Having read many cruise reviews and agree everyone's points are valid, here is my review of our 14 night cruise round the Caribbean.
We stayed the night before at Premier Inn Gatwick north and have stayed there many times. You get what you have paid for, very clean tidy and comfy beds.
We planned to leave the hotel at 7am as our flight wasn't until 11:10. Over night I received a email from Gatwick informing me my flight had been delayed. This was only a short delay and we took off about 12:45. We paid to be upgraded to premium seating, this was £175 each way. Being a tall guy, it was worth it. The service out was good films we good.
We arrived in Barbados at 5.40 local time. we were quick off the plan and on to the transport to Bridgetown. As we were one of the first transport coach, there wasn't any queues at the check in desk. We were given garlands to wear ( this is our 5 cruise to the Caribbean and first getting garlands). We were on board by 6.45 and went straight to the open deck for the BBQ. As we were very tired we didn't eat much. At 7pm we were instructed to our muster drill. No life jackets are now needed. This has speeded up the process of getting there and back. After, due to the delay ( which wasn't P&O fault) and time difference we retired to our cabin. Our Cabin lady wasn't the most friendliest I have come across. She said our cases would be here very soon. However due to our delay they didn't start to arrive until 10:30 and the last one at gone 11am.
First port St Vincent: Wasn't our most favourite Island. We spent the day at the beach and then came back. We brought some coke from eth shops in Port. Please be aware they were 1 year out of date but didn't notice until the day after.
First sea day: we spent just lounging in the sun. we were told the ship was full but in my past experience I wouldn't have said so. No issue with getting sun beds, unless you wont to around the pools. we don't and never had a issue. However some guest were getting quite cross with others as the captain made several announcements over the PA informing everyone not to hog the beds. It was quite funny watching some having words about THEIR sun bed. We choice to have lunch in the glass house, this was very nice, we enjoyed the quietness and service ( as well as the wine).
St Kitts: we took a taxi to Cockleshell bay. Very nice beach, however we learned a big lesion. Check with your fellow passengers before you leave what time everyone wants to return. We didn't any only had 2 hours and would have liked longer. The beach has full WIFI and drinks, snacks and a friendly couple their too.
St Marrtin: we booked a P&O boat trip. This boat could hold up to 80 passengers and there was only 24 on board. It was amazing, the service the crew made you feel very welcome and answered lots of questions about St Martin we would have never known. After we caught the water taxi to Grand bay and did some shopping and had lunch and a little siesta by the sea before returning to the ship.
Second sea day: same as the first just chilled on deck and also our balcony reading, just a relaxing day.
Grand Turk: This is our favourite Island and we walked to Jacks Shack, we been there many times before. However this time, I would have to say its become very expensive. One of the most expensive of snacks or beer etc. Our best bit about this time was being in the sea with my wife and a turtle popped his head up to breath right in between us. Very much the WOW factor for us both. We booked the Epicurean restaurant for our friends 50th Birthday and we weren't disappointed the service and food was out of this world... Finishing our deserts on a trolley in front of us all and explaining what she is doing.. Beautiful
Third Sea day: We took part in " Trek the deck" for charity. 9 times walking round the deck, loads of our fellow passengers took part and raised a lot of money for children's charity. After, we spent some time on the promenade deck enjoying watching the world go by and reading ( I did get a little burnt the day before).
Tortola; we normally go to Cane Garden bay and it rains. This time we caught a taxi to long bay. A real hidden gem, the clouds skirt bay and for the first time it didn't rain while at the beach. The sand was so soft and the prices for snacks and beers were normal prices.
Antigua: we spent the day at Darkwood beach, again very nice beach, however getting out of the sea was causing some with difficulty. One older lady kept losing her swimming costume top and this amused everyone. She laughed which made it more difficult to get out.
St Lucia: we went to Rodeny bay and unfortunately due to not having rain in Tortola, the heavens opened and it came down like stair rods. I darted to the sea and the rain was pounding up wards. We had great delight in having Gloria who kept coming back checking if we needed anything, very nice pleasant lady. Her last words were come back again. However the beach peddlers just don't stop, this has to be the worst Island for this. Constantly saying " No thankyou"
Grenada: We spent the morning on board and the afternoon we booked another P&O trip" the Rhun Runner". We have been on one before, however I wouldn't do this trip again. Wasn't as much fun compared to the boat trip in St Marrtin. We were informed by one of the crew this trip is the one everyone likes watching on its return as the crew gave you lots of run punch. This was far to sweet for me to drink, like syrup. However others on the other hand loved it and it showed. Some were so drunk. One young lady they even refused her anymore due to the state she was in. We bumped into her on her return to her cabin and it took four of us to get her up the stairs as her friends left her. A unconfirmed comment from another passenger stated the captain disabled her cruise card for alcohol until the next day. We did see her and she did look a little sorry for her self.
Last sea day: spent morning up on deck and friends went to the murder mystery. there was a ex police detective talking about his career and put on a mock murder with passengers. They came back and thought it was a giggle.
Barbados: up early for immigration check. Very quick this time. We caught a taxi to Harbour heights beach. Again wasn't disappointed, beautiful sand and water. Reasonable prices for snacks and beers. Back on board for our evening meal and the dreaded packing.
Barbados day 2 ( going home) We were up early as we had to be out of our cabins by 8am. Went to the buffet for breakfast and what a fiasco. Half the passengers are new and have not yet got their bearings, no cutlery, no where to sit. P&O need to split the buffets, one for new passengers and they can sit around chatting about their flight etc with fellow passengers and those departing passengers departing to use the other one. It was chaos to say the least. However, as our flight wasn't until 6pm we caught another taxi to the Boat yard. Very nice, beach again is amazing. My wife meet up with an old work colleague and she gave us some insight to living in Barbados. Very interesting. We returned to the ship and had lunch and shower in the spa, so many products are left behind. we were told the crew love this as it all gets used up by them, so don't worry about leaving them. About 330pm we left Azura and made our way to the airport.
We have been to the Caribbean 5 times and each time is so different. We are now giving it a miss for a while and looking at other destinations .
Good comments; The ship isn't looking as tired as others say, cleanliness is up to P&O normal standards. Friendly staff, Speciality restaurants are a must.
Bad comments: I have to sadly say we felt rushed in the MDR. Never experienced this before and its was a shame. they just wanted you seated and for your meal and out. If I choice soup some nights, this was served with my fellow guests mains !!
However, that's all I can say about our cruise. We meet some amazing passengers and crew..
Hope you find this interesting