My family and I (46, 34, 17 & 10) had our first experience of P&O Cruises on the Azura travelling around the Bay of Biscay for seven nights from the 1st to 8th April. We only booked the cruise a few weeks in advance and the booking was made on a saver fare. This was our ninth cruise (six of them with the kids), with previous lines being Island Escape, Ocean Village, MSC, NCL & Celebrity.
We had initially booked an Outside (Obstructed View) cabin, but a few days before the cruise we called and upgraded to a Superior Deluxe Balcony (increasing the cabin space from around 160 sq feet to 311 sq feet). One concern about upgrading was the arrangement of the beds as we needed separate beds for our 17 year old son and 10 year old daughter – P&O confirmed that the cabin had a main bed that could be a double or twin and a double sofa bed. This meant my wife and I would need to take the sofa bed, and we were concerned as to whether it was ‘full sized’. We decided to take a chance on the sofa bed and told the kids they were getting the main bed set up as a twin. On arrival in the cabin we looked around and discovered that there was also a single bed that pulled down from the ceiling (in addition to the main bed and the double sofa bed). This was great news for us (less so for the cabin steward who had to change the main bed from twin to double), but our decision to upgrade would have been easier if P&O actually knew each cabins bed configurations.
When we first received our cabin number (E726) a few days before travel, we searched the internet for any info or reviews. This resulted in some concern as we found a number of stories about the cabin suffering from bad noise from the Manhattan Club below (or in the case of the identical cabin on Ventura or the Princess ships, their respective nightclubs). We were relieved to discover that the noise was not that bad and rarely went on late (there is a little bit of thudding from the bass speakers, but nothing that would stop most people from sleeping after an active day – perhaps a light sleeper should take some ear-plugs, but most will be fine without).
The quality of the cabin was good, although the cabin décor is a little conservative compared to some of the other ships we have been on. Two televisions were a nice touch (to make sure neither sleeping area missed out) but to be honest, apart from listening to the announcements they were not really used. The main bed was comfortable, my son seemed happy with the sofa bed, but the mattress on the pull down bed seemed a little lumpy. There is plenty of hanging space and shelves, but only four small drawers for underwear etc. Other facilities included a fridge, hairdryer and safe (with plenty of room for iPad’s etc).
The balcony was spacious, but we did not use it very often (we were only in the cabin at the start and end of days, and given it was early April, it was not really warm enough at those times of the day).
For the first time ever we had a cabin with a bath, which although not vital, was a nice addition, although I would however have happily swapped the bath for a more powerful shower (even on full blast the water only trickled out slowly).