We chose this cruise because the date suited us and we had never been to Lisbon city centre, Cherbourg town or Oporto, We cruised extensively over the last few years but mostly with American-based lines, ie Celebrity, Princess, Disney and RCL and also with Viking Oceans, and I had slight reservations about whether we would find this ship 'too British'. It undoubtedly is very British in ways in which others are not, ie decent tea served, kettles in cabins, British bacon and probably more curries on the menu, but nothing I would regard as a negative. After reading the Cruise Critic's P&O forum, I was also a bit concerned about fellow passengers because many on there are very vocal about removing automatic gratuities. standards of dress on formal nights etc. I wish that P&O would include gratuities in the fare for the UK market to put an end to this nonsense and to prevent me from feeling that I am helping to make up the short-fall from those who remove them but say they are tipping their cabin steward and waiters in the Main Dining Room (MDR). What about the others who assist you? This cruise was at the tail-end of the staggered Easter holidays and we met more than one couple of moaners who told us they would not have booked had they realised that! I have no idea why they objected because almost every child we saw on this ship was well behaved and well dressed for the dining room. Okay so we got in one lift after two teenage boys fled only to discover that all the floor buttons had been pressed; I am sure they thought they were the first ones ever to do this but it was soon sorted by a couple of presses of one button which cleared them! Hands up, it was my husband who did this and I don't know which button. Our cabin, B534 was centre-aft, and was kept in very good order by Wilton, our cabin steward who was one of the most efficient we had had and was tipped extra for his excellent service. The cabin was good and the bed comfortable. I liked the private wardrobe/dressing area but did not care for the shower curtain, but then again, the bathroom is so small, it is probably a necessity, and a trade-off for the wardrobe arrangement. We did have some very rough weather one evening, just before we entered the Bay of Biscay and I was pleased to be close to the centre of the ship and have a good supply of medication for the event. This was our second of five cruises this year, (we did five last year also) and each other time we have chosen to have the variable dining time option but on here we opted for early seating fixed dining and we were happy with our choice on account of being allocated a table for two next to a partition and with a good space between us and the next table. We did share tables for breakfast and lunch and so did meet a good number of our fellow passengers; most of whom were good company and interesting (and not moaners!). We were happy with food on most occasions, and when we weren't it was generally because one of us had not chosen well. I had read previously that you are given more veg on a P&O ship and I would agree with this, so a big tick for P&O on that score. There was a difference in the level of presentation of the food on the Azura and the other ships we have been on, in that presentation is not rated as highly in my opinion. One meal in particular made me smile - it was turkey, gravy, roast potatoes, and carrots and it was plated up just as I would have done at home! Not a criticism by the way, just an observation. My roasties would have been better and the cranberry sauce not of a pouring consistency, but otherwise, the taste was fine. The service in the dining room was a tad slow and our waiters were just okay but nothing special, so they were not tipped extra and that is unusual for us, because although we do variable dining on other ships, we usually end up on a table we like after a day or two and stick with it and the same servers for the rest of the cruise. I loved that a MDR was open for lunch each day, including port days, which has not been the case on other lines. Probably the weakest aspect of the Azura was the buffet area, which we used only twice and at quiet times, but even so, there is little room to move around the areas where you get your food, so it must be real chaos when it is very busy. I was surprised not to have a choice of a soft drink to accompany a meal, only water. The entertainment was a bit disappointing because one cast show had to be cancelled because of the bad weather and a film was shown in the theatre that evening, which was fine, but I would have hoped that the missed show could have been performed the next day, which was a sea day. The guest speaker, Eileen Goulding, who spoke on topics such as 'Mystical Systems and Signs of the Ancient World' and was a bit monotonous if you did not find the subject fascinating, which we didn't. However, the Utterly Revolting Science show (performed in the theatre but aimed mostly at children) with Stefan Gates and an assistant was great fun and informative to boot! We were not interested in the art talks or anything else aimed at parting you from your money. Which remind me, P&O owe me money and I have not had a reply to my complaint made 7 days ago. I had OBC and checked my account mid-week, although my spending for the full week amounted to two coffees, two alcoholic drinks, one alcohol-free cocktail and a day's internet use. I purchased nothing else. Very easy to keep track of when you are not spending loads. However, my final bill showed £7.70 allegedly spent in the Oasis Spa - where I had never set foot! I of course went straight to the front desk and the young man told me twice that *if* there was an error, it would be corrected. I told him twice that it *was* an error, but here we are 9 days after the cruise ended and it has still not been returned. Oh and they have charged a mystery £1.65 to my credit card which is not even show on my bill. So watch your bills is my advice! I was very impressed that the shuttle buses were included in the price we had paid and used them in Lisbon, Oporto and Cherbourg. We did not take any excursions on this trip because it was the city/town centres that we actually wanted to see. We had been to Vigo in November and both times we caught a service bus (C1 I believe) from across the road and does a circular tour for 1.30 euros. This cruise we were in Vigo on a Sunday and so we saw more on the bus than when it was busy on a weekday, and also there was a festival happening not too far from the ship. It rained heavily in Oporto but we still enjoyed our walk around although did hear people express their disappointment with this port. We did not share this view and if the weather had been better would have walked down to the river. I went on this cruise thinking that P&O would be a 'one-off' for us, but whilst on board I realised that it would be great for my grandsons and so we are likely to be with them again, with the family next year. Really, I hesitated between the three dot 'average' and the four dot 'very good' because just a few little things would have elevated it for me.

Much better than expected despite poor weather

Azura Cruise Review by mrsgoggins

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise because the date suited us and we had never been to Lisbon city centre, Cherbourg town or Oporto,

We cruised extensively over the last few years but mostly with American-based lines, ie Celebrity, Princess, Disney and RCL and also with Viking Oceans, and I had slight reservations about whether we would find this ship 'too British'. It undoubtedly is very British in ways in which others are not, ie decent tea served, kettles in cabins, British bacon and probably more curries on the menu, but nothing I would regard as a negative.

After reading the Cruise Critic's P&O forum, I was also a bit concerned about fellow passengers because many on there are very vocal about removing automatic gratuities. standards of dress on formal nights etc. I wish that P&O would include gratuities in the fare for the UK market to put an end to this nonsense and to prevent me from feeling that I am helping to make up the short-fall from those who remove them but say they are tipping their cabin steward and waiters in the Main Dining Room (MDR). What about the others who assist you?

This cruise was at the tail-end of the staggered Easter holidays and we met more than one couple of moaners who told us they would not have booked had they realised that! I have no idea why they objected because almost every child we saw on this ship was well behaved and well dressed for the dining room. Okay so we got in one lift after two teenage boys fled only to discover that all the floor buttons had been pressed; I am sure they thought they were the first ones ever to do this but it was soon sorted by a couple of presses of one button which cleared them! Hands up, it was my husband who did this and I don't know which button.

Our cabin, B534 was centre-aft, and was kept in very good order by Wilton, our cabin steward who was one of the most efficient we had had and was tipped extra for his excellent service. The cabin was good and the bed comfortable. I liked the private wardrobe/dressing area but did not care for the shower curtain, but then again, the bathroom is so small, it is probably a necessity, and a trade-off for the wardrobe arrangement. We did have some very rough weather one evening, just before we entered the Bay of Biscay and I was pleased to be close to the centre of the ship and have a good supply of medication for the event.

This was our second of five cruises this year, (we did five last year also) and each other time we have chosen to have the variable dining time option but on here we opted for early seating fixed dining and we were happy with our choice on account of being allocated a table for two next to a partition and with a good space between us and the next table. We did share tables for breakfast and lunch and so did meet a good number of our fellow passengers; most of whom were good company and interesting (and not moaners!).

We were happy with food on most occasions, and when we weren't it was generally because one of us had not chosen well. I had read previously that you are given more veg on a P&O ship and I would agree with this, so a big tick for P&O on that score. There was a difference in the level of presentation of the food on the Azura and the other ships we have been on, in that presentation is not rated as highly in my opinion. One meal in particular made me smile - it was turkey, gravy, roast potatoes, and carrots and it was plated up just as I would have done at home! Not a criticism by the way, just an observation. My roasties would have been better and the cranberry sauce not of a pouring consistency, but otherwise, the taste was fine. The service in the dining room was a tad slow and our waiters were just okay but nothing special, so they were not tipped extra and that is unusual for us, because although we do variable dining on other ships, we usually end up on a table we like after a day or two and stick with it and the same servers for the rest of the cruise.

I loved that a MDR was open for lunch each day, including port days, which has not been the case on other lines. Probably the weakest aspect of the Azura was the buffet area, which we used only twice and at quiet times, but even so, there is little room to move around the areas where you get your food, so it must be real chaos when it is very busy. I was surprised not to have a choice of a soft drink to accompany a meal, only water.

The entertainment was a bit disappointing because one cast show had to be cancelled because of the bad weather and a film was shown in the theatre that evening, which was fine, but I would have hoped that the missed show could have been performed the next day, which was a sea day. The guest speaker, Eileen Goulding, who spoke on topics such as 'Mystical Systems and Signs of the Ancient World' and was a bit monotonous if you did not find the subject fascinating, which we didn't. However, the Utterly Revolting Science show (performed in the theatre but aimed mostly at children) with Stefan Gates and an assistant was great fun and informative to boot! We were not interested in the art talks or anything else aimed at parting you from your money.

Which remind me, P&O owe me money and I have not had a reply to my complaint made 7 days ago. I had OBC and checked my account mid-week, although my spending for the full week amounted to two coffees, two alcoholic drinks, one alcohol-free cocktail and a day's internet use. I purchased nothing else. Very easy to keep track of when you are not spending loads. However, my final bill showed £7.70 allegedly spent in the Oasis Spa - where I had never set foot! I of course went straight to the front desk and the young man told me twice that *if* there was an error, it would be corrected. I told him twice that it *was* an error, but here we are 9 days after the cruise ended and it has still not been returned. Oh and they have charged a mystery £1.65 to my credit card which is not even show on my bill. So watch your bills is my advice!

I was very impressed that the shuttle buses were included in the price we had paid and used them in Lisbon, Oporto and Cherbourg. We did not take any excursions on this trip because it was the city/town centres that we actually wanted to see. We had been to Vigo in November and both times we caught a service bus (C1 I believe) from across the road and does a circular tour for 1.30 euros. This cruise we were in Vigo on a Sunday and so we saw more on the bus than when it was busy on a weekday, and also there was a festival happening not too far from the ship. It rained heavily in Oporto but we still enjoyed our walk around although did hear people express their disappointment with this port. We did not share this view and if the weather had been better would have walked down to the river.

I went on this cruise thinking that P&O would be a 'one-off' for us, but whilst on board I realised that it would be great for my grandsons and so we are likely to be with them again, with the family next year. Really, I hesitated between the three dot 'average' and the four dot 'very good' because just a few little things would have elevated it for me.
mrsgoggins’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Azura price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin B534
Very good, see review for comments. Balcony was a decent size but due to weather, did not get much use this trip.
  Azura Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews