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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Having cruised with Celebrity many times we are Captains Club Elite members. We have always found them to be the best cruise line having cruised with Cunard, Royal Carribean,and P&O. The staff were unhelpful and sometimes rude. The ... Read More
Having cruised with Celebrity many times we are Captains Club Elite members. We have always found them to be the best cruise line having cruised with Cunard, Royal Carribean,and P&O. The staff were unhelpful and sometimes rude. The perks we were entitled to were usually waiting inside your cabin for you, but this time you had to ask for them if you wanted them. Needless to say Celebrity obviously needs them more then we did so we told them to shove them where the sun doesn't shine. Embarking was slow, luggage didn't arrive untill early evening and when it did one of the cases didn't belong to me. Balcony was wet,as were the chairs. Flakes of paint and dirty tissues left uncleared from previous cruise. Very mundane menu in main dining room, buffet boring and not enough seating on sea days. Smoke from the ships funnels came onto the balconies which we have never experienced before. No daily news sheet, lack of daytime activities. One free session of Bingo where the prize was a Celebrity Towel! A bottle of Stella lager was $16! Yes roughly£12. Bottle of house white wine $54. Have always recommended Celebrity but never again. We complained at the the time to Guest Relations but it just fell on deaf ears. This is just my personal review of the cruise others may have a different view. But will never cruise Celebrity again. Not the Celebrity we once loved. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We just returned from our 8th Celebrity cruise this time on the Silhouette 7 day Norwegian fjords cruise out of Southampton. Ship was clean as usual, stateroom and stateroom attendant were excellent, anytime dining was easy and a real ... Read More
We just returned from our 8th Celebrity cruise this time on the Silhouette 7 day Norwegian fjords cruise out of Southampton. Ship was clean as usual, stateroom and stateroom attendant were excellent, anytime dining was easy and a real plus. All in all, the cruise was fun relaxing, and well worth it, especially with the stunning scenery we saw in the Norwegian fjords. There were a couple of things, however, that really bugged us compered to previous Celebrity cruises. First of all, the beverage package seems to change each time we cruise -- by pushing more beer and liquor choices from "classic" to a "premium" status. The Ocean View cafe lunch selections are almost too exotic for an average palate -- fancy curry dishes, terrible fish selections, etc. How about more hamburgers, grilled sandwiches, etc? Embarkation was very slow compared to other Celebrity sailings -- it was more than an hour from arrival at our assigned time until we stepped aboard the ship. Thirty minutes of that time was spent in line on the gangway. Unfortunately, most days the mast grill was too cold to dine at, or we would have spent more time there. And finally, the shore excursion descriptions are not always what they turn out to be, so do your research and choose carefully. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Sailed on the Silhouette to the Norwegian fjords on 27/4/19 on a 7night cruise from Southampton.We last sailed on this ship in 2013 on a Mediterranean which we enjoyed.We also had a enjoyable trip to Norway but one big problem is that ... Read More
Sailed on the Silhouette to the Norwegian fjords on 27/4/19 on a 7night cruise from Southampton.We last sailed on this ship in 2013 on a Mediterranean which we enjoyed.We also had a enjoyable trip to Norway but one big problem is that this is designed for warmer climates when people can sit on balconies.. When the ship is in colder waters in April /May people are unable to sit outside on balconies or decks with the result there are serious over crowding in public rooms all day long. The ship itself is very clean and service is very good so we are looking forward to our cruise to the canaries in September when that weather will be warmer. We are in the dining room on second sitting where the service was excellent at evening dinner.We did have issues at breakfast time in the dining room at breakfast time. We tried to enter for breakfast at 08.30and asked for a table for 2 but 2 days running were told there were no tables available.Due to the very off hand way we were told this we went to the reception and made a complaint and subsequently had a further meeting with the maitre d.They blamed the problem on everyone turning up at the same time,which to me points out to staff roster problems.On a luxury cruise in this day and age you should be able to have a table for 2 if you want one. The cabin we found to be on the smaller side largely due to the balcony taking up some of the square footage. Draw space is very limited even for a 7day cruise. Three very deep draws are not the best for storing your clothes,let's hope when the next refit is completed something is done to improve this. Entertainment was in general average. . Steve Womack comedian and singer very good Fly boys harmony group. very good Pearl Modern contemporary show(did not like at all) Tom Seals singer and musician .excellent playing piano Ships own entertainment group shows (not very good. Anchors Vocal group .excellant Food served in the dining was was very good ,since we were last on thisi ship several things have changed. Four course meals seem to have become three and no chocolates with coffees or cheese . Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords. Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords. Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes before my allotted time. First time using a mobility scooter but very helpful staff helped me to board by a conventional gangplank. No trouble disembarking, off within 15 minutes. Luggage found and out of the terminal within 30 minutes. I did not do any organised trips as it was my first cruise on my own, since losing my husband and having to us a mobility scooter. Self serve Horizon restaurant has plenty of staff wearing "Happy to Help aprons" and they were indeed helpful (although wanted to give me more food than I wanted) carried it to the table for me. All areas are accessible to disabled travellers and if you want to eat in the other restaurants they will park and bring it back afterwards. The Eric Lanlard afternoon tea in the Epicurean is to die for. The glad house has amazing wines (Selected by Ollie Smith). Try a wine flight if you want to sample. These is plenty of seating even on a sea day it wasn't hard to find a place. Overall a beautiful ship with absolutely wonderful crew. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
OVERVIEW My husband and I are a 50'ish couple who are not regular cruisers. I have always wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords, and when i saw a good sale with 2 perks last fall, i jumped! We were originally booked in a standard ... Read More
OVERVIEW My husband and I are a 50'ish couple who are not regular cruisers. I have always wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords, and when i saw a good sale with 2 perks last fall, i jumped! We were originally booked in a standard veranda cabin but about 10 days before we sailed, we received an email offering us to bid on moving up to Aqua class. I bid $10 (per-person) over the minimum, and we won our bid. I had no idea how much we would adore that Aqua class! The restaurant, BLU, was fantastic. We loved, with one exception, every single item of food we ate in BLU. Everything about the ship and the staff was wonderful - the Silhouette is clean and elegant and full of nice, if sometimes goofy, spaces (that Sky lounge's decor is straight outta a Star Trek episode - like, an alien's idea of what a fancy bar on a ship on Earth should look like). Yet we grew quite fond of that funny Sky Lounge. We also spent a lot of time in the Ensemble Lounge as we really enjoyed the quirky yet super talented musical duo playing there most nights, along with a guitarist/vocalist who also played in the Lounge. It was music we actually wanted to listen to, but could still have a conversation, and it is dimly-lit, so i always looked very nice in the Ensemble Lounge. The staff, almost without fail, was efficient, friendly, and good at their jobs. The public areas, including bathrooms,were spotless no matter what time of day it was; we felt very pampered on this trip. We did miss a good full jogging track outside - the one they have is silly and not long enough. Since I am a walker and not a jogger, and it wasn't particularly beautiful weather, I just either walked on the treadmill or chose a floor with nothing but cabins, and walked long laps. My husband ran on the treadmills. However, had it been really nice weather, we would have been annoyed at having to be inside to get good exercise. Specifics below, if you want them: EMBARKATION - We are from the U.S., and had never been to Southampton, and I was a bit worried about getting to Southampton from London with all of our luggage, but we took the train down the night before, and then got a taxi to the pier in the morning. The train was comfortable and we just put our luggage next to our seats. it was very easy! Our instructions said to arrive between 10:30 and 11, but we arrived around noon. Since I had just been upgraded to Aqua, we hadn't received new luggage tags yet, but a guy was there, johnny-on-the-spot, and he made us new tags and carted off our luggage. We walked into the city terminal building and saw a pretty long line - it was not very organized in the "exterior" part of the line, so if for some reason Aqua class cabins could have gotten into a shorter or different line, nobody told us that or pointed us toward a different line. So we stood in the "main" line, and waited about 15 or 20 minutes before we got "inside" past security - at that point, we WERE directed by some very quick-acting and smiling people, to go to a special line, and we essentially went right up to a window to register and get our pictures taken and to get our Sea Pass cards. Once onboard, we received pink sparkling wine, and then wandered around the ship until our room was ready just a bit after 1:00. CABIN - We were in 1514, a very forward cabin on the Starboard side. My husband was worried about sea sickness and feeling the motion of the ship, so I therefore worried about how far forward we were and how high up we were, but really, she is a big ship, the Silhouette, and for the most part we never felt much movement at all. The very first morning we heard some odd noises above us, right around 7:00 AM - and learned later that we were right underneath the gym. The sounds were a combo of something being dragged around and then - maybe - someone on a bike or treadmill I think. ANYWAY, i then worried we would be awoken each day by these sounds, but that was the only day we really heard anything at all from above us. The only other noise issue we encountered was the night/morning we sailed into Geiranger, which is an town in an inlet in northern Norway. It was apparently an excessively and unrelentingly foggy night and morning, as the captain blew the fog horn every few minutes for HOURS. LITERAL HOURS. It was so loud in our room, it seemed like the horn was on our balcony. We got no sleep that night. Those were the only blights on the room. I thought it had lots of usable storage space, and we did like the extra-fancy shower experience that they provide in Aqua cabins. Our room steward was the best! Ali truly worked seemingly non-stop - our cabin was cleaned essentially the moment we left in the morning, and he somehow always knew when we were out for dinner to provide the turn-down service and leave us our chocolate and next day's planner. Dining - I can't say enough good things about BLU. One of the few other cruises we took was MANY years ago, on the Celebrity Mercury, and the dining room and food on that cruise were exceptional. We know times and the industry have changed so didn't expect much, but we were very happily surprised. It is "anytime" dining but we only ever had to wait one night - the very first night. Other than that, we could walk in at anytime and get a fantastic table immediately. My husband's steaks were tender and flavorful and cooked perfectly medium-rare, my salmon was always rare, as I like it, and our other entrees, as well as our starters and sides were very very good also - salads had fresh ingredients and vegetables were not overcooked. I do think they don't have enough staff in BLU and some nights we waited a bit to have someone take our order, but we could see the waiters practically being run off their feet, so we didn't take that personally. When they did come to our table, we got very personal and efficient service. But Celebrity should staff more appropriately in this restaurant I think. We ate most lunches in the OceanView and that food was delish as well. I tended to focus on the Indian food (REALLY REALLY GOOD), and the "grilled delights" were i could get a thinly-sliced piece of chicken breast that was nicely seasoned. The food was hot - even one day when we got in just as they were finishing the lunchtime meal - and plentiful. My husband liked the pizza and usually found something at the carvery to eat as well. Since it was not a hot weather cruise, I was worried the OceanView would be super crowded (people weren't inclined to eat outside), but we only had one day where we struggled to find a table. The service was good at the tables and staff quickly came over to get our drink orders pr clear our plates. Entertainment - my husband is a bit of a drag and refused to go see ANY of the shows. I did hear one couple describe one of the shows as "rubbish", and everyone around them nodded in agreement - it sounded kind of high-concept for a ship, some acrobatics, some singing, maybe an attempt at a plot? (maybe my husband isn't a drag, maybe he is just "wise") We focused on trivia - which we lost - but which we had lots of fun playing; Karaoke - which we only 'watched' but LOVED all of it - those English/Irish/Welsh are quite good at Karaoke, and the activities person in charge of Karaoke was hilarious. She was helpful when a singer needed some assistance (very rarely - since these were English/Irish/Welsh, people who seemingly spend the bulk of their lives in bars, learning the words and cadence to every single song written since 1960), she was full of funny asides, and just a perfect host for the event. We also, as I previously mentioned, like to spend time in the Ensemble Lounge, listening to the "contemporary duo" and also Angie, the guitarist/vocalist. Both acts are very talented and had shockingly large repertoires, they weren't really what we expected on a large cruise line, and we liked that about them. We enjoyed hanging out before and/or after dinner, and the wait staff and bartenders in Ensemble were lovely. They immediately remembered the beer my husband asked for on our first night, I think because they thought it was funny that anyone would want Miller Lite, and would have it for him practically as soon as he caught their eye. I have never really understood why people care who the cruise director is BUT we liked the looks of Sue as soon as we saw her picture, and one night in the SKY Lounge, she danced over to me and said something about what a fun night it was, and I have to say, I felt her good energy. PORTS: NORWAY IS AMAZING. WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. It is stunning, awe-inspiring, gorgeous (i could go on and on with superlatives, but will end there), the people are friendly, and it is easy to navigate. Bergen - we mostly walked around town looking for a bus to the mountain overlook - there is so much talk about the funicular to Floyen but I had it on good authority that Ulriken provided a better view. However, my google maps hadn't downloaded yet while we were in Bergen so there was no info on mass transit options. We finally found the bus station where a patient woman explained to us which bus to take and where to pick it up, and then we took the 12 to the Hospital (north exit, don't go under the bridge!) then walked behind the hospital, up the hill, to the cable car. It was AWESOME at the top of Ulriken. GO THERE. You won't be sorry. Alesund - we took a Celebrity excursion to a ski mountain where we had again AWESOME views. (the theme of Norway is definitely, AWESOME views). We had to take a bus and a ferry and a cable car, but it was well worth it. We also got traditional Norwegian waffles served to us at the top of the mountain, which was funny to us as we live around many people of Norwegian descent here in the midwest, and none of them claim waffles as the most beloved food of their home country. They all try to make us eat Lefse, which is bland and dull and quite inferior to a soft waffle. Geiranger - We had pre-purchased tickets on a local tourist bus - not a hop-on, it takes you to two specific scenic points in Geiranger - very inexpensive and picks you up right at the port! Sadly, one stop was inaccessible as we were so early in the season that the road at the very top was still closed because of snow (so we stopped at a slightly less-high point - I think that would have been fine, on a clear day - this was our foggy town - the fog came in on monstrous cat feet and sat, on its big fat haunches, overlooking the harbor, the town, the hills, the fjords, etc, and broke all of the Silhouette's passengers' hearts that day in Geiranger) - and the other stop seems like it would have been AWESOME, as it was a perfect view of two rock walls as the water curved between them - at this second stop, the fog lifted for a few seconds here and there, so we could get a glimpse of the stunning scene we were missing out on. Still, once the bus deposited us back down in the harbor, we walked up the waterfall that is right off the pier - it is a really easy walk to the top, and despite the fact that most of the landscape was still covered in fog and clouds, we could see rolling hills and green green grass and flowering trees and not just the waterfall we had walked up, but 2 or 3 others. It is a beautiful, awe inspiring area. I imagine the beauty of it all in sunlight would have blinded me,so it is probably fine that we had such bad weather there. Stavanger - crazy town! It is very industrial, as it is the petroleum capital of Norway (fyi, if you are interested in the petroleum museum, you do NOT need to purchase that as an excursion on Celebrity. The petroleum museum is essentially IN the harbor. You can make it on your own! We did not go in but we saw it RIGHT there.) But in the midst of this industrial town sit hundreds of charming white houses on cobblestone streets, which were originally built for cannery workers, and then restored in the not too distant past. People actually live in them, so don't stare in windows, but do walk around and through those streets. Just trust me on this one. Also, we took the Strandafjell cruise and that was AWESOME. I felt like we saw some of the grandeur we couldn't see in Geiranger. It was a gorgeous ride. We sailed to Pulpit Rock ultimately, with a stop in a cove with a history relating to bank robbers, AND a stop for WAFFLES. I am not sure how many cruises we will ever take in our lives, but we really enjoyed the ship, the people we met onboard, the crew, the Captain, the karaoke, and Norway. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We got a Valentines offer on the website for the 2nd person to go for £199 and ended up with a room on floor 3 with 2 portholes and twin beds. The cabin was cosy and a bit noisy at night when the ship stopped, but with earplugs in we ... Read More
We got a Valentines offer on the website for the 2nd person to go for £199 and ended up with a room on floor 3 with 2 portholes and twin beds. The cabin was cosy and a bit noisy at night when the ship stopped, but with earplugs in we got used to this quickly and it kind of added to the experience. We were very lucky with weather and it was sunny and warm with calm seas almost the entire time. The food was excellent with the best buffet I’ve ever seen each breakfast and lunch, and at night a posh gourmet meal made by the chef. The dinner was made of local produce and had stories about where it was from and the suppliers, and one night there was fully vegetarian (which anyone could request a meat version). The boat had one long stop per day, and we decided not to do any paid excursions, but we’re really happy to find you could get off for up to 6 hours each day and hike up a mountain to see an incredible view and explore small towns. We hopped of at even the shortest stops and it was cool to see what they all had to offer. Tromsø and Trondheim were particular favourites. The views from the boat were spectacular and big points of interest along the way we’re announced on loudspeaker or there was an activity/talk with the expedition team out on the deck so you could take it in. We loved standing out the front and watching the boat wind through narrow bits especially at night when it didn’t seem like the sun went down fully. We even got taken to the mouth of the Trollfjord one evening, which was expertly manoeuvred so we could take in this famous landscape. There were lots of comfy places to sit indoors to watch it all go by too, although the swivel chairs right at the front were hotly contested. Sometimes the best view was in the jacuzzi at the back. Even when it was absolutely freezing and the coldest, the jacuzzi was shielded enough to take in the views while bubbling away. You could even sit above the tub and it was refreshing. Before the journey I was worried that not opting for the excursions would mean our experience wouldn’t be so great, and that our cabin would be tiny and confining. However I absolutely loved every minute and was sad to get off! Word to the wise - don’t bother rushing on at Bergen early. Your cabin is already decided and upgrading you can ask about on the ship for a price. You might as well check in around 6pm and enjoy Bergen a little longer. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Excellent cruise, but you’ll have to remember this is not at traditional cruise but a coastal line on the norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again with several port calls each day. So in addition to cruise guests doing the ... Read More
Excellent cruise, but you’ll have to remember this is not at traditional cruise but a coastal line on the norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again with several port calls each day. So in addition to cruise guests doing the whole or parts of the roundtrip, there will be guests sailing form one port to another and shipping goods in and out in the different ports. MS Spitsbergen is one of the smaller ships of Hurtigruten - a perfect size. Good cabins with very comfortable beds. Serviceminded crew, excellent expeditionteam, great food and If the weather allows the most beautiful view in the world. There’s daily lectures with topics from the coast, history, geology, geography, nature. In the ports they offer different excursions you can buy in addition to the cruise. The whole roundtrip takes 11 days, and it’s possible to travel half the distance northbound or southbound or even shorter distance. The ports are: Bergen, Florø, Måløy, Torvik, Ålesund, Molde, Kristiansund, Trondheim, Rørvik, Brønnøysund, Sandnessjøen, Nesna, Ørnes, Bodø, Stamsund, Svolvær, Stokmarknes, Sortland, Risøyhamn, Harstad, Tromsø, Skjervøy, Øksfjord, Hammerfest, Havøysund, Honningsvåg, Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, Berlevåg, Båtsfjord, Vardø, Vadsø (only northbound) and Kirkenes. In June, July and August they sail into Geirangerfjord, and in September and October into Hjørundfjord. Both on the northbound route. Summary: Lovely ship. Excellent crew and expedition team. Flavourful and local food. Wonderful cabins and beds. Green and environmental profile. Outstanding scenery. The voyage of my life. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Well, we have been home for a week now so time to look back on our 7 night Norwegian Fjord Cruise on Azura. By way of background, just to say that we travelled as a 50 something couple, with no children. We like to do our own thing on ... Read More
Well, we have been home for a week now so time to look back on our 7 night Norwegian Fjord Cruise on Azura. By way of background, just to say that we travelled as a 50 something couple, with no children. We like to do our own thing on cruises and we don’t tend to go to the theatre for the evening shows as they generally don’t interest us. We are happier enjoying a nice meal and a cocktail or 2 with quiet music. We tend to cruise for a mix of the ship and the location, to explore new places. We always like a nice balcony – though we prefer a mix of sun and shade. We don’t tend to bother too much with the day time activities as we are usually out and about. This was our first cruise on Azura and having spent 17 nights on Ventura (a ship we didn’t particularly enjoy) we were a little concerned about the bad press that Azura was getting before we left. We knew that she was due for a refurbishment, so were expecting the worse. Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong. We had an absolutely fabulous time! From the moment we stepped on to our coach transfer to the moment we stepped off it again the service was faultless. First and foremost the best part of this cruise was the crew. Apart from 2 (who stood out like a sore thumb) the entire crew were friendly, professional, proficient and just seemed so happy to be doing what they were doing. We wrote 6 outstanding comment cards at the end but it could have been more. The Captain seemed pleasant and was seen out and about the ship chatting with passengers and crew. Service was equally good in all bars, in the buffet restaurant and in Sindhus (thank you Yogesh). The Glass House wasn’t quite as good, but was not bad…. if that makes sense. Well done to all of them – they were a credit to the company. The cabin. On Ventura we had had cabin D114 – a superior cabin – and we really did not like it at all. At the recommendation of other Cruise Critic members we opted for aft cabin B749 on Azura – one of the aft balcony cabins that is on the ‘corner’ of the ship. Though the cabin décor was looking tired it was spotlessly clean and the balcony was wonderful. It was completely covered and private. As the cabin was at the end of a small corridor it was very quiet. It was next to a crew door but this never caused a problem. We did feel some vibration as we sailed and when docking there was sometimes a lot of vibration, but this has been the same on all other ships we have been on in aft cabins. We have booked a cruise on Ventura (to give her another try) and have booked this cabin again on her. The cabin steward, Karol was excellent. The food was a mixed bag. On our first night we ate at Sindhus and it was an excellent meal and wonderful way to start the cruise. Loved the ambience of this restaurant and we had a lovely table for 2. The food was very good and they catered well for me as I do not particularly like spicy food. We also ate at the Glass House. Funnily enough, though this had been the only part of Ventura we had really liked we did not find the quality of the food in the Glass House on Azura as good. It wasn’t bad, just didn’t seem to have the ‘wow’ factor and I am not sure we would have eaten there again. The food in the buffet area seemed good. We only ate there for breakfast once and it was good. Other times we had cabin service and this was always punctual and the orders correct. The food that came out at 3pm in the buffet was very good and to us there was a really good variety. We tended to go there after excursions and there were always a good selection of finger roll sandwiches, cakes, cold meats, salads and hot foods. We found the service in the Main Dining Room to be about the best we have had a for a number of cruises – including Celebrity. The Podium Manager, Amit, at our freedom dining restaurant, The Peninsular restaurant was brilliant and so accommodating. If we asked for a specific area he always accommodated this request, ok we had to wait but we were happy to do this and it helped us to develop a good relationship with the waiters in that area. There were some lovely tables for 2 in some parts of the restaurants and this made a massive difference to the horrid long padded seating area that we disliked so much on Ventura. Thanks go to our Waiter, Rupesh for excellent service. Our Wine waiter on this cruise was named D and I have to say we think he is probably about the best Wine Waiter we have ever had. Friendly, polite, knowledgeable and he always remembered what we wanted. Like our waiters he was always happy to take the time to ask about our day and show an interest in what we were doing. Thank you Dolreich. The quality of the wines we had was excellent and the price at an average of £20 per bottle was excellent. Anyone who complains about the cost of drinks on P&O probably hasn’t been on an American cruise line! On our last day we did a Wine Tasting with the lovely Maria and found that to be excellent value for money at £10 per person. We had the chance to taste 5 different wines and this was accompanied by a sizeable selection of canapes. Now the not so good bit re the food. In many ways the food in the Main Dining Room was good – an excellent choice, nice menus (excellent ones on the formal nights). Personally, we found that it lacked seasoning. Do they not use salt when cooking at all? I wouldn’t say it was bad, but not the best we have had on P&O by a long way. The ship itself. We much preferred the layout to that of Ventura, particularly the open decks. The 2nd outdoor pool area if MUCH better than the covered one on Ventura and for some reason we just loved walking around her decks. It really did not feel like the same ship at all ! I can imagine that it would be even busier in the Summer months, but nicely thought out. Surprisingly, we were impressed that the sea screen was not too intrusive, and we may have been converted to having one on a cruise ship! One thing we were disappointed about is that, unlike Ventura, passengers are not allowed to go on the promenade area right at the front of the ship. Before we went on the cruise we had read reports that there was a strange smell on the promenade deck mid ships. Just to confirm that these reports are right and we had no idea what it was. It didn’t spoil things too much though, but I would have expected them to look in to it. The musicians on the ship were of good quality. On the last night there was a duet – a young couple – who were excellent. Just a shame we had only discovered them then. Other vocalists were good and keyboard players etc of a high standard. The formal nights were well observed and to us they are always that extra bit special. Other major pluses for the cruise – the location and weather We had never been to the Fjords before and were expecting to take our snow boots, hats, gloves and scarves. How wrong we were! It was the Easter weekend and the weather was exceptionally warm. I think we left Southampton at 25 degrees and beautiful blue skies. Well this weather followed us up the North Sea and around Norway for more or less the whole week. Even our worst day had blue skies and apart from the last 5 hours of the cruise (as we approached Southampton) the sea was like a mill pond. The Fjords were just beautiful with the ports of call being Stavanger, Olden, Alesund and Bergen. Out of all of them we loved Olden and wished that there had been another port where we had sailed up a fjord rather than being a more coastal port. The excursions we did with P&O varied and ranged from good to outstanding. The scenery was stunning wherever we went and, yes the weather made a massive difference to the whole cruise experience. To be in Norway feeling like you were in the Mediterranean in June certainly brightens the mood and there were a lot of very happy cruisers enjoying every second of the sun and scenery. I suppose those who dislike Azura would say that with the sort of ‘fluke’ weather we had and the location anyone would have been happy in a rowing boat. I can see their point, but Azura was so much more, we loved our time on board and would return in a heartbeat before or after her refurbishment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I really liked the character of the ship, the art work and the layout. I enjoyed the hot tubs so much and the upper decks. The cabin was nice, the only downsides I could call out are. * The air from the ceiling was strong, it blew down ... Read More
I really liked the character of the ship, the art work and the layout. I enjoyed the hot tubs so much and the upper decks. The cabin was nice, the only downsides I could call out are. * The air from the ceiling was strong, it blew down on the bed quite a lot. * There wasn't any evening entertainment in the lounges, no piano playing or quiz or anything, it would have been nice to have a couple of hours of entertainment some of the nights * The staff were setting up tables for lunch at breakfast hours, kicking guests off tables and making them move so they could set up for lunch which didn't start for 2 hours, incredibly rude and frustrating. Being told to find a new table mid-meal is shocking customer service. Besides that the ship, the views and the service and food was all very good. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First a little context: We started cruising nearly 30 years ago, doing CTC, Costa, MSC, Princess cruises, Ocean cruise Lines, HAL, then after a 25 year break returned to it 4 years ago and since then we have done Oceania, Azamara x3, ... Read More
First a little context: We started cruising nearly 30 years ago, doing CTC, Costa, MSC, Princess cruises, Ocean cruise Lines, HAL, then after a 25 year break returned to it 4 years ago and since then we have done Oceania, Azamara x3, AmaWaterways, Celebrity, Marella Dream, FO x2. This was our first time to the Fjords and, wow, what absolutely stunning scenery. The weather was absolutely perfect, not a drop of rain and barely a cloud in the sky. Embarkation/Disembarkation Very efficient. The cases were being taken out of the car before the engine was even switched off. We were called forward at our allocated boarding time of 12, spent about 15 minutes queuing, all the formalities were done really quickly and onboard we went and to our cabin, which was ready. No glass of fizz though. Nina, our cabin stewardess whizzed us through all we needed to know, by which time our cases had arrived and we were good to go for lunch which was being served around the ship. On disembarkation we had to leave the cabin at 7, assemble in our allocated lounge at 8.30 and we were called off at around that time. There was a queue of around 15/20 minutes for the shuttles back to the car park. Tilbury is a really quaint little cruise terminal and it was delightful to sail from there. Cabin We had a forward outside ‘superior’ cabin on Deck 6. Nice picture window, although pretty filthy (as were all of the windows although we did see crew trying to clean them with lowered hoses)! Cabin was small and plain, but adequate. TBH most cabins seemed much of a muchness in terms of size. Kettle and supplies were provided but no fridge. No complaints about the bathroom and the shower was fine. Oh yes, the toilet did stop flushing from time to time, which was a bit awkward first thing in the morning, but was fixed quite quickly. I wondered if it was because, unusually, the toilet paper was pretty thick and luxurious?! Quickly moving on, we had no particular issues with noise or vibrations, the aircon was rather noisy though and could only be turned up or down, I suppose you get used to it, but I did find it a little warm at night. The bed was comfortable and the extra half-pillow used on the bed instead of a cushion got a gold star from me. Extra pillows and duvets were stored in the wardrobes and all looked clean and fresh. My one gripe was that the bottom sheet was stretchy cotton, which had that ‘bobbly’ kind of feel, OH didn’t even notice though. The flatscreen TV showed various channels including BBC and Sky News plus 2 films a day. Ship Yes, it’s an old ship. The decoration and furnishing is quite basic but it’s clean. It’s not quaint and charming, but it is small, you can sit inside and see from one side to the other, you know that you are at sea. There are lots of little outside areas to explore. However, a number of these are smoking areas, including the outdoor heated area by the pool! 2 of the whirlpools were open during our trip, and towards the end the pools were filled with freezing water which looked really murky. Not very inviting! Food Before we sailed, I was having grave misgivings about this area. But I suppose that the half a stone I put on in a week is an indicator that my fears were groundless. There are 2 main restaurants, Kensington and Waldorf, which operate 2 sittings for dinner. Both serve up 5/6 course evening meals. Portions are not huge but I felt that the quality was pretty good. Plenty of fresh vegetables and meat that looked like it had come from an actual animal. There were also themed nights – Greek for example where the waiters dressed up and did a bit of Greek dancing, and Italian. All in all a bit of fun! We had requested a table of 6 late sitting, and were put on a table of 8 with just one other couple. It wasn’t a problem though, the other couple were lovely and eventually we arranged ourselves so that we could all look out of the window at the stunning scenery passing by. For breakfast you could opt for cabin service, free if you just wanted drinks and croissants/toast or £10 to include cooked breakfast, self-service in the bistro, hybrid waiter / self service in Waldorf or full service in Kensington. Now, I don’t really do buffets for hygiene reasons but the full service restaurant was really slow so we mostly ate in Waldorf where there was an excellent egg/omelette station in addition to the other breakfast goodies or the served dish of the day such as egg benedict, smoked salmon and eggs or corned beef hash. The breakfast spread was pretty good to be fair although the fruit juice and coffee were undrinkable. A similar system was in operation at lunchtime, with full service lunch in the Kensington. When the weather permitted there was also an outdoor grill, serving hotdogs, burgers and chips on the pool deck and, my particular favourite, a pizza station in the buffet, open from 11 til 5, perfect for a late lunch on a port day. The pizza was absolutely delicious and I think primarily responsible for my alarming weight gain. Afternoon tea is served in the buffet at 3.30. This was a complete bunfight, with people dipping their spoons into huge bowls of cream and jam after having started to eat their tea en route from one buffet station to another, licking their fingers as they went. There is no late-night buffet, but canapés do circulate in the lounges, including tasty little samosas and spring rolls, infinitely preferable! A word or two on the ‘speciality dining’. We did the ‘Chef’s table’ which was a ‘reception’ with the restaurant manager and the chef, photographs, a quick galley tour with the chef followed by a 10 course menu with wines and dedicated waiter. The cost of this is £60pp, discounted if you have already taken one of the drinks packages. There were 8 of us in a private area and it was such a excellent evening I would thoroughly recommend it. This is not ‘pushed’ very much around the ship, so if you want to do it, you have to put your name down with the Restaurant manager and, if they get enough interest they will send you an invitation. We also went to the curry Fusion restaurant – which was an area of the buffet separated off. This costs £15, discounted once again if you have the drinks package. I was a bit reluctant to do this because to be frank, the congealed dishes of curry they were displaying at the entrance to the buffet on the day we boarded hardly looked appetising. You get a plate of mixed appetisers, a rolled up popadum, rice and breads plus one main course and some very sweet desserts. Delicious! Entertainment There was the usual range of daytime activities, quizzes, craft classes, lectures. In the evening, there were 2 shows at 7.15 and 9.15 which meant that second sitting guests had to go to the show before dinner. Not my preferred arrangement, but the reason for this was that the singers often had to perform again in the lounge at around 10.30. The show team, 4 singers, 6/7 dancers worked hard with very limited costumes and virtually no sets. There was a small live orchestra though. I thought the shows were ok, not exactly West End standard, but then I often don’t think much of them!. The guest artist was a comedian who did shows on 2 nights, I gave the second show a miss. Most of the action after the show took place in the Capatain’s Club lounge. Usually there was some kind of ‘gameshow’, hosted by the CD then cabaret by one or more of the singers followed by a DJ who managed to put a dampener on any dancing and send everyone to bed! There was limited entertainment in the other bars in the form of sets by a pianist and a pianist/violinist duo. The CD didn’t seem to do an awful lot, other than host the gameshow and say a few words at the end of the production shows, and was not very visible, but perhaps he did a lot behind the scenes. Service This area was admittedly a little variable. On the one hand, our waiters in Waldorf for dinner were excellent, as good as any anywhere. OH was on a special diet and well looked after with the next day menus and so on. On the other hand, it was often difficult to get served in the bars. All good things come to those who wait, but sometimes you had to wait a very long time. Our cabin stewardess was efficient and made us a mouse towel animal on embarkation. The only towel animal we have ever had! I think they said that there were 42 nationalities of crew, some of the service staff didn’t speak perfect English, maybe that was something to do with it plus the fact that the ship was full. Fellow passengers There was a very high proportion of first time cruisers onboard and a lot of passengers came from the Kent/Essex area. Everyone was very friendly and there was very little moaning going on! Top notch! This was an adult only sailing with passengers from their twenties to their eighties, with the average age probably mid fifties. Read Less

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