All details are factual and the subject of a formal written complaint to P&O
My wife booked the cruise in Oct 2014 to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary which was to occur in early 2015
We arrived 27/11 /15 and Azura A529 departed Bridgetown on the 28th November 2015.
The run up to the cruise was plagued with issues as a result of poor recommendation by our agents but after a last minute cabin change we headed off in the hope all would go well.
Our balcony cabin had twin beds.
On the first evening after a short time in bed I was unable to sleep as I felt as though I was being bitten...
Not sure what was going on I swapped beds with my partner...and pretty soon she was bitten too.
Bed bugs ! ??
We stripped the bedding and found it filthy the duvet was covered in what looked like body fluid stains , pillows were stained too.
We were so shocked we took photo's as evidence.
We complained to our cabin steward and reception.In due course the housekeeping manager agreed to change the bedding.
No change of room was offered despite the fact the room probably needed a deep clean/fumigating.
Not wishing to be labelled complainers , we felt that at least if the bedding was clean , then we should be OK.....but if we had been staying in a hotel , we would have walked and refused to pay the bill.
Things could only get better ?
Our cabin , B101 stank of stale cigarette smoke each time we put the aircon on.
B101 is next to the crew section and on investigation post cruise I have seen comments going back to shortly after Azura first sailed about the smell of smoke in that cabin.
The smell entered via the bathroom door lock cavity
To cheer ourselves up we booked a P&O official trip to Stingray City , Grand Cayman.
The info in the P&O excursion manual said that the sandbank was about 4feet deep and life jackets would be provided.
My wife is/was a good swimmer...I am not so good , but with a snorkel I'm fine.
On the day of the trip we attended the Playhouse theatre muster and were given labels for the trip.
Unfortunately the excursion rep was totally disinterested in what he was doing and gave us the wrong labels.
On realising this later we asked for them to be changed .... which was done without apology.
This might seem trivial but has a bearing later on
We used tenders to get ashore.
A storm broke as we arrived at the terminal with some of the heaviest rain seen for some time.
Tender ops were suspended , but we went ahead with the excursion....we were soaked to the skin but as we were eventually going into the water it didn't matter too much !
Bussed to our speed boat , we were shown aboard by two crew , for twenty eight people....no P&O rep....no life jackets...not even sure if there were any on board.
The trip out to the reef/sandbank was through a heavy swell created by the storm.
On arrival at the location we were greeted by the sight of dozens of boats and scores of people milling around in the water.
Craft were fighting for position and anchors were being thrown into the water within feet of swimmers.
It was mayhem.
Visitors were gathered into large groups in the water by their two crew ,some 20-30metres from the boat.
Becoming tired by the swell my wife decided to go back to the boat... two others had already boarded.
As she did so she was swept under water a number of times and became frightened.
I was on the other side of the group and unable to get to her.
Eventually she managed to get to the metal steps on the stern of the boat. These were slippery , she lost her footing and fell damaging her knee. There was no-one aboard to help her other than those passengers who had already boarded.
When I eventually got back to the boat I found her knee was grazed , bruised and bleeding. I asked a crew member if they had a first aid box...he looked in a small box and commented...tell her to get back in the water , the salt will do it good!
Such was the trauma of the incident , my wife never went into the sea again for the rest of the cruise despite the fact that swimming in the Caribbean was to have been the highlight of the holiday.
If we had booked this as a private trip we might have expected this cavalier approach , but for an organised P&O excursion , this was abysmal and put lives at risk.
The next day , checking our on board account we found that the charge for the excursion had been debited to my account rather than my wife's.
We told the excursion rep who said she would put it right.
After 24 hours my account was credited....however the charge to my wife's account was for a trip we had not been on.. 006A Stingray Sailaway , which was Â£98 rather than Â£76 for the Express tour 017B!
Another trip to see the excursion rep....he said he would correct it.
24 hours later , no correction.
We complained to reception who phoned the excursion manager for us.The latter insisted we had been on the dearer trip.
We did not want reception to be caught in the middle of an argument, we thanked them and went off to the excursion desk.
The young lady eventually agreed that we had been on 017B and agreed to correct the charge. The young man we asked to sort it out 24 hours before was sitting next to her and said , he had forgotten... no hint of an apology. This was the same rather rude young man who had originally given us the wrong excursion tag.
The third black tie evening approached and I used the laundrette to wash my white dress shirt.
On pressing the steam button on the iron I was appalled to find that someone had put coffee in the iron...my white shirt was now splattered with brown stains.
I warned other users and tried to disconnect the iron from the wall , but it was locked in , so housekeeping were told , and I was left to rewash the shirt and try to remove the stains.
On a second occasion my wife washed a number of items , which came out of the washing machine badly marked and stained.
On taking them to reception she was told they would be laundered FOC.
It took three days and two reminders to get them back....on the night before we left the Azura!
On the last morning we were told to leave our cabin at 0800...some travellers had to wait until late afternoon before disembarking.
Public toilets were available but those departing seemed to wander around aimlessly trying to kill the time.
Surely a few cabins could have been made available for shower/changing facilities.
We sat on the promenade deck at one point and a steward walked past shouting "rubbish !" at me...he was in fact referring to the magazine I had beside me.
His attitude was intimidating and clearly shocked others near by.
Of course we were leaving...so I suppose we were not of any further interest to him.
This was our first ever cruise....and our last.
Were we expecting too much ?
We would certainly not travel with P&O again or indeed recommend them.
Whilst the staff in the Oriental were brilliant and so too our cabin steward , the rest of the experience was akin to a cheap B&B or a stay at a tacky floating holiday camp.
We tried to make the best of the trip , but , no thanks to P&O.
A truly bad and very expensive experience , not to be repeated.
The only high points were the daily "thought of the day" from Captain Camby..... perhaps Captain you should consider this one..."Just because nobody complains it doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."
Needs to be put out of service until the smoke problem is resolved