We are not natural cruisers but liked the itinerary of Kirwall, Lerwick, 4 days in Iceland, Belfast and finally Cobh. We had taken advantage of the "free parking" at Southampton as we live in the North of England and chose not to spend a day on a coach. Dropping the car at the designated gate and time was very well organised. After queuing for approximately 10 minutes we were shown where to park. We unloaded luggage and it was taken to the ship quickly by a porter, leaving us to check in (all luggage was in cabin by the time we got there). The checkin hall was very busy and appeared a little disorganised but we got through very quickly with the staff on the check in desk being very friendly and efficient. This was only our 2nd cruise and the the first with P&O. The ship, Azura, holds 3100 passengers with over 1200 crew of which 200 are chefs. Our first impression was that the ship was friendly and very clean. All area of the ship provide anti bacterial hand rubs which passengers are expected to use on every entry to a restaurant to avoid sickness bugs. There did not appear to be any sickness on the 2 week cruise. The cabin was clean with plenty of storage space. We had a balcony cabin in the centre of the ship A515 with a very attentive cabin steward. Cabins were serviced twice a day. We chose freedom dining and usually prefer to eat early evening. We were allocated Peninsular Restaurant and usually managed to secure a table for 2 on the majority of evenings. The service is mostly good with a few lapses. Surprisingly attracting the attention of the wine waitress was impossible on at least 1 evening. There is a wide choice of food each evening and people with special diets were provided with their own menus to choose food for th following evening. There are also several restaurants where an additional fee is paid. We chose to have afternoon tea in the Epicurean Restaurant (£15.00 each) and were not disappointed. Having taken afternoon tea at the Ritz and Betty's we were very impressed as this surpassed both- well worth the small extra charge. The service here is excellent and could not be faulted. We also chose to eat here on 1 evening - wow is all we can say!! The buffet is a bit of a bun fight and it is easy to get elbowed out of the way by single minded cruisers. We did not use the "grab and go" or pizza bar but they did look and smell delicious. Entertainment was much in evidence. Every evening a news sheet "Horizon" was distributed to each cabin. This gave times of all activities provided the next day as well as arrangements for the following days excursions. Activities started at 7am and went on somewhere in the ship till late each evening. The is a large theatre on 3 tiers and entertainment provided is very professional. The Headliners Theatre company put on shows almost every evening with the first house at 8.30 being mostly full. There was only one of these shows that was frankly awful. The sound was so loud it was impossible to hear the singers and we came away with our ears hurting. The 2 nd week brought some additional acts, The Opera Boys and Stand Like a Man - both were superb. Outstanding for us was the Azura Orchestra - a very hard working set of musicians who we very much enjoyed when they performed. There were other smaller bands playing throughout the day in various places around the ship. A wide range of activities was provided around the ship - up to the individual whether to participate or not. There seemed to be a fair number of children on the ship but a separate activity programme was provided and at no time did their presence disturb. 7 ports of call including 2 full days in Reykjavik Excursions - huge choice available but quite expensive. Each one was well organised. We opted for a tour of North Shetland which was good despite the mist. In Iceland we opted for the Ring of Fire Tour from Reykjavik - fabulous scenery! From Isafjadur, Vigur Isand - a must for bird lovers and from Akruyri a Game of Thrones Tour where the scenery was stunning. All tours were very well managed and we were impressed with the standard of organisation around the them, with very knowledgable guides. Normally we prefer independent travelling and were a little apprehensive about organised tours on buses but our fears were quickly allayed and we did enjoy all of the ones we chose. Service was mostly good but it was very difficult to actually sit anywhere without someone trying to sell a drink. There are a fair number of shops on board - fragrance, jewellery and watches, handbags, clothes - all quite expensive and none of which were of interest to us. Disembarkation was phased with luggage, which needed to be collected by 11 pm the previous night, being placed in a big hall and located in decks. After we had found our luggage it was a short walk to the cabin to collect our car keys to find the car waiting for us. We had taken photos of the car and mileage before handing over the keys but we need not have worried as the whole car parking operation from start to finish was very efficient. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and would take another one but probably not for a few years, unlike many of our fellow travellers some of whom were on their 20th cruise!

Spectacular Iceland

Azura Cruise Review by Pukeko54

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We are not natural cruisers but liked the itinerary of Kirwall, Lerwick, 4 days in Iceland, Belfast and finally Cobh.

We had taken advantage of the "free parking" at Southampton as we live in the North of England and chose not to spend a day on a coach. Dropping the car at the designated gate and time was very well organised. After queuing for approximately 10 minutes we were shown where to park. We unloaded luggage and it was taken to the ship quickly by a porter, leaving us to check in (all luggage was in cabin by the time we got there).

The checkin hall was very busy and appeared a little disorganised but we got through very quickly with the staff on the check in desk being very friendly and efficient.

This was only our 2nd cruise and the the first with P&O. The ship, Azura, holds 3100 passengers with over 1200 crew of which 200 are chefs.

Our first impression was that the ship was friendly and very clean. All area of the ship provide anti bacterial hand rubs which passengers are expected to use on every entry to a restaurant to avoid sickness bugs. There did not appear to be any sickness on the 2 week cruise.

The cabin was clean with plenty of storage space. We had a balcony cabin in the centre of the ship A515 with a very attentive cabin steward. Cabins were serviced twice a day.

We chose freedom dining and usually prefer to eat early evening. We were allocated Peninsular Restaurant and usually managed to secure a table for 2 on the majority of evenings. The service is mostly good with a few lapses. Surprisingly attracting the attention of the wine waitress was impossible on at least 1 evening.

There is a wide choice of food each evening and people with special diets were provided with their own menus to choose food for th following evening.

There are also several restaurants where an additional fee is paid. We chose to have afternoon tea in the Epicurean Restaurant (£15.00 each) and were not disappointed. Having taken afternoon tea at the Ritz and Betty's we were very impressed as this surpassed both- well worth the small extra charge. The service here is excellent and could not be faulted. We also chose to eat here on 1 evening - wow is all we can say!!

The buffet is a bit of a bun fight and it is easy to get elbowed out of the way by single minded cruisers.

We did not use the "grab and go" or pizza bar but they did look and smell delicious.

Entertainment was much in evidence. Every evening a news sheet "Horizon" was distributed to each cabin. This gave times of all activities provided the next day as well as arrangements for the following days excursions. Activities started at 7am and went on somewhere in the ship till late each evening. The is a large theatre on 3 tiers and entertainment provided is very professional. The Headliners Theatre company put on shows almost every evening with the first house at 8.30 being mostly full. There was only one of these shows that was frankly awful. The sound was so loud it was impossible to hear the singers and we came away with our ears hurting.

The 2 nd week brought some additional acts, The Opera Boys and Stand Like a Man - both were superb.

Outstanding for us was the Azura Orchestra - a very hard working set of musicians who we very much enjoyed when they performed.

There were other smaller bands playing throughout the day in various places around the ship.

A wide range of activities was provided around the ship - up to the individual whether to participate or not.

There seemed to be a fair number of children on the ship but a separate activity programme was provided and at no time did their presence disturb.

7 ports of call including 2 full days in Reykjavik

Excursions - huge choice available but quite expensive. Each one was well organised. We opted for a tour of North Shetland which was good despite the mist. In Iceland we opted for the Ring of Fire Tour from Reykjavik - fabulous scenery! From Isafjadur, Vigur Isand - a must for bird lovers and from Akruyri a Game of Thrones Tour where the scenery was stunning. All tours were very well managed and we were impressed with the standard of organisation around the them, with very knowledgable guides. Normally we prefer independent travelling and were a little apprehensive about organised tours on buses but our fears were quickly allayed and we did enjoy all of the ones we chose.

Service was mostly good but it was very difficult to actually sit anywhere without someone trying to sell a drink.

There are a fair number of shops on board - fragrance, jewellery and watches, handbags, clothes - all quite expensive and none of which were of interest to us.

Disembarkation was phased with luggage, which needed to be collected by 11 pm the previous night, being placed in a big hall and located in decks. After we had found our luggage it was a short walk to the cabin to collect our car keys to find the car waiting for us. We had taken photos of the car and mileage before handing over the keys but we need not have worried as the whole car parking operation from start to finish was very efficient.

Overall we enjoyed the cruise and would take another one but probably not for a few years, unlike many of our fellow travellers some of whom were on their 20th cruise!
Pukeko54’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin A515
Clean, well equipped, plenty of space, attentive cabin steward.
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