This was our first cruise with P&O having cruised several times previously with Princess. We chose P&O due to the convenience of a direct flight from Manchester to Barbados. We will not be choosing P&O again and I would advise anyone booking the Azura to think carefully. The most noticeable features were the poor standard of service and the poor quality of the food. Only a very few of the staff are friendly, engage well with passengers and show an interest and pride in their work. When you come across a smile it stands out against the norm. Most staff carry out their work to the minimum of standards; they are indifferent, appear to be unhappy and treat passengers as if they are commodities. The standard and quality of food in the formal restaurants is average and the choice and quality of food in the self service is limited and mediocre. However, the quality and standards in the Sindhu and Epicurean speciality restaurants is excellent, demonstrating that P&O can provide a good service when they choose to. Of course, you are charged extra for these restaurants. You pay for ice creams on board and these are expensive and the choice is very limited. For this reason there is little uptake from passengers and therefore the ice cream counter is rarely staffed. The coffee shop is a Costa, complete with paper cups. It offers a small choice of unappetising cakes and snacks and as passengers are not tempted by them they sit in the counter for most of the day. Though I like and often use Costa in the high street I do not consider them a luxury or highly 'star rated' coffee shop. The ship itself is tired and scruffy with clear signs of damage to some walls. The atrium, compared to other ships, is small and uninspiring. Overall, this was a mediocre 3 star holiday.
Cabins are smaller than other ships of this size and are in need of refurbishment. Furnishings and carpets are very worn. However, our cabin steward was excellent.