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100 P&O Cruises Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise and chose the Britannia because of mainly good reviews and being mainly British.. It certainly lived up to our expectations food was fantastic we chose the dine around and it does take a bit of getting used to.. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and chose the Britannia because of mainly good reviews and being mainly British.. It certainly lived up to our expectations food was fantastic we chose the dine around and it does take a bit of getting used to.. in the second week we actually preferred to go to the horizon buffet especially for breakfast you could just take your time and relax.. It definitely took us a while to find our way around the ship without getting lost .. We didn't really try out too much of the late night entertainment but did go to the limelight club twice and saw Gareth gates and claire sweeney she was brilliant! Not sure about the food though.Pizzas & burgers on decks great & quality, loads of sunbedssunbeds.. Staff were really excellent and very polite couldn't do enough! Every port was well organized with disembarkment.. We had a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ... Read More
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ship is that you can avoid the areas which aren't to your liking and if you feel that way inclined the "types" you might want to avoid are away from the areas you probably enjoy. Yes, the ship decor is rather dark and my first reaction was to pine for the bling of Ventura but sultry Britannia grows on you. The public areas are cleverly designed with many nooks and crannies so you can be in the heart of the action or tuck yourself away as you choose. The Glass House is, as ever, excellent. The Crow's nest bar is back at the front of the ship and wonderful for pre dinner drinks. Recommend sitting away from the piano as it can be very loud. The atrium is very spacious with plenty of seating to people watch with a post dinner drink/coffee. Drinks service was excellent everywhere. If we were waiting we only had to indicate to someone and they were there. Crystal room was surprisingly pleasant late evening with lots of people taking to the floor. Didn't frequent Brodies or the casino but it was popular and pretty packed each time we walked through. Breakfast, lunch and evening restaurant food service couldn't be faulted and the attention for special dietary needs was outstandingly accommodating. A couple of meals were overcooked but there was absolutely no issue with getting plates changed. Of course it would be better if they didn't need to be returned but with thousands of guests give the staff a sporting chance by asking for better, they are happy to oblige and would much rather you went away happy. Desserts weren't too special but OK. Didn't frequent the buffet much but when we did there was plenty of room, staff were very helpful, friendly and food good. Spend a moment to talk to the buffet chefs, they don't get much guest interaction and will appreciate it... Joseph, my daughter thought you were fantastic! Theatre plush and the Cinema is a nice addition. I missed the theatre waiter service but my husband hates it so goes to show can't please everyone. Gym well equipped and spacious. First 3 machines I approached were out of action but there were still plenty even when the gym was busy. Came to the conclusion that for the amount of hours spent in it, the Retreat is expensive when securing a fortnight complete package. Would we do it again? yes because the service in the Britannia Retreat was amazing and engaging, Sebastian and Jovan both a real credit to P&O. I've previously moaned about unhelpful reception staff on other ships but not so on Britannia, spoke to Carl a few times and he was very helpful and extremely likeable. Daily service charge has now been removed and here's the interesting bit, we left far more in tips to far more staff than ever before. I've once previously asked for service charges to be withdrawn because of poor service so it was great to reward such a change. I was told that the teenage Reef space wasn't as good as Ventura and Azura but the Reef Rangers were as cool as ever. The great part of cruising with youngsters is that because there are relatively few cruises in school holidays the kids look forward to reuniting with friends from previous cruises, you don't get that with most holidays. Security always checked that minors were accompanied when leaving ship, which showed they were on their game. We've done the port stops bar Cadiz before so no surprises there. Cadiz, Cartagena and Barcelona were our favourites. Although a really positive experience, there were 2 areas which fell short. The first was that the entertainment was by far the poorest we've had on a P&O cruise. Tucker's "comedy" material hadn't changed since last time we saw him! Thankfully, there were a couple of notable exceptions with the superb Lloyd Wade and We3. We paid extra to see La Voix in the Limelight club and were treated to a magnificent night and great food (menu is surprisingly small so we may have been just lucky to have what we wanted on the menu), brilliant vocals and comedy, La Voix, we'll be back to see you again. The 2nd area was the Captains Gala, which we look forward to for the pomp and ceremony. I've never known a Captain to be late for his own party and not have the decency to apologise, we walked out to go for dinner as he arrived and started his speech, really bad form and example Sir. Finally, of course there's the much talked about lack of stairs mid ship. This didn't bother us at all as we consciously try to burn off a few of those naughty calories by walking and climbing stairs, plus our group don't have mobility issues or a pushchair. Heard lots complaining though. Oh yes, embarkation, nearly forgot that. We've always found Southampton port staff to be brilliant and cheerful (even when they are trialling new arrangements for the huge Iona), disappointing that for the first time ever we were checked in by Mrs Sour Face Grumpy but soon forgot about her!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I selected a farewell cruise on the Oriana, before she slips away to China. I was not disappointed with the ship, she still felt very special, it will be a shame to see her go. The cruise was an adults only, touring France, Spain and ... Read More
I selected a farewell cruise on the Oriana, before she slips away to China. I was not disappointed with the ship, she still felt very special, it will be a shame to see her go. The cruise was an adults only, touring France, Spain and Guernsey in June 2019. Well worth visiting the destinations, plenty to see and do , either using the tour excursions, or being an independent traveller as I did. It was all very safe. I enjoyed the cruise, but wished there had been a few more younger passengers, it seemed to be overrun with the "more mature aged" travellers. Zimmers all around the boat, a shame really. I guess that must be due to the time of year and maybe the smaller boat. The staff were lovely, as always on P&O working so hard and making the cruise a special one. I loved the sail away, great turnout, flags everywhere! Cabin good, inside one, with plenty of room. ~Great bathroom with bath and shower. Entertainment mediocre could do with changing the repertoire, P&O getting a bit boring and predictable with the headliners. Films and screenings, couldn't fault - excellent. Meals and restaurants - very high standard. Enjoyed the entertainments with music in the Crows Nest, some nice acts playing relaxed music - very nice indeed. So all in all an excellent cruise - thank you P& O. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch ... Read More
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch and dinner as we find the buffet difficult with a wheelchair although staff are always willing to help. A couple of times my partner got us a bacon roll from the buffet and brought it to the room when we had early morning starts. We also ate lunch at the deck bars a few times..We had freedom dining with some lovely and interesting table companions; and a few strange ones, which makes life entertaining. Didn’t see as much entertainment as usual, Havana and Tamarind were always packed so difficult to find seats. However the Arena was easier, as long as you arrived early, with reserved seats for wheelchair users, which many able bodied people selfishly occupied. No staff on hand to police this. Entertainers that stood out were the gentleman talking about space which the layman could understand; Pulse in the Metropolis, great variety of music delivered with humour. Last but not least, Graffiti, four talented young people playing violins, singing, comedy etc. Wow what a wonderful show. On embarkation we ate in the Glasshouse to avoid the buffet, very good. Early on in the cruise we had dinner in the Epicurian with a free bottle of house wine, acceptable and a superb meal delivered with their usual first class service and drama. Well worth the extra fee. There were very few children on this cruise, mostly little ones, several foreign nationals. Most passengers were in their 50s or above. Our favourite bar was the Metropolis with one barman (sorry don’t know his name) standing out as especially helpful and friendly. Ports were very interesting. We booked most excursions privately, which were all well organised. One with P and O on the Faroes, very good. What a beautiful and peaceful place, my favourite. In Isofordur we had to use a tender. It was an extremely difficult transfer for passengers and crew due to the high winds, but we all survived. The weather was kind to us and although it was cold the sun came out every afternoon with only a tiny bit of drizzle in Scotland. On our last sea day on deck I got a bit sunburnt as I didn’t realise how hot it was. We booked another cruise while we were on board on the new Iona as we couldn’t resist the low deposit. Hope we haven’t made a mistake as we think Ventura is pretty large. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our 2nd cruise on P&O after sailing on Britannia last year which we had immensely enjoyed. The reason we chose this cruise was because the dates suited us well, the itinerary was interesting with new ports of call like La ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on P&O after sailing on Britannia last year which we had immensely enjoyed. The reason we chose this cruise was because the dates suited us well, the itinerary was interesting with new ports of call like La Verdon and Cherbourg in France which we hadn't been to before and the price was great with free parking at Southampton and £45pp on board credit. Moreover P&O removed gratuities from May this year. We drove to Southampton from NW London which took only about 1hr 20mins. We drove straight to mayflower terminal, took the luggage off the car which was swiftly taken away by the porters, handed the keys of the car to an attendant who took the car and parked it in a secure car park. We made our way inside the terminal and were given a boarding card and asked to wait. Although our boarding time was 3pm on boarding paperwork, we were inside the terminal by 12pm. After a short wait, we were asked to go and check in and once that was complete, we boarded the ship by 12.45pm and were asked to go for lunch to the buffet. Whilst waiting for the lift, an announcement was made that cabins were ready. So we headed straight to the cabin to drop off our hand luggage. Our cabin was on deck 8 in forward part of the ship. Lovely cabin with a large balcony, good size of cabin with huge flat screen tv, lots of storage space and a bathroom with a bath rather than a shower cubicle. This was unusual as we hadn't had a balcony cabin with a bath since our cruise on Zuiderdam ( Holland & America line) back in 2003. The cabin was always kept clean by our room attendant, Ariel, who we saw daily. Couldn't fault with the cleanliness of the cabin. Luggage had arrived before we got to our cabins which was really very quick. We then proceeded for lunch to the buffet restaurant on deck 9. Lunch was simple with not many vegetarian choices however was adequate. We then explored rest of the ship which was very elegant with 2 lovely pools ( one of which had a retractable roof), lots of deck space, plenty of indoor and outdoor bars, 2 speciality restaurants (Atul Kochhar's Indian restaurant Sindhu and Marco Pierres seafood restaurant), lovely 2 tier theatre, English style pub, casino, show room for music events, screening room for films, library, spa, gym and of course the main dining rooms. Everything looked great with new carpets and decor. Seemed the ship had a makeover recently. However what the ship lacked was a grand atrium like what Britannia had. The reception was on deck one which had a seating area and shore excursion and loyalty desks nearby but no coffee bar or anything. Hence most of the indoor activities occurred on decks 2 and 3. Despite the inside of the ship being very elegant, the outside of the ship didn't seem to be very well maintained. Lots of rust marks everywhere. The ship needed to be painted through out on the outside. We rarely find this a problem on other ships as there are always crew members painting away but on this ship we never saw anyone maintaining the outside areas of the ship. However indoors was very well looked after which mattered more to us as passengers. The mandatory safety drill occurred around 5.30pm and due to location of our cabin, we had to go to theatre for our drill. It took about 20mins or so and once that was complete we put the life jackets back in our cabins and headed for the sail away party on the open bar located on the aft of the ship. Since drinks are not included in the price of your cruise fare, you had to purchase all the soft and alcoholic drinks ( except coffee and tea unless you wanted costa coffee). The drink prices were reasonable with a pint of beer costing between£4 and £4.80. Small glass of wine was around £4 and large around £6. Bottles of wine started from around £17. You could choose to have all your drinks included at a cost of £40pp per day. As this was pricy, I guess not many would have chosen that. The good thing about P&O unlike many other cruise lines is that you could bring in 1L of wine or spirit per person when you board. Hence we took advantage of that and brought 1L of gin and wine. You could only drink these in the cabins though. However despite paying for beers, wines and some cocktails, we ended up with a surprisingly small bar bill. We had chosen anytime dining so were allocated dining room on deck 3. Unfortunately there was always a wait to get seated in the dining room if you didn't want to share a table. Hence were given a buzzer and the waits were generally from 15 to 45mins on some evenings. This was the biggest disappointment for us as in most other cruise lines which offer freedom dining, this is not the case. I think P&O need to look at having more tables for 2s and 4s. However once we got our table, the service was great and the vegetarian food options were very good with a seperate vegetarian food menu on offer. Hence you didn't have to order meals in advance for following evening which was great. Loved there starters and mains and I don't think we had a single meal which we didn't like. Desserts were good too but less choice compared to some other cruise lines. However their cheese plate was excellent with different types of cheese on offer daily. Very pleased with that. Show times in main theatre were at 8.45pm and 10.30pm daily. Due to the long waiting times to get a dinner table, we rarely could make to the 8.45pm show in time and found 10.30pm show very late. However managed to see most of the production shows which were all very good. Loved their circus (featuring music from Greatest showman) and Queen (featuring music by rock group Queen) shows. We were disappointed by the guest entertainers especially a guy called Grumblewood who somehow featured in 3 shows. Not sure why P&O can't get some good show performers. The 2 girl band Harmony had good voices but Motown music is not something we really like. Again they performed in 2 shows. Surely P&O could have got some other guest performers rather than repeating shows from same artists. There were quizzes, karaoke, bingo, music performances, etc. happening in other bars and lounges of the ship every evening. So plenty to do in the ship and no chance of getting bored. Casino was not very big and only had 2 working poker machines. Films were shown daily in screening room but as it was a smaller venue, needed to get tickets in advance from library or reception. Never got a chance to go there as there was plenty of other things to do. Buffet breakfasts and lunches were disappointing especially if you are a vegetarian. Not much choice compared to buffet meals in other ships we have been on. This is where P&O needs to significantly improve. Also on sea days, it was difficult to find seating in the buffet. Seems seating is a big issue on this ship, whether it's buffet or in main dining rooms. Didn't find that being a big issue on Britannia last year. The speciality restaurant Sindhu was excellent and definitely worth £20pp. Highly recommend anyone who likes Indian food to go there for a meal. Service was good and unlike main dining room, your table was reserved and you were seated as soon as you got there. We didn't get a chance to go to Marco Pierres restaurant but menu looked good and even had a few items for vegetarians. Booking for that restaurant was £17.50pp with certain items like lobsters having a supplement. There were 2 formal black tie nights where we had to wear suits for dinner. This was compulsory in Main dining rooms, speciality restaurants and most bars and lounges. I think P&O should make this optional like most cruise lines are doing these days. Not many want to bring suits whilst on vacation. Generally we enjoy captains night but this time the timing was odd at 8pm. Hence we missed most of it and got there at the tail end as we were late in finishing dinner thanks to long wait in getting a table despite getting to dining room early. Moreover as this ship doesn't have an atrium as such, the captains speech was in the retractable pool area which doesn't give the feel of a proper captains gala event of everyone being gathered around the atrium as we had done in Britannia last year. All the ports of call were excellent and we were lucky to have no rain on any of the days. In fact in Guernsey and Santander, we had completely clear sunny days. In La Verdon and Cherbourg, it was partly cloudy but sunny and warm especially in Bordeaux where temperatures hit 26c. Both the sea days were dry too. The first sea day was very sunny and warm whilst second was bit cooler and partly cloudy. We had shore excursions booked with P&O at every port. In Guernsey (the only tender port), we did an excursion to Isle of Sark. This was the best excursion we did. Took a 45min scenic ferry ride from Guernsey to Sark. Lovely car free island. First we did a walking coastal route tour for 2 hours and then had free time. So much to see and do on this pretty island. Would love to go back there again one day. In Santander we did a trip to Bilbao and visited Guggenheim museum. Another lovely excursion however we felt we needed another couple of hours in Bilbao which is a lovely city. So will need to go back there again some day. In La Verdon, we did a trip to Bordeaux. Passed through the vineyards and chateaus on our way there. Had few hours to explore this beautiful city on our own before going to a wine museum which was excellent. In our last port of call, Cherbourg, we did an excursion to Mont St Michel which was an amazing experience. The only downside was that it was nearly 2.25 hours drive from Cherbourg each way through scenic countryside. However once we got there, we were mesmerised with the beauty and setting of this historic religious place. Spent 4 hours there (half with guide and rest free time) and time went fairly quickly before our drive back to ship. Highly recommend everyone to visit this place once in their lifetime. The week went very quickly and enjoyed every moment of it. Plenty of activities to do on sea days and hence no time to get bored. Also the great weather helped to take advantage of the outdoors. The only issue we had was there was no hot water in cabins on our side of ship due to boiler breakdown for nearly 1.5 days. I had to report it several times before it got fixed. However they offered us to have hot showers in spa if we wanted to. Other than that, we encounters no problems. The service was very good in most areas of the ship and generally most staff greeted and smiled away. However staff in buffet areas were not very friendly and lacked knowledge of food on offer eg. on one sea day they had burgers in pool area but no chips or French fries. I asked around 3 members of staff about location of chips and was sent on a goose chase around the whole buffet area but never managed to find any. Disembarkation was the best we had seen on any ship. We were asked to leave main baggage outside cabin on previous night which is a norm on most ships. On day of departure we were asked to vacate cabins by 8am after breakfast and wait in lounges. No sooner we got there, we were told we could leave ship if we wanted to (despite normal disembarkation time not scheduled till after 9am). We disembarked straight away and after collecting our luggage, proceeded to collect our car and were on the road soon after 8.30am and home before 10am. I highly recommend this cruise for anyone wanting a stress free cruise without any hassle of flights and wanting to visit interesting ports in Spain, France and Channel Islands. We are already planning one for next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just returned from the Azura cruise to Cherbourg, La Coruna, Santander and Guernsey A911. The weather was not brilliant but generally not too bad apart from our return crossing on the Bay of Biscay. We had winds of 55 Knots, Waves of 9 ... Read More
Just returned from the Azura cruise to Cherbourg, La Coruna, Santander and Guernsey A911. The weather was not brilliant but generally not too bad apart from our return crossing on the Bay of Biscay. We had winds of 55 Knots, Waves of 9 Metres and a 5 Metre swell. to say the ship was moving a lot would be a massive understatement. Some people spent the night in the Atrium wrapped in blankets because they were too scared to go to bed. The entertainment on board was superb, apart from one singer in the pulse band. she seemed unable to remember the words to most of the songs without having to keep looking at her tablet/phone and she quite often messed up. Fair play to her for giving it her best shot though. Unfortunately there seemed to be a foul smell of raw sewerage most days and this was especially noticeable during port visits. I think I heard the captain mention something about maintenance being carried out on the water system during the cruise. It was a pretty horrible smell. We had a bit of an issue with our balcony cabin door. Every time we opened it we had a loud whistling coming from the broken seal at the end of the door frame. I did report this to the cabin steward, but it didn't get fixed. Can't say it was that much of a problem though. Our bed was failrly uncomfortable. It was quite hard, but the pillows were very soft. Can't really complain because that combination might suit other people. Just didn't suit us. The standard of food was generally very good, although in the Penninsular MDR the food on the first night was not great, as the days went on, the food standard seemed to improve. On the last night, I think I had the best staek that I had ever eaten. It was lovely and pefectly cooked. The televison was a bit of a waste of time. Very restricted amount of channels and although we didn't intend spending our holiday watching TV, there was the occasional day when we just wanted to chill out in our room and put the TV on. Soon changed our minds about that, because the programmes shown were really old repeats. We decided to use the laundry to clean two loads of washing, but unfortunately after the wash cycle had finished on both, there was a horrible smell of what I can only describe as stale water. We only took two washing pods with us so we were unable to wash them again. We had to wash everything again when we got home. I know we should have gone to make a complaint but decided not to bother as it wasn't the end of the world. I managed to go swimming a couple of times during the cruise, but the pools were really cold. good in one way, because it meant not many people were using them, but it did mean that I didn't feel like staying in there for very long. On the day we visited St Peter Port I decided this would be an ideal time to go for another swim as there would probably be nobody in the pool. I was right. Trouble was, the pool had been emptied, so nobody could use it anyway. Very strange time to empty a pool. I know there seems to be a lot of negatives, but these are just from our experience. I do need to point out that even with these negatives, we still thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and certainly would not let it put us off. We are already looking at booking a cruise for next year, but we might try a different cruise line, just to get a comparison from another line. I do have to say at this point, that I felt the service from all the staff was excellent and my hat goes off to all of them. They work tirelessly to ensure the passengers enjoy the experience. I just hope they get paid a decent wage for the hard work they do. The Embarkation and disembarkation was really smooth and although it does take quite a while to get off the ship during disembarkation, it's really not that bad because you can chill out with a coffee after breakfast and wait for your group to be called. Overall, a lovely holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 ... Read More
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 minutes or so. The ship is lovely, felt warm and cosy without seeming old or dated, plenty of areas to relax and it never felt crowded in the public areas. The outside pool areas were nice, the pool at the back is very quite and relaxing, and the inside pool (although it got loud during the day) provided shelter when cold and was a nice area. Dining was overall good, but there is room for improvement. The MDR was always up to a great standard, heavy on seafood but pleanty of other choices and some options that always remained the same. Service was good and attentive, and we always left feeling well fed. We ate there 2 times for dinner. We ate there twice also for breakfast, menu was a good size offering plenty and is a good alternative to the buffet (more on that later). We didn’t eat in there for lunch. We ate in the Epicurian twice for dinner, Sindu once and the Beach House once. All were amazing and well worth the extra charge. Sindu was our favourite, meals were unique and creative but tasty and familiar enough to not seem crazy or over the top. Service was incredible and it is a shame we only ate in there once. The Epicurian was also very good, providing a nice fine dining experience. If your looking for a slow, relaxed meal that doesn’t leave you feeling over-indulged then this is the place for you. Food was very creative and tasty which left everyone satisfied with their meal. However as said, service is slow (they cook everything to order) and took around 2 hours, so leave plenty of time. The Beach House was our least favourite (but still very good) and were satisfied eating only once. Portions were huge and very indulgent, so not the right spot if you’re looking for a light meal. Entertainment was repetitive, but what we did see was good and enjoyable. Comedians, shows and live music were the main entertainment. Service was generally good, waiters were happy and friendly (even in the buffet) very attentive (you don’t have to wait long for a drink) and the entertainment crew were funny and enjoyable. Our cabin steward was good, didn’t see much of him but did a very good job and was friendly. We traveled with our teenage child, the activities were good and he made friends, the staff were very lovely and really enjoyed working there. Overall a good cruise, and would possible cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We were 3 women travelling so we booked a suite g733 the brittania Just going to Spain and Gurnsey the suite was fabulous the priority boarding went without a hitch straight on greeted with tea and biscuits then taken for champagne and ... Read More
We were 3 women travelling so we booked a suite g733 the brittania Just going to Spain and Gurnsey the suite was fabulous the priority boarding went without a hitch straight on greeted with tea and biscuits then taken for champagne and a hot and cold buffet Our suite was ready by 2 and was fantastic our butler got us an extra bed as we had a huge aft balcony with sunbeds sofa and table and chairs Our butler came daily with ice nibbles fresh milk and fruit He was very amenable but not invasive We had the mini fridge emptied do we could use it A full corridor of wardrobes was very useful Staff all pleasant we used the speciality restraunts which were Michelan star and as suite passengers are breakfast in epicurean at no extra cost Priority on tender to start Peter port unfortunately not for return We also used retreat well worth the money if you like peace and comfortort On the neg side very large ship lots of people my last cruise I'm thinking just because I'm not a cruiser but could not fault service Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose this as our first ever cruise as destinations and length of time ( 7 days) seemed to suit. I really cannot fault anything about our experience. We had a superior deluxe cabin on Deck 9, it was spotless and our cabin steward kept it ... Read More
Chose this as our first ever cruise as destinations and length of time ( 7 days) seemed to suit. I really cannot fault anything about our experience. We had a superior deluxe cabin on Deck 9, it was spotless and our cabin steward kept it that way for the whole 7 days. The whole trip ran to schedule and the seas were smooth, which always helps Guernsey was lovely, although it took an hour to queue for the tender Porto is old and unappealing but Lisbon more than made up for it, fabulous city Vigo surprised me as it was far more appealing and attractive than I had thought it would be We had freedom dining and were lucky to sit with some lovely people every night and had some great banter We also sampled the buffet dining on Waterside and have to say the varied menu every night was brilliant, breakfast is very good there but seats are hard to get hold of. We saw shows in the Arena and Havana and were thoroughly entertained A couple of downsides 1 The smoking rules are largely ignored, especially on the top deck and on the balconies. It needs to be enforced 2 On sea days the top decks get very crowded and sunbeds are hard to get hold of However, all in all we struck lucky and had a great time Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We love the Azura, this is our second time on her and we had a wonderful trip to Iceland. The food in the main Dining is excellent and though the portions are smaller now than they used to be, I ask, "how much food do you need" ... Read More
We love the Azura, this is our second time on her and we had a wonderful trip to Iceland. The food in the main Dining is excellent and though the portions are smaller now than they used to be, I ask, "how much food do you need" we certainly were grateful for the quality and less quantity, we now have less weight to lose before our next cruise. The ports we visited were all different and interesting, so the itinerary was really good. On sea days the lectures were fully subscribed with standing room only in the Theatre for the code breakers talks. The staff on the Azura are still the best we have experienced, our cabin steward always smiling, singing and happy to see us and whilst we were on freedom dining we managed to keep the same waiters for the whole cruise, very efficient and friendly service here. Now for the not so good. She is looking a little tired and needs a make over. The Sea Screen has big squares missing from the picture, I heard one member of staff asking the comedian not to mention it one night, but it is so obvious that it's very faulty and if they loose any more of the picture it won't have a picture at all. The Epicurean Restaurant was a big disappointment, at £28 each cover charge you would expect the food to be phenomenal, generally it was a little better than main dining, a few more dots of sauce on the plate and slightly more adventurous menu, but we had to send my wife's meal back, Chicken should not be hard to cut and should be at least moist, it was cooked to death!!! Our main complaint however is not how worn the furnishing have become of the dirty carpet in the cabin, it does need a good clean and maintenance programme, it's the level of noise on the ship. It is very difficult, particularly on sea days, to find somewhere on the ship to sit quietly and read a book without one of the entertainment staff coming along and winding up the volume on the background music to nightclub volume, or screaming over a microphone telling everyone to step to the left and dosie doe. Even the Planet Bar, where normally you can relax, with nice piano or middle of the road music, had the sail away party in it on the last day, "everyone put your books down and do the conga" was the cry. NO! not appropriate! and when I heard American Thrash Metal music being played in the Antium i thought the entertainment staff were surely having a laugh at our expense as 99% of the passengers were over 60's. The big thing about the sound is the Theatre. The Headliners were once again brilliant, how and where do they get their energy, all brilliant vocalist and dancers, a show every other night and other sets in the bars and around the ship with singing lessons and dance lessons plus helping on the excursions. What a brilliant bunch of talented young people, the theatre was packed with standing room only every night they performed. The new shows were imaginative and very entertaining, "Evolution" and "Astonishing" were brilliant, all ruined by the sound levels. The live Orchestra and the pre recorded backing and feature tracks were very audible without being over bearing BUT when the Headliner Vocalist sang their top notes and projected them, it was ear splitingly painful, I am not kidding when I say that I am pretty certain that the sound levels exceeded safe levels at that point. I like loud music and have often enjoyed Rock Concerts (Slade, Quo etc) where your ears are ringing, this distorted sound was not enjoyable and did a disservice to the obviously talented vocalists. This is a great Cruise Ship and a Great Itinerary and i would definitely recommend the Ship and the cruise to anyone, but take some era plugs. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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 ... Read More
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! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My mother is now 84 and although mobile, following heart ops etc. not really up to flying. Last year my brother and I took her on the Britannia, our first P&O cruise (my wife and I have cruised plenty of times before). That was out of ... Read More
My mother is now 84 and although mobile, following heart ops etc. not really up to flying. Last year my brother and I took her on the Britannia, our first P&O cruise (my wife and I have cruised plenty of times before). That was out of Southampton un up the Norwegian Fjords. Such a successful trip that we agreed to do another and with the weak Pound another P&O cruise (rather than any other line) out of Southampton seemed the thing to do. Choices of destinations that can be reached in a max of one week are limited to an itinerary that included Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Guernsey seemed ideal. of those only I had been to Guernsey before (cruise stop) so plenty to look forward to. Our agent ensured that we got good adjoining large inside cabins on the Riviera deck, close to midship. We decided that the significant extra cost of even just one balcony cabin wasn't worth it (unlike on the Fjords). Mum has pay pay almost double (single supplement) but we had some onboard spend and free parking so all seemed good. Being in Hertfordshire our drive to Southampton and the parking was as perfect as could be and it was probably less than three hours from home to lunch onboard. Cabins were better than expected, our attendant did a great job (bucket of ice every day for my carry-on drinks) and only issue was that the A/C didn't get the cabin as cool as we would have liked. P&O offered numerous excursions, cheap by comparison to other cruises in my experience and our trips to Bayana (Vigo) and Obidos (Lisbon) were excellent and back to the ship in time for a bite to eat and off the ship for another hour or so before back for sailaway. At Porto I had booked a classical walking tour privately and that turned out to be a real highlight. Not for us the trips to the wineries as bruv doesn't drink. Sadly our stop at Guernsey was abandoned due to Storm Hector so it was a slow steam home to Southampton and a very efficient and relaxed disembarkation (unlike some lines where they seem to shoo you off like vermin on the last morning). Food was ample, tasty and varied. Wines that we sampled were excellent in all respects and service very good, as you would expect. Only issue, if I'm being picky, was that sometimes the food looked and tasted as if it was prepared hours ago (which it generally is of course). The entertainment team worked very hard and there was numerous things going on, especially on sea days. The big headliner shows were amazing and, even if it's not generally your cup of tea, worth watching and a great highlight to our holiday. So why the slight negative in my title and score. I guess this council estate boy is getting snobbish in his old age as it did seem like Butlins at sea sometimes. Perhaps not a surprise on a cruise but the number of morbidly obese people did make me feel guilty about my second slice of cake. I think I just like the more global mix found on other cruises...this was 95% Brits and that limited conversation at times. I still can't decide if I preferred the newer Britannia but it doesn't really matter as they both delivered everything expected. Will we do another P&O? Probably not unless we can't find a suitable cruise next year on NCL for example. Might have to drag the old girl to a European port after all. I love my fellow countrymen and women but, for holidays, want to broaden my horizons. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We selected a 7 night cruise on P & O Azura to fit round my working commitments, my wife being retired. We chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off nice and early at 5am even though it was a Saturday ... Read More
We selected a 7 night cruise on P & O Azura to fit round my working commitments, my wife being retired. We chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off nice and early at 5am even though it was a Saturday sailing. Traffic and conditions were favourable so we had a great trip and were in Southampton for 9am so stopped at Tesco and COSTA Coffee and arrived in the CPS car park at 11am. That was very efficient, close and soon we were seated in the terminal. We awaited the embarkation process which commenced, as last year for Ventura, just before 12 noon and was as efficient as last year. Once on board we made our way to the buffet for a spot of lunch. Whilst in the buffet they announced that cabins were ready early so we made our way to Australia Deck, deck 12 and A223, our home for the 7 nights. A wonderfully clean and bright balcony cabin on the front starboard side of the ship with a very comfortable bed, arm chair, small but adequate TV and an ample bathroom. We met BB, our cabin steward who was excellent in the way he took care of everything brilliantly without being noticed at all. The cases arrived quickly so we unpacked we decided to check out the ship and found it most pleasurable and almost a copy of both Crown Princess and Ventura. We were also pleased to see we have been allocated Freedom Dining unlike last year and this we enjoyed. We were allocated the Peninsular Restaurant and the service was excellent in all areas that we got seated during the week. We really prefer to be on a table for two so had this option every meal time which was great. We had nice meals in every evening, so much so my thought of booking Sindhu and Bay Tree evaporated. The food was a notch up here to that on Ventura last year. Breakfasts were always taken in the restaurant and were of an excellent standard. We did the emergency drill on time and sailed almost on time. We had a nice sea day on the Sunday and of as it was a hot day it was busy on the outer decks with everyone taking advantage. We availed ourselves of most bars over the cruise but as we are not huge drinkers so it was more for a change of scenery than anything else. We enjoyed two of the three production shows (missed the last as we were late in the restaurant) that the Headliners cast put on and both were enjoyable, WE3 were a fantastic act, Tucker enjoyable. In other lounges the singers and bands were good, the second comedian, Tom Binns, in our eyes poor but of course entertainment is very subjective. We enjoyed the port stops and also the warm weather. We don’t book ship trips but made our own way without spending silly money. We enjoyed Hamburg & the layover in Amsterdam and did city tours at each and after dinner walked around Amsterdam taking in the sights on the second night when we had better weather than the rain of the previous evening. Second sea day was spoiled by a sea mist all day but that's no the fault of the ship or company. Le Havre was quiet, we walked round, visited a couple of churches plus some shops and if I went again I would take some form or tour or hire a car to get out and see the surrounding parts. The night sail back to Southampton was very pleasant without helicopter medical emergency as last year on Ventura. The captain was excellent and efficient in telling you about the cruise, the interactive map on the cabin TV could be better. My wife was disappointed with the Pilates class but that was a minor negative in a week of positive. Disembarkation was first class, we chose to take our own luggage off and literally had breakfast and walked off the ship, no customs issues or waiting in lounges for times to leave and we were in the car hitting the road back North by 8am. Despite some average to poor reviews I have seen recently on various sites I thought Azura was probably on balance the best of the three P & O trips we have had and I would not hesitate in booking again. I would mark this as a 4.5 / 5 (you have to choose 4 or 5 on here so I have put 4 but it was above that but not a 5) to be honest and chatting with many others on the cruise I think most had a good time and would hope they would also offer a positive review. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I found a great deal for a 7 night cruise over my birthday with P&O Britannia but had no sailed with P&O before so was doubtful whether I should book. However after getting feedback from my cousins who had been on another P&O ... Read More
I found a great deal for a 7 night cruise over my birthday with P&O Britannia but had no sailed with P&O before so was doubtful whether I should book. However after getting feedback from my cousins who had been on another P&O ship last year, I went ahead and booked it and so glad I did. We drove to Southampton port and took only 1hr 20mins from North West London which was great. We were informed by P&O beforehand that our boarding time was 3pm which I have never been informed of by any other cruise line. We generally like to get to ship early so can enjoy the lunch and get familiarised with the ship before emergency drill procedure begins. So we took a chance and got to port at 12.30. We had to wait in a short queue for 5 to 10mins and then drove to baggage drop off area whereby a guy was standing to pick up our car. We took the luggage off the car and a porter came and took them straight away and the driver took the keys from us and drove the car off. Wow what an efficient service. We were highly impressed! Went inside terminal and were given a boarding card with a number and were asked to take a seat. We were called within next 15mins and after getting a photo taken and collecting our cabin key cards and proceeded to this very elegant ship. When we got on board, we were asked to proceed straight to our cabins if we wanted, to drop off the hand baggage. Hence we took the central elevators and went to our mid ship balcony cabin on deck 11. As soon as we got to our cabin, rest of the luggage arrived which was the quickest ever cruise luggage delivery service we had ever witnessed. We were very impressed with the cabin. Although, it was slightly on the smaller side with a smaller balcony than we had on other ships, it had everything we needed. The bathroom was small too but had a shower door rather than a curtain which was great. There were many power points around the cabin and a large flat screen TV. Storage space was limited but sufficient for a 7 night cruise. We went to have lunch straight after and enjoyed the choice of vegetarian options on offer. Loved the grab n go area where you could pick up sandwiches, baguettes, wraps etc. Also pizzeria and burger counters by pool side offered lovely veg burgers and different types of pizzas. After lunch we went to explore rest of ship which had great decor through out. From the central atrium area which had the most beautiful central show piece I had ever seen on a ship to the various art deck pieces in every area of the ship, this ship oozed with beauty and elegance all through. Loved all the public rooms like Brodies pub, live lounge, crows nest, theatre etc. Also like all the restaurants including the one we were allocated called meridian restaurant for our anytime dining. The only other restaurant we went to was Sindhu which had a great ambience. We saw other speciality restaurants like Epicurian and glass house which seemed great too but never visited those for a meal. In fact the buffet restaurant was one of the best ones we had ever seen on a ship with plenty of seating area and nicely laid out such that we never encountered any queues for food or hunt round for seats. Service on the ship was generally average except for our room steward who was excellent and so was a gentleman called Abhijeet who looked after our vegetarian order requests every evening. Other than these 2, we were not highly impressed with service in any areas. I guess this is where P&O could improve. We were surprised to see table cloths not being changed in dining rooms after patrons left a table and before new ones arrived. All crumbs on table were thrown on the floor! Never seen this before in anybody the ships we have been on like NCL, Princess or Royal Caribbean. Staff generally didn't engage much like we had seen with other cruise lines. Service in speciality restaurant Sindhu was much better though. However food in all restaurants was excellent and there was not a single meal that we didn't enjoy. Food was the best ever from over 20 cruises we have been on. Choice is slightly limited especially during breakfast, however if the food tastes great and is of good quality, it doesn't really matter. Entertainment was very good too. Plenty of production shows and loved their new show 'Astonishing' which is one of the best we have seen on a cruise ship. Also the guest entertainers like Jai Mcdowell, Sam Bailey and Tom Binns were excellent. We saw Jai perform twice, once in theatre and next in live lounge and were highly impressed. We missed Vernon Lewis though and from what o heard from others, he was great too. So overall entertainment would rate amongst the best we has seen. Plenty of activities were happening around the ship on sea and port days to keep everyone busy. Loved their quizzes in the pub, game shows similar to Pointless and the chase and talk shows in theatres. Also plenty of films were shown in the cinema and also some in theatre which I have rarely seen on a ship. Also plenty of films to choose free of charge in cabin and we did see quite a few good ones. The only department we were not happy on this cruise were the photography team. This was the first cruise we didn't have a single photo taken. They ignored us in the dining rooms, gangways at various ports and within public areas of the ship. Not sure why though and something their manager needs to address his teams regarding not excluding men and people from other ethnic backgrounds. The captain was hilarious and loved his daily updates over the tannoy system. During captains formal night, loved his speech and it was a great atmosphere in the atrium area with free drinks. Drinks generally were not badly priced and we were expecting to end up with a big bar bill. However despite ordering bottles of wines at dinner, having beer and cocktails in their various bars and also sometimes having costa coffees, we only ended up with a bill of £100 each which was not bad at all. Ports of call were all good with great weather at most ports except La Rochelle where it rained few hours in the morning. Guernsey was our favourite though. Went to castle ourselves in the morning and did a Gin tasting excursion with the ship in the afternoon which was excellent. Also did excursions at all other ports. In La Coruna we did a tapas trip which was very good and in afternoon walked into town to see the sights there. In Santander, we did a cave and gaudi building excursion which was very good but were not allowed to take pictures in the caves which was a shame. The city of Santander was 15min shuttle ride away. Couldn't go there as we got back around 3.30 and didn't have much time thereafter. In La Rochelle we did a trip of city and outer islands. Luckily rain stopped when we did the walking tour which was good. On the whole we enjoyed all the excursions we did with P&O. All were reasonably priced too compared to other cruise lines. The only design flow with ship was not having stairs in central area which caused the elevators to be always busy. On the whole we really enjoyed this cruise and would sail with P&O again for sure, may be on a different ship though as we like to sail on different ships unless an exciting itinerary comes along. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
5 adults and 1 child Pros - suite was large with lots of extras - epicurean restaurant fantastic - peninsula restaurant also very good - fast embarkation - great service - staff in kids club and kids club great ... Read More
5 adults and 1 child Pros - suite was large with lots of extras - epicurean restaurant fantastic - peninsula restaurant also very good - fast embarkation - great service - staff in kids club and kids club great Cons - swimming pools too small and too deep. Not at all child friendly. - children’s splash area very poor. - 2 night attracts a lot of hen and stag parties. Didn’t notice them at night but during the day by the pool there was some raucous behaviour. - small details in the cabin. Thin towels and not enough of them. Dressing gowns only appeared on the last night Would sail again on a short cruise. Not sure there is enough on there to keep a 4 year old busy for a week cruise or longer although the kids club were very friendly and I would have felt comfortable leaving her there. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise for a fun hen party of 30, we had all ages from 20-70 and found the ship and staff catered extremely well to entertain all age groups. We enjoyed the food, hot tubs, pools (i was pleased to find there were separate ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a fun hen party of 30, we had all ages from 20-70 and found the ship and staff catered extremely well to entertain all age groups. We enjoyed the food, hot tubs, pools (i was pleased to find there were separate pools and entertainment areas for children), this allowed a much more serene and relaxed experience when enjoying the leisurely spa. entertainment and brugge itself. I didn't love that the dinner staff wouldn't leave our bottle of wine on the table. Or that you have to be out of the room at 8am following formal night. Generally speaking the cruise and entertainmemt staff were great and i would give them five stars for value of money. Unfortunately in my experience the dinner staff and cabin staff really let doen the ship. I also found the personal hygiene of some of the staff working with food disconcerting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Sailed from Southampton and on board for lunch in the Waterside buffet. We chose Freeedom dining, which gave us the opportunity to mix with different people each evening, so never a dull moment. The next day (at sea) proved to be really ... Read More
Sailed from Southampton and on board for lunch in the Waterside buffet. We chose Freeedom dining, which gave us the opportunity to mix with different people each evening, so never a dull moment. The next day (at sea) proved to be really rocky and by the evening we were experiencing high winds. Unfortunately, we missed out on Ibiza. The entertainment by the Headliners was first class. Before dinner most evenings, we took part in a quiz either in the Red Bar or the Exchange. On the 6 sea days, I attended the Ventura choir practice which resulted in a performance in the Atrium on the last evening. My husband attended the free art classes. The entertainment was provided by Ben Makisi,Lloyd (singer), Lloyd Davis (comedian), Peter Howarth (Hollies), Jeff Stevenson (comedian) and Helen Ward-Jackson. The day time speaker on past murders was not to our liking! Wish P & O would book something more suitable! The ports visited were:- Lisbon, (took a taxi to the Jesus Christ Statue over the River Tagus), Cadiz - walked along to the old fort of Castle of San Sebastian), Valencia - shuttle to main area and indoor market, Cartegena - boat trip around the harbour, Gibraltar and finally Vigo (unscheduled stop due to medical emergency). There was a chocoholics afternoon tea in the Bay Tree Restaurant one afternoon which was well received by all. We had dinner at the Beach House one evening, £7.50 cover cover but well worth it. The Headliners performed Jingle Bell Rock, which was their first ever performance. There was also a festive radio style pantomime. We also played numerous deck quoit competitions. The cruise was thoroughly enjoyable despite the rocky seas! Disembarkation was easy after breakfast in the main restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
On the whole I was pleasantly surprised by Oriana after hearing a lot of bad press about the ship. The thing I enjoyed most about Oriana was the deck space, I thought it was wonderful and so much better than more modern ships, ... Read More
On the whole I was pleasantly surprised by Oriana after hearing a lot of bad press about the ship. The thing I enjoyed most about Oriana was the deck space, I thought it was wonderful and so much better than more modern ships, there's so much room for everyone, we sailed in winter but I can imagine there's ample space if going to hot destinations. The inside of the ship is finished to a high quality also and I found the bed in our outside cabin incredibly comfortable. Only downside of the room was the noise from the bathroom which seemed to come from the air extractor. Otherwise, the room was very pleasant albeit it was larger as we had a disabled cabin. Food is of a standard to other cruise ships and varied as usual with service being attentive in the main restaurants, I think the buffet restaurant on Oriana could be bigger, we didn't visit the Beach House which has used up part of this space on top deck but in my opinion it would be better served as an expansion in space for the buffet. The layout of the ship is interesting and a little confusing, a lot of lifts don't go to all places and if you push a wheelchair like I was doing you have to do a bit of preplanning, I would seriously advise downloading the detailed map of the cruise on to your phone, the one they give you on check-in isn't that great in my opinion. The itinerary we went on was quite enjoyable to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam, will share some tips with you for both and some suggestions if on a wheelchair. - Zeebrugge: I highly advise skipping the shore excursions to Bruges and instead just use the free shuttle to Blankenberge train station. There are hourly trains to and from Bruges for €5 return and even further afield so can easily do a half day or day. They also have a lift onto the shuttle if you have a wheelchair and subsequently you can get assistance on to and off of the train so this is also a viable option for wheelchairs, just be aware of the cobbles in Bruges although there are some more favourable routes to the centre. - Amsterdam: It's great how the ship arrives right in the centre, you can easily walk to most sites, tram lines go by frequently and there's nothing stopping you going further afield in the Netherlands as the central train station is next door to the cruise port! If you're in a wheelchair I would highly recommend a firm called 'Staxi' - they will take you anywhere in Amsterdam for €25 on their wheelchair accessible van, this is a great option and we used it to go to the Rijksmuseum (awesome for wheelchairs) and on an accessible canal cruise. Overall I enjoyed Oriana and would be happy to sail on the ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such ... Read More
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such as The Grand, Emerald, Crown and Caribbean. Right, that’s the educational part of this review over...let’s get cracking with the nonsense. We were asked to go on this cruise to act as carers for our good friends, from Colchester...can’t say the names because one of them was supposed to be at work. For this reason, they shall be known as Betty and Barney. So, a relaxing three day cruise to look forward and we decided to make it a bit longer by going down to Southampton the night earlier and stayed at the Ageus Hilton, which is at Hampshire County Cricket Clubs ground. Very nice it is too. Being only three years old, the hotel is in excellent condition and certainly didn’t fall short of the standards that you would expect at a ‘proper’ Hilton Hotel. Dinner in ‘Beefy’s’ which is a very nice restaurant inspired ex England and Somerset cricketer, Ian Botham...some say ex Northants player Peter Willy would have been a better choice but that’s for you to decide. After a good nights sleep and we headed into Southampton the next morning and having some time to kill, we headed to the West Quay shopping centre (which is a bit like Bluewater on valium) Plenty of shops though, just like we have back in the civilised part of the country but ‘Next’, which is a clothes shop in Lakeside, is actually a funeral parlour in Southampton...who knew?!? A cheeky Costa then it’s time to head towards the port to get the ship. We knew a few P&O Cruise Fans would be on board, including the Litherlands from beyond the wall (Wildlings to you and me) Zoe and Carl who said they were going to be on the ship but I think they literally got on just to get their P&O Cruise Fans hoodies then jumped off again...can’t think of any other reason people would avoid me for three days! (it’s not like they’re family!) After 17 cruises we finally got our first upgrade!...we had booked an inside cabin on deck 15 but ended up with an outside stateroom somewhere in the basement but it was nice to have a window (especially with the waves lapping at it on the way back!) We met up with the Rubbles and the inevitable drinks started to flow, we commandeered the chaises long outside the Glass House and settled in for a session, Betty and Barney hit it hard and for octogenarians it was a pretty impressive sight! Leslieann, fresh from her memories of the first day on the Crown Princess in August with Betty and Barney restrained herself which meant she was awake for dinner a few hours later.... To be continued, I’m a bit tired and want some dinner... Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Two Did I mention we got an upgrade?... Anyway, it's as if P&O had been monitoring my Facebook posts because our new cabin, was literally yards from the Costa coffee shop on deck 5! That was very handy and having never had a cabin that low on a ship before, I think I liked it, useful for the atrium, reception and prom decks etc - also far enough away from the buffet to make it good news for the FitBit steps quota! Dinner the first night was in the MDR, service was good, food was good and it was a pleasant experience. From there we sampled the casino which is much smaller on the Ventura than we are used to. After a quick dabble on the roulette table, Betty and Barney said they are too tired off to bed (10.30pm) Where these kids get their stamina from is anyone's guess! Day two was a sea day, which is completely unnecessary on a short trip to Zeebruge, we ended up going back and forth along the channel trying to kill time, in fact 24 hours after leaving Southampton, we were off the coast of Eastbourne! I'm trying to remember what we did on day two!...nothing memorable apparently...oh that's right, we went to the cinema, in the theatre which was showing a badly out of focus version of the new Planet of the Apes film, set somewhere in America where it is always snowing...fair play to P&O for making it a realistic experience by turning the aircon down to minus 30 degrees...then moaning when I start a small BBQ to try to defrost my decaf medium latte. The whole idea of going on this cruise was to celebrate Barney's 40th Birthday so we booked a table in Sindu (East) for some of Atul's finest food. We weren't disappointed, the food was excellent, as was the service, I went for a chicken curry thing as a starter then the chicken curry thing as a main, both tasted a bit chickeny to me, I'm wondering if they are starting to cut kormas in the kitchen? So we've just had our main courses and ordered desserts when the waiter appears out of nowhere with a massive cake and puts it down in front of me...without really looking, I point to Barney and say 'I think that's meant for birthday boy' It's then pointed out that the cake is actually for me and is a direct response from P&O Cruises for a post I had put on their Facebook wall regarding the new rules coming out in January! - I had asked if my dragon would still be allowed on the ship and was told that he would, as long as he only brings one bottle of booze with him. What great customer service from P&O!...this wasn't the first time they had responded onboard to comments made on Facebook!...I felt a bit bad about upstaging Barney who also had a small cake presented to him but it had been broken when he unknowingly dropped it on the floor in a carrier bag in the Red Bar beforehand! Dinner over, we talk about going to see a show but the old folks say they are too stuffed and tired and they are going to bed...9.45pm! To be continued...I have work to do! Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Three Third and final part of the trilogy... After 38 hours at sea, we finally made our destination...in roughly the same time that The Pride of France ferry had made the journey 18 times from Dover! Anyway, a day in Bruge was our much awaited destination so Leslieann, me and the narcoleptics got a taxi into the heart of medieval cit. This cost about 50 euros each way and is a stress free way of doing it. The rain was falling as we got there so a quick stop in one of the many restaurants/cafes in the square for a coffee and a bite to eat (don't forget, it had been over 30 minutes since breakfast on the ship) I live about 20 minutes from Maidstone but worked out that I have actually been shopping in Bruge more times than I had there! Being a Sunday, not a lot was open, we were two weeks too early for the Christmas Market so it was a disappointment to miss out on that disgusting German creation, Gluvine. We wandered around in the rain perhaps regretting not asking the taxi driver to come back earlier than the 3.00pm time slot we had scheduled. So to kill time we popped into another eatery for a snack 9 euros for a plate of chips was the reward. We still had 45 minutes to kill when we left there so another wander down a closed high street and we spotted the taxi we had booked parked up, a full 20 minutes before time! - Never been happier to see a Belgian! Back to the port gates then, and onto a shuttle bus for the 200 yard journey to the ship! seriously! Heavy winds meant the sailing was delayed by about 45 minutes with the captain then announcing that with the forecast 70 knot winds, he couldn't guarantee to keep the ship upright! - maybe he could have worded that better?!? We met up with the Lagerlouts, sorry, Litherlands in the Glass House (or was that the day before?) (No it was Sunday, I remember now) It's interesting when you meet foreigners and listen to their funny accents. It turns out Sue Lagerlout is a bouncer at Mothercare in Warrington, Mike Lagerlout trains undercover goldfish for the Manchester Police and Rubella Lagerlout runs a protection racket in Oldham...who knew? Anyway...dinner was good, Barney didn't fall asleep in the sweetcorn this time but he was close to nodding off in the prawn cocktail. Dinner done, we thought we'd catch a show or go to the casino but the pint of lager had really done Barney in so he and Betty headed for bed, understandable really, given the hour we were getting back, in real time it was almost a quarter to nine... Leslieann Osborn and I did manage to catch a show at last!...we went to see Showmaddymaddy in the Cuban themed lounge at the back end of the ship...I'm not sure if these were the same guys who did the Badness show earlier in the cruise? My thoughts on the Ventura?...I like it, it's the same layout as the Azura but is looking a bit tired now, everything was good though, staff were friendly, service was pretty good and overall it was a good cruise. Tune in next month when I try 4 nights on the CMV Columbus from Tilbury! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our ... Read More
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our children and are pre-disposed to be optimistic and generally expect to enjoy our holidays. We’d done a lot of research and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We used Parking4Cruises which were great value and very efficient. Embarkation at Mayflower was smooth although facilities are pretty basic we felt. We had a 3pm embarkation time and we were called at exactly 3pm. We went straight to our cabin, where we unpacked as cases had arrived. We opted for Freedom dining and were assigned Saffron. People we met said we could use Cinnamon as well. If so, this wasn’t made clear to us officially and we aren’t sure why you would want to anyway, as the menu is identical. We shared a table of 6 or 8 each night and met interesting people. Food was of a good, if not great, quality with about 6 choices of starter, main and dessert. There was an option for salad or soup too and we usually had coffee and cheese/biscuits too. Service was never rushed, one night it took over 2.5hrs but generally the meal was served at a sensible pace and we never had to wait for our wine for long. On the formal nights, the menu included a set menu option – although we later found out you could actually swap dishes around which would have been good to know before! We only used Waterside for the odd midnight snack – usually the cheese board had been decimated by then but there were hot options – pizza, sausage roll etc. Breakfast via Room Service was included in price (all other room service items carry a charge). It was always on time, sometimes 10 mins early in fact! Food was good quality although options are more limited than in the main dining rooms and did become a little restrictive – not enough to make us get up and go out for breakfast though :-) The tables for 2 in the main dining rooms were very close together so rather than dine alone when you aren’t really alone, we chose to dine in Epicurian, Glasshouse and Beach House. The food in these was of a better quality, more tasty with friendlier, more engaged service as clearly they have more time to spare. We also did the Paired menu in Glasshouse which we enjoyed. Be sure to book early in your cruise as places are limited to about 24 people and it only seems to happen about once a week. Our other Glasshouse dinner was tapas style and we enjoyed that greatly, though tempura batter was rather soggy. The wine flights served in the Glasshouse were fun to try too. The food in Saffron would have been fine for the whole 12 nights but we enjoyed all the other venues we tried. Prices for the Select Dining we felt to be towards the top of acceptable range except for the Pairing menu which was better value, at £30 each, as it included 5 small glasses of wine. One meal that exceeded our expectations bizarrely was afternoon tea in Saffron – which we think was available most, if not all, days. Proper clotted cream, mini scones, absolutely delicious tea cakes, fresh sandwiches and lots of hot tea made this a real highlight on the days we could manage it! It did not have the queue we remember from afternoon tea on Cunard (albeit there are no white gloves on P&O) and was nicer than Carnival or Royal Caribbean. On a negative note, we were not aware free icecream/cone was available – this is something we have enjoyed on previous cruises but P&O seem of offer a premium product at an additional charge only, or keep the free icecream hidden from our, admittedly not very diligent, search! We don’t think the ship was full, and it was not overly sunny on this cruise either, although it was warm, but we did not have issue finding a sun bed mid afternoon. Another thing we really liked was the dancing lessons. It might be that we had more opportunity to attend, as we were not travelling with our children this time, but it certainly felt like there were more classes offered. Seas days had line-dancing, two sessions with the dance instructors on a new dance each day and a daily session, with two of the Headliner dancers, on Salsa. We thoroughly enjoyed every session although the Headliners seemed much happier with everyone’s progress than the dance instructors! Only issue is that the Atrium floor is rather small for the number of people who wanted to join in the lessons. Many evenings, the dance instructors also offered dancing in the Atrium where they would tell you the dance for a piece of music and sometimes accompany someone without a partner. It was fun to watch and a good opportunity, for the brave, to practice the dances you’d been taught. In general, there were more activities offered than we could attend – partially because we were at the dancing lessons, but also because there seemed to be lots on offer that we were interested in – films, talks, quizzes, art, exercise classes, deck games and on top of all that, obviously the gym, eating, shopping, watching the shows/entertainers, drinking, reading, walking all the way round the ship on Deck 7 (Fabulous!), watching the ocean and afternoon napping! The evening entertainment and shows offered were so plentiful, that we often had to make a choice and usually it was a hard decision, as everything appealed. P&O’s own theatre company, the Headliners, were all talented dancers or singers who worked hard every show to give a West End worth performance. The guest entertainers were singers, impersonators, comedians and we enjoyed them all, along with the ship’s band – Serious Sounds – and the Ventura’s Orchestra too! However, we met people who did not like the entertainment. We think this must just be personal preference, or perhaps they have cruised a lot more than we have, as we often had an early dinner in order to make two of the shows each night (8.30 and 10.30) – they were that good! As previously said, we don’t think the ship was full and we could get seats in practically all the shows if we arrived 10 mins in advance – arriving 20 mins beforehand allowed us a choice of seats. We did not use the library but it was pleasant room with a good selection of books, certainly better than some of our previous cruises. The ship provided a brief, daily news update along with a crossword/Suduko. These can be collect from Deck 6 near the shops and a silent quiz (where the answers are on the back of the sheet, so you are only competing against yourself) could be found each day on the piano in the Red Bar. Generally, we found the service to be efficient but not overly friendly. Staff seemed content and helpful but did not naturally smile as we moved around the ship. There were exceptions – the Headliners /dance instructors always smiled at us, staff in the shops were friendly and we found the staff in Tazzine quite unhelpful – possibly as they were having to work with a silly system requiring us to order coffee from a waiter/waitress but queue up to order cake! This cruise occurred outside school holidays but there were some children on board – both pre-school and those we estimated to be of school age. They caused no issues to our cruise – indeed we were rarely even aware they were on board, except in the Beach House, which is directly under the children’s club and we could hear the stamping and running of small feet above us as we dined. The Captain (Simon Terry) seemed very personable and I enjoyed his occasional tannoy briefings. The ship suffered two power failures during our cruise – once late afternoon for about 30 mins and then on another morning so only continental breakfast was available for a couple of hours. I appreciated that the Captain gave the tannoy updates – we felt it showed he took responsibility and he was clear they were trying to find the source of the problem, as they did not know what the issue was, though my husband thought he apologised too heartily – though we thought that may well be because he knows how quickly some of his passengers will complain! We had been aware the Bay of Biscay (BOB) can be very unpleasant – all our previous cruises have been blessed with calm seas (and avoided BOB) but fortunately, the Bay was calm for both our crossings this time. There was some rolling along the west coast of Spain and Portugal both ways. The Captain did indicate that the seas were expected to be a little rougher, so that if you were prone to sickness you had fair warning to take a tablet. I took Sturgeon, and my husband decided to take nothing, and we were both fine. Disembarkation was fairly smooth though there were no seats left in our designated lounge when we arrived 30 mins before the stated time. We got up at 7, finished packing, breakfasted with our hand luggage at 8 in Bay Tree (where a full breakfast service was offered), went to our designated lounge at 8.50 and started disembarkation at 9.10 finally getting off ship at 9.30. Parking4cruises had automatically been aware we were returning to a different terminal from embarkation, so once our cases had been swiftly retrieved from Ocean terminal (there were plenty of free trolleys), we walked the short distance to pick up our car from the short-term carpark. Despite lots of research we list below the things it would have been good to know: • Set menus in the main dining rooms – are not fixed. You can swap dishes for other menu options if you want. • Carpet on the stairs is brown at the front of ship, red in middle and grey at back – that really helped! • Winning a quiz or activity earns you a stamp which can then be exchanged for a gift at the end of the cruise. Our one win earned a nice pen and key ring so, in our estimation, the prizes on P&O are better than other lines have offered us. • Shampoo, conditioner and body lotions (all 100ml) weren’t replaced. Bring extra unless the higher prices, and very limited selection, in the on board shops are acceptable. • Photos taken by the ship’s photographers can be viewed on the terminals under “Portraits”. However, you do need to know where your photo taken and it might not be obvious – for example Gold 5. So be sure to ask your photographer the name of your location each time you have a photo taken. Alternatively, there is a option once you locate one picture for the system to retrieve related images – using, no doubt, some very clever facial recognition software. However, if you take this option, we found any side on photos were missed – presumably because the half faces did not bear enough resemblance to the original photo!! We also heard, but have no personal experience that: 1. The Waterside buffet restaurant got very busy, with jostling and some difficulty in finding seats. 2. The spa passes on this ship gave you access to very limited facilities, i.e. no pool and the steam room/sauna that were available to spa pass holders only, were out of service for a number of days. Certainly the lady we spoke to felt it was not worth buying spa passes on Ventura (although if the ship was full, and getting sunbeds was an issue, then the pass might be more worthwhile but certainly not for the facilities offered otherwise.) Ports: Lisbon – berthed at Santa Apolonia which was a very short walk into the main area. We took a “free” walking tour with Lisbon Chill Out Tours. It was a good, and fun, introduction to this pretty, hilly city. Tenerife – berthed in Santa Cruz port – it’s quite a walk to get out of the port (10-15 mins) but you are then in town. A shuttle was provided. We wandered taking in this pretty city, visiting Jardin Garcia Sanabria, along the lovely tree lined streets (for example Las Ramblas) finishing up with a very enjoyable visit to the Palmetum and a walk back along the seafront to the ship. We did not depart until 10pm and it was lovely to watch the lights twinkle and disappear as we sailed away. Gran Canaria – berthed right in Santa Cruz again with an easy walk to the new part of town. Did not make it far as the old town, which was perhaps a shame as the new town has little to recommend it beyond bars and shops, though it does have a nice beach if that is your thing. La Palma – took a ship excursion to drive buggies in the centre of this steep, green island. We thoroughly enjoyed it - if I found it a little nerve-wracking, my husband loved it. There was plenty of time on our return to walk into the main town which was the prettiest of all 3 Canary Islands we visited. Much was closed as it was Sunday but we still spent a very pleasant hour wandering. Madeira – possibly our favourite port as we visited 20 years ago, and it was nice to reminisce. There are lots of things to do very close to the port. We visited Blandy’s for Madeira wine tasting, followed by a visit to the Story Centre and then a walk literally down memory lane. In summary - Our research indicated the some people felt Ventura was tired and food/entertainment was poor. Clearly if you have been cruising for a long time, things may well be getting worse but from our fairly new point of view, this was a wonderful, memorable holiday. We would certainly sail with P&O again.....though I suspect we will try another new line next time – it seems to be our theme! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
DAY 1 - Sunday 22nd October- Southampton Our first back to back cruise, as this followed a 2 day cruise to Zeebrugge which, due to Storm Brian, turned into a cruise to nowhere as we couldn’t dock due to high winds (see separate ... Read More
DAY 1 - Sunday 22nd October- Southampton Our first back to back cruise, as this followed a 2 day cruise to Zeebrugge which, due to Storm Brian, turned into a cruise to nowhere as we couldn’t dock due to high winds (see separate review). The morning passed quickly and just after midday we headed down to the Glass House and ordered a bottle of Peller Ice Cuvée. Lunch (at extra cost) is now available here on embarkation day and is a very civilised start to a cruise, unlike the scrum in the buffet. We also booked the paired food and wine dinner for the evening of our La Rochelle visit After a pleasant few hours, we returned to our cabin, where we stayed until the Muster Drill was over (as passengers in transit on a back to back cruise we did not have to attend), prior to securing poll position in the Crows Nest for the sailaway down the Solent for the 2nd time in 48 hours! Unfortunately, this experience was somewhat spoiled by a very large group of over 30 people who, as more and more of them arrived, became progressively louder and louder until they dominated the entire Crows Nest, ruining the cruise down the Solent for everyone else. We had feared that the preceding 2 night party cruise would be rowdy, but it was tranquil compared to this lot. We had pre-booked dinner in the Beach House and received a very warm welcome from the restaurant manager who we had chatted to two nights earlier on the previous cruise. We were given a nice table by the window (even though it was dark) and thankfully all the other diners were couples and therefore a peaceful meal of fillet steaks on lava stone was enjoyed by both of us. After dinner we went to Carmen’s where we were pleased to see Caravan perform their Eagles tribute, as we had missed this during our May cruise to the Baltic on Aurora (see separate review). Although they didn’t reproduce the vocals with the same level of accuracy as they had the Bee Gees, it was a good performance, although, in the absence of a member of the entertainment team who should have been providing the commentary between songs, the Philippine lead singer really struggled to give an English commentary and it would be better if they just played the hits back to back. Finally, we went to the Curzon Theatre for the comedian Vince Earl. P&O seem to think that anyone with a Liverpudlian accent is a natural comic. Many aren’t and he certainly wasn’t. There were one or two good one liners but the rest of his performance was dated and strained. We left half way through. Another choppy night and I was disturbed by our next door neighbour banging things around at midnight and then turning their TV on too loud. We like the cabins, but the sound insulation between them is terrible. DAY 2 - Monday 23rd October - At Sea The clocks had gone forward during the night but we weren’t entirely sure whether or not our phones had picked up the European time zone. They hadn’t, so we were an hour behind. None the less, we managed to get to the Medina restaurant 10 minutes before they close to new arrivals. After breakfast we headed over to the Curzon Theatre for the port talks on La Coruna and Bilbao. Although these are thinly veiled sales pitches for the P&O excursions, the presenter was one of the better ones that we have listened to. She had excellent presentational skills, was a clear speaker, kept up a good pace and provided useful info for those of us going ashore independently. We skipped past the Food and Beverage Showcase, as it was being held around the atrium, which is a narrow pinch point at the best of times and particularly so when it’s a sea day and the shops have stalls of tat on display. We took up an early spot in The Playhouse for a talk by Chris Walker on The Great American Songbook. Mildly interesting and a different way to spend 45 minutes, but a very easy gig for the speaker (in return for a free cruise), as it was brief biographies of artists that could be found in seconds on Wikipedia interspersed with film clips. Lunch in the Medina restaurant, where the menu was exactly the same one that we’d had two days earlier during our previous cruise. Upon leaving we realised that the evening menu (Marco Pierre White Gala Dinner) was identical as well, so we decided to book a table at Sindhu instead to see if we would prefer it this time, having been disappointed during our May cruise on Aurora, where Sindhu wasn’t anywhere near as good as the versions on Britannia or Ventura. At 2pm I attended the port talk on La Rochelle and Cherbourg, but post lunch drowsiness meant that I didn’t catch all of it! We were now in the Bay of Biscay and there’s quite a bit of movement. Back to The Playhouse at 4.15pm for a Classical Concert by Spanish guitarist Dimitris Dekavalles who was incredibly talented and put on a very enjoyable performance. This was as enjoyable as the performances by Harmony Duo during our May cruise. Having changed into our formal attire for the first of the two Black Tie evenings, we first attended the 6pm Captains welcome aboard drinks reception in Carmen’s. Dinner in Sindhu had to be at 6.30pm as it was fully booked thereafter (our consolation being a free bottle of wine for early diners up to 6.30pm), so we were a bit concerned that Captain Turnbull didn’t arrive until 6.25 (having done the Crows Nest party first). This was the first time that we had seen him since we boarded 3 days earlier, but he seemed a very personable chap. As he finished speaking we dashed up to Sindhu, arriving 10 minutes late, but we needn’t have worried as they were very welcoming and offered the complimentary bottle of wine without us asking for it. Service and food were both very good, although we still aren’t fans of the ambiance and location of Sindhu on Aurora. It’s essentially an extension of the coffee shop during the day and looks like it. It is open to the atrium and noisy as a result. There are some dividing screens, but they are lattice in design, so provide no sound screening whatsoever. As this poor design makes the restaurant feel less exclusive than the versions on other ships, payment of the £40 cover charge (for 2) doesn’t feel such good value here as it does on Britannia or Ventura. There was only one option for the evening entertainment, Jamie Allan in the Curzon Theatre, who was billed as an iMagician. The pre show videos built it up to look quite promising, but the actual show fell a bit short. There were some clever tricks, but he was a bit stilted in his performance and the numerous card tricks on a table became less convincing when you realised that his hand movements were ever so slightly out of sync with the overhead camera shots, which he continually felt the need to say were ‘live’. DAY 3 - Tuesday 24th October- La Coruna, Spain We woke up to an amazing sunrise over the Spanish coast as we reversed onto the berth at La Coruna. From our balcony we had a fabulous view of the harbour and town, including the famous glass fronted Avenida de la Marina. After breakfast in the Medina restaurant, we headed up to deck 13 in order to get our bearings for where we would be walking from the panoramic observation deck. No shuttle bus is needed here as the berth is in the town centre, so we commenced an anti clockwise circuit of the coastal path around the peninsular. First of all we walked out on to a jetty where numerous locals were fishing. This provided a good view of Aurora. The coastal walk very much reminded us of Cadiz, but without the tropical gardens alongside the promenade. After several miles we came to the Tower of Hercules lighthouse, which was originally built by the Romans who traded tin between here and Cornwall. We had coped well with the wheelchair up until this point, but I did the final climb up the ramp to the lighthouse on my own. We then continued anti-clockwise around the promenade until we were the opposite side of the headland to Aurora, at which point we headed inland and walked around the shopping centre before finishing up in the square in front of the ornate town hall, the towers of which had beautiful sparkling bronze coloured roofs. We were too late for lunch in the Medina restaurant, so headed for the Glass House where we enjoyed copious quantities of chilled water (the outside temperature had reached 21 degrees) and lunch, comprising 3 small plates each and a shared platter of Alex James cheeses. A fairly early departure was scheduled (4.30pm) and a chap pushing his wife in a wheelchair was last to board a few minutes after the deadline. We enjoyed the sailway from our balcony which was on the sunny side. In spite of Captain Turnbulls assurances to the contrary, the ship started moving around again once we had moved back out into the Bay of Biscay. After 3 full days of very noticeable movement we had enjoyed our day ashore on terra-firma. This evening was the first meal that we hadn’t enjoyed in the Meridian, as we both had Pollock with Parmesan crust, which was tasteless. DAY 4 - Wednesday 25th October- Bilbao, Spain After breakfast we boarded an accessible shuttle coach for the transfer to Bilbao. We were dropped off within a 5 minute walk of the Guggenheim Museum, which was our first and primary port of call. We received some sort of reduced admission because of the wheelchair and then spent a few hours looking around various galleries of bizarre sheets of metal, splashes on canvas and video clips, all masquerading as art. Not really our thing, but the building itself was impressive, particularly from the outside. As we left the Guggenheim, we decided to follow the promenade along the river towards the old city. This was going well until it petered out and we had to climb up a long slope before realising that we had missed the bridge that we needed to cross over the river. We picked our way back down and entered the old part of the city. It was quite quaint but a bit of a rabbit warren and we somehow managed to get completely lost and exited at completely the wrong end to where we had planned. After trying unsuccessfully to find where we were on the map, we asked some locals who were having a coffee to show us where we were. It looked a long way back to the shuttle bus and potentially hilly, so we chickened out and got a cab back to the shuttle stop and, from there, a shuttle back to the ship. Another late lunch in The Glass House which, yet again, we had virtually to ourselves. The problem with late lunches is that we then struggle with dinner, so after a long rest in our cabin, including watching the sailaway, we still had no appetite. The Headliners Theatre Group were performing for the first time this cruise (note - we are 4 days in!) but it is the show ‘Fantasy’ which we don’t particularly rate as the storyline is a bit daft. In the hope that we would have worked up an appetite by 9.30pm (last admission for Freedom dining) we decided to give the 8.30pm show a try. It was better than the last time we had seen it as the singers could at least hit the right notes this time but, as has been the case every time we have been in the theatre, passengers stroll in throughout the entire performance and then expect those who were seated on time to have their enjoyment interrupted by having to stand mid-performance to let them pass along a row. P&O staff should stop anyone entering the theatre 5 minutes after curtain up. The other thing that is extremely distracting is the tendency of some passengers to feel the need to talk throughout the performance. As the show closed we dashed over to the Meridian Restaurant still with 10 minutes to spare. Although we were happy to share, we were shown to a table for 2, where we enjoyed a good meal and friendly service. DAY 5 - Thursday 26th October - La Rochelle, France Another dry day as we arrived at our penultimate port, La Rochelle in France. Unlike La Coruna, where we had a stunning view from our balcony, this was a commercial port with dust flying around from the gravel mountain that was being moved around by diggers during our stay. As this was a smaller town, we didn’t leave the ship until around 11am. A shuttle bus was required and this wasn’t as efficient as the service we’d had in Bilbao. At each end, one or two local young ladies had been deployed to supervise the loading and dispatch of buses. As a result, this was all taking a lot longer than if passengers had been left to their own devices. After around a 15 minute wait to board, we were then surprised to find that the supposed 3 mile transfer to the centre was far more like 10 miles as we spent 20 minutes driving there, including on a motorway. Our return trip was a shorter route, but no way was it only 3 miles. La Rochelle itself was very pleasant. An old historic French harbour with imposing buildings, a pretty harbour and countless restaurants and shops, all of which looked very good. After a pleasant stroll around, we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship. To show how futile the shuttle bus boarding controls were, our bus pulled away with one more passenger on board than seats and one chap had to sit on the step throughout the journey. Unlike in Spain, the French insisted on seeing everyone’s passport (in addition to cruise cards) before letting us back on the ship. Post Brexit, you can imagine that they will be even more awkward! For the first time this cruise there seemed to be a problem getting passengers back on board. Two gangways we attached. One, to deck 7, looked very steep and was not yet in use. The remaining one, to deck 5, seemed to have a problem as there were long waits between each small group of passengers being allowed on. We eventually boarded after around 20 minutes waiting on the quayside. As we were booked to attend the 6.30pm Food and Wine Pairing Dinner at the Glass House, we decided to have a light lunch in the cabin from the Grab n’ Go area. We then relaxed in the cabin until the sail-away although, being an industrial port, there wasn’t much to see, especially as we plunged into thick fog within a few miles of shore. Aurora’s fog horn started sounding every few minutes, which reminded us of our Baltic Cruise in May where it resulted in us having severely disturbed sleep for 2 nights as we glided along flat calm seas in thick fog. On that cruise, we did not feel a single bit of movement for the entire 14 days, unlike this cruise where it has been almost constant - albeit not enough to cause either of us any issues (other than the loud creaking from the ceiling which has disturbed us a few nights). Thankfully, the fog ended as quickly as it had begun. We had enjoyed the Food and Wine pairing dinner when we had been on Aurora in May, so were pleased to see it was being held on this cruise as well (although there are apparently no wine or gin tastings on 7 day cruises). Clearly the £30 per head charge had put off most people as there were only 6 couples present, spread across 3 tables for 4 people. We finished dinner in time to catch the later of Dimitris Dekavalles’ 2nd performance in The Playhouse at 9.30pm. Another superb performance, this time of Latin American guitar music. Sadly, as has been the case throughout this entire cruise, our enjoyment of the performance was severely impacted by the constant comings and goings of passengers throughout the entire 45 minutes. These passengers, who feel that it is acceptable to walk in half way through a performance and disrupt others enjoyment as they ask people who had been seated on time to stand to let them pass, then seem to feel that it is equally acceptable to hold conversations during the show. All of this, coupled with the fact that the latecomers also leave the door to the main corridor open allowing passing noise to be heard, must be as infuriating for the artists as it is the guests who have the courtesy to arrive on time. It is a shame that the member of the entertainments team who introduces the artist doesn’t put a ‘No Entry’ sign on the door once the performance has begun. DAY 6 - Friday 27th October- At Sea It had taken a long time to get to sleep as the occupants of the adjacent cabin had been crashing and banging around and talking at full volume, in spite of a request in Horizon (which we had never seen before) asking passengers to be considerate about such things given how sound travels between cabins. It’s a shame that they don’t print this message daily as other less important things seem to be. As it was a sea day, we weren’t in quite such a rush for breakfast, but we still managed to arrive at the Meridian Restaurant with only 10 minutes to spare before the 9.30am cut off time. I have always felt that 9am (port days) and 9.30am (sea days) is too early a cut off time for breakfast in the restaurant when people are on holiday. 10am would seem a far more reasonable time to me. After breakfast, I headed to the Curzon Theatre for Chris Walkers 2nd talk, this time on Nat King Cole which was as interesting about the racial discrimination in the USA in the 1940’s and 1950’s as it was for the music. Lunch in the Meridian Restaurant was an easy decision as there was an Asian platter as a starter and lamb jalfrezi for main course. After lunch we went to The Playhouse for Demitris Dekavalles’ last performance of the cruise. Judging by the near full house, we are clearly not the only passengers who prefer our entertainment to be a few levels up from the usual holiday camp style that P&O seems to specialise in. As it was the last sea day, we tidied up a few loose ends, such as completing and returning the customer service questionnaire and returning the book that had been borrowed from the library. It was black and white night and we decided to start the evening with a gin flight in Anderson’s (strangely, they don’t offer these in the Crows Nest on Aurora as they do on Britannia). As well as some nice nibbles, we were surprised to find that the waiting staff (of whom there were many, unlike the Crows Nest) handed out plates of canapés. We shall have to remember Anderson’s as our pre-dinner bar of choice on our future Aurora cruises. Dinner was the Chaine des Rotisseurs version. We said that we would share a table but still had a wait (with a pager). Around 30 minutes later we had not been called, so I enquired at the restaurant managers desk and we were taken straight to a table. Unfortunately, the other 6 guests had already ordered and their starters were arriving as we were ordering, which I thought was pretty poor but, to be fair to the waiters, our starters were served very quickly and we were able to catch up. It was a great table and we really enjoyed the company of all 3 other couples. Half the table (including us) had ordered the lobster. The waiter appeared after some delay and said that there was a wait for lobster. When they eventually arrived, we all had very small portions. It looked as though they had run out and tried to spread what was left between all those they had left to serve. We’ve never experienced that before during 12 previous cruises with P&O. Surprisingly, we had only had one performance by the Headliners over the first 6 nights. Perhaps they were on holiday as well? Tonight it was the girl group called Sister Twist again. They were pretty good. DAY 7 - Saturday 28th October - Cherbourg We had assumed that this would be our least interesting port of call and whilst the town itself was nothing to write home about, it was a 10 minute walk from the ship (shuttle buses were provided but not necessary) which turned out to be quite an interesting walk as fishermen were selling their freshly caught fish, crab and lobsters on the quayside. Cherbourg has quite a large traditional shopping area (in which we purchased some gifts to take home) and, on the other side of the harbour, a modern shopping centre. The highlight of the visit, however, was the City of the Sea exhibition which was immediately adjacent to where we had berthed. This is housed in the old Art Deco buildings of the former grand ocean liner terminal once used by Cunard and White Star Line, including passengers boarding Titanic. After lunch back on board the ship, I went back ashore on my own and had a thoroughly enjoyable visit there, which included a full tour inside a decommissioned French nuclear submarine (La Redoubtable), an aquarium, the old Art Deco Boarding halls and a Titanic Museum. The sail-away was relatively uneventful and at 7pm we headed up to the Beach House for our final evening meal. Service was excellent as ever but the food wasn’t great this time. The chilli squid was absent of any chilli whatsoever and the chocolate fondu, which we had enjoyed on a previous cruise, had been ruined by the use of a very watery chocolate sauce that was more akin to drinking chocolate. After dinner we had some time to kill before the final show, so we went to Anderson’s for a pre-show drink. Entertainment for the final night was a new show called ‘Echoes in the Night’. Performed by the Headliners Theatre Company, in what was only their 2nd show of a 7 night cruise, this was quite a departure from their normal song and dance shows. The story line was more convincing, the acting was less forced and the dancing was excellent. Singing new songs in the style of old songs didn’t work for me, but it was refreshing to see P&O try a need format as their traditional approach to entertainment is really stuck in a time warp. DAY 8 - Sunday 29th October - Southampton Whilst it is usual when returning from mainland Europe to gain an hour back during the morning of arrival back in Southampton, as it was the end of British summer time UK clocks went back an hour overnight so we had to put our watches back 2 hours. Coupled with the fact that Cherbourg is less than 100 miles from Southampton, the Captain had time to kill overnight, so we had headed West along the English Channel towards Devon before turning back towards the Isle of Wight. It was a busy morning in the port of Southampton as Ventura, Oceana, Independence of the Seas and a Fred Olsen ship had all arrived before Aurora, even though we had by far the shortest journey! We vacated our cabin at 8am and then had the usual final morning difficulty of trying to get a lift, as able bodied passengers disembarking the ship insist on using the lifts simply because they are carrying small items of hand luggage, thus making it near impossible for wheelchair users (who are unable to use the stairs) to move between floors. After we had eventually managed to get to the Medina Restaurant, we were pleased to find that there was no queue to enter and we had our pre departure breakfast. At the end of our May cruise on Aurora we had been unimpressed with the assisted disembarkation service, as it was wildly abused by a large number of passengers who didn’t genuinely need a wheelchair to get off the ship but had requested the service in order to queue jump. In frustration, I had pushed the wheelchair off the ship myself and we requested the assistance of a porter in the luggage hall. This time we decided that, if there was a long queue, we would do the same again. When we reported to Vandebelts we realised that there were an awful lot of people in there already (most of whom had coped easily without a wheelchair all cruise, around the ship, on and off in ports and whilst ashore, but suddenly need one to get off the ship on the last morning when there is some perceived advantage), so we didn’t sit down and just followed the next assistance pusher off the ship and grabbed a porter. As we were returning to the QE2 terminal having departed on the previous cruise from Mayflower terminal, we had been concerned that our car wouldn’t be waiting for us. No need to worry as it was there in poll position at the front of the first line of cars! Finally, we have a new favourite captain in Neil Turnbull. Nobody has ever lived up to Chris Wells, whose humour and informative announcements made a huge difference to our enjoyment of the two Cruises we did with him, but Captain Turnbull has personality, humour and professionalism. Few have all three, but he does and we hope to sail with him again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Aurora Cruise R718 to Zeebrugge (Didn’t dock!). Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017. DAY 1 - Friday 20th October- Southampton Our first experience of a 2 night cruise and back-to-back cruise all in one (although I am doing ... Read More
Aurora Cruise R718 to Zeebrugge (Didn’t dock!). Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017. DAY 1 - Friday 20th October- Southampton Our first experience of a 2 night cruise and back-to-back cruise all in one (although I am doing separate reviews for each). The 2 night taster cruise to Zeebrugge didn’t start well, as CPS car drop off was, for the first time, poor. The normal arrangement for a 2 day cruise is for passengers to self park in the short stay car park, but I had called CPS many weeks before and they had linked our two cruise bookings, telling me that I could ignore the self parking option and should pull up at the terminal to be valet parked as normal. I had called CPS again the day before the cruise to confirm and was, once again, told this would be no issue and CPS staff would be available at the terminal. As we arrived at the terminal, we first had a battle with the traffic marshal’s, who seemed incapable of understanding what we had arranged (and were quite offhand) and then, as we arrived outside the Mayflower cruise terminal, there wasn’t a CPS operative in sight. After a phone call to CPS (when I was kept on hold for 10 minutes) and a further wait, two CPS staff members eventually arrived. During the time that we were waiting I noticed that the porters were just standing idle alongside the building waiting for passengers to take their cases to them. Even though I had two large cases, a carry case, a wheelchair and my wife to attend to, no effort whatsoever was made to assist. When I asked an idle porter whether or not there was porter service today, he replied “No, there never is”. Perhaps he meant on 2 day cruises, but this attitude was shocking none the less. Thankfully, as we entered the terminal building, first class service immediately took over. We reported to assisted embarkation and didn’t even have to take a seat, as we were escorted straight to check-in and were through security and on board within around 10 minutes. A record for us. Due to high winds when Aurora had docked, the air bridge wasn’t attached, so we had to board up a steep ramp from the dockside. Thankfully we were assisted by two pushers for this bit. Even though we had an embarkation time of 1430, we were in our cabin by 1310 with both cases already present. Very impressed. We were staying in C152 (Accessible Balcony) which was the same cabin that we had stayed in for our 16 night Baltic cruise in May. We instantly noticed an issue with the bed, in that one half was higher than the other! Also, the previous occupants had stupidly left the safe locked, rather than open as instructed. We could not find our steward, so unpacked and stowed the suitcases under the bed. More than an hour later, we eventually found our steward (Lawrence) who told us that the previous occupant had hired a Mobility at Sea special bed and that the normal bed had not returned as planned. He said he would sort it out and called the deck manager to unlock the safe. Next stop the Glass House, where we each traded our Peninsular Club vouchers for a freebie glass of champagne. The staff have all changed since our May cruise, but were just as friendly. We also noticed that food was available during the afternoon, even though it was a changeover day. We had already had an early lunch at Maritimo Lounge in Ocean Village, but will keep this in mind for changeover day on Sunday as we are staying on board. Then to Anderson’s for the muster drill. When we returned our life jackets to the cabin we were impressed to find that the bed had already been changed and was now level! Up to the Crows Nest for a sailway drink and observation as we pulled forward off the berth, turned (as the ship had docked facing inland) and cruised out past the Isle of Wight. Horns were honked between us and Azura as we passed her. Azura is delaying its departure by 24 hours due to former hurricane (now storm) ‘Brian’ which is due to engulf the English Channel tomorrow. As we are heading North, we are departing as normal, although we will have to come back through the remnants of it. During out time in the Crows Nest we were joined by a lovely couple who lived on The Isle of Wight, so were able to have a good chat about the island. We weren’t overly fussed about the main dining room menu, so tried to get into Sindhu, which although only had about 4 couples in it was apparently full! We ended up in the Beach House where the manager recognised us from May. We experienced exemplary service but my beef sizzling platter wasn’t as tasty as before and none of the deserts appealed, so I just had Eton Mess ice cream, which was very nice. We didn’t fancy the Headliners show (Fantasy) as we had seen it in May and didn’t rate it, so we went to Carmen’s for a Showaddywaddy tribute band called Shomaddymaddy. Pure cheese, but we actually quite enjoyed it as the music was good, even though we couldn’t see the band once the dance floor had filled with people dancing! Our final port of call was a repeat visit to the Crows Nest, as the male members of the Aurora Orchestra were performing. However, they were playing jazz, which is about the only style of music that I intensely dislike, so we retired to bed, although I first popped out to the Horizon buffet for a Horlicks nightcap. DAY 2 - Saturday 21st October- At Sea (Zeebrugge cancelled) Although we had heard a lot of people talking very loudly as they passed our cabin late at night, we both managed to sleep well, probably assisted by the combination of alcohol, Stugeron and rocking motion! At 0745 (0645 UK time) we were woken by Captain Turnbull making an announcement that, due to high winds, we were unable to dock at Zeebrugge and would have a day at sea as he had not been able to find a substitute port. Although quite understandable, it’s a shame for those who had booked the cruise specifically to go to Bruges, not least as there are no other stops and this is now a cruise to nowhere! We both commented on how professional and comprehensive his announcement was e.g “the safety of the vessel and all those aboard is, and always will be, my first priority”. We had a leisurely breakfast in the Medina restaurant where the waiter remembered us from our last cruise. During the morning, we cruised up past the Thames Estuary (passing wind farms and gas platforms) into the North Sea, prior to turning around 180 degrees off Lowestoft and heading back towards Southampton - and storm Brian! Lunch in the Medina prior to popping our head into Carmen’s for a singer , Sadie Ebbon, whose 11.15pm show had been brought forward to 2pm due to the unplanned sea day. We stayed for a few songs but weren’t really getting in to it, so we left and went to Anderson’s for a quiet read. By now there were a few more white peaks on the waves and more noticeable movement. We have noticed how busy the ship feels compared to our last cruise on Aurora, which is not helped by everyone having to stay on board and it being autumn, so few people are on the open decks. Although the P&O blurb talks about this being a ‘Discovery Cruise’, the staff on board refer to it as a ‘Party Cruise’ and you can see why. Lots of large groups including quite a few hen parties. We assume that, to keep costs down, they might be sharing 4 adults to a cabin, which also explains the relatively high passenger density. As the ship was busy, we returned to our cabin for a rest and to read. The wind was now force 9 with gusts up to force 11. The balcony divider door is rattling loudly and our patio door out to the balcony is draughty and doesn’t keep out the noise of the wind. We ordered a cream tea from the new room service menu. This took around an hour to arrive. Our steward is pleased that we are staying on board. He explained that on changeover days he works almost all day and evening and has just 90 minutes off during which time he has to rest, eat and call home. The band ‘Caravan’ are on board again, so we decided to go to the 7.30pm Bee Gee’s Tribute show which we had very much enjoyed when we were last on Aurora in May. There was no member of the entertainment team present to provide the commentary between each song and the lead singer attempted to do it but really struggled due to his strong Philippine accent. Thankfully the songs were still good. We decided to have dinner late, so hot footed from Carmen’s to the other end of the ship to the Curzon Theatre for the early (8.30pm) show of a Madness tribute band called Badness. They were the same group that had performed the Showaddywaddy tribute and we enjoyed this performance as much, especially as they didn’t just sing Madness songs but also other Ska groups such as The Specials and Bad Manners. We left before the end as it was 15 minutes before the Medina restaurant closed to new arrivals, so we hope that the show is repeated on our follow on cruise. Dinner in the Medina restaurant was the Marco Pierre White menu, as it was the Black Tie night. Other than the Beef Wellington, I didn’t particularly enjoy the other courses (other than the delicious port infused Stilton to finish) so may dip into the non-Marco choices next time that menu appears. As we had finished dinner very late and the ship was being buffeted by Storm Brian now that we were in it’s path in the English Channel, we retired to our cabin. It was difficult to get to sleep due to the fact that the ceiling of the cabin above the bathroom door was creaking and banging as the ship was being thrown around by the storm. That said, we didn’t feel sick at all and obviously slept well when we eventually got to sleep as we didn’t awake until we were alongside in Southampton. As we were doing our first back to back cruise, there are no disembarkation comments to make and anything beyond this point will feature in the next review. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The cruise itself was very good we had no issues with the places we visited Madeira Canary Isles Lisbon and Vigo. All ports were accessible so no tenders involved. The disabled room with balcony was excellent even pull down hangers in ... Read More
The cruise itself was very good we had no issues with the places we visited Madeira Canary Isles Lisbon and Vigo. All ports were accessible so no tenders involved. The disabled room with balcony was excellent even pull down hangers in wardrobe. and of course the walk in shower. Food was ok although the horizon restaurant was nearly always busy so with my wife in a wheelchair it was easier to eat outside for breakfast and on sunny days and why not. Not much entertainment on sea days other P&O cruises we were always kept entertained, as 2-3 sea days can be very boring. No activities around the pool no chutes just 2 swimming pools. Obviously very accessible for disabled throughout the ship except deck 18. However not all good for disabled. As stated by others stairs in midships only go to deck 7 bad design therefore unless you walked to either the stern or forward passengers would get the lift. Lifts were small 2 wheelchairs and a couple of passengers that was it. The Oriental restaurant on deck 6 aft can only be accessed by stairs or lifts there is no thoroughfare so disabled had a long time to wait for the lifts. another bad design. The theatre called 'headliner's is too small for the number of passengers on the ship Although some disabled spaces are available there should be designated area for wheelchair users, with the emphasis on wheelchair users . Chairs would be moved out the way for the wheelchair users but of course some people would just sit in the chairs. You would have to get to the theatre 45 minutes at least to guarantee a place for the wheel chair Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
While not expecting much in the destinations i.e. Amsterdam and Le Havre we got an exceptionally good value deal in deluxe balcony cabin and wanted to see the Azura as other cruisers we have met in the last few years have given it great ... Read More
While not expecting much in the destinations i.e. Amsterdam and Le Havre we got an exceptionally good value deal in deluxe balcony cabin and wanted to see the Azura as other cruisers we have met in the last few years have given it great reviews.They were correct as she is spacious and public areas well planned and very comfortable.Meals were always of high standard and to the British taste ,the buffet though fine for breakfast was a bit boring at lunch time.Because we were stuck in Amsterdam and then were locked out of Le Havre due to a lightning strike by French dock workers ,it meant the buffet area was exceptionally busy and felt over crowded.The staff worked tirelessly and with a smile on their faces? Evening shows were very good and particularly enjoyed the Blue Jays and the comedian Mike Doyle.Drinks on P&O are very reasonable compared to other lines so that's a bonus. We were allocated a balcony suite near the stern which was a bit noisy at times but the bed was so comfortable we slept really well.This cabin came with full bathroom including bath tub!! Even though the weather was awful and impacted on the itinerary we had a good cruise and found it really good value for money having only booked one week before sailing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
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