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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
When it comes down to value for money my wife and I have always rated P & O very highly - first class standards of comfort, cleanliness, fine dining, entertainment, all round customer care - and these elements were all present and ... Read More
When it comes down to value for money my wife and I have always rated P & O very highly - first class standards of comfort, cleanliness, fine dining, entertainment, all round customer care - and these elements were all present and fully met our expectations on our latest cruise to the Norwegian fjords - 28th June, 2013 - 7 nights. The check in and boarding procedure in Southampton was very well organised and it took us no more than 20 minutes from handing over the car to the meet and greet parking company (worth every penny it cost) to boarding the ship. Just in time for a light lunch in the buffet as we waited for the cabins to become available at 2pm. Greeted at the cabin by our steward, and found a welcoming bottle of champagne - a good way to start our holiday! The first night's sleep was interrupted as a medical emergency aboard required passenger to be evacuated by helicopter to a hospital ashore. A special announcement was made by the Captain at around 3.30am, apologising for disturbing everyone, and advising all passengers that this would be taking place - for safety reasons everyone was asked to stay in their cabins and NOT to go out on the balconies before or during the arrival of the helicopter and subsequent evacuation of the passenger. Unfortunately the Captain had to make two further broadcasts to request those passengers who had ignored his instructions to get off their balconies and to go back inside their cabins! It always amazes us how many people one comes across on cruises who do not have a good word to say for almost any aspect of the ship, its facilities, staff, food quality and choice, entertainment, excursions, etc and, unfortunately, it seems more of these feel driven to share these views, during and after the event, than do people who have thoroughly enjoyed their cruise. It might perhaps be more understandable if these were first time cruisers who had no idea that ships do move in rough weather, that there would be a lot of other passengers also wishing to share, use and enjoy the facilities and who simply find the experience is not for them and not something they would repeat. Strangely however, most of these unhappy people are regular cruisers, as they are only too prepared to tell anyone and everyone who will listen or who happen to be within earshot - if things are so bad we sometimes wonder why they keep coming back for more? We are happy cruisers and decided to post this, our first, review to redress the balance a bit perhaps. We have heard moans that the staff are hostile and rude - not so, every crew member we encountered was friendly, anxious to please and more than happy to go out of their way to assist in any way possible. Perhaps this has something to do with how one treats them - saying please when you ask for something, and thank you when receiving service - a simple smile, saying good morning or just Hi, how are you today? .. and treating those who are serving you with respect works for us. In a recent review of the Azura, we read prior to embarkation that Cabin D214 (the one we were booked in) was noisy with banging and creaking and that sleep was impossible - really? We did not notice anything other than the occasional slight creaking that one gets on any ship, in fact it was a very quiet cabin and sleeping was not a problem. The Ports of Call: Bergen - free shuttle from ship to town centre, famous old wooden houses, delightful port area. Fish market a "must", and the funicular ride to the top of the mountain overlooking the city is well worth taking; two other cruise ships in town that day though did make the queues for this rather long. Andalsnes - The Scenic Train trip to Bjorli from Andalsnes is spectacular and we can recommend this. Olden - Mainly trips going to see the Glacier - there were a number of excursions where one could actually walk on the glacier or, for those wishing just to see the beautiful countryside sights the open-top bus available from the quayside is to be recommended. Not much else to see or do in Olden so an excursion of some sort is a good idea. Stavanger - Nice town centre with charming old wooden buildings - an easy walk from the Quay so no need for shuttles, etc. Overall the cruise was great, fantastic scenery in the fjords, calm seas and reasonable weather. Consistently good, the food was the best we have experienced on any P & O ship, and service in the Peninsular Restaurant was very good. The Glass House offers great value wines by the glass or bottle as well as excellent food at a low cover charge. Entertainment was well up to standard with a hard-working, talented ship's theatre company and a couple of comedy shows by Roy Walker which were great fun. Guest speaker David Shute, a former BBC producer, very interesting. With the usual broad spectrum of other entertainments and the added bonus of Lions rugby and Wimbledon Tennis on the TV's in Brodies and on the outdoor screen on Deck 15, there was plenty to keep us occupied. As usual, the bar prices were sensible and without service charges - wish the other cruise lines like Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, etc would follow this example. Disembarkation was well organised in groups and ran right on plan for timing - it was all really easy and we were in our car and leaving the port within 15 minutes of our designated disembarkation time. In summary, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, "You can please some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” Despite having a huge range of different requirements to meet for age groups, mobility, dietary requirements, entertainment preferences and expectations we think Azura and P & O very successfully manage to please most of the people, most of the time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Having never sailed with P&O before we were not too sure what to expect of a British cruise line. Friends who had cruised the Baltic previously with P&O on an adult only ship, which has since left the fleet, were not at all ... Read More
Having never sailed with P&O before we were not too sure what to expect of a British cruise line. Friends who had cruised the Baltic previously with P&O on an adult only ship, which has since left the fleet, were not at all complimentary & were seriously put off cruising. Firstly embarkation at Southampton seemed to go very slowly, it took over an hour to check-in. At one point, no passengers whatsoever were being checked in for about 20 minutes. There were no announcements of any problem so understandably passengers were getting a little impatient. Once checked in however, everything went more smoothly. Our cabin was ready & luggage didn't take too long to appear outside the door. Out balcony stateroom was adequate if not particularly spacious. We liked the fact that a kettle & tea & coffee etc., were provided & there was a fridge which luckily was not full of the cruise lines costly drinks. Just 2 free bottles of water & an ice bucket. So plenty of room to chill the white wine, which P&O (unlike other cruise lines) are happy for passengers to bring on board for consumption in stateroom. We still bought wine with dinner and sampled many of the daily special drinks & cocktails, but taking some of our wine saved us a few pennies. Wines & other drinks on board were very sensibly priced & unlike the U.S. cruise ships no obligatory 15% service charge, which the Brits find very irritating. We took the orientation tour, but still found the ship's layout confusing, as did many passengers we spoke to. The entertainment was excellent but the venues are too small for the size of ship & it was often impossible to get into the shows, in both the theatre & the lounges. Manhattan especially was so badly designed & the chairs took up so much room that once a few people were seated it was impossible to negotiate your way to an empty chair even if there was one. So ensure you get a seat early if you particularly want to see a show, the queue for the 8.45 theatre show started forming at least 30 mins before start - So be warned. Having said that, we opted for Anytime dining and that worked very well - only had to wait once. We also tried all the fee paying dining options & for the most part they were excellent. We ate in the Glass House & tried a wine flight - excellent. Also went to an invitation only wine tasting -v.good. However, having decided to eat there again on the final night of the cruise, we walked out when we were seated, then totally ignored & very irritated to see people being served, who came in after us - unacceptable for that standard of eatery. Seventeen was brilliant, both service & food. The buffet restaurant, was always busy & seemed very cramped, although the food was good. The staff were a little over eager clearing tables, so don't leave your plate or drink to go & get something else unless you leave someone at the table on guard, otherwise it will be cleared away. We didn't sample the spa, apart from a couple of talks that took place in there. Spas at sea are mostly overpriced we find. We took the St.Petersburg tours & our guides were brilliant. Be warned though, If you are doing a full-day & then an evening tour, there is no fast track queue to get back on the ship before the evening tour & some people had barely 10 minutes to get back out to the next tour. P&O should get better organised. One last thing - I have never before had to queue for the Ladies toilets on any ship but on Azura invariably you queue, as there are often only 2 or 3 in each area. I would cruise with P&O again, but would try a different ship next time. 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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