I took my first P&O Cruise in November on the Azura having booked a single inside cabin some 18 months beforehand. It turned out to be a disappointment and mistake. Since returning, I have read all of the reviews that have been posted by passengers who have also returned from a cruise on the Azura and have not been surprised by the number of negative and more importantly, consistent comments. Most of what I have to say has already been said and I believe what the majority of passengers have also posted is more than justified. On arrival into Barbados, check in was reasonably quick but I had to wait 7 hours to be reunited with my bags and some people had to wait longer. No update announcements or apologies were made during this time which I guess was a warning sign of things to come. My inside cabin was 'adequate'. There was nothing special about the quality of the bedding or the fixtures but in fairness, the stateroom attendant did a good job of keeping it presentable. For a new ship, it simply had no WOW factor. Enough has already been posted about the inadequate size and style of the atrium on the Azura. On busy evenings, when the shops are open, and when people are also trying to dance in such a small area, there is simply no room to move anywhere. In fact everywhere on the ship gives a feeling of being overcrowded and the same certainly applies when lounging on the sun decks. Finding your around was not easy and I felt the general layout, fixtures and fittings, and ship design was not as good as I had enjoyed and experienced on the new Celebrity Eclipse. I was disappointed there was no observation lounge at the front of ship. The Planet Bar is located at the back of the ship and whilst this was a nice venue, it did not afford the same views that you would normally get from looking out at the front. Having previously sailed with Celebrity, I concluded the food on the Azura was nothing like as good. The buffet facility was very repetitive and generally presented like you would expect and see in a holiday camp. The afternoon selection of cakes and sandwiches were a joke. Evening dinner was again nothing special and I have never seen such small steaks presented on a cruise before. Not one midnight buffet or elegant brunch was offered during the entire 14 nights. In fact, on just one sea day there was a deck buffet offered which mostly consisted of what you could obtain on other days from the main poolside grill. The poolside burgers were not that nice either. It was some of what seemed like penny pinching initiatives that really spoilt things for me. I have never had to pay for ice cream before, and immediately after breakfast was over, you could not get even obtain a chilled fruit juice from a dispenser, only water. The on board group of entertainers (Headliners) were good but the shows seemed repetitive, particularly over 14 nights. The comedian was a shambles and although the tribute acts were good, they also appeared several times and there just didn't seem enough of a variety mix in the entertainment programme. When you left the theatre after a show, you had a job to get through all the people who were waiting to enter the theatre, which again highlighted the poor layout and organisation. I never really saw many people watching the outside cinema at night and during the day if you decided to lounge in the area of the sea screen, you would have been wise to have gone with earplugs. I never saw much cleaning going on and the glass in the lifts was often marked and seemed to always be that way. The toilets on the sun/pool decks during sea days were generally a disgrace, often with water on the floor and paper towels everywhere. Hand hygiene was hit and miss and nobody ever offered me the chance to apply any sanitizer on entering the main restaurant. On one occasion at least in the buffet the dispenser was empty and I heard several passengers complaining to staff that nobody seemed to be encouraging hand hygiene. I did take a number of the ship excursions. Whilst these were all generally good, often made so by the enthusiasm of the local operators, I was not impressed with having to make my own way to join the tour at the end of the pier rather than being guided off the ship, as it often meant lining up in the heat(or rain) until everybody was ready to go. It would have been nice to have been offered chilled water and/or a chilled face flannel on returning to the ship on very hot days and I can honestly say I was never even afforded one 'welcome back'. In fact, very few staff members seemed to take the trouble of acknowledging passengers in passing. When you have been used to feeling welcome and valued on ships, these were some of the little things that I sadly missed on the Azura. A lot of people were every upset on hearing fellow passengers had in some cases paid considerably less than they had. I can only assume P&O is struggling to fill capacity on this ship hence the number of last minute deals you often see. Unless more attention is paid to what people are saying, this will surely continue to be case. Cruise ships on other lines are also getting bigger, but you do read a lot of very positive comments from people who have travelled on them which perhaps suggests you can have a great cruise experience even on a large ship. In the case of the Azura, I went away with the impression the ship did not seem designed or geared up for the passenger numbers it had on board, and sadly neither did some of its staff. Immediately on returning home, I cancelled another P&O cruise I had already booked on one of their smaller ships as I could not convince myself the overall experience, albeit on a smaller ship, would be any better. I would not consider them again.

Azura and P&O - Never again

Azura Cruise Review by 7anchorage

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2010
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Inside Single Stateroom
I took my first P&O Cruise in November on the Azura having booked a single inside cabin some 18 months beforehand. It turned out to be a disappointment and mistake.



Since returning, I have read all of the reviews that have been posted by passengers who have also returned from a cruise on the Azura and have not been surprised by the number of negative and more importantly, consistent comments.



Most of what I have to say has already been said and I believe what the majority of passengers have also posted is more than justified.



On arrival into Barbados, check in was reasonably quick but I had to wait 7 hours to be reunited with my bags and some people had to wait longer. No update announcements or apologies were made during this time which I guess was a warning sign of things to come.



My inside cabin was 'adequate'. There was nothing special about the quality of the bedding or the fixtures but in fairness, the stateroom attendant did a good job of keeping it presentable.



For a new ship, it simply had no WOW factor. Enough has already been posted about the inadequate size and style of the atrium on the Azura. On busy evenings, when the shops are open, and when people are also trying to dance in such a small area, there is simply no room to move anywhere. In fact everywhere on the ship gives a feeling of being overcrowded and the same certainly applies when lounging on the sun decks.



Finding your around was not easy and I felt the general layout, fixtures and fittings, and ship design was not as good as I had enjoyed and experienced on the new Celebrity Eclipse.



I was disappointed there was no observation lounge at the front of ship. The Planet Bar is located at the back of the ship and whilst this was a nice venue, it did not afford the same views that you would normally get from looking out at the front.



Having previously sailed with Celebrity, I concluded the food on the Azura was nothing like as good. The buffet facility was very repetitive and generally presented like you would expect and see in a holiday camp. The afternoon selection of cakes and sandwiches were a joke. Evening dinner was again nothing special and I have never seen such small steaks presented on a cruise before. Not one midnight buffet or elegant brunch was offered during the entire 14 nights. In fact, on just one sea day there was a deck buffet offered which mostly consisted of what you could obtain on other days from the main poolside grill.



The poolside burgers were not that nice either.



It was some of what seemed like penny pinching initiatives that really spoilt things for me. I have never had to pay for ice cream before, and immediately after breakfast was over, you could not get even obtain a chilled fruit juice from a dispenser, only water.



The on board group of entertainers (Headliners) were good but the shows seemed repetitive, particularly over 14 nights. The comedian was a shambles and although the tribute acts were good, they also appeared several times and there just didn't seem enough of a variety mix in the entertainment programme. When you left the theatre after a show, you had a job to get through all the people who were waiting to enter the theatre, which again highlighted the poor layout and organisation.



I never really saw many people watching the outside cinema at night and during the day if you decided to lounge in the area of the sea screen, you would have been wise to have gone with earplugs.



I never saw much cleaning going on and the glass in the lifts was often marked and seemed to always be that way. The toilets on the sun/pool decks during sea days were generally a disgrace, often with water on the floor and paper towels everywhere. Hand hygiene was hit and miss and nobody ever offered me the chance to apply any sanitizer on entering the main restaurant. On one occasion at least in the buffet the dispenser was empty and I heard several passengers complaining to staff that nobody seemed to be encouraging hand hygiene.



I did take a number of the ship excursions. Whilst these were all generally good, often made so by the enthusiasm of the local operators, I was not impressed with having to make my own way to join the tour at the end of the pier rather than being guided off the ship, as it often meant lining up in the heat(or rain) until everybody was ready to go.



It would have been nice to have been offered chilled water and/or a chilled face flannel on returning to the ship on very hot days and I can honestly say I was never even afforded one 'welcome back'. In fact, very few staff members seemed to take the trouble of acknowledging passengers in passing. When you have been used to feeling welcome and valued on ships, these were some of the little things that I sadly missed on the Azura.





A lot of people were every upset on hearing fellow passengers had in some cases paid considerably less than they had. I can only assume P&O is struggling to fill capacity on this ship hence the number of last minute deals you often see. Unless more attention is paid to what people are saying, this will surely continue to be case.



Cruise ships on other lines are also getting bigger, but you do read a lot of very positive comments from people who have travelled on them which perhaps suggests you can have a great cruise experience even on a large ship. In the case of the Azura, I went away with the impression the ship did not seem designed or geared up for the passenger numbers it had on board, and sadly neither did some of its staff.



Immediately on returning home, I cancelled another P&O cruise I had already booked on one of their smaller ships as I could not convince myself the overall experience, albeit on a smaller ship, would be any better. I would not consider them again.
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