Azura Cruise Review by sparklefish
- Sail Date: June 2012
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Superior Deluxe Balcony Stateroom
To us the ship seemed small compared to the Epic but it was very easy to find your way around and there were plenty of lifts. At meal times they did get a little busy so we took the opportunity to use the stairs and work off some of the lovely food we had eaten!
There were plenty of signs everywhere telling you where each of the venues were situated. One of our favourite spots was the Terrace area where there is a bar, a small pool, tables, chairs and loungers. It was the best place to be when sailing out of each of the ports.
We thought the food choices were great and ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet. We usually managed to find a table quite quickly or we just asked if we could share a table, which was never a problem. There was always plenty of choice and there were different choices every day. We had chosen Freedom Dining and we only had to wait once to be seated. We were given a pager and after about 10 minutes we were called to the dining room. The 5 course menus were lovely and we always ate far too much. The waiters were very efficient and the food was always hot and tasty.
We had a balcony deluxe cabin which was spacious with plenty of storage. Our cabin steward was very good and always made our cabin look very inviting.
We went to most of the bars and rarely had to wait to be served as there are plenty of wait staff to take your order. I tried quite a few cocktails, which were very tasty.
We didn't go to much of the evening entertainment as we preferred to sit out on deck until late enjoying the fabulous midnight sun which is quite an experience and one of the reasons for us choosing the Fjords. However the daily Horizon gave details of all the shows etc so there was something to do every night if you wished.
As we are smokers we did feel that there were not enough places where we were allowed to smoke and when the weather was bad it was very cold on the outside decks. There is no smoking anywhere inside the ship unlike the American lines we have sailed with.
There was information in your cabin about each of the ports and extra information was available on the interactive service via the TV in the cabin.
The ports were fantastic, especially Flaam and Olden, my favourites. We didn't pre book the Flaam train excursion as we were hoping to buy our own tickets but they sold out just as we got to the front of the queue! So we will definitely pre book next time. Instead we went on a small train ride around the village and then hired bikes for 2 hours, which was great fun and we saw a lot of the beautiful countryside.
We booked the Glacier excursion for Olden. The walk there is quite demanding but well worth it. The scenery is just breathtaking.
In Stavanger and Bergen we walked around enjoying the sights and sounds, especially the fish market in Bergen!
There were small shops to look round and various cafes and restaurants in each of the ports.
The journey into and out of the Fjords was just magnificent and we can't wait to go again.
The age of the passengers was varied from children to more senior cruisers.
We had some rough weather on our return journey which delayed our arrival into Southampton so our disembark time was put back 45 minutes however this time was soon revised and we could disembark only 15 minutes later than originally advised. Again the process was very quick and efficient.
We really liked the very "Englishness" of the cruise, it was very different compared to our experience with the larger American cruise lines however it was a nice change and we will definitely sail again with P and O and are hoping to book the Azura and the Fjords again for next year.