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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The original itinerary was changed by the hurricanes to substitute Guadeloupe for the destroyed Tortola in British Virgin Islands. As Hurricane Irma, Harvey, Maria and Katia barrelled their way round the Caribbean in the Autumn of ... Read More
The original itinerary was changed by the hurricanes to substitute Guadeloupe for the destroyed Tortola in British Virgin Islands. As Hurricane Irma, Harvey, Maria and Katia barrelled their way round the Caribbean in the Autumn of 2017, we became very worried about whether there would be enough left standing for us to enjoy. It was a needless concern, because we visiited nine islands and saw no damage. Boarding our P&O chartered Thomson's Dreamliner at Gatwick, we hopefully waved au revoir to our cases and settled in for eight hours of reading, announcements, meals to be eaten like a praying mantis and, of course, funny smells. It was a pleasant flight; the Dreamliner being what it is, we had to keep looking out the windows to make sure the engines were turned on because it was quiet enough to hear people scratching. Luckily, the driver found Barbados in the middle of nowhere and we duly landed to be greeted by a wall of heat and friendly faces. The forty minute coach trip to the P&O Azura was fascinating. Barbados is quite a flat island (the only one in the Caribbean that wasn’t made by a volcano) and so the loveliest scenery is mainly around the beaches. Our first trip to the Caribbean and the things we discovered. • Most places have taxi marshall's outside the welcome terminal. They will manage which taxi (minibus) you get in, leaving only when full (but at least they leave the AC on!). You pay at the end of your return journey after they pick you up at the appointed time. • Take US dollars and Euros. Don’t bother with Eastern Caribbean Dollars and be careful you know which “dollars” you are being asked for. Make sure your change is in US dollars. • Everywhere you go there is music. If you don’t like reggae, go somewhere else, because that is the theme running through most islands. • Rum Punch is often quite strong. Two will make you tipsy, and don’t mix it with their Carib beer at 5.2%, something I learned rather than heard. • Caribbean people are friendly, vibrant, kind, church-going Christians, happy and bring their children up really well. They seem to have proper family values and standards. They don't have drug problems - they have drug-trafficer problems because of their unfortunate geographic location between grower and user. • Wherever you stop, there is a terminal area with markets, shops, stalls, music and bars where you can buy duty free goods. These are invariably more expensive than in the town. Antigua (Pronounced “ANTEEGAH” - saying “ANTEEG YOU AH” singles you out as a “newbie”) A gorgeous and spectacular island, the inhabitants of which are 99% church-going Christians, and all of whom are lovely friendly souls. We went on the “Best of Antigua with Lobster Lunch” excursion for the best lobster I have ever had! Apparently another excursion with a lobster lunch was not nearly so good, so be careful which one you choose. This one visits Shirley Heights, Nelsons Dockyard (Lobster Lunch), the spectacularly beautiful rain forest and finally Mitties Bar by the beach. Verdict - Lovely island and people, safe as houses. Mitties Bar rum punches are stronger than you think. I know that now. St Kitts and Nevis A pretty little island with lovely laid back friendly people. We did the train journey round the island which had some lovely surprises, rattling and rolling it's way round that central mountain. Others did the beach and thoroughly enjoyed their day. The shops near the ship were great fun, as were the bars. Smashing friendly people. "Don't worry ...... be happy" Amber Cove - Dominican Republic This is a shopping and recreation centre built by Carnival Cruises as a clean safe oasis in the Dominican Republic. If you've been to Disney-World, it's a bit like Main Street USA. We didn’t find anyone who did the Puerto Plata (nearest town) excursion and enjoyed it on account of the fact that it seemed to be a tour through landfills. Nobody said they felt safe in the town and, outside Amber Cover, you can pay for a day at the hotel and beach next door. Those that did, didn't seem very happy with it. This Amber Cove “Carnival Cruises oasis” is clean, safe, ringed with steel fences and very well appointed. There are pools, loungers, bars, shops, water features and views, most of it being free. I loved it but others thought it was false and man-made. Which it was. I still liked it though. You don’t have to spend anything if you don’t want to. Unfortunately all telecoms were down so nobody could use the free WiFi or pay with cards. Rickshaws take you from the ship to the entrance.. It’s free, but a $2US tip per trip is gratefully received. Martinique (Actually, France, and therefore Europe) Much nicer than Guadeloupe. This was more up-market - the currency is Euros, very few take dollars. We did what most people do and took the boat from the dock to Pointe de Bout ($7 return per - person pay on board). From here you can walk to the right to a pretty, exclusive and expensive beach. Drinks here, especially on that little bar in the water, are shockingly expensive. Alternatively, walk straight on from the jetty through the lovely shops and bars (normal prices) to the big more popular beach. The boats also go to other nearby beaches which we didn’t visit. The people are lovely, friendly and helpful. And French. Yes I know. All the reviews about rudeness are unfounded. The boats are backwards and forwards from the dock every half hour. Some people walked round the town instead and reported it to be very pleasant, although a lot were closed because it was a Sunday. Guadeloupe (France again) Not our favourite stop. Use Euros and not dollars, try and speak some French if you can. We did the excursion called “Highlights of Guadeloupe” which might have been wishful thinking because some felt the highlight was getting back to the ship again. The waterfall was underwhelming, the botanical gardens a muddle and the plantation and distillery a health and safety nightmare. The rum shop was good though - every rum product you can imagine, so that made the trip worthwhile. People who did the excursion “St Anne’s Beach on your own” had a much nicer time and said it was quite safe and very pretty. Wish we'd done that! I’d like to be able to say all the people we met were friendly. Do not wear jewellery or use your mobile phone in the street. Some passengers didn’t take that advice, regrettably. Our tour guide advised us not to walk anywhere that has buildings above three storeys. Scary! The capital Point de Pitre is like downtown Marseilles. We wouldn’t walk round it, something the Captain advised over the ships tannoy before we docked. The reason that P&O haven’t been to this island for the last twenty years was no longer a mystery. Grenada Paradise. Take the water taxi from near the berth to the beach. $10pp return, $20 for a luxurious sunbed and very large brolly. A bucket of six beers, surrounded by ice costs $15 and is served by waiters who will come round to see if you need anything. Lovely beach for swimming and just chilling out. Water taxis are travelling backwards and forwards all the time. The island is safe and friendly, the people lovely, sand clean the landscape gorgeous. It used to be British. St Lucia Beautiful port, lovely friendly people. The terminal area is a chaotic mass of taxi drivers and tour sellers trying to sell you something. Just walk on, they have nowhere else to tout for business - it’s just not very well organised. People loved the beach trips and the kayaking. We found the people friendly and fun. The terminal building has shops on two levels. Whatever you do, make a point of going upstairs to Shirley's shop. She and her shop are wonderful! If you walk out of the terminal area, turn left and go to the local market a little way on the left. We had such a great time there laughing with the ladies and buying bits and pieces. If someone approaches you and hands you a handmade object or anything else, don’t take it because they will only accept money and will say you bought it by taking it. This isn’t dangerous, it’s just a nuisance. A couple went to Vigie Beach by bus. It cost $18 each return and everything they did was very expensive - umbrellas, chairs, drinks. They said they hadn’t expected to pay so much for a day at the beach and that facilities there were very basic. We were late leaving St Lucia and the Captain advised us not to venture into Castries after dark. It used to be French. St Vincent and the Grenadines A lovely friendly safe pretty island that’s almost more British than Britain. We went to the botanical gardens by taxi - $20 return. Very peaceful and beautiful place to spend an hour. Oddly, we spent two or three hours behind some beers in the terminal area which was totally the opposite of St Lucia - probably because of the people, the music and the beer! With reggae music in the background, and $3 for a local beer, why go anywhere else? Some people went to Bequie island by water taxi, where the beaches are beautiful, but there are no seats or umbrellas for non-residents. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We booked our cruise on Azura at the very last minute and was told by the travel agent that we had been lucky and got the very last cabin. This was very interesting as when on board we met a number of other couples who had been told the ... Read More
We booked our cruise on Azura at the very last minute and was told by the travel agent that we had been lucky and got the very last cabin. This was very interesting as when on board we met a number of other couples who had been told the same thing. This seems to be a marketing ploy by P and O to pressurise you in to making a booking. When we got on the ship we found the cabin was of a good size and the balcony although obstructed was very large and still very pleasurable to sit out on. The majority of the ship looks old before its time with lots of dark would and poor lighting, it is also very obvious that the ship is the same design as used by princess as some areas are almost identical in layout. The only true exception being the Glass house bar which is far more contemporary in colour and design. Food on the ship is very inconsistent and the organisation of the top floor buffet restaurant being a complete nightmare, tables where left uncleared and cups not being available at the beverage stations. The thing that really was disappointing was P and O's portion control on food and drink. If you order duck breast for dinner you would expect a whole breast but P and O give you two thin slices. This was the same for all portions at lunch and dinner. Drinks where another joke. We have never been on any other ship where they are measured to the point where a martini is served in what could be described as not much more than a thimble. The beds and pillows are so old and knackered that did not allow us to get a good night's sleep and desperately need replacing. Staff on the ship are also with few exceptions disinterested and not particularly helpful. This was our first cruise on P and O and as you may have guessed we won't be going back. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We chose this cruise as we went on a P&O cruise for the first time last year and decided that P&O were our favourite of all the cruises we had done. The food was very good and we loved the Buffet meals, although it was a problem ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we went on a P&O cruise for the first time last year and decided that P&O were our favourite of all the cruises we had done. The food was very good and we loved the Buffet meals, although it was a problem at breakfast trying to find a seat (walking around with hot food, going cold). We visited Atul Kochhar's restaurant (this was absolutely excellent). The Verona restaurant was also excellent. The shows were really good and we loved all the comedians and the ventriloquist. It was also good to see Clem Curtis performing onboard. We were very pleased with our cabin which had a balcony, so it was good to watch going into and out of Ports from our Cabin. Although we are not great sunbathers it was almost impossible to get sunbeds, so it was just as well we could sit on our balcony. The (Bar waiters were a nightmare). They would follow you to your seat in bars. Interrupt conversations when you already had a drink (asking if you would like another. I was up on deck the one day reading and was interrupted to ask if I would like a drink. What happened to summoning a waiter when you want a drink, which is what we have always done in the past? Again, a good job we had balcony to sit on in peace. I love P&O but did not get the restful holiday I was expecting and needed.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Sailed on AZURA on her first cruise after her return from the Caribbean. We were delayed by 4 hours on departure by a computer failure, or was it deep cleaning!! We will never know. P&O excel at organisation compared to some other ... Read More
Sailed on AZURA on her first cruise after her return from the Caribbean. We were delayed by 4 hours on departure by a computer failure, or was it deep cleaning!! We will never know. P&O excel at organisation compared to some other cruise lines so everything was well organised. Avoid cafe at terminal - too expensive and awful coffee. We had a balcony stateroom on Riviera deck and never again. Our cabin was under the aqua deck and we could hear chairs being scraped on top of our ceiling at all times of the day and night. Surely for such a new ship someone could have thought of adequate sound proofing. Certainly price charged a bit too steep for these cabins. Dining experience in Oriental,Sindhu, Glass House all excellent. Verona and Venezia self service buffets good food choices but there seemed at times to be too many chiefs directing staff and not watching when areas were running out of food. Entertainment staff worked really hard and Cruise Director Neil Oliver does very well. However, too many comedians one after the other left passengers sitting through one comedian telling 6 jokes we had heard the previous evening. Better scheduling required. The tribute acts were good but the in house company should act less and sing more, that was their strengths. Jet Set and Azura orchestra excellent. I have to comment on the last singer Ritchie Sampson. I think most people walking out the first evening during your act should have been a clue. The second time when the theatre was nearly empty should have been a wake up call. Telling an audience to applaud the orchestra and give ourselves a round of applause 3 times in 15 minutes is unprofessional and not what we expect. Motown and Soul are great sounds but you killed it. Awful. Weaknesses were very little entertainment during the sea days. Security staff particularly female staff should smile more, passengers have paid for the pleasure of cruising we are not criminals. P&O should be very careful when not reacting to children running around decks and around lifts and corridors in the evening. If one goes overboard it won't be the parents who will be taking the blame.P & O excel at organisation compared to some of their sister companies. All entries at the various port of calls went smoothly. I would certainly travel with them again but will try a smaller ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We have been on a number of cruises previously, on each occasion aboard "traditional" ships which are much smaller than Azura and all her other practically identical floating leviathans. Let me start by saying that P+O did ... Read More
We have been on a number of cruises previously, on each occasion aboard "traditional" ships which are much smaller than Azura and all her other practically identical floating leviathans. Let me start by saying that P+O did everything they claimed to do. Food was good, entertainment was very good indeed although sometimes not to our taste. The cabin exceeded expectations and no complaints at all about the service............. ........BUT............ Not having cruised with them before, we had been attracted by the sophisticated brand image of P+O. In actual fact we quickly became very disappointed with this aspect. Azura is simply HUGE!!!! It can carry 3000 passengers. Added to this, it is just one of very many similarly sized cruise ships that were travelling around the Caribbean in November. Cruising the Caribbean has clearly become a major tourist industry. In order to support at least ten ships, all with 3000 passengers every two weeks. P+O and the other cruise lines need to appeal to a wide cross section of the population. We were very disappointed that many of our fellow passengers were tattooed, had huge beer guts and non-existent manners and that was just the women! Clearly P+O needs to fill their many ships but the demeanor of the clientele clearly belies the image that they purport of sophistication and a chic atmosphere. Don't get me wrong. The ship is superb and the many venues aboard the ship were up to the marketing blurb but it was all let down by the "Benidorm mob" who monopolised the sun loungers, (despite frequent dire warnings by the ships crew) hoarded around the self serve food outlets, monopolised the inadequate number of tables at breakfast times and generally acted in an ignorant manner. YEUGH!!!!!!! One benefit of a more modern ship was that our cabin was superb. It was more like a modern hotel room than a ship's cabin. We had a lovely private balcony but there was however a problem there as well. The passenger on the neighbouring and upwind balcony insisted on smoking the most stinky cigars that you could imagine. Whilst he was outside, seemingly chain-smoking we could not use our balcony. The people at the Reception on the ship were very helpful here but we are not able to publish how they solved the problem for us. The food was very good, well served and reasonably plentiful. It did, however lack the spark of 'cordon bleu' that we had enjoyed on previous cruises with other lines. I guess that if you have to cater for 3000 passengers plus 1500 crew, mass production must take over. This was certainly the case here. Certain items cost extra. I guess that P+O are in it to make a profit but I would have thought the profit from extra charges for ice cream and certain dining areas is small. Entertainment was wide and varied ranging from the glitzy presentations in the ship's theatre that would do the West End proud to more intimate rock duo "View" in the ship's pub who were also very accomplished and very friendly. There were plenty of bits of entertainment in between but the ship seemed to lack a "hideaway" where you could sit quietly enjoying a drink without constantly laid on music. There were a few - too few lectures on the cruise. These were very well attended, engaging and well presented and I could not help thinking that it would have been lovely to know more about the history of the Caribbean and the slave trade for example. This is where P+O does not compare very well at all against "Voyages of Discovery". The port presentations on "Voyages of Discovery" had always been very informative and engaging and this was our expectation here. We attended a number of port presentations aboard Azura and were very disappointed because they just seemed geared up towards selling the highly priced shore excursions rather than telling the independent traveler what they could enjoy whilst ashore. The other big problem with P+O and the travel agent who booked our cruise was that they down-graded our flights and then initially refused to refund us. Eventually we ended up having to drive from London to Manchester Airport to fly out. This is a deal-breaker from ever booking with this travel agent again. So, would we do it again? Probably not. The ship was superb, some fellow passengers less so and the whole experience seems like a huge Disney park that is geared up to separating passengers from their cash. It's back to "Voyages of Discovery" next time for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2010
well what can I say. A beautiful ship. so big. We had a the greatest meal in Sindhu a must if you go on this ship. Brodie's English pub a must. we went in that much the staff got to know us. Manhattans and Malabar the two show ... Read More
well what can I say. A beautiful ship. so big. We had a the greatest meal in Sindhu a must if you go on this ship. Brodie's English pub a must. we went in that much the staff got to know us. Manhattans and Malabar the two show lounges. You have to get in early to get a seat. or standing room only and the night we went in so hot and on the single high seats so uncomfortable. We were on first sitting for dinner and peninsula restaurant is a must. great lads peter and Avascus waiters and Austin the head waiter and Chris the martyrdom so great people .Chris went out of his way to help us one night. Oasis spa package for the retreat, forget it. we bought the spa package and the day paying customers got the same deal as we did. People were queuing up before 8am for the sunbeds in the retreat. We went normally ofr breakfast and when we went in the retreat we were lucky to get a sunbed. one couple did not. This area is not organized and because we booked the package before we set off and paid for it,the talks in the ivory suite clashed with our treatments. The talks on beauty just a selling point to get you to buy something that's very expensive. treatments expensive. Although the staff in the retreat give a brilliant service. Mo communication with the package. The retreat under the stars package what a joke. we were taken into a room and given a hand massage and glass of champagne that was it. no tour around the spa as said on the letter and definitely no stars. just room lights. big rip off. We will not go on the Azura again as it was too big for us. and there were no special touches like we got on the Oriana 15years ago. po seem to be losing that side of things. making money on board for them has replaced it. all sell sell sell. The Atrium nothing special. did not get the wow factor like i did on the Oriana when I boarded. one lady said from the outside as you looked up it was like a block of flats.The captain not very sociable and we were ignored after saying good morning to an officer . found that when you rarely did see them they did not want to chat. Sindhu meal and experience made our cruise, but in Seventeen we were treated disgustingly by the restaurant manager as soon as we walked in. His manner and verbal comments were very uncomfortable and unnecessary. spoilt our 40th wedding anniversary,and the last night of the cruise and my husband does not want to cruise with po again because of it. bad manners. At one point the manager asked me if I was tired, all because I left some food which was terrible, not cuisine food in seventeen, very over rated, just like we have at home, not presented as top cuisine food. I politely said i was a little tired after his shocked remarks and he told me to go and walk round the decks? why we never will know as we had sat quietly all night holding hands and trying to celebrate our anniversary. he kept sending the staff to comment, particularly to me. why we do not know? as we never said anything impolite to anyone. strange experience. I complained to the reception the next day and she never even took my name or cabin number. it had spoilt our holiday. just took our money and did not care about the customer. so be aware you do not get what you pay for. Also we found out that people got suites cheaper than we got our state room, which we booked a year early on the po cruise web site. so be careful and look around .like we will do in future. so wrong. and on being invited to a special captain cocktails we asked a young officer why we few were the elite, to be chosen, was it because we had spent the most money. she said yes. wow. what a shock to the system. one lady never even met the captain like she did on other cruises. She probable did not spend enough on board? 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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