Background - a bad start! As many people may have heard, we experienced a 2 day delay in the start of our 14 night cruise due to Azura having technical problems on the previous cruise. Whilst this was very disappointing and inconvenient, P &O handled the situation very well, keeping us informed by telephone, text, email and social media. They also sent a customer services team on board for the first 3 days (sea days) to deal with the inevitable fallout and claims for expenses for hotel and travel changes needed. This team suffered a fair bit of verbal abuse and from what I saw handled it with professionalism. The revised itinerary meant that we missed two ports, Cadiz (for Seville) and Naples. I suspect this was partly due to the need to negotiate with the various port authorities but missing these two ports was generally a very unpopular decision. It also meant we had 3 consecutive sea days at the start of the cruise which was unpopular with many. The "compensation" offered was, in my honest view and I suspect many others, not compensation at all. We received a refund of 15% of the fare paid, (a cheque was awaiting our return home) which almost exactly equated to the cost of the two nights missed, which in all honesty was to be expected. On top of that we are being offered 10% of the fare paid off a future cruise. Fine if you intend to take another cruise within the specified time limit (and not redeemable against saver fares), but not everyone can and will be able to use this credit. So it could be considered worthless. A box of chocolates and a bottle of Pol Acker in the cabin. I guess there will be a deluge of letters to P &O over the next couple of weeks. Moving on to the cruise itself, we were in a Superior deluxe cabin on D deck. The cabins are spacious and well equipped. For anyone interested, they are almost identical to the midship Princess grill cabins on the QE and QV. In common with all ships I have been on there is never enough drawer space but other than that, more than sufficient storage. The balcony is a decent size, (and bigger than on QE/QV) with plenty of room to stretch out on the recliners provided, along with footstools and small table. A comfortable lounge area (although the sofa bed really needed replacing - not sure I would like to have slept on it!). Good size bathroom with bath and shower over. Our cabin steward, Jerry, was excellent., and a lovely man. Just the right level of being around without being intrusive and keeping the cabin clean and tidy. The bed was firm but very comfortable. Ports - as I unfortunately sustained a nasty back injury on the third day, I can't comment much on the ports. Barcelona for me was just a short stroll up La Rambla and Monte Carlo - a tender port - was out of the question. We had very rough seas between Barcelona and Monte Carlo (ship handled it very well) which abated a little in the morning but tendering was still quite " interesting" ! The winds got up again midday and tendering operations were suspended for safety reasons for couple of hours in the afternoon. Watching the tenders from the ship, being tossed around like corks made me very grateful I had stayed on board! It looked very hairy! A reminder of how the staff put their own safety on the line in tender ports. They should be congratulated for their stirling efforts on that day. Rome - we took the P&O " Shuttle and Roma Train" excursion- an excellent option for doing Rome on your own. Expensive - yes but well worth it to avoid that horrible coach trip into Rome. Train very quick and comfortable and stops just behind the Vatican and St Peters Square. Cagliari we stayed on board as I wasn't fit enough to go ashore - maybe a result of trying to do too much in Rome the previous day. Gibraltar - not much to say really, been there before. Good shopping if you want it, the Rock is very interesting. Somewhere to stop on the way home! Food....we ate in the Oriental restaurant, fixed dining , late sitting. Our waiters were simply lovely and coped brilliantly with our table of 8 ( we were all travelling together) , despite the fact that we were nearly always last to leave the restaurant .. The wine waiters have gone and although they were missed, again our waiter coped well with our constant requests for wine! We did not experience any delay in getting wine to the table unlike previous cruises when sometimes the wine waiter was so elusive we got wine delivered with the dessert! (we learned then to pre order!). The down side is that no one seems to have taught the waiters how and when to pour wine properly. Not their fault I suspect. The food itself was fine, plenty of choice, usually hot, and perfectly acceptable. Portion size more than adequate. Occasionally something was not to my personal liking but I was always offered an alternative (declined!) Only real gripe was the cheese - usually too cold and not a huge choice eg Brie disappeared after a few days, sometimes no "blue" cheese to chose from. Fine dining it was not but then I didn't expect that. We also ate in Epicurean - superb and well worth the cover change, and 6 of our group also had a night in Sindhu - also reported as excellent. We frequented the Glass House for lunch on several occasions and again, the food & service was excellent. Breakfast was usually taken in the buffet or in our cabin, as we didn't manage to get up in time to go to the MDR. Fresh cooked omelettes were lovely, as was the fresh fruit on offer along with yogurts etc. Never particularly fancied the rest siting under the hot lights although did partake of a fried egg & bacon one morning. It was ok. Waiters now come and serve you with Tea and Coffee at breakfast which we really liked and worked well. We seldom ate lunch and if we did, it tended to be in the Glass house. A Scone and cake for tea was enough for us. Entertainment - I think P&O did a great job in securing some additional acts to compensate for our delay at the start. We had Joe McElderry (x factor) , Richard & Adam (BGT) and Leanne (the voice). I was not a great fan of these shows but these guys were really good live and we thoroughly enjoyed their performances. We also had the "marmite " act of Freddie Mercury tribute - love him or hate him , he was brilliant! And Tom Jones tribute act too - he was very good. The Headliner shows were as good as they usually are, and we had a bonus of strictly stars Aljaz Skorjanec & Janette Manrara who entertained us beautifully with their dancing. Despite being late out of dinner every night we always managed to find seats in the Theatre somewhere although not obviously 8 altogether. One or two "tuts" when we had to ask people to move so we could reach the 2 seats left vacant right in the middle of the row.... There were some recent films showing on the sea screen and one of the inside venues (although I didn't get round to seeing any of them!) & lots of activities we didn't try - Not into quizzes, too old for cricket and tennis , but just couldn't fit everything in. Guest speaker, Chris Woodward was an excellent speaker if you are interested in the theatre and entertainment history - he covered The Palladium, Butlins, Houdini, comedians as well as others. Fascinating. Nearly forgot. The Retreat - lovely area especially when the weather is good. Is it worth a 2 week pass when sailing from Southampton? Not sure as no refunds for bad weather. But quiet and peaceful, breakfast and lunch available. If you really want R &R you will get it in the Retreat. Service in the bars was generally fine, occasional wait to be served when busy particularly in the Planet Bar but nothing one wouldn't expect. Talking of the Planet bar, the chairs in this bar are decidedly shabby and do need replacing. The location of this bar is so lovely, it seemed such a shame to be so let down by almost threadbare chairs in some instances. Obviously got missed in the refit! Disembarkation was not the smoothest I have experienced and we were delayed by nearly an hour. Communication from the staff was very poor and the way the Theatre was emptied in 3 unexpected stages meant we were separated from our friends who ended up having to wait for us in the baggage hall for nearly 45 mins. Summary - well despite the delayed start, we still really enjoyed our time on board. Azura is a beautiful ship, the service was excellent. I am sure that there is something onboard for everyone to enjoy. And Captain Neil Turnbull' s wonderful sense of humour particularly during the inclement weather kept us all smiling! Would I go on Azura again? Yes. And I prefer smaller ships.....!

14 Days = 12 Day Cruise to the Med

Azura Cruise Review by Mysticalmother

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2015
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Superior Deluxe Balcony Stateroom
Background - a bad start! As many people may have heard, we experienced a 2 day delay in the start of our 14 night cruise due to Azura having technical problems on the previous cruise. Whilst this was very disappointing and inconvenient, P &O handled the situation very well, keeping us informed by telephone, text, email and social media. They also sent a customer services team on board for the first 3 days (sea days) to deal with the inevitable fallout and claims for expenses for hotel and travel changes needed. This team suffered a fair bit of verbal abuse and from what I saw handled it with professionalism.

The revised itinerary meant that we missed two ports, Cadiz (for Seville) and Naples. I suspect this was partly due to the need to negotiate with the various port authorities but missing these two ports was generally a very unpopular decision. It also meant we had 3 consecutive sea days at the start of the cruise which was unpopular with many.

The "compensation" offered was, in my honest view and I suspect many others, not compensation at all. We received a refund of 15% of the fare paid, (a cheque was awaiting our return home) which almost exactly equated to the cost of the two nights missed, which in all honesty was to be expected. On top of that we are being offered 10% of the fare paid off a future cruise. Fine if you intend to take another cruise within the specified time limit (and not redeemable against saver fares), but not everyone can and will be able to use this credit. So it could be considered worthless. A box of chocolates and a bottle of Pol Acker in the cabin. I guess there will be a deluge of letters to P &O over the next couple of weeks.

Moving on to the cruise itself, we were in a Superior deluxe cabin on D deck. The cabins are spacious and well equipped. For anyone interested, they are almost identical to the midship Princess grill cabins on the QE and QV. In common with all ships I have been on there is never enough drawer space but other than that, more than sufficient storage. The balcony is a decent size, (and bigger than on QE/QV) with plenty of room to stretch out on the recliners provided, along with footstools and small table. A comfortable lounge area (although the sofa bed really needed replacing - not sure I would like to have slept on it!). Good size bathroom with bath and shower over. Our cabin steward, Jerry, was excellent., and a lovely man. Just the right level of being around without being intrusive and keeping the cabin clean and tidy. The bed was firm but very comfortable.

Ports - as I unfortunately sustained a nasty back injury on the third day, I can't comment much on the ports. Barcelona for me was just a short stroll up La Rambla and Monte Carlo - a tender port - was out of the question. We had very rough seas between Barcelona and Monte Carlo (ship handled it very well) which abated a little in the morning but tendering was still quite " interesting" ! The winds got up again midday and tendering operations were suspended for safety reasons for couple of hours in the afternoon. Watching the tenders from the ship, being tossed around like corks made me very grateful I had stayed on board! It looked very hairy! A reminder of how the staff put their own safety on the line in tender ports. They should be congratulated for their stirling efforts on that day.

Rome - we took the P&O " Shuttle and Roma Train" excursion- an excellent option for doing Rome on your own. Expensive - yes but well worth it to avoid that horrible coach trip into Rome. Train very quick and comfortable and stops just behind the Vatican and St Peters Square.

Cagliari we stayed on board as I wasn't fit enough to go ashore - maybe a result of trying to do too much in Rome the previous day.

Gibraltar - not much to say really, been there before. Good shopping if you want it, the Rock is very interesting. Somewhere to stop on the way home!

Food....we ate in the Oriental restaurant, fixed dining , late sitting. Our waiters were simply lovely and coped brilliantly with our table of 8 ( we were all travelling together) , despite the fact that we were nearly always last to leave the restaurant .. The wine waiters have gone and although they were missed, again our waiter coped well with our constant requests for wine! We did not experience any delay in getting wine to the table unlike previous cruises when sometimes the wine waiter was so elusive we got wine delivered with the dessert! (we learned then to pre order!). The down side is that no one seems to have taught the waiters how and when to pour wine properly. Not their fault I suspect. The food itself was fine, plenty of choice, usually hot, and perfectly acceptable. Portion size more than adequate. Occasionally something was not to my personal liking but I was always offered an alternative (declined!) Only real gripe was the cheese - usually too cold and not a huge choice eg Brie disappeared after a few days, sometimes no "blue" cheese to chose from. Fine dining it was not but then I didn't expect that.

We also ate in Epicurean - superb and well worth the cover change, and 6 of our group also had a night in Sindhu - also reported as excellent.

We frequented the Glass House for lunch on several occasions and again, the food & service was excellent. Breakfast was usually taken in the buffet or in our cabin, as we didn't manage to get up in time to go to the MDR. Fresh cooked omelettes were lovely, as was the fresh fruit on offer along with yogurts etc. Never particularly fancied the rest siting under the hot lights although did partake of a fried egg & bacon one morning. It was ok. Waiters now come and serve you with Tea and Coffee at breakfast which we really liked and worked well. We seldom ate lunch and if we did, it tended to be in the Glass house. A Scone and cake for tea was enough for us.

Entertainment - I think P&O did a great job in securing some additional acts to compensate for our delay at the start. We had Joe McElderry (x factor) , Richard & Adam (BGT) and Leanne (the voice). I was not a great fan of these shows but these guys were really good live and we thoroughly enjoyed their performances. We also had the "marmite " act of Freddie Mercury tribute - love him or hate him , he was brilliant! And Tom Jones tribute act too - he was very good. The Headliner shows were as good as they usually are, and we had a bonus of strictly stars Aljaz Skorjanec & Janette Manrara who entertained us beautifully with their dancing. Despite being late out of dinner every night we always managed to find seats in the Theatre somewhere although not obviously 8 altogether. One or two "tuts" when we had to ask people to move so we could reach the 2 seats left vacant right in the middle of the row....

There were some recent films showing on the sea screen and one of the inside venues (although I didn't get round to seeing any of them!) & lots of activities we didn't try - Not into quizzes, too old for cricket and tennis , but just couldn't fit everything in. Guest speaker, Chris Woodward was an excellent speaker if you are interested in the theatre and entertainment history - he covered The Palladium, Butlins, Houdini, comedians as well as others. Fascinating.

Nearly forgot. The Retreat - lovely area especially when the weather is good. Is it worth a 2 week pass when sailing from Southampton? Not sure as no refunds for bad weather. But quiet and peaceful, breakfast and lunch available. If you really want R &R you will get it in the Retreat.

Service in the bars was generally fine, occasional wait to be served when busy particularly in the Planet Bar but nothing one wouldn't expect. Talking of the Planet bar, the chairs in this bar are decidedly shabby and do need replacing. The location of this bar is so lovely, it seemed such a shame to be so let down by almost threadbare chairs in some instances. Obviously got missed in the refit!

Disembarkation was not the smoothest I have experienced and we were delayed by nearly an hour. Communication from the staff was very poor and the way the Theatre was emptied in 3 unexpected stages meant we were separated from our friends who ended up having to wait for us in the baggage hall for nearly 45 mins.

Summary - well despite the delayed start, we still really enjoyed our time on board. Azura is a beautiful ship, the service was excellent. I am sure that there is something onboard for everyone to enjoy. And Captain Neil Turnbull' s wonderful sense of humour particularly during the inclement weather kept us all smiling! Would I go on Azura again? Yes. And I prefer smaller ships.....!
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Cabin Review

Superior Deluxe Balcony Stateroom
Cabin CB D324
Excellent size, good size balcony although completely overlooked. Bath, shower over. Could do with more drawer space but plenty of alternative storage. Nice sitting area, 2 TVs. Lighting very good.
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