Having cruised with various US cruise lines over the past 10 years or so we thought we would give P&O a try for a change which also gave us the chance to drive to the embarkation port for the first time instead of flying. Pre-cruise information - nice personalised brochure delivered to the house. Would have liked information regarding port arrival and departure times but this was not forthcoming despite an email. (Maybe a ploy so that you can't book your own shore excursions as you don't know in advance how long you'll be in port?) Embarkation - went smoothly (very impressed with the car parking/unloading luggage arrangements at Southampton). Luggage reached our cabin quickly. Buffet available within minutes of boarding. Display by the Red Arrows prior to sailing an unexpected bonus! Unfortunately departure was delayed due to high numbers of passengers being stuck in traffic due to the Boat Show being on, so it was dark before we sailed. Cabin - internal as usual and an excellent layout, better than any we've had on any other ship. Lots of storage space and a very comfortable bed. Really good airflow system in the shower room - good for those nasty niffs (!) and also meant the mirror de-steamed quickly after your shower. Steward attentive but never intrusive. Dining - food all very good - buffet, main restaurant, speciality restaurant (Sindu). Lots of choice at the main buffet and hot food was hot, not lukewarm. All waiting staff pleasant and friendly. Drinks - much less expensive than on US ships, (about what we would pay ashore in UK), which was good as this encouraged you to linger in the venue, listen to the live background music and, (importantly for P&O), order another drink! Entertainment - not as good a variety as we've been used to. Venues got busy very quickly. Didn't like the fact that as 2nd sitting diners, we couldn't linger over our meal if we also wanted to see the shows; other cruise lines have an earlier pre-dinner show for the 2nd "sitters". Shore excursions - poor value for money, more so than usual. Went on the jeep safari from Lisbon and, although we saw a bit of the countryside, learned nothing about the towns where we stopped. The girl from the ship accompanying the jeeps made no attempt to gather everyone together at the stops and tell us a bit about where we were. From Livorno did the "Lucca on your Own" trip. Could have spent hours there - loved it!! Unfortunately only had 2 hours;not sure why this trip was so short as the ship was in port all day. Maybe P&O could have a look at offering this as a longer excursion... Ship - clean and very pleasant decor. However, VERY confusing layout; we heard lots of passengers commenting on this. Sometimes had to go up or down a deck to carry on to where you needed to be. There was also always a lot of vibration throughout the ship. Didn't like the service lifts being next to the passenger stairways. Plenty of sun loungers out on the open decks; indeed this made walking around some of the decks a bit tricky due to the sheer volume of them. Toilets never seemed to be where you thought they should be and were poorly signposted and not enough of them, (for the ladies anyway), at the obvious places such as immediately outside the theatre or restaurant. Fellow passengers - most of our fellow cruisers were British (and I think a lot of them were very P&O loyal) but we really missed the North Americans and their easy chat and their take on life. However had excellent table companions at dinner who all had a great sense of humour. The ship generally had a high proportion of elderly/grossly obese and/or infirm passengers which made the pool areas and the outside spaces closest to the food areas the first to get filled up. Higher decks were quieter but could have benefited from some shade. Disembarkation - well arranged and we were actually off ahead of schedule. Easy walk to car park to collect car for the journey home. In summary, a pleasant enough cruise on a nice enough ship with no glaring omissions but maybe just not quite up to the US standards of service and atmosphere that we find with those ships.

Pleasant Enough Cruise

Azura Cruise Review by mrs red frog

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Having cruised with various US cruise lines over the past 10 years or so we thought we would give P&O a try for a change which also gave us the chance to drive to the embarkation port for the first time instead of flying.

Pre-cruise information - nice personalised brochure delivered to the house. Would have liked information regarding port arrival and departure times but this was not forthcoming despite an email. (Maybe a ploy so that you can't book your own shore excursions as you don't know in advance how long you'll be in port?)

Embarkation - went smoothly (very impressed with the car parking/unloading luggage arrangements at Southampton). Luggage reached our cabin quickly. Buffet available within minutes of boarding. Display by the Red Arrows prior to sailing an unexpected bonus! Unfortunately departure was delayed due to high numbers of passengers being stuck in traffic due to the Boat Show being on, so it was dark before we sailed.

Cabin - internal as usual and an excellent layout, better than any we've had on any other ship. Lots of storage space and a very comfortable bed. Really good airflow system in the shower room - good for those nasty niffs (!) and also meant the mirror de-steamed quickly after your shower. Steward attentive but never intrusive.

Dining - food all very good - buffet, main restaurant, speciality restaurant (Sindu). Lots of choice at the main buffet and hot food was hot, not lukewarm. All waiting staff pleasant and friendly.

Drinks - much less expensive than on US ships, (about what we would pay ashore in UK), which was good as this encouraged you to linger in the venue, listen to the live background music and, (importantly for P&O), order another drink!

Entertainment - not as good a variety as we've been used to. Venues got busy very quickly. Didn't like the fact that as 2nd sitting diners, we couldn't linger over our meal if we also wanted to see the shows; other cruise lines have an earlier pre-dinner show for the 2nd "sitters".

Shore excursions - poor value for money, more so than usual. Went on the jeep safari from Lisbon and, although we saw a bit of the countryside, learned nothing about the towns where we stopped. The girl from the ship accompanying the jeeps made no attempt to gather everyone together at the stops and tell us a bit about where we were. From Livorno did the "Lucca on your Own" trip. Could have spent hours there - loved it!! Unfortunately only had 2 hours;not sure why this trip was so short as the ship was in port all day. Maybe P&O could have a look at offering this as a longer excursion...

Ship - clean and very pleasant decor. However, VERY confusing layout; we heard lots of passengers commenting on this. Sometimes had to go up or down a deck to carry on to where you needed to be. There was also always a lot of vibration throughout the ship. Didn't like the service lifts being next to the passenger stairways. Plenty of sun loungers out on the open decks; indeed this made walking around some of the decks a bit tricky due to the sheer volume of them. Toilets never seemed to be where you thought they should be and were poorly signposted and not enough of them, (for the ladies anyway), at the obvious places such as immediately outside the theatre or restaurant.

Fellow passengers - most of our fellow cruisers were British (and I think a lot of them were very P&O loyal) but we really missed the North Americans and their easy chat and their take on life. However had excellent table companions at dinner who all had a great sense of humour. The ship generally had a high proportion of elderly/grossly obese and/or infirm passengers which made the pool areas and the outside spaces closest to the food areas the first to get filled up. Higher decks were quieter but could have benefited from some shade.

Disembarkation - well arranged and we were actually off ahead of schedule. Easy walk to car park to collect car for the journey home.

In summary, a pleasant enough cruise on a nice enough ship with no glaring omissions but maybe just not quite up to the US standards of service and atmosphere that we find with those ships.
mrs red frog’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Jeep Tour
    Although the group was obviously divided up into several different jeeps, there was no attempt made by the girl accompanying us from the ship to gather us all together at any of the stops to tell us a bit about where we were. If our young driver hadn't spoken such good English and if one of our fellow passengers hadn't asked him things as we went along, we would have been none the wiser when we returned. Poor picnic lunch. Definitely not good value for money. Be warned - if you sit at the back of the jeep you will get VERY dusty!
    View All 7 Jeep Tour Reviews