by the ships crew. Some worked all day and then all night and then the following morning again. Provisions and medicines had been transferred from the ship in dangerous conditions. One crew member feel overboard and that to luck and some quick thinking but the tender operator managed to survive with just bruising. P and O must really think hard if they plan to visit Monaco when the boat shows on. Regarding the ship. It was my 4th cruise and this ship was my favourite. It's due a refit next year which should bring it back to being one of the fleets top ships. The food on board was incredible. Breakfast was top quality both in the buffet and the restaurants. We had the odd light buffet lunch, where there was a large choice, from soups to snacks to full meals. And the evening meals were just as good. We went to the Sindhu restaurant and had fabulous signature meal. Unmissable. The on board entertainment was good. But after the problems at Monaco extra activities and entertainment were added to the schedule. There was even a show in the afternoon. We are independent travellers when we arrive at ports. However we decided to take the excursion to Seville. The guides knew their facts and managed to bypass the large queue when entering the cathedral. Well worth the cost. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our second cruise, having been with Royal Caribbean before on a fly-cruise. We preferred going from Southampton as it was more relaxing and more time to get to know the ship before excursions began. However, the weather was pretty ... Read More
This was our second cruise, having been with Royal Caribbean before on a fly-cruise. We preferred going from Southampton as it was more relaxing and more time to get to know the ship before excursions began. However, the weather was pretty bad when we left in force 10 gale! We travelled with family and most of us felt a bit 'off' for the first 3 days. My teenage granddaughter was quite ill. But after that the sun shone and the seas calmed and we were able to enjoy all the benefits of the ship. Yes, the ship is old and tired but it didn't bother us. We had an inside cabin on C deck so no window but it was fine - we didn't spend much time there. Very small cabin but plenty of hanging space and decent shower and a comfortable bed. It was a quiet area of the ship so our sleep wasn't disturbed. Food in the buffets was a bit repetitive but very good overall. Staff always pleasant and helpful. We used the restaurants in the evenings where things were more relaxed and the food more varied. Waiter service was excellent - all staff very helpful and considerate. Entertainment was very good, especially the Headliners. Very talented young people. Didn't do many activities but did a quiz or two and had a bash at Pilates! Watched a few films on the on-deck screen which were pretty good. Our cabin steward, Vasilio, was a gem. Nothing too much trouble. Well worth a tip! Embarking and disembarking was very well run. We parked in the NCP car park so our car was taken from us, along with our main cases. Disembarking was much the same - very ordered and smooth. No complaints. Excursions were all enjoyable, (as was the weather). Most towns were close to the ports so very easy. Made use of the hop on buses to see the sights. Barcelona was particularly good as the architecture was amazing. We made the mistake of booking a tour to Mercia and then returning to Cartagina. Mercia was (for us) not worth the time and left such a short time to see Cartagina, which was really interesting and full of history. So we shall have to return there some time! The excursion to Pisa and Florence was very good. We found the information we were given on board very helpful for the port visits. They were not just trying to sell the excursions, which was noticeable to us, compared with our last cruise. All in all, a very pleasant experience and we will certainly consider cruising with P & O again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We’ve sailed with p & o on several occasions now, and I choose P & O because I loved the attentiveness of staff, the cabin cleanliness and the quality of the entertainment. Unfortunately, for us, it didn’t match to our ... Read More
We’ve sailed with p & o on several occasions now, and I choose P & O because I loved the attentiveness of staff, the cabin cleanliness and the quality of the entertainment. Unfortunately, for us, it didn’t match to our expectations. Our room was spotless, as was the whole ship. The attentiveness of staff was very lacking. We could go int9 a bar and not be served for over half an hour. If we went to the bar to request a drink, we were told to sit down and someone would come and take our order. Mostly, they didn’t. The entertainment was disappointing too. On previous P & O Cruises we have always found the theatre shows to be outstanding and so much entertainment on in the Horizon magazine that we have been virtually running from one venue to another time catch the great acts. Sadly, not on this cruise. I’m not sure if it was the fault of the entertainment crew or not but why would you put Whitney House n soundalike in one theatre and Diva’s in the other on the same night?! Again one night with a magician in one place and a mind reader in another?! It didn’t make sense to us. The resident band Pulse, thought they were better than they obviously were. One thing for everyone to bear in mind when booking a cruise to the Norweigan Fjords is that there cannot be any sail away parties on top deck as it’s against Norwegian policies to have music on deck at any of the Norwegian ports. This is something that’s not made aware to you when you book the cruise. Also, you cannot use plastic Britannia flags at a ‘sail on’ anymore and neither do they give them out (because of the harmful effects on the enviroment). We had a sail on party in the Atrium instead but it’s no where near the same. I’m not trying to sway anyone’s mind here, this is just a view of hw we found our cruise. I was shocked how different this cruise was to m last one with Pn& O but I’m not sure entirely what.m Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have lucky to have cruised quite a bit over the last 15 years, on a number of different ships and different cruise lines. With PO I have experienced Azura, Britannia and Oceana but I am sad to say that over the years I have seen a ... Read More
I have lucky to have cruised quite a bit over the last 15 years, on a number of different ships and different cruise lines. With PO I have experienced Azura, Britannia and Oceana but I am sad to say that over the years I have seen a steady decline in the cruising experience offered by PO. I was able to experiance the Azura in its ingrual year and a quite a few times since. Although it clearly is ready for a re-fit, this is not the main reason review. I have tried to be as fair as possibe and give merit when derserved and not so good service where experianced. Embarkation; As expected at Southampton, CPS was bit bit slow nd it took around an hour queing in a car line to wait to be able to check in luggge. Luggage porters were in short supply so be prepared to load your cases into the loading bays yourself. We did not see any Ship staff in the Embarkation area on this cruise, but not a big issue. Check in and security ok, did not take for ever this time! As we have been in this ship a number of times, did not stop for photos but they seemed to be more organised this time and there was not pressured sale rotuine - There were a lot of first time cruisers this time and a definate lack of ship staff greet them and help with finding cabins etc. First time we have experianced this on any cruise ship, maybe this is due to cutbacks. Cabin; Looking a bit tired but OK. We had a balcony on C deck, which was nice only issue was the balcony furiture was very old and mismatched and we only had one footstall! We noticed that other cabins had much nicer and newer furniture, maybe ours was the last cabin on their list. Cabin Steward, excellant,greeted ius on arrival, knew our names and delivered ice as requiested without fail. Kept our cabin really clean, tempted to say that they were the best we have experianced on any ship for a long time. Luggage arrived promptly, and we were able to unpack before depature. Dinning: Big improvement on this ship, did not have one bad meal. Service staff efficent, and friently - well done PO! Entertaimnent and activities: In general the entertament was not good. Starting with Headliners only 2 shows in 7 days and both were not great. After being on another cruise where the show were really good and entaining, the cast members interated with the passangers, the number of productions they did were professional and far in excess of PO limp offering. To put in context these show were the worst I have seen in 15 years of cruising. PO have a band called pulse on most of there ships, on the Britannia they were great, young and fun and played great music and good singers, On other cruises on Azura they were also good, but this time the singer lacked personalilty and voice. The other acts were also not great, to many commedians. Other activities: Not a lot of offer other than Spa talks, occasional quiz and sales pitches, what happened to lectures, hosted art and crafts etc etc, very poor on this ship have experienced much better. One good point though, great new sunbeds!c Service:There seem to be a large cutback in staff in the lounges and very oftern we had to order our drinks from the bar then wait 30 minutes for them to arrive at our table. On a few occassions we have to retrive our cruise card and cancel drinks due to time restraints. 30 minutes is too long to wait, 10 minutes acceptable. Port and Shore Exursions: We did not use PO exursions and arranged our own, Norway is beautiful and a lot to do. But be aware it is expensive. The big question is would I go again; I would serioulsy have to think about Cruising with PO again. We tend to pick cruises for their ports of call. I have been with PO on quite a few occassions but this could be our last cruise with them. As a first cruise experience its ok, but I feel there is much better available. Although their drinks/bar prices and cheaper than their counterparts, their cruises are not always better value, the rest of the cruise service/experience they offer is not as good and I feel you get much more for you hard earned money on other cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
As a returning P&O customer I was let down. Arriving at our alloted time of 1500 boarding became a rush, even making the muster station became an issue. I was disappointed as all the excitement of relaxed holidays and a we take ... Read More
As a returning P&O customer I was let down. Arriving at our alloted time of 1500 boarding became a rush, even making the muster station became an issue. I was disappointed as all the excitement of relaxed holidays and a we take care of it attitude has gone. The logistics were wrong. On to the Cabin D522 it was excellent, I thought well mentained until my partner pointed out the face towels hadn't been changed, just refolded. Food excellent, quality of drink excellent, kids club excellent, itinerary spot on. On the whole the majority of the staff have forgotten to smile. The entertainment was also at the bearable level but undone by repetition. Don't get me wrong I have had a week's holiday but a week in Fuengirola would have been just as good. I love cruising, love the non flying option but now considering cancelling next year's booking as I will experience the same level of frustration at an Airport. Disembarkation opted for the early depart, low tide at Soton could not disembark untill the tide did her thing Logistics Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Looked for a reasonable priced cruise to the Med out of school holidays and as was sailing from Southampton we chose this one. We had a well appointed balcony cabin on deck 9 with all the amenities one would expect, some of the ... Read More
Looked for a reasonable priced cruise to the Med out of school holidays and as was sailing from Southampton we chose this one. We had a well appointed balcony cabin on deck 9 with all the amenities one would expect, some of the furnishings however were very tired, the sofa bed being a prime example our cabin steward was most helpful however it was somewhat dusty in places. The restaurant was very nice and the food generally was well presented and of a excellent standard we found the service excellent The ship was kept clean however the service in the smoking areas was poor as the ashtrays were seldom cleaned and the tables on deck 15 very rarely(we are smokers) The Major gripe and complaint was the very unpleasant sewage smells encountered normally early in the morning on deck 7 aft also this permutated into other areas of this deck, we did complain as did several others including a ships officer, one ended up looking for this pong. Generally although having a large number of passengers 3000 plus it is a well maintained vessel but due in our opinion for a substantial refit. Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent. Would we travel on this boat again probably yes but they must get rid of the unpleasant odours Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
First time cruisers with teenage son....A brilliant cruise from start to finish ...Easy embarkation,..cabin kept spotless -by cabin steward diogo (a real star!!). Great food in peninsular restaurant .....loads of choice to suit all tastes ... Read More
First time cruisers with teenage son....A brilliant cruise from start to finish ...Easy embarkation,..cabin kept spotless -by cabin steward diogo (a real star!!). Great food in peninsular restaurant .....loads of choice to suit all tastes ...staff very friendly and helpful at all times (Kristine was a gem and took time every night to check everything was ok) Never had to wait for a table and service slick.....super entertainment from headliners and professional shows . Never an issue getting a seat in theatre .....great choice of food in buffet yes can sometimes get busy but staff work hard to clear tables etc and never caused us an issue .boat was full and apart from sailaway never at any time felt busy - ....Ate at beachousr twice would recommend if you fancy a change ( ribs/steaks /fajitas etc). Great ports and excursions ....cannot wait to book our next one !! It really was that good ...... Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise as it was our first and the destinations were places we wanted to visit. We missed embarkation photos etc. as the bus was late. The ship was very nice but a little tired. Getting around was extremely confusing and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was our first and the destinations were places we wanted to visit. We missed embarkation photos etc. as the bus was late. The ship was very nice but a little tired. Getting around was extremely confusing and we found our way round with more help from other passengers than the staff. There could have been clearer sign posting. The dining rooms were excellent, the waiting staff were very efficient and friendly (Joseph and Manesh). The buffet food wasn’t particularly great. The breakfasts were nice but the main meals we attended were a little disappointing. We thought the entertainment would be better but it was focused on Strictly Come Dancing which we weren’t that in to. The daytime entertainment consisted mainly of dance classes and yoga etc. It would have been nice to have movies indoors or more actual entertainment and shows. We can’t fault the service. The staff were friendly and attentive. We had particularly good service from our cabin steward (Manoj) and the photographic team. The shore excursions involved more walking than we expected and we were disappointed with them. We would definitely go on another P&O cruise as overall we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Our third time on Azura and as it is every time we have cruised with P&O embarkation was smooth and stress free, this time a cruise to the the Norwegian fjords, loved our balcony cabin on L deck, being high up gave us some amazing ... Read More
Our third time on Azura and as it is every time we have cruised with P&O embarkation was smooth and stress free, this time a cruise to the the Norwegian fjords, loved our balcony cabin on L deck, being high up gave us some amazing views of Norway's spectacular scenery, usually go for an inside cabin but was definitely worth the extra for a balcony Our cabin was in good condition and kept spotless by Misty our steward, all the crew worked really hard and we received excellent service throughout the ship, ate mainly in MDR where the standard of the food was very good, having a vegetarian menu with different choices each night is great, used the buffet for breakfast and sometimes for lunch, again no complaints although for some reason at breakfast they hid the mushrooms and would only bring them out if you asked for them! Headliners were good as always, enjoyed most of the guest acts. The singing duo in the Planet bar were very good as were the resident band Pulse Sailing through the fjords was amazing and we enjoyed all the ports we visited, we didn't book any excursions instead we booked the Flam railway online before we left, the flam railway site said it was fully booked but we booked through the Norway national rail website and it was all fine, also went on the funicular to the top of mount Floyen in Bergen and went to the Magic Ice bar, both of these were excellent and you don't need to book ahead Disembarkation also went very smoothly, we really enjoyed the cruise and always enjoy sailing with P&O and can't wait for the next one! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Second time on Azura. Once to the Caribbean which I easily give 5 stars. This time to the Fjords. Had a wonderful time. Loved the cruise but the food was terrible. There was no choice. Everything was cold and uneatable. We went to the ... Read More
Second time on Azura. Once to the Caribbean which I easily give 5 stars. This time to the Fjords. Had a wonderful time. Loved the cruise but the food was terrible. There was no choice. Everything was cold and uneatable. We went to the restaurant and they messed that up, it was a right shambles. My partner sent his food back twice and it was still wrong after that. Entertainment was great, staff pleasant, cabins maintained. Food was just awful. We couldn't afford to eat when at the destinations because we hadn't budgeted £22 for one beef burger because that is what it costs to eat out in Norway. They must all be millionaires or something! The entertainment was excellent, the staff where nice. We did all our excursions through the P&O planner and they looked after us really well. I have a really big issue with paying so much money and not being able to eat properly that is all. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my 13th cruise but my first alone,after the death of my wife in 2015,_the Norwegian Fiords were a place we had on our bucket list but never got to do it together so I decided it was time to take the plunge and see how life onboard ... Read More
This was my 13th cruise but my first alone,after the death of my wife in 2015,_the Norwegian Fiords were a place we had on our bucket list but never got to do it together so I decided it was time to take the plunge and see how life onboard alone was, a inside cabin was a first for me but it kept the cost down besides which I only wanted to sleep and shower in it and it was fine for me other than it having fold away bunk beds either side of my bed that made it somewhat cramped. I opted for first sitting dining on a table of 8 and found myself in the company of lovely friendly people 3 others than were alone and conversation flowed readily, daily menu was well varied as you would expect and excellent quality. The onboard entertainment was as good as any cruise I've ever taken but the Dancers & Singers in the Show were the best I've ever seen. Service was good and as with every other cruise cabin staff were always happy and smiling. First port of call was Stavanger and it was a easy stroll from the ship into town and get a feel for life in Norway, a very expensive country. I did one excursion in Flam and that was on the railway that traverses up the mountain spectacular views. Olden was a poor port of call apart from walking around the Fiord it was a day wasted. Bergen: This was the highlight of the cruise we has sunshine all day and it is without doubt the most interesting place to visit such a loverly harbour and a trip up the heights to look down on it. The trip back to Southampton was a nice calm sea and pleasant cruising, so my first experience as a single cruiser at 73 years was a a flood of past memories and I enjoyed it, I will choose another and look forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Having sailed on Ventura which we like, there was no problem in navigating Azura, as they are identical.( Ventura gets the covered pool, Azura instead has the outside large cinema screen). We always use Penguin Parking, super courteous ... Read More
Having sailed on Ventura which we like, there was no problem in navigating Azura, as they are identical.( Ventura gets the covered pool, Azura instead has the outside large cinema screen). We always use Penguin Parking, super courteous and efficient,. We dropped our luggage at 1pm,and were advised go straight to the check in desk- in five minutes we were in the buffet having lunch !! well done P&O. The cabin an interior on Deck 12 central to aft, was ready soon after, cabin guy Sunny greeted us and asked if we needed anything. Throughout he was courteous, and un-obstrusive which we like, and kept the towels fresh and clean. He did not move our personal things about - well done … Our cabin was fine no wear - ( yes the ship is in for re-fit end of next April ) Stair carpets and in general all fine to me, others do comment though... again the refit next spring. Always choose Freedom Dining, and no problem throughout having a table for two, which is our preference, we never waited. Dined in the Peninsular where we found the quality has certainly gone up ( with us no complaints in the past though ) Preferred breakfast and dinner in there, whist the buffet was fine for lunch, on a minor point thought its was better there on Ventura & Britannia. Dined once in the Glass House, the Chicken three ways for two was superb, area though more like a BAR / Lounge than for dining which it is on Ventura. Entertainment :- Headliners always first class, had seen Astonishing so gave that night a miss, their Dusty !!! is best left to Maxine Mazunder who was on board, her Adele no where near as good as her Dusty, she was given the Manhatten, she deserves the Theatre as was the case in previous cruises. The High Tides duo who were often in the Planet Bar were great to listen to, hope we hear them on more P&O cruises. Guest speaker David Greenway on flying with the Queen's Flight was entertaining and interesting . We opted for self disembarkation 7.05am - easy , quick and EARLY, Penguin arrived in two minutes, we were back home up North for 11.30am. Ports :- Warnemunde - We chose the ' MOLLI TRAIN ' excursion and so pleased we did- a 25 min ride through beautiful countryside, and a stop on the coast at a luxury hotel for coffee and cake. Really well worth doing . Helsinki - Took the shuttle bus and walked to the ' Rock Church ' and listened to some young classical musicians.. good too, then to the Sibelius Monument, and a lovely walk back into town via the 1952 Olympic Stadium ( under renovation ) and then by the lovely Lake back into the city. Tallin - Shuttle bus in and a walk around the compact old town, even waited to see Queen Margeritte of Denmark go into church !!! Beautiful town, long to go back. St Petersburg - Did the Hermitage Tour, you need stamina !!! the cruise tours get in first so the first 2 hours are very quiet... madness later !!! The Evening Boat tour with music was really good too... very informative. Second Day - The ' On Your own ' dropped at 3 places and picked up in the afternoon, It was very DULL weather both days, so bot seen at it's best. DO beware pick pockets...I had mine ' felt ' and friends back pack - he felt the un zip... nothing got though... leaves a bad taste. Note the port is about 15 min out of the city with views to 5 storey appt blocks about 200 yds long each !! ...no lifts, so gives the view of what life just might be like there in reality !!! Stockholm - Pure delight, just walk around...the old ships around a quiet part of the harbour are worth an hours walk !! Copenhagen - we did take the shuttle bus - yes it was 26c and HOT, but walked back along the pedestrian street to Nyhavn - pure delight - must go back, and then to the Royal Palace, and to the Little Mermaid, and our ship just then a 15 min walk. Worthing noting !!! there is a new cruise terminal which will take three ships, on the far far side of the harbour- no way walkable to the Mermaid, ' Celebrity ' were using it !!! no idea if the others will follow suit - but sure to !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
sorry had to write poor for our cabin we booked a double seaview p222 we decided on this type of cabin this time cruising as we liked the location and a seaview instead of a balcony everything was perfect but for the bed it was a twin when ... Read More
sorry had to write poor for our cabin we booked a double seaview p222 we decided on this type of cabin this time cruising as we liked the location and a seaview instead of a balcony everything was perfect but for the bed it was a twin when we had booked a double we now understand how we booked on a guarenteed basis that alone does not guarentee a double you have to book on a select basis to make sure its what you want so after complaining to the head housekeeper who did join beds together but placed the double chest of drawers in the wardrobe are along with the table which made even less room to hang properly our clothes we were really disapointed all holiday on saying that apart from our cabin we thoroughly enjoyed azura shes a great ship, friendly and clean. I am now gluten free and the help and care i encountered was second to none amazingly thoughtful of the staff. Itenery was fabulous we made sure to book an excursion at each stop and 2 whilst in russia, we loved each stop, weather was kind except for high winds on our second day whilst in russia.We met some lovely people whilst on board. we prefer to embark and disembark at southampton its so easy and thorougher and professional. we have some wonderful memories of azura our first time on her but not our first P&O cruise we would recommend the baltics and we will be going again for sure. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Just back off a lovely 2 week cruise to the Baltic on Azura. We booked our Parking with Parking 4 Cruises and this is the first time we have used them. Excellent service their staff were waiting for us on arrival and car was in the short ... Read More
Just back off a lovely 2 week cruise to the Baltic on Azura. We booked our Parking with Parking 4 Cruises and this is the first time we have used them. Excellent service their staff were waiting for us on arrival and car was in the short stay car park when we docked and we were on the road home by 8.40 am having chosen to keep our luggage in our cabin the night before our return. Embarkation was swift as we arrived at 3.45 pm so straight on the ship to our room R725 on deck 14. Inside room was fine and kept tidy by the Steward Mary who unfortunately had to go home due to her Father being ill. The location of this room is great for the pool deck at the rear of the ship and access to the Buffet and coffee/tea machines. The food in the Buffet was ok but we did prefer to have our evening meal main restaurants and all the meals were lovely except for the toast but when you have one guy making toast for 700 people it is no wonder it often arrives cold and hard. We ate most nights in the Peninsula restaurant and on 3 occasions in the Oriental. The main shows start at 8.30 and 10.30 but if you want to get a seat in the popular shows you need to be in the main theatre 30 mins before the start or 40 mins before to get a seat in a preferred location. We enjoyed most of the shows particularly Mike Doyle Comedian who was very funny on both occasions as opposed to Kane Brown who was completely un funny how he has got away with this act for 13 years is beyond me, it may be ok for the pub after 10 pints with your mates but taking the mick out of elderly people at the front of the audience who then walked out and left their drinks is cheap and not funny. The Headliners shows were good and the Evolution show was fabulous in my opinion not as keen on Dusty the Dusty Springfield story but we all have our own tastes. The male and female Opera/Musical singers were excellent and again we went to both shows on different nights. The Guest speaker was excellent and particularly enjoyed the talk about Rasputin and Russian History and the gentleman who gave the talk on the Paper Mache wooden boxes and how they were made and painted was very informative. We were extremely lucky with the weather most days were in the low 20s but St Petersberg was overcast and we had a short shower but this did not detract from the enjoyment of seeing this wonderful city. Price of drinks on board. Bottle of coke 330ml £2.95 Bottle of Peroni 330ml £4.20 Guinness can and Doombar 500ml bottle around £4.20 Bottle of Kopperberg alco free cider £3.50 Cocktail £6-£7 Large 1.5 litre bottled water £2.20 Average Bottle of wine £16-£20, Glass of red merlot £4.55 ( they will recork unused wine for next night) You can buy drinks packages but we felt they were way over priced unless you are a alcoholic The ultimate drinks package is £39.95 per person per day and you have to buy it for the full duration of the cruise and for all the adults in the cabin. The childrens package is included in this price Non Alcoholic drinks package is £19.95 per person per day Mocktails Mochas soft drinks and juices and primo sized Costa coffee,Teapigs tea and small bottles of water. Childrens drinks package, £7.95 per person per day. Draught soft drinks and selected juices and hot chocolate. Overall we had a great time, the ship is in need of a refit in parts with holes in the carpets in part of the buffet and discoloured and worn carpets in our room which will be reflected in the 4* rating for this review. Staff were good and efficient not much interaction but that was ok. Ports and places we visited. Waremunde Germany. This was a real bonus as we didn’t really know what to expect and it is a lovely town with a great sandy beach and a lovely harbour to walk around which is very close walk to and from the ship. We chose to go into Rostock and went to the railway station nearby where you will see ticket machines and opposite these you will see a shop. At the side entrance around the corner from the shop you can buy a 1 day rail and tram pass from the office for 6 Euro and the lady will give you a slip of paper that tells you to how to validate the ticket on the platform before getting on train then get off train at Rostock HBF ( 9 stops) yo then need to go down two levels to the tram Platform A Blue tram. Take tram 5 or 6 and get off at stop Neuer Market ( New Market) this is a lovely square with access to shops and nice buildings Trains are every 30 mins and trams every 10 mins. Easy Peasy . Then we came back to Waremunde and had a cocktail on the ship side of the harbour which was less busy. Helsinki, Here we got the courtesy coach to near the centre of Helsinki which if you pay select fare is free but if you are on saver fare it is £4 per person each way. Had to wait nearly 30 mins for return coach in a shower which was not fun. Had a nice walk round the centre of Helsinki then we went to the tourist information office and got details on the trams. We were told if we bought a Ticket 2.8 Euro this would last 80 mins and you can then get the No2 tram which takes you up one side of Helsinki then get the No3 tram which comes back down the other side. This number 3 tram changes its number back to number 2 near the centre and you have to stay on one or two stops back to the centre. Cheap way to see Helsinki. St Petersberg, Day 1 we went to Catherine Palace and we were lucky with the weather as it was sunny in the morning. Reasonably quick access into the Palace but we were in a group of 41 so had to wait for the group to regroup after a visit to toilets and cloakroom which you have to put standard size backpacks so leave on coach if possible to save time. Then you are herded through to an area where you have to put on some fabric over shoes to protect the floor. It if then a slow process moving from room to room which were lovely particularly the Amber room where you are not allowed to film or take photos. We had very little time to walk around the garden area due to a shortage of time and were told no time to shop but I saw this little kiosk in the gardens and bought a pack of 30 postcards that had lovely pics of the palace for 250 roubles ( about £3). Tip Here: we were told before leaving the ship we could not take water off the ship. There is a vending machine near the exit door you can use rouble notes or coins. You put the note (or coins) in the machine THEN select the number of the item you want i.e 52 for water it drops out the bottom and gives you change price of water 45 roubles (50Pence) or coke 65 roubles(80 Pence) much cheaper than aboard ship St Petersberg, Day 2 We booked the Picturesque St Petersberg trip and it started with a boat trip which went along the river /canal? Which was lovely and we saw some wonderful buildings then we went under some very low bridges you cannot stand up on the boat under these as you could be seriously injured. Suddenly this guy started appearing on the bridges waving like a tourist but then he would appear at every bridge on the way back then he was at the dock for our return and expected but did not push for a tip. Be careful here though because someone said after that with some of these they act in pairs look where you take the money from and try to pickpocket. We enjoyed this trip and then we were taken to the Church of the spilt blood which is fantastic inside, the mosaics are spectacular and look like paintings. We then were taken to a gift shop for free coffee or vodka. Try the vodka the coffee is cold and horrible due to lukewarm water also no milk. Talinn Estonia, This was our favourite place, you can walk from the ship to the old town centre in about 20 mins about 800m away to the edge of the town but do get your bearings here so you can find your way back. The square in the centre is lovely for a chill out drink and people watching. There was also a stage up with music and performances on the day we were there. Do be aware drinks in the square are pricey no prices listed you have to sit down and get a menu for prices so do this before you order. A 500ml saku beer and a cappuccino coffee will cost around 12 euro, nice beer though. Stockholm Sweden, I got up at 5.30 am to watch the ship head to the port through spectacular scenery, little islands with typical small wooden houses were lovely and the bird habitats on these small islands were nice to see. When we arrived in Stockholm again you needed to use the courtesy buses (£4 per person each way if not on select fare) which were delayed a bit due to roadworks in the town so had to wait 20 to 30 mins on the outward bound journey. Stockholm is spread out a bit so if you have difficulty walking then a pre booked tour may be a better option. Although it was ok walking through the town and seeing the palace we enjoyed walking around the harbour area more and in some ways wish we had booked a harbour tour. Copenhagen Denmark, Here we looked from the portside of the ship and thought we could see The Little Mermaid statue about 400 yds to the left of the ship so we walked in that direction from the ship but the statue was of a couple of Polar Bears, the little mermaid statue however was 200 metres over to the right of this statue just around the harbour. We followed the harbour round from here to what was a lovely church and fountain then onto the area where the tourist boats dock Nyhavn with its lovely coloured buildings. Again here the cafes are busy and expensive Small beer, coffee and a bottle of water 125 Danish Krone (£15). Great for the views and people watching. Then we went onto Christianborg Palace and the Royal Stables then to the Town Hall building with the Astronomical clock. By this time we were tired so we returned to centre to get a courtesy bus back which was most unpleasant as no Aircon and stop start traffic all the way back to the ship lots of people complained about the shuttle bus service here. We missed out Tivoli but if you are planning on going on an organised tour make sure you confirm how long you get there as some people were unhappy for 2 reasons the minibus transport no aircon black windows to see out of and only 30 mins at the gardens when they complained the tour team were not interested. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have cruised on Ventura and on embarking found the Azura identical in layout so finding our way around the ship was simple.We booked a late saver fare and got a balcony cabin to the rear of the ship but found no engine noise to trouble ... Read More
We have cruised on Ventura and on embarking found the Azura identical in layout so finding our way around the ship was simple.We booked a late saver fare and got a balcony cabin to the rear of the ship but found no engine noise to trouble us.The cabin was clean and well presented kept that way by our lovely steward Bill.All crew we encountered were happy and well trained in their jobs .We were allocated second sitting and enjoyed the company on our table with much to talk about.We always find fellow cruisers good company and only too pleased to join in conversations. The decor on board is getting a bit worn in places we admit but understand that an upgrade is due soon. Entrainment on P and O we believe is probably one of the best at sea and enjoyed many of the shows.Much praise must go to the young troop the Headliners who were great in all their different shows.Singers,comedians and specialty acts kept us entertained. Food on board geared to British tastes of course was fine,nothing to complain about but also nothing to rave about either.Could do better.We believe that since getting rid of daily gratuities corners are cut in some places ie food quality and a hike in drink prices etc. Weather was good for us as in Britain it was wet and miserable,enjoyed the midnight sun experience on several nights.All ports we visited lived up to expectations and St Petersburg was the highlight of our cruise and we must say that shore excursions by PO Were well organised and very memorable. Disembarked easily at Southampton and now look forward to our next trip,must get those brouchers out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The cruise was wonderful. Food and service in restaurants was perfect. Cabin R519 was good and kept very clean. Disappointed we had the overhang from above casting shadow on balcony Entertainment was OK ,but not as good as other ... Read More
The cruise was wonderful. Food and service in restaurants was perfect. Cabin R519 was good and kept very clean. Disappointed we had the overhang from above casting shadow on balcony Entertainment was OK ,but not as good as other cruises we have been on. The best entertainment was the historical murder presentations. Destinations were fantastic although only 6 hours in Gibraltar was disappointing. We only booked in April 2019 and did via the select option mainly because we thought we could get the first sitting and a table for 2 and was put on the waiting list. However once onboard we were informed that all the first sittings for a table for 2 were fully booked in Nov 2018 and we had no chance of this. We needed this because of my wife's poor hearing and cannot hear other peoples conversation. The outcome meant we were in Freedom and always had to wait for a table for 2. This should have been explained at the time of booking and perhaps we would have changed our decision and booked the early saver. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first cruise with P&O and it came up short in comparison with the line we previously used. In my opinion the Azura is in need of a refurbishment. Many fixtures and furnishings were worn and in poor condition and the beds ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O and it came up short in comparison with the line we previously used. In my opinion the Azura is in need of a refurbishment. Many fixtures and furnishings were worn and in poor condition and the beds in our cabin were very uncomfortable. Dining options were limited and the buffet food quality was very poor with very limited choice and the service was not available for long enough per day. The food quality in the restaurants was very good however although coping with the high passenger capacity was a problem. Complimentary room service for breakfast was very welcome and convenient. Whilst the quality of entertainment was very good indeed, all of the entertainment areas had insufficient seating to cope with the number of passengers. Frustratingly, the small atrium was constantly used for dance classes preventing it's use by other passengers for other purposes. With the exception of our cabin steward the staff were generally not as friendly and helpful as we were expecting. Embarking and disembarking was carried out smoothly and quickly at all ports. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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
We are a couple in our 50s who have done plenty of cruises before and have actually been on Azura twice before. This was a last minute cruise – 7 nights in the fjords, booked (when we unexpectantly managed to get a week off work ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50s who have done plenty of cruises before and have actually been on Azura twice before. This was a last minute cruise – 7 nights in the fjords, booked (when we unexpectantly managed to get a week off work together) about a week before we travelled. As such we ended up with a guaranteed inside cabin when we usually hand pick the balcony we want!! We were assigned midships on deck 5 quite near the atrium and the room was fine. It was clean and comfortable and well serviced by our excellent cabin steward Rajesh. I always check the reviews on these sites and I was a little bit concerned by the number of negative reviews on sites relating to the Azura. It was said that the food is terrible and cold, the staff are unhappy and unmotivated, and the ship is in a state of disrepair and smells!! Well I am happy to say that we did not find any of this to be true. We were on freedom dining and enjoyed every meal we had. The buffet was also fine. I know breakfast can be difficult when it is busy but this is down to the design and I still always managed to have a nice freshly cooked omelette in the mornings. We did not use the select dining restaurants as there was no need, and we have done them before. We were very happy with the staff. Our cabin steward Rajesh was as good as we have ever had, and we thought the service from all the staff in the bars and restaurants was exactly what you would want. I know the ship is coming up for a refit but did not find it particularly tatty in any way. Also I did not notice the smell that previous reviewers have mentioned, so hopefully that issue has been resolved. The weather was fantastic in each of the 4 ports (Stavanger, Flam, Olden and Bergen). We particularly enjoyed getting up early to enjoy the sail into Olden. We tend to go hiking independently and had a great day in Olden in 20 degrees plus sunshine. We took a picnic from the buffet / grab and go, and enjoyed a lovely lunch by the lake which is less than an hour walk from the ship. The entertainment was good overall. There were 4 headliner shows in 7 nights – two of which we had never seen before, and the usual mix of singers, bands and comedians. Embarkation was brilliant and disembarkation even better. We self-disembarked the ship before 730am and I was in my car (booked via CPS) within 10 minutes of leaving the ship. Would I go on the Azura again? Yes without a doubt. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Very disappointing, ship tired and staff very lacklustre, not one member of staff went that extra mile, Hygiene not enforced at all surprising considering that they had noro virus a few weeks before. Entertainment team non ... Read More
Very disappointing, ship tired and staff very lacklustre, not one member of staff went that extra mile, Hygiene not enforced at all surprising considering that they had noro virus a few weeks before. Entertainment team non existent, buffet food appalling, dining room just satisfactory, poor service and no interaction, served as if we were in a fast food establishment. We had an issue with over charging so went to Customer relations to sort out, assistant started to deal with our problem then just answered the telephone whilst we were in the middle of a conversation when I pointed out that this was rude he replied that it was a medical emergency, but surely these calls should be taken in private, I don’t think it’s very professional as I heard all the details of the illness and their room number. Guest were cross between benefit street and Butlins, unfortunately P & O have lowered their prices so this has resulted in dropped standards in all areas. If you like Benidorm then this is for you, but personally I will rather spend more and go on Celebrity or Azamara. We found it quite amusing that our room steward hardly spoke to us at all for the entire cruise, but on disembarkation he was hovering around no doubt expecting a tip, which we would have gladly given if we had any form of service from him. Disembarkation an actual farce, we chose to take off our own luggage but they couldn’t even get the right deck number to exit some we’re saying deck 6 whilst our paperwork said deck 5! Wouldn’t rush to book another P & O cruise unless I was desperate for a cheap no frills get away. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I'm on the same "eventful" cruise Mr. Unknown had been (previous review). Key points to address: 1. Nearly no cruise ship has a helicopter pad - airlifting is standard procedure, as is evacuating rooms / restricting ... Read More
I'm on the same "eventful" cruise Mr. Unknown had been (previous review). Key points to address: 1. Nearly no cruise ship has a helicopter pad - airlifting is standard procedure, as is evacuating rooms / restricting balcony access. This was all done in strict accordance with safety procedures, and I have to say the crew did this well despite inconvenience this might cause. 2. We did have quite strong rolling due to strong winds and sea conditions. The captain altered course to avoid the worst of the weather, but he can't control the weather. An unsteady ship in strong weather conditions, along with all the creaking and banging waves are inherent risk of sea travel. I felt as safe as can be given the circumstances (which wasn't at all outside of crew's ability). Some might have argued that the ship should just not sail instead, but if that happened, I guarantee you there would be complaints that we skipped destinations / was stuck somewhere. As regards to some other reviews: It's not a luxury cruise with servants, but has all the amenities for a pleasant journey. If you feel like you can't stand the poor or indeed the wider society, do spend more on a smaller boat or purchase your own yacht. There's no complaints from me for the fellow passengers - you can be perfectly left in peace. Out of thousands of guests onboard, hardly anyone has left me a outrageously poor impression. There definitely are a good number of passengers who just love a moan (indeed, it is the British national sport). Heard about a man who had to leave his cabin when the helicopter came in as standard procedure, and he thought he's entitled to a personal apology from the captain! Service on-board was adequate. My restaurant waiter had engaged in great conversation and was quite friendly (1/2). I don't expect them all to do so (although quite a number do), as other passengers might not understand they work 11 hour shifts a day often every day, serving multiple tables waiting for their food. It's unreasonable to expect them to be available at your leisure. Overall the restaurant is what I expect of a good restaurant, and the food was great. Cabin service had also been good, with our steward making up our cabin multiple times a day. Zero complaints about cleanliness. No he did not loiter around waiting for tips at the end of the trip. And no, I don't expect him to be my private butler. Embarkation and disembarkation were both decently good. Not a huge time to wait. Disembarkation was actually ahead of schedule. It was held within different venues (which are often on deck 6), and then we were lead to deck 5 (I think) to disembark. The instructions were not misleading as I recall. As to entertainment and enrichment activities - I'm speaking as a 20 something having lived in other countries. When I see the programs I can see how they are tailored to the demographics they had on board - old and very British. The music acts were all trying to pay homage to artists that once were a big thing, the comedy bringing up British TV celebrities that have been in the business for decades and now largely irrelevant (for me). I don't blame P&O for giving customers what they want, but of course, would hope for some more. Gym is decent. You could do most things. Would benefit from at least a pull-up bar for back. Weights can be limiting when it goes up only to 22kg, but then again with no foam flooring, so no dropping of weights, it might be the wise choice. Enjoyed the free fitness classes this time (last cruise Sep 2018, the PTs weren't very good). Plenty of public rooms / spaces you could hang out at. I had an inside cabin, and planned to be out of the room except when sleeping. That plan came to fruition as much was on offer. Sauna, steam room, gym, dining, etc. If weather was warmer, the swimming and lounging would have been great. I went to the sauna almost every day before bed, and nearly never anyone there. My own real complaint - it might not be apparent to the passengers on board but there were a lot of aggressive sales tactics for the spa / retail sections. If you go for a haircut, be warned they'll also try to sell you shampoo, conditioner, and whatever else. They do so aggressively by saying "I'll put this in your bag" by default, instead of asking if you would like to purchase. The spa / wellness is also exempt from the new no tip required policy - a 10% service charge is added by default, and they will not tell you this is optional or ask how much you would like to give. Further, they've got a number of seminar type events where they'd spew out even more fake science, the type I'd think the elderly would easily believe by the young immediately see through. Lastly, not entirely sure if this true, but the biggest sales events are always held on sea days when you probably have no internet and do a price check. Quite predatory in my opinion. The ship is starting to show its age - a refurb might be needed. You can see some of the handrails losing paint from so many guests hands having brushed them. The rust on balconies and window panes. The drab carpets. But overall, this had been a wonderful trip despite the events that were unavoidable and inconvenient. I feel relaxed and refreshed. The food had been great. The views had been great. The lifestyle on board had been great. Service had been great. Though, yes, it's not the private butler lifestyle some other passengers might feel they are entitled to at merely less than £90 a day (inside cabin). For me it's well worth the money. Highly recommended. 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
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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