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3 P&O Cruises Europe - Black Sea Cruise Reviews

Really enjoyed the cruise to the Black Sea on Arcadia though nigglying irritations could so easily have limited that pleasure. The vessel, wisely, is about to go in for a refit. It's a little tired and there are some improvements ... Read More
Really enjoyed the cruise to the Black Sea on Arcadia though nigglying irritations could so easily have limited that pleasure. The vessel, wisely, is about to go in for a refit. It's a little tired and there are some improvements needed. Our cabin was most acceptable, B150. Being right at the back of the boat we enjoyed a larger than usual balcony which became a protected sun trap for much of the voyage. Within the cabin there were fewer shelves than on other P&O vessels causing a clutter of personal items on what was available. I was a little stunned to note the length of the bath! On an "all adult" boat it was ironic that the bath was obviously designed for a child. Why advertise baths when they are unfit for adults? The food, as always on P&O was fine, but the Meridian Restuarant was quite the noisiest ship restaurant I have dined in. Hard rather than soft surfaces abounded throughout the dining area and sounds reverberated making conversation difficult. There was also a sense that the number of waiters had declined and those serving we're always under constant pressure. Having arrived on time for dinner we twice waited 35 minutes for our first course - some passengers moving already onto deserts at that time! I do get a little peeved at the cost of alcohol on cruises. I purchased a "wine offer" and when it concluded bought further individual bottles. On checking my account on home arrival it appeared that they had double charged me. Charging for the "offer" and then proceeding to charge for the same bottles again. Do check your accounts carefully. We did enjoy several of the visiting artistes, though disliked the rather egocentric bass baritone. As a couple who rarely go to performances we were particularly impressed by the Headliner Company who always performed with vitality and professionalism. Unfortunately, unless one rushed to end one's dinner finding a seat in the theatre could be difficult Surprisingly, we always seemed to be leaving port earlier than in the past. Guess the Company were saving money for the vessel rarely sailed above 17 knots an hour. Visits at such ports always then seemed rushed. At Istanbul we docked late, not the Captain's fault, and significant excursions were done at a "gallop" . Passengers were certainly "short changed" at this port. And why must every excursion end with a shopping visit? Even in Istanbul they found the required time to visit the Grand Bazaar when I sensed that at least 80% of passengers thought it a waste of time. If passengers want to shop why do the Company not provide shopping focused tours and leave others to view relevant sites. The staff were, as always, warm, friendly and most helpful. Was a little annoyed with the Captain who, 6 days into the voyage suggested someone had brought the norvovirus on board when, both staff and passengers doing back to back cruises stated it was already on board. At least it appeared to have been cleared as we progressed through the cruise. On the return from the Black Sea we left Athens and experienced 4 sea days............ too many in the Mediterranean. There should have been an additional port of call. I've written on the more prominent irritations, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are grateful to P&O. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
On the 7 September a group of four embarked on Azura for a 24 night cruise titled Eastern Med and Black Sea. Our first port of call was Lisbon. We walked from the ship and got a taxis outside the station which we hired for the day for 120 ... Read More
On the 7 September a group of four embarked on Azura for a 24 night cruise titled Eastern Med and Black Sea. Our first port of call was Lisbon. We walked from the ship and got a taxis outside the station which we hired for the day for 120 euros. Considering there were four of us and we started our tour at 10.00 am and we were dropped back at 4.00 pm we thought it was an excellent tour and we had no hanging around waiting for fellow passengers to return to the bus on time, also there was no filling in of time going to coffee shops etc. The area covered was Estoril, Sintra and surrounding places of interest to tourists. Wonderful port tasting in Sintra. After four pleasant days at sea we arrive at the beautiful port of Valletta. We walked to the lift from the ship which takes you into Valletta, cost one euro each. If you have been to Valletta before take a local bus to explore further a field, the bus station is a short walk from the lift. I think the fare for two people was under five euros and the tickets lasted all day, also the buses ran frequently. Good shopping in Valletta. We all had been to Ephesus before so we just wondered round Kusadasi and took in the atmosphere. Next stop Yalta, we went on an organised tour which was expensive, not very well supervised, too many coaches all going to the same place, but we wanted to see where the peace treaty was signed after the Second World War with Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. Unfortunately, in the afternoon it rained cats and dogs so we were a little restricted what we did, but we did have a walk along the promenade which was very pleasant. Odessa is very beautiful. Just walk off the ship and in approximately one hundred metres there is a flight of steps that takes you into Odessa, or alternatively take the free coach into Odessa and walk around that area where the bus drops you off and then walk back to the ship down the Main Street with lovely restaurants, fantastic buildings and fab shops. Travel agents do not seem to promote this beautiful city, I can only assume it is not an easy destination to get to if you are not cruising. Two days for our feet to recover before we arrive at Istanbul. This was our second visit, but it is still magical. We walked from the ship through the port area crossed the road and used the tram. Frequent, very cheap and stops at every interesting place tourists would wish to visit. One slight problem to purchase your ticket only Turkish currency accepted, but there was a cash machine across the road from the tram stop, which saved our day. Unfortunately we were unable to get to Mytilene as we had to tender and there was a swell so the captain decided it wasn't safe and the ship just went very slowly to Athens. A lot of passengers had hoped that he might have been able to visit another port on our way back to Southampton as a lot of passengers had done this cruise before and visited more ports in the original itinerary. Who can dislike Athens! Unfortunately the day we were there the protesters were out in force, but it didn't spoil our visit. Last stop Vigo, rained again, but went on a organised tour to Santiago de Compostela - a beautiful town. We prefer Ventura to Azura. I do not like the decor of Azura, as I find the colour schemes in the cabins depressing and the carpets on our deck twelve were very badly stained, especially by the lifts at the front of the ship. We tried freedom dining for the first time and found it worked very well as we have always gone on late sitting, but early sitting is not for us. I am a diabetic and the meals they provided for me were excellent, I wish hotels provided the same service. My big complaint and I have written to P & O direct also on my questionnaire about the ill mannered passengers who persist in filling their own water bottles from the water dispensing machines in the cafeteria areas. I am not quite sure whether they are blind and cannot read the notices, too mean to purchase bottled water from the ship or ignorant about infection that they are passing on to vulnerable people with medical problems. One day I saw ten people fill their own bottles and not one waiter, supervisor or any P &O staff stop them. Can any passenger think of a way to prevent this disgusting habit? The theatre group was excellent, but some of the other entertainers were very poor. Day time activities were very repetitive, I guess done on the cheap. The art class was superb, but not everyone wants to participate in this activity. I started cruising twenty one years ago and the day time entertainment has got worse over the last four years, no imagination appears to be implemented for day time entertainment. I do not like the outdoor cinema on Azura, as the screen is not very clear. We all enjoyed the cruise, but certain aspects of it could be improved. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea. Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed to ... Read More
We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea. Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed to restaurant to get food and drink whilst waiting for an announcement about availability. This came relatively quickly and we entered a clean reasonably spacious balcony cabin on Barbados Deck Starboard side, The first thing that hit us about Azura was that you could not walk all around the Promenade deck because the bow end was blocked off by superstructure. Secondly that no matter where you went on the ship it seemed very busy - with great difficulty finding seats in other than the Planet Bar or the Glass House. The Theatre was always completely full for first show at least 30 minuted before curtain up and started to emply 5 mintes before the end of an act so that Wacky Races could be performed by a combination of Walker aids, zimmer frames, wheelchairs, and disabled scooters as people zoomed off to claim seats for another show lounge. We felt that Manhatten lounge was dangerous when full because isles were frequently blocked and the lounge vista was not helped by huge pillars keeping the roof up. We dined on first sitting in the Oriental restaurant. The food was OK as was service but it was nothing to get excited about, especially the puddings. The show lounges were in my opinion quite poorly laid out and Brodie's Bar which we frequented for Quizzes was quite the most unwelcoming and uncomfortable bar I have ever encountered on any ship. It was in the same room as the casino and with regular clientelle on the noisy fruit machines it made for interesting quizzes with questions often having to be repeated The cruise itinerary was we has hoped going to be exciting especially cruising the Dardonelles and the Bosphorous, however both transients of the Dardonnelles were late at night and one of the Bosphorous was very early in the morning. This left us feeling distinctly short changed. We were unable to call in at Myteleene owing to rough seas, however I have been tendered by other cruise lines in much worse conditions. whoever planned the itinerary at Carnival want to be given a talking to. To dock on a Sunday morning in Vigo - when they must have know the port was virtually closed was disgraceful. Especially as we had been as sea for 5 days. Why could we not have called at Gibraltar or Cadiz on a Saturday? Passengers were not happy to discover a virtual lock down of Vigo. Tours we booked were for the most part OK although the Odessa guide was a joke. Taking us on a half hour stop to a Ukrainian bank to get local currency to use in local toilets and then telling the us the bank required to see our Ukrainian passports. What an idiot.. However the most disappointing aspect of the whole cruise was the attitude of more mature passengers. They were often very rude and intolerant. One example being to start booing and slow hand clapping in the theatre because the show was 7 minuted late in starting. DSS investigators need to get on one of these ships - the benefits bill would drop alarmingly. People was supposedly could hardly walk could suddenly sprint when a lift became free Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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