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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My sister and I decided to book on this cruise because our 60th and 62nd birthdays fell within the date range. Our twin deluxe cabin was very spacious and included amenities such as tea and coffee making facilities, other luxuries such as ... Read More
My sister and I decided to book on this cruise because our 60th and 62nd birthdays fell within the date range. Our twin deluxe cabin was very spacious and included amenities such as tea and coffee making facilities, other luxuries such as champagne and canapes. Meals in the main restaurants were surprisingly good. even though they catered to the overwhelmingly English guests. Specialty restaurant meals, especially at Sindhu Indian fusion restaurant, were outstanding. But these were at an additional cost. Meals at the buffet restaurants upstairs at Venezia and Verona were boring and tasteless. In comparison to other cruise lines such as Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and even MSC, buffets on Azura had much to be desired. Pizzas tasted like cardboard and the selection was only limited to two or three. P & O marketing of shore excursions outlines why passengers should purchase their excursions (at a much inflated price). One of the reasons is that they ensure no passenger will be left behind. Well, guess what happened to us in Oslo on out booked Explorers Museums tour with them? We were not more than two minutes late and the bus had left without us. We had a very elderly local guide who could not both going into the main entrance, nor was there was no headcount on boarding the bus. We caught a taxi back to the ship and informed them of what had happened. Staff did not seem to care, telling us that the matter would be investigated and to return the following day. We returned and it soon became clear that the matter had not been followed up. They told us that given we were late, albeit even two minutes, the tour was in its right to continue without us. We were not entitled to any refund as it was our fault. Excursion staff became very rude refusing to talk to us any longer. Entertainment on board was also very poor. We had travelled with MSC from Venice to Buenos Aires last November and we were surrounded with exciting Tango and Salsa shows, acrobatic displays, Flamenco and other displays. Performances on Azura were outdated and simply old fashioned. I must say the one positive note from this cruise was the service staff, who were predominantly Indian or Filipino. They were quick to respond to individual passenger requests and were very attentive to needs. The Anglo staff onboard could learn several lessons in manners and customer relations. From my first experience with P & O I would never sail with them again. I would also advise others to steer well away from them until they rethink and re-establish their staff and customer relations program, especially for English staff. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
Just retuned from 7 nights on Azura cruising the Norwegian Fjords, a truly stunning country and in my opinion a must see for the bucket list. Embarkation was smooth and trouble free, we arrived 3 hours earlier than our boarding time and ... Read More
Just retuned from 7 nights on Azura cruising the Norwegian Fjords, a truly stunning country and in my opinion a must see for the bucket list. Embarkation was smooth and trouble free, we arrived 3 hours earlier than our boarding time and were on board ship within an hour. On entering our stateroom ( balcony D734 right at the stern) we were pleasently surprised by the size of the balcony, the room was nice and clean, and our stateroom attendant (Rony) was pleasant, on closer inspection underneath the bed we found a slipper, babys dummy, and some sort of wierd sex aid, so not as much attention paid to cleaning as first thought. The ship itself is nice but is showing signs of neglect, the main pool had a hood water feature with lagging hanging down, Pizza ovens only worked for the first day of the cruise, many light bulbs not working. Staff were friendly but it got a bit tiresome when you order a drink and they keep asking if you want a large one. Very disappointed our cabin attendant not doing any towel animals on our bed of an evening, (everynight on RCI). Food was the biggest disappointment of all, our first night I had a prawn cocktail starter wich would have fit in an egg cup and a peice of bread the size of a domino, the steak maincourse was like chewing gum and again the portions tiny, 2nd night (formal night) I ate from the Marco Pierre White menu, very tasty but again tiny portions, the lobster came as half a lobster, and there was a stewards inquiry when i asked for another (unlike RCI). The waiters were polite and did everything they could to amuse our daughter during the long waits between courses. It was amusing on formal nights to see the majority of diners in tuxedos and evening dresses sitting in the buffet topping up on the meagre portions at dinner. PROS: Staff on the whole very friendly Food in buffet was varied and good When docked or moored the views from our balcony were stunning all round view instead of one side Stella £3.20 Very stable ship Poolside grill Shops Entertainment Cons: Tiny portions at dinner Noise from the propellers on our balcony while ship was at sea You cannot walk around the ship on one level without going up and down lifts or stairs Outdoor cinema (prefer retractable roof on Ventura) All in all not a bad cruise but not brilliant, would I cruise on Azura again? Probably, but prefer Ventura, but I am affraid to say with all of P&Os cost cutting measures they are not a patch on Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
This was our first cruise, so no comparison with other cruise lines. We had an inauspicious start: it took, Friday lunch time, two hours to drive last 20 miles to Port. Main cause of delay was road works at entrance to Port - don't ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so no comparison with other cruise lines. We had an inauspicious start: it took, Friday lunch time, two hours to drive last 20 miles to Port. Main cause of delay was road works at entrance to Port - don't know if ABP or Council, but minor works with two men with "stop / go" signs at Port gate next to traffic lights - the lights went green, men showed "stop", lights went red, then, obviously, "go". We had planned lunch in Southampton, so had plenty of time, others did not. The departure of Azura had to be delayed. We had booked car parking, and despite VERY surly staff (who had probably suffered 100's of people complaining about traffic delays), the service was really efficient - luggage moved by staff to conveyor within seconds of parking. You then enter terminal and within twenty minutes were on board. First impression was vastness of the ship. Second was how nice our cabins were, stewards introduced themselves and were simply excellent throughout our stay. We cannot fault the accommodation or service of stewards. We had full range of towel sculptures, including one I haven't seen mentioned before, the "angry child" - makes sense when you see it! Waking up, going onto balcony in a new (and beautiful) location will live with us forever. We had booked 6.30 dining and again, staff and service excellent, and food between very good and excellent throughout. We pre-booked wine package and thought good value - same price or marginally cheaper than UK restaurant. Drinks throughout were UK pub (not Wetherstone's though) prices. We did Sindhu on last night (20 per head supplement) and that WAS excellent. Pools, public facility and entertainment, including Jimmy James (as in Jimmy James and the Vagabonds) could not be faulted. Did raise an eyebrow on last sail away party where we were extolled to waive Union Jacks and sing the "Dam busters" at the passengers of adjoining German cruise ship, but hey ho. The stampede through common areas between different performances was probably as funny as any onboard comedian. The only onboard negative: wife and daughter tried to book Spa treatments, to be greeted by a rude, disinterested member of staff, who thought they would try sarcasm by S L O W L Y spelling out words as you might to someone with learning difficulties or who couldn't speak English. We all have bad days, but how pathetic - all they wanted to do was spend money at this quite expensive offer. Money saved, P&O reputation tarnished. Excursions. We did Rauma Railway and Glacier Trip, neither cheap but both very fair value for money, and both recommended. In Bergen we followed advice from here and booked Funicular railway tickets from tourist office by fishmarket. This cost 280 kroner, not only big saving on pre booked tour, but staff at tourist office suggested, successfully, how to time visit to avoid queue. In Stavanger the ship has a mooring right next (literally) to the Old Town. Things like Cathedral and Oil Museum both easy ten minute walk. Quite a few people we spoke to had independently made same arrangements and shared our thoughts. We did the "carry off" disembarkation. At 07.15 there was massive queue, at 07.30 there was none. We were in car and out of Port before 08.00. Back home in Cardiff by 10.15. We loved this cruise, will cruise again and with exception of bad experience at Spa recommend every aspect of our experience to others. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Unhappy Cruiser I have never been on such a crap cruise. The room was like a shoe box but extremely well cleaned but all down hill from there. The dinning: First off in the mornings there was nowhere to sit so you had to hover like ... Read More
Unhappy Cruiser I have never been on such a crap cruise. The room was like a shoe box but extremely well cleaned but all down hill from there. The dinning: First off in the mornings there was nowhere to sit so you had to hover like seagulls waiting for a table. The food was mediocre buffet food. The Cleanliness: of the ship i couldn't fault every time we left our room a mess we came back to find it spotless cleaners work very hard. The entertainment: Apart from a tennis court at the very top of the ship and pools that's all there is. but the out door cinema was nice but that's it. Value for money: Well is your thinking of going on a 7 night cruise to anywhere and you think that's all your going to pay then you thought wrong. Our 7 night cruise for 4 cost £3699 and then at the end of the cruise our drinks bill cost £1500 so wasn't as cheap as first thought. if your thinking of going on a once in a life time cruise please don't chose P&O Cruises go for Princess,NCL, Royal Caribbean anyone else but P&O. Thanks for ReadinG Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We were on A219, departing Southampton on 10th August and visiting Stavanger, Flaam, Geiranger and Bergen. The ship was at capacity. The overall feeling of the cruise was one of disappointment due to the mediocre food in the Peninsular ... Read More
We were on A219, departing Southampton on 10th August and visiting Stavanger, Flaam, Geiranger and Bergen. The ship was at capacity. The overall feeling of the cruise was one of disappointment due to the mediocre food in the Peninsular restaurant. Things that were free via self-service on other ships (e.g. fruit juices, soft-serve ice-cream) were decidedly not free on Azura. Food would often turn out as bland, lacking in seasoning and be lukewarm. "School Dinners" is a good description, helped along by the extremely old fashioned silver service of soggy veg. A lot of the items on the menu seemed to translate to a less-than-impressive roast dinner. "Slow cooked brisket in ale" turned out as two slices of unpleasant tough brisket in a tasteless sauce. The pomp and ceremony of black-tie dinners quickly becomes a farce if the food is not good. The service was quite surly, by waiters who made no real effort to introduce themselves and whose English was on the whole poor, and not easily understandable. It is clear that the switch to automatic gratuity hasn't exactly incentivized the staff to do their very best -- no-one was making any attempt to work for their tip. The second night I had a request for a Margarita cocktail turned down as it "wasn't possible", with no explanation or apology. Speaking to an apologetic head waiter later I was told it was in fact possible, just it would take longer due to the limited drink availability for the restaurant. Whereas that explanation is better than the brush off I was given, it's still crazy that a full bar service wasn't available to the restaurant - from a business perspective if nothing else. Requesting two main courses caused a certain amount of hand-wringing and a suggestion that it may have to be accommodated on a single plate. It did come as two separate plates, but I certainly didn't feel comfortable in making a request like that again. Maybe that was the idea. One night my wife who just fancied a salad as a starter, asked for the egg mayonnaise on mixed salad without the egg mayo. A plate of dry baby gem lettuce leaves subsequently turned up. Hygiene seemed a non-issue on this ship. There were plenty of hand-gel dispensers at the buffet, but no attempt to ensure that people were using them before getting their food. No hand-gel was offered in any form going into the Peninsular restaurant. The children's menu was quite limited. Food tended to be of the chicken nuggets (and the really cheap ones at that)/burger/sausage/pasta/chips/mash variety. No fish fingers/battered cod. No home cooked style food like shepherd's pie, or any sort of nightly special. No jacket potatoes or even pizza. Ice-cream for desert was strictly vanilla. No chocolate, no strawberry, just vanilla. Heaven forfend that P&O should miss a sale of its over-priced Carte D'or ice-cream on deck. The buffet at lunchtime could be hit and miss. There were many cold meats, seafood items and a number of hot dishes, but it was decidedly lacking in theme and choice. The daily curries, whilst a welcome addition could be quite bland. There were pies served canteen style (in a gigantic tin) but again these weren't seasoned particularly well. Desserts were often of the mousse variety. There were a few glaring omissions -- whole prawns were very welcome, but served without cocktail sauce. Breakfast in the Peninsular was slow. Poached eggs were always hard boiled. We found the buffet was the best bet for breakfast as it offered a good choice, and had a number of specials (kedgeree, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon). The grill on deck served very mediocre food. The chicken nuggets were the same ones from the children's menu the chips were seemingly on ration, and the burger was a very low-quality, filler-laden affair. The one food highlight of the trip was Sindhu, which we went to twice. Food was a delicious Anglo-Indian cuisine that was genuinely inventive in its taste and presentation. Everything on the menu was appetizing, delivering far more than promised. Service was warm and accommodating. The ship was clean and in good shape, but lacked the wow-factor, especially in the atrium. Cabin was clean and maintained well, but the thing that let it down was that it had to be in twin, rather than double configuration in order to use the pullman bed. A balcony room such as this should have had a sofa bed. We had to bring our own bed guard for the pullman as all the ship ones had been allocated. Children on the ship seemed on the whole well behaved, although there was a contingent outside the boundaries of parental or any other adult supervision that seemed free to roam the ship. This was especially prevalent in the pool area, where the rules were not maintained in any way. Children would repeatedly bomb in the pool, making it virtually a no-go area for anyone who wanted to swim or for parents with young children. The terrace pool at the back of the ship was more welcoming for younger children. Alcoholic drinks were reasonably priced and served without 15% gratuity prevalent on many ships. Soft drinks were a comparatively costly affair. We got the soft drinks package consisting of 20 post-mix (i.e. the bar soda pump) drinks for £35. Considering the normal price was a whopping £1.95 the package amounted to £39 worth of Coke for the price of £35 -- not a massive saving considering the initial outlay. For a seven day cruise we only just used it all. Fruit juices were decidedly not free. Machines that freely vended apple juice at the buffet breakfast were rather meanly disabled for subsequent services. Apple juice was available at £1.60 for a 330ml can. We went to see The Headliners in the theatre twice, and they were consistently good. There was a comedian two nights in Manhattan Bar, who delivered a good, if a little close-to-the-knuckle performance. Officers were noticeable by their scarcity in public areas, especially up on deck. The Fjords were breathtakingly beautiful and definitely worth having the balcony for. Waking up to their beauty outside your window was the highlight of the trip. We did the Flaam railway excursion under our own steam, but I would recommend that people always try and book through the cruise line to save a lot of angst. We bought tickets via raileurope.com without reserved seating, and whereas we did get a seat we were squashed into a particular carriage. People who tried to get tickets on the day from the station were disappointed as they quickly sold out. (by 08:30). We did the Bergen Heights and Highlights excursion which was definitely worth the money. It consisted of a cable car trip up Mount Ulriken, followed by a bus tour round the city. We did the 9am excursion and had the mountain to ourselves for a time. Due to a problem with a starboard engine, the ship was delayed in its journey from Bergen back to Southampton. This meant we got into port over 3 hours late, and into the Mayflower terminal. (Due to its size Azura normally goes to Ocean Terminal) Subsequently the self-help disembarkation was massively over-subscribed. (After all, people didn't fancy waiting until midday to get off) We were lucky in that we were able to get wind of the fact that the door would be opening on deck 5 (rather than 6 as per Ocean Terminal) and were one of the first groups off. From other reviews I gather it got quite heated with people who had waited in areas on other decks. All in all, we loved Norway and would go back, but were deeply disappointed with Azura. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
Travelled with our mum and dad on this cruise which was a treat from them to celebrate some anniversaries. They have cruised many times all over the world but this was our first cruise so we were apprehensive especially as we were unsure ... Read More
Travelled with our mum and dad on this cruise which was a treat from them to celebrate some anniversaries. They have cruised many times all over the world but this was our first cruise so we were apprehensive especially as we were unsure about such a large ship. We needn't have been as we loved it from start to finish. Apart from one misty morning in Gerainger we had fantastic weather - hot and sunny Embarkation and disembarkation was fairly quick, we got priority as my parents had cruised with P&O several times and it was pretty stress free. The itinerary was very good, Stavanger, Flam, Gerainger and Bergen. It was such a special feeling waking up at 5.00 am , stepping out onto the balcony to see we were effortlessly gliding down the majestic Sognefjord. It was beautiful and I was mesmerised. We did shore excursions in Flam - Norway in a Nutshell which included the Flam Railway which was excellent - had a fabulous day with lovely buffet lunch. We also did a shore excursion in Gerainger - Fjords and Mountains which was an excellent day out. We did Stavanger and Bergen on our own. Stavanger was probably my least favourite place although the Oil Musuem was really interesting. I was disappointed with Bergen - maybe because it was really busy although it is very pretty. As for the ship itself - good choice of bars and restaurants if you wanted to try the speciality restaurants for which there is a charge. We ate in one of the main dining rooms on fixed dining every night and food was good although a bit too English for my liking. Our waiters and sommelier were friendly and we had excellent service from them. We tended to have buffet lunch in Verona or Venezia on the two days we were at sea and there was a good choice of food. There were several bars to choose from, our favourite was Planet Bar at the top of the ship which has a Plasma Screen showing live scenes from around the world. Drinks prices were very reasonable and good choice of drinks and cocktails. There were lots of on board activities and talks - something for everyone. If you like shopping then the shops on board were disappointing, not very many for such a large ship but to be honest I don't go on holiday to shop. Entertainment in main theatre was good - Headliners were excellent. Our balcony cabin B515 was mid ship and in good location. See separate cabin review. . P&O is a very British cruise experience and most of the guests were British but there was a variety of age ranges. We had a wonderful cruise and saw some beautiful scenery. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2012
This Baltic cruise on the Azura was from 19 May to 2 June, starting from Southampton. We took the train from Cardiff, but due to track maintenance work, a double-decker bus (eventually packed and piled chest high with suitcases in the ... Read More
This Baltic cruise on the Azura was from 19 May to 2 June, starting from Southampton. We took the train from Cardiff, but due to track maintenance work, a double-decker bus (eventually packed and piled chest high with suitcases in the aisles) was provided from Salisbury on. On the way back, we had a sprinter train with no room for luggage, and was so packed another carriage had to be laid on from Bristol Temple Meads, eventually delaying us by nearly 30 minutes. Why is First Great Western so incapable of getting even the basics right? They are serving a cruising port for Heavens sake, with elderly people and loads of luggage. Doh! EMBARKATION: was quick and well organised, taking just under an hour. DINING: we booked late, so had to have fixed early dining on a table for ten. We had all asked for a table with a maximum of eight, so this was naughty, P&O.The service was very good, though we thought the food standards had declined somewhat since we did the Caribbean on her eighteen months previously. The self-service restaurants Venetia and Verona were full whatever time of day you went there, and having a table to yourselves was never an option. Tables were always cleared very quickly, however. This ship is not ideal for the Baltic, everyone crams inside in bad weather, but it's plentiful outside space can be utilised in the Caribbean, so people are not on top of each other. A tip on the Verona. At night a segment is cordoned off as a trattoria (no surcharge).The menu is limited, but excellent, as is the service. The problem is, they don't take bookings, so by the second week the word has got around and it's difficult to get in unless you queue early. DRINKS; the great advantage of P&O compared to American cruise lines is the comparative cheapness of drinks. A G&T is £3.65 for example, whilst I paid £7.00 on Celebrity. Some people bought the drinks package, then find they had to drink wine they didn't want. My one reservation is the draught lager which I don't think is well kept, so we bought the odd bottle or two in Denmark, Estonia, Belgium etc, at a fraction of what was charged onboard. One expensive German lager which is £2.20 a bottle in Tesco was 68pence in a Warnemunde supermarket. Drinking that on your balcony with the sun setting was something to remember. ENTERTAINMENT: Surprisingly, the poorest we've come across, added to which you had to get to the theatre 30 minutes early to get a seat for the first performance. The ensemble production were the same as on the previous cruise, others saw them on the sister ship. The level of humour of the comedians was that of a working mens club or British Legion. It says something about the professional acts that the most popular turns were talks by ex police superintendent and royal bodyguard Simon Dinsdale, and then you had to get there 40 minutes beforehand to get a seat. EXCURSIONS: were expensive, but in fairness, P&O lay on free shuttle buses, which few companies do these days. Be careful in St. Petersburg. First-timers booked 3 trips on the first day, and inevitable Russian traffic jams caused delays, so some did not eat or drink for 12 hours. And Russian guides haven't heard of comfort stops, which nearly always cost around 70 euro cents when you can find a loo.From experience, the trips I would recommend, in priority order, is the Hermitage, the Peterhof Palace with its incredible gravity fountains, Catherine Palace, and the canal boat trip combined with the Usupov Palace where Rasputin was assassinated. Not recommended is the St. Petersburg on foot excursion; nearly £50, a few miles in the bus, and no admission to anything included. CONCLUSIONS: we like P&O, it has the integrity so many lines lack. The itinerary was first class, and for variety and sheer value for money how can a cruise be beaten? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2011
Azura is big - too big. The penny pinchers have been at work big time. No savories, only one veg in MDR. No wiener boy at receptions. What are they doing with the Retreat? £20 a day per person just to get a pool away from the kids - ... Read More
Azura is big - too big. The penny pinchers have been at work big time. No savories, only one veg in MDR. No wiener boy at receptions. What are they doing with the Retreat? £20 a day per person just to get a pool away from the kids - joke! All the pools say 'no jumping, no diving' pity no staff at all enforce this - who pays compensation when a 10 year old breaks your back? One game to play with the staff is try and get them to admit anything is not perfect. They have an excuse for everything including why the raw carrot stick could be bent in a small circle and that you could play frizzbie with the eggs. If you value your health - don't even look at the Olly Smith blended house wines, even uni students refuse to drink it! The staff just say 'it's not a bad house wine' Despite all of the above, a great cruise, XVII is great. Sindu is fair but Atul is far too far up himself - won't even walk around 'his' restaurant when on board. Would we go back on Azura? Not unless its a damn good deal. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
We went as a family, my parents are both in their 60's and I am 35, We all shared a Super Deluxe Balcony stateroom (i couldn't afford the single room costs) and we all thought it was fab, our cabin steward Samiro was very ... Read More
We went as a family, my parents are both in their 60's and I am 35, We all shared a Super Deluxe Balcony stateroom (i couldn't afford the single room costs) and we all thought it was fab, our cabin steward Samiro was very friendly and kept the room really clean despite there being 3 adults, the sofa bed was very comfortable and the beds also The bathroom was clean and plenty big enough, its not like you are having a party in there how big does it need to be, we had an endless supply of new toiletries and believe me i can get through some, The canapes and fruit in the room were nice, We went Freedom dining and the food was excellent, even for me and i am very picky, there were nights we ate in the buffet as i didn't like the menu in the main dining area but that's not to say it wasn't nice just not for me, this was mainly on fishy nights as i don't eat fish. The entertainment wasn't always to my taste but there was plenty to do, the speakers were all good at what they did even if it wasn't a subject that i found interesting it was nice to listen to something different We spent much of our time in the pub doing quizzes and playing in the casino, the casino minimum buy ins were reasonable at 50p-£1.00 and i did seem to win my money back every night (the same cannot be said for my father) There was plenty of space to walk around and everything seemed really clean and tidy, there was plenty of sun beds etc, My only slight negative would be that the late night snacks were somewhat repetitive but do you really need to eat at midnight, i think not though i did. The only port we did the tours on was at St Petersburg as it was cheaper to do those than get an independent visa, i had been to st petersburg previously and i knew it was worth the visit, we did the hermitage trip one day and the on the foot tour the next, both were done by good guides who were very approachable with good English and took us to all the best bits, as we were on freedom dining we went on the afternoon trips (as i didn't want to have to get up at about 630am to be breakfasted etc before leaving) The other places all had little shuttle buses or independent tour buses which worked out a lot cheaper than the p&o version though i can understand why older people or lone travellers would go for these for safety reasons. Would i go again...Yes, on the same ship to the same place by all means,we all really enjoyed ourselves, My dad was very impressed by St Petersburg (and it takes a lot to impress him) Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Having just come back from a wonderful week on Azura, I felt compelled to counter some of the complaints and niggles that are so prevelant on this site. I am 31, and travelled on Azura with my 60-year old parents and my brother's ... Read More
Having just come back from a wonderful week on Azura, I felt compelled to counter some of the complaints and niggles that are so prevelant on this site. I am 31, and travelled on Azura with my 60-year old parents and my brother's family who have a one year old baby as part of a celebration of my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. Trying to find a holiday suitable for 7 people aged between 1 and 65 is difficult! And so cruising seemed to fit the bill, and in my opinion, Azura was an excellent choice and I would have no hesitation in going back on board.I didn't find the ship to be over-crowded - I actaully thought the management of 3000 people onboard during a busy half term was very good. We rarely queued for anything, and managed to get seats for the shows and events we wanted to see. Embarkation and disembarkation were both seamless. I also found the staff to be consistently cheerful, helpful and friendly. We found the bars to be excellent value - you certainly didn't feel that P&O were taking advantage of thier captive audience with a great range of beers, wines and spirits all very reasonbly priced. The sail-away parties were fun but not excessive, so very inclusive for all the family. Dinners in the Peninsular were very good, and the Indian waiting staff there deserve an extra special mention for being fun, friendly, courteous and extremely efficient. I was in an inside cabin which had ample wardrobe space and a large comfy bed. The rest of the party had balcony cabins and the balconies were well used. We all thought our cabin stewards were excellent and left generous tips.The creche enabled my brother and his wife to leave their one-year old sleeping there in the evenings, with a pager system for if he awoke. This allowed them the privilege of 7 late-sitting dinners with the family without having to worry about him. The play room was very well-equipped and was very well used during the day - and the kids of older age groups seemed to be having a whale of a time. We had been nervous that a cruise during half term would have been overrun with screaming children, but this wasn't the case -the kids on board were kept well entertained, and were very well-behaved around the ship. The gym is absolutely fantastic and very well-equipped with state of the art equipment... a great place for my boyfriend to escape the family and stay fit at the same time!The ship is not perfect - there were a couple of times when the drinks service was quite slow, and as healthy-eaters, there were elements of the buffets that were quite deep-fryed that we avoided. But there was always a good choice of salads as well, so this didn't deter from the overall enjoyment. To those who complain that it is difficult to get a seat at breakfast, I would just suggest getting up 1/2 and hour earlier - it was usually packed at 9am but pleasant at 8:30 am... plus there is always the option of taking your food outside as well. The entertainment was good but not absolutely "wow" - but there was so much choice, from classical concerts to comedians and magicians, that there was plenty to entertain for a week. I am not a veteran cruiser, so I don't have hundreds of comparisons. But I have been with Cunard, and I certainly felt that Azura was a good choice for our group as the crowd was considerably younger and the vibe more fun for those of us in our 30's without being too party-ish for the older generation. We all liked the Costa coffee shop for post-excursion coffee, the selection of wines and decor of The Glass House, and our dinners at Peninsular. We would have used the sea screen a lot more if it hadn't rained most of the week (that's what you get in Norway!). But most of all it gave us a holiday where we could both do our own thing and spend quality time together, which was the main purpose of the trip. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Azura. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We have cruised only once before and planned a second 2 week cruise later this year with the same company - Celebrity. We also wanted a short family holiday with our teenage sons and thought that a mini cruise would be ideal and found this ... Read More
We have cruised only once before and planned a second 2 week cruise later this year with the same company - Celebrity. We also wanted a short family holiday with our teenage sons and thought that a mini cruise would be ideal and found this P&O 4 night trip which seemed to fit the bill. Calling at Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre it seemed to hold sufficient interest for all of us without time for the younger members of our group to get bored.Azura is a new ship going into service just a year ago. It is comfortable and the sort of facilities that one might expect. The inside stateroom was small but perfectly adequate and very comfortable. The steward was willing and helpful if a little unsure of himself.The bars were good and prices amazingly cheap compared with Celebrity. We enjoyed the ports of call and took one pre-arranged trip which was good if pricey. Shuttle service at the other ports were just fine and the disembarkation/embarkation arrangements slick and quite painless.Unfortunately aspects of the cruise were far less enjoyable; the food and the standards of service. We had chose 'freedom dining' and our main meals were taken at the Meridian Restaurant. The food was served in quite small portions and of a very poor standard. On one occasion I sent back the sea bream because it was overcooked and tough (the flesh had actually turned brown). If anything the replacement was worse. On the other hand the food in the buffet was good with a varied choice and well presented and nicely cooked.With some exceptions the staff seemed disinterested, unhappy and on a couple of occasions rude. I felt that morale was very low and this certainly left a negative impression on all of us.Disappointed I guess is the best description. This experience has I'm afraid put us off travelling with P&O in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2010
Cruise number 7 for Azura from Southampton to the Fjords in Norway 25 June to 2 July- Stavanger, Flamm, Olden & Bergen. Still a very new ship - some evidence of snagging works still being done - but well-designed and good to look at ... Read More
Cruise number 7 for Azura from Southampton to the Fjords in Norway 25 June to 2 July- Stavanger, Flamm, Olden & Bergen. Still a very new ship - some evidence of snagging works still being done - but well-designed and good to look at (if you ignore the rear slab). Public areas bright and interesting, cabins well appointed and very comfortable. Over-worked stewards kept the cabins pristine but no chance to establish personal relationships. Very British - real ales at bars, comedy and World Cup Football live but not the P&O prissiness that we've experienced elsewhere - more relaxed about dress codes and staff being flexible about rules. Speciality Dining is fabulous: XVII and Sindhu are well-worth the supplements and The GlassHouse was fun with good gastro-pub food and excellent wine flights - shame about the through traffic to and fro The Playhouse. Oriental Restaurant (late sitting) friendly and very efficient service but range of choices was uninspiring. Many tables empty though as themed buffet dinners at Verona and Italian standard fare at Venezia were very attractive and well-done. The Headliners Shows were excellent - if you liked Mama Mia then you'll love their energy and application to a varied range of musical styles based on standard songs and pastiches of genres. Tony Sloman an excellent guest lecturer on the movies - he knows nearly everyone and has stories about the rest. So why not the full package? This is a superliner with the population of a large village on board - all wanting to be fed, entertained and through security at the same times. Services were frequently over-whelmed by demand; scrabbling for empty tables at self-service meals(For British Users - like a BHS Restaurant on Pension Day!), queueing in that orderly disorder that British people learn at birth, no empty seats at popular bars. Worst examples was embarkation by tender at Olden - hundreds of passengers queued across a coach car park (with moving traffic) and along a (the?) main road through the port. No queue management, poor use of (inadequate) pontoon space and insufficient number of tenders in use. If it had been raining as it had the previous day in Flamm there would have been a riot - as it was the unexpectedly warm conditions on shore were not responded to by provision of shade or cool drinks. Some waited an hour to return to the ship after the end of their tours. Our impression was that the management of the boat have not yet come up with the means to anticipate and manage demand for on-board services. That will happen but Azura will not attract repeat passengers until that part of the experience lives up to its obvious potential. Read Less
Azura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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