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75 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
We have just returned from our holiday to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Guernsey on board Azura. This was our very first cruise as a family and we were very much looking forward to the whole experience. However we were sorely ... Read More
We have just returned from our holiday to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Guernsey on board Azura. This was our very first cruise as a family and we were very much looking forward to the whole experience. However we were sorely disappointed with issues we experienced onboard the Ship. Our shower room floor leaked for three days of the cruise causing a pool of water to the bathroom floor this was only rectified on the third day of the holiday following several calls and a visit to reception. The corridor of our cabin location on deck five often smelled strongly of fumes , if not fumes it was fresh paint or sewage. There was a lot of maintenance being carried out on this corridor during the holiday and a dehumidifier was left on all day and evening outside our cabin causing a lot of noise which i had to contact reception regarding as we were not able to sleep due to this. I understand that this is a working ship and requires maintenance however there seemed to be ongoing issues regarding the sewage systems onboard the ship, during our holiday, we encountered blocked toilets throughout the public areas and a strong smell of sewage was present to the public areas on deck seven especially to the malabar lounge which was noticeable throughout the week both when in port and sailing. The roof to the buffet restaurant was leaking badly all week causing saturation to the carpets in the dining area towards the back of the ship, water was running down the wall and through the ceiling as we were eating. The carpet was absolutely soaked and therefore caused a bad small of damp to a large area of the buffet restaurant which was very unpleasant and we reported to reception staff, they were already aware of the issue. Entertainment on board the ship was dire !!! The Irish so called comedian was awful i believe his name to be Shaun Heggaty, people walked out in droves complaining - Music acts on board pretty unoffensive but nothing really magical. The quiz's and so called entertainment in brodies bar was poor - there does not appear to be much effort put into this by the entertainment staff , The quiz host Pearl was quite rude and condescending to fellow passengers. Azura as a ship was very disappointing she seems shabby, tired and in need of some TLC - we understand she is a working vessel however we left feeling very disappointed in her current state and our first experience of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I have cruised with several different lines but P&O has always been my favourite. This time I was travelling with someone who had never been on a cruise before and so went with P&O and a cruise I had already done a few years ago ... Read More
I have cruised with several different lines but P&O has always been my favourite. This time I was travelling with someone who had never been on a cruise before and so went with P&O and a cruise I had already done a few years ago to be sure he would have a good experience, My partner did enjoy the cruise as did I, however, I was very aware of the difference (not in a good way) between this cruise and every other P&O cruise I have taken. I will not be going with P&O again. It was apparent from the outset that staff were 'going through the motions' Everyone seemed disinterested and as though everything was too much effort. Service and food in the main dining room was so poor that we choose to use the select dining options on most evenings. Mainly these were good experiences, in particular the Indian. My issue is that the experience should have been as good in those areas that are included as in those that you have to pay for. Usually this is the case, but sadly not this time. For example, meals arrived with bits missing, (sauce, dressings and veg on one occasion!) with no apologies and a take it or leave it attitude. We asked for an extra bread roll one evening, and after chasing it, it finally turned up after both starter and main course were finished. Made to feel a nuisance because we don't eat meat. Every single day they brought me the veggie menu once I had reminded them and we had to request a second one for my partner every time. All sounding like tiny points, and in the overall scale of things they are. This isn't my previous experience and so my expectations were not met. Long delays between courses and food clearly been sat under hot lamps for some time as congealed. Only thing that was consistently prompt was the drink bill for signature. Also, the little things generally missing, no robes in cabins any more. Shower cap not replaced even though clearly broken after second use. Room service breakfast failed to show up on two occasions! When it arrived on third try, toast was inedible, which actually was the case throughout. In buffet big delay if wanting veggie sausage as they are cooked to order, take ages and always loads of people waiting for them. Why not cook some in advance, like regular sausage. We did one trip, which was effectively a 15 min bus transfer from the port to the glacier and back. £120 for us both!!!! I could go on...... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Opportunity for sun after winter, family relaxation however it is the first time we have had such a poor experience with P&O. Hygiene was appallingly maintained for first week hence a significant norovirus outbreak. Passengers were ... Read More
Opportunity for sun after winter, family relaxation however it is the first time we have had such a poor experience with P&O. Hygiene was appallingly maintained for first week hence a significant norovirus outbreak. Passengers were allowed to regularly slip into buffet areas without any sanitising. Norovirus protocol resulted in staff serving you the buffet. Food was dumped on plates in ‘piles’ very unappetising. Evening and lunch meals, even when first in were luke warm. Breakfast service ground to a complete halt with the serving staff grappling with opening everyone’s cereal packets in frustration they threw half the contents in the bin. I had to ask for 3boxes to get an average bowl of cereal despite explaining this it was ignored. Had to return for milk, spoons etc, it was such a fiasco. They need training in how to plate up a meal if norovirus protocol requires them to. Smoking areas were far too extensive the coral pool on deck 15/16 was always heavily smelling of smoke. The Malabar on deck 7 had an awful unidentifiable smell to the area hence we avoided that too. ‘Surfers’ grossly overcrowded 100plus 5-8year olds. Absolutely ridiculous. The reef Deck 16 became a daily health and safety hazard with the sheer volume of children and parents. Queues of half an hour for every session and tooth brushing in the line with taking place to ensure a place especially in the mornings on sea days. Cabin was tired. Beds and bed linen quality was very pleasant. Service from cabin steward was good he was attentive, approachable and friendly. Recycling seemed to be taking place daily. Waiting staff varied greatly some were excelllent some were dismissive to the point of rudeness. Officers seemed ‘hands on’ especially in the dining areas, a very visible presence. Embarkation felt, for the first time, like a cattle market plus no hand sanitiser was given at check in which is shockingly poor for P&O. Disembarkation was yet again a complete farce with self help gangways doors changing at very short notice causing chaos in the waiting areas as those who had queued from 6am were left at the back of a very very long line. Royal carribean was fantastic as disembarkation in comparison. Adult entertainment shows were tired with such old well overused jokes and dated acts largely aimed at get a reaction from where passengers lived in the UK or the ugliness of woman. P&O need to massively modernise their entertainment in this respect as the ones we saw have been done to death. Children’s early tea was rammed. Older children 10-17 need a sepearte time as it became dangerous for the younger ones with loaded trays missing their heads by inches. The children enjoyed the magic shows and circus skills very much and despite how busy the reef was they thought the rangers, for the most part, were very nice, kind and caring. Partner enjoyed rock band UK a new addition for us to the daily entertainment. Astonishing wasn’t at all and extremely loud def take ear defenders if you decided to watch. The gym machines need maintaining and calibrating this wasn’t observed once. Nothing was said by the staff when toddlers were running around in the gym despite notices displaying a strict over 18 policy. The swimming pools were closed due to sickness one day, too much sun cream another day and ‘maintainance’ on a third day. The tv screen above the pool was a nice touch to watch a film of an evening. Staff were very attentive in offering blankets during the movie. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have just returned from a 12 day cruise on Azura to Canary Islands from Southampton and wish to share our experience of a first cruise with P and O, after having sailed with Princess each year since 2016. The contrast between the two ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12 day cruise on Azura to Canary Islands from Southampton and wish to share our experience of a first cruise with P and O, after having sailed with Princess each year since 2016. The contrast between the two companies is frankly alarming despite there being no difference in the prices we have paid, like for like. We have stayed on Lido deck forward on three occasions; twice in an outside partially obstructedand once in balcony and up until now and despite some rough seas off Cadiz, have not been unduly bothered by that location. This time we stayed in L101, which I will comment on shortly. We have also stayed on deck 12 on Crown Princess at the rear but the vibration from below was terrible. Embarkation was excellent and we were able to gain access to our room quite early, but once on deck it was apparent that all was not good. As we passed through the automatic doors from the outside deck to our corridor we were greeted with a tatty, very worn carpet which didn’t improve much all the way to our cabin at the end. There were also numerous scrapes on the walls. First impressions were bad and didn’t get better in the cabin which also had a worn grubby carpet but worst of all a horrible configuration with the bed back against the window leaving about a foot all around to maneuver. We had to move the table under the clothes rack and were unable to use it. Annoyingly the rooms either side had the bed against the side-wall and far more space all round. The TV was a joke, Not only tiny, but positioned on a shelf high above the coffee making area which made it impossible to view unless you were standing up. That didn’t really matter because there was no signal for TV for most of the cruise (and even in Southampton), and the film choices were terrible. The maps for showing the position of the ship looked as if they had been drawn by a 5 year old. The young girl steward, Misty worked tirelessly keeping our cabin clean and neat given the poor state it was in and was the only person on the ship we found worthy of a tip. We went to the buffet where we found the hot food was the same temperature as the cold stuff. It resembled what you would expect to see in a works canteen. I had a stone cold curry and rice. We thought this might be just a changeover day problem but it was the same the next day. In fact lunch was pretty well the same every day, often cold, repetitive and bland. Having enjoyed some great sail aways from Southampton on Princess we were expecting something similar but this one was totally dead with little effort from our entertainment team and bar staff who looked as if they had just heard gratuities were being removed next month. In fact far from being the friendly, attentive, happy people, mostly from the Philippines, we had experienced on other cruises, this bunch were in many cases morose or doing their best to pretend we weren’t there. In fact for the entire cruise we found many staff to be indifferent. At the front desk, staff often chatted to each other or looked at computers rather than acknowledge us. I lost my glasses and reported that to the desk along with a detailed description of case etc and this was noted down with a promise to inform me if found. A few days later I called at desk and identified them. Nobody had bothered to check or inform me. Why would they when they can’t even be bothered to acknowledge a guest standing waiting in front of them? Who trains these people in such basic customer skills? I now turn my attention to various areas of the ship in the vain hope that somebody might actually take note of my observations. The buffet at breakfast was probably the worst aspect of the cruise. The scramble for tables was horrendous with guests reserving tables with various discarded items such as handbags or coats and even books. Once secured those guests would often remain there chatting over numerous cups of tea regardless of the poor souls trying to find somewhere to eat. Staff struggled to clear tables and the jostling for food was really annoying. Staff looked particularly irritated if asked to make poached eggs, omelets or pancakes. What was also annoying was the closing of one side of the buffet, which had the effect of compressing the already large volumes of people into less space. Trying to get a table that wasn’t occupied or reserved (people like to occupy outside seats or diagonally opposed or even place bags on unoccupied seats to discourage/prevent others from sitting down, such is their selfishness) was difficult bordering on impossible. Welcome to the 2 star holiday camp. This was also apparent in some bars and the theatre where you had to arrive 30 minutes early or risk not getting a seat or being split up courtesy of everyone leaving one spare seat next to them. The bars all had their own character. The Planet bar on the18th level was like a care home. Where Princess have skywalkers disco with late night dancing, a happy hour and a place for those still willing and able to enjoy a decent club atmosphere, P and O had Beth and James, A piano and guitar duo you could get a good nights sleep listening to. What a waste of a great venue that actually looked good. The Atrium was a massive disappointment as it was not only compact but devoted almost entirely for the whole cruise to ballroom dancing where the same usual suspects were in attendance showing off nightly. The so called Brodies bar which also housed the casino had the best choice of drinks but often the worse choice of entertainment and guests. If this is P and O’s impression of a British pub they need to get ashore more often. Most of the quizzes were held there along with bowling on the Nintendo Wii, bingo, darts and live football (satellite reception permitting). This was where Benidorm meets Jeremy Kyle and having to listen to one large family singing loud Liverpool football chants was definitely a low point. Incidentally the quizzes of which I attended a few were decidedly hit and miss with themes such as breeds of dogs, for gods sake or fish. The prize for such huge efforts was laughable. You could win a gold star (great if you are in primary school, but not particularly exciting if you were much older but sadly the P and O faithful embraced the idea. I accumulated a couple of the coveted stars and after great difficulty, managed to locate a prize redemption area at the end of the cruise. The prizes actually weren’t bad but it would have been so much easier just to give a prize to the winner at the time. The Glass house was another rest home for the elderly enjoying crosswords, sudoko or a nap. The Blue bar at the Atrium was popular for pre dinner drinks but just ok. The Malabar looked smart with fancy red lighting and Palm trees outside but on approach absolutely stank of sewage. The smell was disgusting and it never subsided. Some people commented on it, some ignored it, and some didn’t seem to notice, such was the diversity of clientele. It had nightly music, usually the resident group, Authorised or Pulse who popped up all over the ship for sail aways or filling in. I can honestly say that whoever is booking these bands either never heard them or needs a hearing aid. The girl singers were terrible and managed to either murder songs or sing them in a way that made even the most popular and well-known song sounded unidentifiable. The other main bar was called Manhatten and was used as a secondary venue for shows which were mostly Tribute acts or comedians. Head and shoulders above the rest was Jeff Dingle as Bruno Mars who really rocked, closely followed by an Adele act and the inevitable Beatles. The Bootleg Beatles are still the bench mark but this band did a fair job whilst actually looking nothing like them. What was really annoying in Manhatten however was the family that sat boozing whilst their two young daughters ran around the bar for hours annoying other guests until midnight. Staff as usual did nothing as they did when same girls were running around the pool ‘bombing’ earlier. On a plus note, and there aren’t many, the Headliners shows were good and clearly a lot of effort had gone into them and the guest speaker Stephen King commanded huge audiences with his insights on the music industry. With regard to one of the more important aspects of cruising, we were on freedom dining which is supposed to mean that you were free to dine anytime between 6pm and 9:30pm. Sadly this was not the case. It did not take me long to figure out that they we working a ‘sitting’ operation. At 5:30 a queue started forming, that was 60 strong at 6pm opening time. Many guests were opting to dine table for 2 and were accommodated. Once full, buzzers were given out and you would think they would be called in as tables became vacant. Not so. We witnessed whole lines of tables empty and not being filled. Eventually when all tables were empty buzzers were going off all over the place and in came sitting number 2. Finally around 8.30, in came sitting 3. We noticed a keenness to move us swiftly through courses on sitting 1. On sitting 2 staff became a little overwhelmed and waits between courses extended. As sitting 3 progressed they began clearing up vigorously. Menus in restaurants looked impressive but the reality was not always so good. Some meals were good, notably slow cooked lamb shanks, but then that’s not rocket science. Starters were small and often basic and bland. Deserts were also just okay with watery custard and rather tasteless or ice cream. Some staff made the effort whilst others just looked bored. Front of house seemed much happier. I walked around the ship one day to see what was on offer. The sports deck was an absolute disgrace. There was a large open deck area covered in green matting completely unused. No putting green or bowls here. Two members of staff were playing basketball and the golf net was just a small, tented area and a bag of clubs fit for the bin. The whole area was an absolute disgrace, totally neglected and abandoned. Deck 16 housed Breakers bar, an area almost totally given over to smokers. Down on 15 smokers were again occupying one side of the deck next to the pool. They had slowly on a daily basis been able to extend even further along the deck and when you were going to and from the buffet you had to pass through a wall of smoke. Congratulations to who ever came up with this positioning. The one table tennis table was squeezed into the other corner outside the buffet area. Clearly P and O put greater emphasis on accommodating smokers than people who wish to engage in sporting activities. I have reserved a few final comments for the cruise director and staff. Again on previous cruises with Princess we knew and recognized him and his staff who connected with passengers and seemed to always be around. I’m afraid I found Chris to be conspicuous by his absence and I would fail to pick him out in a line up. His merry men (and girls) were equally grey and seemed to only pop up briefly for quizzes before fading away into anonyimity. Their stupid holiday camp style dancing on deck sailaways left me cringing. This might be Butlins or Haven but it sure wasn’t expected on what I thought was going to be an upmarket holiday. P and O are clearly targeting the mass market in order to fill cabins. There was one other trauma that deserves a mention and also was the pivotal point in my deciding never to book P and O again. One evening we identified a few things to see. One was billed as an Elvis show. What transpired was possibly the stupidest and most pathetic rubbish I have ever seen. Unbeknown to us ‘Elvis’ was not a tribute act but cruise director Chis dressed in a silly costume and making stupid noises. He asked if there were any Elvis fans present, to which there were a few affirmatives including an elderly Welsh couple seated next to us. He then proceeded to make silly wheezing noises and stupid mimicry of Elvis which clearly offended said couple who promptly stood up and walked out. I personally am not an Elvis fan but I felt sorry for them and we did likewise. This man acting the fool on stage was being encouraged by quite a few of the crowd who would definitely not be candidates for Mensa and reinforced my feeling I was on the wrong ship. Fortunately we were able to make it to Manhatten for the Adele tribute singer who actually had some talent. In summary we had a highly disappointing holiday on a tatty ship, with average food and entertainment, constant queuing and a firm conviction that Brits will often accept this. If this had been full of Americans or even Germans, staff would have been overwhelmed with complaints because they expect and demand better standards and get them. Would P and O be our first choice when booking another cruise? Not likely if this one is anything to go by. We will just have to pay more for Celebrity or find a Princess ship going out from Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise been a new year cruise. Have been on the Azura 8 times but there will not be a 9th. Xmas decorations were beautifully done. There seemed to many people on the ship. People everywhere inside and out. The service on ... Read More
We chose this cruise been a new year cruise. Have been on the Azura 8 times but there will not be a 9th. Xmas decorations were beautifully done. There seemed to many people on the ship. People everywhere inside and out. The service on board was dreadful waiters just couldn’t be bothered, plus they were overworked. Never ever have I seen people in dining room in shorts above the knee, Tracksuit joggers and trainers. No one including maitred said a word. I always thought it was a smart casual dress code . See days were manic. We sat in the so called quiet adult area. If you hadn’t got a subbed by 8.15 forget it. They got more Sun beds out from somewhere, put them wherever they could. Not even the poor bar waiters could get by to take drink orders. We were sandwiched in like sardines. New year’s eve I must say was amazing great entertainment great atmosphere. But unfortunately we had 12 other days to put up with on this holiday camp ship. We were put in Sindu ( Indian restaurant) for our N Y gala meal , I did complain but they were having none of it. They did compromise and let us join my son and daughter. Yes they pus us in different restaurants at different times, even though we shared the same cabin. In hignsite we’re please we were in Sindu as we got fab service with pleasant waiters. Cheese & biscuit were a joke . I will try and put a photo on later. We heard people moaning that they were waiting 30 mins between corses. And there drinks just didn’t arrive. Entertainment was ok . Astonishing show done by head liners was very good even though we have seen it many times. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We were looking forward to visiting the 4 locations, first one (Vigo) had to be missed because of bad weather which was unfortunate. We had travelled with Cunard before and as P&O are the same firm we expected similar high standards ... Read More
We were looking forward to visiting the 4 locations, first one (Vigo) had to be missed because of bad weather which was unfortunate. We had travelled with Cunard before and as P&O are the same firm we expected similar high standards but were disappointed with the facilities and entertainment. The public spaces and bars were crowded. The buffet was more like a scrum than a dining area, finding seats was difficult, you had to take it in turns to get your snack or meal. It was also almost impossible to get a seat in the bars. The entertainment in the theatre was limited to a single 45 minute act, i.e. comedian or ventriloquist or dance group, we would have preferred shorter acts but more variety; the actual acts were good. Meals and service in restaurants were good but afternoon tea a bit hurried. See separate comments regarding cabin, reasonable size but poor options and signal for TV, announcements not relayed to cabin. Public toilets were often out of service and not easy to find. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked this cruise last minute as we have never been to Norway. We have two girls age 13 and 9 who were very excited as we have been cruising with Royal Caribbean in the past and they thoughly enjoyed the experience. This was not ... Read More
We booked this cruise last minute as we have never been to Norway. We have two girls age 13 and 9 who were very excited as we have been cruising with Royal Caribbean in the past and they thoughly enjoyed the experience. This was not however the case P&O sell this ship as family friendly it is if you were brought up pre war when children were to be kept in nursery it or play rooms, They was absolutely nothing for children outside the play club on deck 16. Great for a 9 year who wants to play games but a sad disappointment for my 13 year old who had no interest in playing on x box or PlayStation. When I approached customer service for access to a piano for her to practice I was total no, I then approached the sales desk who ask the entertainment manager who also said no due to health and safety. There was no running track and she only managed to get in the gym 3 times due to the lack of equipment and a number of those were not working. I had also promised the girls they ciukd get their gsir and nsils done but sorry no as they are not 18. The adults pool was warm but the main pool for childeen was cold. We booked a double bed but hot bunk beds that came down from the ceiling and band our heads a good couple of time - I would never book this cabin again. Girls were not impressed by the restaurant - one night we had sweet and sour chicken that they thought resembled KFC. There was not always a wine waiter to order drinks until the end of the meal. We were free dinning and did not want to book a specific time as we did not find a waiter who we liked to stay with ever night. The buffet was always busy it was often hard to get a table and again wine waters in short supply. We were approached numerous times "did we want to book abtabke in one of the paying restaurants" it became annoying. Found out non the last day you coukd ask for pancakes and waffles to be made. As my 13 twarbold said they could put a sign up saying, The entertainment was great particularly "The Vintage Boys" would have loved a question and answer session with them to know how they met. There was no background music and when the film ended by the pool we were left with just P&O advertising. No atmosphere at all. Casino was too small and always busy in the night, However I love that I can launder my own clothes, We loved P&O when we went in the past but I don't know what has gone wrong. If your family friendly ships are for families then ask what they want. As my husband says if the kids are happy the wife is happy the I get a good holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this as we'd done the Med to death and knew all the ports inside out but with a tight time window, we jumped onto this ship to see the fjords and try P&O. Whenever we've gone out of Southampton before, it's ... Read More
We chose this as we'd done the Med to death and knew all the ports inside out but with a tight time window, we jumped onto this ship to see the fjords and try P&O. Whenever we've gone out of Southampton before, it's been pretty slick getting on the Indie but this was from the Mayflower terminal. We turned up at the time we were told to arrive and, just as any doctors waiting room, we had to wait for 45 minutes clutching a coloured card until ours was called... and this was only to join the back of the never decreasing queue. When we got on the ship, we straight away noticed a smell like BO or rotten eggs or (rather worryingly) gas. This stayed throughout the duration, especially in one of the bars that made it unusable. We know that P&O have a poor record with viruses and this was hardly surprising as no-one enforced the use of gel in the bars or restaurants and at no time did we see anyone disinfecting the handrails on the stairs which you see all the time on NCL and RCL. Cleanliness was generally quite poor - tables were not kept clean and a toilet that had something exceptionally unpleasant floating in it was left for several hours, unchecked by the staff. If you have been on any Royal Caribbean ship, you will know about the fantastic Windjammer buffet restaurant. On the Azura, at best this is like a school dinners canteen - exceptionally poor quality food and no 'traffic flow' system so it ends up a bun fight. On the one occasion, we had breakfast in the Peninsula, the service was dire and the food all arrived cold, apart from the butter sachets which were warm! Unlike RCL and NCL, they look for numerous opportunities to charge you for things that on other cruise lines are free...these include food and drinks! The casino on any other ship is huge with a large selection of tables and slots. On this ship there are (I think) 3 tables and a handful of slots in a bar! Very odd considering how much revenue these generate on other ships! I think one of the worst things was the enforcement of the black tie policy. Previously on the Indie, if you didn't want to dress up to that extreme, you could dress smartly and go up to the huge choice in the Windjammer - your only real choice here was the Beach House or the school canteen - even many of the bars wouldn't let you in for a drink and the looks I got when I was coming back from the gym were laughable!! Whereas the Epic and Indie have big shows and great entertainment, there were no 'west end' shows on here, more 'cabaret' type stuff. There were hardly any staff in the theatres to get you a drink and no booking system either, so you either had to arrive V early or take your chance of standing at the back. On the plus side, prices were a little more reasonable than some cruises (for drinks etc) and our cabin steward went out of his way to help. The cabin D729 was pretty spacious. Would I book P&O again? No, not on the strength of this experience. Would I recommend the Azura? No - you get infinitely better value on the Independence or Epic Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary , having cruised with other cruise companies including Celebrity .Royal Caribbean Princess, but this was our first with P & O. Firstly lets deal with the positives food, entertainment ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary , having cruised with other cruise companies including Celebrity .Royal Caribbean Princess, but this was our first with P & O. Firstly lets deal with the positives food, entertainment cabin and certain crew members were very good if not for them I would have given just ONE. Sadly, the majority of so called "Hotel " staff were either rude or surly often BOTH and appear to have had no "CUSTOMER SERVICE" training. Often the crew appeared to be working in positions in restaurants, reception etc. with what seems to be little or no training or supervision. Whilst accepting that there is always an ever changing turnover of crew ,compared to other cruise ships, P & O don't appear to worry about training of Staff. HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:- Epicurian Restaurant Wishing to book this restaurant towards the end of our cruise on the FIRST day on board we went to venue to book which we did for TEN DAYS LATER for 7.30pm even then we were informed that it was not possible to select a table location (IT IS NOT APPARANTLY P & O COMPANY POLICY ??!) On the day we had a card to say table was now available for 7.45pm ?! even then upon arrival it appeared that they were not ready for us!. the service was terrible 30 minutes for someone to take order further 20 mins to get wine! and staff running around like "Headless Chickens" not having a glue what or where they should be and the so called Head Waiter just standing around offering no support or supervision to the staff BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR Confirmation letter stated that we were to report to reception at 12.20pm. This we did and found others waiting to do same tour and joined them . Our guide (Entertainment assistant Leo) came up greeted us and we asked him if we needed to sign paperwork prior to tour He said "NO". After a short delay Leo told us it was time to start tour but we would have to have a " Body Security Scan" prior to proceeding THIS WAS DONE IN BRODIES BAR ENTRANCE (WHICH BEING A SEA DAY WAS VERY BUSY) IN FULL VIEW OF OTHER PASSENGERS. Shortly after tour begun we were summoned by security to be informed we were with the wrong tour group .It appears that we had joined the tout that should have started at 11.45 bur had been late leaving as there had been no crew member to act as guide!!. at no time did any one ask us our names prior to start of tour!! But as on a previous occasion when querying anything with staff we were made to feel it was our fault and that the crew were always right!! MAITENANCE One night the outside partition dividing the balcony from ajoining cabin broke loose and started "banging" as it was 200am in the morning I phoned reception and told them what had happened. When they answered they asked "did I want it fixed now? or wait till morning ?" When "Maintenance" did arrive it was 2 women ,one armed with a screwdriver!, who eventually managed on securing panel but upon leaving cabin "DID NOT KNOW HOW TO LOCK SLIDING DOOR!". This is just 3 examples of poor customer service we received . Port talks, bar staff embarkation of tours , reception staff were all ( compared to other cruises we have been on) of a very poor standard. the condition of ship is poor and needs a refit ,the furnishing in places torn and cabin shower curtain "smelt mouldy" The saving factor for this cruise were our waiters Jibi and Vinod and wine waiter Sam!. this was our 13th cruise ,unlucky for some its said !, it certainly for us by choosing P & O NEVER AGAIN. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I have been on few cruises and have to say this felt like a massive cash grab. The sky screen has broken pixels and needs repairing. The buffet food was Very substandard compared to restraunt, and the grab and go bar was chips ... Read More
I have been on few cruises and have to say this felt like a massive cash grab. The sky screen has broken pixels and needs repairing. The buffet food was Very substandard compared to restraunt, and the grab and go bar was chips smuthered in salt and chicken scraps in bread crumbs. They have no drinks package other than wine, and the pints around the pool are served in scratched plastic glasses. A peroni is £475 a pint and comes in 300 ml plastic glasses. They offer a kids soft drinks card at £35 for 20 drinks. This is a piece of card that if lost is non replaceable so I had to buy 2 more after the kids lost them and P&O are just pocketing all the unused drinks you pay for. I books the Van Gogh art tour for myself and 2 teenagers, P&O charged full price for kids aged 13 and over. Van Gogh charge €3 for kids aged 13-17. That’s £61 to pay for a 1 mile bus ride. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We wanted to experience a cruise, and the Fjords was the ideal location. Unfortunately, we experienced the following: - Inside cabin had stains on the carpet - Corridor smelt of dirty toilets. - buffet had scratched plastic ... Read More
We wanted to experience a cruise, and the Fjords was the ideal location. Unfortunately, we experienced the following: - Inside cabin had stains on the carpet - Corridor smelt of dirty toilets. - buffet had scratched plastic cups. The first one I picked up would never be clean, so there would always be a group of scratched dirty cups on the side which were full of dried up food from peoples mouths (disgusting!) therefore, my experience of having a fruit juice with breakfast was non existent because of the health and safety risk - reminded me of the dirty plastic cups at primary school - Drab, tired decor - Dirty toilet upon arrival. I filled the sink with hot water and scrubbed the loo, sink and got on my hands and knees to clean the floor of the hair - Hair wrapped in my food at the fine dining (chocolate pudding) - Tired, yawning staff - just want I want to see on a cruise! - Same above issue with the dinner plates - The food wasn't protected from people breathing all over it...I experienced a women stood next to me with a cake on her tray...she stuck her finger in the cake to taste it, then told her daughter she didn't like the cake and proceeded to put it back in the fridge with the other cakes!!!!! I never touched another cake after that! - Bland buffet menu - work canteen menu more inviting! Would advise to cook different meals on daily basis - not to rotate every other day - For the cost of the trip, the food was cheap and lacked quality, for example, fatty bacon, cheap sausages, horrific tasteless red cabbage - the list goes on. - Didn't look forward to the food - Fine dining was rushed. I never got asked if I was 'ready to order' the waiter rolled up as soon as we picked up the menu and stood waiting for us to order, so we felt pressured to quickly choose something - which arrived just as quick as he took the menu...crazy! Lacked atmosphere! - Entertainment took me back to the 80's on days out to Blackpool, cheesy, and untalented. The bingo caller and his side kick made me cringe, so off we went back to the cabin on the days when we didn't have the urge to jump overboard... :-) - Too much space was allocated to smokers Positives (not many!) - The staff member who turned the room over every day was pleasant, however, I was told (by friends) that my nightdress would always been made into a nice animal when I arrived back on an evening...it never happened. Instead my nightdress was scrunched up and placed under my pillow, always made me chuckle when sending the latest 'scrunch of the day' pic back home. - The views of the Fjords are simply breathtaking. Be sure to do the open top bus ride to the Glaciers, and the train ride to see the the Huldra, an elusive forest spirit from Norse mythology. - Getting off the ship to experience a better quality of food was the relief of the day! - Irrespective of the bad experiences, it's not deterred me from another cruise on another ship Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
First time with p&o cruises we will never go again, boat just lacks finish, food wasn't very good very poor at some times, vegetables were always hard and not much choice in buffet areas, cheese and biscuits were terrible little ... Read More
First time with p&o cruises we will never go again, boat just lacks finish, food wasn't very good very poor at some times, vegetables were always hard and not much choice in buffet areas, cheese and biscuits were terrible little pieces of so called cheese and no fruit at all.Sindhu restaurant was very good, glass house parfait was horrible. We spoke to various people during our two weeks and they had all been on before but would not be returning, standards have slipped a lot they said. Staff were something unhelpful and rude at times, one lad in Costa coffee area expected a lady to clean up some coffee she had split. We had to many days at sea tootaling along instead of getting somewhere and staying overnight. Entertainment wasn't up too much, some guest acts were ok, but otherwise not brilliant and very loud in the theatre. Outside tv half the pixels were missing and the surround had some boards missing. Was going to go into the retreat but you had to pay £25.00 on sea days and £30.00 on port days per person per day and you got nothing for that so we didn't. Just didn't live up to our expectations and very disappointed will be going back to celebrity next year for sure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Eight of us decided to go on this two night cruise as a birthday celebration. Friday to Sunday. The layout of the ship is confusing. Cabin acceptable but carpet had stains and the toilet did not work on the final morning. On arrival ... Read More
Eight of us decided to go on this two night cruise as a birthday celebration. Friday to Sunday. The layout of the ship is confusing. Cabin acceptable but carpet had stains and the toilet did not work on the final morning. On arrival the safe was not working and was not fixed until Saturday morning. As a Baltic tier member I am entitled to slippers. I requested these on three occasions and they were eventually delivered to the cabin on Saturday evening. On the first night we arrived at freedom dining at 8.00 pm to be told there was an hour wait. We were eventually seated but the waiters were overstretched and consequently we missed the show in the theatre. At breakfast the following morning I asked for a latte but was told the machine was broken. We arrived at 7.00 pm on the second evening, not through choice but concerned if we left it later we might have the same problem as on the previous evening. I am not sure what the garlic butter consisted of but it was nothing like I have been served in the past! Myself and several members of the party were very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Embarkation was great, no problems there (Southampton) The ship Very confusing layout. From Aft (back) of ship to get to restaurants(5/6) you have to go to level 7 then to midships then down stairs or lift. Not good for disabled. ... Read More
Embarkation was great, no problems there (Southampton) The ship Very confusing layout. From Aft (back) of ship to get to restaurants(5/6) you have to go to level 7 then to midships then down stairs or lift. Not good for disabled. Most ships you can go down to level you want. Lifts are a pain and slow to get waiting 4 mins asifts hours past your level contantly. Lack of toilets and broken toilets towards end of cruise. Dirty in some cases. There are not enough open spaces it all felt claustrophobic. This is by far the worst cruise ship. Food Food was below average in buffer and sometimes cold or like warm. I'm sure on Oceana there was more choice than this and was better quality. Only had 3 choices to choose from. Trying to get a seat was nigh impossible. Felt sorry for disabled and elderly who had no help from staff. Trying to get cups at breakfast was difficult. When asking staff they said you go to other buffets to get cups. That's not helpful especially for elderly or disabled having to walk between buffets and then losing your seat. Food in freedom Dining was OK. Nothing special not as good as couple of years ago. Layout if buffet was odd and always really busy Service Service in buffet was bad, never enough cups and they really couldn't be bothered to go get some either even when asked to do so. Getting asked a drink was quick but actually getting the drink was really slow and having to ask where it was after 15 mins. In main restaurant they asked us to sign for our drinks when we serving our starters, (very odd as we wanted another during main course) they normally get you to sign bill at dessert or when getting coffee.. Not when your trying to eat your starterm Entertainment Evenings were good. Nothing really to do during day though. It was a about spending money on board. On sea days they were showing films on sea screen which is not good when it's bad weather. Runaround kids were really great and illusionist Philip hitchcock was great too. Cabins We had aft cabin b750 was clean. And a suppose upgrade although we had a steel girder coming through and blocking our view. But as we didn't go outside much because of bad weather It wasn't a problem. Cabin steward was really helpful and kept cabin nice and clean. Didn't do shore excursions we just went out and did our own thing. We will be trying other cruise lines out next. Our last cruise was with celebrity eclipse which was far superior ship than this. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this Azura cruise because we had been on the Azura twice previously and enjoyed almost everything about the experience.I will try to be fair and form an opinion on experience as a whole before choosing a score for the whole ... Read More
We chose this Azura cruise because we had been on the Azura twice previously and enjoyed almost everything about the experience.I will try to be fair and form an opinion on experience as a whole before choosing a score for the whole cruise. Of course the crew members were mostly charming and well mannered and they work hard. The captain was approachable and seemed excellent at his job. Individually entertainers were good or not good; that is a matter of taste. Our cabin was clean and our steward was hard working so no problems there. I will focus my comments on what I know and what I feel has changed since we last sailed on the Azura. The atmosphere on board, created by the entertainment director and his team, was so different and more" Butlins and Hi de Hi " than our previous Azura cruises which had catered more for "grown ups". The entertainment in the Theatre was usually of a good standard but the Elvis spoof by a deputy entertainment manager in the cabaret lounge was infantile and amateurish and smacked of cost cutting by not paying a professional. We had a constant general uneasiness that standards had slipped due to a cost cutting exercises and this view was expressed to us by many passengers. The Peninsular Restaurant menu was samey and after a few nights aboard I was aching for other food. Is the repetitive menu a PandO ploy to force you into another restaurant at extra cost? The Verona and Venetia restaurants lunch menu was not to my liking but I am prepared to accept that sliced processed sausages and slippery cheese are modern taste, I just happen to prefer sliced real cold cuts with a simple salad for lunch. Absolutely every day we found crockery in the cafeteria which was substandard. Cracked mugs, chipped mug rims and boken handles. Blue staining on the outside of the cups (undissolved detergent) day after day. Multiple tea and coffee stains inside the mugs, one instance of crystallised sugar at the bottom of a mug, two instances of what looked like thick coffee milk skin over a sizeable area of the mugs. On returning the mugs to a waiter I picked up another and found it had lipstick around the rim. On each occasion I returned the mug and reported it to the waiter as well as showing it to any bystander. Now for the cutlery. I usually made my tea and after stirring, placed the spoon in the "used" tin. On one occasion I accidentally left the spoon in my cup only to find later that it had sponge pudding stuck on it. Think about it. I had stirred my tea with a spoon that had been in someone else's mouth and not properly washed. I was also given a knife that had dried egg on the blade and on another occasion a knife had food of different colours all the way along the blade. Finally, three supervisors and a higher authority were involved in checking the offending unhygenic cutlery and crockery and were most attentive on seeing the proof. I suggested the dishwasher water wasn't hot enough. They were apologetic. They gave me a bottle of wine for bringing them the offending items and almost immediately put the matter right. We noticed a lovely shiny feel to mugs the following day. Thank goodness the supervisors admitted what I showed them was substandard and acted upon it or readers might be tempted not to believe the frequency. The night before our cruise ended we found a letter (not in a sealed envelope) outside our cabin regarding gratuities. It stated all the reasons why we should be giving gratuities and not opting out. It left a whole reverse side of A4 paper to state the reasons why we had not added any gratuities to our bill. THEY WERE WRONG. We HAD donated gratuities and after I pointed out their mistake we received an apology from the accounts department. But I have to say that I totally support the right of passengers to give or not give gratuities. It is up to the individual. For goodness sake, PandO, be honest. If you want the staff to have the gratuities, state the full cost of the cruise before passengers step on board and do not intimidate or embarrass them into giving more money once they are captives on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have previously been on the Ventura and thoroughly enjoyed it so decided to give the azura a try. The prices of drinks are absurd. The entertainment not that great apart from jimmy Tamley and accent. When returning onto ship from port ... Read More
We have previously been on the Ventura and thoroughly enjoyed it so decided to give the azura a try. The prices of drinks are absurd. The entertainment not that great apart from jimmy Tamley and accent. When returning onto ship from port we found them writing our names down if we had more duty free than we should, so beware as they pass this information on in Southampton. Food standards have dropped dramatically. The buffets at night time were ridiculous. Barely anything there and what was not very edible. Sailing from the carribean to Southampton was very boring. Not much on board to do. We sailed with 3 children who were constantly asking to go home as they were bored. Age 10,11 and 14. Kids club not that great as not many children on board so children left to occupy themselves. Cabin steward as always was amazing. Nothing to much trouble. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
First time cruise for myself and husband we were so looking forward to this cruise as booked a year in advance and was looking forward to going to Tortola and St.Maarten but due to the hurricane these stops got replaced and got an extra ... Read More
First time cruise for myself and husband we were so looking forward to this cruise as booked a year in advance and was looking forward to going to Tortola and St.Maarten but due to the hurricane these stops got replaced and got an extra sea day. My expectations were high, thus ended up disappointed. The formal nights we had four in total all dressed up to the nines, looking all old school Hollywood, I honestly thought what a waste of time, I was expecting magic and sparkle but there was none, there really was nothing exciting about these nights at all. We have never been to the Caribbean, so we were excited to go on the cruise to see the Caribbean islands, the sea days were too long started to get cabin fever as wanted to get onto dry land to explore. The islands we visited we did enjoy and had great weather with only one rain day being on the 3rd last day. Favourite place was Barbados and St Kitts all locals in all the islands we visited were polite and lovely I would definitely go back to the Caribbean especially Barbados in a heartbeat and St. Kitts. The room we had was very basic and extremely tired looking and a lovely colour of brown, the bathroom tiles behind the taps was all mouldy and black we have never had this in any hotel we have stayed in, the shower took ages to drain. The top cover on bed was stained and even with the change of bed linen again top cover still stained. Shelf that TV was on again dusty and the same on shelves in bathroom. The room we had was on the 11th floor, odd numbers, my left ankle was bitten twice early in the morning in bed and ended up with two really big red bite marks that took another a week to heal when I got home. My husband was fine but we just felt that the room cleanliness was not up to scratch. The staff some of them looked miserable throughout our two weeks and other staff were lovely. The wait for drinks at the bars at the pools was so slow and poor. Found the price of alcohol to be expensive. We took one of the wine packages, the wine was awful that we got was awful, we took the captains package, glad we only took the 4 bottles, husband ended up drinking the last two bottles, in my opinion what we got recommended to us was truly awful. Also, came across some really rude older passengers on this cruise with a sense of entitlement, But also spoke to some really lovely folk giving us some really useful information on the Caribbean. The food was really disappointing was expecting getting a taste Caribbean food but this was a no no. The food choice pretty much catered for the older folk on the ship the usual fish and chips, steak pie,custard and dumplings the usual stuff you can get in a Witherspoons or brewers fayre. It was an opportunity missed. We went to the epicurean and the meal was amazing and staff and service was first class with the chef going round each table asking everyone if they enjoyed their meal. We had 2nd dinner setting in the oriental and had a lovely couple on our table the gentleman kept me laughing for two weeks, so funny. I would go on another cruise but not with P&O, we picked this cruise as we thought they were the benchmark, we were so wrong. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We just arrived home from a 5 night cruise from Southampton due to call at Amsterdam and Le Havre. We did not end up docking in port at Le Havre, due to a local protest. Which is fair enough, although strikes at this port in particular ... Read More
We just arrived home from a 5 night cruise from Southampton due to call at Amsterdam and Le Havre. We did not end up docking in port at Le Havre, due to a local protest. Which is fair enough, although strikes at this port in particular are an ongoing issue, and the unions do post a schedule of strikes arranged. So in all honesty I am not sure why they even attempted to dock. Aside from the changes to our itinerary; not being able to dock in France and getting an extra half a day in Amsterdam due to wind conditions preventing our disembarkation (Amsterdam was great by the way), I have several concerns and reservations about the standard of cruise that P&O offered. Where to start... Dirty. Once you navigate away from the main atrium the conditions on board slip -substantially. Old, worn out, shabby decor. Add to that the fact that the whole of deck 7 smelt of sewerage. The one night we got into the lift from the atrium up to deck 15, we were greeted by a pair of extremely soiled pants which had just been taken off and discarded INSIDE the lift! Overall the standard on board is no better than a 3 star hotel. Dirty and discoloured carpets. The stagnant smell of cigarettes. Tatty and old tables and chairs in the dining area. Dirty window cills. Dirty Cutlery. Wet and stained carpets - that they were constantly trying to dry out - to no avail. Cold food. Bad smelling public toilets near Malabar. Plastic cocktail and pint glasses. The only reason I have given the overall rating of 2 stars, is because of the staff. They work ridiculously long hours are always happy to help and quite frankly put up with rude, intolerable and haughty guests on board. Would I cruise with P&O again, no. I am so glad that we booked very last minute and paid the saver rate. If we had paid full price for this cruise, I would have formally complained. One last thing, the only drinks that come in your all inclusive package are; tea, coffee and water, no juice. Which I think is totally ridiculous. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My wife is a seasoned cruiser, having been a top act on Cunard in the 1970s and 1980s.I've been cruising for about 14 years ,having tried quite a few of the cruise lines. Our friends ( who came along with us) are also regular ... Read More
My wife is a seasoned cruiser, having been a top act on Cunard in the 1970s and 1980s.I've been cruising for about 14 years ,having tried quite a few of the cruise lines. Our friends ( who came along with us) are also regular seasoned cruisers. Although , of course, the four of us have different tastes in food, wine, entertainment etc we are agreed that the P&O Azura was the worst cruise any one of us have been on. The allocated restaurant's food was poor, the regular lunch buffets even worse. To get a decent meal it was necessary to pay extra to eat in one of the special restaurants, which were much better.Our allocated restaurant for 'freedom dining' for which we had booked a table for the 4 of us, kept asking us to share tables and sometimes meant we had to go elsewhere .The breakfast buffets were second rate, with toast as hard and cold as it can be, and the food choice fairly standard but sad and tired looking. The wine in most of the venues were not up to much ( except in Olly's 'The Glass House' which had some really good wines and good food) . The wine waiters were mstly useless, lacking knowledge of wine. The restaurant waiters, though nice pleasant kids , knew little about food, and seemed under trained. They were polite with lots of 'please' and 'thank yous' and repeated enquiries whether we were enjoying the meal, but seemed to be raw recruits. The cabins, though adequate, were tired, the carpets well past their sell by date with ingrained dirt, the bathrooms poorly patched up in places. The bathrobes supplied were ghastly , thin and felt cheap . The ship was ran more akin to a down-market holiday camp ; noise and lots of shouting from the cruise staff substituting for quality & enjoyment. Throughout P&O spent copious amount of time selling, selling ,selling. Selling specialist restaurants, selling ship's tours, even selling entrance to a sail away party ! Selling all manner of things by leaflets to the cabin, by staff walking round the restaurant pushing this or that. Endless selling. The Wi-Fi facility was adequate but ,as with most cruise ships, very expensive. Some of these quibbles may sound OTT but the price of our cruise was comparatively expensive, so it just isn’t on to then have to pay for things that should have been provided in the cruise price. Two really good things; my wife used room service extensively and the steward that brought it in was competent , prompt and superb; and our cabin steward was a star, the saving grace. Of the average entertainment available , one band ,in particular, was excellent, "Catch 22" , with an excellent energetic girl singer who covered all sorts of vocals and a terrific lead guitarist , Fortunately, the itinerary was excellent, just what we were seeking. As you can imagine , none of the four of us are in the least happy with P&O and chances are we'll avoid them and never use them again. in summary : disapointing and just not good enough. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We've cruised with p and o before and enjoyed the experience so decided to do a 5 day cruise to Amsterdam and le harve _ first time on azura and certainly the last, in fact we may decide not to sale with p and o again! Dirty ... Read More
We've cruised with p and o before and enjoyed the experience so decided to do a 5 day cruise to Amsterdam and le harve _ first time on azura and certainly the last, in fact we may decide not to sale with p and o again! Dirty conditions on board including public areas and some toilets. Boring food choices, not always particularly cooked well and the queues in the self service restaurants were unreal. Most of the staff were fantastic and couldn't do enough for you and then there were other staff who were indifferent and seemed very unhappy in their work. This wasn't by any means a cheap cruise but it certainly was a disappointing one and one we hope to forget really soon. We know other people on board were disappointed as we were and they were going to complain direct to P&O. The entertainment was second rate and the shows poor .P&O are going to have to up there game to keep people cruising on Azura Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Be warned - I learned to my cost that these 'two-nighters' were full of rowdy hen parties etc., including a divorce party!! Apparently, also known as a 'booze cruise'. I only booked this short trip for a little break ... Read More
Be warned - I learned to my cost that these 'two-nighters' were full of rowdy hen parties etc., including a divorce party!! Apparently, also known as a 'booze cruise'. I only booked this short trip for a little break and a chance to catch up with someone on Guernsey. Never Again. Straightaway, I had to ring reception to inform them the person on the balcony below was smoking. I eventually got to sleep at just turned 3.30 a.m. on the Sunday morning. My cabin was very clean with a very large balcony. I know for a fact, P&O can do a lot better. On this trip, I only saw my cabin steward upon boarding, the food was poor and there was nothing amidst the 'entertainment' I wished to watch. I booked the Epicurean Restaurant for the first evening (as I normally do) and it lived up to standard - yes, one pays a supplement, only £30, but well worth it. The hairdresser was not interested and my hair looked dreadful. With naturally curly hair, I do not wish to have straighteners nor a fringe - he either didn't listen or understand. The buffet was pleasant, but havoc on the last morning and could quite easily started a row between the north/south divide (I know who would have won!). Do the northerners not know how to queue - we're not in Germany. Yes, there were some real 'types' on board. I will never do a short cruise again, but would not let this experience stop me from doing another P&O cruise, which are normally excellent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There ... Read More
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There was a lovely member of staff in the Verona restaurant, the staff in The Beach House were brilliant, the cabins are nice, the Electric Avenue show was good and mum loved the cocktails.The team running the tenders were lovely and looked out for the travellers with disabilities.The large number of hen parties even sang in tune........... All of that couldn't make up for the sarcasm from the member of staff who did the life jacket demo in muster station D, the lack of food & drink availability when we arrived and very few staff. Just someone to say welcome and then no one. Just a blip I hear you say, must have all been getting the ship ready to sail. And so I thought....until breakfast in the buffet restaurants was chaos and then a two hour wait to get off of the ship (after the busy time they told us to avoid). Take a ticket and sit an wait til called. All stuck in one of the lounges for two hours with no offers of drinks. Told to stand by the side of the room and constantly being told to be patient as they have 3000 to get off of the ship. Surely, you say, they knew how many people they have on the ship and would have thought about this.........Eventually got into St Peters Port at about 12.30 and only stayed a couple of hours as last tender leaving at 5 and they have to get the 3000 people back! Went to The Beach House and paid £10 extra each as not impressed with food in buffet restaurant. Food was good and apparently the extra money buys you the service you should expect anyway.. Didn't even see our cabin steward but they must have been around because we got a chocolate every night. Disembarkation was just another dose of totally disorganised splendour. People had kept their luggage with them rather than trust P & O with it but had to be out of their cabin by 8am. So off they went in the lifts to the buffet restaurants which mean't we couldn't get lifts down to get off the ship. This was meant to be a lovely birthday treat for my dad, who is now 80 and has lost his sight. Have been on cruises with Thomson so thought that he would receive the same consideration and pampering as we have had with them. Made sure that we let P & O know about dad's disability but, other than a scrappy A4 sheet of paper on the first day with large print of the excursions, nothing. Unfortunately dad had a fall whilst getting of the tender but no one bothered to check this morning to see if he was ok. So considering that surely a taster cruise is the 'shop window' for more cruises with P & O, would I ever travel with them or recommend them? I'm sure you can guess.......... Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have done five cruises with RCI on the news ships, Anthem and Harmony being the most recent. We wanted to try P&O before booking a main holiday cruise with them so going on a two day trip was a good way to see what they have to ... Read More
We have done five cruises with RCI on the news ships, Anthem and Harmony being the most recent. We wanted to try P&O before booking a main holiday cruise with them so going on a two day trip was a good way to see what they have to offer. Very glad we did this as we now know it's not for us! In general it's just not as good the main disappointment being the food, the best thing we ate all weekend was a burger and fries from the deck restaurant near the pool on deck! The buffet restaurants are dreadful, very cramped in the area where you queue up and very hot. You literally have to snake your way along, in one end out the other. No good if you forget something and want to pop back! You have to go one at a time too when travelling as a couple as one of you has to save the table otherwise no chance of getting one with food rapidly going cold on your tray! Choice of food very poor in comparison to RCI and the quality was awful awful awful..... someone from P&O needs to go on the Anthem of the seas to see how to deal with crowds in buffet restaurants. Ate in Sindhu the Indian on the 1st night, cost us an extra £70 with a bottle of wine and really wasn't worth it. No atmosphere either as barely anybody else in there eating, still tried to sit us at a rubbish table for two in the middle of the restaurant though.....ended up next to a window in a larger table. Food quality better than the main restaurant but still nothing stand out. Ate in the main restaurant the next night for formal night as figured this would be when the best menu would be on. Cramped table for two so close to others that we might as well have been sat with them! Could hear everyone's conversation without trying, awful. Food quality was rubbish and portions small. Service very slow and hit and miss, they brought the wrong food twice! Left before dessert couldn't wait any longer and just wanted to get out of there. Bars all pretty quiet with bland background musicians apart from one bar I think it was called Malabar which had a bit more life. Entertainment an Annie Lennox impersonator....that's as far as we got. Went to the casino to play, no chance of getting on a table not enough of them. Listened to the karaoke in there instead which was probably the best entertainment of the cruise! Ship itself is difficult to navigate, several dead ends and having to walk through restaurants to get to other places .....weird. Also pretty dated now and lots of furniture in the bars and restaurants showing it's age and needs replacing. Definitely an older crowd on P&O which is fine but probably not for us just yet..... Tried to get off to visit Guernsey but the tendering system a nightmare with a two hour wait in a long queue to endure first so didn't bother, shame. Cabin was very dated and quite battered, the tv remote sensor was being held to the cabinet under the TV with gaffa tape! Nice! Cabin steward nice and efficient. All in all a disappointment not to be repeated. Back to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity for us, we should have stayed loyal to royal as there slogan says! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
itinery P&O reputation Just returned from this cruise what a let down. Tired ship,and crew.. Food in Oriental not of a good standard they cant do potatoes and get them hot, had to return a few dishes. The waiters were ... Read More
itinery P&O reputation Just returned from this cruise what a let down. Tired ship,and crew.. Food in Oriental not of a good standard they cant do potatoes and get them hot, had to return a few dishes. The waiters were unskilled clearing places whilst people were still eating and reaching across people to reach plates. The wine waiter was brilliant. We had an adapted cabin L248 avoid if you want a quiet night theres a constant gurgling. The cabin steward was o.k but not perfect. The itinery was marred by not being able to dock in Rekyavik [high wind] so no whale watching trip. No refund of mooring fees letter to P&O on the way. Entertainment disappointing not a lot going on on sailing days. The buffet food was at best luke warm never hot enough. . Isaford is a complete waste of time. There were 3 of us and luckily the above did not spoil our fun. This is the first and last P&O cruise. When we got back to Southampton we were taken off at a different terminal and had to pay for a taxi to get to our car. All in all very disappointed and not good value. I will be writing to P&O CEO to complain We had booked the Belfast tour and Titanic museum but P&O couldn't help us get an adapted taxi despite promises so we ended up staying on board Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
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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