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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise as keen fans of 'Strictly' and had been on the Britannia last year on a similar cruise. Food was good usual standard for P&O. We had freedom dinning and ate mainly in the Peninsular. Good ... Read More
We chose this cruise as keen fans of 'Strictly' and had been on the Britannia last year on a similar cruise. Food was good usual standard for P&O. We had freedom dinning and ate mainly in the Peninsular. Good service...friendly staff. We ate one night in the Epicurean...well worth the £28pp cover charge. Good for a special evening and we celebrated a birthday. Maitre de was a little grumpy all other staff excellent. Cabin was R708 deck 14..sheltered balcony so not for sun bathers. No noise issues however we heard ppl on the other side had complaints. We heard that sadly a crew member died on board 'no suspicious circumstances' as announced by the captain. However a team flew out from the UK to support the crew. We also had to make a detour on the return journey due to a medical emergency. We've never known a ship with so many issues and kept looking for the albatross. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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: June 2015
We enjoyed a 40th Wedding Anniversary Cruise to the Baltic that left Southampton on 20th June 15. The ship was spotless, the staff were immaculately turned out and it was obvious that they were “happy bunnies” [ unlike some ... Read More
We enjoyed a 40th Wedding Anniversary Cruise to the Baltic that left Southampton on 20th June 15. The ship was spotless, the staff were immaculately turned out and it was obvious that they were “happy bunnies” [ unlike some recently encountered on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth] We were on a Strictly Come Dancing Theme Cruise and the dance professionals did not disappoint. Ports were excellent, including the small fishing village of Skagen, north Denmark. Best surprise for most was Tallinn in Estonia. On the evenings we enjoyed Freedom Dining in the Meridian Restaurant. The service was excellent. Menu was a bit repetitive and figured too much beef and pork, and no real attempt was made to serve up dishes that reflected the ports we visited [ Beef Stroganoff being an exception] Dress code was disappointing. Formal Code was what one would expect. The only other code was Casual where, unfortunately, jeans and posh tee-shirts were acceptable. Would suggest that two codes, Formal and Smart Casual, are more acceptable. We met many interesting people when we chose to share a table at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Downside is that some fellow passengers are totally unaware that it is manners to wait until the table has been served before “diving” into one’s “grub.” Also knives are for cutting ----- not for eating off, or even worse, licking. Had a special anniversary dinner in the Seventeen Restaurant that was well worth the cover charge. Chateaubriand steak was just right. The Theatre shows were disappointing and we soon opted out. This is where Cunard are hard to beat. Was our first P & O Cruise. Sorry to say that the entertainment and onboard activities reflected what one might find at an English Holiday Camp. P & O needs to be more “British” and if possible an attempt at being Global would be welcome. Finally whoever controls the sound system when we passengers are herded into the Playhouse and other holding areas to get us “debarked” ASAP at Southampton should be forced to listen to the loud, benal music that prevented us from hearing disembarkation announcements. Also would be an advantage if the person making critical announcements had English, as a first language. Repeating them would also be helpful. Our ship was late docking [ no reason offered] and the luggage off-loading was 60 mins behind schedule so we nearly missed our Southampton -> London train connection. Fighting for a space on the train when some 12,000 passengers off 4 large liners are on the move is an interesting experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was a" Strictly Come Dancing ", themed Cruise. We are not dancers and this was our first ever cruise! Having read the mixed reviews about the Azura and P and O in general I was worried that we had made the wrong choice. Just ... Read More
This was a" Strictly Come Dancing ", themed Cruise. We are not dancers and this was our first ever cruise! Having read the mixed reviews about the Azura and P and O in general I was worried that we had made the wrong choice. Just so that readers may know that our opinions were not biased by the cost of our cruise I will say that we paid select price and chose a cabin C328 because it had a larger balcony. We arrived at port easily Having stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express just outside Southampton.The car was taken away to be parked and luggage immediately loaded onto a trolley.. We were directed into the embarkation hall given number and told to wait until number was called, this was about 20 mins. and as we had turned up early we were not expecting such a quick embarkation. We were soon on the ship and directed to the self service area for lunch. At 2pm an announcement was made that the cabins were now ready for occupation. We went to our cabin ,were pleased with what we found and then explored the ship, everywhere was spotless and plenty of sun loungers on all appropriate decks , all the staff were immaculately turned out and every single one on the whole cruise always greeted you ,wherever you were.The restaurants were good , a varied selection, we went to the Beach House a few times Zindhu twice and the Glass House once, which was our least favourite , due to the amount and presentation of the food for the extra cover charge. We opted for Freedom Dining and we enjoyed this very much and would probably opt for this every time in the future. we only used the MDR about five times. I found it to be very noisy and we liked to have a table for two and these were so close together that you felt obliged to start a conversation with your close neighbours!!!! Defeated the object of wanting an intimate dining experience! The rest of the time we enjoyed the self service options and had room service on 2 occasions which was very nice and at no extra cost. The quality and portion sizes of the food on the cruise was very good on the whole. Breakfast we always had at Venezia, and the choice was superb. ranging from cereals,to poached dried fruits and berries ,yoghurts ,cheese ,cold meats, omelettes cooked to order and of course the traditional "fry up". Couldn't fault it,and why people moan about the layout I don't understand, it was never unbearably crowded even when it was busy , one thing I found out on this cruise is that some people will moan about anything and mostly its the ones who like the sound of their own voices !! We enjoyed the 4 formal nights that we had and on three of those occasions we ate in the MDR. The food was good, could have been served a little warmer, and the choice of vegetables let it down. ? tinned carrots on the first night we ate there and very undercooked green beans that were frozen, on the other times we ate there. I am a good cook and enjoy my food so for me this was one of the only two complaints of the whole cruise that let it down for me, and such a simple thing that could easily be rectified. The meals we had in the other restaurants were great. Zindhu was fabulous and well worth the extra cover charge for a treat, and the same at the Beach House for a 5 pound cover charge , the dining was quiet and unhurried and we preferred it to the MDR. Entertainment; We so enjoyed the Strictly Come Dancing shows, what fabulous dancers, and the "one to ones" with the dancers as well. A good variety of shows and the Headliners were very good too and the costumes superb. Really enjoyed the Tribute acts and The Cuban magician and his workshop where he showed how some of the tricks were done!! All in all couldn't fault it , but now for my second "complaint". the daily entertainment on the sea days was lacking, unless you were in to Bingo or quizzes!! I was hoping for some good interesting speakers but sadly not to be. Everything seemed to be geared at getting you to buy things, craft, beauty , foot and back therapy etc etc, not for me but I was quite happy on those days to read a book or sit on the balcony. I was hoping to hear the likes of Simon Weston or speakers who could tell you about the history or things of interest of the places we were about to visit as I suspect St Petersburg was top of the list for most passengers. The port talks was mostly aimed at selling the tours but some of the information was useful. The port excursions that we booked with P and O were superb and other than the Bruges one good value for Ports of Call: Skagen . Went ashore and did our own thing, sleepy little place not much going on there but it stretched our legs and as we were only there for half a day was just right Stockholm: Up at 5am to see the approach into Stockholm . What a pretty 3 hours sailing past small islands with log cabins on and it was wonderful, so much to take in and such magnificent scenery. Watched the docking and we took the shuttle bus into town although a few walked it but as it was raining and a good 30 mins walk we gave that a miss .I loved Stockholm and would like to back for a second look! We were dropped right in the middle where it was easy to see the sights and the palace etc, Everywhere so clean . Visited the palace and found a very interesting armoury museum that had costumes , toys of the royal children ,sleighs , golden coaches etc etc and all free! Would never happen at home ! easy shuttle back to ship and no excursion taken! Tallinn: A beautiful old walled city, Picturesque buildings and lovely churches. Easily "do able" on your own and no need to take an expensive excursion. St Petersburg: The main reason for me persuading hubby to even go on a cruise ! It exceeded my /our ! expectations. We pre purchased a 2 day Splendours of St Petersburg tour from P and O on the cruise personaliser ( would recommend as these tours get sold out quickly on board) It seemed expensive at the time but on reflection for what we did and what we saw it was excellent value for a once in a lifetime event! Our tour guide Gallina was superb what she didn't know about the buildings and the history and the items in the palaces was nobodies business and her English language was faultless. It covered everything from the palaces to river cruise to going down and travelling in the Metro and lunch in a restaurant etc , fabulous. Couldn't fault it. Helsinki: Caught the shuttle and did our own thing. Nice clean city , it was Sunday and no shops open so quiet in that respect . Visited the cathedral but after St Petes everything was going to be a let down !!!! Had a nice coffee sitting in the sun and then walked to the harbour where we caught a ferry to the island of Suomenlinna, what a find that was . Lovely,pretty island, 800 inhabitants and a world heritage protected fortress there . We really enjoyed it and all the locals seemed to turning up there for their Sunday picnics. Copenhagen: Got the shuttle into town but you could just as easily walk it as we found on our way back which passed the Little Mermaid and was not far from where the ship was docked! Watched the Changing of the Guard and walked around , all very clean everywhere and ate the most expensive ice cream ever 5 pounds each for a cornet!!!!!!!! Oslo: Having read a bit about Oslo we decided to book a trip as the ship is moored a long way out of town and there is no shuttle bus, glad we did . A very interesting trip which took in the Olympic ski jump, viking ship museum and the Vigeland Sculpture Park, now this I thought hubby will not enjoy, but like with a lot of things on this trip he surprised me by saying that this was one of the highlights for him and an amazing sight it was too . We had an excellent guide too who also spoke perfect English. Bruges: We took an excursion because to get to Bruges you would have to get the shuttle bus and then a train, so we didn't trust that we wouldn't get lost so went on the" Do Bruges on your own" trip which meant that we were taken on a coach to the city , walked by a Guide to the centre and then left until the afternoon whereby he escorted us back to the ship,it worked well but would have been a lot cheaper if we had done it by train!!!Very enjoyable city , lovely cafes and chocolates and a super canal cruise. To sum up all excursions were good and well thought out. Disembarkation: This was a bit of a pigs ear !!! To sum up , ship was late docking , cases were not unloaded on time and people were held up. What can you do about it , nothing I am sure they were not late on purpose so why do so many people moan about things that you can't change !! In the end we all got off and once re united with the luggage ,which was a very easy process ,we were on our way . To sum up : Loved every minute of the Cruise. A Superb ship and wonderfully helpful and polite crew, spotlessly clean, on the whole good entertainment, good food , fabulous ports of call and brilliant Srtictly Come Dancing theme and most enjoyable to hear the Captains thought for the day , usually spoken with tongue in cheek in his report of the day. Husband who only came for me as he said , Why would I want to be on a ship with 3000 other people ,was totally converted ! A first cruise , yes, but a last cruise, definitely NO, and would we go with P and O again , Oh Yes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
P&O Cruises - 175th Anniversary Cruise - AZURA (Canary Islands). With 7 ships expected to arrive and depart in Southampton on the same day, and the movement of some 15,000 passengers, we decided to come to the city a day earlier ... Read More
P&O Cruises - 175th Anniversary Cruise - AZURA (Canary Islands). With 7 ships expected to arrive and depart in Southampton on the same day, and the movement of some 15,000 passengers, we decided to come to the city a day earlier just in case of traffic problems on the 3 July 2012. We managed to find a hotel room after much searching at the Southampton Park Hotel. The hotel is adequate for a one night stay. It is handy to the city centre and a short taxi ride to the cruise terminal. The hotel is clean and comfortable but is in need of update and re-decoration in some areas. The breakfast served is good. Tuesday 3 July 2012 - "The day of the Grand Event." We left the hotel at 10.45am for the Ocean Terminal at Dock Gate 4. Traffic was fairly heavy, but the experienced taxi driver used side streets to get us to our destination. Whilst the terminal was busy, our luggage was immediately taken from us and we moved inside the building for check-in. From the time that we arrived at the terminal, checked-in, went through security, we were on board the ship at 11.50am. Well done to P&O - this is an area where they excel. (Embarking and dis embarking passengers) Cabins were still being serviced, so guests were invited to have lunch and to wait for an announcement when cabins would be ready for occupancy. This announcement was made at 2.00pm. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 15 Lido deck. The cabin was on the whole clean and tidy, there were however some ledges that obviously had not been dusted for some considerable time- chairs and power sockets in particular. There were a number of stains on the carpet and the balcony furniture could have done with a good scrub. The bed configuration was as requested. The bed was extremely comfortable. Some area of the cabin looked tired. The fresh flower had already wilted, possibly because there was no water in the vase. The cabin was well laid out with ample storage and all the main electrics were working. It is a pity that P&O do not provide bathrobes for all grades of cabins. Whilst the cabin attendant was extremely pleasant, he did just the bare minimum in keeping the cabin tidy. We had to ask each day for ice, sometimes we got it, mostly we didn`t. I cut myself shaving and during the night, a slight bleed stained the pillowcase. It was noticeable but the pillowcase remained unchanged for several days. Towels on occasions were threadbare and often not replaced... Midway during the cruise, one of the lights in the bathroom started to "blink" - despite mentioning it to the cabin steward, which he could see for himself, nothing was done to fix it - it only needed the bulb changed. The same thing happened with a second light bulb. However a quick call to reception on each occasion, soon had this sorted out. Soon it was time for the Grand Event, the seven ships of the P&O fleet leaving Southampton at the same time Unfortunately the weather had gone from bad to worse and we were advised that the appearance of the Red Arrows display team had been cancelled, this was a huge disappointment but understandable. It was truly remarkable to see the seven ships in convey as they sailed down Southampton Water. The firework display was good and after the salute, taken by the Princess Royal, the ships headed in different directions on their various itineraries. The Azura itself is a beautiful ship and one that is easy to find your way around. The Public areas are spotlessly clean and well maintained and there are lots of fresh flowers everywhere. Staff on the whole, were very pleasant and willing to assist passengers, there were some however who were confrontational and obviously had not undergone the P&O - C.R.U.I.S.E. Training programme or if they had it must have been a long time ago and it is time that they attended a refresher course especially to be educated in courtesy and respect to passengers. There was a very noticeable lack of visibility of senior officers around the ship - many passengers also made comment on this. For dining, we had chosen Freedom Dining in the Meridian Dining Room. - The average waiting time each evening for a small table was around 30 minutes. Without exception all meals in not only this restaurant, but in all the restaurants including the Lido buffet were excellent. Menus were varied; the food was well presented and was extremely tasty. Service in the main dining rooms be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner was of the highest standard. This was our 34th cruise with P&O and without doubt, the best food ever. The Gala Event Dinner was interesting. There was an comprehensive menu, with a free glass of champagne. The menu brought back memories of the standard, variety and quantities of food which were actually presented during my first cruises with P&O on-board the Canberra and the old Oriana. The Cruise Overview - "Your Cruise Highlights not to be missed", which was in our cabin on boarding, perhaps summed it up - other than telling us of each evenings dress codes and how to book for Spa treatments and speciality dining options at a supplement - the only two events listed were - The Grand Event Sailaway and when the Round World Cruise Winners would be announced - there was nothing else- nothing in regard to what entertainment would be available for this Great Event Cruise.. There was an entertainment programme which was lacking in thought, especially in relation to the timings and venues chosen for particular events... The programme was disappointing especially during sea days - thanks goodness for Wimbledon! Being a Grand Event Cruise, most passengers were expecting some well-known "star" to make a guest appearance or indeed a celebrity guest speaker - there were none! It was just the typical normal entertainment on a basic 11 day cruise. The Headliners-the on-board entertainers - singers and dancers were good - occasionally some of the singers struggled to reach the notes. These shows are "loud". Unfortunately more than once some of the singers lost the microphone transmission connection with the speakers which caused awkward pauses. Having been on Azura two times previously in the past few years, it is time for change insofar as the production shows are concerned. We particularly, on Formal nights, having made the effort to dress up, like to go and see a production show on formal evenings. Not on the Azura, not one production show was presented on such evenings. Formal evenings are supposed to be something special. The Cruise Director and staff were energetic in their approach and were highly visible throughout the ship. Stateroom television was disappointing - especially the presentations by the Entertainments staff - these was amateurish. Films on stateroom television too are drastically in need of change - same old - same old. One channel is devoted to the ships log and in particular "Meet the Officers" - the only officers featured are the deck officers - no mention is made of the Engineering department nor the hotel department. Location information, weather reports etc. were often not updated on some occasions for up to 24 hours. Events which were held on the first couple of days were re-run again and again on the cabin television. PORTS OF CALL - La Coruna, Madeira, La Palma, Tenerife, Lisbon & Oporto. Shore Excursions offered at each of the ports were varied, professionally organised and were reasonably priced. It is pleasing that P&O still offer a complementary bus shuttle service from the ship at ports where such a service is necessary. The many bars on-board offered a wide variety of drinks and cocktails, full of flavour and again reasonably priced. The on-board photographers were everywhere. At least when you said No - they left you alone. Their prices are far too expensive. Almost £10.00 (GBP) for a single photograph - lower your prices and you will sell more photographs. The shops stocked a wide variety of goods and the sales assistants were pleasant and helpful. The staff on duty at the reception desk were always courteous and professional in their approach. SUMMARY. Probably the best way to summarise is to divide the summary into two parts - The Grand Event Cruise and P&O Cruising. The Grand Event Cruise. A remarkable and unforgetful Sailaway - However, it takes more than a few balloons and union jacks to class something as a Grand Event and even these disappeared after the first couple of days... After the Sailaway and other than the Grand Event Dinner, nothing could be described as being "Grand" - It was as if, right that's that over, now let's get on with our normal cruise programme. We left feeling that the Grand Event was nothing more than a very successful publicity stunt by P&O, paid for by the passengers on these particular sailings. It`s a pity but this was the feeling felt by many of the passengers on-board. P&O Cruising. P& O Cruises have a well-defined and excellent product - well they have 175 years of experience in this regard! They offer something for everyone - from the choice of ships, the various itineraries, the duration of their cruises and voyages, together with excellent food and normally very good and varied entertainment. As with many other cruise lines, cutbacks are obvious on-board, just be careful not to go too far in this regard - it's the wee things that passengers notice. In all, leaving aside the disappointment that the "Grand Event" theme was not carried out and executed for the duration of the cruise, we did enjoy this cruise despite some of the things not being completely up to standard as on previous P&O cruises. The cruise on this occasion fell short of meeting our expectations and certainly did not exceed them. There was a noticeable lack of attention to detail in many aspects - which is a pity. 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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