This was our second P&O cruise, the first being a four day mini-cruise which failed to meet nearly all of our expectations. So it was with some trepidation that we booked a two week Caribbean cruise (Dec 2016). Flights were with Thompsons and I have to say the Dreamliner trip out from Birmingham was excellent. What was even better was that our cases, taken at Birmingham Airport, were to be delivered to our cabin on the Azura in Barbados. Didn't even need to pass through customs - just off the plane and onto the (rather dilapidated) coach. Azura has had an update fairly recently and it was in pretty good shape - no complaints there. We had been upgraded so our balcony was bigger than expected and being midships we were to have a comfortable passage. One surprise was having two chairs on the balcony but only one footstool - despite there being plenty of room for two. We were told that only the more expensive cabins had two footstools which we found to be needless penny-pinching. Food in the buffets and restaurants was good - if not exceptional. Service in the restaurants was variable - some teams were excellent others were slow and lacking in warmth. The bars were OK although on the first night we failed to get any service at all when we went to the Glass House bar and so didn't go back there. The Blue Bar was OK but being served nibbles in a very grubby glass did not endear us to the place. By far the best bar was the Planet. Fantastic service and terrific ambience - we especially enjoyed the HD screens showing clips from around the World. Staff around the ship were generally pretty good although some did seem to be disengaged from the passengers. On one occasion I had to stop and step aside from one crew member who was so busy talking to a female colleague that he walked into me stepping heavily on my foot and barely acknowledged the incident. The steward though was first class. The entertainment was mixed. Some of the guest entertainers were very good whilst the in-house 'Headliners' were, in our view, very poor and we avoided their shows. Costs on board were pretty good especially compared to some of the other cruise lines that we have used. Very disappointed with the shore excursions although we much enjoyed the 'snorkel with turtles' trip. Otherwise the trips were expensive and generally of poor value although arrangements for joining the trips were well organised. Two big complaints here however. On two of the trips we were carried on local open sided buses which were really just seats and a body mounted onto a flat-bed truck. On one of them seat belts had been bolted to very flimsy seats welded to the floor. In an accident all the seats would collapse, furthermore, there were sharp exposed metal fixings which would cause serious injury in even a minor shunt. The second of these buses had no seat belts at all. Secondly, on one of the trips we were asked to sign a form given to us by the tour company. It asked passengers to join the trip on the understanding that it was at their own risk and that the company could not be sued even in the event of injury caused by their negligence. I refused to sign this and was told by the P&O representative on shore that this was common practice in the Caribbean because of the' litigious Americans'. She went on to add that we were all covered anyway by P&O. When I later looked at P&O T&C it is made clear that 'P&O Cruises will not in any circumstances have a greater liability than the excursion supplier and P&O Cruises shall not be responsible for the negligent act/omissions of the excursion provider.' We pulled out of the trip and were refunded by P&O - but we are left very concerned about the whole issue of P&O's attention to the safety and well being of its passengers. We were also very disappointed that at two of our destinations we were unable to get ashore - supposedly because of high winds. Worse still these were especially important destinations for us. Now I am not entirely sure that bad weather was the only reason, especially at Grand Cayman where there were four or five ships taking people ashore. We were told that we had been allocated space to 'hold on engines only' whereas the others could anchor and that this made a difference to tender safety. I fear that we were not told the full truth of the matter. Although the missed stops allowed us more time in New Orleans at the end of the cruise we still felt cheated. Organisation at the Catalina Island was very efficient. Prompt tendering, great barbeque and bar service made for a very enjoyable day. The journey home was well organised. Cases taken from our cabins and arrived with us at Birmingham. P&O seem to arrange these things really well. I have to say though that the return flight (not on a Dreamliner) was fairly poor. Cabin service to economy passengers was quite negligent and the food was probably the worst I have ever experienced. That says a lot. On the whole though we had an enjoyable holiday and we would travel P&O again - if not as our first choice cruise line.

Mostly quite good

Azura Cruise Review by Wobblestop

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our second P&O cruise, the first being a four day mini-cruise which failed to meet nearly all of our expectations. So it was with some trepidation that we booked a two week Caribbean cruise (Dec 2016).

Flights were with Thompsons and I have to say the Dreamliner trip out from Birmingham was excellent. What was even better was that our cases, taken at Birmingham Airport, were to be delivered to our cabin on the Azura in Barbados. Didn't even need to pass through customs - just off the plane and onto the (rather dilapidated) coach.

Azura has had an update fairly recently and it was in pretty good shape - no complaints there. We had been upgraded so our balcony was bigger than expected and being midships we were to have a comfortable passage. One surprise was having two chairs on the balcony but only one footstool - despite there being plenty of room for two. We were told that only the more expensive cabins had two footstools which we found to be needless penny-pinching.

Food in the buffets and restaurants was good - if not exceptional. Service in the restaurants was variable - some teams were excellent others were slow and lacking in warmth. The bars were OK although on the first night we failed to get any service at all when we went to the Glass House bar and so didn't go back there. The Blue Bar was OK but being served nibbles in a very grubby glass did not endear us to the place. By far the best bar was the Planet. Fantastic service and terrific ambience - we especially enjoyed the HD screens showing clips from around the World.

Staff around the ship were generally pretty good although some did seem to be disengaged from the passengers. On one occasion I had to stop and step aside from one crew member who was so busy talking to a female colleague that he walked into me stepping heavily on my foot and barely acknowledged the incident. The steward though was first class.

The entertainment was mixed. Some of the guest entertainers were very good whilst the in-house 'Headliners' were, in our view, very poor and we avoided their shows.

Costs on board were pretty good especially compared to some of the other cruise lines that we have used.

Very disappointed with the shore excursions although we much enjoyed the 'snorkel with turtles' trip. Otherwise the trips were expensive and generally of poor value although arrangements for joining the trips were well organised. Two big complaints here however. On two of the trips we were carried on local open sided buses which were really just seats and a body mounted onto a flat-bed truck. On one of them seat belts had been bolted to very flimsy seats welded to the floor. In an accident all the seats would collapse, furthermore, there were sharp exposed metal fixings which would cause serious injury in even a minor shunt. The second of these buses had no seat belts at all. Secondly, on one of the trips we were asked to sign a form given to us by the tour company. It asked passengers to join the trip on the understanding that it was at their own risk and that the company could not be sued even in the event of injury caused by their negligence. I refused to sign this and was told by the P&O representative on shore that this was common practice in the Caribbean because of the' litigious Americans'. She went on to add that we were all covered anyway by P&O. When I later looked at P&O T&C it is made clear that 'P&O Cruises will not in any circumstances have a greater liability than the excursion supplier and P&O Cruises shall not be responsible for the negligent act/omissions of the excursion provider.' We pulled out of the trip and were refunded by P&O - but we are left very concerned about the whole issue of P&O's attention to the safety and well being of its passengers.

We were also very disappointed that at two of our destinations we were unable to get ashore - supposedly because of high winds. Worse still these were especially important destinations for us. Now I am not entirely sure that bad weather was the only reason, especially at Grand Cayman where there were four or five ships taking people ashore. We were told that we had been allocated space to 'hold on engines only' whereas the others could anchor and that this made a difference to tender safety. I fear that we were not told the full truth of the matter. Although the missed stops allowed us more time in New Orleans at the end of the cruise we still felt cheated.

Organisation at the Catalina Island was very efficient. Prompt tendering, great barbeque and bar service made for a very enjoyable day.

The journey home was well organised. Cases taken from our cabins and arrived with us at Birmingham. P&O seem to arrange these things really well. I have to say though that the return flight (not on a Dreamliner) was fairly poor. Cabin service to economy passengers was quite negligent and the food was probably the worst I have ever experienced. That says a lot.

On the whole though we had an enjoyable holiday and we would travel P&O again - if not as our first choice cruise line.
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