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4 P&O Cruises Azura Cruise Reviews for Spring Break Cruises to Norwegian Fjords from Southampton

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
Well, we have been home for a week now so time to look back on our 7 night Norwegian Fjord Cruise on Azura. By way of background, just to say that we travelled as a 50 something couple, with no children. We like to do our own thing on ... Read More
Well, we have been home for a week now so time to look back on our 7 night Norwegian Fjord Cruise on Azura. By way of background, just to say that we travelled as a 50 something couple, with no children. We like to do our own thing on cruises and we don’t tend to go to the theatre for the evening shows as they generally don’t interest us. We are happier enjoying a nice meal and a cocktail or 2 with quiet music. We tend to cruise for a mix of the ship and the location, to explore new places. We always like a nice balcony – though we prefer a mix of sun and shade. We don’t tend to bother too much with the day time activities as we are usually out and about. This was our first cruise on Azura and having spent 17 nights on Ventura (a ship we didn’t particularly enjoy) we were a little concerned about the bad press that Azura was getting before we left. We knew that she was due for a refurbishment, so were expecting the worse. Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong. We had an absolutely fabulous time! From the moment we stepped on to our coach transfer to the moment we stepped off it again the service was faultless. First and foremost the best part of this cruise was the crew. Apart from 2 (who stood out like a sore thumb) the entire crew were friendly, professional, proficient and just seemed so happy to be doing what they were doing. We wrote 6 outstanding comment cards at the end but it could have been more. The Captain seemed pleasant and was seen out and about the ship chatting with passengers and crew. Service was equally good in all bars, in the buffet restaurant and in Sindhus (thank you Yogesh). The Glass House wasn’t quite as good, but was not bad…. if that makes sense. Well done to all of them – they were a credit to the company. The cabin. On Ventura we had had cabin D114 – a superior cabin – and we really did not like it at all. At the recommendation of other Cruise Critic members we opted for aft cabin B749 on Azura – one of the aft balcony cabins that is on the ‘corner’ of the ship. Though the cabin décor was looking tired it was spotlessly clean and the balcony was wonderful. It was completely covered and private. As the cabin was at the end of a small corridor it was very quiet. It was next to a crew door but this never caused a problem. We did feel some vibration as we sailed and when docking there was sometimes a lot of vibration, but this has been the same on all other ships we have been on in aft cabins. We have booked a cruise on Ventura (to give her another try) and have booked this cabin again on her. The cabin steward, Karol was excellent. The food was a mixed bag. On our first night we ate at Sindhus and it was an excellent meal and wonderful way to start the cruise. Loved the ambience of this restaurant and we had a lovely table for 2. The food was very good and they catered well for me as I do not particularly like spicy food. We also ate at the Glass House. Funnily enough, though this had been the only part of Ventura we had really liked we did not find the quality of the food in the Glass House on Azura as good. It wasn’t bad, just didn’t seem to have the ‘wow’ factor and I am not sure we would have eaten there again. The food in the buffet area seemed good. We only ate there for breakfast once and it was good. Other times we had cabin service and this was always punctual and the orders correct. The food that came out at 3pm in the buffet was very good and to us there was a really good variety. We tended to go there after excursions and there were always a good selection of finger roll sandwiches, cakes, cold meats, salads and hot foods. We found the service in the Main Dining Room to be about the best we have had a for a number of cruises – including Celebrity. The Podium Manager, Amit, at our freedom dining restaurant, The Peninsular restaurant was brilliant and so accommodating. If we asked for a specific area he always accommodated this request, ok we had to wait but we were happy to do this and it helped us to develop a good relationship with the waiters in that area. There were some lovely tables for 2 in some parts of the restaurants and this made a massive difference to the horrid long padded seating area that we disliked so much on Ventura. Thanks go to our Waiter, Rupesh for excellent service. Our Wine waiter on this cruise was named D and I have to say we think he is probably about the best Wine Waiter we have ever had. Friendly, polite, knowledgeable and he always remembered what we wanted. Like our waiters he was always happy to take the time to ask about our day and show an interest in what we were doing. Thank you Dolreich. The quality of the wines we had was excellent and the price at an average of £20 per bottle was excellent. Anyone who complains about the cost of drinks on P&O probably hasn’t been on an American cruise line! On our last day we did a Wine Tasting with the lovely Maria and found that to be excellent value for money at £10 per person. We had the chance to taste 5 different wines and this was accompanied by a sizeable selection of canapes. Now the not so good bit re the food. In many ways the food in the Main Dining Room was good – an excellent choice, nice menus (excellent ones on the formal nights). Personally, we found that it lacked seasoning. Do they not use salt when cooking at all? I wouldn’t say it was bad, but not the best we have had on P&O by a long way. The ship itself. We much preferred the layout to that of Ventura, particularly the open decks. The 2nd outdoor pool area if MUCH better than the covered one on Ventura and for some reason we just loved walking around her decks. It really did not feel like the same ship at all ! I can imagine that it would be even busier in the Summer months, but nicely thought out. Surprisingly, we were impressed that the sea screen was not too intrusive, and we may have been converted to having one on a cruise ship! One thing we were disappointed about is that, unlike Ventura, passengers are not allowed to go on the promenade area right at the front of the ship. Before we went on the cruise we had read reports that there was a strange smell on the promenade deck mid ships. Just to confirm that these reports are right and we had no idea what it was. It didn’t spoil things too much though, but I would have expected them to look in to it. The musicians on the ship were of good quality. On the last night there was a duet – a young couple – who were excellent. Just a shame we had only discovered them then. Other vocalists were good and keyboard players etc of a high standard. The formal nights were well observed and to us they are always that extra bit special. Other major pluses for the cruise – the location and weather We had never been to the Fjords before and were expecting to take our snow boots, hats, gloves and scarves. How wrong we were! It was the Easter weekend and the weather was exceptionally warm. I think we left Southampton at 25 degrees and beautiful blue skies. Well this weather followed us up the North Sea and around Norway for more or less the whole week. Even our worst day had blue skies and apart from the last 5 hours of the cruise (as we approached Southampton) the sea was like a mill pond. The Fjords were just beautiful with the ports of call being Stavanger, Olden, Alesund and Bergen. Out of all of them we loved Olden and wished that there had been another port where we had sailed up a fjord rather than being a more coastal port. The excursions we did with P&O varied and ranged from good to outstanding. The scenery was stunning wherever we went and, yes the weather made a massive difference to the whole cruise experience. To be in Norway feeling like you were in the Mediterranean in June certainly brightens the mood and there were a lot of very happy cruisers enjoying every second of the sun and scenery. I suppose those who dislike Azura would say that with the sort of ‘fluke’ weather we had and the location anyone would have been happy in a rowing boat. I can see their point, but Azura was so much more, we loved our time on board and would return in a heartbeat before or after her refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Always wanted too see the Fjords so took the plunge. I went solo as my husband will not go on a cruise ship. Embarkation was smooth and efficient.Cabin as was the rest of the ship was very clean. I sat with a group of 7 other solo ... Read More
Always wanted too see the Fjords so took the plunge. I went solo as my husband will not go on a cruise ship. Embarkation was smooth and efficient.Cabin as was the rest of the ship was very clean. I sat with a group of 7 other solo travellers for club dining.Would do my own thing if I went again as by the end of the week it gets very tiring maintaining conversation etc.Wide choice of places to eat and I liked the grab and go option and Venezia self service during the day. Food was good on club dining but at times the puddings lacked taste. Loved the Oasis spa and saw only one show which was very good indeed. Highlight was seeing the magnificent Fjords, such wonderful scenery. Disembarkation equally smooth and efficient. I admit cruising is not my scene but one can fit it to adapt to what you want as there are so many choices and options on Azura. It felt like Azura ran like a well oiled cog. Captain Robert Camby runs a tight ship and he also has the bonus of being rather easy on the eye. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Fjords Cruise, Azura, April 30th 2016 This was our first cruise with P&O as we usually travel with Royal Caribbean. However the itinerary, dates and last minute price of £440 pp for an inside cabin was too good to miss. We ... Read More
Fjords Cruise, Azura, April 30th 2016 This was our first cruise with P&O as we usually travel with Royal Caribbean. However the itinerary, dates and last minute price of £440 pp for an inside cabin was too good to miss. We arrived early at the Mayflower Cruise terminal, Southampton. There was a large lounge with cafe facilities to wait. The embarkation process was impressive, very speedy, and within no time at all we were on board. Our cabin was an inside , deck 11, B203. We were impressed with the layout and there was plenty of storage. My cases were already there .....though Pete did have to go looking for his.....seemingly his label had come off, so his case was ar reception......future hint , put a sticker with mobile number on case !!! We soon made our way up to the Venezia, where buffet style food is served. Lots of choice though some problems with seating. There are plenty of venues to eat at though so do look at the ship Horizon leaflet were you will find all information about food venues. We wandered down to the Glass House Bar for a drink. This is one of my favourite bars. Very impressive decor and best selection of wines, though they do offer other drink selections. All guests have to attend the muster drill, so at 5pm, armed with our life jackets we made our way to our muster station, which for us was the Playhouse theatre. This was the most thorough drill I've ever attended-rather intense We then had a walk around to get to know the ship a little better. We headed for the upper deck, and champagne in hand we waited for the sail away party. There was a lively, friendly atmosphere as we sailed out of Southampton. The dress code for the evening was smart casual. So after a quick change it was time to spend our first evening onboard. We had been allocated Freedom Dining in the Peninsula Dining room. This meant we could eat anytime to suit ourselves between 6pm and 9pm. We usually prefer traditional dining but wanted to give Freedom dining approach. You turn up at the restaurant when you want, join the queue and wait for a table. If you are prepared to share a table then it is straight forward. However those who want a table for two usually have to wait. The menu had a selection of options to choose from and the meals were served in a timely manner. After dinner we walked along to Brodie's Bar, which is connected to a small casino . Brodie's is a sports bar with televised matches for those who can't bare to miss again. It is also the venue for many of the quizzes which we enjoyed. You can also participate in darts, killer pool, etc.....or just lounge near a porthole with your book ! There is plenty of entertainment onboard the ship. The first night we went to the theatre for the entertainment crews show "Curtain Up" . This was a tribute to the musicals with songs from Blood Brothers to Les Miserables. I have to say the standard of dancing and singing was very high. There are two shows one at 8-45 and one at 10-45. ( which I personally found a bit late). I was really expecting the North Sea to be a bit rough. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was really still, with just a few ripples. We headed for bed around 1am and you wouldn't even know we were at sea! Sunday 1st May Our first full day at sea. We had to put our watches forward an hour. The Captains morning announcement came through to tell us of clear skies, 10 degrees, and a very calm sea. What a bonus. We headed for breakfast at the Venezia. We had no trouble finding a table and making our breakfast choice. Full English for me, though Pete was disappointed as he likes to have fresh salmon for brekkie.....sadly not on this cruise!!!! After breakfast we set off to explore the ship. We went out of the doors at the back of the Venezia and the sun was beaming. It was a real sun trap!!! So we sat down for a couple of hours to make the most of it. There are plenty of loungers for everyone. It was lovely to watch the sea as we sailed up the North Sea. We did pass a few oil rigs on the way though. At noon it was back though to the Venezia for a lunchtime snack. Cruising soon becomes about the food and drink !,,, After lunch we wandered down to Brodie's bar so Pete could watch the Liverpool football game, whilst I read my book. As we walked along we went past the Manhattan bar where there was a cha cha cha dance class in progress.....such fun We then walked along to the Blue Bar for the quiz.....bit of a general knowledge 14/20.... Rubbish.....lol As tonight is the Captains Gala black tie event it was time to return to our cabin to put on our glad rags. I just want to mention the staff on the ship. (Our cabin attendant was called Edwin.) He works really hard to keep the cabins on our deck clean. Anything we asked he sorted....great guy. The staff all over the ship are so committed to make sure people have a good holiday. I really believe that you get what you give.....if you treat people properly then you are treated well in return. We didn't have any issues with staff. All dressed in our black attire we took the lift down to deck 6 and were greeted with complimentary champagne.....very nice.... After a lovely dinner we headed to the Malabar for a soul and Motown night with the group Accent.....This group were outstanding and had everyone up dancing . Following this we venture to the Manhattan club for a Gary Barlow tribute act. Again this was fabulous entertainment. Monday 2nd May Arrived in Skagen with an overcast sky, rain and wind. Not what we wanted but hey !!!! The ship docks right in the town, so after breakfast we made our way ashore. You can walk along the harbour but as you look around there are very steep cobbled street lined with white Norweigian houses....very picturesque. We walked into the local shopping area and found a lovely cafe bar set in traditional style with wooden bar and tables.....and wifi, for those that can't live without connecting .... It cost around 60 kroner for two coffees. We had changed some currency before we left home so his was useful. We didn't book a tour, but right outside we saw hop on hop off buses for 230 kroner per person which is about average for anywhere! The souvenir shops are certainly not cheap, and it was hard to find any small gifts at a reasonable price....shoppers.be warned ! We made our way back to ship and had lunch in the dining room. Again no complaints. Afterwards we made our way to Brodie's bar and found a comfy area near a window.....ideal place to relax and read your book. They did have a quiz on food and drink- 14/20 for us...... The skies started to look more overcast as we sailed away it was raining. We decided to change and head down for another quiz? This was more of a general quiz....sometimes I'm surprised at how much we do, or don't know !!!! Another 14/20! There started to be a sea swell and some movement of the ship. Pete joined in a free card lesson in the casino.....however by now Pete had lost his sea legs and we decided to return to our cabin.....that was goodnight from him !!!!!! Tuesday May 3rd It was much calmer this morning as we sailed into Alessund. We were up on deck taking photies by 7-30 am This really was a picturesque place. We jumped on the hop on/ off bus paying 260 kroner each. It was raining so we thought this was best. We stayed on up to the top point which looks over the town. Great for photies. There is an alternative which is to walk up over 400 steps for the fit and the brave ! We then got the bus back to the town and had a walk around the shops. We found a lovely cafe and stopped for coffee.....expect to pay around 100 kroner for two.... Pete went to take some photies, and when I was ready I went up to the Planet Bar, deck 16, for a cocktail and to watch he sail away from inside....much more sensible ( cocktails range from £5.90 onwards, bottle beer is from £3.90, vodka and coke is £5.50 and a bottle of wine fron around £30) The are lots of additional venues where you have to pay additional costs....for example food in the Glasshouse, Costa Coffee cafe, Beach Bar, Sindhu Indian Restaurant and the Epicurean ( £28 per person for fine dining ) There are plenty of free seminars to attend such as beauty therapy, acupuncture, skin care, healthy lifestyle......but after the seminar there is a charge for the services. The Spa is run by Elemis and you are looking around £70-£100 plus for a treatment. There were very limited dance classes- we did have cha cha cha, line dancing, and learn to waltz and each night in the Atrium there was the chance for couples who like to practice their ballroom techniques....sadly that is not us !!!! The Blue bar is another nice bar with a pianist for those who like to listen to the pianist Wednesday May 4th.... Welcome to Olden If you are a keen photographer then it is a must that you get up for the sunset as we sail into Olden through the Ffjords. The beauty is undescribable. With snow on the mountains and houses randomly set back in the hillside. At Olden the ship docked and after stepping off it was easy to access the hop on bus and the small train. There was some disappointment with accessing the glacier though due to conditions. There is very little to do without going further afield. You can book trips onboard the ship but expect to pay more than if you arrange your own tour ashore. So we had a coffee at the cafe, a walk around the souvenir shops before getting back on board. Showing on the cinema screen was Star Wars......so we spent a relaxing time watching a movie. There are daily movies shown around the ship, both indoors, and on the outdoor screen where you can cuddle up on a sun lounger with a blanket.....this was really popular. The sail away from Olden must be seen. It is quite breathtaking and there is 60 miles to travel through. The air felt really clean....though the winds soon got up as we sailed back into the North Sea...40 mph Force 6-7...so you could really feel the ship move. We ate early and we're back in the cabin by 9-30....As our cabin was the furthest forward I'm sure we could feel the movement more than those midship, or so they say ? Thursday May 5th....Happy Anniversary Jean and Pete 11 years since we were married X Arrived in Bergen by 8am, although it was 10 degrees it was not raining....bonus....we walked along from the ship and into the town. At the centre spot we stopped for a latte and spoke to a nice couple who had been to Bergen before, and so pointed us in the right direction. We made our way to the indoor fish market, smaller than I had imagined but still a sight to see !!!! The fish soup was about 99k and a salmon and scrambled egg roll, with a bottle of water and a smoothie came to 284 kroner.....they add 25% tax to your bill !!! As we have said before nothing is cheap in Norway.... We walked through a shopping centre, very upmarket shops such as Gucci, Pandora, Michael Korrs etc....but they were closed as it was some sort of holiday. At the end of the shops we found a statue of Grieg and a lovely lake with a fountain, nice for a photo stop. Again there are the hop on hop off sightseeing buses. These work out at 260 k each, and there is a small train to hop on which is slightly cheaper There were limited souvenir shops....beware, you will pay around 100 kroner for a tea towel and 50 k for a fridge magnet.... The Troll is a very popular folk lore and you will see them everywhere. You can buy these too though expect to pay 200 k plus ! Bergen is a beautiful place though and will definitely be returning here one day Back on board and headed to Brodie's bar for the 2 pm quiz....today's theme was true or false.....we ended up with a cool 12/20..... As it was our anniversary we had booked into the Epicurean specialty restaurant at 6.30 pm . This was a wonderful evening of fine dining.....we had chateaux briand washed down with Lanson !!! Very nice too....The attention to detail, and the quality of service made for a wonderful evening......however again there were Force 6 winds....so we could really feel the ship moving on deck 16! We had our photo portrait taken though I'm a bit disappointed with the quality....It was £17.95 for a 6x8 picture As Liverpool were playing in the semi final we made our way to the sport bar, and the evening was perfect with a 3-0 win to LFC.....X Friday 6th May We awoke to sunny skies and calm sea. There was a full packed itinerary for a day at sea. After breakfast we sat outside in the sunshine....it was a perfect sailing day. We had a walk around the ship, from the shops, to the art gallery, across the sports decks, past the spa.....I must comment that there are lovely fresh flowers all around the ship and some very modern artwork. I attended a talk on the crown jewel diamonds which was interesting....and even had a game of bingo £15 for a set of books..... We decided to go to the 8.30pm show which was called "when swing was King" this was really good entertainment We then went to the pub quiz and have to say we managed 34/40....... Not bad. Our cruise was certainly value for money.....there were some things we liked, and others that we felt could be improved. I enjoyed our P&O cruise....though I'm not sure they would be my first choice in the future Sat 7th May We were up bright and early for disembarkation.....really straight forward and we were off the ship by 9am. The Captain said "It can be said that travel is the only thing that you can buy that makes you a little richer...." I fully agree Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
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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