Firstly we arrived at the port at 2-15pm and the embarkation process was smooth and we were on the ship by 3pm and were able to go straight to our cabin and our luggage arrived soon after.
The room had been set up as requested by our friendly Cabin Steward Clifford. There is a hairdryer in the cupboard and two pool towels in the bathroom with shower gel, Conditioner and shampoo. My only criticism about the room was that the sheets and pillow cases were not changed during the 12 day trip. The prices of the Minibar is expensive i.e £2.75 for a coke when in the bar it was £1.75. Bar prices are similar to UK pub prices in the south of England.
If you have not paid the select fare do bear in mind that some of the courtesy buses are charged to your account at around £4 per trip. We only used the buses once at Porto and there was a queue of around 20 mins but was well organised. There are plenty of areas to sit on the ship during sea days even when the weather was iffy which it was on two of the days of our trip.
The Entertainment was ok but Sean Meo the comedian was truly awful we walked out after 15 mins as his act just seemed to be to pick on people at the front to try to gain a few laughs which he did not get. Ben Kimsey the singer was excellent and Tucker the other comedian was pretty funny. The Headliners performed all their shows well but someone said they were on the same ship in April and the shows were the same.
The First port of call was Oporto and you really do need to get the bus to the centre and the town is very hilly. The town is nice with some nice buildings but if you want to sample or buy the Port Wine then a booked tour is advised as it is a long walk from the drop off point and from the ship.
The next port was Cadiz and from here we did the trip to Seville with its beautiful cathedral it takes around 90 mins to get there. No information given on route by the guide which was disappointing. We have been to Cadiz before and it is a nice place to walk around with a lovely beach area.
The next port was Malaga and from here we went to The Alhambra Palace in Granada. The Tour guide on the Bus Pepe was brilliant and gave us lots of information on route and the rep that gave us the tour of the palace was excellent. I suggest you always go with a tour guide for this tour I would not have known where to start. There was also a lunch at a local hotel with free wine and was very nice. We will go to Malaga again as it looked very nice and we did not get time to explore this time.
Cartagena next with its lovely Art Deco buildings was pretty and nice to visit.
Gibralter was the penultimate port with its long street of perfume, tobacco and gift shops. But do check the prices at the duty free in Gibralter as we felt they were cheaper. It depends how much you are taking back. There are a couple of tours available but we did not do them.
The Last port was Lisbon and we used the Big Red Hop On Hop off bus. This was a two hour trip because of the heavy traffic but was interesting. The cost is 20 Euro per ticket . The centre near the port is lovely to walk around and we will have a closer look next time we visit.
We had a lovely table of 8 every evening (club Dining at 6.30pm) and hello to Paddy, Thomas, Malcolm, Mary. Colin and Jenny . We enjoyed your company and shared a few laughs during the very enjoyable meals we had each evening.
In Summary there is something for everyone on Azura but on this particular cruise we felt like youngsters in our 60s. We found most of the staff to be engaging and friendly apart from the main Coffee Barista in Java Costa Coffee where the service was hit and miss. One note here is that the cakes and sandwiches in Costa are FREE if you are having a coffee in that area. Our room was at the back of the ship on Deck 12 and you do feel the ship rocking when the sea conditions are lively. The sauna and steam rooms are free and are not mixed. You give in your room card for a locker key and towels are available. The library has a good selection of books and a news sheet is provided daily with some basic home news.
And finally in the spirit of the captain's thought of the day. Whether its the best of times or the worst of times, its the only time we have got.
Cabin A744 Deck 12 Cruise A730
Cabin ok but carpets tired and linen not changed for 12 day cruise.